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Ion Antonescu
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World Leader
    (June 15, 1882-June 1, 1946)
    Born in Pitești, Romania
    Wrote ‘The Romanians. Their Origin, Their Past, Their Sacrifices and Their Rights’ (1919)
    Romanian Minister of Defense (1937-1938)
    Conducător of Romania (September 6, 1940-August 23, 1944)
    Died in Jilava, Romania
    He was involved in the suppression of the 1907 Romanian Peasants’ Revolt.
    He had a falling out with King Carol II for deserting his army post to marry Zizi Lambrino (1918).
    He divorced his first wife, possibly on grounds of her Jewish heritage.
    He dated his twice-divorced wife before her second divorce was finalized.
    He sided with Hitler by cancelling all of Romania’s diplomatic relations made under Carol II.
    He passed many anti-Semitic laws regulating the lives of Romanian Jews.
    He rounded up many Jews and Roma from the territories he conquered and killed them off or sent them to concentration camps.
    Under his rule, Romania put more effort on the Axis war front than other Axis nations combined.
    He tried to rename Odessa after himself upon capturing it.
    At some point during his detainment upon his ouster, he became a vegetarian.
    He had a reputation for toughness, earning him the nickname ‘red dog’.
    He was a distinguished military officer during World War I.
    Just because he was a military dictator and ally of Hitler doesn’t make him an outright Nazi, as evidenced by his struggle with the Iron Guard, who were downright Nazis.
    His dictatorship even permitted opposition critics to perform, albeit at a limited level.
    He granted King Carol II a safe exile despite their contempt for each other.
    Despite his anti-Semitism, he had a Jewish classmate who managed to convince him to spare the Jews living within Romania’s pre-war borders because they were vital to the Romanian economy.
    He tried to remain neutral during Germany’s conflict with Great Britain.
    He was a staunch opponent of communism, explaining his enthusiastic support of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

Credit: Big Lenny

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