Acción Española

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Acción Española
Acción Española.png
Formation 1931
Type Alfonsism
Integral nationalism
Social Catholicism
Purpose Political organisation
Key people
José Calvo Sotelo
Víctor Pradera
Ramiro de Maeztu

Acción Española (Spanish pronunciation: [akˈθjon espaˈɲola], Spanish Action) or AE was a Spanish far right Alfonsist monarchist organisation active before and during the Spanish Civil War, and a political magazine of the same name, published by the former. The group was heavily influenced by Action Française both in its name and its ideology.[1]


AE began life in December 1931 as a journal of the same name organised by doctrinaire monarchists who believed that the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (CEDA) was too moderate in its approach. The journal was edited by Ramiro de Maeztu. Drawing in followers of the former Prime Minister Antonio Maura and the ultra-conservative wings of Social Catholicism and Carlism, the group that developed around this journal promised to revive a strong Catholic monarchy. AE soon adopted an antisemitic discourse in imitation of similar movements in Europe.[2][3] It soon built up contacts abroad, notably with Action Française, the Integralismo Lusitano and National Syndicalist movements in Portugal, and individual members of the National Fascist Party of Italy.[1] The group's close links with Portuguese groups were driven by a strong belief in Hispanidad and a desire to see a return to the values of La Raza, which they felt had been abandoned in Spain.[4] They also established a front political party, Renovación Española, in March 1933.[5]


The group committed itself to a new Catholic monarchy based on the principle of instauración or installation, where the new monarchy would be strongly authoritarian and corporatist in nature.[6] It has been argued that the ideas of AE, rather than the Falange, had the strongest influence on Francisco Franco, as his eventual state featured a corporatist Cortes, a reliance on the military and the continuation of existing elites as promoted by the AE.[7]

AE attracted some leading figures in Spanish society, with members of the group including the poet José María Pemán,[8] the militarist Jorge Vigón Suero-Díaz[9] and the film-maker Ernesto Giménez Caballero.[10]

Members of AE set up a 'conspiratorial committee' in late 1932, meeting at the regularly at the Biarritz home of Juan Antonio Ansaldo to plan a restoration coup. A substantial amount of money was spent stockpiling arms, whilst Lieutenant-Colonel Valentín Galarza Morante was given responsibility for building up subversive cells in the army.[11] However, despite continuous plotting, no coup was ever launched by the group.

Under Franco[edit]

Because the AE was not a political party, it was not absorbed into the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista, although it was closely associated with that movement and AE members held leading positions within the group.[12] A conflict broke out in April 1938 when leading AE member Eugenio Vegas Latapie was deprived of his seat on the FET y de las JONS National Council, leading to less co-operation between the AE and the regime.[13] Vegas Latapie and Ansaldo were involved in plotting against Franco around 1940 and 1941, although the AE as a group was not involved.[14]


  1. ^ a b Stanley G. Payne, Spain's First Democracy: The Second Republic, 1931-1936, 1993, p. 171
  2. ^ Nerín, Gustau (2005). La guerra que vino de África (in Spanish). Editorial Critica. p. 82. ISBN 978-84-8432-618-2. 
  3. ^ Carrete Parrondo, Carlos (2000). Los judíos en la España contemporánea: Historia y visiones, 1898-1998. VIII Curso de Cultura Hispanojudía y Sefardí de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (in Spanish). Univ de Castilla La Mancha. p. 94. ISBN 978-84-8427-044-7. 
  4. ^ Sandie Eleanor Holguín, Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain, 2002, p. 44
  5. ^ Stuart Joseph Woolf, Fascism in Europe, 1981, p. 384
  6. ^ Payne, Spain's First Democracy, pp. 171-2
  7. ^ Payne, Spain's First Democracy, p. 173
  8. ^ Preston, Franco, p. 134
  9. ^ Preston, Franco, p. 110
  10. ^ Holguín, Creating Spaniards, p. 115
  11. ^ Paul Preston, Franco, 1995, pp. 89-90
  12. ^ Stanley G. Payne, The Franco Regime, 1936-1975, 1987, p. 118
  13. ^ Payne, The Franco Regime, p. 189
  14. ^ Payne, The Franco Regime, p. 295