National-Christian Defense League

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The National-Christian Defense League (Romanian: Liga Apărării Național Creștine, LANC) was a virulently anti-Semitic political party of Romania formed by A. C. Cuza.[1]

Origins[edit]

The group had its roots in the National Christian Union, formed in 1922 by Cuza and the famed physiologist Nicolae Paulescu. This group, which used the swastika as its emblem, morphed in to the LANC in 1923.[2] 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.[3] The party banner became the flag of Romania with a swastika in the center.[4] Much of LANC's ideas were framed within theological arguments which were created by Nichifor Crainic, who served as Secretary General of the group.[5]

Growth[edit]

Initially the LANC gained some support and its blue shirted militia group, the Lăncieri, gained notoriety for their anti-Semitic activities in the universities.[6] Increasing its influence the LANC mopped up most of the followers of groups such as the National Fascist Movement and the National Romanian Fascia during the mid-1920s.[7] 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.[8]

Decline[edit]

However Cuza's leadership, characterised as it was 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.[9]

Merger[edit]

The LANC managed to regroup and returned to the Chamber of Deputies in 1933, returning nine members in the general election.[6] Despite this recovery the League had still fallen some way 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 National Agrarian Party and the LANC was merged with this party to form the National Christian Party on July 16, 1935.[6]

References[edit]

  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. 22
  4. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 23
  5. ^ Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 25
  6. ^ a b c Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 26
  7. ^ Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, London: Routledge, 2001, p. 136
  8. ^ Michael Mann, Fascists, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 283
  9. ^ Mann, Fascists, p. 265

External links[edit]