The first announcement of the Army Awards dates back to 1945, with three areas: Journalism, Journalistic and Broadcasting Firms, along with Literature. Later they were expanded to include Cinematography, Fine Arts, Photography and Drawing, this being known as the Classic Period of the Army Awards.
In 1963 their cultural commitment was promoted, and every year since that date, the Army Awards have appeared in the Official State Bulletin and the Official Defence Bulletin, thus making these awards the oldest on the cultural scene in Spain, as well as making them the widest ranging awards, as a result of the broad spectrum of areas they include – over twenty throughout their entire history -, and also converting them into some of the best economically endowed prizes.
In the First Cycle, from 1963 to 1990, the presentation ceremony was carried out in the representation halls of “Buenavista” Palace, with a limited number of people in attendance and in a strictly military atmosphere, although being covered by the communications media. During this cycle we see the Army collaborating with civilian cultural entities and economically relying on them.
During the Second Cycle, from 1990 onwards, the Army Awards have become one of the main pillars of the new image that the Army wishes to give society. The public social ceremony has arisen during this time in which contestants, award-winners, communication media, relevant figures from the cultural world, government figures, etc. participate, with the aim of uniting the Army and Culture, just as it had been doing, but from the viewpoint of the necessary projection toward society. Noteworthy from this period is the incorporation into the awards of notable cultural figures, such as Mr. Antonio Mingote Barrachina, who since 1996 has designed the poster announcing each year’s awards, or the renowned persons in the various award areas who have participated as members of the panels of judges.
Since 2000, the annual awards presentation ceremony has focused on specific subject matter in which it unites music and press photography on the central theme undertaken by the ceremony.
Thus, in 2001 a Tribute to the Conscripted Soldier was undertaken on the occasion of the disappearance of this figure; in 2002 it was a Tribute to the Arms (Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and Engineers); in 2003 a Tribute was paid to those who have given their lives for Spain; in 2004 it was dedicated to Military Music; in 2005 fully integrated in the events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the publication of “Don Quixote”, an exaltation to the Army in words from Cervantes’ text was offered during the event; in 2006 it gave an overview of the Army’s work worldwide; in 2007 it was devoted to Science and Technology; in 2008 it was dedicated to the Bicentenary of the beginning of the Spanish War of Independence; and in 2009 the Army Awards bid farewell to the building of the “Buen Retiro” Palace, which for nearly two centuries had housed the Army Museum, which says good-bye to Madrid and embarks on a new trajectory as one of the most avant-garde museums at this time, in the city of Toledo.
In 2010, it also adds some innovation. Along with the slogan that guides the ceremony: “The Army and Sport”, the decision has been taken to carry out the events for the first time outside the city of Madrid. This small organisational challenge has enjoyed the enthusiasm of the various institutions in Toledo that have been involved, the ceremony taking place with the imposing “Alcázar” as its scenario.
In 2011 the Army Awards paid tribute to the conclusion of the 18-year mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the awards presentation ceremony taking place on Base ‘El Goloso’ in Madrid and having the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias.
In 2012 we are celebrating the 50th ceremony of the Army Awards and we are working to insure that this important anniversary has all the splendour it deserves.