National-Christian Defense League

National-Christian Defense League
Liga Apărării Național Creștine
President A. C. Cuza
Secretary-General Nichifor Crainic
Founded March 1923
Dissolved July 16, 1935
Merged into National Christian Party
Headquarters Bucharest, Kingdom of Romania
Paramilitary wing Lăncieri
Ideology Ultranationalism
Political position Far-right
Religion Romanian Orthodoxy
International affiliation None
Colours              Blue, Yellow, Red
     Black (costumary)
Party flag

The National-Christian Defense League (Romanian: Liga Apărării Național Creștine, LANC) was a far-right political party of Romania formed by A. C. Cuza.[1]


The group had its roots in the National Christian Union, formed in 1922 by Cuza and the famed physiologist Nicolae Paulescu. This group morphed in to the LANC in 1923.[2] The swastika became the symbol of Cuza's movement and appeared in its publications, booklets and electoral programs. Cuza claimed that the symbol was purely Romanian in character and denied that LANC had copied the Nazi party's symbol.[3] :27 The LANC became associated with extreme anti-Semitism, calling for a gradual withdrawal of rights for Jews which would include the withdrawal of political rights for all Jews, the withdrawal of citizenship for most and a gradual policy of reapportionment of Jewish land and businesses.[4] In order to accomplish this they hoped to begin by excluding Jews from the professions and the upper echelons of the armed forces.[5] By 1927, the party banner became the flag of Romania with a swastika in the centre.[6] Much of LANC's ideas were framed within theological arguments which were created by Nichifor Crainic, who served as Secretary General of the group.[7]


Initially the LANC gained some support and its blue shirted militia group, the Lăncieri, gained notoriety for their anti-Semitic activities in the universities.[8] Increasing its influence the LANC mopped up most of the followers of groups such as the National Fascist Movement and the National Romanian Fascia during the mid-1920s.[9] Support for LANC was particularly strong in Bukovina, Maramures, Northern Moldavia and Transylvania and this central northern region was to prove most responsive to fascism in Romania throughout the 1920s and 1930s.[10]


However Cuza's leadership, characterised as it was by his level-headed professorial approach, led to some discontent particularly amongst the group's youth and student movement, the Legion of the Archangel Michael of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, where the prevailing mood was one in favour of violent action. As a result, LANC received a blow in 1927 when Codreanu and his Legion broke off to form a distinct movement (which ultimately emerged as the Iron Guard) and the LANC's stock fell somewhat.[11]


The LANC managed to regroup and returned to the Chamber of Deputies in December 1933, returning nine members in the general election.[8] Despite this recovery the League had still fallen some way behind the Iron Guard and it soon became clear that it needed to expand if it hoped to have any power. As such Crainic took the lead in organizing negotiations with Octavian Goga and his National Agrarian Party and the LANC was merged with this party to form the National Christian Party on July 16, 1935.[8]


  1. Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 14
  2. Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 21
  3. Volovici, Leon (1991). Nationalist Ideology and Antisemitism: The Case of Romanian Intellectuals in the 1930s. Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-041024-3.
  4. Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 22
  5. F.L. Carsten, The Rise of Fascism, Methuen & Co, 1974, pp. 183-184
  6. Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 23
  7. Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 25
  8. 1 2 3 Background and Precursors to the Holocaust, p. 26
  9. Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, London: Routledge, 2001, p. 136
  10. Michael Mann, Fascists, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 283
  11. Mann, Fascists, p. 265
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