The National Renaissance Front (Romanian: Frontul Renașterii Naționale, FRN; also translated as Front of National Regeneration, Front of National Rebirth, Front of National Resurrection, or Front of National Renaissance) was a Romanian political party created by King Carol II in 1938 as the single monopoly party of government following his decision to ban all other political parties and suspend the 1923 Constitution, and the passing of the 1938 Constitution of Romania. It was the party of Prime Ministers Armand Călinescu, Gheorghe Argeșanu, Constantin Argetoianu, Gheorghe Tătărescu and Ion Gigurtu, whose regimes were associated with corporatism and antisemitism. Largely reflecting Carol's own political choices, the FRN was the last of several attempts to counter the popularity of the fascist and antisemitic Iron Guard. In mid-1940, Carol reorganized the FRN into the more radical Party of the Nation (Partidul Națiunii or Partidul Națiunei, PN), designed as a "totalitarian unity party". It effectively ceased to function the following year when the Parliament of Romania was dissolved.
National Renaissance Front
Frontul Renașterii Naționale
|Founded||16 December 1938|
|Dissolved||6 September 1940|
Anti-legionarism (until 1940)
|Political position||Before 1940:|
Right-wing to far-right
|Colours||Navy blue |
The conflict between Carol II and the Iron Guard became noted during the election of December 1937, when the monarch backed the National Liberal Party (PNL) of incumbent Premier Tătărescu, expecting it to carry the vote; in effect, the result was inconclusive, with none of the parties receiving enough of a percentage to be awarded a majority bonus, and with political rivalries preventing any single coalition. Faced with this outcome, Carol chose to back the antisemitic National Christian Party (PNC) of Octavian Goga and A. C. Cuza, appointing Goga as the new Prime Minister on December 26, 1937—effectively, this led the two main traditional parties, the PNL and the National Peasants' Party (PNȚ), to become marginalized. Instead, the new regime's establishment caused a migration of politicians from the PNȚ, comprising Armand Călinescu, who chose to support the new policies and joined the Goga cabinet.
A paramilitary grouping, the blue-shirted Lăncieri, was established as the new arm of the regime, and soon began acting against both groups of Iron Guard agitators and members of the Jewish community. The incidents had negative effects on Romanian society: the Jewish middle class boycotted the system by withdrawing their investments and refusing to pay taxes (to the point where the National Bank of Romania declared the regime's insolvency), while France and the United Kingdom threatened Romania with sanctions, and the Soviet Union withdrew its embassy from Bucharest.
After an initial violent confrontation with the Iron Guard, Goga, assisted by the Polish envoy Mirosław Arciszewski, signed a pact with its leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (February 8, 1938), a move which threatened to topple Carol's original designs. Two days later, the PNC was deposed and the monarch created a national government around Miron Cristea, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, backed by right-wing figures such as Tătărescu, Alexandru Averescu, Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, Nichifor Crainic, and Nicolae Iorga.
The new corporatist and authoritarian Constitution of Romania, promulgated on February 20, 1938, proclaimed stately interest to be above individual ones. According to its text, "all Romanians, regardless of their ethnicity and their religious faith" were required to "sacrifice themselves in defending [the country's] integrity, independence and dignity", while it was stipulated that "no one can consider oneself free from civil and military, public or private duties on the grounds of one’s religious faith or any other kind of faith".
A law passed during in April, defining the "defense of state order", restricted all other forms of political association, forbade political chants and paramilitary displays, banned the press organs of political parties, and condemned political contacts between Romanian forces and outside patrons.
In April, following an orchestrated conflict between Iorga and Codreanu, a large number of Iron Guard activists, including Codreanu himself, was prosecuted and jailed on orders from Călinescu, the Minister of Internal Affairs. As Carol witnessed the failure of European countries to defend themselves from Nazi German advances, consecrated by the Anschluss and the Munich Agreement, he met with Adolf Hitler at Berghof (November 24, 1938), and became convinced that Romania faced a similar fate. He subsequently ordered the Iron Guard, whom he perceived as a fifth column for the Germans, to be decapitated: during the following days, Codreanu and the majority of top-ranking Guardists were assassinated, while secondary ones, led by Horia Sima, fled the country and took refuge in Germany, where they remained after the outbreak of World War II. There, they began plotting a revenge against the regime's officials, including Carol.
The FRN itself was created as the first monopoly party in Romania's history, through the Royal Decree of December 15, 1938. The legislation proclaimed that, ex officio, all members of the Royal Council were its members, while all citizens over the age of 20 could apply to join; by law, people who engaged in any other political activity faced being stripped of their civil rights for as long as 5 years. Writing at the time, Călinescu defined the FRN as "mainly a spiritual movement", proclaiming the FRN's goals of "re-establishing the rights of the State, its natural parts", "promoting the general interests of the collectivity" and "[giving] life a sense of moral value".
In May 1939, the electoral law suffered drastic changes: the voting age was raised to 30, voters had to be literate and employed in one of three fields (agriculture and manual labor, commerce and industry, intellectual professions), and new, fewer precincts were drawn up (11 in all, standing for the 10 new ţinuturi and Bucharest). The Senate, whose eligible members could only be voted into office by high-ranking members of corporations or guilds (bresle), comprised a number of members for life (in addition to those already holding the office by the time the law was adopted, these were religious leaders and various members of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen—a seat was reserved for Mihai, the heir to the throne and "Grand-Voivode of Alba Iulia", from the date of his coming of age).
Carol's regime has generally been viewed as (if at all) superficially fascist, and endorsed by the United Kingdom and France as a means to present a line of defense against Nazism in the Balkans (the Western press held, overall, a sympathetic view of the FRN). The Front adopted fascist symbols and discourse. After January 1939, party members wore uniforms (navy blue or white in color), with various ceremonial hats. The Roman salute was a mandatory greeting.
