Corneliu Zelea Codreanu
1899 – 1938
Who was Corneliu Zelea Codreanu?
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu — born Corneliu Zelinski and commonly known as Corneliu Codreanu — was a Romanian politician of the far right, the founder and charismatic leader of the Iron Guard or The Legion of the Archangel Michael, an ultra-nationalist and violently antisemitic organization active throughout most of the interwar period. Generally seen as the main variety of local fascism, and noted for its mystical and Romanian Orthodox-inspired revolutionary message, it grew into an important actor on the Romanian political stage, coming into conflict with the political establishment and the democratic forces, and often resorting to terrorism. The Legionaries traditionally referred to Codreanu as Căpitanul, and he held absolute authority over the organization until his death.
Codreanu, who began his career in the wake of World War I as an anticommunist and antisemitic agitator associated with A. C. Cuza and Constantin Pancu, was a co-founder of the National-Christian Defense League and assassin of the Iaşi Police prefect Constantin Manciu. Codreanu left Cuza to found a succession of movements on the far right, rallying around him a growing segment of the country's intelligentsia and peasant population, and inciting pogroms in various parts of Greater Romania. Several times outlawed by successive Romanian cabinets, his Legion assumed different names and survived in the underground, during which time Codreanu formally delegated leadership to Gheorghe Cantacuzino-Grănicerul. Following Codreanu's instructions, the Legion carried out assassinations of politicians it viewed as corrupt, including Premier Ion G. Duca and his former associate Mihai Stelescu. Simultaneously, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu advocated Romania's adherence to a military and political alliance with Nazi Germany.
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- Sep 13, 1899
- Also known as
- Codreanu, Corneliu
- Corneliu Codreanu
- Corneliu Zelinski
- Romanian Orthodox Church
- Alexandru Ioan Cuza University
- Lived in
- Nov 30, 1938
on July 23, 2013
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"Corneliu Zelea Codreanu." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/corneliu_zelea_codreanu>.