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Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion

Roger Clément

Subject History » Military History

Place Northern America » Canada
Iberia » Spain

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics army, civil war, communism, fascism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00949.x


The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion or Mac-Paps, as they came to be known, were a battalion of Canadians who fought as part of the Fifteenth International Brigade on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. The Mac-Paps were the first Canadians to fight the fascism that, a few short months after their defeat, devastated the world during World War II. As was the case among most of the over fifty nationalities represented in the brigades, communist parties and organizations were the principal organizers of volunteers. The Communist Party of Canada appealed to mainstream volunteers by emphasizing patriotism and democracy, as opposed to communism, in keeping with the Soviet Comintern's directive of forming a popular front unifying all progressive forces against fascism. Still, more than three-quarters of Canadian volunteers were members of the party or the Young Communist League. More than three-quarters of the Mac-Paps were immigrants, of which the two largest nationalities were Ukrainians and Finns. The vast majority of volunteers were working class and self-educated about the war and its importance for Europe and the world. Following the collapse of the USSR and release of material from the International Brigade Collection at the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History in Moscow, Comintern reports indicate that some 25 percent of the Canadians identified as non-communists, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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