Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right
The Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right was a Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in the Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

. A Catholic conservative
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 force, it was the political heir to Angel Herrera Oria
Ángel Herrera Oria
Ángel Herrera Oria was a Spanish journalist, Catholic lay leader, politician and later priest, bishop and cardinal...

's Acción Popular
Popular Action (Spain)
Popular Action was a Spanish Roman Catholic political party active during the Second Spanish Republic.The group was formed after the fall of the monarchy in order to defend the interests of Roman Catholics in the new Spanish Republic...

 and defined itself in terms of the 'affirmation and defence of the principles of Christian civilization,' translating this theoretical stand into a practical demand for the revision of the republican constitution. The CEDA saw itself as a defensive organisation, formed to protect religion, family, and property. It has also been described as accidentalist, in that it gave no ideological support to republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

, but merely accepted it as the constitutional structure of the time—many of its supporters advocated a return to monarchy
Spanish monarchy
The Monarchy of Spain, constitutionally referred to as The Crown and commonly referred to as the Spanish monarchy or Hispanic Monarchy, is a constitutional institution and an historic office of Spain...


The CEDA eclipses the republican centre

Gil Robles set up the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right to contest the 1933 election, and tacitly embraced Fascism. Despite dismissing the idea of a party as a 'rigid fiction', the CEDA leaders created a stable party organisation which would lead the Spanish right into the age of mass politics. The CEDA was constructed around organisational units known as Derechas Autónomas, the first of which had been established in Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

 in December 1932. Having accepted the 'principles of Christian civilization' confederated bodies retained full freedom both of thought and of action - such a definition was framed with the Carlists in mind. The right would work together for 'the radical transformation of the regime.' The announcement of a general election in November 1933 brought about an unprecedented mobilization of the Spanish right. El Debate instructed its readers to make the coming elections into an "obsession", the " sublime culmination of citizenly duties," so that victory in the polls would bring an end to the nightmare of the republican bienio rojo. Great emphasis was placed on the techniques of electoral propaganda. Gil Robles visited Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 to study modern methods, including the Nuremburg rally. A national electoral committee was established, comprising CEDA, Alfonsist, Traditionalist, and Agrarian representatives - but excluding Miguel Maura
Miguel Maura
Miguel Maura Gamazo was a Spanish politician of the first third of the twentieth century.He was a son of the leading Conservative politician of the Restoration monarchy, Antonio Maura...

's Conservative Republicans. The CEDA swamped entire localities with electoral publicity. The party produced ten million leaflets, together with some two hundred thousand coloured posters and hundreds of cars were used to distribute this material through the provinces. In all of the major cities propaganda films were shown around the streets on screens mounted on large lorries.

The polarization of political opinions and the CEDA

The need for unity was the constant theme of the campaign fought by the CEDA and the election was presented as a confrontation of ideas, not of personalities. The electors' choice was simple: they voted for redemption or revolution and they voted for Christianity or Communism. The fortunes of Republican Spain, according to one of its posters had been decided by 'immorality and anarchy'. Catholics who continued to proclaim their republicanism were moved into the revolutionary camp and many speeches argued that the Catholic republican option had become totally illegitimate. 'A good Catholic may not vote for the Conservative Republican party' declared a Gaceta Regional editorial and the impression was given that Conservative Republicans, far from being Catholics, were in fact anti-religious. In this all-round attack on the political centre, the mobilization of women also became a major electoral tactic of the Catholic right. The Asociación Feminina de Educación had been formed in October 1931. As the 1933 general election approached women were warned that unless they voted correctly communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 would come " which will tear your children from your arms, your parish church will be destroyed, the husband you love will flee from your side authorized by the divorce law, anarchy will come to the countryside, hunger and misery to your home." AFEC orators and organisers urged women to vote 'For God and for Spain!' Mirroring the female qualities emphasized by AFEC the CEDA's self-styled seccíon de defensa brought young male activists to the fore. In one incident in the last week of the campaign, in Guijuelo
Guijuelo is a municipality located in the province of Salamanca, Castile and León, Spain. According to the 2007 census , the municipality has a population of 5593 inhabitants.-See also:*CD Guijuelo, the football club of this municipality....

