National-Christian Defense League

The National-Christian Defense League (Romanian: Liga Apărării Național Creștine, LANC) was a far-right political party of Romania formed by A. C. Cuza.[1]

National-Christian Defense League

Liga Apărării Național Creștine
PresidentA. C. Cuza
Secretary-GeneralNichifor Crainic
FoundedMarch 1923
DissolvedJuly 16, 1935
Merged intoNational Christian Party
HeadquartersBucharest, Kingdom of Romania
Paramilitary wingLăncieri
Political positionFar-right
ReligionRomanian Orthodoxy
International affiliationNone
Colours             Blue, Yellow, Red
     Brown (costumary)
Party flag
LANC logo


The LANC had its roots in the National Christian Union, formed in 1922 by Cuza and the famed physiologist Nicolae Paulescu. This group morphed in to the LANC in 1923.[2] Much of LANC's ideas were framed within theological arguments which were created by Nichifor Crainic, who served as Secretary General of LANC.[3]

The swastika became the symbol of Cuza's movement and appeared in its publications, booklets and electoral programs. Cuza claimed that the symbol was purely Romanian in character and denied that LANC had copied the Nazi party's symbol.[4] :27 By 1927, the party banner became the flag of Romania with a swastika in the centre.[5]

The LANC became associated with extreme anti-semitism, calling for a gradual withdrawal of rights for Jews which would include the withdrawal of political rights for all Jews, the withdrawal of citizenship for most and a gradual policy of reapportionment of Jewish land and businesses.[6] In order to accomplish this they hoped to begin by excluding Jews from the professions and the upper echelons of the armed forces.[7]


Initially the LANC gained some support and its blue shirted militia group, the Lăncieri, gained notoriety for their anti-semitic activities in the universities.[8] Increasing its influence, the LANC attracted most of the followers of groups such as the National Fascist Movement and the National Romanian Fascia during the mid-1920s.[9] Support for LANC was particularly strong in Bukovina, Maramures, Northern Moldavia and Transylvania and this central northern region was to prove most responsive to fascism in Romania throughout the 1920s and 1930s.[10]


However, Cuza's leadership, characterised by his level-headed professorial approach, led to some discontent particularly amongst the group's youth and student movement, the Legion of the Archangel Michael of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, where the prevailing mood was one in favour of violent action. As a result, LANC received a blow in 1927 when Codreanu and his Legion broke off to form a distinct movement (which ultimately emerged as the Iron Guard) and the LANC's stock fell somewhat.[11]


The LANC managed to regroup and returned to the Chamber of Deputies at the December 1933 general election, winning nine seats,[8] two fewer than at the 1932 election. The LANC had begun falling behind the Iron Guard and it soon became clear that it needed to expand if it hoped to have any power. As such, Crainic took the lead in organizing negotiations with Octavian Goga and his equally right-wing, anti-Semitic National Agrarian Party (which also won 9 seats in 1933) and the two parties merged to form the National Christian Party on 16 July 1935.[8] At the 1937 election, the National Christian Party achieved 39 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies compared to 66 seats won by the Iron Guard's Everything for the Country Party. Nevertheless, Goga was chosen in December 1937 by King Carol II to form a government.

Goga’s government was formed on 29 December 1937 but lasted for only 45 days. However, it wasn’t slow in starting to implement its anti-Semitic program. It repudiated Romania's obligations under the Minorities Treaty imposed upon it at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and then stripped 250,000 Romanian Jews of Romanian citizenship, one third of the Romanian Jewish population.[12] Jewish businesses were also closed down.

