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> Political assassination attempts in Romania
Victor
Posted: September 16, 2005 06:08 pm
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Yes, it is still there and it has been improved last year (they added a bronze bas-relief of Armand Calinescu), when the park was completely redone. Only that it isn't near the Royal Palace, it is near the Cotroceni Palace.
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Carol I
Posted: September 17, 2005 05:00 pm
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QUOTE (udar @ Sep 16 2005, 03:57 PM)
You forget about Nicolae Iorga and Virgil Madgearu,killed by the same legionary asassins,for political reasons,on 27 nov. 1940.It was some rumors that ones of legionares was soviet agents,or was adviced by german secret agencies.

I did not forget about them, as I did not forget about the 65 dignitaries assassinated by legionaries in the Jilava prison during the previous night (26/27 November 1940). It has to be mentioned that all these assassinations have a particular characteristic in the fact that they took place at a time when political assassinations had almost become state policy.
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dragos03
Posted: October 12, 2005 10:25 pm
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A photo from the trial of Victor Precup and his group, from "Realitatea Ilustrata. Imagini din 1934". The caption says that Precup "wanted to be the absolute ruler of Romania", without any other details.

(IMG:http://img419.imageshack.us/img419/8827/precup3di.jpg)
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dragos03
Posted: October 12, 2005 10:59 pm
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Another interesting photo, from the same source. It is from the trial of Sylvester Matuschka, in Budapest. Matuschka blew up (in 1931) the rail lines before the Ostende-Bucharest Orient Express. 24 passengers died.

The Hungarian government said the communists were behind this action and executed two leaders of the Hungarian communist party.

Anybody knows if any Romanians were among the 24 victims?

(IMG:http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/7264/matuschka6le.jpg)
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Dénes
Posted: October 13, 2005 01:52 am
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The mentioned terrorist act happened on the night of 13 Sept. 1931, at 0:20 a.m. The viaduct at Biatorbágy, Hungary, was blown up by a disgruntled Austrian merchant, Szilveszter Matuska, a former Communist and detective in the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic. 22 passengers of the Vienna Express were killed and 17 severely wounded. A letter left on the scene cast the blame on the Communists. However, it has been proven that it was Matuska who actually blew up the bridge, acting alone. Two Communists, Imre Sallai and Sándor Fürst, were executed in 1932, for unrelated charges.
Initially, Matuska was sentenced to death in 1934, sentence commuted to life in prison. He escaped from his cell at Vác in late 1944, during the combats in the area and then disappeared. There is no clue of his fate.
There was Hungarian-American-West German movie made in 1982 of this incident, called The Viaduct .

Gen. Dénes

This post has been edited by Dénes on October 13, 2005 01:53 am
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Carol I
Posted: October 13, 2005 06:45 am
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QUOTE (Carol I @ Sep 13 2005, 11:18 PM)
In 1933 there has been an assassination attempt targeted at King Carol II during a stopover in Budapest en route to Warsaw.

Dénes, do you happen to have some details about this attempt on the life of Carol II?
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dragos03
Posted: October 17, 2005 01:37 pm
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I found new information about Victor Precup, a character much more interesting than i expected.

Victor Precup (1889-1954) was a colonel in 1927, during the regency, when he was a supporter of "the closed subject" (a supporter of future king Carol II, who was then in exile because of the Elena Lupescu scandal). Precup was a member of the War Council (Consiliul de Razboi) and his vote was decisive in the trial of Mihail Manoilescu, who was pardoned (Manoilescu was trialed because he was acting like a courier, delivering letters from prince Carol to various Romanian political leaders).

The coup attempt in 1934 seems to be motivated by Precup's dissatisfaction with the "reward" he got from Carol II after he became king (in 1930). The coup was organised in 1934, during the Easter celebration. The objectives of the coup are not clear, as the sources give different variants:
- he wanted to kill the king (Florin Sperlea, "From the royal army to the popular army")
- he wanted to kill Elena Lupescu and the "Camarilla", not the king (Petre Otu, "Marshall Averescu. The soldier, the politician, the legend", also in the memoirs of Constantin Argetoianu and Armand Calinescu)
- he wanted to replace the king with Marshall Alexandru Averescu, as a military dictator (Petre Otu)
- he wanted to be "the only, undisputed master of Romania" ("Realitatea Ilustrata. Images from 1934")
- he wanted to create a group of officers loyal to Carol II and establish a royal dictatorship (Precup's own testimony at his trial)

Anyway, he lost his grade and spent six years in prison (he was liberated on 11 September 1940).

