Why a Pacifist Goes to War
Bombing of Guernica
Why did a pacifist go to war? Osheroff asks. I've been an opponent of war all my life and only time I put away my dislike of war was the war against Hitler because you couldn't talk Hitler out of a war. Fascism needed to be stopped in Spain before it spread even farther and caused a war far worse - which it did. For the International Brigades, the Spanish Civil War was a struggle between what was legal and what was moral.
For a long time, Osheroff wrestled with the idea to go fight in Spain or not. But newsreel footage of Nazi planes bombing the undefended city of Guernica -- an episode immortalized by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso--changed his mind. Leaving his girlfriend behind and in violation of U.S. neutrality law, he sailed for France in May 1937, then took a second ship bound for Spain. It was May 1937 and he was just 21.