Ion Antonescu

Prime Minister and Conducător of Romania During World War Ii
Born Jun 15, 1882

Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician, and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships.

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Ion Antonescu.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Ion Antonescu.


1882 Birth Born on June 15, 1882.


1904 22 Years Old According to one account, Ion Antonescu was briefly a classmate of Wilhelm Filderman, the future Romanian Jewish community activist whose interventions with Conducător Antonescu helped save a number of his coreligionists. After graduation, in 1904, Antonescu joined the Romanian Army with the rank of Second Lieutenant. … Read More
1907 25 Years Old 1 More Event
A Romanian Army career officer who made his name during the 1907 peasants' revolt and the World War I Romanian Campaign, the antisemitic Antonescu sympathized with the far right and fascist National Christian and Iron Guard groups for much of the interwar period. … Read More
1911 29 Years Old The following year, Antonescu was promoted to Lieutenant, and, between 1911 and 1913, he attended the Advanced War School, receiving the rank of Captain upon graduation.


1913 - 1916 2 More Events
1918 36 Years Old …  Another event occurring late in the war is also credited with having played a major part in Antonescu's life: in 1918, Crown Prince Carol (the future King Carol II) eloped and technically deserted his army posting, to marry the commoner Zizi Lambrino. … Read More
1919 37 Years Old Lieutenant Colonel Ion Antonescu retained his visibility in the public eye during the interwar period. He participated in the political campaign to earn recognition at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 for Romania's gains in Transylvania. … Read More
1920 38 Years Old In March 1920, Antonescu was one of three people nominated by the new Averescu executive to be a military attaché of Romania in France, but a report issued by the French military observer in Romania, General Victor Pétin, was negative enough to make the French side choose a certain Colonel Șuțu instead (the text referred to Antonescu as "extremely vain", "chauvinistic" and "xenophobic", while acknowledging his "great military worth"). … Read More


1922 40 Years Old Nevertheless, Șuțu had to leave Paris in 1922, and when the Romanian government nominated Antonescu again, the French government felt obliged to accept his nomination, despite renewed criticism from Pétin's part. … Read More
1923 41 Years Old 1 More Event
From 1923, Antonescu was also the Romanian attaché in the United Kingdom and Belgium. … Read More
1926 44 Years Old After returning to Romania in 1926, Antonescu returned to his teaching position in Sibiu, and, in autumn 1928, was Secretary-General of the Defense Ministry in the Vintilă Brătianu cabinet. … Read More
1930 48 Years Old These assignments coincided with the rule of Carol's underage son Michael I and his regents, and with Carol's seizure of power in 1930. … Read More


1936 54 Years Old In 1936, to the authorities' alarm, Army General and Iron Guard member Gheorghe Cantacuzino-Grănicerul arranged a meeting between Ion Antonescu and the movement's leader: Antonescu is reported to have found Codreanu arrogant, but to have welcomed his revolutionizing approach to politics. … Read More
1938 56 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The deposed Premier died in 1938, and Antonescu remained a close friend of his widow, Veturia Goga. … Read More
Antonescu nevertheless rose to political prominence during the political crisis of 1940, and established the National Legionary State, an uneasy partnership with the Iron Guard's leader Horia Sima. … Read More
During the National Legionary State period, earlier antisemitic legislation was upheld and strengthened, while the "Romanianization" of Jewish-owned enterprises became standard official practice. Immediately after coming into office, Antonescu himself expanded the anti-Jewish and Nuremberg law-inspired legislation passed by his predecessors Goga and Ion Gigurtu, while tens of new anti-Jewish regulations were passed in 1941–1942. … Read More


Also in the summer of 1942, Ion Antonescu became a perpetrator of the Porajmos, or Holocaust-related crimes against the Romani people, when he ordered the Transnistrian deportation of Romanian Romani from the Old Kingdom, transited through camps and resettled in inhumane conditions near the Southern Bug. … Read More
1943 61 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The loss of two entire Romanian armies who all either killed or captured by the Soviets produced a major crisis in German-Romanian relations in the winter of 1943 with many people in the Romanian government for the first time questioning the wisdom of fighting on the side of the Axis. … Read More
Speaking in 1946, Antonescu claimed to have followed the pro-German path in continuation of earlier policies, and for fear of a Nazi protectorate in Romania.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.