But the most interesting part of Precup's career is after 1944. On 12 April 1945 king Michael makes him a Brigade General and in May 1945 he is appointed chief of the new DSECP (The army department for political education and propaganda). Precup was now the most powerful man in Romania's army, the leader of all the political "commissars", a man who could send any general to prison for "political crimes". His department was responsible for the great purge of the army in the first years of the communist regime. He later became part of the purge himself but his case was special, as he was the only officer that resigned without being forced (in 1949) and was not prosecuted afterwards.

But why was he appointed in such an important position? Florin Sperlea claims that he briefly met the communist leaders while they were all in the Doftana prison in 1940. But why didn't they appoint an old, trusted communist activist (like Valter Roman, Cambrea and others)? Why Precup? Is it possible (as some sources claim) that he was an old Soviet spy? Does that mean that the coup in 1934 was initiated by the Soviets? Does anybody have more information?
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Carol I
Posted: October 17, 2005 05:50 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 17 2005, 02:37 PM)
I found new information about Victor Precup, a character much more interesting than i expected.

Thanks Dragos for the update. Precup appears to have been quite a colourful character, but unless he confessed being a Soviet spy I am afraid that the confirmation from Russian sources of his affiliation or of the plan to assassinate King Carol II in 1934 will be "delayed".
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Victor
Posted: October 25, 2005 01:32 pm
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QUOTE (sid guttridge @ Sep 16 2005, 07:36 PM)
Hi Carol I

I seem to remember that Calinescu was assasinated by a bridge quite near the royal palace and that in the early 1990s a simple memorial was put up in a public garden beside the road. Is it still there?

Cheers,

Sid.

Here it is, the new improved version of the monument:
(IMG:http://img484.imageshack.us/img484/4825/armand0hc.jpg)
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Carol I
Posted: October 28, 2005 08:57 pm
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Some further details on Victor Precup and the assassination attempt of April 1934 as they are presented in an article in Puncte cardinale:

Armand Călinescu (himself the victim of a successful assassination attempt in 1939) wrote on 7 April 1934: "A military plot is discovered: colonel Precup, major Nicoară, several captains and lieutenants, in total 11 officers. A chest of explosives was sent from Cluj to Bucharest. The objective is yet unclear. Some speak about the intention to assassinate Mrs. Lupescu, others about a military dictatorship. The officers are arrested; they will be tried soon."

Eugeniu Buhman, personal secretary of King Carol II: "In April was discovered a plot to overthrow Carol from the throne. As in the rest of the country, the growing dissatisfaction for the regime has spread into the army. Assuming to act in that moment for the salvation of the country, the old friend of Carol , Victor Precup, prepared a foolish plan through which he intended to take over the leadership of the government and to become a dictator. The plot contained the reservation of a hotel room on Calea Victoriei, in front of which the King and other members of the Royal Court had to pass on the Easter night towards the Metropolitanate. At the set moment - the signal being the shooting of a rocket - the plotters had to throw hand grenades through the hotel window towards the Royal procession. In the ensuing confusion the plotters had to rush into the street and order the gendarmes to seal the area. In the meantime, some of the conspirators had to take over the control of the Royal Palace and other government buildings in the centre of the city. (...) Fortunately for Carol the plot was foiled. A sergeant accidentally overheard the conspirators and reported to his superiors. When the officers had been arrested they were armed to their teeth. Shortly afterwards, Precup declared to the martial court that he acted from «patriotism» and that his main objective was not the overthrow of the King as it was the elimination of the influence of Lupescu."

Colonel Precup and the weapons of the conspirators (from the article mentioned above).

(IMG:http://www.punctecardinale.ro/nov_2004/nov_2004_6_1.jpg) (IMG:http://www.punctecardinale.ro/nov_2004/nov_2004_6_2.jpg)
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Imperialist
Posted: October 28, 2005 10:28 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 17 2005, 01:37 PM)


But why was he appointed in such an important position? Florin Sperlea claims that he briefly met the communist leaders while they were all in the Doftana prison in 1940. But why didn't they appoint an old, trusted communist activist (like Valter Roman, Cambrea and others)? Why Precup? Is it possible (as some sources claim) that he was an old Soviet spy? Does that mean that the coup in 1934 was initiated by the Soviets? Does anybody have more information?