Electoral results

Chamber of Deputies

Election Votes Seats Rank
# % #
1928 32,273 1.2%
0 / 387
1931 113,863 4.0%
8 / 387
1932 159,071 5.5%
11 / 387
1933 133,205 4.6%
9 / 387


  1. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 14
  2. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 21
  3. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 25
  4. ^ Volovici, Leon (1991). Nationalist Ideology and Antisemitism: The Case of Romanian Intellectuals in the 1930s. Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-041024-3.
  5. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 23
  6. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 22
  7. ^ F.L. Carsten, The Rise of Fascism, Methuen & Co, 1974, pp. 183-184
  8. ^ a b c Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 26
  9. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, London: Routledge, 2001, p. 136
  10. ^ Michael Mann, Fascists, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 283
  11. ^ Mann, Fascists, p. 265
  12. ^ Itamar Levin, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, His Majesty's Enemies: Great Britain's War Against Holocaust Victims and Survivors, p. 46

External links

1926 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania in May and June 1926. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 25 May, whilst the Senate was elected in two stages in May and 10 June. The result was a victory for the governing People's Party, which, together with the allied Romanian National Party–Goldiș, Magyar Party and German Party, won 292 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 107 of the 115 seats in the Senate elected through universal male vote. With some exceptions, the Peasants' Party and the main branch of the National Party ran on common lists under the name of National Peasant Bloc.

1928 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania in December 1928. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 12 December, whilst the Senate was elected in three stages on 15, 17 and 19 December. The result was a victory for the governing National Peasants' Party-led alliance, which won 348 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 105 of the 110 seats in the Senate elected through universal male vote. Of the 348 Chamber seats won by the alliance, the National Peasants' Party won 326, the Social Democratic Party won 9, the German Party won 8, the Hungarian People's Party won 2 and three were won by Jewish candidates. It is generally regarded as the freest election ever held in Romania until the 1990s.

1931 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania in June 1931. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 1 June, whilst the Senate was elected in three stages on 4, 6 and 8 June. The result was a victory for the governing National Union, an alliance of the National Party, the National Liberal Party, the German Party, the Agrarian Union Party, the Vlad Ţepeş League, the Agrarian League and several other parties. The Union won 289 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 108 of the 113 seats in the Senate elected through universal vote. The five seats won by the Communist-dominated Peasant Workers' Bloc were ultimately invalidated by the new Parliament.

1932 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania in July 1932. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 17 July, whilst the Senate was elected in three stages on 20, 24 and 26 July. The result was a victory for the National Peasants' Party-German Party alliance, which won 274 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 104 of the 113 seats in the Senate elected through universal male vote. Of the 274 Chamber seats, 265 were taken by the National Peasant's Party and nine by the German Party.

1933 Romanian general election

General elections were held in Romania in December 1933, the third in three years. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 20 December, whilst the Senate was elected in three stages on 22, 28 and 29 December.The result was a victory for the governing National Liberal Party, which won 300 of the 387 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 105 of the 108 seats in the Senate elected through universal male suffrage.

A. C. Cuza

Alexandru C. Cuza (November 8, 1857 – 1947), also known as A. C. Cuza, was a Romanian far-right politician.


Christofascism is a combination of Christian and fascism coined by Dorothee Sölle in 1970. Sölle, a liberation theology proponent, used the term to describe the Christian church which she characterized as totalitarian and imperialistic.

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (Romanian pronunciation: [korˈneliu ˈzele̯a koˈdre̯anu] (listen); born Corneliu Zelinski; September 13, 1899 – November 30, 1938), commonly known as Corneliu Codreanu, was a Romanian politician who was the founder and charismatic leader of the Iron Guard (also known as the Legionnaire movement), an ultranationalistic, antisemitic, Magyarophobic, and anti-gypsy organization active throughout most of the interwar period. Generally seen as the main variety of local fascism, and noted for its Romanian Orthodox-inspired revolutionary message, the Iron Guard grew into an important actor on the Romanian political stage, coming into conflict with the political establishment and democratic forces. The Legionnaires traditionally referred to Codreanu as Căpitanul ("The Captain"), and he held absolute authority over the organization until his death. He is on the list for 100 Greatest Romanians.

