Michel Sturdza

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Mihail R. Sturdza
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
In office
September 14, 1940 – January 17, 1941
Monarch Michael of Romania
Preceded by Mihail Manoilescu
Succeeded by Ad interim Ion Antonescu
Personal details
Born (1886-08-28)August 28, 1886
Died February 5, 1980(1980-02-05) (aged 93)

Prince Mihail R. Sturdza (1886–1980). Romanian nobleman and diplomat. Was a descendant of the wealthy and influential Sturdza family of Romanian landowners, politicians and boyars. Played a brief role in Romanian interwar politics.

Mihail Sturdza, originally a conservative and nationalist, was a member of the Iron Guard and developed strong fascist and antisemitic convictions. As a supporter of the leader of the Iron Guard Horia Sima, he was a brief period (September 14, 1940 - January 26, 1941) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania during the so-called National Legionary State after the abdication of King Carol II.

After several diplomatic posts (e.g. in Vienna, Budapest and in Washington as chargé d'affaires) Sturdza was in 1929 appointed as minister plenipotentiary for Latvia, Estonia and Finland, in Riga. In that capacity he acted in 1932 as Romania's representative in the negotiations with Soviet Russia about a non-aggression agreement. The negotiations failed, due to the Russian demand to discuss the disputed territory of Bessarabia, which was part of Romania by then.

Sturdza was from 1938 Romanian ambassador in Denmark. In that capacity he was involved in the assassination of Romania's Prime Minister Armand Călinescu on 21 September 1939. It seems that the action was carried out with German approval and assistance. On September 1, representatives of Germany, Fascist Italy and the Iron Guard met with Sturdza in Copenhagen to discuss Călinescu's killing.[1][2]

As Foreign Minister Sturdza attended with the German minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop the signature on November 23, 1940 of the Tripartite Pact with nazi-Germany between Adolf Hitler and the Romanian head of government General Ion Antonescu. In December 1940 Sturdza obtained the replacement of the German ambassador Wilhelm Fabricius with Manfred Freiherr von Killinger, perceived as more sympathetic to the Iron Guard.[3] After the clash between the Iron Guard and General Ion Antonescu in January 1941 (see Legionary Rebellion), which was won by the latter, Sturdza had to resign. Antonescu took over leadership of the ministry, with the compliant diplomat Constantin Greceanu as his right hand.

After the defeat of the Iron Guard in January 1940 Sturdza followed party leader Horia Sima into exile; first in Sofia, Bulgaria and afterward in Germany and Denmark. Sturdza became again Minister of Foreign Affairs in a Romanian pro-Nazi puppet government in Vienna from 10 December 1944 until the end of World War II.

After WW II Sturdza fled first to Denmark, where he stayed till 1947. Afterward he found refuge in Fascist Spain and later in USA, where he kept strong ties with other members of the Iron Guard in exile. He wrote several publications about the history of his native country and international affairs. In later years he was involved in rightwing organisations. In 1968 he published his memoirs, which took approval in rightwing circles for the cold war- and anti-communist points of view.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ciobanu, pp. 57–58
  2. ^ Ignat & Matei, pp. 71–73
  3. ^ Deletant, pp. 63, 301

References[edit]

  • Dennis Deletant, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania, 1940–1944, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006.
  • Nicolae Ciobanu, "Armand Călinescu: Jertfă pentru liniştea şi independenţa ţării. «Omul de oţel» împotriva Gărzii de Fier" ("Armand Călinescu: A Sacrifice for the Country's Peace and Security. The «Man of Steel» versus the Iron Guard"), in Dosarele Istoriei, 6/IV (1999)
  • Petru Ignat, Gheorghe Matei, "Asasinarea lui Armand Călinescu" ("Armand Călinescu's Assassination"), in Magazin Istoric, October 1967
  • Mihail R. Sturdza, 'The Suicide of Europe', memoirs of Prince Michel Sturdza, former Foreign Minister of Rumania. Western Islands Publishers, Boston, Los Angeles, 1968.