1. Oh Hemingway! I was so saddened after learning that he shot himself. A man of such experience and intellect brings life to a close because the pain was not worth it?

    Spanish civil war is such an intriguing topic. No historical study has pulled on my heartsrtings like it. It made me understand what tragedy is really like.

  2. Although Hemingway certainly went to the front lines I don’t believe he was an actual combatant. I realize you have some poetic license in the headline (and as the subject involves “Papa” literary license is surely due!)

    Looks like the photo that the rear sight is flipped up, perhaps Papa was having the rifle explained to him by the soldier next to him?

  3. I am a huge Hemingway fan and I have never seen this photo before. Do you mind revealing the source. Excellent photo! Thank you for sharing. We may never know if he was actually engaging the enemy, but knowing papa he was firing and not posing.

  4. Great photo! I’ve been researching the Spanish Civil War for some twelve years now, love Mosin Nagants and I’m also a big Hemingway fan.

    Like Matisse Enzer already pointed out, Hemingway didn’t join the war as a combatant. He was there as a journalist (reporting for the American Newspaper Alliance). Some of his writing later on created some friction with American IB veterans.

    Anyway, for anybody interested in Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War photographs, there’s a nice little book called “Heart of Spain” that includes all his work from that period that is now part of the Reina Sofía Museum collection (I was lucky enough to see it in person during one of my research trips to Spain).

  5. Interesting photo, Ian. Thanks for posting it. The work of Ernest Hemingway in Spain during the Civil War, as well as other reporters sent there, was covered in detail by Paul Preston in his “We saw Spain die: foreign correspondents in the Spanish Civil War” (London: Constable, 2009). Incidentally, the photograph by Robert Capa chosen by the publishing house to illustrate the cover was shot in the same day and location as the one above.

  6. Viva La Quinte Brigada!

    -Christy Moor


    Ten years ago I saw the light of morning
    A comradeship of heroes was laid
    From every corner of the world came sailing
    The Fifteenth International Brigade.

    They came to stand beside the Spanish people
    To try and stem the rising fascist tide
    Franco’s allies were the powerful and wealthy
    Frank Ryan’s men came from the other side.

    Even the olives were bleeding
    As the battle for Madrid it thundered on
    Truth and love against the force of evil
    Brotherhood against the fascist clan.

    Viva la Quinta Brigada,
    No Pasaran, the pledge that made them fight
    Adelante was the cry around the hillside
    Let us all remember them tonight.

    Bob Hilliard was a Church of Ireland pastor
    From Killarney across the Pyrenees he came
    From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother
    And side by side they fought and died in Spain.

    Tommy Woods age seventeen died in Cordoba
    With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun
    From Dublin to the Villa del Rio
    He fought and died beneath the Spanish sun.


    Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco
    Joined Hitler and Mussolini too
    Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
    Helped O’Duffy to enlist his crew.

    The call came from Maynooth, “support the Naziss”
    The men of cloth had failed yet again
    When the Bishops blessed the Blueshirts down in Galway
    As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain.


    This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan
    Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too
    Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar
    Though many died I can but name a few.

    Danny Boyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly
    Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from the Falls
    Jack Nalty, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy
    Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O’Neill.

  7. Capa was not above staging a photo. His famous photo of a Republican soldier being slain turned out to be one of several takes. Either the guy kept dying until he finally croaked photogenically, or there was some funny business going on.


    There are still Capa fans that defend it with the nonsense that it speaks a “higher truth”

    On the other hand, Capa went to Omaha Beach on D-Day. There’s little proof that he got out of the LCM he was in, but he managed to get thoroughly shaken (who wouldn’t?) and most of his photos were ruined in the darkroom. Those few photos you’ve seen of soldiers wading ashore into the smoke… those were Capa’s.

    Here’s another Capa fanboy on the D-Day photos:

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