Telegram from Guernica
Who was the special correspondent whose report shocked the world, galvanized Picasso into painting "Guernica", and earned him a place on the Gestapo's "Special Wanted List"? On April 26th 1937, amid the rubble of the bombed city of Guernica, the world's press scrambled to submit their reports. But one journalist spent an extra day exploring the scene. His investigation pointed the finger at the secret involvement of the Nazis - and was the most controversial despatch of the Spanish Civil War. George Steer, a dapper 27-year-old adventurer, was a friend and supporter of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellassie I. As a foreign correspondent he alerted others to the Fascist game-plan in Africa and Europe, initiated new field propaganda techniques, and saw military action in Ethiopia, Spain, Libya, Egypt and Madagascar. Without Steer, the true facts about Guernica's destruction might never have been known. In this biography, Nicholas Rankin evokes all the passion, excitement and danger of an extraordinary life, right up to Steer's premature death in the Burmese jungle on Christmas Day 1944.
Published: March 18, 2004