Codreanu, who began his career in the wake of World War I as an anticommunist and antisemitic agitator associated with A. C. Cuza and Constantin Pancu, was a co-founder of the National-Christian Defense League and assassin of the Iaşi Police prefect Constantin Manciu. Codreanu left Cuza to found a succession of far-right movements, rallying around him a growing segment of the country's intelligentsia and peasant population. Outlawed by successive Romanian cabinets on several occasions, his Legion assumed different names and survived in the underground, during which time Codreanu formally delegated leadership to Gheorghe Cantacuzino-Grănicerul. Following Codreanu's instructions, the Legion carried out assassinations of politicians it viewed as corrupt, including Prime Minister Ion G. Duca and his former associate Mihai Stelescu. Simultaneously, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu advocated Romania's adherence to a military and political alliance with Nazi Germany.

He registered his main electoral success during the 1937 suffrage, but was blocked out of power by King Carol II, who came to favor rival fascist alternatives around the National Christian Party and the National Renaissance Front. The rivalry between Codreanu and, on the other side, Carol and moderate politicians like Nicolae Iorga ended with Codreanu's imprisonment at Jilava and eventual assassination at the hands of the Gendarmerie. He was succeeded as leader by Horia Sima. In 1940, under the National Legionary State proclaimed by the Iron Guard, his killing served as the basis for violent retribution.

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu's views influenced the modern far-right. Groups claiming him as a forerunner include Noua Dreaptă and other Romanian successors of the Iron Guard, the International Third Position, and various neofascist organizations in Italy and other parts of Europe.


Lanc may refer to:

LANC, a protocol by Sony used to synchronize camcorders and cameras

Avro Lancaster, a British World War II heavy bomber aircraft

Liga Apărării Naţional Creştine (Romanian: National-Christian Defense League), a Romanian political party

National Liberation Movement (Albania) (Albanian: Lëvizja Antifashiste Nacional Çlirimtare), an Albanian resistance organization in World War II

List of fascist movements by country N–T

A list of political parties, organizations, and movements adhering to various forms of fascist ideology, part of the list of fascist movements by country.


The Lăncieri ("Lancers", Romanian pronunciation: [lən.tʃi'erʲ]) were a Romanian fascist paramilitary movement initially attached to the National-Christian Defense League, and following the merger on 16 July 1935 of the NCDL and the National Agrarian Party to form the National Christian Party, the Lăncieri became associated with the merged party.

Members of the group adopted a blue shirt uniform and contributed to the country's political street battles in the 1920s and 1930s, and were noted in the 1920s for their attacks on that party's main target, the Jews, as well as general disruption of university life. Following the merger that formed the National Christian Party, the Lăncieri continued their wild ways, rivalling the Iron Guard (with whom they frequently clashed) in their violence and mayhem. Between 1935 and 1937, the Lăncieri carried out more terrorist actions and pogroms throughout Romania than the Iron Guard.The 1937 general election campaign in particular was marred by clashes between the two fascist groups and not even the intervention of Alfred Rosenberg could unite the warring factions. Clashes between the two groups would continue, although the Lăncieri owed much of their organisation to the Iron Guard and indeed their continuing existence was as much an attempt to attract interest away from that group.

National Agrarian Party

The National Agrarian Party (Romanian: Partidul Național-Agrar or Partidul Național-Agrarian, PNA) was a right-wing agrarian party active in Romania during the early 1930s. Established and led by poet Octavian Goga, it was originally a schism from the more moderate People's Party, espousing national conservatism, monarchism, agrarianism, antisemitism, and Germanophilia; Goga was also positively impressed by fascism, but there is disagreement in the scholarly community as to whether the PNA was itself fascist. Its antisemitic rhetoric was also contrasted by the PNA's acceptance of some Jewish members, including Tudor Vianu and Henric Streitman. The group was generally suspicious of Romania's other ethnic minorities, but in practice accepted members and external collaborators of many ethnic backgrounds, including the Romani Gheorghe A. Lăzăreanu-Lăzurică.

