Paris, 9 June, 1937: Assassination of Carlo Rosselli.Rosselli, an Italian socialist, had been in exile in Paris since 1929, where he was the main figure in the movement Guistizia e Liberta. Here is the next part of his story, as told by Stanislao G. Pugliese:
Several days after the attempted coup d’etat of 18 July 1936 in Spain, various members of Giustizia e Liberta met in the offices of the journal on Rue Val-de-Grace in Paris. Rosselli proposed quick and decisive intervention against fascism in Spain; here was the opportunity to transform anti-fascism from a negative, passive idea into a positive, active force. Unfortunately, the reform socialists were hesitant and the communists were awaiting word from Moscow on how to proceed. Only the maximalist socialists and the anarchists agreed with Rosselli’s demand for a volunteer force to leave immediately for Spain. For the next ten months until his assassination, Rosselli fought a battle on two fronts: against Franco and his followers, and trying to convince the supporters of the Spanish Republic that this was not just a civil war to defend the Republic, but the first scene in the last act of the drama of European fascism. Rosselli saw the Spanish Civil War as the first real opportunity to combat fascism on equal terms, on the field of battle, with the only element understood by fascism – force.
With his arrival in Barcelona during the first week in August 1936 noted by the police,4 Rosselli was received by a contingent of FAI (Federacion Anarquista Iberica) and introduced to members of the CNT (Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo) and POUM (Partito Obrero de Unificacion Marxista). He wrote back to his English-born wife, Marion, that for now, ‘it was not a real or modern war, but rather a slow siege’.5 Managing to hammer together an accord with the regional government of Catalonia, he created an Italian anti-fascist column of volunteers. Members of Giustizia e Liberta joined with Italian anarchists to create the ‘Ascaso’ Column.6 Together, Rosselli and the republican Mario Angeloni shared command of this first group of 130 Italian volunteers, of whom approximately 70-80 were anarchists, 20 were members of Giustizia e Liberta, and the remainder either socialists, communists or republicans.7 After a week, Rosselli returned to Paris where he tried to persuade the other anti-fascists to volunteer in Spain. By the end of the month he was back in Spain, on the Aragon front. […]
The Italian ‘Ascaso’ Column received its baptism of fire on 28 August 1936 at Monte Pelato, where, even though outnumbered and lacking proper weapons, they held their own against the forces of Franco. […]
Notwithstanding his wound and the death of Angeloni, Rosselli was hopeful; anti-fascism had finally transformed itself: ‘The prophets are no longer unarmed. And the descendants of the prophets, rifle in hand, have acquired a new consciousness.’ […]
Throughout his career, Rosselli seemed to foreshadow his own destiny when speaking of anti-fascist martyrs. In an essay commemorating the murder of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, he remarked: ‘This type of anti-fascist – the prosaic hero – was destined to be killed. […]
Source: Stanislao G. Pugliese “Death in Exile: The Assassination of Carlo Rosselli” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jul., 1997), pp. 305-319