Falange: Wikis


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Falange Española de las J.O.N.S.
Leader Diego Márquez Horrillo
Spokesperson Ignacio Casado
Founded 29 October 1933 (1933-10-29)
Headquarters 16 Calle Fernando Garrido 1º 28015 - Madrid, Spain
National conservatism
Roman Catholicism
This article is about the Spanish political party. For the Lebanese Phalange, see the Kataeb Party.

Falange Española de las J.O.N.S. (better known as Falange or Phalange; full name Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista) is the name assigned to several political movements and parties dating from the 1930s, most particularly the original fascist movement in Spain. The word Falange means phalanx formation in Spanish. This warlike symbol was chosen due to the militaristic nature of the party.

In Spain, the Falange was a political organization founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933, during the Second Spanish Republic. Primo de Rivera was a Madrid lawyer, son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, who governed Spain as Prime Minister with dictatorial power under King Alfonso XIII in the 1920s. General Primo de Rivera believed in state planning and government intervention in the economy. His son and the Falangists he led expressed regret for the demise of the elder Primo de Rivera's regime, and proposed to revive his policies and a program of national-syndicalist social organization.

Falangism was originally similar to Italian fascism in certain respects. It shared its contempt for Bolshevism and other forms of socialism and a distaste for democracy. However, the Falange's National Syndicalism was a political theory very different from the fascist idea of corporatism, inspired by Integralism and the Action Française (for a French parallel, see Cercle Proudhon). It was first formulated in Spain by Ramiro Ledesma Ramos in a manifesto published in his periodical La Conquista del Estado on 14 March 1931. National Syndicalism attempted to bridge the gap between nationalism and the anarcho-syndicalist of the dominant trade union, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), by revising Syndicalism altogether. While the Falange embraced the Catholic emphasis of Integralism it also borrowed elements from fascism.

Unlike other members of the Spanish right, the Falange was republican, avant-gardist and modernist (see Early History below), in a manner similar to the original spirit of Italian Fascism. Its uniform and aesthetic was similar to contemporary European fascist and national socialist movements. After the party was coopted by Franco and consolidated with the Carlists, it ceased to have a National Syndicalist character (which, like fascism, sought a revolutionary transformation of society whereas Franco was conservative), although it retained many of the external trappings of fascism.[1][2][3][4][5]

During the Spanish Civil War the doctrine of the Falange was used by General Franco, who virtually took possession of its ideology, while José Antonio Primo de Rivera was sentenced to death by the Spanish Republican Government. During the war, and after its founder's death, the Falange was combined by decree (Unification Decree) with the Carlist party, under the sole command of Generalísimo Franco, forming the core of the sole official political organization in Spain, the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista, or "Spanish Traditionalist Phalanx of the Assemblies of National-Syndicalist Offensive" (FET y de las JONS). This organization, also known as the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional) after 1945, continued until Franco's death in 1975. Since 1975, Falangists have diversified into several different political movements which have continued into the 21st Century.

Members of the party were called Falangists (Spanish: Falangistas).



Jose Antonio Primo De Rivera, founder of the Falangist movement.


  • El yugo y las flechas (the yoke and arrows), the symbol of the Reyes Católicos.
  • The blue shirt, a symbol of industrial workers.
  • Cara al Sol, "Facing the sun", its anthem.
  • The red beret of Carlism (after the unification).
  • A flag with red, black and red vertical stripes.
  • The Swan as a symbol of Cardenal Cisneros (Frente de Juventudes branch).

Early history

Shirt Shield from the Frente de Juventudes, 1950s. This shield was also worn on the uniform of the "Milicias Universitarias"

The year after its founding, the Falange united with the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista of Onésimo Redondo, Ramiro Ledesma, and others, becoming Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista.

During the Second Spanish Republic, the Falange professed Christian values and confronted wealthy land-owners and communists.[citation needed] Its members were opposed by leftist revolutionaries.[citation needed]

The Falange was not an archetypal party of the right. Ronald Hilton has argued that Spanish leftists spoke of Jose Antonio with respect.[6] The party attracted a considerable number of prominent intellectuals, including Pedro Mourlane Michelena, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Eugenio Montes, José María Alfaro, Agustín de Foxa, Luys Santa Marina, Samuel Ros, Jacinto Miquelarena and Dionisio Ridruejo.[7] The party was republican, modernist, claimed to champion the lower classes and opposed both oligarchy and communism.[8] For these reasons the Falange was shunned by other right-leaning parties in the 1936 election.

After the electoral victory of the Popular Front, and still in a democracy the party suffered official persecution and Primo de Rivera was arrested on (6 July 1936). The Falange joined the conspiracy to overthrow the Republic: On 17 July, the African army led by Franco rebelled. The next day nationalist forces in mainland Spain, including Primo de Rivera's party, followed suit.

Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War, the Falangists fought on the Nationalist side against the Left-led Republic, being the fastest growing party on their side (from a few thousands to some hundred thousand members before the Unification). This sudden rise can be well explained; Franco used its ideological pillar.