The PNA existed as a venue for supporting the authoritarian King, Carol II, whose political program it partly enacted. The National Agrarianist economic and social proposals included the protection of smallholders, with echoes of dirigisme and promises of debt relief. It was strongly opposed to the more left-wing National Peasants' Party, describing it as corrupt and denouncing its autonomist-regionalist tendencies. In Parliament, PNA representatives, largely inherited from the People's Party, collaborated mostly with two other anti-establishment groups: the Georgist Liberals and the Lupist Peasantists. The PNA was able to absorb some National Peasantist sections, primarily in Bucharest and Transylvania.

The PNA registered its best result nationally in the December 1933 election, when it took 4.1% of the vote. Despite its relative insignificance, its leader Goga was often perceived as a likely contender for the office of Prime Minister. The PNA had contacts in Nazi Germany, who regarded it as a political ally. While cautious about the Nazis' take on international politics, Goga traveled to Berlin in late 1933, meeting Adolf Hitler and returning as an enthusiastic admirer. Moving closer to the far-right and abandoning his own membership in the Romanian Freemasonry, Goga sought alliances with the more radical movements. The PNA tried but failed to unite with the Iron Guard and the Romanian Front, finally merging with the slightly more powerful National-Christian Defense League in July 1935.

The resulting National Christian Party (PNC) offered a venue for conservative antisemites with fascist sympathies, but was rejected by PNA moderates, as well as by some of the League's radicals. A splinter group, led by Ion Al. Vasilescu-Valjean and centered on Romanați County, continued to call itself PNA, surviving to at least 1937. Briefly serving as Prime Minister, Goga was asked to step down by Carol II, whose 1938 Constitution introduced a royal dictatorship. Goga died soon after; although the PNC was not repressed under the new regime, it suffered an internal crisis, with PNA men establishing a Union of National Awareness. Both it and other PNC factions were then absorbed by Carol's National Renaissance Front.

National Christian Party

The National Christian Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Creștin) was a radical-right authoritarian and strongly antisemitic political party in Romania active between 1935 and 1938. It was formed by a merger of Octavian Goga's National Agrarian Party and A. C. Cuza's National-Christian Defense League (LANC); a prominent member of the party was the philosopher Nichifor Crainic. Goga was chosen in December 1937 by King Carol II to form a government which included Cuza. The government lasted for only 45 days and was followed by a royal dictatorship by Carol.

National Socialist Party (Romania)

The National Socialist Party (formally Nationalist-Socialist Party of Romania; Romanian: Partidul Național-Socialist din România, PNSR) or Steel Shield (Pavăza de Oțel) was a mimetic Nazi political party, active in Romania during the early 1930s. It was led by Colonel Ștefan Tătărescu, the brother of Gheorghe Tătărescu (twice Prime Minister of Romania during that interval), and existed around the newspaper Crez Nou. One of several far-right factions competing unsuccessfully against the Iron Guard for support, the group made little headway, and existed at times as a satellite of the National-Christian Defense League.

The PNSR proposed a program of corporatism and statism, promising a basic income, full employment, and limits on capitalist profits. It was anticommunist generally, and in particular anti-Soviet, circulating the theory of Jewish Bolshevism while describing its own program as the alternative, "positive", socialism. The party also claimed for itself the banner of Christianity, which it associated with calls for social reorganization and the expulsion or segregation of Romanian Jews. Its Germanophilia and antisemitism were supplemented by shows of support for the policies of King Carol II.

The PNSR's ideological stance, exotic in its Romanian context, found favor in Nazi Germany, notably from Alfred Rosenberg. Overall, the PNSR failed in its bid to establish a pan-fascist alliance in Romania, and, despite being nativist, functioned as a magnet for Transylvanian Saxons, Bessarabia Germans, and Russian émigrés. Tătărescu was received officially by his German patrons, who also provided the PNSR with funds, but eventually dropped by them for his unpopularity and alleged corruption. In late 1933, under the antifascist Prime Minister Ion G. Duca, the party was repressed.

