Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The role of women within the 'fifth column' in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)
Author: Flynn, Angela
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
The thesis constitutes an original contribution to the gender historiography of the Spanish Civil War (1936-9). It examines the vital and invisible role played by anti-Republican women within Madrid's 'fifth column' during the conflict. While much has been written on Republican women's war efforts, historians have underestimated women's participation in anti-Republican resistance activities in the Republican-held zones. The work explores how and why a small sector of Catholic women chose to mobilise against the legally constituted Popular Front government in support of an undemocratic military coup. This politico-religious mobilisation was conceptualised within discourses of 'holy Crusade.' During the war, Madrid was home to the largest, most well-organised and effective fifth column resistance in the Republican-held zones. Anti-Republican women were the first to mobilise resistance in the rearguard and they played a vital role in the construction of a subversive national Catholic imaginary in the capital which was forged in the crucible of war. Of course, this imaginary predates the Civil War.[1] However, circumstances of war and extreme violence lent a new urgency and relevance to ideas of Catholic 'crusade' and 'holy war.' Women's clandestine activities were essential to the spiritual and material survival of Madrid's beleaguered anti-Republican community during the thirty-two months of civil conflict in the capital. Nonetheless, the crucially important role played by these women has been overlooked and underestimated. The Falangist Auxilio Azul(Blue Aid) was Madrid's first, most extensive and effective resistance network. It was a same-gender network that was founded by a small group of around thirty Falangist women after 18 July 1936. It came to include Catholic monarchist and right-wing women who organised welfare aid, safe-housing, false documentation and embassy escape-lines for political fugitives and it quickly became the capital's largest and most well-organised fifth column network, with an estimated 6,000 members by the end of the war. Various mixed-gender Falangist groups made efforts to coordinate various 'Clandestine Falange' networks in late December 1936, but 'the earliest and most notable' Falangist network was Auxilio Azul.[2] Alongside the Clandestine Falange there existed dozens of 'autonomous' anti-Republican groups and hundreds of disaffected anti-Republicans (desafectos) which formed spontaneously after 18 July and operated throughout the conflict. This autonomous resistance was never organised into a coherent network and women also played a significant role in these small groups. The resistance was expressed through active, passive and symbolic resistance practices. The general aim was to impede the Republican war effort and demoralize the civilian rearguard in as many ways as possible and women played prominent roles in both the Falangist and autonomous resistance. The thesis argues that traditional Spanish gender prejudices and assumptions both during and after the war regarding women's 'passivity' in the public space have been inadvertently reproduced in the legal and historical record. The thesis provides a detailed re-evaluation of the role played by Nationalist women in Madrid during the war. Although the study focusses exclusively on rearguard Madrid, its findings may encourage further research on the role of Nationalist women in other Republican-held cities such as Barcelona and Valencia. [1] See for example Ch.7, "The 'Two Spains'" in Álvarez Junco, José (2011), Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations, (Manchester: MUP), pp.246-289. The author analyses the failures of nationalism in the 19C. The Spanish state failed to cultivate the myths, symbols and rituals of nationhood. The Right continued to identify with traditional Catholic religious, symbols, images and discourses of the 'Cross' and the 'Reconquest.' In relation to national Catholic identity and women's Catholic movements in the early 20C, see Arce Pinedo, Rebeca (2008), Dios, Patria y Hogar. La construcción social de la "mujer Española" por el catolicismo y las derechas en el primer tercio del siglo XX (Santander: Universidad de Cantabria), at pp.31-148. [2]Cervera, Javier (2006) (Second Ed) Madrid en Guerra, La ciudad clandestina, 1936-9,(Madrid: Alianza),p.242.
Supervisor: Lannon, Frances Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available