Threatened by the reforms of the Second Republic, the Spanish right’s response was obstinate and violent. However, given the initial failure of attempts to destabilize the Republic, sponsored by the patrician right, more flexible elements confronted the possibility of mobilizing popular support in defence of rightist interests. Alongside the traditional Alfonsine and Carlist monarchists there emerged the populist Catholic authoritarian party, the CEDA, and the much smaller and overtly fascist Falange Española.1 All of these organizations threw in their lot with the army officers who organized the uprising of July 1936. The Falange started out as the weakest of them but the circumstances of the war and the external influence of the Axis powers pushed it to prominence. The mass support of the CEDA and its youth movement, the Juventud de Acción Popular (JAP), had already started to flood into the Falange in the spring of 1936. It was further swelled by wartime recruits. For three decades thereafter, even as its own ideological edge was dulled, it was to play a central role in the regime. Indeed, it was the dictatorship’s identity tag in the outside world. That was hardly surprising since it was the agency which organized mass mobilizations and controlled labour relations and was also the source of the regime’s lexicon, iconography and ideological paraphernalia.