National Christian Party
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National Christian Party

The National Christian Party (Romanian: Partidul Na?ional Cre?tin) was a radical-right[2]authoritarian and strongly antisemitic[3]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.

History

Antisemitic and anti-democratic imagery on a National Christian Party political poster

Founded in 1935, and led by Goga, it never received more than about 10% of the vote, but was chosen in December 1937 by King Carol II to form a government. The party stated that it would rule by the existing constitution but held longer term ambitions at reform, wanting to introduce a smaller parliament and a new corporatist upper chamber.[3] The party was especially noted for its anti-Semitism and Alexander Easterman writes of the party's brief time in office, "Goga proclaimed his policy, openly and unashamed, as designed to rid Roumania of the Jews. Indeed, he had no other policy to offer; his government was quite simply anti-Semitic and nothing else".[4] In order to underline its anti-Semitic credentials the party adopted the swastika as its emblem, whilst retaining the blue shirt of the LANC as its political uniform.[3] Easterman hypothesizes that Carol had placed this party in power "to give his people a taste of Fascism", hoping vainly that an ensuing reaction against such policies would sweep away not only the relatively weak National Christians but also the far stronger Iron Guard.[4] The party retained close links to the paramilitary L?ncieri, which had previously been close to LANC.[3]

Goga's government was formed on 29 December 1937, and began its term by repudiating Romania's obligations under the 1919 Treaty of Paris, also known as the Minorities Treaty, imposed upon it at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The government then introduced a series of anti-semitic laws.[5] On 21 January 1938, it promulgated a decree aimed at reviewing criteria for citizenship (after it cast allegations that previous cabinets had allowed Ukrainian Jews to obtain it illegally).[6] It required all Jews who had received citizenship in 1918-1919 to reapply for it, and set an impossibly high bar for documentary proof of such citizenship, while providing only 20 days in which this could be achieved.[7] It effectively stripped 250,000 Romanian Jews of Romanian citizenship, one third of the Romanian Jewish population.[8] Jewish businesses were closed down; and the resulting disruption took down many non-Jewish businesses and caused massive capital flight.[9]

Besides being an anti-Semite himself, Goga attempted to outflank the Iron Guard's popular support. In press interviews at the time he said:

The Jewish problem is an old one here, and it is a Rumanian tragedy. Briefly, we have far too many Jews.

-- TIME interview, 1938[10]

For us there is only one final solution of the Jewish problem--the collection of all Jews into a region that is still uninhabited, and the foundation there of a Jewish nation. And the further away the better.

-- 1938 interview[11]

The regime instituted by Goga and Cuza gave itself a paramilitary wing of Fascist character, the L?ncieri ("Lance-bearers"). They borrowed heavily from the Iron Guard, and started competing with it for public attention. Between 1935 and 1937, the L?ncieri carried out more terrorist actions and pogroms throughout Romania than the Iron Guard.[12] Because of its anti-semitic measures, the Goga-Cuza government has been referred to as "more Nazi than the Germans".[13]

At Goga's request, Carol dissolved parliament on 18 January 1938 with a view toward holding a new election that winter. However, Carol became alarmed with overtures being made by the National Christian Party towards the Iron Guard,[14] and on 10 February 1938, he ended Goga's government after only 45 days, suspended the Constitution, canceled the planned election, and instituted a royal dictatorship. He formed the National Renaissance Front as the single monopoly party and banned all other political parties. He suspended the 1923 Constitution, and created the 1938 Constitution of Romania.

Electoral results

Chamber of Deputies

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1937 281,167 9.3 (#4)
Increase

References

  1. ^ https://lancierii.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/lc483ncieri-din-comuna-dolhasca-trenul-mortuar-moc89ba-marin-ac-cuza-info.jpg
  2. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1996). A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c d Payne, Stanley G. (1995). A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 284.
  4. ^ a b Easterman, A.L., King Carol, Hitler, and Lupescu, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. (1942) p. 258–259
  5. ^ Quinlan, Paul D. (1977). Clash over Romania: British and American policies toward Romania, 1938-1947. American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences. p. 29.
  6. ^ Ornea, p.391
  7. ^ Royal Decree, 1938, art.6
  8. ^ Itamar Levin, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, His Majesty's Enemies: Great Britain's War Against Holocaust Victims and Survivors, p. 46
  9. ^ Easterman, 1942, p. 259
  10. ^ "Bloodsucker of the Villages". TIME Magazine. 31 January 1938.
  11. ^ "Jews Spurned in Rumania". The Argus. Independent Cable Service. 24 January 1938. p. 9.
  12. ^ Ivan T. Berend, University of California Press, 2001, Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe Before World War II, p. 337
  13. ^ Rudolph Tessler, University of Missouri Press, 1999, Letter to My Children: From Romania to America Via Auschwitz, p. 31
  14. ^ Michael Mann, Fascists, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 288-289

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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