Maniu, Iuliu

b. Jan. 8, 1873, Simleu Silvaniei, Transylvania, Rom. d. June 1953, Galati

statesman who served as prime minister of Romania (1928-30, 1930, 1932-33) and as head of the National Peasant Party. Maniu was one of the most important Romanian political leaders of the period. Maniu, a native of Transylvania, was elected in 1906 to the Hungarian Parliament where he joined a small band of Romanian nationals urging equal rights for their minority. During World War I he served in the Austro-Hungarian army, but in May 1918 he organized a revolt of Romanian troops. In December 1918 he was elected president of the Transylvanian directing council (Consiliul Dirigent), which proclaimed union with Romania, a fait accompli later recognized by the Treaty of Trianon (June 1920). From 1926 he headed the National Peasant Party, created in that year by the fusion of his Transylvanian Nationals with the Peasant Party of Ion Mihalache. Between November 1928 and October 1930 he served as prime minister of a National Peasant administration, which failed to fulfill its mandate for political and social reconstruction. He agreed to the return of the exiled king Carol II in June 1930 but resigned the following October, ostensibly over the king's continuing liaison with Magda Lupescu. From October 1932 to January 1933 he headed a second government and in 1937 formed an electoral alliance with the fascist Iron Guard in order to wrest political control from the king. During World War II he initially supported Romania's war effort against Russia. As the war progressed beyond the reclamation of national irredentas in Basarabia and Bucovina, however, he became one of the principal resistance leaders and organizers of the coup of August 1944, which brought Romania into the war against Germany. After the installation of a communist regime in 1945, his position became increasingly precarious. He was imprisoned for espionage and treason in November 1947 and died in prison in 1953.