Elizabeth and I are visiting Madrid this week. This is a beautiful, modern city, with incredible art museums. We managed to spend several hours in the Centro de Arte Renia Sofia before they cleared out the galleries at a somewhat early 2:30 in the afternoon.
Picasso’s Guernica isn’t the only artwork that reminds the world of the pre-WWII horror that the Spanish Civil War represented. We saw a film showing children tearing the stones out of streets and making barricades near to our hotel in Madrid. The photographs of bombed out towns and cities previewed the high level of devastation that would be visited upon many European cities over the following 10 years, children and parents frantically seeking shelter from a rain of bombs delivered by sleek and powerful bombers.
I have to wonder if America would be so eager for military solutions if it had suffered as much as Europe did during the first and second global conflict of the twentieth century. Americans, especially on the right, tend to characterize Europeans as decadent, weak, and even cowardly, for not being more willing to participate in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe if America had undergone 400 years of nearly constant warfare, and then had much of 2000 years of cultural destroyed, along with several generations of young men, it would have a smaller military today.