Tătărescu exercised some influence over his brother's government in 1934, helping to steer the country away from its traditional alliances, but failed in his attempt to obtain arms deals for Germany. Disavowed by both its Nazi backers and Gheorghe Tătărescu, the party moderated its stances, then disappeared from the political scene in July 1934. Later that decade, the Colonel was involved with the Nationalist Soldiers' Front, which borrowed the PNSR's symbols. The PNSR Saxon chapter, under Fritz Fabritius, reemerged as the German People's Party in 1935.

Nichifor Crainic

Nichifor Crainic (Romanian pronunciation: [niˈcifor ˈkrajnik]; pseudonym of Ion Dobre [iˈon ˈdobre]; 22 December 1889, Bulbucata, Giurgiu County – 20 August 1972, Mogoșoaia) was a Romanian writer, editor, philosopher, poet and theologian famed for his traditionalist activities. Crainic was also a professor of theology at the Bucharest Theological Seminary and the Chișinău Faculty of Theology. He was an important racist ideologue, and a far-right politician. He was one of the main Romanian fascist and antisemite ideologues.Crainic was a contributor of poetry to the modernist magazine Gândirea. After become disenfranchised with the publication progressive views, rather than disassociate with the magazine he became increasingly intertwined in leadership positions in order to de-modernize it. At the end of a series of intellectual sparing within the publication itself, Crainic managed to wrest control of the magazine and institute a sea-change in editorial character supporting mystical Orthodoxy.

He developed an ideology given the name Gândirism (from gând – "thought"), a nationalist and neo-Orthodox Christian social and cultural trend. He edited the Gândirea magazine, and collaborated with numerous other publications such as Ramuri, România Nouă, Cuvântul, and Sfarmă-Piatră. He was also the editor in chief of the newspaper Calendarul.

Nichifor Crainic became a leading pro-Fascist figure in the political turmoil of the late 1930s, openly praising Mussolini and Hitler. He was an ideologue of antisemitism, although his prejudice was a defense of the Gospels rather than a vision of racial hierarchies. His beliefs were a major influence on the Iron Guard legionary movement, although Crainic viewed himself as a supporter of the legionnaires' rival King Carol II. In a 1938 essay, he theoretised the "ethnocratic state" as applied to Romania:

Our state has been a monarchy throughout its history. Monarchy is what gives this state its continuity. The crown of Romanian kings symbolises the greatness of the people and the permanence of Romanian awareness. ... The ethnocratic state differs profoundly from the democratic state. The democratic state relies on population figures, without distinction of race or religion. The basis of the ethnocratic state is the Romanian soil and the Romanian kin. ... Today, people of other races and creeds live on Romanian soil. These have arrived here through the means of invading (as the Hungarians have), through colonisation (as the Germans have), or through skillful infiltrations (as Jews have). ... The Jews are a permanent danger for any nation-state.

A fulfilment of ethnocracy was to be achieved through the means of a monarch-led corporatist system:

Once popularised and accepted by the entire nation, carried out by government teams hand-picked from professional elites and controlled by Parliament, [a plan to redress Romania] will be overseen by His Majesty the King. ... The corporatist regime culminates in the kingly authority.

Crainic advocated creation of a Romanian spirit that was “antisemitic in theory and antisemitic in practice.” He applied his theological and rhetorical skills to breaking the Judeo-Christian relationship by arguing that the Old Testament was not Jewish, that Jesus had not been Jewish, and that the Talmud, which he saw as the incarnation of modern Jewry, was, first and foremost, a weapon to combat the Christian Gospel and to destroy Christians.

In 1940 he was elected a member of the Romanian Academy. He studied theology at the Seminary in Bucharest, and received his Ph.D. diploma from the University of Vienna.

He was appointed Minister of Propaganda for the Ion Antonescu regime.

