Greetings from Madrid, Spain

Greetings from Madrid, Spain!

Over the past few days, I have been hard at work at the National Library of Spain, making my way through a vast collection of Vallejo-Nágera’s works.

My workplace: the main reading room of the National Library of Spain

My workplace: the main reading room of the National Library of Spain

Best of all, I have found a number of publications I was previously unaware of that look to be promising in broadening my base of knowledge. One such work, “Política racial del nuevo estado(“The racial politic of the new state”) was published at the height of the Spanish Civil War in 1938. In the book, Nágera calls for a regeneration of the Spanish race and the cleansing of undesirables from the population. The supposed goals of this practice were threefold: to stimulate the procreation of the physically and mentally “gifted,” to favor the intellectual development of children and teens, and to create a favorable social environment conducive to the expansion of this selected race.

Nágera makes sure to clarify that putting into place these methods of racial hygiene are only plausible in dictatorial and totalitarian states,  making democratic countries incapable of flourishing by construction of the racial politic.

My goal upon arriving back to the United States is to closely examine the language that Nágera uses in characterizing the democratic-republicans, those opposed to dictator Francisco Franco’s rule. How does Nágera use language and present his data in such a way as to justify the murder of the opposition on the basis of anatomical inferiority?

Through juxtaposing the ideals of the democratic-republican with the staunch Francoist, Nágera concludes that the former is anti-Spanish. Through the veil of pseudo-science, his findings were widely accepted in major medical journals and circulated by the Spanish citizenry.

Another telling work from 1938, “El factor emoción en la españa nueva” (“The emotive factor in the new Spain”) was a pamphlet of 31 pages distributed by the Federation of Friends of Education and written by Vallejo-Nágera. The federation was closely tied to the Catholic Church and the Franco dictatorship and had a crucial role in spreading nationalist propaganda through their many books and pamphlets. In this work, Nágera summarizes the “affective factors to stimulate the masses to propel them to the worship of the country, and then for their generous attention of ceding their right to property for the benefit of Catholic teaching” (El factor 5).  Nágera continues to highlight the emotive factors of the ideal Spanish citizen loyal to the dictatorship, including a sense of religiosity, patriotism, moral responsibility, ethics and esthetic ideals. Most disturbing, though, is his segment on the dictatorship arising from the wishes of the people. Nágera writes, “the national movement arose from the desire of the true Spanish towns people to recover their universal values, shackled by Marxist materialism, and, together, the need to save the honor of Spain before the world” (El factor 11). In reality, most Spanish towns were decimated by Franco’s troops, and it was here that he met great opposition.


The library’s first edition copy of “El factor emoción en la españa nueva”

My goal for the summer is to prepare close textual analyses on portions of Nágera’s works such as these, examining how these works were effective as pieces of propaganda even with little scientific backing. With over 500 photocopies from the National Library of Spain in hand, I have plenty of work cut out for me in selecting the most significant passages to analyze.

Thank you for reading!

-Ethan Pearlstein

Works cited

Vallejo, Nágera A. El factor emoción en la españa nueva. Burgos [Spain: Federación de Amigos de la Enseñanza, 1938. Print.

Vallejo, Nágera A. Política racial del nuevo estado. San Sebastián: Editorial Española, S.A, 1938. Print.


  1. Lidia Morris says:

    a. Me interesa mas esta entrada porque nunca sabia que Franco y su gobierno les han usado ciencia para justificar su dominio de España. También nunca sabia que ellos criaron que había un gen para el marxismo, y si ellos pudieron identificarla, pudieron crear un populación de españoles que eran leal a Franco.
    b. Ahora entiendo que no era solo Alemania en estés tiempos que usaron la genética para justificar sus métodos. También los españoles que estaban en alianza con Franco querían encontrar un explicación científica para los que aprobaron a Franco, y también crear un raca de españoles “correctos,” como los Nazis de Alemania. Y en esos tiempos, aunque la ciencia de estos ideas no era auténtico, las revistas científicas se publico estos “hallazgos.”
    c. Mi pregunta es: como reacciono los científicos verdaderos en España en estés tiempos? Han hecho algo para refutar estos “hallazgos” de Nágera? O han hecho nada para salvarse?

  2. Rachel Rambadt says:

    This research sounds interesting, especially since you are able to read the material in its original form instead of a translated or modified version. I am curious to see what you will find in your research. Since many Spaniards and even major medical journals accepted his claims about the inferiority of the democratic-republicans, he must have reported his findings in a convincing manner to gain support for his research. Before I read this blog, I had never heard of Vallejo Nágera. Now I know he had great influence over the Spanish people. I also have a better understanding of Franco’s expectations of the citizens under his dictatorship, such as religiosity and moral responsibility. I did not know that Franco expected specific qualities such as these from the Spaniards. Do you think that in addition to the language Nágera used in his research, there could be other factors that caused his work to become so effective, such as the public opinion of the republicans as a whole?

  3. De las dos entradas en el blog, pienso que esta entrada es más interesante que la primera porque la primera entrada es básicamente un sumario de lo que planea investigar y cómo Ethan lo va investigar. En su segunda entrada, Ethan presenta algunos descubrimientos que le podrían ayudar en su investigación y explica como se relacionan con su tesis. Gracias a este blog, ahora entiendo mejor las creencias de Vallejo-Nágera en relación con eugenesia en España. La filosofía de Nágera postulaba que era necesario estimular la “procreación de los físicamente e intelectualmente dotados,” favorecer el desarrollo intelectual de los jóvenes, y crear un ambiente social propicio al crecimiento de esta raza especial (Pearlstein). Nágera también creía que solo un estado bajo dictador era capaz de florecer como resultado de la eugenesia. Los partidarios democráticos eran necesariamente anti-España y parte de una raza inferior, lo que justificaba el masacre de los opositores de Franco. Mi pregunta para Ethan es, cómo convenció Nágera al publico que su filosofía tenía soporte científico cuando en realidad era mayormente propaganda nacionalista.