After travelling to Spain at the end of 1936 with the intention of working as a correspondent for a British socialist newspaper, thirty-three-year-old George Orwell decided to join the Republican efforts to overturn Franco's Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Having enrolled in the POUM militias, the young writer was soon forced to experience first-hand the hardships and dangers of trench warfare, before becoming involved in the Barcelona May Day street fighting and nearly being killed by a bullet on his return to the front line. Orwell's initial idealistic dreams of a victorious fight against fascism were gradually tainted by doubt and disillusionment as the divisions and infighting within the Republican coalition became apparent. Part war memoir, part tract, part exposé, Homage to Catalonia is a key to understanding Orwell's political ideas and his commitment to the socialist cause.
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