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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 4, 1923
DissolvedJuly 16, 1935
Merged intoNational Christian Party
HeadquartersBucharest, Kingdom of Romania
Paramilitary wingLăncieri
IdeologyUltranationalism
Anti-semitism
Political positionFar-right
ReligionRomanian Orthodoxy
International affiliationNone
Colours             Blue, Yellow, Red
     Brown (costumary)
Party flag
LANC logo.gif

Contents

OriginsEdit

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]

GrowthEdit

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]

DeclineEdit

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]

MergerEdit

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 resultsEdit

Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Election Votes Seats Rank
# % #
1928 32,273 1.2%
0 / 387
7
1931 113,863 4.0%
8 / 387
6
1932 159,071 5.5%
11 / 387
5
1933 133,205 4.6%
9 / 387
5

ReferencesEdit

  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 linksEdit