Alexandru Vaida-Voevod


Alexandru Vaida-Voevod

Alexandru Vaida-Voevod or Vaida-Voievod (February 27, 1872—March 19, 1950) was a Romanian politician who was a supporter and promoter of the union of Transylvania (a part of the Hungarian Kingdom in Austria-Hungary) with the Romanian Old Kingdom; he later served three terms as a Prime Minister of Greater Romania.

Transylvanian politics

He was born to a Greek-Catholic family in the Transylvanian village of Bobâlna (known at the time as "Olpret"). Initially, Voevod was supportive of a plan to federalize the domains of the Habsburgs along the lines of a "United States of Greater Austria", and was close to Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In 1906, he joined a group of Romanian nationalists in the Budapest Parliament (the Romanian National Party of Transylvania and Banat), becoming an important opponent of the Hungarian governmental policy of forced Magyarization of Romanians, and fought for the right of Transylvania to self-determination. Disappointed by the Austrian cause after Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo, and turned towards an advocacy of Transylvania's union with Romania; he and his party presented a demand for self-determination along Wilsonian principles to the Hungarian legislative in October 1918.

In December 1918, after Hungary surrendered in World War I, he was part of the Transylvanian council that proclaimed the union with Romania, and was, alongside Vasile Goldiş, Iuliu Hossu, and Miron Cristea, a member of the Transylvanian group of envoys that presented the decision to King Ferdinand I in Bucharest.

In Romania

Vaida-Voevod joined the Romanian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and was one of its most prominent members throughout the negotiations, as an organizer of press campaigns.

The elections of November 1919 were successful for his party, and he replaced the National Liberal Ion I. C. Brătianu as Prime Minister and Nicolae Mişu as Foreign Minister. He secured the new borders by ordering Romanian troops to fight off the Hungarian Soviet Republic. However, his radical approach toward the land reforms made King Ferdinand dissolve his government in March 1920, to be replaced by one formed by General Alexandru Averescu's People's Party (a populist movement that had attracted Brătianu's conditional support). Vaida-Voevod's party emerged as the National Peasants' Party in 1926, and he served as its leader.

Nonetheless, the problems posed by his new cabinets (in 1932 and 1933) - the Legionary Movement's intimidation of the political scene, and Vaida-Voevod's own Anti-semitism (which began to manifest itself in measures of repression encouraged by the Legionaries), led to a split between the Prime Minister and his Party. His second government fell because of Armand Călinescu, who was a staunch opponent of the Legionary Movement.

He began opening up to Fascism and Nazism, and created his own movement, the Romanian Front, which survived through the increasingly authoritarian regime of Carol II, the National Legionary State, and most of World War II, officially ending around 1944. Nevertheless, the party never elluded obscurity in front of competition from the Legionaries, and its members were victims of the repression carried out by the communist regime after 1948. Vaida-Voevod was arrested on March 24 1945. In 1946, he was put under house arrest in Sibiu, where he spent the rest of his life.

References

* [http://www.history-cluj.ro/Istorie/anuare/2003/Vasile%20Ciobanu.htm Vasile Ciobanu, "Activitatea diplomatică a lui Alexandru Vaida Voevod la Paris (1918)"] ("The Diplomatic Activities of Alexandru Vaida Voevod in Paris (1918)")
*Liviu Maior, "Alexandru Vaida-Voevod între Belvedere şi Versailles" ("Alexandru Vaida-Voevod Between Belvedere and Versailles"), Cluj-Napoca, 1993
*Vasile Niculae, Ion Ilincioiu, Stelian Neagoe, "Doctrina ţărănistă în România. Antologie de texte" ("Peasant Doctrine in Romania. Collected Texts"), Editura Noua Alternativă, Social Theory Institute of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, 1994
* [http://www.itcnet.ro/history/archive/mi1997/current5/mi41.htm Ioan Scurtu, "Mit şi realitate. Alexandru Averescu"] ("Myth and Reality. Alexandru Averescu"), in "Magazin Istoric"


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