Assist Inferm Ric 2019 Jan-Mar;38(1):15-22
. The participation of italian nurses in the spanish civil war (1936-1939): identity, ideals and motivations.
Introduction: The Spanish Civil War broke out in July 1936 as a result of social and political tensions. It saw the nationalists and republicans of the Popular Front clash. The conflict ended in April 1939, when the Franco regime began and lasted until 1975.
Aim: The research aims at investigating the training, organization, identity, ideals and motivations of the Italian nurses who participated as volunteers in this conflict.
Methods: The research was divided in phases according to Prosopography as a historical research method. Materials from secondary sources were analyzed at cultural sector libraries. Primary sources were then sought from national and international archives. Finally, experts in contemporary history were consulted.
Results: During the Spanish civil war, about 1000 Italian nurses participated in the conflict, giving their contribution in the two distinct factions. The anti-fascist volunteers, often not professionally trained, provided assistance throughout the war front while the nurses of the Italian Red Cross, graduated and supported by a militarized health care facility, created a unique and well-organized sector.
Conclusions: Despite the limits due to the difficulty of finding the sources, the research shows that both bodies were moved by personal and political motivations. The analysis of personal data and the testimonies outlined important differences in education and social extraction, but also interesting similar elements that they shared in their humanitarian ideals.