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The Romanian Legionary Movement between Truth & Deception

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The Legionary Movement of Romania, also popularly known as the Iron Guard, is for many people today a difficult matter to discuss straightforwardly because of all untruths, deceptions, distortions, and misconceptions surrounding its history. The movement has a great legacy and there is much to learn from it, but due to the destructive and hostile forces which have been politically dominant in the latter half of the 20th century and the beginnings of the 21st century, the history of the Legionary Movement has almost always been shown to the public from the perspective of its enemies. The image of the movement and its founder, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, is smeared using every possible method from any possible angle as its history is written (or rewritten) by liberals, Communists, Jews, and philosemites.

We have produced two previous works on this subject, “The History of Corneliu Z. Codreanu and the Legionary Movement” and “The Legionary Doctrine,” which aimed to provide an overview of the teachings and history of the Legion of Michael the Archangel which would counter the deceptions and distortions normally thrown against it. Here we aim to make further clarifications and address more directly some of the key misconceptions and accusations thrown at the Legionaries, something which is increasingly necessary if the world will ever have the benefit of properly understanding this movement. As Ronnett and Bradescu put it in “The Legionary Movement in Romania,” “The wave of calumny must cease, and society must become aware that there are two sides to the coin.”

The Jews in Romania

It is important to keep in mind that in Romania, and in fact in much of Eastern Europe in general, Jews had obtained a very peculiar position throughout the late 19th century and the early 20th century. A majority of the Jewish population managed to obtain occupations in most fields excluding those based on serious physical labor, thus gaining positions in fields such as law, journalism, politics, trade, banking, speculation, company management, etc. It was very disconcerting for Romanians during this time period to witness an upsurge of Jewish students in their colleges, which is significant when one keeps in mind that in Romania at this time, universities were not places to which everyone would go to, but specifically those who were more intellectually inclined and would thus form the nation’s elite.

While this occurred, the majority of Romanians were of the lower class, working in factories, on farms, or other such areas. They were living in conditions of economic inferiority when compared to most Jews. Their conditions worsened by the early 20th century, when their poverty increased, also increasing malnutrition and starvation as Romanian peasants struggled in physical labor, underpaid and in many cases having lost their former sources of livelihood. Simultaneously, the increase in Jewish economic and political influence placed the integrity of Romanian culture in danger, as Jews, who were clearly a culturally and racially foreign group, were increasingly able to influence culture. With such things occurring, it should come as no surprise that suspicion of the Jews and anti-Semitism became widespread.

It was also very common for certain notable Romanian intellectuals such as Nicolae Paulescu, A. C. Cuza, and Nichifor Crainic to postulate that Jews functioned as a conspiracy. While it is possible to explain Jewish power without using a conspiracy theory, it needs to be kept in mind that the reason many Romanians (and almost all Legionaries) believed in a Jewish conspiracy was because of the intellectual backing the concept received. Even if one discounts the conspiracy thesis, this certainly does not mean that their anti-Semitism was unjustified, as the facts mentioned above indicate. In fact, the reality of Jewish economic, financial, and political ascendance opposed to the conditions of native populations is now very much verifiable from recent historical studies and analyses on the subject (see, for example, Professor Kevin MacDonald’s Separation and Its Discontents). These are the facts which need to be acknowledged in order to understand why the Legionary Movement was anti-Jewish.

Anti-Semitism

Many Legionaries who lived through the latter half of the 20th century, as well as modern Legionaries today, oftentimes deny that the Legionary Movement was anti-Semitic. Why? What does it mean to be an anti-Semite? Unfortunately, the term “anti-Semitism” has been distorted to describe an irrational and unfounded hatred of Jews, at the same time conjuring up images of massacres and pogroms. The Legionary Movement was not anti-Semitic in that sense, even though it opposed Jewish power and wanted to expel the Jews.

Corneliu Codreanu is often accused of having called for the destruction of Jews, yet nowhere had he ever done such a thing, either in speech or in writing. While Codreanu had often expressed anger towards the Jews and even insulted them at times, the truth is that he merely wanted to peacefully deport Jews to Palestine as a solution to the problem (as is made clear, for example, in The Nest Leader’s Manual). Codreanu also opposed any sort of immoral action or physical attacks against Jews, as he himself stated in his autobiography For My Legionaries.

Michel Sturdza (a Romanian nobleman and diplomat), who joined the Legion and was learned in its policies, informs us in The Suicide of Europe that “Codreanu never tolerated the slightest physical violence against Jews or Jewish properties. Any act of indiscipline in that direction would have been punished immediately by the expulsion of the culprits from the organization.” This fact, often cited by Legionaries, is almost always ignored by official “historians” in academia today.

As is obvious, while the Legion of Michael the Archangel wanted to remove Jews from Romania so that they could safeguard Romania’s culture and national vitality, their anti-Semitism was in no way violent or immoral. Thus we can see that there are different forms of anti-Semitism which must be distinguished from each other in order to understand the Legion’s true character.

Violence against the Jews

There are certain key events which are oftentimes referenced in regards to Legionaries committing violence against the Jews in order to denounce their movement. One of these is the “pogrom” which occurred in Oradea when the Student Congress met there in December of 1927, which included both Legionaries and non-Legionaries alike. When this incident is pointed out by most historians today, usually all that is mentioned is that five synagogues were sacked and burnt and Jewish shops were broken into and looted, and that this was supposedly organized by the Legion. Nowhere do these ideologically biased “historians” reference the facts that Ion Mota, a notable Legionary leader, had brought up in his book Cranii de Lemn (“Wooden Skulls”), where he wrote how, prior to the burning, when the students met, “the Jewry of Oradea dared to receive the students with knife blows, revolver shots, and then with boiling water and gangs of coachmen organized to attack . . .”

So, as Romanian students simply traveled to meet and discuss the Jewish problem at a congress, masses of local Jews took the liberty to physically attack them and even threaten them with death. What could be expected of these enraged students in such an intolerable situation, in which the police did not intervene? They were likely so infuriated that even if their leaders commanded them to restrain themselves, they would not obey. It is also interesting to note that in this event, neither side ever mentions any Jews dying in this so-called “pogrom,” only property damage and theft.

