Iron Guard

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This article is about the Romanian fascist movement and political party. Iron Guard_sentence_0

For other uses, see Iron Guard (disambiguation). Iron Guard_sentence_1

Iron Guard_table_infobox_0

Legion of the Archangel Michael

Legiunea Arhanghelului MihailIron Guard_header_cell_0_0_0

AbbreviationIron Guard_header_cell_0_1_0 LAM (1927–1935)

TpȚ (1935–1941)Iron Guard_cell_0_1_1

CăpitanulIron Guard_header_cell_0_2_0 Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (1927–1938)

Horia Sima (1938–1941)Iron Guard_cell_0_2_1

FoundedIron Guard_header_cell_0_3_0 24 June 1927Iron Guard_cell_0_3_1
BannedIron Guard_header_cell_0_4_0 23 January 1941Iron Guard_cell_0_4_1
Split fromIron Guard_header_cell_0_5_0 National-Christian Defense LeagueIron Guard_cell_0_5_1
Succeeded byIron Guard_header_cell_0_6_0 "Everything For the Country" Party (1993–2015)

  The New Right (2000–present)Iron Guard_cell_0_6_1

HeadquartersIron Guard_header_cell_0_7_0 Green House, Bucharest, RomaniaIron Guard_cell_0_7_1
NewspaperIron Guard_header_cell_0_8_0 Cuvântul

  Buna Vestire   AxaIron Guard_cell_0_8_1

Youth wingIron Guard_header_cell_0_9_0 Brotherhood of the CrossIron Guard_cell_0_9_1
Workers wingIron Guard_header_cell_0_10_0 Legionary Workers' CorpsIron Guard_cell_0_10_1
Paramilitary wingIron Guard_header_cell_0_11_0 Iron Guard (1930–1941)Iron Guard_cell_0_11_1
Action squadsIron Guard_header_cell_0_12_0 Nicadori (1933)

  Decemviri (1936)   Răzbunători (1939)Iron Guard_cell_0_12_1

Membership (1937)Iron Guard_header_cell_0_13_0 272,000Iron Guard_cell_0_13_1
IdeologyIron Guard_header_cell_0_14_0 Legionarism

  Romanian nationalism   Ultranationalism   Clerical fascism   National conservatism   Social conservatism   Anti-semitism   Anti-Magyarism   Antiziganism   Anti-capitalism   Anti-communism   MonarchismIron Guard_cell_0_14_1

Political positionIron Guard_header_cell_0_15_0 Far-rightIron Guard_cell_0_15_1
ReligionIron Guard_header_cell_0_16_0 Romanian Orthodox ChurchIron Guard_cell_0_16_1
ColoursIron Guard_header_cell_0_17_0 Green,   black and   whiteIron Guard_cell_0_17_1
SloganIron Guard_header_cell_0_18_0 "Echipa Morții"

("Death Squad")Iron Guard_cell_0_18_1

AnthemIron Guard_header_cell_0_19_0 "Sfântă Tinerețe Legionară"

("Holy Legionary Youth")Iron Guard_cell_0_19_1

Senate (1937)Iron Guard_header_cell_0_20_0 4 / 113Iron Guard_cell_0_20_1
Assembly of Deputies

(1937)Iron Guard_header_cell_0_21_0

66 / 387Iron Guard_cell_0_21_1
Party flagIron Guard_header_cell_0_22_0

The Iron Guard (Romanian: Garda de Fier) is the name most commonly given to a fascist movement and political party in Romania founded in 1927 by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu as the Legion of the Archangel Michael (Legiunea Arhanghelului Mihail) or the Legionnaire Movement (Mișcarea Legionară). Iron Guard_sentence_2

Its ideology was ultra-nationalistic, antisemitic, antimagyar, antiziganistic, and opposed to both communism and capitalism; it also promoted Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Iron Guard_sentence_3

In March 1930, Codreanu formed the Iron Guard as a paramilitary branch of the Legion, which in 1935 changed its official name to the "Totul pentru Țară" party—literally, "Everything For the Country" Party. Iron Guard_sentence_4

It existed into the early part of the Second World War, during which time it came to power. Iron Guard_sentence_5

Members were called Legionnaires or Greenshirts because of the predominantly green uniforms they wore. Iron Guard_sentence_6

When Marshal Ion Antonescu came to power in September 1940, he brought the Iron Guard into the government, creating the National Legionary State. Iron Guard_sentence_7

In January 1941, following the Legionnaires' rebellion, Antonescu used the army to suppress the movement, destroying the organization; its commander, Horia Sima, along with other leaders, escaped to Germany. Iron Guard_sentence_8

