By Alejandro Quiroga (auth.)
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Additional info for Making Spaniards: Primo de Rivera and the Nationalization of the Masses, 1923–30
During the first days of the Dictatorship, the directory issued new anti-caciquil legislation designed to undermine further the politicians’ power base and to repair the public administration. The Royal Decrees of 18 September and 1 October 1923 reorganized the central administration following the criteria of efficiency, simplification and economic austerity so important to the military mentality. These decrees established the immediate removal of those The Military Directory (1923–1925) 37 functionaries who simultaneously held two posts and contemplated strong sanctions for any unjustified absences from work.
As explained by Primo, the nation’s historical identity had been forged in the battlefields during the Reconquest. The empire in America was seen as the extension of the Spanish military spirit to the New World. For the army, the empire of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries represented the peak of national grandeur, when Spaniards had successfully defended European Christianity against the Ottomans and expanded civilization to the Americas. 30 It was this imperial rhetoric of Spain as protector of civilization that the Military Directory used to justify the persistence of the colonial adventure in Northern Africa.
The diverse agrarian unions created during the first years of the Great War finally came together in 1917 and formed the National Catholic Agrarian Confederation (Confederación Nacional Católica Agraria, CNCA). 44 It was no coincidence that one of the first 24 Making Spaniards groups to promote the creation of the primorriverista Unión Patriótica in 1924 emerged from this social basis of Castilian militant Catholics. Changes also occurred in those reactionary groups that openly opposed the Restoration political establishment.