Alexandru Vaida-Voevod

Alexandru Vaida-Voevod or Vaida-Voievod (27 February 1872 – 19 March 1950) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian politician who was a supporter and promoter of the union of Transylvania (before 1920 part of Hungary) with the Romanian Old Kingdom. He later served as 28th Prime Minister of Romania.

Alexandru Vaida-Voevod
Vaida-Voevod.jpg
28th Prime Minister of Romania
In office
1 December 1919 – 12 March 1920
MonarchFerdinand I
Preceded byArtur Văitoianu
Succeeded byAlexandru Averescu
In office
6 June 1932 – 19 October 1932
MonarchCarol II
Preceded byNicolae Iorga
Succeeded byIuliu Maniu
In office
14 January 1933 – 13 November 1933
MonarchCarol II
Preceded byIuliu Maniu
Succeeded byIon G. Duca
President of the Assembly of Deputies
In office
28 November 1919 – 1 December 1919
MonarchFerdinand I
Preceded byConstantin Meissner
Succeeded byNicolae Iorga
In office
9 June 1939 – 5 September 1940
MonarchCarol II
Preceded byNicolae Săveanu
Succeeded byNone (Parliament suspended in September 1940)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
In office
1 December 1919 – 9 January 1920
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byNicolae Mișu
Succeeded byDuiliu Zamfirescu
Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
10 November 1928 – 7 June 1930
Prime MinisterIuliu Maniu
Preceded byIon G. Duca
Succeeded byMihai Popovici
In office
13 June 1930 – 8 October 1930
Prime MinisterIuliu Maniu
Preceded byMihai Popovici
Succeeded byIon Mihalache
In office
6 June 1932 – 10 August 1932
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byConstantin Argetoianu (acting)
Succeeded byIon Mihalache
President of the Romanian Front
In office
12 March 1935 – 30 March 1938
Succeeded byArmand Călinescu (party merged with National Renaissance Front)
President of the National Peasants' Party
In office
January 1933 – March 1935
Preceded byIuliu Maniu
Succeeded byIon Mihalache
Personal details
Born(1872-02-27)27 February 1872
Alparét, Austria-Hungary (now Bobâlna, Romania)
Died19 March 1950(1950-03-19) (aged 78)
Sibiu, Romania
Resting placeChurch between the Fir trees
Political partyRomanian National Party (before 1926)
National Peasants' Party (after 1926)

Transylvanian politicsEdit

He was born to a Greek-Catholic family in the Transylvanian village of Alparét, Austria-Hungary (Romanian: Olpret, today Bobâlna, Romania). Initially, Voevod was supportive of a plan to federalize the domains of the Habsburgs along the lines of a United States of Greater Austria, and was close to Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In 1906, he joined a group of Romanian nationalists in the Budapest Parliament (the Romanian National Party of Transylvania and Banat), becoming an important opponent of the Hungarian governmental policy of Magyarization, and fought for the right of Transylvania to self-determination. Disappointed by the Austrian cause after Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo, and turned towards an advocacy of Transylvania's union with Romania.

Union with RomaniaEdit

In October 1918, United States President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were published in the German press. While in his native village of Olpret, Voevod read about the Wilsonian principles in a newspaper from Munich, which made him realize that instead of demanding the federalization of Austria-Hungary, the only valid alternative was to push towards the union with the Romanian Kingdom.[1] He drafted quickly a proposal in that respect and went to his good friend Iuliu Hossu in Gherla to seek his advice.[1] Pondering over the words in the draft, they decided to replace the most radical proposal with the following generic statement: "Starting now, whatever the Great Powers will decide, the Romanian nation from Hungary and Transylvania is determined to rather perish than to endure slavery and subjugation any further".[1]