Background Iron Guard_section_0

Founded by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu on 24 June 1927, as the "Legion of the Archangel Michael", and led by him until his assassination in 1938, followers of the movement continued to be widely referred to as "legionnaires" (sometimes "legionaries"; Romanian: legionarii) and led to the organization of the "Legion" or the "Legionary Movement", despite various changes of the (intermittently banned) organization's name. Iron Guard_sentence_9

In March 1930, Codreanu formed the "Iron Guard" ("Garda de Fier") as a paramilitary political branch of the Legion; this name eventually came to refer to the Legion itself. Iron Guard_sentence_10

Later, in June 1935, the Legion changed its official name to the "Totul pentru Țară" party, literally "Everything For the Country" Party, but commonly translated as "Everything for the Fatherland" or occasionally "Everything for the Motherland." Iron Guard_sentence_11

The name of the League appears to have been inspired by the Black Hundreds, an anti-Semitic group in the Russian Empire (particularly the regions bordering Romania) that often used the name of the archangel. Iron Guard_sentence_12

History Iron Guard_section_1

Founding and rise Iron Guard_section_2

In 1927, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu left the number two position (under A.C. Iron Guard_sentence_13 Cuza) in the Romanian political party known as the National-Christian Defense League (NCDL), and founded the Legion of the Archangel Michael. Iron Guard_sentence_14

The Legion differed from other fascist movements in that it had its mass base among the peasantry and students, rather than among military veterans. Iron Guard_sentence_15

However, the legionnaires shared the general fascist "respect for the war veterans". Iron Guard_sentence_16

Romania had a very large intelligentsia relative to the general population with 2.0 university students per one thousand of the population compared to 1.7 per one thousand of the population in far wealthier Germany, while Bucharest had more lawyers in the 1930s than did the much larger city of Paris. Iron Guard_sentence_17

Even before the Great Depression, Romanian universities were producing far more graduates than the number of available jobs and the Great Depression had further drastically limited the opportunities for employment by the intelligentsia, who turned to the Iron Guard out of frustration. Iron Guard_sentence_18

Many Orthodox Romanians, having obtained a university degree, which they expected to be their ticket to the middle class, were enraged to find that the jobs they were hoping for did not exist, and came to embrace the Legion's message that it was the Jews who were blocking them from finding the middle-class employment they wanted. Iron Guard_sentence_19

Beyond that, Romania had traditionally been dominated by a Francophile elite, who preferred to speak French over Romanian in private and who claimed that their policies were leading Romania to the West with the National Liberal Party, in particular, maintaining that their economic policies were going to industrialize Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_20

The Great Depression seemed to show the literal bankruptcy of these policies and many of the younger Romanian intelligentsia, especially university students, were attracted by the Iron Guard's glorification of "Romanian genius" and its leaders who boasted that they were proud to speak Romanian. Iron Guard_sentence_21

The Romanian-born Israeli historian Jean Ancel wrote from the mid-19th century onward, that Romanian intelligentsia had a "schizophrenic attitude towards the West and its values". Iron Guard_sentence_22

Romania had been a strongly Francophile country starting in 1859 when the United Principalities came into being, giving Romania effective independence from the Ottoman Empire (an event largely made possible by French diplomacy which pressured the Ottomans on behalf of the Romanians), and from that time onwards, most of the Romanian intelligentsia professed themselves believers in French ideas about the universal appeal of democracy, freedom and human rights, while at the same time holding antisemitic views about Romania's Jewish minority. Iron Guard_sentence_23

Despite their antisemitism, most of the Romanian intelligentsia believed that France was not only Romania's "Latin sister", but also a "big Latin sister" that would guide its "little Latin sister" Romania along the correct path. Iron Guard_sentence_24

Ancel wrote that Codreanu was the first significant Romanian to reject not only the prevailing Francophilia of the intelligentsia, but also the entire framework of universal democratic values, which Codreanu claimed were "Jewish inventions" designed to destroy Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_25

In contrast to the traditional idea that Romania would follow the path of its "Latin sister" France, Codreanu promoted a xenophobic, exclusive ultra-nationalism, where Romania would follow its own path and rejected the French ideas about universal values and human rights. Iron Guard_sentence_26

In a marked departure from the traditional ideas held by the elite about making Romania into the modernized and Westernized "France of Eastern Europe", the Legion demanded a return to the traditional Eastern Orthodox values of the past and glorified Romania's peasant culture and folk customs as the living embodiment of "Romanian genius." Iron Guard_sentence_27

The leaders of the Iron Guard often wore traditional peasant costumes with crucifixes and bags of Romanian soil around their necks to emphasise their commitment to authentic Romanian folk values, in marked contrast to Romania's Francophile elite who preferred to dress in the style of the latest fashions of Paris. Iron Guard_sentence_28