 the efforts of a group of left wing sympathisers to prevent people entering the bullring, where José María Lamamié de Clairac
José María Lamamié de Clairac
José María Lamamié de Clairac y de la Colina was a Spanish politician, lawyer, Salamancan landowner, a right-wing Catholic, a Carlist Traditionalist deputy during the Spanish Second Republic....

 was speaking, led to a running battle with CEDA's sección de defensa. Later stopped and searched they were found to be carrying a quantity of pizzle whips - (whips made from the dried penises of bulls) - taken along to 'fend off the violence which had been promised.' It was one example of the polarisation of political opinions which had occurred in the province of Salamanca, Robles's province, since the early days of the Republic. This new CEDA squad was also very much in evidence on election day itself, when its members patrolled the streets and polling stations in the provincial capital, supposedly to prevent the left from tampering with the ballot boxes.

In the 1933 elections, the CEDA won the most seats in the Cortes
Cortes Generales
The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate . The Cortes has power to enact any law and to amend the constitution...

.The CEDA had won a plurality of seats; however, these were not enough to form a majority, but then President Niceto Alcalá-Zamora
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora y Torres was a Spanish lawyer and politician who served, briefly, as the first premier minister of the Second Spanish Republic, and then — from 1931 to 1936—as its president....

 declined to invite the leader of the CEDA, Gil Robles, to form a government and instead invited the Radical Republican Party
Radical Republican Party
The Radical Republican Party , sometimes shortened to the Radical Party was a Spanish political party founded in 1908 by Alejandro Lerroux in Santander, Cantabria by a split from the historical Republican Union party led by Nicolás Salmerón....

's Alejandro Lerroux
Alejandro Lerroux
Alejandro Lerroux y García was a Spanish politician who was the leader of the Radical Republican Party during the Second Spanish Republic...

 to do so. CEDA supported the centrist
In politics, centrism is the ideal or the practice of promoting policies that lie different from the standard political left and political right. Most commonly, this is visualized as part of the one-dimensional political spectrum of left-right politics, with centrism landing in the middle between...

 government led by Lerroux; it later demanded and, on October 1, 1934, received three ministerial positions. They suspended most of the reforms of the previous Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña Díaz was a Spanish politician. He was the first Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic , and later served again as Prime Minister , and then as the second and last President of the Republic . The Spanish Civil War broke out while he was President...

 government, provoking an armed miners' rebellion in Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

 on October 6, and an autonomist
Catalan nationalism
Catalan nationalism or Catalanism , is a political movement advocating for either further political autonomy or full independence of Catalonia....

 rebellion in Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

—both rebellions were suppressed (Asturias rebellion by young General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

), being followed by mass political arrests and trials. CEDA continued to mimic the German Nazi Party, Robles staging a rally in March 1934, to shouts of "Jefe" ("Chief", after the Italian "Duce" used in support of Mussolini). Robles used anti-strike law to pick union leaders off one by one, and attempted to undermine the republican government of the Esquerra in Catalonia, who attempted to continue the republic's previous reforms. Using the title jefe, the JAP created an intense and often disturbing cult around the figure of Gil Robles. Robles himself had returned from Nuremberg
Nuremberg Rally
The Nuremberg Rally was the annual rally of the NSDAP in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. Especially after Hitler's rise to power in 1933, they were large Nazi propaganda events...

 in 1933 and spoken of its " youthful enthusiasm, steeped in optimism, so different to the desolate and enervating scepticism of our defeatists and intellectuals."

The Juventudes de Acción Popular
Juventudes de Acción Popular
The Juventudes de Acción Popular was the youth wing of CEDA, a Spanish rightwing party in the 1930s.The JAP emphasized sporting and political activity. It had its own fortnightly paper, the first issue of which proclaimed : 'We want a new state.' The JAP's distaste for the principles of universal...