More important to address are the events which occurred during the establishment of the National Legionary State in 1940, led jointly by Horia Sima and Ion Antonescu, up to its end in 1941. Jewish historians attempt to portray the Legionary State as an oppressive regime in which Jews were greatly mistreated. It is true that the Legionaries removed Jews from their former positions of economic, financial, and political power, and thus put them in the position to do the same physical labor that the masses of common Romanians engaged in.

However, the leaders of the National Legionary State generally had no intention of being cruel to the Jews and in many cases gave them reasonable living conditions. A notable example to corroborate this is the fact that when the Legionary official Radu Gyr was appointed to the role of general director of theatres in 1940, he initiated a program to establish the Jewish Theatre. It is evident that these “vicious anti-Semites” were not at all interested in being unkind to the Jews which remained in Romania.

In terms of what occurred after Antonescu made a coup against the Legionary State, anti-Legionary writers oftentimes cite yet another common charge against the Legionaries: their involvement in the Bucharest Pogrom of 1941. During this time, when thousands of Legionaries were engaged in protests against Antonescu’s actions and a nation-wide state of disorder reigned, thousands of Legionaries were simultaneously being arrested and killed. During the Bucharest Pogrom, official records reveal that a total of 125 Jews were killed and a small numbers of others wounded.

It must be pointed out beforehand that some Communist and Jewish writers on this matter are extremely biased and deceitful, and many times exaggerate the number of Jews killed. Although, fortunately, mainstream historians have recently admitted that the number of Jews killed is limited to 125. It must also be kept in mind that this is a remarkably small number of Jews when compared to most pogroms which took place in other parts of Europe (where several hundred if not thousands of Jews oftentimes died), which indicates that it is not as significant as the rhetoric of the Legion’s enemies would have readers believe.

Oftentimes, a lot of attention is given to a specific incident in this pogrom, the story in which Jews were allegedly hung on meat hooks in the Slaughter House in Bucharest. This accusation was originally made during Antonescu’s dictatorship, which attempted to censor any evidence disproving it because of how unclear the facts of the matter were. Studies have shown that the photographs of bodies at the slaughterhouse were most likely forged, and all of the people who were employees at that slaughterhouse, including a Jewish tinker, denied that there was any pogrom when they were interviewed. Most of the employees even signed a note denying that Jews were killed which was published in the newspaper Universul (“The Universe”) on February 12, 1941, although it was later censored by Antonescu’s government. When the police of the Communist regime in 1946 investigated the slaughterhouse pogrom, there was such a lack of evidence as to who committed the crime or whether or not it even occurred that the case was closed without any prosecution.

However, whether or not the killings at the slaughterhouse transpired, there some facts about the Bucharest Pogrom as a whole which need to be remembered, and which have been pointed out by Horia Sima in his book Era LibertaţiiStatul Naţional-Legionar vol. 2 (“It was Freedom—National Legionary State, vol. 2”). As Sima wrote, “It is regrettable what happened to these poor anonymous Jews, taken at random and killed, but the origin of these crimes should be placed into the whole situation at that time. All the information needs to be collected, from all places, and analyzed in the light of these facts, if we are to reach an objective judgment.” Those Jews were attacked in a state of disorder, when there was no real authority to protect the Jews; a state of disorder created by Antonescu. More importantly, in such revolutionary circumstances there are always irresponsible and immoral people who engage in looting, the destruction of property, and killings. It is not clear which particular people were responsible for the pogrom, although it is evident that it was a mixture of Legionaries and non-Legionaries.

It is certain that had the Legion in that situation retained the amount of order, discipline, and authority that they possessed during the National Legionary State, not only would the committers of the pogrom have been severely punished, but the pogrom itself would not have even occurred. Through objective historical analysis it may be observed that there is no political movement in history, no matter how well-intentioned its leaders may have been, which had not committed any sort of excesses or crimes. What is important to remember when one observes the Bucharest Pogrom, is that a distinction must be made between those who committed the crimes and those Legionaries who, upholding the Legionary principles of self-restraint and discipline established by Codreanu, refused to engage in pogroms.

Political Violence

The occasional assassination of political figures by Legionaries is often characterized as “gangster-like behavior” by enemies of the Legion. However, one should ask in return, what of the behavior of these politicians who were killed? Were they completely innocent, or did they engage in “gangster-like” behavior themselves? The analysis of the Legion’s assassinations should begin with the police prefect Constantin Manciu, who was killed by Corneliu Codreanu himself. Even though his death occurred before the Legion was founded and when Codreanu was still with Cuza’s party, this event is important to address because anti-Legionary propagandists attempt to ignore or obscure the facts of the situation.

In 1924, Manciu had policemen beat Codreanu and his friends (who had not committed any crimes at the time) multiple times without any legal reason and eventually arrested the students (including Codreanu) and tortured them at the police headquarters before they were forced to release them. Later, as Codreanu defended a student at a trial in October, 1925, Manciu abruptly entered the courtroom and was prepared to illegally beat and torture Codreanu once again. Codreanu quickly reacted by shooting him. Codreanu was acquitted later at a trial, and certainly it is no surprise that that happened when the policemen themselves, especially Manciu, were behaving like gangsters and torturing innocent people.

The second assassination took place during the year of 1933, when the “liberal” Ion G. Duca was elected prime minister and declared that he would “exterminate” the Legion (or the Iron Guard, as it was called by that time). In order to keep the Legion from participating in elections, he used the charge of treason (although he had no real evidence to back this accusation) in order to ban the organization. Following this, Duca had the police arrest 18,000 Legionaries and put them to work in concentration camps, while terrorizing others and even torturing and murdering certain top Legionaries. It should not be shocking that this led three Legionaries, known as the Nicadori, to assassinate Duca in revenge.

