During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), almost forty thousand men and women from fifty-two countries, including 2,800 Americans volunteered to travel to Spain and join the International Brigades to help fight fascism. The U.S. volunteers served in various units and came to be known collectively as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Source: ALBA Digital Library is published by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA)

Other People’s Battles

American Volunteer Soldiers

An estimated 200 American volunteer soldiers have joined the fight against the Islamic State. They’re part of a much longer tradition of freelance fighters, like early 19th century American privateers who fought in Latin America’s wars of independence and those who participated in the Spanish Civil War. On this episode, Ed, Brian and Joanne explore when and why Americans signed up to fight for other countries’ causes.

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