After the Soviet army defeated the Germans and occupied Romania, Crainic went into hiding. A trial was conducted in his absence and he was found guilty of crimes against the people. He was eventually caught and imprisoned by the authorities of Communist Romania in 1947, and spent 15 years in Văcăreşti and Aiud prisons. He was expelled from the Academy by the Communist regime.

Between 1962 and 1968 he was the editor of the Communist propaganda magazine Glasul Patriei ("The Voice of the Motherland")—a magazine published in Romania by the Romanian Communist regime but sold only abroad, which they used as a tool to try to influence the Romanian intellectual émigrés to be patriotic and not work against the Communist Romania.

Described by the historian Zigu Ornea as “always adaptable” (249), Nichifor Crainic (1889–1972) joined and left a number of these groups while repeatedly attempting to establish himself as an ideologue who could draw the various ultra-nationalist parties together into a united front. ... Crainic occupied senior positions within right-wing regimes between 1940 and 1944, and after he was released from prison in the 1960s the Romanian Communist Party used his talents and reputation as an informer and a “reformed” ultra-nationalist to add credibility to its regime.

Nicolae Paulescu

Nicolae Constantin Paulescu (Romanian pronunciation: [nikoˈla.e pa.uˈlesku]; 30 October 1869 (O.S.) – 17 July 1931) was a Romanian physiologist, professor of medicine, and politician, most famous for his work on diabetes, including patenting pancreine (a pancreatic extract containing insulin). The "pancreine" was an extract of bovine pancreas in salted water, after which some impurites were removed with hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.

Paulescu was also, with A. C. Cuza, co-founder of the National Christian Union and later, of the National-Christian Defense League in Romania.

Romanian nationalism

Romanian nationalism is the nationalism which asserts that Romanians are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Romanians.

Stan Ghițescu

Stan Ghițescu (June 2, 1881 – February 25, 1952) was a Romanian politician.

Born in Mârzănești, Teleorman County, he attended a normal school and entered Alexandru Averescu's People's Party. He served as mayor of Roșiorii de Vede from 1920 to 1921. In 1926, he was elected vice president of the Assembly of Deputies. He later joined Octavian Goga's National Agrarian Party, which subsequently merged with the National-Christian Defense League to form the National Christian Party. He became general secretary of the new party, and while Goga was Prime Minister from December 1937 to March 1938, served as Minister of Cooperation. He took part in the 1938 formation of the National Renaissance Front, the sole party under King Carol II. He served as Minister of Labor in two cabinets during the summer of 1940: under Ion Gigurtu from July 4 to September 4, and under Ion Antonescu from September 4 to 14, until the establishment of the National Legionary State. Arrested under the new communist regime, he was sent to Sighet prison in May 1950, dying there nearly two years later. He was buried in a mass grave.

Ukrainian Workers' Party of Romania

The Ukrainian Workers' Party of Romania (Ukrainian: Партія українських працюючих Румунії,Romanian: Partidul muncitorilor ucrainieni din România), also known as Vyzvolennia (Ukrainian: Визволення, "Liberation"; Romanian: Vîzvolenia), was a Romanian left-wing political organisation, active primarily in northern Bukovina, which militated for workers' and minority rights, and whose stated ultimate goal was uniting those areas of Romania with Ukrainian majority with the neighbouring Soviet Ukraine. Created in 1929 by members of the underground Communist Party of Bukovina and a major part of the Ukrainian section of the International Social Democratic Party, Vyzvolennia was associated throughout its existence with the Worker-Peasant Bloc, a front organisation for the then-illegal Communist Party of Romania. In spite of harassment from the Romanian authorities, the organisation was able to obtain several electoral gains in the late 1920s and early 1930s, including electing one of its members to the Parliament of Romania on the Bloc's list. Crackdown followed soon afterwards, with the party banned and most of its leadership imprisoned. Driven underground, the organisation ultimately disbanded in 1934.

Social democratic, socialist,
and communist
Fascist, corporatist,
and far right
Ethnic minority

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