The third assassination was in 1935, after the Legionary Mihail Stelescu was discovered by Legionary officials to have engaged in a plot to poison Codreanu himself and was subsequently expelled from the Legion (in 1934). It is known that Stelescu had secretly gathered a group of friends who would spread false rumors claiming Codreanu was a traitor, and that Stelescu himself would kill Codreanu afterwards as a “reaction” to these rumors. It was Stelescu’s ambition to thus replace Codreanu, hoping that the Legionaries would accept him as a leader and hero once convinced the rumors were true.

However, after the plot was discovered and Stelescu and his friends were brought before Codreanu and other top Legionaries, Vasile Cotea (one of the conspirators) admitted the whole plot. It should also be noted here that some authors try to claim that Stelescu voluntarily left the Legion after he became “disillusioned” with Codreanu, a notion which these facts sufficiently dispel.

After Stelescu founded his own organization in 1935 with some friends, Cruciada Romanismuliu (“The Crusade of Romanianism”), he slandered Codreanu in its newspaper in all possible ways. When Legionaries met with Stelescu in order to make a compromise, Stelescu refused and only intensified his propaganda. Eventually, ten Legionaries known as the Decemviri, fearing that Stelescu would once again attempt to assassinate Codreanu (a reasonable suspicion, considering the circumstances) and also believing that treason needed to be stigmatized for Romania to improve itself, shot Stelescu.

The fourth assassination is preceded by the trial and murder of Codreanu. In the months after King Carol II established his dictatorship on February 12, 1938, Nicolae Iorga slandered the Legionary Movement in his newspaper, and once Codreanu wrote him a letter criticizing his behavior, Iorga filed a lawsuit for insult and injury (an action which essentially made Iorga responsible for all subsequent events). Carol’s government, making full use of this situation, had Codreanu arrested and put on trial. Although Iorga later changed his mind and tried to withdraw the charges, it was too late and Codreanu was condemned to six months in prison. At a second trial completely closed to the public, Codreanu was tried for treason and sedition and condemned to 10 years in prison, despite the fact that the charges were completely unproven.

During this situation, an assassination attempt was made by a Legionary student on Florian Stefanescu-Goanga, the rector of the University of Cluj and a friend of Armand Calinescu (Carol’s prime minister). This event, which occurred on November 24 of 1938, is oftentimes referenced in passing but not explained in-depth by most historians, who usually refuse to even mention Stefanescu-Goanga’s name. It is claimed that the reason Calinescu decided to kill Codreanu later was because of the supposed killing of Stefanescu-Goanga. However, we can speculate that the reason historians do not explain what happened is because Stefanescu-Goanga was not even killed, and recovered in the hospital after being shot. Furthermore, Horia Sima has pointed out in Sfarşitul unei domnii sângeroase (“The End of a Bloody Reign”) that the Legionary Command did not order the assassination attempt on Stefanescu-Goanga, as it was an entirely local event, and even tried to stop it by sending a messenger.

The reason Calinescu decided to kill Codreanu was not because of the attempt on Stefanescu-Goanga, but rather because Codreanu and his followers had already gained the support of the majority of Romanians and were a threat to the continuation of Carol’s regime. When one learns these facts, it becomes painfully clear that all the “historians” who mention only the most superficial details of this incident are actively attempting to mislead their readers.

As Calinescu, under the service of Carol’s tyrannical regime, moved to arrest, torture, and massacre thousands upon thousands of Legionaries as well as killing Corneliu Codreanu, it is completely understandable why on September 21, 1939, nine Legionaries called the Rasbunatorii (“The Avengers”) assassinated him. Even the Legion’s enemies do not try to pretend that this was unjustified.

However, they do try to claim that the executions at the Jilava prison which occurred on November 27, 1940 under the National Legionary State were crimes. As Legionaries exhumed the remains of Codreanu, the Nicadori, and the Decemviri, they were so enraged that they could not control themselves and rashly, “in the heat of the moment,” decided to execute the 64 politicians held at Jilava. Those who reference this event as a “crime” while forgetting that these politicians all engaged in the torture and massacre of Legionaries are clearly attempting to distort history. These politicians were criminals themselves and were therefore going to be tried and condemned, most likely executed considering their deeds, by the state itself. It is certainly no “tragedy” that they were executed prematurely, merely an inconvenience.

Finally, it should strike anyone as strange that all of these writers who condemn the Legionary Movement for its assassinations and executions of the politicians who oppressed it do not condemn other, more “democratic” revolutionary movements which engaged in similar actions. It is very hypocritical, for example, to praise the French Revolution, brushing aside its crimes, while simultaneously attacking the Legionaries for such events as the assassination of Duca or the Jilava executions. Nevertheless, this kind of hypocrisy seems to permeate academia today.

Accusations of Chauvinism and Xenophobia

The Legionaries are often accused of believing in the ethnic cultural and genetic superiority of Romanians, particularly in relation to the supposed inferiority of Hungarians, Gypsies, Jews, and other surrounding peoples. It is undeniable that some Romanians had these kinds of attitudes, even some members of the Legion of Michael the Archangel. However, these ideas were certainly not part of the doctrine of the Legion and its leaders did not share them. Codreanu never expressed any sort of ethnic or racial supremacism, and people of non-Romanian ethnic background living in Romania, such as Germans and Hungarians, could and did join the Legion.

The Legionaries were concerned with race, which most of them believed to be of some importance, because they understood that if a nation’s racial type and solidarity is destroyed, the foundation of the nation and the culture is undermined, and therefore the nation itself is harmed. The Legionary view was that a nation must uphold its racial solidarity, and the Legionaries’ concern with this matter did not involve any beliefs of racial superiority or supremacist attitudes. Of course, some Legionaries such as Ion Mota did not believe race was important, as there was variety in opinion within the Legion, but this a description of the general attitude of the Legionary Movement. It may come as a surprise to many Leftists that it is possible to believe in the reality of race without believing that one’s race is somehow superior.

