From the pulpit to the dock: Basque priests in Franco’s military courts in 1937

Peter Anderson

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The Franco regime thrived by claiming its supporters constituted the ‘true Spain’ pitched against the ‘anti-Spain’. Much of this thinking lives on and historian Hilari Raguer has led recent efforts to reveal a third Spain. Prominent in this group that neither supported the left nor swung behind Francoism stand the large number of Basque priests placed on military trial and imprisoned for their support of Basque nationalism.
Rather than highlight this group as the ‘third Spain’, however, this chapter explores one of the central processes by which Francoists sought to reduce Basque priests to members of the ‘anti-Spain’. It does this by studying the prosecution in military tribunals and imprisonment of scores of these priests. This examination reveals that precisely because members of the Basque clergy disrupted the binaries of Francoism forged through the Civil War, they came to be viewed as implacable enemies by many within the Francoist camp who pressed for their conviction in the face of significant domestic and foreign opposition. Offering a veneer of respectability, prosecution also provided a means of sifting ‘friend’ from ‘foe’ by deploying fine grained information obtained from civil society to target political enemies and break the back of clerical opposition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWar, Exile, Justice and Everyday Life, 1936-1945
EditorsSandra Ott
Place of PublicationReno, Nevada, USA
PublisherCenter for Basque Studies -University of Nevada Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-1-955709-10-7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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