Sunday, 22 June 2014

Antonescu made walking in the street in shirt sleeves a crime

Last night before going out for a delightful dinner with Dennis Deletant I reread part of his book on Marshal Antonescu, Hitler's Forgotten Ally. It's very good and I recommend it.

I had forgotten that Marshal Antonescu made walking in the street in shirt sleeves an offence punishable by imprisonment. Several people went to gaol for this. Part of me (the fascist part that was a little boy in the 1960s and disliked long hair and floral shirts) almost approves, but no, this was wrong.

On the other hand I shall always love Dr. Salazar for preventing Coca Cola from selling their revolting drink in Portugal. 

I can't help being pleased, too, that that bloodstained old brute General Franco refused to let Protestants build churches in Spain on the ground that they were heretics. 

A propos of Franco my views are nuanced. Unlike Salazar, Franco was a bad man, even if he did go to Mass every day, but his Republican enemies were worse. 

The Spanish Civil War was a test run for the same Communists who took power in Eastern Europe after 1945. More than 500 out of the fairly small total number of Romanian Communists fought on the Republican side, including Walter Roman, Petre Roman's father, and Petre Borilă. If you doubt that Franco was greatly superior to the Communists, compare how Franco left Spain in 1975 with how the Communists left Romania.


  1. Nice wee article but I'd like to know more about the book your dinner companion wrote. Perhaps you could treat us to a review (I'm sure the Spectator would like to see it too).

    1. Rupert it came out some years back and changed everyone's understanding of Romania's role in the wartime slaughter of the Jews. I had before Dennis published it tended to assume that Antonescu was a good man with an impossible hand to play but in fact he personally authorised the killing of very many Jews. I know Larry Watts argues fiercely that Antonescu was right to cross the Dniester in 1941 and continue the war into what had always been Soviet and before that Czarist territory but that decision proved fatally mistaken.

  2. He also set standards for nightclub programs, for the length of skirts and for women's use of bicycles. I think Marshall Antonescu would have been very welcomed in the Taliban world... Vali Nash

  3. What do you find revolting about Coca Cola?