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The role of anti-Semitism in the ideology of the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’ (1927-1938)

Cârstocea, R.M.; (2011) The role of anti-Semitism in the ideology of the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’ (1927-1938). Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the role of anti-Semitism in the ideology of the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’, the only lasting mass movement in Romanian history and the third largest fascist organisation in Europe. The legionary movement’s revolutionary character and rejection of democratic institutions, its ideological emphasis on a project of ‘regeneration’ of the nation, its ultra-nationalism, and its populist propaganda style allow us to include it within the category of generic fascism, as defined by Roger Griffin. One of the commonplaces in theories of fascism argues that it was, as an ideology, better defined by what it stood against than what it stood for. By analysing the relationship between the legionary movement’s fascist character and its anti- Semitism, the present research seeks to link the two. Thus, this thesis argues for the centrality of the representation of ‘the Jew’ in legionary ideology, seen as a locus of displacement of the real problems facing the rapidly modernising Romanian society and at the same time a rationalisation of its desired state. The entire fascist project of complete transformation of the country found its equally synthetic negative in the movement’s representation of the Jewish community. The analysis of legionary anti-Semitism and its connection with the movement’s fascist character is carried out through the lens of the ‘new consensus’ in theories of fascism, as well as with the help of a methodology indebted mostly to psychoanalytic theory and its adaptations to the understanding of social phenomena by discourse theory. Backed up by research on previously unexplored archival sources, the present thesis combines in an interdisciplinary approach the study of the historical conditions and psychological factors affecting the rise of anti-Semitism in interwar Romania, and allows an exploration of the dynamics of fear and fantasy visible in the legionary representation of the ‘Jew’.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The role of anti-Semitism in the ideology of the ‘Legion of the Archangel Michael’ (1927-1938)
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES

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