These points on the Legionary view of race and ethnicity have already been extensively discussed by Horia Sima in several works on Legionary belief. Sima pointed out in Istoria Mişcarii Legionare (“History of the Legionary Movement”), “In foreign policy, nationalism suffers an attenuation . . .” but when “subordinate to the Christian conception, nationalism does not degenerate in chauvinism or imperialism. True nationalism respects other peoples’ right to live.” Thus it becomes apparent that when certain “academics” today accuse Codreanu or the Legionaries as a whole of believing in the inferiority of Hungarians (or of being specifically anti-Hungarian), Jews, or other peoples, they are simply speaking plain falsehoods.

The Legionary Movement is also wrongly labeled “xenophobic” or “anti-foreign” by its enemies, who are implying that the Legionaries aimed to make Romania into some kind of bubble closed to the outside world. However, these claims are simply ridiculous considering that the Legionaries were very much willing to engage in dialogue and an exchange of ideas with other ethnic groups in Europe. Codreanu himself did not feel entirely out of place when he visited France and Germany, as he reveals in For My Legionaries.

It is also noteworthy that Codreanu and other Legionaries often expressed concern and sympathy for the well-being of other nations in Europe. For Codreanu’s Legionaries, Europeans were Christian brothers and European nationalism was to be supported everywhere against the threat of what they believed were its chief enemies: Jews, capitalists, and Communists. Thus their aim to defend the integrity of their culture and religion was not a form of “xenophobia,” it was simply a natural conservative trait.

Religious Devotion

The enemies of the Legion often try to portray it as a group of “madmen” and “religious fanatics” incapable of rational thought and obsessed with martyrdom. Michel Sturdza responded well to such absurd arguments in The Suicide of Europe:

It would be unjust, perhaps, to ask from this new crop of intellectuals—victims, it seems, of a contagious brain-corroding pestilence that has already suffused Western universities with its materialistic, utilitarian and Marxist philosophy, to understand fully the notion of sacrifice for a principle, or for one’s country, or of fidelity, even unto death, toward the leader who incarnates this principle or represents better than anybody else the interests and destiny of that country. For this new generation of ‘educators’ and public opinion builders, religion is no better than magic; love and fear of God is superstition; patriotism is an error; nationalism is a crime; self-sacrifice is masochism; love of the past is necromania; an obeyed leader is a medicine man; and discipline is a dark cult.

As Sturdza also mentioned, attempts are made to depict Codreanu as a cultic leader manipulating his followers; attempts which reveal themselves to be absurd once one learns that Codreanu was a devout Christian motivated by his love for his people. When opponents of the Legion try to bring up the writings or declarations of Romanians who were formerly Legionaries but which later turned against the Legionary Movement, it is odd that most of these happen to be from Romanians who were forced to become anti-Legionary by the Communist regime under which they lived.

For example, Nichifor Crainic, before and during World War II a Christian nationalist who supported the Legion, mocked Codreanu and his followers in his autobiography Zile albe, zile negre (Memorii) (“White Days, Black Days [Memories]”) which he wrote after Romania fell to Communism. However, it should be remembered that Crainic was imprisoned and tortured by the Romanian Communist dictatorship from 1947 to 1962, after which he was released and forced to work for the Communist propaganda newspaper Glasul Patriei (“The Voice of Fatherland”), which sought to mislead Romanians abroad. There is already evidence from people who had personal contact with Crainic that some of the things written in his autobiography were done under Communist pressure, and certainly a man who had undergone “reeducation” through torture cannot be trusted as having expressed a reliable opinion. This example is only one of many, and serves to demonstrate how dishonest and biased certain scholars are concerning Legionary history.

It must also be point out here that the assertions that Codreanu taught that men must actively sin (therefore, “accepting damnation”) in service to their nation are also quite ridiculous in light of Legionary teachings and attitudes. Alexander Ronnett mentioned that “Codreanu considered the Legion’s mission a holy crusade; its enemies were, not only the enemies of Romania, but also the enemies of God.” Codreanu made a distinction between personal enemies, which a person had a Christian duty to forgive, and the enemies of the nation and Christianity itself, towards which one had no such duty as with the former. This is an old Christian argument, which is oftentimes overlooked by anti-Legionary sources. The Legionaries actually did believe that overall their actions against the enemies of Romania and God were justified.

Political Programs

Related to the issue of “fanaticism” and “insanity” are also the claims that the Legionaries had no real political and economic programs for their nation and that they were incapable of leading during the National Legionary State. Those who make such assertions only show their ignorance, considering that there are already standards of leadership as well as general political and economic plans or ideas laid out in the works of various Legionary leaders. While it is true that the Legion was specifically dedicated to the spiritual and moral improvement of the people, laying less stress on programs, it should not be thought that they had no programs in mind.

The Legion of Michael the Archangel itself had a very specific and hierarchical organizational structure with determinations as to how leaders would be selected and the kinds of personal and moral qualities they should possess (on this subject, Codreanu’s own works, The Nest Leader’s Manual and For My Legionaries, are particularly relevant). It is evident that this kind of organization served as the model for their plans for the future Romanian government. Concerning economics, the writings of Legionaries as well as the formation of the Corpul Muncitoresc Legionar (“Legionary Workers Corps”), which was established in 1936 to aim for fairer conditions for workers, should be taken into consideration. The program of “National-Christian-Socialism” which Codreanu had advocated earlier in his life should not be ignored, and neither should the practice of the “Christian Commerce” concept which was taken up by the Legion in the late 1930s.

Furthermore, Legionary leaders had already written on the subject of economic programs, studying and taking inspiration from the economic policies used in Italy and Germany. Ion Mota had written on corporatism in Cranii de Lemn, approving of the concept while demanding the prerequisite of removing Jews from economic positions first, and Vasile Marin’s 1932 doctoral thesis Fascismul: Organizarea Constitutionala a Statului Corporativ Italian (“Fascism: The Constitutional Organization of the Italian Corporate State”) deals with the matter as well. This is not to say that Legionarism was a copy of Italian Fascism (it was neither a copy of German National Socialism), something which is demonstrably false considering its uniqueness, but only an indication that they did not ignore the issue of what kinds of economic programs to implement. Essentially the Legionary Movement aimed for a kind of Christian Socialist Corporatism in which everyone would be motivated to work.