Ever since the years of its existence, the FRN and its government have been the target of ridicule, and their ideology has been described as "operetta fascism". After attending a Parliament session in 1939, Marthe Bibesco mocked the sight of uniforms:
"It is a garden of lilies and daisies, a colonial parliament. […] Argetoianu looks like a white elephant. […] The old politicians […] have [thus] been whitewashed, like fruit trees or train station water-closets—like anything requiring disinfection."
Ideologically, the FRN took inspiration from three main sources. It fused messages borrowed from and used against the Iron Guard with those of the traditional Right, while also stressing several left-wing tenets. Among the far right tendencies it absorbed was the small-scale fascist-inspired feminist and racist movement formed by Alexandrina Cantacuzino (Gruparea Națională a Femeilor Române, the National Grouping of Romanian Women). Although Cantacuzino's ideology remained relatively influential for the following years, the Grouping itself was dissolved in 1939.
The FRN continued to make use of Antisemitism, and appealed to nationalists by promising to find an answer to the "Jewish Question". Before 1940, no Antisemitic law was passed, but, as a rule, Jews were denied FRN membership. The arbitrary measure of the Octavian Goga cabinet, through which hundreds of thousands of Jews had been stripped of their citizenship, was continued through a requirement that all those excluded be registered as foreigners. Members of the community were encouraged to leave the country. Nevertheless, violence was reduced, especially since its main agents, the Iron Guard and the National Christian Party, had been outlawed.
The Front's policies in respect to other ethnic minorities, as Călinescu reported, aimed to "show [the new regime's] benevolence to the foreign elements, as long as they are sincerely integrated in the life of the State". Also according to Călinescu, the FRN rejected all notion of territorial reshaping ("There are not, and cannot be any territorial problems […]"). In one notable example, Carol chose to reestablish the seat held in Parliament by the Polish minority of Bukovina, and awarded it to Tytus Czerkawski — this followed intense campaigning from politicians and journalists in the Republic of Poland for Romania to review the centralist policies set by Ion Nistor in 1919.
Notably, the FRN also incorporated much of the leftist tendency inside the PNȚ (Călinescu, Mihail Ghelmegeanu, Petre Andrei, Mihai Ralea, Cezar Petrescu), drawing on a Poporanist legacy, while enlisting support from well-known socialists such as Gala Galaction, Ioan Flueraş and George Grigorovici.
The corporatist structure, which, in theory, covered the entire Romanian society, was centered on newly founded guilds, overseen by Flueraş and forming the basis for representation in Parliament. A minimum wage was imposed on private enterprises, while a body regulating leisure, Muncă și Voe Bună, was created on the model set by the Nazi Strength Through Joy and the Italian fascist Opera nazionale dopolavoro. The organization grouping youth, Straja Țării, had been functioning since 1934–35; in addition, university students were enrolled in work teams and required to assist in harvests and other countryside projects. As part of the FRN's focus on modernization (which it imposed from top to bottom), special mobile teams visited villages and provided hot showers for peasants.
While, arguably, most Romanian citizens accepted the new political context, the FRN had relatively few convinced cadres—its upper ranks were occupied by traditional politicians who were popularly associated with corruption and Carol's, and much of its membership comprised civil servants whose affiliation was mandatory. According to Marthe Bibesco:
"Among [the parliamentarians], many have daubed the king in mud and, at the smallest proof of weakness on his part, are ready to daub him anew. This is probably why he has given them clothes that stain easily—to prevent them from smirching themselves. But who could ever stop them?"
Businessmen associated with Carol continued to make the bulk of their income from state contracts, progressively orienting themselves towards the arms industry (Nicolae Malaxa, an industrialist and personal friend of Carol, collected profits of 300–1,000% during the FRN period).
In January–February 1939, a conflict erupted between Carol and Nicolae Iorga, following the latter's refusal to wear the FRN uniform during public ceremony, and worsened by his protest against Constantin Rădulescu-Motru's proposal to have all Romanian Academy members join the Front. When Iorga used the Academy hall to publicize his opinion, the king sent Colonel Ernest Urdăreanu to end the proceedings. Censored, Iorga appealed to other means of making his opinions known, and, during a seminar he held in his home, voiced harsh criticism of the FRN:
"See the outings of the tyrant [Carol] among silent crowds with eyes sparkling [out of anger] and yet the next day journals announce that the sovereign was acclaimed… No book can be published without reaching the tyrant. The sovereign disposes of public opinion each morning, as soon as he wakes up. There is no public opinion, there is a committee of public opinion coordinating the wishes of the crowd. Raise not your voice, or else a will spy betray you, a plain clothes man will arrest you, a gendarme or a butcher will beat you up savagely, and occasionally, in the Police cellars, your head will be crushed or put up against the wall. It is as if we were living under the terror of the GPU in Lubyanka. […] Constitutional guarantees have disappeared. We know a man can be arrested, killed. Individual security is a trifle. We have no representatives in Parliament to decide our taxes and tell our grievances."
Iorga also made an angry remark in respect to the new Constitution:
"Our Constitution should be the product of the nation, relying on strict principles of the soul and the manifestations of our people. Our first Constitution was created by a certain Alecu Constantinescu, and that of last February by Istrate Micescu, an idiotic jurist who only sees that which is written in his manuals and that which the king has told him."
Similar criticism was voiced in respect to Armand Călinescu, who had repeatedly pressured him to accept wearing the uniform. Eventually, Carol reconciled with the academic, and Iorga even agreed to wear the FRN uniform (while specifying that he was doing it upon the monarch's request, and not for "those […] who believe themselves to be the founding-figures of a country"—in likely reference to Călinescu).
