Guernica by Pablo Picasso. 1937. Oil on canvas.
Guernica is considered and icon of modern art or the Mona Lisa of the twentieth century. As da Vinci painted a Renaissance ideal of serenity and self-control, Guernica is considered Picasso's visual statement about the individual versus extreme forces such as political crime, war, and death.
Guernica, a community in the Basque area of Spain, was a resistance movement center during the Spanish Civil War.
Guernica, not of any military or strategic value was razed to the ground April 26,1937 by German Nazis as the overture for the Nazi war machine, on behalf of Franco, in coordination with the air force of fascist Italy. Franco wanted to terrorize those who opposed him, centered in this region. For Nazi Germany and Italy it was a chance to weaken Britain and France and change the balance of power, to see how would the world react to their policy of imperialism. According to one historian’s account, “the destruction of Guernica was planned as a belated birthday present from Göring to Hitler, orchestrated like a Wagnerian Ring of Fire”. A British intervention in Spain, after the bombing of Guernica, might well have curtailed the imperialist ambitions of Hitler, thwarting the birth of WWII, according to some historians. We will never know.
Actions, or inactions have consequences. We reap what we sow or leave fallow.