First one has to see if the appropriate term for the Precup plot in 1934 is "coup".
I think its obvious that Realitatea Ilustrata's claim that Precup wanted to be "absolute ruler of Romania" is pretty propagandistic or silly in itself. Who was Precup at the time. Who knew Precup? What were his political connections? If a coup was the goal, more people had to be involved, not just 11 officers and some cases of explosives and guns.

Regarding the interesting post-war developments you mentioned.
The context of the 1934 Precup plot is important.
In 1933 Liga National Corporatista is formed. In March 1934, the law authorising the government to institute the general or partial state of siege is passed. Calinescu in his journal, notes the persistence of rumours about a possible dictatorship.
In this context, Precup's intention certainly found some appreciation at that time and probably even later (given the full realisation of those rumours and trends) among the communists.

But also worth noting what followed Precup's failed attempt. On the same day (April 7th) the law for the defense of state order is issued, dissolving all political groups which threatened the state or social order through their ideology, propaganda or execution of their political programs. (much like the Reichstag fire, this Precup plot :roll: ).
The following July, the law of full powers (Legea Deplinelor Puteri) is issued. The Parliament gives up some of its prerogatives to the Government. We can say that 1934 was the year when Carol's dictatorship was being prepared.

take care
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Carol I
Posted: October 29, 2005 09:19 am
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ Oct 28 2005, 11:28 PM)
Who was Precup at the time. Who knew Precup? What were his political connections?

Victor Precup was born on 3 April 1889 in Miercurea Sibiului. During WWI, he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army. On 14 November 1918 he was part of the delegation of the Romanian National Council together with prof. pr. Nicolae Bălan (a future metropolitan of the Romanian Orthodox Church) that travelled from Sibiu to Iaşi to discuss the situation in Transylvania with the Romanian Government. I. G. Duca (another victim of a successful assassination attempt in 1933) describes the encounter: "Finally the long-awaited delegation has arrived; it was made of the Sibiu teacher, Nicolae Bălan and a handsome aviation officer, Precup." A few days later, on 23 November 1918, Victor Precup (mentioned with the rank of captain) flew from Bacău to Blaj in a Farman 40 plane piloted by lieutenant Ştefan Niculescu, to deliver three letters (one from I. I. C. Brătianu and two from pr. Nicolae Bălan) to members of the Romanian National Council. In 1919, Victor Precup took part in the campaign of Romanian army against the army of Béla Kun. In 1927 he was part of the War Council that tried Mihail Manoilescu who brought several letters from Carol Caraiman (the future King Carol II) to the Romanian politicians. Victor Precup voted for the acquittal of Maniolescu. As supporters of the restoration of Carol to the throne of Romania, colonel Precup and major Nicoară (both on the list of conspirators of the 1934 plot) were the messengers who presented to Carol the conditions for his return set by the new Romanian prime minister Iuliu Maniu, one of them being the separation from Elena Lupescu. As Carol did not keep his promise for separation, only 4 years after the Restoration, Precup and the other officers decided that violence has to be employed for the removal of Elena Lupescu.
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dragos03
Posted: October 29, 2005 02:07 pm
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Thanks Carol I, interesting info. Precup's story is very interesting, too bad we'll never find out the whole truth.

When Precup stepped down in 1949, he was considered "not loyal to the regime". But who was he loyal to? The king?
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Imperialist
Posted: October 29, 2005 02:26 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 29 2005, 02:07 PM)
When Precup stepped down in 1949, he was considered "not loyal to the regime". But who was he loyal to? The king?

Ironically, that label or accusation ("not loyal to the regime") is as reliable as the previous one ("absolute ruler of Romania"). We should take them with a grain of salt.

take care
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Carol I
Posted: October 29, 2005 05:06 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 29 2005, 03:07 PM)
Thanks Carol I, interesting info.

You are welcome. It is something that I have managed to fish out recently.

QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 29 2005, 03:07 PM)
Precup's story is very interesting, too bad we'll never find out the whole truth.

I agree that it will be quite difficult, but let us hope that the story may be pieced together from any new piece of information we may stumble upon.

QUOTE (dragos03 @ Oct 29 2005, 03:07 PM)
When Precup stepped down in 1949, he was considered "not loyal to the regime". But who was he loyal to? The king?

I am afraid that the accusation does not carry any particular weight other than being an indication that the accused has fallen into the disfavour of the regime.
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