As for assertions that the Legionaries could not successfully manage the National Legionary State, these are very empty claims considering that the Legionary state had already begun carrying out their basic aims in terms of what kind of political and economic system they would create. However, they could not accomplish their goals to the extent that they had desired because they had only recently emerged from revolutionary and bloody conditions (created by King Carol II, whom they toppled) and only had the opportunity to rule for five months.

By the beginning of 1941, Antonescu, driven by a personal hunger for power, launched a coup against the Legionary State after creating a secret agreement with Hitler. Antonescu spread deceitful propaganda attempting to portray the Legionaries as a group of uncontrollable and belligerent youths who were incapable of ruling; propaganda which forms the basis of these same accusations today.

Conclusion

From what has been written thus far it should be clear that ideological bias and dishonesty permeates academia today. The most disgusting falsehoods are projected onto the Legionary Movement and some of the oldest lies are simply repeated in the newest ways. This essay does not provide a complete address to all of the problems concerning the Legionary Movement and the untrue claims and misconceptions surrounding it; what it aims to accomplish is an exposure of the more common distortions. The Legion of Michael the Archangel was a movement which sought to defend its country and culture as non-violently as possible during an oppressive and turbulent time period in Romanian history. It eventually fell due to facing constant betrayal, persecution, expulsion, and dissolution, but its legacy is nevertheless a beacon of victory for true European nationalism, free of chauvinism, which may provide the world with many valuable lessons. Yet, the history of the movement faces constant distortion and falsification. For this reason, those who study Legionary history and who also wish to truly learn something from this history, need to be skeptical of what they read in mainstream sources.

Bibliography

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, For My Legionaries, third edition, trans. by Dr. Dimitrie Gazdaru (York, S.C., USA: Liberty Bell Publications, 2003).

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, The Nest Leader’s Manual (USA: CZC Books, 2005).

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, The Prison Notes (USA: Reconquista Press, 2011).

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu et al., Thoughts and Perspectives Volume Five: Codreanu, Ed. Troy Southgate (London: Black Front Press, 2011).

Razvan Codrescu, In Cautarea Legiunii Pierdute (Bucuresti: Editura Vremea, 2001).

Nichifor Crainic, Zile albe, zile negre (Memorii) (Bucharest: Casa Editoriala Gandirea, 1991).

Radu Mihai Crisan, Istoria Interzisă (Bucharest: Editura Tibo, 2008).

Christine Hall, “Pancosmic” Church – Specific Românesc: Ecclesiological Themes in Nichifor Crainic’s Writings Between 1922 and 1944 (Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2008).

Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (Westport, CT, USA: Praeger Publishers, 1998).

Vasile Marin, Fascismul: Organizarea Constitutionala a Statului Corporativ Italian (București: Editura Majadahonda, 1997).

Ion Mota,. Cranii de Lemn: Articole 1922-1936. (Bucureşti: Editura Totul pentru Ţară, 1937).

Nicholas Nagy-Talavera, The Green Shirts & The Others: A History of Fascism in Hungary and Rumania (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press/Stanford University Press, 1970).

Alexander E. Ronnett and Faust Bradescu, “The Legionary Movement in Romania,” The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 193-228.

Alexander E. Ronnett, Romanian Nationalism: The Legionary Movement (Chicago: Romanian-American National Congress, 1995).

Seiche, Fabian. Martiri si marturisitori romani din secolul XX. Inchisorile comuniste din Romania (Făgăraş, Romania: Editura Agaton, 2010).

Horia Sima, Doctrina Legionară (Madrid: Editura Mişcării Legionare, 1980).

Horia Sima, Era Libertaţii – Statul naţional-Legionar vol. 1 (Madrid: Editura Miscarii Legionare, 1982).

Horia Sima, Era Libertaţii – Statul naţional-Legionar vol. 2 (Madrid: Editura Miscãrii Legionare, 1990).

Horia Sima,. Istoria Mişcarii Legionare (Timişoara: Editura Gordian, 1994).

Horia Sima, Menirea Nationalismului (Salamanca: Editura Asociaţiei Culturale Hispano-Române, 1951).

Horia Sima, Sfârşitul unei domnii sângeroase (Madrid: Editura Miscarii Legionare, 1977).

Horia Sima, The History of the Legionary Movement (Liss, England: Legionary Press, 1995).

Michael Sturdza, The Suicide of Europe: Memoirs of Prince Michael Sturdza, Former Foreign Minister of Rumania (Boston & Los Angeles: Western Islands Publishers, 1968).

 

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22 Comments

  1. Posted April 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s 2015 now and I just called ROEA to ask if they have any copies of “RELIGION AND POLITICS: Bishop Valerian Trifa and His Times” left in their bookstore. There have copies, but they couldn’t tell me how many. Man, the price is still only $11 plus shipping so if you want to get a handle on interbellic Romania and the fallout for emigrés with a nationalist past after WWII call Call 517.522.4800 x 205 and order a copy. See more at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYNUVvxOSes

  2. Who+Dares+Wings
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    [From the Wiki entry] Petre Tutea was a member of the Criterion literary society and, like many other fellow members, became a sympathizer of the Iron Guard, a right-wing, ultra-nationalist organization. According to various published interviews, at that time Ţuţea reckoned that democracy would have not guaranteed the sovereignty of the Romanian people. He also noted that many Romanian intellectuals had supported the Legionnaires, because “their radical position against the harmful influence of Russian Bolshevism”, which he considered to be “controlled by Jews” (see Judeo-Bolshevism). Speaking of the Iron Guard, he notes the main difference between this organization and Fascism or National Socialism was its avowed Christian character.

    Between 1936 and 1939, he was a director in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in charge of the Office of Economics Publications and Propaganda, then, he was a director of the research office in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. As the National Legionary State was proclaimed in 1940, he was a member of the Romanian delegation to Moscow for economic negotiations. He returned after the National Legionary State was abolished (after January 1941).

