Acción Española

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Acción Española
Acción Española.png
Formation 5 February 1932[a]
Type Monarchism
Integral nationalism
Social Catholicism
Purpose cultural and 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 cultural association active during the Second Spanish Republic, meeting point of the ultraconservative and far right intellectual figures that endorsed the restoration of the Monarchy.[1] It was a also a political magazine of the same name. The group was heavily influenced by Action Française both in its name and its ideology.[2] The cultural association was formed on 5 February 1932,[1] following the founding of the journal on 15 December 1931.[1]


AE began life in December 1931 as a journal organised by doctrinaire monarchists. It 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.[3][4] 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.[2] 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.[5] They also established a front political party, Renovación Española, in March 1933.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8]

AE attracted some leading figures in Spanish society, with members of the group including the poet José María Pemán,[9] the militarist Jorge Vigón Suero-Díaz[10] and the film-maker Ernesto Giménez Caballero.[11]

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.[12] However, despite continuous plotting, no coup was ever launched by the group. The organization's co-founder, the famed political theorist Ramiro de Maeztu was summarily executed by a Republican death squad in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.

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.[13] 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.[14] Vegas Latapie and Ansaldo were involved in plotting against Franco around 1940 and 1941, although the AE as a group was not involved.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Eduardo González Calleja, Contrarrevolucionarios. Radicalización violenta de las derechas durante la Segunda República, 1931-1936, 2011, pp. 51-52
  2. ^ a b Stanley G. Payne, Spain's First Democracy: The Second Republic, 1931-1936, 1993, p. 171
  3. ^ Nerín, Gustau (2005). La guerra que vino de África (in Spanish). Editorial Critica. p. 82. ISBN 978-84-8432-618-2. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Sandie Eleanor Holguín, Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain, 2002, p. 44
  6. ^ Stuart Joseph Woolf, Fascism in Europe, 1981, p. 384
  7. ^ Payne, Spain's First Democracy, pp. 171-2
  8. ^ Payne, Spain's First Democracy, p. 173
  9. ^ Preston, Franco, p. 134
  10. ^ Preston, Franco, p. 110
  11. ^ Holguín, Creating Spaniards, p. 115
  12. ^ Paul Preston, Franco, 1995, pp. 89-90
  13. ^ Stanley G. Payne, The Franco Regime, 1936-1975, 1987, p. 118
  14. ^ Payne, The Franco Regime, p. 189
  15. ^ Payne, The Franco Regime, p. 295