National Christian Party

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Antisemitic imagery on a National Christian Party political poster

The National Christian Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Creștin) was a radical-right[1] authoritarian and strongly antisemitic[2] political party in Romania active between 1935 and 1938. It was formed by a merger of Octavian Goga's National Agrarian Party and A. C. Cuza's National-Christian Defense League (LANC); a prominent member of the party was the philosopher Nichifor Crainic.

Development[edit]

Founded in 1935, and led by Goga, it never received more than about 10% of the vote, but was chosen in December 1937 by King Carol II to form a government. The party stated that it would rule by the existing constitution but held longer term ambitions at reform, wanting to introduce a smaller parliament and a new corporatist upper chamber.[2] The part was especially noted for its anti-Semitism and Alexander Easterman writes of the party's brief time in office, "Goga proclaimed his policy, openly and unashamed, as designed to rid Roumania of the Jews. Indeed, he had no other policy to offer; his government was quite simply anti-Semitic and nothing else".[3] In order to underline its anti-Semitic credentials the party adopted the swastika as its emblem, whilst retaining the blue shirt of the LANC as its political uniform.[2] Easterman hypothesizes that Carol had placed this party in power "to give his people a taste of Fascism", hoping vainly that an ensuing reaction against such policies would sweep away not only the relatively weak National Christians but also the far stronger Iron Guard.[3] The party retained close links to the paramilitary Lăncieri, which had previously been close to LANC.[2]

Goga's government began its term by repudiating Romania's obligations under the Minorities Treaty imposed upon it at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference; on January 21, 1938, it promulgated a decree that effectively stripped most Romanian Jews of their citizenship by setting an impossibly high bar for documentary proof of such citizenship. Jewish businesses were closed down; the resulting disruption took down many non-Jewish businesses and caused massive capital flight.[4]

It ruled only 45 days, and was supplanted February 10, 1938 by a royal dictatorship, after Carol became alarmed with the National Christian party making overtures towards the Iron Guard.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1996). A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 15. 
  2. ^ a b c d Payne, Stanley G. (1995). A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 284. 
  3. ^ a b Easterman, A.L., King Carol, Hitler, and Lupescu, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. (1942) p. 258–259
  4. ^ Easterman, 1942, p. 259
  5. ^ Michael Mann, Fascists, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 288-289