The fact that many members of Romania's elite were often corrupt and that very little of the vast sums of money generated by Romania's oil found its way into the pockets of ordinary people, further enhanced the appeal of the Legion who denounced the entire elite as irredeemably corrupt. Iron Guard_sentence_29

With Codreanu as a charismatic leader, the Legion was known for skillful propaganda, including a very capable use of spectacle. Iron Guard_sentence_30

Utilizing marches, religious processions, patriotic and partisan hymns and anthems, along with volunteer work and charitable campaigns in rural areas, in support of anti-communism, the League presented itself as an alternative to corrupt parties. Iron Guard_sentence_31

Initially, the Iron Guard hoped to encompass any political faction, regardless of its position on the political spectrum, that wished to combat the rise of communism in the USSR. Iron Guard_sentence_32

The Iron Guard was purposely anti-Semitic, promoting the idea that "Rabbinical aggression against the Christian world"—which manifested through Freemasonry, Freudianism, homosexuality, atheism, Marxism, Bolshevism, and the civil war in Spain"—were undermining society. Iron Guard_sentence_33

The Vaida-Voevod government outlawed the Iron Guard in January 1931. Iron Guard_sentence_34

On 10 December 1933, the Romanian Liberal Prime Minister Ion Duca banned the Iron Guard. Iron Guard_sentence_35

After a brief period of arrests, beatings, torture and even killings (twelve members of the Legionary Movement were murdered by the police force), Iron Guard members retaliated on 29 December 1933, by assassinating Duca on the platform of Sinaia railway station. Iron Guard_sentence_36

Struggle for power Iron Guard_section_3

In the 1937 parliamentary elections the Legion came in third with 15.5% of the vote, behind the National Liberal and the National Peasant Parties. Iron Guard_sentence_37

King Carol II strongly opposed the Legion's political aims and successfully kept them out of government until he himself was forced to abdicate in 1940. Iron Guard_sentence_38

During this period, the Legion was generally on the receiving end of persecution. Iron Guard_sentence_39

On 10 February 1938, the king dissolved the government and initiated a royal dictatorship. Iron Guard_sentence_40

Codreanu advised the Legion to accept the new regime. Iron Guard_sentence_41

However, Interior Minister Armand Călinescu did not trust Codreanu and ordered him arrested on 16 April. Iron Guard_sentence_42

Realizing that the government was looking for an excuse to have him executed, Codreanu ordered the Legion's acting commander, Horia Sima, to take no action unless there was evidence that he was in immediate danger. Iron Guard_sentence_43

However, Sima, who was known for his violent streak, launched a wave of terrorist activity in autumn. Iron Guard_sentence_44

Codreanu got wind of this and ordered the violence to end. Iron Guard_sentence_45

The order came too late. Iron Guard_sentence_46

On the night of 29-30 November 1938, Codreanu and several other legionnaires were strangled to death by their Gendarmerie escort on the night of 29–30 November 1938, purportedly during an attempt to escape from prison. Iron Guard_sentence_47

It is generally agreed that there was no such escape attempt, and that Codreanu and the others were killed on the king's orders, probably in reaction to the 24 November 1938 murder by legionnaires of a relative (some sources say a "friend") of Călinescu. Iron Guard_sentence_48

In the aftermath of Carol's decision to crush the Iron Guard, many members of the Legion fled into exile in Germany, where they received both material and financial support from the NSDAP, especially from the SS and Alfred Rosenberg's Foreign Political Office. Iron Guard_sentence_49

For much of the interwar period, Romania was in the French sphere of influence, and in 1926 Romania signed a treaty of alliance with France. Iron Guard_sentence_50

Following the Remilitarization of the Rhineland in March 1936, Carol started to move away from the traditional alliance with France as the fear grew within Romania that the French would do nothing in the event of German aggression in Eastern Europe, but Carol's regime was still regarded as essentially pro-French. Iron Guard_sentence_51

From the German viewpoint, the Iron Guard was regarded as far preferable to King Carol. Iron Guard_sentence_52

The royal dictatorship lasted just over one year. Iron Guard_sentence_53

On 7 March 1939, a new government was formed with Călinescu as prime minister; on 21 September 1939, he, in turn was assassinated by legionnaires avenging Codreanu. Iron Guard_sentence_54

Călinescu favored a foreign policy where Romania would maintain a pro-Allied neutrality in World War II, and as such, the SS had a hand in organizing Călinescu's assassination. Iron Guard_sentence_55

Further rounds of mutual carnage ensued. Iron Guard_sentence_56

In addition to the conflict with the king, an internal battle for power ensued in the wake of Codreanu's death. Iron Guard_sentence_57

Waves of repression almost completely eliminated the Legion's original leadership by 1939, promoting second-rank members to the forefront. Iron Guard_sentence_58