, the youth wing within the CEDA, " soon developed its own character. The JAP emphasized sporting and political activity. It had its own fortnightly paper, the first issue of which proclaimed : 'We want a new state.' The JAP's distaste for the principles of universal suffrage was such that internal decisions were never voted upon. As the thirteenth point of the JAP put it : 'Anti-parliamentarianism. Anti-dictatorship. The people participating in Government in an organic manner, not by degenerate democracy.' The line between Christian corporatism and fascist statism became very thin indeed. The fascist tendencies of the JAP were vividly demonstrated in the series of rallies held by the CEDA youth movement during the course of 1934.

On 26 September, the CEDA announced it would no longer support the RRP's minority government; it was replaced by a RRP cabinet, led by Lerroux once more, that included three members of the CEDA.

Rifts, moving further to the right

Between November 1934 and March 1935, the CEDA minister for agriculture, Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, introduced into parliament a series of agrarian reform measures designed to better conditions in the Spanish countryside. These moderate proposals met with a hostile response from reactionary elements within the Cortes , including the conservative wing of the CEDA and the proposed reform was defeated. A change of personnel in the ministry also followed. The agrarian reform bill proved to be a catalyst for a series of increasingly bitter divisions within the Catholic right, rifts that indicated that the broad based CEDA alliance was disintegrating. Partly as a result of the impetus of the JAP, the Catholic party had been moving further to the right, forcing the resignation of moderate government figures, including Filiberto Villalobos. Gil Robles was not prepared to return the agriculture portfolio to Gimenez Fernandez. "For all the social Catholic rhetoric, the extreme right had won the day."

Lerroux's Radical government collapsed after two large scandals, including the Straperlo
Straperlo was a business which tried to introduce in Spain in the 1930s a fraudulent roulette which could be controlled electrically with the push of a button...

 affair. However, Zamora did not allow the CEDA to form a government, and called elections. The elections of February 16, 1936 were narrowly won by the Popular Front, with vastly smaller resources the political right, who followed Nazi propaganda techniques. CEDA turned its campaign chest over to army plotter Emilio Mola
Emilio Mola
Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain was a Spanish Nationalist commander during the Spanish Civil War. He is best-known for having coined the term "fifth column".-Early life:...

. Monarchist José Calvo Sotelo
José Calvo Sotelo
José Calvo Sotelo, 1st Duke of Calvo Sotelo was a Spanish politician prior to and during the Second Spanish Republic...

 replaced Gil Robles as the right's leading spokesman in parliament. The Falange expanded massively, and many members of the JAP moved over to it. They successfully created a sense of militancy on the streets, in order to make an authoritarian regime justifiable. CEDA came under direct attack from the Falange. This rapid radicalization of the CEDA youth movement effectively meant that all attempts to save parliamentary Catholicism were doomed to failure.

Many of the party's supporters welcomed the military rebellion in the summer of 1936 which led to the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, and many of them joined Franco's National Movement
The Spanish Phalanx of the Assemblies of the National Syndicalist Offensive , known simply as the Falange, is the name assigned to several political movements and parties dating from the 1930s, most particularly the original fascist movement in Spain. The word means phalanx formation in Spanish....

. However, General Franco was determined not to have competing right-wing parties in Spain and, in April 1937, CEDA was dissolved.

It was not active throughout the Franco dictatorship, but its roots led to the establishment of an Alianza Popular
Popular Alliance (Spain)
The People's Alliance was a electoral coalition, and later a political party, founded in 1976 by Manuel Fraga along with six other former Francoist ministers.- History :...

, formed during the transition period
Spanish transition to democracy
The Spanish transition to democracy was the era when Spain moved from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco to a liberal democratic state. The transition is usually said to have begun with Franco’s death on 20 November 1975, while its completion has been variously said to be marked by the Spanish...

 that followed Franco's death. Alianza was to be the basis for the successful Partido Popular
People's Party (Spain)
The People's Party is a conservative political party in Spain.The People's Party was a re-foundation in 1989 of the People's Alliance , a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former Minister of Tourism during Francisco Franco's dictatorship...



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