The Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva
Nacional Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS) (English: Traditionalist
Spanish Phalanx of the Committees of the National Syndicalist
Offensive) was the sole legal party of the Francoist State in Spain.
It emerged in 1937 from the merger of the Carlist Party with the
Falange Española de las JONS and was dissolved in 1977 by Adolfo
Suárez's transitional government.
1.1 Early history
1.2 Spanish Civil War
1.3 Francoist Spain
Main article: Falange Española de las JONS
Spanish Civil War
With the eruption of the Civil War in July 1936, the Falange fought on
the Nationalist side against the Second Spanish Republic. Expanding
rapidly from several thousand to several hundred thousand, the
Falange's male membership was accompanied by a female auxiliary, the
Sección Femenina. Led by José Antonio's sister Pilar, this latter
subsidiary organization claimed more than a half million members by
the end of the war and provided nursing and support services for the
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"). After being sentenced to death on 18 November 1936,
José Antonio Primo de Rivera
José Antonio Primo de Rivera was executed on 20 November 1936 (a date
since known as
20-N in Spain) 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.
Francisco 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 was the Falangists' 27 puntos—reduced
after the unification to 26. Despite this, the party was in fact a
wide-ranging nationalist coalition, closely controlled by Franco.
Parts of the original Falange (including Hedilla) and many Carlists
did not join the unified party. Franco had sought to control the
Falange 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
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.
However, 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, 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.
Membership in the Falange/FET reached a peak of 932,000 in 1942.
Despite the official unification of the various Nationalist factions
within the party in 1937, tensions continued between dedicated
Falangists and other groups, particularly Carlists. Such tensions
erupted in violence with the Begoña Incident of August 1942, when
hardline Falangist activists attacked a Carlist religious gathering in
Bilbao with grenades. The attack and the response of Carlist
government ministers (most notably Varela and Galarza) led to a
government crisis and caused Franco to dismiss several ministers.
Ultimately, six Falangists were convicted of the attack and one, Juan
Domínguez, was executed.
By the middle of the Second World War, Franco and leading Falangists,
while distancing themselves from the faltering European fascists,
stressed the unique "Spanish Catholic authoritarianism" of the regime
and the Falange. Instructions were issued in September 1943 that
henceforth the Falange/FET would be referred to exclusively as a
"movement" and not a "party".
The Falange also developed youth organizations, with members known as
Flechas and Pelayos,under the umbrella of the Spanish
Youths Organization. Most of these young members wore red berets.
With improving relations with the United States, economic development
and the rise of a group of relatively young technocrats within the
government, the Falange continued to decline. In 1965, the SEU, the
movement's student organization, was officially disbanded. At the
same time, the membership of the Falange as a whole was both shrinking
and aging. In 1974, the average age of Falangists in
Madrid was at
least 55 years. The organization's relatively few new members came
mostly from the conservative and devoutly Catholic areas of northern
^ Payne 1987, p. 176.
^ Payne 1987, p. 187.
^ Paul Preston, Franco, London: 1995, pp. 261-6
^ Hugh Thomas, The
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War (2001), p. 903
^ Payne 1987, p. 238.
^ Payne 1987, p. 308-09.
^ Payne 1987, p. 322.
^ Payne 1987, p. 523.
^ Payne 1987, p. 527.
Payne, Stanley G. (1987). The Franco Regime, 1936–1975. Madison: The
University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-