According to a secret report filed by the Hungarian political secretary in Bucharest in late 1940, three main factions existed: the group gathered around Sima, a dynamic local leader from the Banat, which was the most pragmatic and least Orthodox in its orientation; the group composed of Codreanu's father, Ion Zelea Codreanu, and his brothers (who despised Sima); and the Moţa-Marin group, which wanted to strengthen the movement's religious character. Iron Guard_sentence_59

After a long period of confusion, Sima, representing the Legion's less radical wing, overcame all competition and assumed leadership, being recognised as such on 6 September 1940 by the Legionary Forum, a body created at his initiative. Iron Guard_sentence_60

On 28 September the elder Codreanu stormed the Legion headquarters in Bucharest (the Green House) in an unsuccessful attempt to install himself as leader. Iron Guard_sentence_61

Sima was close to SS Volksgruppenführer Andreas Schmidt, a volksdeutsch (ethnic German) from Romania, and through him become close to Schmidt's father-in-law, the powerful Gottlob Berger who headed the SS Main Office in Berlin. Iron Guard_sentence_62

The British historian Rebecca Haynes has argued that financial and organizational support from the SS was an important factor in Sima's rise. Iron Guard_sentence_63

Sima's ascendancy Iron Guard_section_4

See also: Horia Sima, Romania in World War II, and Legionnaires' rebellion and Bucharest pogrom Iron Guard_sentence_64

In the first months of World War II, Romania was officially neutral. Iron Guard_sentence_65

However the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939, initially a secret document, stipulated, among other things, Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia. Iron Guard_sentence_66

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on 1 September, joined by the Soviet Union on 17 September, Romania granted refuge to members of Poland's fleeing government and military. Iron Guard_sentence_67

Even after the assassination of Călinescu on 21 September, King Carol tried to maintain neutrality, but the later surrender by France and Britain's retreat from Europe rendered them unable to fulfil their assurances to Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_68

A lean toward the Axis powers was probably inevitable. Iron Guard_sentence_69

This political alignment was obviously favourable to the surviving legionnaires, and became even more so after France fell in May 1940. Iron Guard_sentence_70

Sima and several other legionnaires who had taken refuge in Germany began slipping back into Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_71

A month after the fall of France, Carol restructured his regime's single party, the National Renaissance Front, into the more overtly totalitarian "Party of the Nation," and invited a number of legionnaires to take part in the restructured government. Iron Guard_sentence_72

On 4 July, Sima and two other leading legionnaires joined the government of Ion Gigurtu. Iron Guard_sentence_73

However, they resigned after only a month due to mounting pressure for Carol to abdicate. Iron Guard_sentence_74

The Second Vienna Award, which forced Romania to cede much of northern Transylvania to Hungary, angered Romanians of all political shades and all but destroyed Carol politically. Iron Guard_sentence_75

Despite this, a legionnaire coup on 3 September failed. Iron Guard_sentence_76

Electoral history Iron Guard_section_5

At the 1927 and the 1931 elections the movement stood for the Chamber of Deputies as Legion of the Archangel Michael. Iron Guard_sentence_77

In 1932 it stood as the Codreanu Group, winning five of the 387 seats. Iron Guard_sentence_78

It did not contest the 1928 election and was banned in 1933. Iron Guard_sentence_79

At the 1937 election it stood as Everything for the Country Party, winning 66 of the 387 seats. Iron Guard_sentence_80

At the 1939 election, all opposition parties were banned. Iron Guard_sentence_81

Iron Guard_table_general_1

ElectionIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_0 VotesIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_1 %Iron Guard_header_cell_1_0_2 AssemblyIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_3 SenateIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_4 RankIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_5 GovernmentIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_6 Leader of the

national listIron Guard_header_cell_1_0_7

1927Iron Guard_header_cell_1_1_0 10,761Iron Guard_cell_1_1_1 0.4%Iron Guard_cell_1_1_2 0 / 387Iron Guard_cell_1_1_3 0 / 113Iron Guard_cell_1_1_4 8thIron Guard_cell_1_1_5 in oppositionIron Guard_cell_1_1_6 Corneliu Zelea CodreanuIron Guard_cell_1_1_7
1931Iron Guard_header_cell_1_2_0 30,783Iron Guard_cell_1_2_1 1.1%Iron Guard_cell_1_2_2 0 / 387Iron Guard_cell_1_2_3 0 / 110Iron Guard_cell_1_2_4 12thIron Guard_cell_1_2_5 in oppositionIron Guard_cell_1_2_6 Corneliu Zelea CodreanuIron Guard_cell_1_2_7
1932Iron Guard_header_cell_1_3_0 70,674Iron Guard_cell_1_3_1 2.4%Iron Guard_cell_1_3_2 5 / 387Iron Guard_cell_1_3_3 0 / 113Iron Guard_cell_1_3_4 9thIron Guard_cell_1_3_5 in oppositionIron Guard_cell_1_3_6 Corneliu Zelea CodreanuIron Guard_cell_1_3_7
1937Iron Guard_header_cell_1_4_0 478,378Iron Guard_cell_1_4_1 15.8%Iron Guard_cell_1_4_2 66 / 387Iron Guard_cell_1_4_3 4 / 113Iron Guard_cell_1_4_4 3rdIron Guard_cell_1_4_5 supporting the minority governmentIron Guard_cell_1_4_6 Corneliu Zelea CodreanuIron Guard_cell_1_4_7