The political structure continued to be marked by rivalries between various politicians—according to Argetoianu, these opposed Tătărescu to the Royal Commissioner Victor Iamandi, as well as to a Transylvanian faction formed around Alexandru Vaida-Voevod (successor to the Romanian Front), and the latter grouping to the one around A. C. Cuza, emerged from the National Christian Party. Argetoianu stressed that this process was similar to "the era of elections". Despite such contradictions, the regime did exert an attraction on lower middle class people who had been underrepresented in previous decades.
In contrast with official ideology, Carol allowed other opposition parties to exist in all but on paper, kept contacts with them, and, in early 1940, had meetings with the PNL's Dinu Brătianu, the PNȚ's Ion Mihalache, and the dissident left-winger Nicolae N. Lupu, attempting to persuade each to merge their groupings with the FRN. Reacting to the collaboration between PNL and PNŢ, he offered the former a chance to form a new cabinet, but the offer was refused following its rejection by Gheorghe I. Brătianu. According to the leading PNȚ member Ioan Hudiță, the Front continued to find sympathy inside his own party, and some of its figures (including Mihalache, Virgil Madgearu and Mihai Popovici) allegedly considered affiliating with it.
In this context, social opposition and the labor movement were insignificant. Having always been a minor grouping, the Communist Party of Romania (PCdR) had been driven in the underground by repression during the 1920s and early 1930s, and had survived inside the country by infiltrating the left wings of other groupings. After 1939, the PCdR received an order from the Comintern to attempt infiltrating the FRN at a local level and attract its members to the far left. The main left-wing group, of the Social Democrats, continued to function in the same terms as other traditional parties, and organized several cultural and social events, all tolerated by the regime and part of them copied or arrogated. At the other end of the political spectrum, Corpul Muncitoresc Legionar, the Iron Guard's answer to trade unions, had only marginal appeal and was also driven underground.
The decline of the FRN came largely as a result of German successes in the early stages of World War II. In late summer 1939, the Romanian public opinion was shocked by news of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which effected an agreement between Romania's most powerful adversaries, and the regime began preparing for war: it organized military training for the population beginning in late August, and invested large sums into arms production (it was announced that the Romanian Naval Forces were fitted with one vessel each month). These measures signified that salaries of state employees fell by as much as 40%, to which was added the toll of expropriations. The United Kingdom significantly increased its imports from Romania, attempting to prevent products from reaching Germany, while Minister of Finance Mitiță Constantinescu imposed a tax on many outgoing products (according to Argetoianu, the decision was approved due to "the exceptional times we are living through, when we must sacrifice all interest to save the country's borders").
In parallel, several assassination attempts, ordered by Horia Sima from Germany, were foiled by Siguranța Statului before a death squad was able to murder Armand Călinescu, who had previously replaced Cristea as Premier, on September 21, 1939. At the same time, Romania began offering Germany a series of deals, hoping to dissuade its hostility: the latter received advantageous clearing agreements, while the Reichswerke joined Nicolae Malaxa in taking over the businesses of Max Auschnitt, who had been arrested in September. The property of other Jewish businessmen, in the oil industry (Astra Română), as well as in the sugar industry and in logging, was taken over by the state over the following months.
Eventually, as Germany completed its invasion of Poland and continued to voice support for Hungary in relation to Romanian-ruled Transylvania, Romania conceded to German economic demands (on March 7, 1940, the Gheorghe Tătărescu executive agreed to direct almost all cereal and oil exports towards Berlin). Romania did however offer assistance to Polish troops fleeing their country immediately after the start of Nazi occupation (see Polish-Romanian Alliance). The country's position became even more precarious after the fall of France in May—as a direct consequence, Romania renounced its alliance with the United Kingdom and began attempts to join the Axis.
The change in policy also resulted in the reorganisation of the FRN as the Party of the Nation (June 21–2), under the leadership of Ion Gigurtu. The PN's character was significantly more fascist and totalitarian than the FRN had been, to the point where it has been described as a newly founded grouping. Indeed, the decree announcing the PN's creation depicted it as a "single and totalitarian party under the supreme leadership of His Majesty, King Carol II." The party restated its goal as "lead[ing] the moral and material life of the Romanian nation and state." A law passed during the same interval criminalized "activities against the interests of the Party of the Nation", "propaganda against the interests of the Party of the Nation", as well as "publicly removing, destroying, deteriorating, out of contempt or derision, the Party of the Nation's badges, emblems, uniforms, manifestos or publications". However, the FRN had been taking on a more fascist character for a time before then; as early as 1939, ministers greeted Carol with a fascist-style salute.
Carol also decided to appeal to Iron Guard assistance, allowed its freed activists to join the PN if they chose to do so, and, on June 25, 1940, he signed an agreement with Sima. Consequently, Sima became Minister of Culture in the Gigurtu cabinet, and two other Guardists were appointed to similar positions (Sima himself was to resign after just four days). The notorious Antisemite Nichifor Crainic, who was sympathetic to the Guard, was also assigned a cabinet post, as Minister of Propaganda. The new authorities produced the first racial segregation laws, based on the Nuremberg Legislation and aimed at the Jewish community—these notably introduced the legal concept of români de sânge ("Romanians by blood"), as a distinct category inside the body of Romanian citizens.
