Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu


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(b. Bacău, 4 Nov. 1900; d. Bucharest, 17 Apr. 1954)

Romanian; member of the Romanian government 1944–8 Pătrăşcanu was active in the Romanian resistance during the Second World War. In April 1944 he organized a coalition between the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) and the Social Democrats known as the United Workers' Front (UWF). This provided the Communists with national legitimacy. In June 1944 he participated in the negotiations which led to the creation of the National Democratic Bloc (NDB)—a coalition including the two ‘traditional parties’, the National Liberal Party and the National Peasant Party. Pătrăşcanu was the main link between the court and the NDB. On 23 August 1944, the NDB took part in King Michael's successful coup against Antonescu, which led to Romania's change to the Allied side in the war. In November 1944 Pătrăşcanu became Minister of Justice in General Sănătescu's government. Recognizing the numerical weakness of the RCP, he supported collaboration with the traditional parties. This led to tension with Gheorghiu-Dej, who favoured a more aggressive role for the RCP. Pătrăşcanu and Gheorghiu-Dej were the only Communist ministers in the government which Groza formed in 1945. Nonetheless, Pătrăşcanu disliked the heavy-handed Soviet intervention which had brought about the change of regime. He was described at this time as being ‘the only genuine nationalist’ in the Romanian party. In 1948 Pătrăşcanu and other ‘local’ Communists were purged from the party and imprisoned. He was tried and executed in April 1954. He was rehabilitated in 1968.

Subjects: Politics.

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