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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 23

Conservative Youth Groups in Spain, 1914-1939 
defending religion and the social order from revolutionary threats. The first
director of 
the JAP was Jose Maria Valiente, who had previously served in the leadership
of the short- 
lived Vanguardia Social Popular.14 Source limitations make any estimate of
the organiza- 
tion's numbers problematic, but a reasonable suggestion puts the figure at
something like 
200,000.11 The JAP's greatest strength echoed that of its parent organization,
the CEDA, 
and was concentrated in Castile, especially around Madrid, although substantial
numbers 
also existed in Andalusia and Valencia. Like previous youth organizations
on the politi- 
cal right, the social origins of the japistas were predominantly in the urban
middle class.16 
Ideologically, the JAP differed little from that of the CEDA as the political
statements of the 
youth group's publications were strictly controlled by Gil Robles and cedista
leadership.17 
In this sense, the JAP's importance lies not in its articulation of a unique
political identity 
based on youth but rather as an agent of radicalization, especially in the
period following 
the October 1934 revolt. The imagery and rhetoric of the organization mimicked
that of 
international fascist organizations and significantly heightened the atmosphere
of political 
tension. Simon Lowe argues that the presence of the JAP as a "fascist
option" explains the 
limited growth of the FE prior to the spring of 1936.58 
The effectiveness of conservative efforts to mobilize youth during the Republic,
espe- 
cially the JAP, can be clearly seen at the local and regional level. Cadres
of young rightists 
often provided the most energetic and enthusiastic supporters of the conservative
parties. In 
Galicia during the first month of the Republic, conservatives quickly recognized
the need 
to form a unified movement to defend traditional values and pursue a conservative
political 
agenda. In a few cases, such as the cities of La Coruiia and Lugo, youth
groups organized 
themselves before any official party had been formed. Eventually, the province's
conservative 
youths were united into the Juventud de Union Regional de Derechas which
came into being 
by the end of 1931. The group's foundational manifesto attacked the Republican
system, 
declaring it to be a "bastard trick" hidden behind the words of
"Liberty and Democracy"'9 
By 1934 the organization had affiliated with the JAP and became the most
active and vocal 
element of the conservative movement in Galicia, including stating at one
point that "life 
is combat.'6" A similar arc of development occurred in Toledo, where
conservatives used 
the Juventud Cat6lica de Toledo to organize youth in protest of the Republic's
anticlerical 
legislation. Eventually the region formed its own branch of the JAP and counted
representa- 
tives from more than fifty towns in the regional group. Throughout the Republic
the youth 
served to organize and attend patriotic meetings, including ceremonies honoring
soldiers 
killed in the October 1934 revolt and the mass JAP rally held in Ucls in
1935.61 
The period between October 1934 and February 1936 marked a time of tremendous
growth for the JAP. The group, along with the CEDA, helped mobilize conservative
mem- 
bers of the middle classes who had been previously uncommitted to the political
process. 
Members across the country embarked on a campaign to increase participation,
and to a 
certain extent, radicalize the base of the organization. The JAP also began
publication of 
23 


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