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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores terrorism as a strategy of political militancy by the fascist Iron Guard in interwar Romania. It argues that the Iron Guard was a mass movement promoting a new political faith that was based on a mythical form of apocalyptic politics with roots in Romantic theories of social palingenesis. The essence of this theological ideology was the idea of salvation through violent self-sacrifice. The chapter analyzes the Iron Guard’s political violence, with an emphasis on its terrorism. A main function of fascist terrorist actions was that of manufacturing martyrdom: as such, violent self-sacrifice was the engine of the fascist political religion, providing fascists with means of objectifying their claims to rebirth and regeneration. The importance of violent self-sacrifice for fascism must be reevaluated as being not just a strategy of political struggle, but a way of bestowing sacrality on the charismatic community of redemption through martyrdom.

Keywords: Fascism, modernism, radicalization, political religion, martyrdom, suicide terrorism, anti-Semitism, counterterrorism, Iron Guard, Greater Romania

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