In the wake of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, on June 26, 1940, Romania was presented by the Soviet Union with an ultimatum regarding the cession of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. As a result, Romania withdrew its administration from the region, leaving room for Soviet annexation. On July 3, after the retreat had been completed, Carol remarked:
"News from Bessarabia is even sadder. Unfortunately I was right about the so-called [National Renaissance Front], as some of its leaders there seem to have converted to Bolshevism and were among the first to welcome Soviet troops with red flags and flowers."
The process described by Carol is known to have occurred in Soroca, where FRN officials (the former Prefect Petre Sfeclă, the Mayor Gheorghe Lupașcu, party branch leader Alexandru Anop, and school inspector Petre Hrițcu) hosted a ceremonial welcome for the Red Army.
On August 30, 1940, Germany and Fascist Italy pressured Romania into signing the Second Vienna Award, which assigned Northern Transylvania to Hungary (which also brought the German military presence within hours of the oil fields in Prahova County). Through the cession of Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria (the Treaty of Craiova) in early September, Greater Romania in the shape it had at the end of World War I, had come to an end.
As Hungarian troops entered Northern Transylvania, Bucharest became the scene of massive public rallies, which called for the PN government to be replaced with one that would support the recovery of lost regions. The Iron Guard also maneuvered into action: on September 3, its cells in various cities attempted to take over the administration, but failed due to the authorities' response.
Faced with such incidents, Carol chose to reform his own government, and appealed to his rival, General Ion Antonescu, to form a military dictatorship and a cabinet. After agreeing, Antonescu, with support from various political forces and the Romanian Army, pressured Carol to step down and be replaced with his son Mihai. On September 6, 1940, the monarch agreed to leave his throne and country, settling in Brazil at the start of 1941; what contributed to this decision was Sima's support for Antonescu, and threat to assassinate Carol. Eight days after Carol's departure, the Iron Guard joined Conducător Antonescu in government, thereby establishing the National Legionary State (in existence until the Legionnaires' Rebellion of January 1941).
Right after dealing with opposition inside his own camp (by marginalizing the radical faction of Ion Zelea Codreanu), Sima issued calls for a violent reprisal against the former top FRN and PN politicians. On the night of November 26–27, 1940, sixty-four political prisoners were massacred in Jilava by Corpul Muncitoresc Legionar and Iron Guard affiliates in the Romanian Police (in theory, as reprisal for the killing of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu). At the same time, three former Police commissioners, held under arrest in Bucharest precincts, were also assassinated. On the evening of November 27, Iron Guard members stormed into the houses of Nicolae Iorga and the PNȚ's Virgil Madgearu—the two were kidnapped and shot; earlier in the day, Army officials intervened to save the lives of former Premiers Constantin Argetoianu and Gheorghe Tătărescu.
Carol's regime in general and the FRN period in particular were noted for their large-scale cultural ventures. This was an integral part of Carol's designs to impose himself on collective memory as a new founder and a modernizing monarch, with a claim that Romania was undergoing full development under his rule. Lucian Boia indicated that, in contrast with his predecessors, Carol depicted himself as "a modern, dynamic king, present in the center of all that was happening in Romanian society".
Boia concluded that, despite his innovative stance, Carol encouraged similar praise of his predecessor, Carol I of Romania, to whom he was frequently associated in iconography and cultural reference (notably manifested in the 1939 inauguration of a massive equestrian statue of the first Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen king, crafted by Ivan Meštrović and erected near the Royal Palace).
General elections were held in Romania in June 1939. The Chamber of Deputies was elected on 1 June, whilst the Senate was elected a day later. They were the first since the introduction of the royal dictatorship of King Carol II under the 1938 constitution. Voters were presented with a single list from the National Renaissance Front, which had been the only legally permitted party in Romania since December.Argetoianu cabinet
The cabinet of Constantin Argetoianu was the government of Romania from 28 September to 23 November 1939.Carol II of Romania's cult of personality
Carol II, the King of Romania from 1930 to 1940, was the focus of a cult of personality for much of the latter part of his reign. The cult peaked with the suspension of the 1923 Constitution of Romania and the establishment of a "royal dictatorship" in 1938 (see 1938 Constitution of Romania, National Renaissance Front). His personality cult shared some features with Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu's own personality cult that took root three decades later. Indeed, there have been a number of suggestions that Ceaușescu was inspired by Carol's cult.
The propaganda and personality cult were tame at first, but they grew in time as Carol II carefully cultivated the image of "Conducător (leader)", "Saviour", "King of the Rebirth", "Voivode of Culture" and "Great Watchman".Constantin C. Giurescu
Constantin C . Giurescu (Romanian pronunciation: [konstanˈtin d͡ʒjuˈresku]; 26 October 1901 – 13 November 1977) was a Romanian historian, member of Romanian Academy, and professor at the University of Bucharest. Born in Focşani, son of historian Constantin Giurescu, he completed his primary and secondary studies in Bucharest. In 1923, he graduated with a doctorate from the University of Bucharest with the thesis "Contributions to the studies of great dignitaries of the 14th and 15th century." He completed his education at the Romanian School in Paris (1923–1925) (established in 1920 by Nicolae Iorga) and upon return, he began his teaching career. He was editor (1933) of the Romanian Historical Review and founder (1931) and director (1933) of the National Institute for History.
His political activity includes membership of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania (1932–1933) and secretary in the National Renaissance Front government (1939–1940).