The command of the party rested upon Manuel Hedilla, as many of the first generation leaders were dead or incarcerated by the Republicans. Among them was Primo de Rivera, who was a Government prisoner. As a result, he was referred to among the leadership as el Ausente, (the Absent One). On 20 November 1936 (a date since known as 20-N in Spain), Primo de Rivera was sentenced to death by the Spanish legal Government in a Republican prison, giving him martyr status among the Falangists. This conviction and sentence was possible because he had lost his Parliamentary immunity, after his party did not have enough votes during the last elections.

After Franco seized power on 19 April 1937, he united under his command the Falange with the Carlist Comunión Tradicionalista, forming Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS (FET y de las JONS), whose official ideology were the falangist's 27 puntos. Despite this, the party was in fact a wide ranging nationalist coalition, closely controlled by Franco. Parts of the original Falangist (including Hedilla) and many Carlists did not join the unified party. Franco had sought to control the Falalnge after a clash between Hedilla and his main critics within the group, the legitimistas of Agustín Aznar and Sancho Dávila y Fernández de Celis, that threatened to derail the nationalist war effort.[9]

None of the vanquished parties in the war suffered such a toll of deaths among their leaders as did the Falange. Sixty per cent of the pre-war Falange membership lost their lives in the war.[10]

Most of the property of all other parties and trade unions were assigned to the party. In 1938, all trade unions were unified under falangist command.

After the war

Yoke and Arrows. Spain, 1940s.

After the war, the party was charged with developing an ideology for Franco's regime. This job became a cursus honorum for ambitious politicians—new converts, who were called camisas nuevas ("new shirts") in opposition to the more overtly populist and ideological "old shirts" from before the war.

The Falange also developed youth organizations (Flechas, Pelayos; compare to Hitlerjugend and Italian Balilla and Arditi) and a student's union (the Sindicato Unificado de Estudiantes (SEU)) -mandatory till the 1950s. The SEU ("Sindicato Español Universitario") was still mandatory during the 1960s. Furthermore, the women's section (Sección Femenina), which was originally founded in 1934 by José Antonio's sister, Pilar Primo de Rivera, for the purpose of supporting the Falange, was given the role of instructing young women on how to be "good patriots, good Christians and good wives" after the war.

After the opening to the United States and the Spanish Miracle of the 1960s, Franco began working with younger technocrats.

Post-Franco era

After Franco's death (20 November 1975, also known as "20-N") the Spanish Crown was restored to the House of Borbón in the person of King Juan Carlos, and a move towards democratization begun under Adolfo Suárez, a former chief of the Movimiento. The new situation splintered the Falange. In the first elections in 1977, three different groups fought in court for the right to the Falangist name. Today, decades after the fall of the Francoist regime, Spain still has a minor Falangist element, represented by a number of tiny political parties. Chief among these are the Falange Española de las JONS (which takes its name from the historical party), Falange Auténtica, Falange Española Independiente (which later merged with the FE de las JONS), and FE - La Falange. Vastly reduced in size and power today, these Falangist-inspired parties are rarely seen publicly except on ballot papers, in State-funded TV election advertisements, and during demonstrations on historic dates, like 20 November (death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and General Francisco Franco). These three parties received 27,166 votes between them in the 2004 legislative election.

In 2009, police arrested 5 members of a Falangist splinter group calling itself Falange y Tradición. They alleged that this group which was unknown to mainstream Falangist groups, had been involved in a raft of violent attacks in the Navarre region. These attacks were primarily targeted at Basque separatist terrorist group ETA and at ETA sympathisers.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Laqueur, Walter Fascism: Past, Present, Future p. 13 1996 Oxford University Press
  2. ^ De Menses, Filipe Ribeiro Franco and the Spanish Civil War, p. 87, Routledge
  3. ^ Gilmour, David, The Transformation of Spain: From Franco to the Constitutional Monarchy, p. 7 1985 Quartet Books
  4. ^ Payne, Stanley Fascism in Spain, 1923-1977, p. 476 1999 Univ of Wisconsin Press
  5. ^ Payne, Stanley Fascism in Spain, 1923-1977, p. 347, 476 1999 University of Wisconsin Press
  6. ^ Ronald Hilton, "Jose Antonio" WAIS Forum on Spain available at: http://wais.stanford.edu/Spain/spain_JoseAntonio(102703).html
  7. ^ See Mónica and Pablo Carbajosa, La Corte Literaria de José Antonio (Crítica; Barcelona, 2003) and Mechtild Albert, Vanguardistas de Camisa Azul tr. by Cristina Diez Pampliego and Juan Ramón García Ober (Madrid: Visor Libros, 2003).
  8. ^ Berdichevsky, Norman (September 2008). "Franco, Fascism and the Falange: Not One and the Same Thing"". New English Review. http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/21484/sec_id/21484. 
  9. ^ Paul Preston, Franco, London: 1995, pp. 261-6
  10. ^ Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (2001), p. 903
  11. ^ "Falange splinter group smashed by police sting - Navarran cell, unknown to mainstream far-right, attacked ETA families, bars." (in English) (PDF). El Pais - English Edition with the International Herald Tribune. El Pais. 2009-10-24. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. http://www.webcitation.org/5kn1QzJIJ. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

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