- "Requete" redirects here. For the Spanish superlative prefix, see Spanish adjectives. For the French term, see Maître des requêtes.
The Requetés (from the French requêté, “hunting call”) were the Carlist militia during the Spanish Civil War. Wearing red berets, they mostly came from Navarre and were highly religious with many regarding the war as a Crusade. They were often accompanied by priests as field chaplains, who were known for risking their lives to perform the Last Sacrament on the battlefield, and who also urged the men on. A Spanish encyclopedia of 1965 defines the Requetés as a “group of traditionalists whose object is to encourage amongst themselves the goals of the political party, valorous sentiments, physical prowess, initiative, spirit of resistance, and the acceptance of responsibility, and who during the civil wars of Spain, fought in corps (tercios) in defense of the religious and monarchical traditions.”
The earliest use of the term was applied to the Third Battalion of Navarre (Tercer Batallón de Navarra), in 1835, during the First Carlist War, and was later applied generally to all Carlist combatants.
The Carlist Requetés had been receiving military training during the Second Spanish Republic. During the early and middle periods of the Spanish Civil War the Requeté units were well known as highly motivated and (comparatively) well trained assault troops for the nationalists. Carlist units were instrumental in several nationalist victories, notably during the tough fighting in and around the two northern provinces of the Basque territories, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, during the Northern Campaign in 1937.
The negotiations with the conspiring generals were tough. By July 1936, however, Carlism unanimously supported the nationalist side on the Spanish Civil War. From the start there were serious troubles between the Carlists, especially their then political head Manuel Fal Condé, and the military government. On 8 December 1936, Manuel Fal had to leave temporarily for Portugal, after a major clash with Franco.
On 19 April 1937 their political branch was "unified" with the Falange party. Both the Falange and the regent Javier de Borbón protested this move, and, after a meeting with Francisco Franco, Javier de Borbón was expelled from Spain. Due to the necessities of the war, actions against the Unification did not go much further, but meant the loss of all material wealth of the party (buildings, newspapers, etc.).
- Enciclopedia Universal Sopena. Dicionario Ilustrado de la Lengua Española. Vol. 7 (Per-Sak). (Barcelona: Editorial Ramón Sopena, S.A., 1965), 7353. (Spanish)
- Francisco de Paula Madrazo: Historia militar y política de Zumalacárregui; Madrid 1844. (Spanish)
- Julio Aróstegui: Los combatientes carlistas en la Guerra Civil española 1936-1939, Madrid 1991. (Spanish)
- (Spanish) Requetés