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Updating the Spanish Civil War

August 17, 1986

Jack Miles would have it that "the writers who rushed to the defense of the Spanish Republic . . . were mistaken as well about communism, which would become far more oppressive in the 1950s and after than fascism had been in the 1930s" (Book Review, July 27).

Did Auden say so? Malraux? Hemingway? Dorothy Parker? Thomas Mann?

The pernicious thing about such a woozy generalization is its corollary: that, recovered from nostalgic hallucination, we must see that the Nazis of the 1940s were less oppressive than the Soviets of the late 1980s, and that Reagan really got it right at Bitburg.

ROBERT H. WORMHOUDT

Fullerton

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