In power Iron Guard_section_6

More or less out of desperation, King Carol II named General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu as prime minister, partly because of the general's close ties with the Legion. Iron Guard_sentence_82

Unknown to Carol, however, Antonescu had secretly reached an agreement with other political figures to force out the king. Iron Guard_sentence_83

Amid popular outrage at the Second Vienna Award, Carol's position became untenable, and he was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Michael, who quickly confirmed Antonescu's dictatorial powers and granted him the title of Conducător (leader) of Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_84

Although Antonescu was an archnationalist and authoritarian, his first preference was to form a government of national unity, in which all parties would have accepted him as dictator. Iron Guard_sentence_85

However, with the exception of the Legion, the other parties at least wanted to maintain the appearance of parliamentary rule. Iron Guard_sentence_86

The Legion, in contrast, fully supported Antonescu's vision of an ultranationalst and authoritarian regime. Iron Guard_sentence_87

With this in mind, Antonescu formed an alliance with the Legion on 15 September. Iron Guard_sentence_88

As part of the deal, Romania was proclaimed a "National Legionary State," with the Legion as the country's only legal party. Iron Guard_sentence_89

Antonescu became the Legion's honorary leader. Iron Guard_sentence_90

Sima became deputy premier, and four other legionnaires joined Sima in the cabinet. Iron Guard_sentence_91

Once in power, from September 14, 1940 until January 21, 1941, the Legion ratcheted up the level of already harsh anti-Semitic legislation and pursued, with impunity, a campaign of pogroms and political assassinations. Iron Guard_sentence_92

On November 27, 1940 more than 60 former dignitaries or officials were executed in Jilava prison while awaiting trial. Iron Guard_sentence_93

The following day, historian and former prime minister Nicolae Iorga and economic theorist Virgil Madgearu were assassinated; assassination attempts were made on former prime ministers and Carol supporters Constantin Argetoianu, Guță Tătărescu and Ion Gigurtu, but they were freed from the hands of the Legionary police and put under military protection. Iron Guard_sentence_94

Armaments Iron Guard_section_7

As a paramilitary force, the Iron Guard had no shortage of firearms while in power. Iron Guard_sentence_95

At the start of 1941, in Bucharest alone, the Legionnaires had 5,000 guns (rifles, revolvers and machine guns) as well as numerous hand grenades. Iron Guard_sentence_96

The Legion also possessed a small, mostly symbolic armored force of four vehicles: two police armored cars and two Renault UE Chenillettes from the Malaxa factory. Iron Guard_sentence_97

The Malaxa factory had been licence-producing these French armored vehicles since mid-1939, and aside from the two such machines, the factory also supplied the Legion with machine guns and rifles. Iron Guard_sentence_98

For transport, the Legion possessed almost 200 trucks in Bucharest alone. Iron Guard_sentence_99

Failure and destruction Iron Guard_section_8

Main article: Legionnaires' rebellion and Bucharest pogrom Iron Guard_sentence_100

Once in power, Sima and Antonescu quarreled bitterly. Iron Guard_sentence_101

According to historian Stanley G. Payne, Antonescu intended to create a situation analogous to that of Francisco Franco's regime in Spain, in which the Legion would be subordinated to the state. Iron Guard_sentence_102

He demanded that Sima cede overall leadership of the Legion to him, but Sima refused. Iron Guard_sentence_103

Sima demanded that the government follow the 'legionary spirit', and all major offices be held by legionaries. Iron Guard_sentence_104

Other groups were to be dissolved. Iron Guard_sentence_105

Economic policy, said Sima, should be coordinated closely with Germany. Iron Guard_sentence_106

Antonescu rejected Sima's demands and was alarmed by the Iron Guard's death squads. Iron Guard_sentence_107

He decided to bide his time until he had a chance to destroy the Legion once and for all. Iron Guard_sentence_108

On 14 January 1941, after securing approval in person from Hitler, and with support of the Romanian army and other political leaders, Antonescu moved in. Iron Guard_sentence_109

The Guard started a last-ditch coup attempt but in a three-day civil war, Antonescu won decisively with support from the Romanian and German armies. Iron Guard_sentence_110