On 18 October 1918, Vaida-Voevod presented this proposal in the Hungarian Diet, asking for the right to self-determination of the Romanians in Hungary.[1] He began his discourse in a dull tone, then he suddenly read the declaration of self-determination, to the shock of his fellow deputies, who started to throw objects at him.[1] Having prepared his exit in advance, Vaida-Voevod narrowly escaped lynching by leaving quickly through a back door of the Parliament building and hiding in a workers' neighborhood in Budapest, where many ethnic Romanians lived.[1]

In December 1918, after the Aster Revolution when Hungary had become a republic, Vaida-Voevod was elected in the Alba Iulia National Assembly that proclaimed the union with Romania, and was, alongside Vasile Goldiș, Iuliu Hossu, and Miron Cristea, a member of the Transylvanian group of envoys that presented the decision to King Ferdinand I in Bucharest.

In RomaniaEdit

 
Vaida-Voevod on a 2018 stamp of Romania

Vaida-Voevod joined the Romanian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and was one of its most prominent members throughout the negotiations, as an organizer of press campaigns.[citation needed] During the conference, he joined the Masonic Grand Orient de France in order to secure a more advantageous position for his country.[2]

First Term as Prime MinisterEdit

The elections of November 1919 were successful for his party, and he replaced the National Liberal Ion I. C. Brătianu as Prime Minister and Nicolae Mișu as Foreign Minister. He secured the demarcation lines by ordering Romanian troops to fight off the Hungarian Soviet Republic. However, his radical approach toward the land reforms made King Ferdinand dissolve his government in March 1920, to be replaced by one formed by General Alexandru Averescu's People's Party (a populist movement that had attracted Brătianu's conditional support). Vaida-Voevod's party emerged as the National Peasants' Party in 1926, and he served as its leader. He also served twice as Interior Minister (1928–1930 and 1932).

Second and Third CabinetEdit

 
Bust of Vaida-Voevod in Cluj-Napoca

Vaida-Voevod's second cabinet existed from 11 August until 17 October 1932; he resigned and was succeeded by Iuliu Maniu. After Maniu resigned as Prime Minister in January 1933, Vaida-Voevod returned as Prime Minister.[3]

"Vaida and his supporters, who formed the National Peasants' Party's right wing, were acting more like Liberals than Peasantists. They crushed strikes by oil workers in Ploiești and by railway workers in Bucharest in February 1933, dissolved Communist Party front organizations and all other 'anti-state' organizations, and proclaimed martial law in a number of cities."[3]

Nonetheless, the problems posed by his new cabinets (in 1932 and 1933) – the Legionary Movement's intimidation of the political scene, and Vaida-Voevod's own anti-semitism (which began to manifest itself in measures of repression encouraged by the Legionaries), led to a split between the Prime Minister and his Party. His second government fell because of Armand Călinescu, who was a staunch opponent of the Legionary Movement.

LaterEdit

On 25 February 1935 he created his own movement, the Romanian Front, which survived through the increasingly authoritarian regime of King Carol II, the National Legionary State, Ion Antonescu's regime and most of World War II. It was dissolved after King Michael's Coup of August 1944, when the Romanian Communist Party started gaining influence with Soviet backing. Nevertheless, the party never eluded obscurity in front of competition from the Legionaries, and its members were victims of the repression carried out by the communist regime after 1948. Vaida-Voevod was arrested on 24 March 1945. In 1946, he was put under house arrest in Sibiu, where he spent the remainder of his life.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Alexandru Vaida Voevod, omul-cheie al Marii Uniri" [Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, the key figure of the Great Union]. Digi24 (in Romanian). 29 June 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ (in Romanian) Remus Florescu, "Alexandru Vaida Voevod a intrat în masonerie pentru a ajuta România la Conferinţa de Pace de la Paris din 1919", Adevărul, 7 November 2013; accessed 10 November 2013
  3. ^ a b Hitchins, Keith (1994). Rumania 1866–1947. Oxford: Claredon Press. p. 417. ISBN 0198221266.

BibliographyEdit