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Spanish Army
Ministry of Defence
Spanish Army

Ejército de Tierra

Escudo AGM

Academia General Militar.

History of the Academy

First Epoch

In 1882 the approval of a Royal Decree made the foundation of the Academia General Militar (General Military Academy) in Toledo possible and proposed a military career divided in two parts, a common one that would take place in the Academia General Militar and a second part that would be taught in the Branch Academies. The goal was keeping up with the scientific and technical level dealt with in the Academias de los Cuerpos (Academy of the Corps)as well as improving the future officers’ physical and moral standards. In the Academia General Militar of the first epoch the military model of the Prussian Army and the most innovative pedagogic trends of the moment converge, which leads to the most radical change in the history of military pedagogy. The aim was to train an “Oficial Educador” (Leader Officer), who had to be not only a leader in combat but also a soldier intellectually and morally improved to serve society.

The Academy opens on 15th July 1883 and its first Commandant was General José Galbis Abella. Its first Dean of Academics was Colonel Federico Vázquez Landa, who can be regarded as the very soul of the “Spirit of the General Academy” “Espíritu de la General”.
The Academy was locked up in 1893, and once more a wonderful teaching proposal was cut short. 2,250 Lieutenants that belonged to ten different graduating classes and that had taken part in the wars in Cuba and Morocco had been trained. Of all those soldiers we have to stand out the figure of Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, the Academy first General when the Academia General Militar was reopened in Zaragoza.
The Academia General Militar’s main contribution was the birth of the “Spirit of the General”, whose meaning enhances the idea of comradeship among all its members built up through the close coexistence of all the students who underwent a hard daily routine and a painstaking moral education.

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Toledo´s Alcazar 1st Epoch A.G.M. (From Gistau´s book)

Second Epoch

The Second Epoch goes from 1927 to 1931 and takes place in the city of Zaragoza. During all these years the “Spirit of the General” was still alive but the arrival of General Primo de Rivera as President of the Government in 1923 was decisive since he was aware that most of the problems the Army had to face could be solved with the reopening of the Academia General Militar. It’s the seventh project of General Military Training and Education. On 20th February 1927 War Minister Juan O’Donell Vargas handed the king a decree which permitted the creation of the Academia General Militar in Zaragoza. On January 1928 General Francisco Franco Bahamonde was appointed Commandant of this Academy. He proposed a comprehensive military training that joined technical, physical and moral aspects. The Academy’s Dean of Academics was Miguel Campins Aura who was in charge of embodying the adequate pedagogic frame to carry out the above mentioned type of training. The works to build the Academia General Militar took the Aragonese Mudejar style as its landmark.

The great emphasis and enthusiasm to improve the quality in military education can be observed in the founding Decree, the Internal Regime Regulations and the book “La Academia General Militar de Zaragoza y sus normas pedagógicas” (The Academia General Militar in Zaragoza and its pedagogic rules) by Colonel Campins.
Once the Second Republic is proclaimed on 14th April 1931, the War Minister Manuel Azaña signs a Decree that implies dismantling the Academy. He claims different reasons to do so but the most important one is that he finds that both the size and the cost of the Academy are disproportionate. On 14th July General Franco bids farewell to his corps of cadets with a very moving discourse which stands out the value of discipline: ”¡Disciplina!...nunca bien definida y comprendida”  (Discipline!, never well-defined and understood).

This new attempt to unify military teaching had lasted three years and had included three graduating classes of 740 cadets.

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AGM  Second Epoch

Third Epoch

The Third Epoch spans from 1942 to nowadays. A law from 1940 reestablishes the Academia General Militar in Zaragoza aiming at “educar, instruir y preparar moralmente a los futuros Oficiales” (educating and training future officers both from a physical and moral perspective). The priority of education over training is consolidated. The discipline and moral values that constituted the real foundations of “El Espíritu de la General” are still alive in this period and lead all the students’ training. This was the eighth and definitive project of a general military training center. The layouts of the 5 courses which embody the military career vary along this period. The last change took place in the 80s. The Organic Law 11/1983 about University Reform and the dispositions that developed the former, make Act No. 17/89, which stipulates the regulations for professional military personnel, develop a new System of Military Training. It was concluded that the first three years would be studied at the Academia General Militar in Zaragoza and the last two ones at the Branch Academies.

Apart from the training of future Commissioned Officers that belong to the General Arms Corps, the Academia General Militar is also in charge of the training and education of the officers that belong to the Civil Guard. Between 1979 and 1982 the National Police Corps followed a very similar model. The Academy also trains other Army Specialties such as the Polytechnic Engineers Corps, the Quartermaster Corps and ROTC, and the Tri-Service Corps in the realm of Defense.
Between 1955 and 1957 His Majesty Juan Carlos I did his military training at this Academy and in 1985 it was his son and heir to the throne Felipe de Borbón y Grecia (today’s King of Spain) who also owns the title of Príncipe de Asturias, who entered this military center.
Throughout all these years the Academia General Militar has become established as a center of reference in military training, searching the balance between the scientific, humanistic, tactical, physical and moral training of its cadets. By doing so it has reached the excellence in a comprehensive teaching/learning training that shapes the profile of the future Spanish officer.

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AGM  Third Epoch

 

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