Stephen J. Lee

British historian

Stephen J. Lee was Head of History at Bromsgrove School in Birmingham, United Kingdom.


  • During the 1930s Romanian fascism was highly complex: it consisted of several movements and layers which varied in intensity from proto-fascism to the genuine article. By far the most important, however, was the Legion and Iron Guard, Codreanu providing the sort of charismatic leadership which was more commonly associated with Hitler and Mussolini. His ideas also had much in common with Nazism. [...] Most of this cut little ice with those in power: the monarchy, the army officers and traditionalist politicians. They were less concerned about mobilization of opinion that about the accumulation of power and about dealing with opponents; increasingly, Condreanu came to be seen as dangerous radical who would destabilize the regime. Although some observers claim that Carol was a 'monarcho-fascist', this term is not particularly appropriate. Carol was never inclined to any systematic ideology and remained traditional and conservative in his policies. This also applied to Michael and the Conducator, Antonescu. Yet, when the latter did finally succeeded in destroying the Legion, he ruled, in Payne's words as 'a right radical nationalist dictator with the support of the military'. Strangely, this was preferred by Hitler since Antonescu offered more security as a Romanian satellite. This was understandable because Hitler's main concern in 1941 was the military use of Romania rather than its complete ideological conversion. Hence, a conservative regime which had been radicalized by its contact with fascism was an ideal balance. In any case this radicalized conservationism proved to be one of the most extreme of all the European states in its policies toward the Jews