On some days nothing happens. On other days the roof caves in. Twice in history the roof has caved in on April 26.
Sunday is the 78th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica and it is the 29th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl.
In 1937, Spain was locked in a brutal civil war started by right-wing Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco, who sought to overthrow Spain’s left-wing Republican government. The Nationalists couldn’t win at the ballot box so Franco started a war.
Late in the afternoon of April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, aircraft of the Condor Legion, an adjunct of the Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombed the sleepy Spanish market town of Guernica.
German Air Marshall Hermann Goering testified at his Nuremberg War Crimes Trial that, “The Spanish Civil War gave me an opportunity to put my young air force to the test, and a means for my men to gain experience.”
Goering wanted to know what it would take to bomb a city into oblivion, and the Luftwaffe tested Goering’s tactics were tested on Guernica.
It was a Monday and Monday was market day in Guernica so the streets were filled with the people who lived on the farms in the surrounding countryside. The town of Guernica was entirely destroyed by the bombing and 1,650 innocent civilians were killed.
Italian aircraft from Benito Mussolini’s air force also participated in the attack.
Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Fascist Italy had sign a treaty of cooperation in 1936, forming the Rome-Berlin Axis. The Spanish Civil War was the testing ground for the tactics the Germans and Italians used during World War II.
Guernica was the prelude to World War II – 858 days after the bombing of Guernica, Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II.
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
(1863 – 1952)
In 1986, there was an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the then Soviet Union, which sent a massive amount of nuclear radiation into the environment. Chernobyl was the world’s worst civil nuclear power plant accident.
The accident destroyed one of the four nuclear reactors at the site, killed two people working on site, and killed 30 rescue workers with three months of the accident. Also, 237 people who were working on-site were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome (ARS), and 28 of them died within weeks of the accident.
In the years after the accident, an unusually large number of children in the surrounding area were diagnosed with thyroid cancer due to radioactive iodine fallout. Large areas of Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and the rest of Eastern Europe were contaminated in varying degrees.
Keep in mind what George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”