Gibraltar: "A Dagger in the Spine of Spain?"

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Overview

The ‘problem’ of Gibraltar has been a constant source of diplomatic tension between Britain and Spain for over three hundred years. Franco himself described the Rock as a ‘dagger in the spine of Spain’, and it was during his dictatorship that Spain’s diplomatic campaign to recover Gibraltar reached its height with the closing of the frontier in 1969. Given this background, it has long been assumed by historians and commentators that relations between Gibraltar and its Spanish neighbour have also been strained. Gareth Stockey rejects this assumption, and demonstrates that relations across the frontier had in fact been cordial for most of the period of British occupation of the Rock. … The focus of this study is the Gibraltar–Spanish frontier. Rather than seeing the frontier as a physical entity – separating Gibraltar from its Spanish neighbour – the frontier is viewed as a process, through which the communities on either side of it fostered intimate social, cultural, political and economic links. Instead of creating a distinct and definable Gibraltarian ‘identity’ in this period – an identity which has since become a key argument in Gibraltar’s calls for self-determination – the frontier instead served to blur this identity, and infuse the Gibraltarians with an array of Spanish cultural influences. Ironically, given his stated desire to see the Rock returned to Spain, it was Franco’s policy of closing the Gibraltar frontier which hardened attitudes on both sides and made a solution to the Gibraltar ‘problem’ unlikely in the extreme. … This book, the first in any language to provide an in-depth local study of Gibraltar–Spanish relations, constitutes a major critique of accepted wisdom on the so-called Gibraltar ‘problem’. It also sheds light on a tempestuous period of Spanish history, and the early foreign policy of the Franco regime.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This expertly researched book challenges the assumption that Gibraltarians have always held deep antipathies toward Spain and fiercely hold that their national identity is tied up with being British. Instead, both Gibraltarians and Spaniards at the border understand the physical frontier between them to be little obstacle to a relationship built over the course of the 20th century. Stockey argues that the frontier can best be seen as a ‘process,’ whereby economic forces emerged to encourage or discourage social, cultural, and political interaction between the societies on either side of it. The fence built by the British in 1908–9 may have caused friction between Madrid and London. It was the physical expression of differing areas of sovereignty and different tax regimes (especially during the years of the Franco dictatorship), but it belied the fact that an intimate relationship marked by trade (often in contraband), the use of Spanish, intermarriage, and fluid immigration and labor patterns had been forged without much concern or regard for the posturing of politicians in those capitals. A solid work on borders and borderlands. Highly recommended.”  —Choice

“Gareth Stockey covers a subject central to Anglo-Spanish relations during the two dictatorships of Miguel Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco and the tumult of the Second Republic and the Civil War. The book’s approachability is enhanced by its highly vivid sense of place and people. It delineates superbly the acute social and economic differences on both sides of the Spanish frontier and does so in a way that clarifies the fluctuations in the close relationship between both communities. Dr Stockey’s work is also informed by a real sensitivity to the social impact of diplomatic issues on the population in both Gibraltar and Andalucía.”  —Series Editor Paul Preston, Preface 

From the Publisher

“This expertly researched book challenges the assumption that Gibraltarians have always held deep antipathies toward Spain and fiercely hold that their national identity is tied up with being British. Instead, both Gibraltarians and Spaniards at the border understand the physical frontier between them to be little obstacle to a relationship built over the course of the 20th century. Stockey argues that the frontier can best be seen as a ‘process,’ whereby economic forces emerged to encourage or discourage social, cultural, and political interaction between the societies on either side of it. The fence built by the British in 1908–9 may have caused friction between Madrid and London. It was the physical expression of differing areas of sovereignty and different tax regimes (especially during the years of the Franco dictatorship), but it belied the fact that an intimate relationship marked by trade (often in contraband), the use of Spanish, intermarriage, and fluid immigration and labor patterns had been forged without much concern or regard for the posturing of politicians in those capitals. A solid work on borders and borderlands. Highly recommended.” —Choice

“Gareth Stockey covers a subject central to Anglo-Spanish relations during the two dictatorships of Miguel Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco and the tumult of the Second Republic and the Civil War. The book’s approachability is enhanced by its highly vivid sense of place and people. It delineates superbly the acute social and economic differences on both sides of the Spanish frontier and does so in a way that clarifies the fluctuations in the close relationship between both communities. Dr Stockey’s work is also informed by a real sensitivity to the social impact of diplomatic issues on the population in both Gibraltar and Andalucía.” —Series Editor Paul Preston, Preface 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845193010
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gareth Stockey is a Lecturer in Modern European History at Swansea University, UK. He completed his doctorate at the University of Lancaster, where he was part of a collaborative, AHRC-funded research project, entitled ‘Community, Society and Identity in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Gibraltar.’
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Table of Contents

The Canada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies ix

Series Editor's Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

List of Abbreviations xv

Introduction: The Significance of the Frontier in Gibraltarian History 1

1 'British' Gibraltar in the Early Twentieth Century 9

2 Economic Depression and the Effect of the Spanish Dictatorship during the 1920s 37

3 Shifting Allegiances and Social Tension: Gibraltar during the Peacetime Years of the Spanish Second Republic 64

4 'A House Divided': The Impact of the Spanish Civil War upon Gibraltarian Society 88

5 Towards a New Relationship: Local and National Relations between Gibraltar and Spain, July 1936 to August 1939 111

6 'The Franco Problem': Spanish Policy towards Gibraltar during the Second World War, 1939-1945 137

7 'Business as Usual? Cross-Frontier Relations between Gibraltar and the Campo, 1939-1945 159

8 The End of the Affair: Cross-Frontier Relations, 1945-1954 181

Conclusion: 'A Dagger in the Spine?' 221

Notes 232

Bibliography 279

Index 292

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