The world today looks back with terrified eyes towards the totalitarian movements in history. During the second half of the last century, Europe was divided between fascism and communism.
Being part of the Eastern Europe, Romania fell under communism; but before that, the country was really close to embrace fascism. The Legionary movement was a particular form of fascism founded on 24th of June 1927, by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.
Many historians say that the Legionary movement was not pure and original, and was only a trend borrowed from the Italian fascism. On the contrary, there are many other specialists who claim that the Romanian fascism had its own doctrines and objectives that substantially differed from the other two forms.
The surprising fact is that over the past years the legionnaires interviewed were not ashamed of having been part of the movement and moreover they were talked about their achievements and about their "captain", Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.
The movement was especially about fighting against the spread of the communism in Romania. They were also against the U.S.S.R. influence and expansion, and were also anti-semitic.
The differentiation factor came from their mystique orientation. They were profoundly religious and fought to keep traditions intact. Therefore, they would fight against any other religion.
Like any other social movements, they had some accomplishments and some faults. Many would say that the accomplishments were not enough to cover the gravity of the many faults.
A positive aspect of their doctrine was the fact that they promoted high values such as love and compassion for the poor and ill. They also promoted higher education. They used to select the members of the Legion from a scholar environment. The brightest students from schools and universities were selected to be part of fraternities.
The fraternities were smaller groups spread all over the country in which the members were instructed to be religious and to respect the high society values. Another positive aspect was that they were not only theoreticians, but they also applied the teachings in real life. They built shelters for the poor, and helped widows and orphans.
The contrast comes from the selectivity regarding the application of these values. They were filled with hatred for the Jews, gypsies, and communists. They used physical violence against them. In order to do this, they had meetings during the night when they intensely prepared.
Also, they were taken to camps where they were military instructed to know how to use their weapons. The historical sources show that they caused many murders, and many people died only because they were born Jews or gypsies.
The attacks decreased in frequency when the members of the Legion movement began to be prosecuted for their political orientation. This happened before and after the Second World War. They were imprisoned and their leaders were executed.
It is interesting that many high and illuminated minds were taking their sides, such as the writer Mircea Eliade or the two great philosophers, Constantin Noica and Emil Cioran.
Many explained that this phenomenon was the only viable alternative at the time. High values were trampled on the ground. Communism was knocking at the Eastern border, and people began to forget their God and corruption was ruling the political world.
The Legionary movement offered the only different alternative and hence, people were attracted to it. As Codreanu said, the country was not lacking political programs, they were lacking people. And that is what the legion promised - to make virtuous men and women. The problem is they wanted to do it at any expense and to somebody's detriment.
In conclusion, the Legionary Movement was a social, political, and cultural movement. The members of this party were characterized by their anti communism and anti-semitic sentiments, and mystique orientation.
A great majority condemns them even today, but they still have certain admirers who justify and even praise them. It is however horrifying what they did. It is horrible how people can deceive others thinking they do the work of God while they act like Satan. May God give us all discernment and sound mind.