Franco’s Internationalists by David Brydan

Franco’s Internationalists by David Brydan – Social Experts and Spain’s Search for Legitimacy – is a book by a teacher at King’s College London, who will supervise me next year. I was, obviously, very excited to read the book. It covers the period of the war, but it’s mainly about what happened next and how Franco tried to get both popular support and international legitimacy. There are many similarities with what happens today involving soft power, so learning from the past is obviously vital to get a better understanding on what we are going through today.

Franco's Internationalists by David Brydan

What’s fascinating is that, by using archives from six countries, he created a comprehensive overview of the situation regarding medicine as soft power. There are lots of details about Africa and Latin America and I was very intrigued to read about them. There is a religious aspect too, dealt mainly in the last chapter, as there were Catholic events regarding medicine and particularly nursing.

Spain used the doctors and medicines (including vaccines) to get legitimacy by collaborating with Africa and South America. Germany was doing the same before and during WWII too. WHO and UN and their roles are widely talked about in the book. It’s fascinating because it is so incredibly relevant today.
For example, in the book, Brydan points out the Soviet experts had to ask political commissars who were suspicious and had to refer to Moscow for advice. It’s still the case today, with China and the “investigation” into the origins of COVID the WHO did.

In another example, in 1943 Spain, a journal began publishing, entitled La Medicina Colonial, an year later funding a new Spanish Institute of Colonial Medicine which had the role of doing microbiological and epidemiological research with its main focus to form medical specialists in the colonies, which included former colonies which they lost 4 decades before that.

I enjoyed the book a lot and I highly recommend it.

Franco’s Internationalists by David Brydan

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Oxford University Press
Year it was published: 2019
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History – European
Pages: 224

About the author: David Brydan joined King’s in September 2018. Prior to that he worked as a lecturer and researcher at Birkbeck, University of London. He received his PhD from Birkbeck in 2016. Between 2013 and 2017 he was a member of the Wellcome Trust-funded Reluctant Internationalists project at Birkbeck, and is currently a member of the Centre for the Study of Internationalism. In 2014 he was a visiting researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. He is currently a Reviews Editor for Contemporary European History.
Website & Social Media Links: –



2 thoughts on “Franco’s Internationalists by David Brydan”

    • I don’t think there will too much time for that, as I’m going to focus on the civil war, but I enjoyed the book and I might use some bits from it for another assignment for another module (with a different teacher). 🙂

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