Antonescu, Ion

views updated May 23 2018

Antonescu, Ion (1882–1946) Romanian general and fascist dictator. In 1938 he was imprisoned by King Carol II for leading an unsuccessful fascist coup. In September 1940, in the face of German aggression, Carol appointed Antonescu premier. Carol was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Michael, and Antonescu assumed dictatorial powers. Romania joined the Axis Powers and helped in the fated invasion of the Soviet Union. At home, Antonescu unleashed pogroms against Romanian Jews. The Red Army invasion of Romania led to his arrest. Antonescu was executed for war crimes.