Pío Moa

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Pío Moa
Born 1948
Vigo, Galicia, Spain
Occupation journalist
Subject 20th century
Notable works Myths of the Civil War

Luis Pío Moa Rodríguez (Vigo, Galicia, 1948) better known as simply Pío Moa, is a Spanish writer and journalist. His specialised subject field is the history and origins of the Spanish Civil War, the Second Republic in Spain, Francoism and the various political movements of that era, all of which he approaches from a sympathetic perspective.

During his youth, Moa was a radical anti-Francoist agitator. He was a militant of the Communist Party of Spain (and its reconstituted version), as well as the clandestine Maoist, designated-terrorist organisation GRAPO. Following the transition of Spain to democracy, Moa dedicated himself to the study of contemporary Spanish history, evolving over time to a Francoist position.

Following the death of Franco and the reinstatement of a democratic regime in Spain, a slow process of opening of archives and publicizing of Civil War related documents began.[1] In the face of this process Moa started rescuing the theses that the parties which formed the Popular Front - PSOE, Esquerra Unida, PNV, the anarchists, PCE - were ultimately responsible for the Spanish Civil War and the rise of autocracy in Spain as it appears in the diaries of Manuel Azaña who was president of the Spanish Second Republic. Moa maintains that they have left a legacy of "moral and political, intellectual devastation", accusing the left of hypocrisy in regards to democracy and totalitarianism, as well as claims that the material aid provided by Stalin and the USSR to the Spanish Republic in the Civil War not only prolonged the war causing innumerable deaths but was also equivalent to the help provided by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to General Franco.[2]

The polemical and politically incorrect nature of Moa's writings have gained him much public attention in Spain and a measure of controversy as a result; his best-selling book, Myths of the Civil War, with 150,000 units sold, was a best-seller for six consecutive months.[citation needed]


Early years as a radical

Born during 1946 in Vigo, Galicia, Spain, Moa was a charter member of various Marxist-Leninist and Maoist tendency organisations as a youth, including GRAPO, which was the armed wing of the reconstituted Communist Party of Spain. It was involved in violent clashes with the government's Movimiento Nacional. Moa was present at the murder of a policeman on 1 October 1975, carried out after the execution of two ETA and three FRAP members. Two other members of GRAPO, Enrique Cerdán Calixto and Abelardo Collazo Araújo, were also present; Cerdán shot the police officer. Moa was expelled from GRAPO in 1977, he later recalled this period of his life in About a time and a country, the violent Left.

Intellectual evolution and writing

After the Spanish transition to democracy his opinions changed towards increasingly conservative positions. He is an outspoken critic of the Spanish political left which he accuses of being the main cause of the Spanish Civil War.[3]

He has also written essays on feminism, marxism, current Spanish politics and an autobiographical book about his experiences in the terrorist group GRAPO. In his books he criticizes strongly Franco's communist, socialist and nationalist rivals. Moa is disliked by leftist historians, who have subjected him to a procedure of silence and ostracism [4][5] such as Paul Preston, Alberto Reig Tapia, Javier Tusell, Justo Serna, Mercedes Yusta, Santos Juliá or Enrique Moradiellos. While disagreeing with some of Moa's theses,[6] historian Stanley G. Payne has praised the work of Pio Moa.[7] Recently British historian Julius Ruiz in his book The 'Red Terror' and the Spanish Civil War: Revolutionary Violence in Madrid asserts that approximately 50,000 Spaniards were extrajudicially executed in Republican Spain following the failure of the military rebellion in July 1936. This mass killing of "fascists" - known as the "Red Terror" - undermined attempts by the legally constituted Republican government to present itself in foreign quarters as fighting a war for democracy.

He has been accused of homophobia by civil rights groups[8] and of being a defender of the Franco's regime.[4][9] In an interview in 2008 he openly refused to condemn Franco's regime.[10] However, he declares in his books that he does not defend the dictatorship, but rather criticizes his rivals.[citation needed]

He was the editor of the historical journals Tanteos (1988–1990) and Ayeres (1991–1993) and a librarian at the Ateneo de Madrid, a prestigious cultural and literary institute in Madrid, belonging to its board of directors for three years.[citation needed]

He currently writes for online newspapers such as Libertad Digital .


  • Los orígenes de la guerra civil española (The origins of the Spanish Civil War)
  • Los personajes de la República vistos por ellos mismos (The characters of the [Spanish second] republic as viewed by themselves)
  • El derrumbe de la segunda república y la guerra civil (The collapse of the second republic and the civil war)
  • Una historia chocante - Los nacionalismos vasco y catalán en la historia contemporánea de España (A shocking history - basque and catalonian nacionalism within the contemporary history of Spain)
  • Los mitos de la Guerra Civil (Myths of the Civil War)
  • La sociedad homosexual y otros ensayos (Homosexual society and other essays)
  • Años de hierro. España en la posguerra. 1939-1945" (Iron years, Post-war Spain 1939-1945)
  • De un tiempo y de un país, La izquierda violenta (1968–1978) (About a time and a country. The violent left 1968-1978)
  • Franco - un balance histórico (Franco - a historical assessment)
  • Franco para antifranquistas (Franco for antifrancoist)
  • 1934: comienza la guerra civil (1934: civil war begins)
  • 1936: el asalto final a la república (1936: final assault to the republic)
  • Los crímenes de la guerra civil y otras polémicas (The crimes of the civil war and other controversies)
  • Nueva Historia de España (New History of Spain)


  1. Miguel I. Campos. La historiografía española y la internacionalización de la Guerra Civil. Ab Initio, Núm. 5 (2012)
  2. Enrique Moradiellos García, Visiones de la guerra civil española: Acotaciones sobre una polémica a tres bandas
  3. En cuanto a mis tesis..., Pío Moa, Libertad Digital, January 25, 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Pro-Franco history tops bestseller list", The Guardian, November 14, 2005.
  5. ¿Qué es un historiador?, Pío Moa, Libertad Digital, November 6, 2006.
  6. SPAIN: Pio Moa and the Civil War
  7. Stanley Payne elogia la obra de Pío Moa, Esferalibros, July 4, 2003
  8. El obispado de Jerez abre sus puertas a Pío Moa, JereLesGay, asociación de lesbianas, gays, transexuales y bisexuales de Jerez, March 30, 2008.
  9. Pro-Franco book a bestseller in Spain, The Guardian, April 22, 2003.
  10. Pio Moa: “No condeno el franquismo”, La Nación, April 17, 2008.