This documentary is very important in understanding the importance of political mobilisation. The reality is the Fashist party appealed to a majority of people because of its ability to deceive the population in believing it represented the ideals of several groups. First, to those individuals who saw a need for order. The Falagens would provide a stable State with a common goal, giving the people organizations of work and law. Second, to those individuals who faced social injustices. The Falagens designed systematic propaganda that insisted social reform was an objective. Third, to those individuals who feared the Republic as a nation of godless humans. The Fashist party was brilliant in the coup not to eliminate the Church from its impact on the State. The Fashist party gave reason to those individuals who were on the fence between a Democracy and a Monarchy, between Order and Reform, between the Church and the State and more importantly between the Republicans and the Nationalists. The Fashist party gained popularity not for its progression towards new ideals. It gained popularity because people gained fear, fear that a side MUST be chosen.
I was most interested by Jose Antonio’s attempts at making the Falange appeal to those with working class and communist leanings, when the Falange was most strongly supported by an upper-middle class (people who likely would not have had communist sentiments). It’s quite ironic that such a right leaning group would attempt to use liberal symbolism to gain popularity and support. However, when viewed in a historical context, this phenomenon is not new in any way. Hitler used the color red in his flag to symbolize the social aspect of Nazism (as well as to offer homage to Germany’s ancient flag), and began his rise to power by claiming he would lift up the workers of Germany. Similarly, Benito Mussolini used the fasces to symbolize the power a society posses when it bands together to form a cohesive unit (probably a very powerful symbol to working class members of society who were now being considered integral cogs in the larger machine of Italy).I feel that this, if anything, is an example of how symbolism can be used (often misleadingly) to induce powerful emotions in the general populace.
To comment on the International Brigades, I found it pretty remarkable that people would volunteer to fight a foreign war if it aligned with his/her beliefs. To feel so strongly about a cause that you'd travel so far to fight its opposition is really moving. The Americans that came, both men and women, really were brave to stand up for what they believed in. They felt they were part of something bigger than them and that it was their duty to fight for what they believed in. This is an amazing display of heroism and support for freedom and democracy. When it was time for the Brigades to pull out, their feeling of abandonment was quite astonishing. The way Franco took over power of the Falange is pretty incredible. He totally manipulated the party to follow him and then took the wind out of their sail and made the country more an autarky than a fascist state. Franco saw Manuel Hedilla (leader of the Falange) as a political opponent and tricked him into subordination then accused him of mutiny when his party told the Fascists only to follow orders from Hedilla. Franco then imprisoned Hedilla and sentenced him to death in order to take control of the Falange and then reduced the sentence to life in prison- In actuality, Hedilla only spent a few years in prison because Franco didn't want to lose support of the Falange all together.
The Falange claim to fame seems to be there ability to appeal to the largest group of people possible via using liberally based symbolism, even though their ideals were as far right as imaginable. As mentioned by Andrew, this concept is quite ironic. The utilization of such strategy cannot be claimed as an original Falange idea. The left had been implementing strategies for appealing to the general populace during most of The Second Republic and had turned it into a science for gaining general public approval for policy proposals. However, it seems that the Falange realized that the liberal symbolism utilized by the left was quite effective for generating popularity amongst the working class. Another piece of irony lies in the fact that the Falange was eventually supported not by the working class, but by the upper-middle class. In all, their original objective of gaining popular support was obtained, but not from the original target group. Even with this shift in public backing, the Falange was able to thrive during The Civil War and after mostly due to the fact that the Falange was the only approved political party under Franco's dictatorship. It seems that support for the Falange was inevitable, whether from the working-class, middle-class, or solely by Franco's approval.
Jose Antonio's doctrine of simplicity accurately summed up the three leading causes for Spain's deterioring state. The first being regional sepatarism, division of political parties and thirdly, the class struggle. These three factors were dominating reasons for the failure of the Second Republic and continued to deprive Spain of achieving cohesion and unity.I agree with Andrew that these three goals were a strange agenda for the Falangist party, considering class struggle and regional separatism were concerns of the Lefts. Moreover, Antonio Jose and the Falangist party used the same tactic taken on by the San Sebastian pact, and attempted to appeal to a larger crowd. The success of the San Sebastian Pact in the Second Republic was extremely effective. Therefore, by Jose Antonio taking it upon himself to appeal to a mass of people, this strategy acted as a catalyst for the success of both the party and Franco's regime.
Just to play Devil's Advocate.. I don't think that 'class struggle' and 'regionalism' were only concerns of the left by any means. These two forces were huge forces dividing Spain, and when Spain was divided in such a way, it would be impossible to have any sort of government and have it function correctly. The Fascists wanted to streamline society so that all Spaniards could focus on their national identity and move forward as a country, not as individuals. Whilst people were still thinking in terms of regions or classes, this movement to a better nation could not occur.
I agree with Kandice. When we looked at the definition of fascism earlier this semester, we saw that the word fascism originates from the word "fasces" meaning bundles of rods bound together which signified popular unity. Therefore, I do not find it very surprising that the Falange used liberal concepts of "class struggle" and "regionalism" to appeal to the masses. The goal of the Falange was to unite the people under one nationalist front. Therefore, from their perspective, "class struggle' and especially "regionalism," things that were separating the people and hindering a one true united Spain, were of primary concern.
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