    Unlike his “friend” the internationally renowned existential aphorist Emile Cioran who left Romania in l937 and died in exile in Paris after publishing more than one mea culpa Tutea died an unrepentant Romanian nationalist.

    Cioran and Tutea – historical background:
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbOevl3BSGg

    Tutea’s Statement to Cioran- philosophical reposte:
    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI8-er2bTqo

    Tutea at the end of his life:
    3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o-0ciKkdF4

    • Christopher Thorpe
      Posted June 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Petre Tutea was one of the greatest philosophers to have been associated with the Legionary Movement. Unfortunately, most of his work is not available outside of the Romanian language (as far as I am aware).

      Emile Cioran was also another significant philosopher who was formerly part of the Movement, although he would eventually denounce it in favor of a completely pessimistic and nihilistic worldview. This is actually what makes Tutea’s response to him (that you linked) very interesting.

      Other great philosophers associated with the Legionaries were Nichifor Crainic, Nae Ionescu, and Mircea Eliade. The last of these, Eliade, is available in a wide variety of languages for his works on religions. Unfortunately, he gave up his nationalism, or perhaps he decided to hide it. Despite this defect, Eliade is actually a thinker I place great value on because he reveals the universal importance of religion in human life.

      I would also like to take the opportunity here to mention to readers that if anyone has questions about anything written in the essay or would like clarifications or specifications, go ahead and ask while there is still time to comment.

  3. White Republican
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    As I see it, the Legionary movement believed that Romanians should be masters in their own house, and that Romanians should not oppress or exploit their own or other people. Many people profess to find these beliefs incomprehensible, anachronistic, and perverse, although they are elementary requirements of national sovereignty, responsibility, and justice.

    The parvenu mentality is widespread. As Leszek Kolakowski defined it, a parvenu as someone who grovels to those above them and tramples upon those beneath them. The agents and hirelings of our enemies are parvenus. They are slaves and bullies in their own and other’s houses. For example, they will not defend the borders of their own nation against invasion, and will eagerly support the invasion and occupation of “rogue states.” These creatures are produced in frightful numbers by the system.

    Codreanu was right: “There is, among all those in various parts of the world who serve their people, a kinship of sympathy, as there is such a kinship among those who labor for the destruction of peoples.”

    • Christopher Thorpe
      Posted June 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Good comment; your interpretation is correct.

    • White Republican
      Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      I should perhaps examine what the Russian author Alexander Zinoviev wrote concerning the elites in the Soviet Union of the past as well as the cosmopolitan plutocracy of today. One might speak of a parvenu class in both cases. How is it organized, how does it function, what is its ideology and ethic? These are questions to look at.

      In the nineteenth century, the Sydney Bulletin published an editorial that referred to “Semitic placeseekers” in the British court. Today, it is the gentiles rather than the Jews who are the placeseekers in Western governments. (Incidentally, the same editorial — titled “Australia for the Australians!” — bluntly declared that “no nigger, no lascar, no kanaka, no purveyor of cheap coloured labour is an Australian.”)

  4. Who+Dares+Wings
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    ‎”To the Abattoir: Investigating the Legionary Rebellion of January 21-23, 1941″ by Charles Krafft
    ( pages 7 -11) http://www.codoh.com/newsite/sr/online/sr_190.pdf

  5. Faustus
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    The Resistance takes many shapes; this may make a good ‘Video of the Day’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2pv94QqA-c&feature=fvwrel

  6. Who+Dares+Wings
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this essay. I would like to recommend two excellent, but rather hard to find books about Archbishop Valerian Trifa founder of The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in America. These were written by his lawyers, Gerald Bobango and George E. Woods. Trifa was the original poster boy in the hunt for Nazi war criminals in America and the reason why the predominantly Jewish Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in the U.S. Justice Dept. was established. “Religion and Politics: Bishop Valerian Trifa and His Times” by Gerald Bobango can be ordered from R.O.E.A. Department of Publications – Bookstore, PO BOX 185 ,GRASS LAKE MI 49240-0185,Phone – (517) 522-3656,Fax – (517) 522-5907, Email: [email protected] . This is an out-of-print $100 text book originally published by the East European Mongraphs series distributed by Columbia University Press. It can still be ordered for only $12 plus postage/handling from R.O.E.A. “The Undoing: A Romanian-American Odessey” by George E. Woods was never published. However, the mss can be ordered from Mr. Woods himself for aprox $40 by contacting him at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, George E. Woods District Judge, 277 U.S. Courthouse, Detroit MN 48226. I found these two books about the life Viorel Trifa invaluable to understanding the complex history of The Romanian Legionary Movement before, during and after WWII.

  7. Faustus
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Blockquote by Fourmyle of Ceres

    The Captain had a deep Orthodox/Traditional Christian faith, and put it into practice at all levels of social organization.

    I have often pondered Which Way White Nationalism would have gone if Mathews, with his incredible raw talent, energy, and Gifts as a leader, had channeled his efforts into something much more effective than the use of force against the most powerful military and intelligence networks in the history of the world.

    Very eloquently said; but both groups seem, at the outset, to have ‘lost’ their respective engagements, and I feel a certain ‘biting edge’ when comparing RJM and CC, as if one, by definition, had the upper hand – beca’use of his ‘christian’ background – yet both men were ‘elite soldiers’ on a mission for their Folk, and each followed those tactics relative to both their Age and circumstance.

    You mentioned ‘use of force’ as if that were something outside the pale, that such ‘impossible’ odds were secondary to a rational mind, I can assure you, that when faced with ‘odds’, terrible and frightening though they may be, that it is always the ‘will to power’ of exactly the type of men which we are discussing here, that can, and often do, change the ‘course of history’.

    As for ‘tithing’, personally I would leave that to the ‘church’, and see if they can do better then they have been able these many generations, against our opposition.

    Opportunities present themselves for our learning in The Captain’s example. We should learn from them, and apply them as quickly as possible, in an “apple pie, strictly legal, sort of way,” of course.

