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Antonescu, Ion

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1886–1946), Prime Minister of romania (1940–4). Born of middle-class parentage, he entered the army and served with distinction in World War I. In 1932 he was appointed minister of war, and in September 1940 became premier on the abdication of King carol ii , who was succeeded by Michael I. The new king's powers were largely ceremonial. Real authority lay with Antonescu who had himself appointed Conducǎtor (Leader). His dictatorship operated initially with the support of the iron guard , though this movement was suppressed in early 1941 for fear that it might become a state within a state. In foreign policy Antonescu took Romania firmly into the German camp, and he personally took part in Operation barbarossa , helping to reconquer Bessarabia and bukovina which had been lost to the soviet union in June 1940. Antonescu's popularity declined steeply in 1943 when Romanian armies suffered heavy losses inside the USSR (see also stalingrad , battle of ). There was also growing disquiet at internal repressive measures, which resulted in the murder of 350,000 jews and Gypsies. Aware of the way in which the war was turning, in 1943 Antonescu attempted peace negotiations with the Allies, but could not agree terms. In August 1944, with the red army close by, King Michael had Antonescu arrested, and sought an armistice. Two years later, Antonescu was tried for treason and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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