International Brigades

The International Brigades (Spanish: Brigadas Internacionales) were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to fight for the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

The number of combatant volunteers has been estimated at between 32,000–35,000, though with no more than about 20,000 active at any one time.A further 10,000 people probably participated in non-combatant roles and about 3,000–5,000 foreigners were members of CNT or POUM. They came from 53 ations to defend the democratically elected government of Spain against the Fascist forces led by General Francisco Franco who was assisted by German and Italian forces.

  • Abraham Lincoln Battalion: from the United States, Canada and ireland, with some British, Cypriots and Chileans who lived in New York and were members of the Chilean worker club of New York.
  • Mickiewicz Battalion: predominantly Polish.
  • André Marty Battalion: predominantly French and Belgian, named after André Marty.
  • British Battalion: Mainly British but with many from the Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Cyprus and other Commonwealth countries.
  • Checo-Balcánico Battalion: Czechoslovakian and Balkan.
  • Commune de Paris Battalion: predominantly French.
  • Deba Blagoiev Battalion: predominantly Bulgarian, later merged into the Djakovic Battalion.
  • Dimitrov BattalionGreekYugoslavian, Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian and Romanian. Named after Georgi Dimitrov.
  • Djuro Djakovic Battalion: Yugoslav, Bulgarian, anarchist, named for former Yugoslav communist party secretary Đuro Đaković.
  • Dabrowski Battalion: mostly Polish and Hungarian. Also Czechoslovakian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Palestinian Jews. See also Dąbrowszczacy.
  • Edgar André Battalion: mostly German. Also Austrian, Yugoslavian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Dutch.
  • Español Battalion: Mexican, CubanPuerto Rican, Chilean, Argentinian and Bolivian.
  • Figlio Battalion: mostly Italian; later merged with the Garibaldi Battalion.
  • Garibaldi Battalion: Raised as the Italoespañol Battalion and renamed. Mostly Italian and Spanish, but contained some Albanians.
  • George Washington Battalion: the second U.S. battalion. Later merged with the Lincoln Battalion, to form the Lincoln-Washington Battalion.
  • Hans Beimler Battalion: mostly German; later merged with the Thälmann Battalion.
  • Henri Barbusse Battalion: predominantly French.
  • Henri Vuilleman Battalion: predominantly French.
  • Louise Michel Battalions: French-speaking, later merged with the Henri Vuillemin Battalion.
  • Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion: the “Mac-Paps”, predominantly Canadian.
  • Marseillaise Battalion: predominantly French-commanded by George Nathan.
    • Incorporated one separate British company.
  • Palafox Battalion: Yugoslavian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Jewish and French.
  • Pierre Brachet Battalion: mostly French.
  • Rakosi Battalion: mainly Hungarian, also Czechoslovakians, Ukrainians, Poles, ChineseMongolians and Palestinian Jews.
  • Nine Nations Battalion (also known as the Sans nons and Neuf Nationalités: French, Belgian, Italian, German, Austrian, Dutch, Danish, Swiss and Polish.
  • Six Février Battalion (“Sixth of February”): French, Belgian, MoroccanAlgerianLibyanSyrianIranianIraqi, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Palestinian Jewish.
  • Thälmann Battalion: predominantly German, named after German communist leader Ernst Thälmann.
    • Tom Mann Centuria: A small, mostly British, group who operated as a section of the Thälmann Battalion.
  • Thomas Masaryk Battalion: mostly Czechoslovakian.
  • Chapaev Battalion: composed of 21 nationalities (Ukrainian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, Turkish, Italian, German, Austrian, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Belgian, French, Greek, Albanian, Dutch, Swiss and Baltic).[15]
  • Vaillant-Couturier Battalion: French, Belgian, Czechoslovakian, Bulgarian, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish.
  • Veinte Battalion: American, British, Italian, Yugoslavian and Bulgarian.
  • Zwölfte Februar Battalion: mostly Austrian.
  • Company De Zeven Provinciën:Dutch

Brigadiers by country of origin[edit]

Flag/s Nationality Estimate Notes
France France 8,962[16]–9,000[2][17]
Italy Italy 3,000[16][17]–3,350[18]
Germany/Austria Germany/Austria 3,000[2]–5,000[17] Beevor quotes 2,217 Germans and 872 Austrians.[16]
Poland Poland 3,000[2][17]–3,113[16]
United States United States 2,341[16]–2,800[17][18]
Balkan countries 2,095[16]
Soviet Union Soviet Union 2,000-3,000[2] Though “never more than 800 present at any one time”.[19]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 1,800,[17] 2,000,[18] c. 4,000.[20] Beevor quotes 1,843 “of whom 549 were Scots”.[16] BBC quotes “about 4,000” based on MI5 estimates, released by the PRO, Kew.[20]
Belgium Belgium 1,600[17]–1,722[16]
Canada Canada 1,546–2,000[17] Thomas estimates 1,000.[18]
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 1,500[2]–1,660[17] See Yugoslav volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.
Cuba Cuba 1,101[21][22]
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 1,006[16]–1,500[2][17]
Baltic states 892[16]
Argentina Argentina 740[23]
Netherlands Netherlands 628[16]
Denmark Denmark 550 220 died.
Scotland Scotland 549 Scots from both Lowlands and Highlands, split between the British BattalionAbraham Lincoln Battalion andCanadians.[16]
Hungary Hungary 528[16]–1,500[2]
Sweden Sweden 500[24] An estimated 799[16]–1,000[18] people from Scandinavia (Thomas estimates about 1,000 – of whom 500 were Swedes.[24])
Bulgaria Bulgaria 462
Switzerland Switzerland 408[16]–800[25]
Republic of Ireland Ireland 250 Split between the British Battalion and the Abraham Lincoln Battalion which included the famous Connolly Column
Norway Norway 225 100 died.[26][27][28]
Finland Finland 225 Including 78 Finnish Americans and 73 Finnish Canadians, ca. 70 died.[29]
Estonia Estonia 200[30]
Greece Greece 160[citation needed]
Portugal Portugal 134[16]
Luxembourg Luxembourg 103 Livre historiographic d’Henri Wehenkel: D’Spueniekämfer (1997)
Taiwan China 100[31] Organised by the Chinese Communist Party, members were mostly overseas Chinese. Their leader was Xie Weijin.[32]
Mexico Mexico 90
Flag of Cyprus (1922-1960).svg Cyprus 60[citation needed]
Philippines Philippines 50 [33][34]
Albania Albania 25
Costa Rica Costa Rica 24[2]
Others 1,122[16]