During the run-up to the coup attempt, different factions of the German government backed different sides in Romania with the SS supporting the Iron Guard while the military and the Auswärtiges Amt supported General Antonescu. Iron Guard_sentence_111

Baron Otto von Bolschwing of the SS who was stationed at the German embassy in Bucharest played a major role in smuggling arms for the Iron Guard. Iron Guard_sentence_112

During the crisis members of the Iron Guard instigated a deadly pogrom in Bucharest. Iron Guard_sentence_113

Particularly gruesome was the murder of dozens of Jewish civilians in the Bucharest slaughterhouse. Iron Guard_sentence_114

The perpetrators hanged the Jews from meat hooks, then mutilated and killed them in a vicious parody of kosher slaughtering practices. Iron Guard_sentence_115

The American ambassador to Romania Franklin Mott Gunther who toured the meat-packing plant where the Jews were slaughtered with the placards reading "Kosher meat" on them reported back to Washington: "Sixty Jewish corpses were discovered on the hooks used for carcasses. Iron Guard_sentence_116

They were all skinned....and the quantity of blood about was evidence that they had been skinned alive". Iron Guard_sentence_117

Gunther wrote he was especially shocked that one of the Jewish victims hanging on the meat hooks was a 5-year-old girl. Iron Guard_sentence_118

Sima and other legionnaires were helped by the Germans to escape to Germany. Iron Guard_sentence_119

During the rebellion and pogrom, the Iron Guard killed 125 Jews, while 30 soldiers died in the confrontation with the rebels. Iron Guard_sentence_120

Following it, the Iron Guard movement was banned and 9,000 of its members were imprisoned. Iron Guard_sentence_121

On 22 June 1941, the Iron Guards imprisoned in Iași since January by the Antonescu regime were released from prison and organized and armed by the police as part of the preparations for the Iași pogrom. Iron Guard_sentence_122

When it came to killing Jews, the Antonescu regime and the Iron Guard were capable of finding common ground despite the failed coup in January 1941. Iron Guard_sentence_123

When the pogrom began in Iași on 27 June 1941, the Iron Guards armed with crow-bars and knives played a prominent role in leading the mobs that slaughtered Jews on the streets of Iași in one of the bloodiest pogroms ever in Europe. Iron Guard_sentence_124

Between 1944 and 1947 Romania had a coalition government in which the Communists played a leading, but not yet dominant role. Iron Guard_sentence_125

Journalist Edward Behr claimed that in early 1947, a secret agreement was signed by the leaders of the exiled Iron Guard in displaced persons (DP) camps in Germany and Austria and the Romanian Communist Party, under which the all of the Iron Guards in the DP camps except for those accused of the murder of Communists could return home to Romania in exchange for which the former Iron Guards would work as thugs to terrorize the anti-communist opposition as part of the plans for the ultimate Communist take-over of Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_126

Behr further claimed that in the months after the "non-aggression pact" between the Communists and the Legion, thousands of Iron Guards returned to Romania where they played a prominent role working for the Interior Ministry in breaking opposition to the emerging socialist government. Iron Guard_sentence_127

Description Iron Guard_section_9

Ideology Iron Guard_section_10

Historian Stanley G. Payne writes in his study of Fascism, "The Legion was arguably the most unusual mass movement of interwar Europe." Iron Guard_sentence_128

It was distinguished among other contemporaneous European fascist movements with respect to its understanding of nationalism, which was indelibly tied to religion. Iron Guard_sentence_129

According to Ioanid, the Legion "willingly inserted strong elements of Orthodox Christianity into its political ideology to the point of becoming one of the rare modern European political movements with a religious ideological structure." Iron Guard_sentence_130

The movement's leader, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, was a religious patriot who aimed at a spiritual resurrection for the nation, writing the movement was a "spiritual school...[which] strikes to transform and revolutionise the Romanian soul." Iron Guard_sentence_131

According to Codreanu's philosophy, human life was a sinful, violent political war, which would ultimately be transcended by the spiritual nation. Iron Guard_sentence_132

In this schema, the Legionnaire might have to perform actions beyond the simple will to fight, suppressing the preserving instinct for the sake of the country. Iron Guard_sentence_133

Like many other fascist movements, the Legion called for a revolutionary "new man", though this was not defined in physical terms, as with the Nazis, but was aimed at recreating and purifying oneself to bring the whole nation closer to God. Iron Guard_sentence_134

One of the qualities of this new man was selflessness; Codreanu wrote "When a politician enters a party the first question that he puts is 'what can I gain from this?...when a legionary enters the Legion he says 'For myself I want nothing'". Iron Guard_sentence_135

The Legion lacked a well-developed and consistent economic policy, though it generally promoted the idea of a communal or national economy, rejecting capitalism as overly materialistic. Iron Guard_sentence_136

