Bullfighting pits a ferocious animal against the quick intelligence of the matador, who attempts to manoeuvre the bull by waving his cape. The Spanish Civil War had become a parallel type of fight, as Western nations who had previously supported the Spaniards' opposition to the dictator Franco, were set off in a different direction by the desire to outwit Communist countries. Franco opposed Communism, and America sought his help via a 10-year military and economic agreement that allowed the US to build military bases in Spain, in return giving more than pounds 1bn in grants and loans.
In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II's coronation became the first to be seen by millions of people. In November plans for commercial TV in competition with the BBC were announced. Scientific discoveries were almost as exciting, with the discovery of DNA, the analysis of the first protein and the first artificial impregnation of a woman. Life had never seemed so good.
In contrast, the situation behind the Iron Curtain was worsening. In May, the withdrawal of ration cards from 2 million people trebled the size of the refugee march to West Berlin; people risked being shot in order to escape. The arrest of nine distinguished Soviet doctors for plotting to kill military and political leaders had sparked fears of a purge to end all purges, but Stalin's death intervened. Stalin was to go down in history, with Hitler and Genghis Khan, for the millions of deaths he caused. He was perhaps also the most single-minded; in the face of famine he turned down Western offers for relief supplies worth pounds m.
For details of Photo 98, a series of national events and exhibitions, call 01484 559888 or refer to www.photo98.com. The interactive `Seeing is Believing' is at Terrace Gallery, Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, LS17 2LQ (0113 288 6331).Reuse content