Nationalist faction (Spanish Civil War)

The Nationalist faction (Spanish: Bando nacional)[note 1] or Rebel faction (Spanish: Bando sublevado)[1] was a major faction in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. It was composed of a variety of right-leaning political groups that supported the Spanish Coup of July 1936 against the Second Spanish Republic and Republican faction and sought to depose Manuel Azaña, including the Falange, the CEDA, and two rival monarchist claimants: the Alfonsist Renovación Española and the Carlist Traditionalist Communion. In 1937, all the groups were merged into the FET y de las JONS. One of the members of the 1936 coup, General Francisco Franco, would after the death of the faction's earlier leaders head the Nationalists throughout most of the war and emerge as the dictator of Spain until 1975.

State flag of the Spanish State from 1936 to 1938.
State flag of the Spanish State from 1938 to 1945.

The term Nationalists or Nationals (nacionales) was coined by Joseph Goebbels following the visit of the clandestine Spanish delegation led by Captain Francisco Arranz requesting war material on 24 July 1936, in order to give a cloak of legitimacy to Nazi Germany's help to the Spanish rebel military.[2] The leaders of the rebel faction, who had already been denominated as 'Crusaders' by Bishop of Salamanca Enrique Pla y Deniel —and also used the term Cruzada for their campaign— immediately took a liking to it.

The term Bando nacional —much as the term rojos (Reds) to refer to the loyalists— is considered by some authors as a term linked with the propaganda of that faction. Throughout the civil war the term 'National' was mainly used by the members and supporters of the rebel faction, while its opponents used the terms fascistas (fascists)[1] or facciosos (sectarians)[3] to refer to this faction.