For me personally, the celebration of this important act, which is finally concluding today, is a very happy circumstance. I must emphasize that when we raised the call for this tribute, all the institutions and people who participate in it today enthusiastically joined in giving their full support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is so because talking about Stanley Payne is talking about Spain, about his passion for our nation, its modern history, its common history, because Payne is already part of it, as we emphasized when reading the manifesto. ad.
To talk about Stanley Payne is to talk about Spain, about his passion for our country, its modern history, its common history, because Payne is already part of it.
By a lucky stroke of fate, this tall, lanky young man, a native of Denton, Texas, decided to study the Spanish language, and subsequently the history of this controversial nation – ours. After receiving a fellowship for doctoral studies at Columbia University, he decided dissertation on phalanx in the second half of the fifties. Both in the United States and in various countries of Europe, and above all in Spain, he made contact with many leaders in exile, Falangists or supporters of the regime. This study was an oral history whose doctoral dissertation was published in the United States in 1961 under the title Phalanx: A History of Spanish Fascism.
The publication of such a work was then unthinkable in Spain, and a Spanish edition appeared in France under the label Ruedo Ibérico in 1965 under the title Phalanx: A History of Spanish Fascism. With a new scholarship, he returned to Spain in 1962 and 1963 to research Francoist Spain, the military and Basque nationalism. made contact with John Linzwith whom he maintained a close friendship, with the Catalan historian Jaime Vicens Vivesand then with the great figures of Carlism; which fake accountalready a big businessman Ignatius Larramendi and the section of the Carlists of Navarre, highlighting among them those who will be a good and great friend for life, Xavier de Lizarza. The result was the publication of various works in English and Spanish, already dedicated to Payne in the early 1970s as one of Spain’s leading researchers of the 20th century. He successively published in two volumes in (1973) History of Spain and Portugal; Basque nationalism from its origins to ETA (1974); Spanish Revolution and Civil War (1976) and other studies.
All of these headlines, especially those published in Ruedo Ibérico, gave Payne the aura of a historian that today we would call “progressive” among left-wing circles. However, Payne, who wrote Franco in Spain in 1967 or about fascism, the Civil War, the Falange and the Second Republic in the years when the left praised himthe same historian, with the same principles of honesty and professional integrity, who decades later wrote about the same issues in titles such as; Imperial Spain (1985) Spain Bourbons1986), Franco: history profile (1992) fascism (1995) Franco and José Antonio: A Strange Case of Spanish Fascism (one thousand nine hundred ninety-six) Soviet Union, communism and revolution in Spain (2003) Collapse of the Republic (2005) Franco and Hitler; Spain and Germany in World War II (2008) Spain, a unique story (2008) Why did the Republic lose the war (2010) Civil War in Europe 1905-1949 (2011) Road on July 18 (2016) In defense of Spain (2017) Spanish revolution (2019) and revolutionary europe (2021) among others and still.
Professor Payne has always maintained the same position from the time of that young doctoral student in which the police file of the Franco regime described him as “innocent, but interesting for his research and contacts,” to the present nearly ninety years ago. old, just turned 88 years old, in full force.
His works and contributions were created with rigor and objectivity. And therein lay his greatness in his impressive simplicity and humanity. At all times he tried and managed to make Spain understandable. His intellectual contribution to clearing up the fog that shrouded Second Republic, Civil War, Franco and the Franco regime, were decisive. For his personality and friendliness he got along well with all his colleagues historians, professors and researchers, both left and right or liberals. He never spoke ill of anyone, although others criticized him for his righteous behavior. His analysis and criticism of other people’s works has always been distinguished by personal and professional respect. Over time, the friendship has intertwined with such personalities as Juan Linz, Javier de Lisarza, Edward Malefakis, Hugh Thomas, Javier Toosell, Walter Lucker, Jaime Vicens Vives, Ignacio and Luis de Larramendi, Nigel Townson, Michael Seidman, John Coverdale, Burnett BollotenLuis Perico, Luis Palacios, Manuel Pastor, Javier Ruperez and Robert Stradling among many others attest to this, as his friends and fans are legion in the United States, Britain and Spain.
Against the black legend
His contribution to the history of Spain and especially to modern history is decisive. Basics. Payne refutes the myth of Spanish exceptionalism in his negative and reductionist vision, confirming with sources and data that the history of Spain is unique and exceptional in the world, but not because of its backwardness and complexity, and even more so because of the perverted and false propaganda of the Black Legend, but for the values that it contributed to the civilization and development of Western culture, for its moral principles and for the spread of Christianity in the world. The feat of retaking the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslims and returning it to Christendom, Payne wrote, is something so exceptional that it was the only people in history to accomplish it, so it is for this reason alone that Spain, which is unique in world history. And an epic of discovery, evangelization and exploration of what will become something universal Spanish America.
Payne’s research on fascism, its inculcation and development in Europe is truly masterful. The analysis of the Second Republic, the Civil War, the figure of Franco and his personal dictatorship is undoubtedly the most extensive part of Professor Payne’s scientific research. Personally, I had the great honor to write with him two important works; Frank, my father (2008) and Franco: a personal and political biography (Wisconsin Press 2014), edited in English, Spanish and Chinese.
In addition to all his monumental work, Professor Stanley Payne wrote hundreds of scientific articles in specialized publications in the USA, France, Germany, England and Spain, critical reviews in the most prestigious pages of newspapers and cultural supplements in many countries, numerous prologues, he was editor and co-editor of various works and with Walter Lacker he edited for more than 25 years the prestigious magazine Journal of Modern History.
In July 1999, I was fortunate to meet him throughout all these years, weaving a close and strong friendship that will always be one of the greatest rewards of my life for me. I learned a lot from his experience and deep understanding. In the spring of 2004, he invited me to speak at the University of Wisconsin on the March 11 attacks. Later, I recall a pleasant moment of lively conversation on the porch of his house, sheltered from heavy rain, savoring two excellent cigars.
Together with Payne, I had the honor to participate in scientific events and conferences. I have a special memory of dinner with Yudard Malefakis, a few years before his sad death. A great deli and wine expert, we have traveled to different parts of Spain in search of cultural and historical roots. Today, we continue to struggle in the dangerous process of the so-called Democratic Historical Memoirs, about which we have published various works. He was the promoter of the manifesto for history and freedom, and last spring I appeared on his behalf in the Parliament of Cantabria to present a document in the framework of the debate on the Law of Historical Memory for Cantabria.
I am proud to have participated with him in several collective works on Transitionthe one edited with the title Stanley Payne, Hispanic Profiles (2018), in honor of his figure and in the image History of Spanish institutions (2019), directed by Professor Alesya Slizhava, edited by the Society for Contemporary Studies. Cosmos-Polis, of which Professor Payne is the honorary president. Now together we are preparing a new academic study on the most notable and relevant events of the last century in Spain.
Stanley Payne was Honorary Doctor of Hilldale de la Jaume Vicens Vives, Honorary Doctor of CEU-Cardenal Herrera Oria University in 2004, Honorary Doctor of Rey Juan Carlos University in 2016, he is Corresponding Academician of the Royal Historical University and Science, Morality and Politics , and also awarded the Grand Cross of Isabelle La Católica. In 2013, he was recognized as the “Spanish of the Year”, and in 2019 he received the VIII Bernardo de Gálvez Prize. For all these reasons, Stanley George Payne has already taken pride of place in history.
(Libertad Digital thanks Jesús Palacios for sharing images and tribute texts)