The movement considered its main enemies to be the present political leadership and the Jews. Iron Guard_sentence_137

Style Iron Guard_section_11

Members wore dark green uniforms, which symbolized renewal, and accounted for them being occasionally referenced as "Greenshirts" (Cămășile verzi). Iron Guard_sentence_138

Like fascist counterparts in Italy and Germany, legionnaires greeted each other using the Roman salute. Iron Guard_sentence_139

The main symbol of the Iron Guard was a triple cross (a variant of the triple parted and fretted one), standing for prison bars (as a badge of martyrdom), and sometimes referred to as the "Archangel Michael Cross" (Crucea Arhanghelului Mihail). Iron Guard_sentence_140

The Legion developed a cult of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, best exemplified by the action group, Echipa morții, or "Death Squad". Iron Guard_sentence_141

Codreanu claimed the name was chosen because members were ready to accept death while campaigning for the organization. Iron Guard_sentence_142

A chapter of the Legion was called a cuib, or "nest," and was arranged around the virtues of discipline, work, silence, education, mutual aid, and honor. Iron Guard_sentence_143

The Iron Guard and gender Iron Guard_section_12

According to a 1933 police report, 8% of the Iron Guard's members were women, while a police report from 1938 place the figure at 11%. Iron Guard_sentence_144

Part of the reason for the overwhelming male membership of the Iron Guard was that a disproportionate number of legionnaires were university students and very few women went to university in Romania during the inter-war period. Iron Guard_sentence_145

In the Romanian language, plurals are attached to most nouns that have either a masculine or feminine form. Iron Guard_sentence_146

Words in English that are gender-neutral, such as "youth" or "member", are used in Romanian to refer either to Romanian men or Romanian women, young men or young women, and male members or female members. Iron Guard_sentence_147

The Iron Guard almost always used the masculine plural forms in their writings and speeches, which may perhaps suggest that they had a male audience in mind, although in Romanian, like most languages, the masculine plural is also used for mixed-gender groups. Iron Guard_sentence_148

The Iron Guard explained that the problem of poverty in Romania was due to the Jews' ongoing colonization of Romania, which prevented Christian Romanians from getting ahead economically. Iron Guard_sentence_149

The solution to this perceived problem was to drive the Jews out of Romania, which the Iron Guard claimed would finally allow Eastern Orthodox Romanians to rise to the middle class. Iron Guard_sentence_150

The Iron Guard claimed that this Jewish "colonization" was due to most Romanian men lacking the masculine courage to protect their interests. Iron Guard_sentence_151

In strikingly sexualized language, the Iron Guards argued that most Romanian men had been "emasculated" and were suffering from "sterility", which one Iron Guard, Alexandru Cantacuzino, called the "plague of the present" in a 1937 essay. Iron Guard_sentence_152

Notably, the term Cantacuzino used was the masculine sterilitate rather than the feminine stearpă. Iron Guard_sentence_153

The Iron Guards constantly spoke in viscerally sexualized rhetoric of the need to create a "new man" who would be "virile" and "strong", and end the "emasculation" of Romanian men. Iron Guard_sentence_154

Beyond that, the Legion's obsession with violence and self-sacrifice were both subjects that were traditionally considered to be masculine in Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_155

Legacy Iron Guard_section_13

The name Garda de Fier is also used by a small nationalist group active in the post-communist Romania. Iron Guard_sentence_156

There are several contemporary far-right organizations in Romania, such as (For the Motherland) and Noua Dreaptă (The New Right), the latter considering itself heir to the Iron Guard's political philosophy, including personality cult centered on Corneliu Codreanu; however, the group uses the Celtic cross, which is not associated with legionnairism. Iron Guard_sentence_157

Legionary architecture Iron Guard_section_14

Through their summer work camps, the Legionnaires performed volunteer work involving the construction and reparation of roads, bridges, churches and schools in rural areas. Iron Guard_sentence_158

One notable construction of the Iron Guard is the "Green House" (Casa Verde). Iron Guard_sentence_159

Built in the Romanian architectural style, this building on the outskirts of 1930s Bucharest served as the Legion's headquarters and home to Codreanu. Iron Guard_sentence_160

The intention of these camps was to cultivate athleticism, discipline, sense of community and elimination of certain societal divisions. Iron Guard_sentence_161

Horia Sima stated that the camps "destroyed class prejudice" by bringing together those from different classes. Iron Guard_sentence_162

The attendees were not allowed to leave the camp except for emergencies and in their free time were to read literature. Iron Guard_sentence_163

Following completion of camp time a diploma was received. Iron Guard_sentence_164

