Roots, book one in The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga, sets the scene for the series. Why did so many Welsh men and women travel to Spain to risk their lives in the 1930s?
The answer lies with the similarities between the Spanish and Welsh working class people. While landowners and the wealthy exploited the people of Spain and staged a coup d’état against the democratically elected government, the Conservative Party in Britain oversaw mass unemployment, implemented longer working hours for less pay, and introduced the Means Test, which drastically reduced state benefits. This led to soup kitchens, hunger marches and riots.
These measures radicalised the workforce and they recognised that the Spanish people’s fight against fascism was also their fight. So people like Heini Hopkins, my nurse, and Deiniol Price, my International Brigade volunteer, pledged themselves to the cause in the belief that they were fighting not only for Spain and Wales, but also for the oppressed people of the world.