Giurescu was accepted as a member of the Romanian Academy in 1974. As a great specialist in medieval and early modern history of Southeast Europe, he was expected to have been the first to hold the Nicolae Iorga Chair at Columbia University in New York City in the Spring semester of 1972. He is the author of, among others, History of Romanians, Nomadic Populations in the Euro-Asian and the part they played in the formation of Mediaeval States, The Making of the Romanian Unitary State, The Making of the Romanian People and Language, Chronological History of Romania, Transylvania in the History of the Rumanian People.He was the father of historian Dinu C. Giurescu.Fifth Tătărăscu cabinet
The fifth cabinet of Gheorghe Tătărăscu was the government of Romania from 24 November 1939 to 10 May 1940. The government resigned on 10 May 1940, but King Carol II asked Tătărăscu to form a new government.Gheorghe Flondor
Gheorghe Flondor (Georg Ritter von Flondor) (August 31, 1892 Roman, Romania – April 26, 1976, Bucharest) was Romanian politician who served as Royal Resident (Rezident Regal) of Ţinutul Suceava from February 7, 1939 to September 23, 1940.Gheorghe Tătărescu
For the artist, see Gheorghe Tattarescu.Gheorghe I. Tătărescu (also known as Guță Tătărescu, with a slightly antiquated pet form of his given name; 2 November 1886 – 28 March 1957) was a Romanian politician who served twice as Prime Minister of Romania (1934–1937; 1939–1940), three times as Minister of Foreign Affairs (interim in 1934 and 1938; appointed to the office in 1945-1947), and once as Minister of War (1934). Representing the "young liberals" faction inside the National Liberal Party (PNL), Tătărescu began his political career as a collaborator of Ion G. Duca, becoming noted for his anti-Communism and, in time, for his conflicts with the PNL's leader Dinu Brătianu and the Foreign Minister Nicolae Titulescu. During his first time in office, he moved closer to King Carol II, leading an ambivalent policy toward the fascist Iron Guard and ultimately becoming instrumental in establishing the authoritarian and corporatist regime around the National Renaissance Front. In 1940, he accepted the cession of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, and consequently had to resign.
After the start of World War II, Gheorghe Tătărescu initiated a move to rally political forces in opposition to Ion Antonescu's dictatorship, and sought an alliance with the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). He was twice expelled from the PNL, in 1938 and 1944, creating instead his own group, the National Liberal Party-Tătărescu, and representing it inside the Communist-endorsed Petru Groza cabinet. In 1946-1947, he was also the President of the Romanian Delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris. After that moment, relations between Tătărescu and the PCR began to sour, and he was replaced from the leadership of both his own party and the Foreign Ministry when his name was implicated in the Tămădău Affair. Following the Communist takeover, he was arrested and held as a political prisoner, while being called to testify in the trial of Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu. He died soon after his release from prison.
Elected an honorary member of the Romanian Academy in 1937, he was removed from his seat by the Communist authorities in 1948. One of his brothers, Colonel Ștefan Tătărescu, was at some point the leader of a minor Nazi group, the National Socialist Party.Ion Cămărășescu
Ion Cămărășescu (January 27, 1882 – March 25, 1953) was a Romanian politician.
Born in Bucharest into a family that owned large estates, he studied at the University of Paris, taking a degree in law. After returning home, he practiced law in the Bucharest bar. Cămărășescu began his political career in the Conservative Party, serving as cabinet director for Constantin G. Dissescu, Religious Affairs and Public Instruction Minister in 1906-1907. In 1908, he was a founding member of Take Ionescu's Conservative-Democratic Party. In 1914, he was named as prefect of Durostor County. After Romania entered World War I in 1916, he served as liaison to the Imperial Russian Army in Western Moldavia. After the war, he was first elected to the Assembly of Deputies in 1919, representing Durostor there until 1933. He was named Interior Minister in Ionescu's short-lived government, which lasted from December 1921 to January 1922.Later in 1922, Cămărășescu joined the Peasants' Party. When this evolved into the National Peasants' Party in 1926, he remained part of the new formation. From 1928 to 1930, he presided over the Union of Agricultural Chambers. When the Little Entente's Economic Council was created in 1933, he was selected as head of the Romanian delegation. In 1937, he was named by the Agriculture Ministry to the Higher Economic Council, joining the Higher Agricultural Council later that year. He refused to collaborate with the National Renaissance Front royal dictatorship of King Carol II. Arrested together with other former dignitaries by the new communist regime in May 1950, he died at Sighet prison three years later, and was buried in a mass grave.Ion Gigurtu
Ion Gigurtu (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon d͡ʒiˈɡurtu]; 24 June 1886 – 24 November 1959) was a far-right Romanian politician, Land Forces officer, engineer and industrialist who served a brief term as Prime Minister from 4 July to 4 September 1940, under the personal regime of King Carol II. A specialist in mining and veteran of both the Second Balkan War and World War I, he made a fortune in interwar Greater Romania. Gigurtu began his career in politics with the People's Party (PP) and the National Agrarian Party, moving closer to the far right during the 1930s, and serving as Minister of Industry and Commerce in the cabinet of Octavian Goga. Shortly after the start of World War II, Gigurtu was affiliated with King Carol's National Renaissance Front, serving as Public Works and Communications Minister and Foreign Minister under Premier Gheorghe Tătărescu, before the territorial losses incurred by Romania in front of the Soviet Union propelled him as Tătărescu's replacement.
Gigurtu's executive was primarily noted for realizing the inability of France and the United Kingdom to guarantee Romania's borders and, accordingly, for the alignment with Nazi Germany. As part of this program, Gigurtu most notably enforced official antisemitism and racial discrimination, implementing locally a version of the Nuremberg Laws. Despite such measures, the government fell after being compelled by Germany to accept the cession of Northern Transylvania to Hungary, and was consequently forced to resign amidst nationwide protests. Gigurtu retreated from public life for the rest of the war, and, following the pro-Allied King Michael Coup, was arrested, investigated and released several times. Ultimately prosecuted by the newly proclaimed Communist regime as part of a show trial, he eventually died in prison.Mihai Popovici
Mihai Popovici (21 October 1879 – 7 May 1966) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian politician.
