The Fascist Faith of the Legion
1st Edition

The Fascist Faith of the Legion "Archangel Michael" in Romania, 1927–1941
Martyrdom and National Purification

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 29, 2022
ISBN 9781138624559
November 29, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
492 Pages 10 Color & 33 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Fascist Faith of the Legion "Archangel Michael" in Romania, 1927–1941 engages critically with recent works on fascism, totalitarianism, and religion, and advances an original theoretical and methodological approach to fascism as a political faith.

On this basis, the book constructs an innovative comparative research framework for reconceptualizing the history of the Legion "Archangel Michael" in Romania, 1927–1941. It contends that the Legion put forward a palingenetic political faith of a theological type, called legionarism. To provide a comprehensive analysis of the origins, main features, mechanisms of institutionalization and demise of this self-proclaimed salvific political faith, the book documents the palingenetic foundations of the Legionary faith, the syncretism between fascist and Christian rites and rituals, and the intricate relationship between the Legion and the Orthodox Church and its dogma. The book documents three main sacrificial strategies employed by the Legion to ‘re-evangelize’ the people in the new faith: (1) the appropriation of the cult of the fallen soldiers; (2) terrorist missions meant to create fascist heroes through violent sacrifice; and (3) sanctification through heroic fight for Christianity in the Spanish Civil War, in an attempt to link legionarism with the transnational crusade against "Judeo-Bolshevism." As well as providing a detailed historical and interpretive account of the Legion, the book makes a significant contribution to debates about defining fascism and its relation to religion. It also provides novel comparative perspectives for studying other attempts at constructing fascist faiths in interwar Europe, most notably in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of fascism, politics and religion, political theory, Romanian history, youth radicalization, violence, and the emergence of terrorism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fascism as a Political Faith: Toward a New Research Framework

Part 1: A New Covenant: The Making of the Legionary Political Faith, 1927–1937

1. National Unification, Cleavages, and Charismatic Nationalism in Greater Romania

2. A New Political Faith: National Authenticity and the Cult of the Ancestors

3. Charismatic Nationalism, Patriarchalism, and Salvation: The Cult of the "Captain"

4. Manufacturing Martyrdom: The Cult of the Fallen Soldiers, Terrorism, and Salvific Sacrifice

5. Fascist Constituencies: Social Identities and Fascist Radicalization

Part 2: A Continuum of Dictatorships: Hybrid Totalitarian Experiments, 1937–1944

6. Carol II’s Dictatorship: From Antifascism to Fascistization (1938–1940)

7. Teaching the New Faith: The Legion’s Rule (1940–1941)

8. A Fascist Festival of the Dead: Codreanu’s Re-Burial and the Politics of National Resurrection

9. The Legionary Faith and the Romanian Orthodox Church

Conclusion: From a Civil Religion to a Fascist Political Faith

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Constantin Iordachi is Professor of History at Central European University in Vienna, Austria.