Ion Antonescu remains a controversial figure in the recent history of Romania. For some he is a national hero, others regard him as a war criminal. His rise to power took place in a period of major instability for Romania.
The country lost one by one in 1940: Bessarabia, Northern Transylvania, and the Cadrilater . In this situation, the political regime of King Carol II lost all credibility and popular support.
After deposing King Carol II in September 1940, Antonescu proclaimed himself “Leader of the State”(Romanian “Conducator), a position created on the spot and approximately equivalent to that of Führer that Adolf Hitler had assumed in Germany seven years earlier. If Hitler had gained absolute control of Germany by combining the powers of chancellor with that of the president, Antonescu had limited himself to reducing the Royal House to a formal role, in order to concentrate almost all state power in his hands.
Ion Antonescu remains in history as the one who decided the entry of the Romanian Army into World War II in June 1941 alongside Germany and Italy, based on Adolf Hitler’s promises that Romania would be returned to Bessarabia and Northern Transylvania. Although successfully recovering Bessarabia after a short campaign in 1941, Antonescu decided to send the Romanian army to fight the Red Army in the Soviet Union, a decision that will later prove fatally for his regime.
On 23 August 1944, when the tide of the war turned against Nazi Germany, and Bessarabia was lost again to the Soviets; Ion Antonescu lost all his support and after a coup organized by King Michael I, he was ousted from power.
The below 25 Ion Antonescu quotes reflect his views on politics, war and will probably help you to better understand the personality of the “Conducator”:
- I’m honored that I could fight in four wars for your honor, my dear people, for your rights and your freedom.’ – Ion Antonescu
- Be humane, be just and recognize that, over all ambitions, intrigues, and hatred, there is the Motherland, the eternal of the people, and we always have to meet there, even though we disagree sometimes. – Ion Antonescu
- We must all understand that this is not a fight against Slavs, but the Jews. It’s a battle for life and death. Either we win and the world will purify, or they’ll win and we’ll become their slaves. Both the war in general and the battles at Odessa, especially, have made the proof that the Jew is Satan. – Ion Antonescu
- Let us not forget that history will not forgive the guilty, and we are all guilty: some, because we have been silent; others, because I was wrong; all because I endured. – Ion Antonescu
- Today has come the hour of the holiest fight, the fight for ancestral rights and the church, the fight for the everlasting Romanian hearths and borders. Soldiers, I command you, cross the Prut! Crush the enemy from the south and the north. Deliver our invaded brothers from the red yoke of Bolshevism. Fill in the body of the country the ancestral glory of Bessarabia and the voivodship forests of Bukovina, our fields and lands. – Ion Antonescu
- The only policy we have to make is that of love for the nation and the defense of his holy rights, through work, honor, gentleness, conscience, and, above all, through your example in all and to all. – Ion Antonescu
- Dear Romanian people: I am proud that I was born and lived in a nation with a double imperial ancestry and twice a millennial past. – Ion Antonescu
- No storm, no invasion, no earthquake, no occupation, no blow, no matter how painful, no matter how destructive, could shake the Romanians from Dacia Traiana. No one and nothing will be able to snatch us from it. – Ion Antonescu
- National revolutions are not acts of violence, riots, but marching ideas. All true national revolutions were founded on buildings and not on collapses. They used all the reserves of the nation and used all generations, respecting the fundamental institutions of human life and purpose. – Ion Antonescu
- I would rather die in a swamp of Greater Romania than die in the paradise of a small Romania. – Ion Antonescu
- I am proud to have had in my life as a shining and guiding beacon the laurel column of the great Trajan and the sublime sacrifice of the Dacian King. – Ion Antonescu
- The life of the peoples is an eternal and tense struggle; a struggle for rights and justice, a struggle for assertion and exaltation. – Ion Antonescu
- People don’t matter, only what they represent matters. – Ion Antonescu
- We, the Romanians, are looking for brilliant and non-executable solutions. And that’s why I stayed put. Simple solutions that can be accomplished are the best. I applied them in the war and I got results. Because we go for the most ingenious solutions, that’s why we can’t do anything. – Ion Antonescu
- The land belongs first of all to the State and then to the owner, who owns it only temporarily, only while he is alive. – Ion Antonescu
- Just as you fight for England, so I fight for my country, but you cannot realize the suffering, the struggle, and the threats we live under. We were attacked, although we did not attack anyone. What was ours and has been ours for centuries, they took us. – Ion Antonescu
- Be human, be right and recognize that, above ambitions, intrigues, and hatreds, it is the Fatherland, it is the eternity of the nation, and that there we must always meet, even if we do not understand each other every time. – Ion Antonescu
- I want order. Let it be understood that we are a civilized army, which brings with it order and security, and we are not barbarian hordes that destroy and plunder everything in their path. I want order and order again. Shoot the soldier who will be caught stealing or committing crimes behind the front. – Ion Antonescu
- I solemnly declare, at this hour, that apart from crimes and thefts, I stand in solidarity and take upon myself all the mistakes which, possibly with or without my knowledge, I have made.
- I am a man who lives by statistics and graphs. So did the last war. I always used graphics and I never made a mistake. – Ion Antonescu
- The Church of Christ does not only mean walls, icons, choirs, candles, bells, services. It is love, sacrifice, almsgiving, toil, purity of soul. Wherever a pure soul lives, there is an altar of divinity.
- The life of the peoples is an eternal and tense struggle; a struggle for rights and justice, a struggle for affirmation and exaltation. – Ion Antonescu
- On the social level, the family is at the foundation of the State. Spiritually, faith. – Ion Antonescu
- I never attacked anyone. The Romanian people never hit their backs and never unleashed their word or deed without measure. The Romanian people never conquered a foreign land and did not touch any furrow without right and without a struggle. For him, the word has always been sanctified. And he knew how to respond for centuries to friendship, to brotherhood and to understanding, with gratitude. – Ion Antonescu
- If I had been a winner, I would have had statues in every city in Romania. I ask to be sentenced to death and I refuse any pardon in advance. In this way, I will be sure that I will die on the land of the Fatherland, but the rest of you will not be sure if you will be here when you are dead. – Ion Antonescu