Born in Brașov, he studied at the local Romanian high school and then at the universities of Budapest and Vienna, earning an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a doctorate in law. He belonged to the Romanian National Party (PNR) and was active as an opinion journalist. After the PNR merged with the Peasants' Party in 1926 to form the National Peasants' Party (PNȚ), he became vice president of the new organization.In 1916, when the Romanian Old Kingdom entered World War I, he enlisted in the Romanian Army and helped organize the Romanian Volunteer Corps in Russia. He belonged to the national committee of Romanian emigrants from Austria-Hungary, set up at Odessa in January 1918. That December, he took part in the assembly at Alba Iulia that approved the union of Transylvania with Romania. Popovici was subsequently elected to the temporary ruling authority in the province, the Directing Council. In 1919, he was elected to the Assembly of Deputies, in the first parliament of Greater Romania.During the following decade, he held two ministerial posts: Public Works (December 1919-March 1920) and Finance (January 1927, November 1928-October 1929). He was among the PNȚ supporters of bringing Prince Carol, who had renounced his succession rights, to the Romanian throne. In 1926-1927, together with other prominent politicians, he visited Carol in Paris, urging him to take the throne. Popovici served as Interior Minister from 7 to 8 June 1930, in the cabinet of Gheorghe Mironescu that was charged by the regency acting on behalf of the minor King Michael with overseeing Carol's assumption of power. He subsequently held two more portfolios: Finance (June–October 1930, October 1930-April 1931) and Justice (October 1931-January 1933, January–November 1933).Popovici remained close to the king as the latter became increasingly authoritarian, and during the National Renaissance Front regime promised him the PNȚ would not stand in his way. He took part in the 29–30 August 1940 session of the Crown Council that approved the cession of Northern Transylvania to Hungary. PNȚ leader Iuliu Maniu proposed Popovici as a minister in the subsequent government of Ion Antonescu, which the latter declined. In August 1947, in the wake of the Tămădău Affair and shortly before the establishment of a communist regime, he was arrested and incarcerated at Sighet prison. Released in July 1955, he died in Bucharest in 1966.Mihail Ghelmegeanu
Mihail Ghelmegeanu (June 25, 1896 – 1984) was a Romanian politician.
Born in Craiova, he attended high school in Pitești. Subsequently, he entered the Faculties of Law and Literature at the University of Bucharest, and received a doctorate in law from the University of Paris in 1922. Admitted to the Ilfov County bar that year, in 1926 he joined the new National Peasants' Party (PNṬ). Elected to the Assembly of Deputies for Ismail County in 1928, he was a centrist within the party, supporting a focus on agricultural production. In 1932, he spoke out in the Assembly against the majority bonus system, arguing that representation should reflect the votes cast. During the Alexandru Vaida-Voievod government, he was undersecretary of state in the Agriculture Ministry, as well as head of the directorate for national minorities. Under Iuliu Maniu, he was state secretary for agriculture from 1932 to 1933. A founding member in 1938 of the National Renaissance Front, between that year and the following, in the governments of Miron Cristea, Armand Călinescu, Gheorghe Argeșanu and Constantin Argetoianu, he was Minister of Public Works and Communications. From 1939 to 1940, he was Interior Minister. Following World War II, he was named president of the Romanian committee for applying the armistice convention, leading this body from 1945 to 1946. Again elected to the Assembly in 1946, he obtained a seat in the Great National Assembly in 1948, following the establishment of a Communist regime. He was a professor at the Bucharest Law Faculty until 1953, conducting research at the Romanian Academy's Legal Research Institute from 1954 to 1964.Nation Party
Nation Party (Turkish: Millet Partisi) is the name of three Turkish political parties:
Nation Party (Turkey, 1948), active from 1948 to 1953
Nation Party (Turkey, 1962), active from 1962 to 1977
Nation Party (Turkey, 1992), currently active
Egyptian Nation Party, or Egyptian Umma Party
Nation Party of Iran
Japan Nation Party
Party of the Nation, or National Renaissance Front of Romania
Nation Party, or National Umma Party Sudan
Thai Nation PartyNational Liberal Party (Romania, 1875)
The National Liberal Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Liberal, PNL) was the first organised political party in Romania, a major force in the country's politics from its foundation in 1875 to World War II. Established in order to represent the interests of the nascent local bourgeoisie, until World War I it contested power with the Conservative Party, supported primarily by wealthy landowners, effectively creating a two-party system in a political system which severely limited the representation of the peasant majority through census suffrage. Unlike its major opponent, the PNL managed to preserve its prominence after the implementation of universal male suffrage, playing an important role in shaping the institutional framework of Greater Romania during the 1920s. Though initially opposed to the restoration of deposed King Carol II, it became increasingly supportive of his authoritarian policies, with PNL governments paving the way to a royal dictatorship in the late 1930s. Formally disbanded along all political parties in 1938, party structures were preserved unofficially, with many party members also enlisting in Carol's National Renaissance Front. Tolerated by the totalitarian government of Ion Antonescu, it eventually joined King Michael I and the Communist, National Peasants' and Social Democratic parties in overthrowing the dictator in the closing phase of World War II, enabling the reorganisation of the party in 1944. Part of the first post-war grand coalition governments, it lost its importance as the new Communist-led coalition government used the denazification process in order to remove PNL supporters from government posts. With the Communist-dominated government gaining the upper hand in local politics and starting to crack down on opposition, the party decided to cease political activity in the late 1940s, effectively disbanding itself. After the overthrow of the Communist party rule in 1989, a new party was founded under the same name and assumed the National Liberal legacy.
