Ion Gheorghe Duca (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon ˈduka] (listen); 20 December 1879 – 29 December 1933) was Romanian politician and the Prime Minister of Romania from 14 November to 29 December 1933, when he was assassinated for his efforts to suppress the fascist Iron Guard movement.

Ion Gheorghe Duca
Ion Gheorghe Duca - Foto02.jpg
President of the Council of Ministers
In office
14 November 1933 – 29 December 1933
MonarchCarol II
Preceded byAlexandru Vaida-Voevod
Succeeded byConstantin Angelescu
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
In office
19 January 1922 – 29 March 1926
Prime MinisterIon I. C. Brătianu
Preceded byGheorghe Derussi
Succeeded byIon Mitilineu
Personal details
Born(1879-12-20)20 December 1879
Bucharest, Romania
Died29 December 1933(1933-12-29) (aged 54)
Sinaia train station, Prahova County, Kingdom of Romania
Resting placeHorezu
Political partyNational Liberal Party
Alma materUniversity of Paris

Early lifeEdit

Duca was born in Bucharest on 20 December 1879. He was initiated into Freemasonry while he was studying in France.[1] He completed his studies at the University of Paris, earning a doctorate in law in 1902. As part of a group of professors, physicians, soldiers and other professions, he helped bring scouting to Romania (see also Cercetașii României).

Political careerEdit

Duca entered Romania's Chamber of Deputies for the National Liberal Party in 1907. He served in the cabinet from 1914, and was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1922. He was an avid supporter of the Little Entente, formed between Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia to fend off Hungarian irredentist claims (Hungary claimed Transylvania and the Banat, which Romania gained after World War I) and prevent the House of Habsburg from returning to power in Central Europe.

Duca in 1925, as Foreign Minister

In November 1933, King Carol II asked Duca to head the government as prime minister in preparation for the December elections.

In this capacity, Duca worked to keep in check the rising support for the Iron Guard, also known as Legion of the Archangel Michael, a fascist movement led by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, even outlawing the Everything For the Country Party, its political arm. What followed was a time of violence when police on orders from Duca sometimes attacked Iron Guard members[2] (which led to the deaths of 18 of the members),[2] and jailed thousands of them. Shortly after, many of the Iron Guard members were released from jail.


Memorial plaque at Sinaia train station

On 29 December 1933, just 45 days into his prime ministership, Duca was summoned to Peleș Castle, in Sinaia, for consultations with the king. On the return trip, at night, Duca was shot to death on the platform of the Sinaia train station.[3] This was done in revenge for the actions taken by Duca against the Iron Guard,[4] and because he had allowed for increased Jewish immigration while blocking that of Aromanians to Dobrudja. Duca's assassination was the first major political assassination in Romania since 1862.

Duca was assassinated by three Iron Guard members,[5] that formed the Nicadori Iron Guard death squad, comprising Nicolae Constantinescu, Ion Caranica, and Doru Belimace.[3] All three were arrested straight away and sentenced to hard labour for life. They were all killed, as were many other Iron Guard leaders, on 30 November 1938 while being transported to Jilava prison.


Duca wrote extensive memoirs about his experiences as a cabinet minister during World War I. His son, George, edited Duca and George's memoirs while at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in the 1970s and 1980s.

There are streets named after him in Bucharest, Constanța, Craiova, Eforie, Mediaș, and Otopeni, as well as a gymnasium in Petroșani.[6]


  1. ^ Ilustri Franc-Masoni Romani
  2. ^ a b Jelavich, p.206
  3. ^ a b Plăiașu, Ciprian. "Asasinarea lui Ion Gheorghe Duca". Historia (in Romanian). Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  4. ^ Ornea, p.298; Veiga, p.197–198
  5. ^ “Taming the Body”: Preliminary Considerations Regarding the Legionary Work Camps System (1933–1937) Valentin Săndulescu, p.87
  6. ^ "Școala gimnazială I.G. Duca Petroșani". (in Romanian). Retrieved 30 July 2021.

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