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"G. BARIŢIU" INSTITUTE

FETIȘIZAREA SIGURANȚEI STATULUI, STAREA DE ASEDIU ȘI ASCENSIUNEA AUTORITARISMULUI ÎN ROMÂNIA INTERBELICĂ


Corneliu Pintilescu

Abstract:
Drawing on theoretical contributions provided by Mark Neocleous and Ernst Fraenkel, this article aims to analyse the relation between the frequent resorting to state of siege and the anxieties of the Romanian political elite concerning the state security caused by the reverberations of the October 1917 Revolution and the social labour unrest in interwar Romania. The first part of the article deals with the obsessive fear displayed by key politicians and opinion makers concerning various real and imagined plots of both outside and inside enemies (communists, spies, saboteurs etc.) that aimed at fuelling labour unrest and causing uprisings in the aftermath of the October 1917 Revolution. This discourse brought about a fetishization of state security and an atmosphere of emergency in this interwar Romanian society. Although some of these dangers were real there was an overestimation of these perils, especially after 1925. By overemphasizing them the state authorities legitimized the frequent resort to state of siege in interwar Romania. In most of the cases, the declaration of state of siege aimed at suppressing social unrest or countering political violence perpetrated by the far-right. However, the abuse of state of siege mechanisms inhibited labour unions, opened the way for the far-right propaganda among the workers, and led to a routinization of violence in interwar Romania. Moreover, during the 1930s, the prolonging of state of siege heavily contributed to the gradual rise of King Carol II dictatorship.
Keywords:
state of siege, interwar Romania, state security, communism, authoritarianism, dictatorship.