    Of course we should learn, and hopefully we do learn, every day, from examples like these two heroic figures – and I wish that someone would write a comprehensive Book/account of RJM and his comrades, so that we might all make a comparison based on exigent facts.

    Little is known of the ‘structure’ of the Bruder Schweigen, how and who supported them, but the little information I have gleaned over the years, is a fascinating account of personal courage, military discipline, and various accounts of true divine inspiration.

    The term ‘white nationalist’, by the way, was coined by one of these men, and many such aphorisms and tactical interpretations which have served us well over the years can be laid at the alter of these Efforts.

    The fact that a ‘world war’ did not attend the above efforts, should not detract from their american brethren studying them, or holding them up for public consideration, as the ‘intellectuals’ of yesteryear have done with those brave men of Europe who, also, fought an ‘impossible’ fight…remember, however “Di favent in Temerarus”!

    • Fourmyle of Ceres
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Pracite Tip: blockquote cite can be closed – ended – by placing a / in front of the “b” in blockquote – the PREVIEW button displays what it will look like

      Faustus in blockquote, cites in bold:
      The Captain had a deep Orthodox/Traditional Christian faith, and put it into practice at all levels of social organization.

      I have often pondered Which Way White Nationalism would have gone if Mathews, with his incredible raw talent, energy, and Gifts as a leader, had channeled his efforts into something much more effective than the use of force against the most powerful military and intelligence networks in the history of the world.

      Very eloquently said; but both groups seem, at the outset, to have ‘lost’ their respective engagements, and I feel a certain ‘biting edge’ when comparing RJM and CC, as if one, by definition, had the upper hand – beca’use of his ‘christian’ background – yet both men were ‘elite soldiers’ on a mission for their Folk, and each followed those tactics relative to both their Age and circumstance.

      True. Yet, The Captain was a genius who had been trained, mentored, and disciplined, and was prepared to meet the needs of the Cultural Moment. Mathews was a native genius, who did not have the training, or analytical framework, needed to fully develop his Talents. That is where Covington comes to the fore.

      You mentioned ‘use of force’ as if that were something outside the pale, that such ‘impossible’ odds were secondary to a rational mind, I can assure you, that when faced with ‘odds’, terrible and frightening though they may be, that it is always the ‘will to power’ of exactly the type of men which we are discussing here, that can, and often do, change the ‘course of history’.

      I mention the “use of force” as force is the essential tool of governance, and it is one the Governors insure they control at all costs. As well, those who have advocated the use of force in the past have been those who saw themselves without the power to be effective in the ways that are really, well, effective. At MOST, they were mere bandits, not even rising to the romantic level of Revolutionary. At MOST, they were a nuisance, allowed to run their lives until they became inconvenient. Remember, they teach of Rebellion, and they will be taught in War.

      As for ‘tithing’, personally I would leave that to the ‘church’, and see if they can do better then they have been able these many generations, against our opposition.

      A “church” that is not a tool of State Control can accomplish so many things. As for new Orders of Priesthood, see what the Roman Catholics have done with the Children of Loyola, the Jesuits. Or, look at the world of Warhammer 40K, and the various Orders Militant. Or, learn from the example of the Jewish Community, who see their sons as priests, groomed in the arts of priesthood starting at the age of twelve.

      Simple, consistent tithing from people who are dealing with the Real Issues in the Real World would supply a solid funding stream for solid investments. The model of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is worthy of emulation.

      Opportunities present themselves for our learning in The Captain’s example. We should learn from them, and apply them as quickly as possible, in an “apple pie, strictly legal, sort of way,” of course.

      Of course we should learn, and hopefully we do learn, every day, from examples like these two heroic figures – and I wish that someone would write a comprehensive Book/account of RJM and his comrades, so that we might all make a comparison based on exigent facts.

      We can learn a great deal form The Captain, and certainly should exhaust the learning he puts before us, in the examples he provided in his service to St. Michael the Archangel. Anyone consider updating the Nest Leader’s Manual for our place, and our time?

      Little is known of the ‘structure’ of the Bruder Schweigen, how and who supported them, but the little information I have gleaned over the years, is a fascinating account of personal courage, military discipline, and various accounts of true divine inspiration.

      Which ended badly, because they used inappropriate means to achieve poorly defined ends. How much the better if they had formed a Church of Christ (Cosmotheist), and lived their lives as an Order of Priesthood, developing the world around them as small businessmen, forming cooperatives and credit unions, learning political leadership, joining political parties and taking their (FREE) courses in political organization, and becoming leaders in the extant political system?

      Take THAT model, and run it forward over a century or so. Link it to the Duty to fulfill a metapolitical Purpose, and you could be following the example of Brigham Young, an his followers. They had the chance to take on the Federal Government militarily (Johnson’s War), and chose to NOT take the bait, and NOT enter the trap.

      In time, they prevailed.

      So shall we.

      The term ‘white nationalist’, by the way, was coined by one of these men, and many such aphorisms and tactical interpretations which have served us well over the years can be laid at the alter of these Efforts.

      The fact that a ‘world war’ did not attend the above efforts, should not detract from their american brethren studying them, or holding them up for public consideration, as the ‘intellectuals’ of yesteryear have done with those brave men of Europe who, also, fought an ‘impossible’ fight…remember, however “Di favent in Temerarus”!

      Fighting impossible fights lead to ineffective outcomes, absent a Transcendent Purpose, and multigenerational discipline. Churches, and religious Orders, are means to meet these Ends.

      This is a VERY useful discussion, and I hope it continues.

      Thank you.

      • Faustus
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your deeply held insights. Looking forward to more of these discussions.

  8. Dominion
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting to see an article about the actual policies and implementation of the National Legionary State during the short time it existed. The success and model of the help programs instituted by the Legion seem to be something worth studying when looking at practical social policy for a State. One of the common arguments for more immigration is that “they do the jobs local people won’t do themselves.” State work programs, even mandatory ones, seem as if they would be a good answer to that argument, as it does contain a large amount of truth (this is where modern conservatives will start whining about “socialism”). Covington suggests a similar solution in his Northwest Quintet, having youth serve a period of time in a National Labour organization in the way to earning citizenship.

