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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 21

Conservative Youth Groups in Spain, 1914-1939 
charged with the vaguely militaristic task of "[defending] the principles
of our society."3 
The regime of General Primo de Rivera, following the model of the Fascist
party in 
Italy, attempted to create a national youth movement.36 Owing in part to
fears that such a 
party would be uncontrollable, the Juventud de la Union Patritica (JUP) never
became 
an effective national organization. Throughout the regime the JUP's role
was largely to 
hold rallies, attend patriotic ceremonies, and sponsor soccer tournaments.
Its stated goals of 
indoctrinating and mobilizing young people to defend Spain and the dictatorship
remained 
largely unrealized. One local leader of the group complained in a letter
to the dictator that 
JUP's lack of development had created "youths who sleep like octogenarians."3
In addi- 
tion, when organized groups of university students began the first serious
protests against 
the regime in 1928, the JUP proved unable to respond to this threat and failed
to mount an 
effective defense of the regime's policies.38 In the final years of the dictatorship,
some effort 
was made to increase the combative potential of the JUP. The organization's
rhetoric be- 
came increasingly heated and the group began to take a more ambivalent attitude
toward the 
use of violence, declaring that they would defend Spain "to victory
or death."39 Despite such 
efforts the organization, like the regime itself, was unable to stem the
tide of discontent.41 
Nevertheless, the JUP, like other rightist youth groups before it, had served
as both training 
and, more importantly, as a lesson to the conservative youth groups that
emerged in the final 
years of the monarchy and into the Republican period.4' The succeeding groups
that formed 
in the wake of the dictatorship took from the JUP's failure to staunch the
student rebellion 
the lesson that a militarized youth organization was essential to defending
the existing social 
order. The small groups formed at the end of the dictatorship, such as the
Juventud de la 
Uni6n Monatrquica Nacional and the Juventudes Monarquicas Independientes
encouraged 
street fights with both leftist students and the growing ranks of young socialists.42
Such 
activities would be taken up by the next generation of conservative youth
organizations, 
including the Juventud de Accioin Popular (JAP) and the Falange Espafiola
(FE). 
One of the most original groups formed in the wake of the dictatorship was
the Juntas 
de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (JONS), which began in October 1931. The
organization 
resulted from the fusion of two smaller groups led by Ramiro Ledesma Ramos
and Onesimo 
Redondo Ortega. Throughout its brief history, the JONS would be one of the
few conserva- 
tive youth groups whose ideology posited a truly revolutionary role for young
people and 
was not simply an organization designed to mobilize them on behalf of a traditional
political 
cause. The JONS developed a program that celebrated both the destructive
and creative role 
of young people in Spanish politics. The speeches and writings of both men
emphasized the 
need to rally young people into action, both to defend true Spanish values
but also to topple 
the existing political and social system.43 Ledesma described the type of
individual wanted 
by the movement: "we seek militant young squads without any hypocrisy
about guns and 
military discipline."'44 Redondo echoed such sentiments: "Young
people must be trained in 
physical combat, must love violence as a system, must arm themselves with
whatever they 
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