Dominated throughout its existence by the Brătianu family, the party was periodically affected by strong factionalism. The first major split was led by one of the party founders, C. A. Rosetti, whose followers, supporting rapid and more extensive social reforms, created the Radical Party in the late 1880s. Another major split was caused in 1930 by opposing attitudes towards the restoration of Carol II: Gheorghe I. Brătianu contested Vintilă Brătianu's decision to oppose the King and created parallel organisations, claiming the party's name and legacy. After Vintilă's death, his faction came under the control of Ion Gh. Duca and Gheorghe Tătărescu, realigned with Carol and led several governments, while Gheorghe's continued as a separate party, in opposition to the former's government. The two however reunited shortly before the dissolution of all parties in 1938. The last major split was motivated by the attitude towards the Communist-dominated left-wing alliance in the aftermath of World War II: while Dinu Brătianu, the party's president, opposed the increasing Communist influence, Tătărescu, the general secretary, favoured an alliance with it, hoping to preserve some influence in the Soviet-dominated political context. Both factions claimed the name and legacy of the original party, and, after a period of ambiguity, went on to create parallel organisations. Faced with a severe restriction of its activity by the Communist-dominated government, the first faction dissolved itself in late 1947. The second faction continued to be part of the governing coalitions until November 1947; nevertheless, Tătărescu's opposition to the policy of extensive economic planning pursued by the government led to his replacement as party leader with Petre Bejan. Forced into submission, the faction did not have any political activity after 1950. Deprived of their economic base, members of both factions also suffered political persecution after 1948.
In domestic matters, the National Liberal party supported the development of the local bourgeoisie, seeking to expand the Romanian industry through government subsidies and a protectionist trade policy. Party elites controlled major Romanian-owned enterprises and a significant part the local finance sector, including the National Bank of Romania. At the beginning of the 20th century, PNL, joined by many former leaders of the Romanian Social Democratic Workers' Party, advocated an extension of the electoral franchise and a limited agrarian reform, though this did not prevent a National Liberal government from violently repressing the 1907 Peasants' revolt. Adopting a nationalist discourse, before World War I the party championed the cause of ethnic Romanians living outside the borders, primarily those in Austro-Hungarian-ruled Transylvania; its irredentism varied in degree, with a more pragmatic approach being preferred while in government. Traditionally Francophile, in foreign policy PNL supported cooperation with the Triple Entente, against King Carol's preference for the Central Powers. The party's stance had a major influence in Romania's decision to join the First World War on the side of the Allies, which ultimately led to Romanian rule over Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania. Seeing the post-War Minority Treaties as an encroachment on the country's sovereignty, between the World Wars PNL governments pursued a strong policy of centralisation, dismissing calls for autonomy coming from the newly attached provinces and seeking to limit the influence of the national minorities, as well as that of foreign capital. In foreign policy, it supported the cordon sanitaire against the Soviet Union, also cracking down on the local workers' movement. The growing importance of Nazi Germany in the 1930s led some factions, primarily the one controlled by Gh. Brătianu, to seek a rapprochement with the former war enemy; during World War II, PNL leaders supported Romania's participation in the Axis-led invasion of the Soviet Union, while maintaining contacts with the Western Allies, ultimately backing the realignment with the latter in August 1944. After the war, the Dinu Brătianu faction supported Anglo-American interests, while Tătărescu's sought a more pragmatic approach towards the Big Three and friendly relation with the Soviets.Romanian Front
The Romanian Front (Romanian: Frontul Românesc, FR) was a moderate fascist party created in Romania in 1935. Led by former Prime Minister Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, it originated as a right-wing splinter group from the mainstream National Peasants' Party (PNȚ). While in power, Vaida had an ambiguous approach to the Iron Guard, and constructed his own radical ideology; the FR had a generally xenophobic program of positive discrimination, being implicitly (and eventually explicitly) antisemitic. It was subsumed to the policies of King Carol II, maneuvering between the mainstream National Liberals, the PNȚ's left-wing, and the more radically fascist Guardists. Vaida tried to compete with the former two and appease the latter, assuming fascist trappings such as the black-shirted uniform. Like the Guard, he supported aligning Romania with the Axis powers, though he also hoped to obtain their guarantees for Greater Romania's borders. The FR's lower echelons included Viorel Tilea and other opponents of Vaida's approach, who believed in Romania's attachments to the League of Nations and the Little Entente.
Albeit invested with the king's trust and counting experienced politicians among its cadres, the FR was always a minor force in Romanian politics, and was habitually defeated in by-elections. Its peak influence was recorded during the local elections of June 1937, when it emerged as the second most popular party in Ilfov County. Early on, it was courted by other radical groups, narrowly failing to absorb the National Agrarian Party. It came to depend on the more powerful National Christian Party, with which it formed a political alliance in 1935. Called "National Bloc", it too failed to produce a full merger between its components, as Vaida had qualms about the unchecked Germanophilia of his partners; his Romanianization project was also regarded as too mild by National Christian standards. In later years, the FR made several sustained efforts to reunite with, or to absorb, the "centrist" wing of the PNȚ.