    • Christopher Thorpe
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      A future essay on Legionary attitudes towards trade, economics, and labor would basically be an expansion upon what I have already mentioned in my essays. In terms of the National Legionary State, as I mentioned they had very little time and were scrambling to get things together and very much focused on removing Jews from their former positions of economic dominance (Jews today whine a lot about this today, calling it “robbery”; I call it Justice). The Legionary State basically used what Codreanu himself set up as Legionary practices during his lifetime and built up upon it by introducing the general practice of “directed economy” (an idea I think Codreanu himself aimed for).

      What I mean by “directed economy,” also called by Sima “coordinated economy,” is the general economic practices of nationalist states such as Franco’s Spain, Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, etc. (I am using Sima’s “Menirea Nationalismului” [“The Meaning of Nationalism”] on this subject; the terms I quoted are also briefly mentioned in his books on the National Legionary State). Some notable Legionary economists such as Manoilescu and Petrescu specifically hoped a certain form of corporatism would be put into place. The Legionaries’ general ideas on economics are very much comparable to those of Fascism, National Socialism, and the German Revolutionary Conservatives. If anybody interested, I will mention here that some of Sima’s works which are not available in English are actually available in French or Spanish.

  9. Kerry Bolton
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Volume 5 of Black Front Press’ Thoughts & Perspectives series on Codreanu will be of interest. Essays from Troy Southgate, K R Bolton, Keith Preston, Dimitris Michalopoulos, Charles Krafft and John Howells.

    http://www.arktos.com/thoughts-and-perspectives-codreanu.html

    I wonder whether there was ever a more Christ-like figure than Codreanu?

    • Eric Hale
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      No kidding. That man was the most complete and balanced Christian the west has known since Robert E. Lee.

    • Faustus
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      I would say that the ‘american’ equivalent was Robert J. Mathews.

      • Fourmyle of Ceres
        Posted June 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Faustus in blockquote:

        I would say that the ‘american’ equivalent was Robert J. Mathews.

        That is a fascinating observation.

        The Captain had a deep Orthodox/Traditional Christian faith, and put it into practice at all levels of social organization.

        I have often pondered Which Way White Nationalism would have gone if Mathews, with his incredible raw talent, energy, and Gifts as a leader, had channeled his efforts into something much more effective than the use of force against the most powerful military and intelligence networks in the history of the world.

        In such alternative histories as I have (barely) outlined along these lines, Mathews goes on to become U.S. Senator from Idaho, and a pivotal leader in the development of the Northwest Republic, our last, best hope for a Racial Homeland.

        Consider how more effective Mathews would have been if he had led others to organize among the lines of a new, de facto religious order as the spiritual foundation of what would become the Northwest Republic.

        Suppose they simply tithed their monetary income to this new order.

        Do this as a jaw-dropping exercise in organizational effectiveness.

        Take the tithes and offerings of fifty people of average income – and you KNOW Mathews could lead fifty people. Just the tithes alone are an impressive number. The potential of in-kind offerings – service to the Church in various organizational enterprises, like construction of Church facilities – simply amaze you.

        That’s with FIFTY people of average income.

        Harold Covington believes one thousand Class “A” people could form the Northwest Republic in all but name, and, in time, in fact.

        Opportunities present themselves for our learning in The Captain’s example. We should learn from them, and apply them as quickly as possible, in an “apple pie, strictly legal, sort of way,” of course. (HT: Jim Giles)

    • Christopher Thorpe
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Yes, thanks for bringing attention to this recent book. It is one of the few pro-Legionary books in the English language that is currently being printed. Other than, of course, Codreanu’s own works and perhaps also Sima’s book on the History. As such, “Codreanu: Thoughts and Perspective Five” necessarily has some value for people studying the movement today.

    • Petronius
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Living and dying by the sword, nothing wrong about that, but “Christ-like” it isn’t.

    • Alaskan
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      I appreciate this essay, as it delves a bit further into some aspects of the Iron Guard utilizing sources other than Codreanu’s. In truth, reading Codreanu’s works deeply moved me and forever changed me. They caused me to reflect on the very question posed above by Bolton. Codreanu’s ability to infuse his nationalism and political ideals with the overtly Platonic and mystical aspects of Christianity found exclusively in Orthodoxy is fascinating. Whereas before I had largely dismissed all Christian expression as too infused with the Semitic spirit to take seriously metaphysically and ontologically, reading his work, witnessing his vision, faith and commitment to the Idea, asceticism and Truth caused me to seriously examine the other side of Christianity that is resultant from Greek metaphysics and Western Ideals, including love of the Nation. Orthodoxy perfectly captures this, and Codreanu took this so seriously that one cannot help but feel truly humbled by his unwavering faith and inspiring example.

      I realize that many of us see Christianity as essentially opposed to our goals and values but there is indeed another aspect of Jesus that obviously caused Codreanu to become the man and leader he was and cause Weininger to say this: “Jesus is the greatest man because he alone was able to conquer the greatest enemy: his own Judaism”.

      I purchased the above book Bolton mentioned from Arktos when it was released. It is essential for anyone interested in Codreanu. Also, see Fr. Matthew Raphael Johnson’s essays on him. Hopefully, he will also be doing a radio program on him soon.

      Hail the Captain!

      • Christopher Thorpe
        Posted June 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        Codreanu himself is usually the key source utilized because he covers quite a bit of the history and origins of the Legionary Movement. He also is the most important and original source of its doctrine. Yet he does not cover all of its history and that is why it is certainly necessary to look into other sources such as those I have cited.

        Concerning the issue of Christianity, I do not want to discuss that in-depth but I would like to remind everyone that it is not only Greek (or even generally ‘Western’ European thought) which is involved with the interpretation of Christianity; there is a much larger variety of both ancient and medieval influences. The concept of Christianity being “Semitic” is certainly thrown into question by great people like Codreanu, although remember that there are also numerous intellectuals and other historical personalities besides Codreanu that would help in this regard.

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