The Falange (literally "phalanx") was founded in 1933 by José Antonio Primo de Rivera as a uniformed organization on the model of the Italian fascists. It began in reaction to the left-leaning policies of the Second Republic, and adopted a strongly nationalist rhetoric, as well as displaying a readiness to engage in street violence against socialists and other radical groupings. In 1934 it merged with an overtly pro-Nazi organization, the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (Committees of the National Syndicalist Offensive). In the Civil War, it provided volunteer companies for the Francoist rising. Partly to further the war effort on the Nationalist side by providing a unified command structure, partly to bolster Franco's personal hegemony, the Falange was merged with the Carlists in 1937 to form what became known as the National Movement.
   From this date on, the name "Falange" is used, somewhat confusingly, to designate the new merged organization (usually designated as FET), the original core of the "old" pre-1937 Falange, and the National Movement which became institutionalized as a bureaucratic organization within the post-war Franco state. Though the slogan of the original Falange, España, Una, Grande, Libre (Spain, One, Great and Free), and the symbol of the yoke and arrows, were adopted by the Franco regime, old Falangists soon found themselves marginalized after the Civil War. One of Franco's titles was Jefe Nacional (National Leader) of the Falange, and he frequently wore the uniform when addressing veterans" rallies, but he had little time for the anti-bourgeois populism of the old Falange, nor had he any intention of allowing it to challenge his personal power. His only departures from this policy occurred when he temporarily favoured the Falange in order to check the political influence of the monarchists. Franco's instinctive personal sympathy with some of the nationalistic and authoritarian elements in Falangist rhetoric was far outweighed by his characteristic pragmatism, as José Luis Arrese found to his cost when he tried in 1956 to institutionalize the organization within the structures of the state.
   See also: history; politics
   Further reading
   - Payne, S.G. (1976) Franco's Spain, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul (an excellent brief overview, with a clear treatment of this topic).
   - Preston, P. (1993) Franco, London: Harper Collins (an outstanding biography, which gives a profound insight into every aspect of the Franco period; an exceptionally detailed index makes it easy to follow through particular topics).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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