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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
(2008)

Bunk, Brian D., 1968-
"A shape note of pugnacity" : conservative youth groups in Spain, 1914-1939,   pp. 15-29 ff.


Page 19

Conservative Youth Groups in Spain, 1914-1939 
being produced in Italy both prior to and after the First World War. Such
ideas would have 
an important impact in the development of Mussolini's Fascism in the post
conflict period.9 
Indeed, by 1935 Goicoechea was claiming that JM had prefigured both Italian
Fascism and 
Nazism.2() 
Another important effect of maurismo was the beginnings of large scale Catholic
in- 
volvement in the political process. Defense of religion emerged as one of
the movement's 
fundamental ideas and such attention helped politicize "neutral Catholics"
who had pre- 
viously remained aloof from the system.2' The failure of Maura to form a
national unity 
government in 1918, however, caused many to lose faith in constitutional
government.22 
Catholics were drawn into legal political activity but the failure of those
early actions led 
many to the conclusion that such methods were unable to definitively protect
the interests 
of the church. At the same time the modern techniques of political action
employed by JM, 
including militant language, the distribution of widespread propaganda and
the holding of 
mass meetings, provided a blueprint for extra parliamentary action. The key
role played by 
young people in the Maurist movement, along with other European examples,
convinced 
influential Catholics of the importance of young people in any type of social
or political 
movement. Inspired by an Italian party, Spanish Catholics created the Partido
Social Popular 
(PSP) in 1922. The organization represented the first truly modern political
party in Spain 
designed to protect Catholic interests.23 The PSP also quickly formed a youth
organization 
called Vanguardia Social Popular, whose first president was Jose Maria Gil
Robles.24 The 
initial period of large scale Catholic involvement in politics also corresponded
with the for- 
mation of youth groups aimed at mobilizing and educating the next generation
of believers. 
Although generally apolitical, the Catholic youth organizations served as
a training ground 
for the conservative politicians, including Gil Robles, who later played
key roles in the parties 
of the 1930s.25 
The Primo de Rivera dictatorship limited the ability of conservatives to
form politi- 
cal organizations, including youth groups. Such restrictions did not apply
to the develop- 
ment of youth organizations by the Catholic Church, as long as they remained
apolitical. 
The first such group, and the most important, was the Juventud Cat6lica Espafiola
(JCE). 
The formation of the JCE in 1923 followed European models but also evolved
from the 
Catholic Church's increased emphasis on its role in the intellectual and
moral education of 
young people. It was also an attempt to stave off what many saw as the pernicious
effects of 
modern culture and society.26 One goal of the organization was to create
a cadre of highly 
educated and devoted young Catholics who would defend the nation from moral
decay and 
the church from attacks on the faith.27 This didactic mission might have
been influenced by 
the actions of JM, who had earlier attempted to inculcate the values of patriotism
and religi- 
osity through the widespread mobilization of young people. In some ways ICE
was formed 
to be the youth equivalent of the lay organization called Asociacihn Cat~lica
Nacional de 
Propagandistas (ACNP). Founded in 1909, ACNP was an elitist group of devoted
Catholics 
19 


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