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He was born in Măicănești, a village în Râmnicu Sărat County, now in Vrancea County. In 1908 he enrolled in the School for Infantry Officers in Bucharest, graduating in 1910 with the rank of second lieutenant. After Romania entered World War I on the side of the Allies in August 1916, Tătăranu fought with the 2nd Battalion Vânători de munte, first as lieutenant, and then as captain.
After the war Tătăranu attended the Higher War School (1921–1923). He served as military attaché in Paris from 1928 to 1931 as well as in Brussels (1929–1931) and Madrid (1930–1931). In 1935 he was promoted to colonel and in 1939 to brigadier general.
- "Generals from Romania – Tătăranu, Nicolae". Generals.dk. Retrieved 2021-01-08. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)