Public commemoration Iron Guard_section_15

The Iron Guard is currently commemorated in Romania and elsewhere through permanent public displays (monuments and street names) as well as public distinctions (such as posthumous honorary citizenship) dedicated to some of its members. Iron Guard_sentence_165

A few such examples include: Iron Guard_sentence_166

Iron Guard_unordered_list_0

  • Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the leader of the Iron Guard, has a roadside cross a few miles from Bucharest, near Buftea. It was built on the spot where he was executed in 1938. The site serves as a current destination for neo-Legionaries, who regularly gather there to commemorate Codreanu. Occasionally, members of right-wing extremist parties from outside Romania (such as Germany, Sweden and Italy) also attend these ceremonies. In 2012, the Elie Wiesel Institute notified the Romanian general prosecutor about the monument, claiming that two symbols displayed at the site – the logo of the Iron Guard and a photograph of Codreanu – were illegal. The prosecutor decided that the memorial did not violate the law, because Codreanu had not been convicted for crimes against peace or crimes against humanity, and because the symbols displayed are not propaganda. Finally, the prosecutor referred to a legal exception which stated that the public use of such symbols is allowed if it serves an educational, academic or artistic purpose. However, the prosecutor also established that the flagpole and fence did not have a construction permit, so they were removed. The cross itself was left in its place.Iron Guard_item_0_0
  • Radu Gyr was a commander and ideologue of the Iron Guard who was convicted of war crimes. The Wiesel Institute requested the renaming of Radu Gyr Street in Cluj-Napoca. As of December 2017, the street had not been renamed.Iron Guard_item_0_1
  • Valeriu Gafencu was a Legionary who was active during the Legionary Rebellion. He is now an honorary citizen of the town of Târgu Ocna.Iron Guard_item_0_2
  • Ion Gavrilă Ogoranu was one of the main leaders of the Romanian anti-communist resistance movement, but prior to that he was a member of the Iron Guard. He now has a monument in his memory in Deva, plus a foundation that bears his name. The neo-Legionary "Ion Gavrilă Ogoranu" Foundation is active in promoting the memory of the Iron Guard, such as when it organized a symposium dedicated to Gogu Puiu, a prominent Iron Guard leader, in January 2016. A motion-picture about Ogoranu's life, Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man, was produced in 2010.Iron Guard_item_0_3
  • Ion Moța and Vasile Marin were two Legionaries who were killed during the Spanish Civil War on 13 January 1937 while fighting on Franco's side. At Majadahonda, the site of their deaths, a monument was built in their honor.Iron Guard_item_0_4
  • Mihail Manoilescu was an economist and politician, Governor of the National Bank of Romania between June and November 1931. In 1937, he joined the Iron Guard when he ran as a senator on the list of the Totul pentru Țară, an organization established by the Iron Guard. He succeeded in becoming senator following the election. His views corresponded to a large extent with the ideology of the Iron Guard. In 1948, he was detained at the Sighet Prison where he died in 1950. He never faced trial, and thus he was never convicted. On 14 April 2016, the National Bank of Romania issued a set of commemorative coins in the honor of three former bank governors. Manoilescu, who led the bank for several months in 1931, was among them. Manoilescu's inclusion drew strong protests from the Wiesel Institute, on the grounds of Manoilescu's advocacy of Fascist ideology and antisemitism before World War II. In spite of the criticism, the Bank did not withdraw the coin.Iron Guard_item_0_5
  • Historian Mircea Eliade was perhaps the most well-known person to have been a member of the Iron Guard. As with Manoilescu, his membership was the result of his joining the Totul pentru Țară. Eliade is currently honored by various means, ranging from stamps to busts.Iron Guard_item_0_6

Iron Guard in other countries Iron Guard_section_16

The defunct American neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party of the Nationalist Front took influence from Corneilu Zelia Codreanu for their ideology. Iron Guard_sentence_167

The group's leader Matthew Heimbach (a Catholic convert to Orthodox Christianity) was photographed wearing a T-shirt promoting Codreanu and the Iron Guard's Archangel Michael's Cross symbol in the aftermath of the August 2017 Charlottesville riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. Iron Guard_sentence_168

The Archangel Michael's Cross was among the symbols emblazoned on the firearms used by Brenton Tarrant during the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Iron Guard_sentence_169

During a 2018 interview with alt-right Mormon blogger Ayla Stewart, the Canadian white nationalist Faith J. Goldy recommended Codreanu's book For My Legionaries — which explicitly called for the extermination of the Jews — calling it "very, very, very, very spot on, given a lot of what the movement is talking about right now"; she later said she no longer endorsed the book. Iron Guard_sentence_170

The Iron Guard symbol was also spotted at Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee when the building was burned deliberately. Iron Guard_sentence_171

See also Iron Guard_section_17

Iron Guard_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Guard.