The FR's hostility toward successive National Liberal governments gave way to cooperation after the latter also embraced ethnic discrimination. This rapprochement eventually resulted in a cartel, formed by the two parties during the 1937 general election. This controversial move bled the FR of members and supporters, including a massive defection by D. R. Ioanițescu and his supporters. After the country witnessed a descent into political violence with clashes between monarch and the Guardists, the Front allowed itself to be absorbed into Carol's sole legal party, the National Renaissance Front in 1938. From 1940, Vaida served as the Front's Chairman.Sfarmă-Piatră
Sfarmă-Piatră (literally "Stone-Crusher" or "Rock-Breaker", named after one of the Uriași characters in Romanian folklore; Romanian pronunciation: [ˌsfarmə ˈpjatrə]) was an antisemitic daily, monthly and later weekly newspaper, published in Romania during the late 1930s and early 1940s. One in a series of publications founded by Nichifor Crainic (better known as the head of Gândirea magazine), with support from Universul editor-in-chief Stelian Popescu, it attempted to regroup the various fascist and pro-fascist movements around Crainic's "ethnocratic" principle. The editorial staff comprised a group of far right intellectuals; alongside the editor-in-chief Alexandru Gregorian, they included Ovidiu Papadima, Vintilă Horia, Dan Botta, Dragoș Protopopescu, Toma Vlădescu, and Pan M. Vizirescu. It notably hosted contributions by writers Ioan Alexandru Brătescu-Voinești, Radu Gyr and Ștefan Baciu.
Noted for its contemptuous style of journalism and its recourse to violent language, Sfarmă-Piatră launched press campaigns against various figures who advocated left-wing or centrist positions, as well as against prominent members of the Jewish-Romanian community. Among the targets of its attacks were mainstream politicians such as Constantin Argetoianu and Constantin Stere, and the well-known writers Tudor Arghezi, Eugen Lovinescu and Mihail Sadoveanu. The publication was involved in a lengthy conflict with left-wing newspapers such as Adevărul and Dimineața, as well as with two rival voices on the far right—the National Christian Party (PNC) of Octavian Goga and A. C. Cuza, and Mihail Manoilescu's Buna Vestire.
Initially adverse to King Carol II and attempting a rapprochement with the fascist Iron Guard, it came to support Carol's National Renaissance Front after 1938. During World War II, it switched its position, offering backing to the Guard's National Legionary regime and finally to that of Conducător Ion Antonescu. The 1941 edition of Sfarmă-Piatră is remembered for welcoming Operation Barbarossa and the Iași pogrom, and for circulating antisemitic canards. The paper was ultimately shut down after Antonescu's fall in 1944, and its staff either went into hiding or was prosecuted for various political crimes.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 National Party
The Ukrainian National Party (Ukrainian: Українська Національна Партія, Ukrainska Natsionalna Partiia, UNP; Romanian: Partidul Național Ucrainean, PNU) was a right-wing agrarian group, representing the Ukrainian minority in Romania. Its founder and president was the scholar Volodymyr Zalozetsky-Sas, who supported the "classocratic" Hetmanism of Pavlo Skoropadskyi and Vyacheslav Lypynsky; the PNU leadership also included Vasyl Dutchak, Teodor Ivanytsky, and Lev Kohut, who stood for more moderate currents of Ukrainian nationalism. Always strongest among the Ukrainians of Bukovina, the party was united in its opposition to Romanianization, but overall accepted Romanian rule. Its more radical faction, supportive of "Greater Ukraine", gravitated toward the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists after 1933; the mainstream did not.
The UNP emerged after a seven-year hiatus, during which many Ukrainians boycotted Romanian politics, concentrated on cultural campaigns, or took up repressed causes such as socialism. Returning from self-imposed exile, Zalozetsky-Sas took over for Dutchak and his Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, synchronizing with the Ukrainian nationalist groups in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The attempts to spread the movement into Bessarabia and Maramureș were disavowed by the Romanian authorities.
Founded in 1926, the UNP registered its first electoral gains in 1928, an ally of the National Peasants' Party. Its team contested all the elections of the following nine years, often against other Ukrainians or Rusyns, and almost always in alliance with mainstream parties. Around 1933, its anti-communism made it prone to infiltration by Nazi agents. Its final appearance was during the 1937 race, when it won its last seat in Parliament in cartel with the National Liberal Party. Like all other Romanian parties, the UNP was banned, in early 1938, by the National Renaissance Front. Zalozetsky-Sas and other former UNP leaders served as Ukrainian representatives within the Front before the Soviet occupation of 1940.Vlad Țepeș League
The Vlad Țepeș League (Romanian: Liga Vlad Țepeș, LVȚ), later Conservative Party (Partidul Conservator, PC), was a political party in Romania, founded and presided upon by Grigore Filipescu. A "right-wing conservative" movement, it emerged around Filipescu's Epoca newspaper, and gave political expression to his journalistic quarrels. Primarily, the party supported the return of Prince Carol as King of the Romanians, rejecting the Romanian Regency regime. It achieved this goal in 1930, but failed to capitalize on the gains. LVȚ and PC monarchism was generally moderate and within the classical political spectrum, reclaiming the legacy of the old-regime Conservative Party; however, the League idealized efficient government by dictatorial means, and its fringes grouped ultra-nationalists and fascists.
Always a minor force, the PC relied on support from larger parties: the Democratic Nationalist Party (PND), the People's Party (PP), and eventually the National Peasants' Party (PNȚ). While its more radical members left to join the Iron Guard, Filipescu stated his opposition to fascism, and, eventually, to the authoritarian tendencies of King Carol, who ultimately banned all political parties but the National Renaissance Front. The PC suspended itself in March 1938, and Filipescu's death in August put a definitive end to its activities.Vladimir Cristi
Vladimir Cristi (1880, Teleşeu Bessarabia Governorate, Russian Empire, (today in Orhei District) - 1956, Văcăreşti Prison, Romania) was a Romanian publicist and politician who served as State Minister in the Nicolae Iorga government between January 16 and June 6, 1932. Cristi was mayor of Chisinau between 1938-1940.
Historical political parties in Romania (1856–1947)
|Social democratic, socialist, |
|Fascist, corporatist, |
and far right