Ion Gheorghe Duca (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈon ˈduka]; December 20, 1879 – December 30, 1933) was prime minister of Romania from November 14 to December 30, 1933, when he was assassinated for his efforts to suppress the fascist Iron Guard movement.
Life and political career
Born in Bucharest, he entered Romania's Chamber of Deputies for the National Liberal Party in 1907 and served in the cabinet from 1914.
As part of a group of professors, physicians, soldiers, etc., he helped bring Scouting to Romania (see also Cercetașii României).
Appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1922, he was an avid supporter of the Little Entente, formed between Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia to fend off Hungarian irredentist claims (Hungary claimed Transylvania, which Romania had been awarded after World War I) and prevent the Habsburg dynasty from returning to power in Central Europe.
In November, 1933, King Carol II asked Duca to head the government as prime minister in preparation for the December elections. In this capacity, Duca worked to keep the rising support for the Iron Guard, also known as The Legion of the Archangel Michael, a fascist movement led by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, in check, even outlawing the All for the Fatherland-party, which was their political arm. What followed was a time of violence when police on orders from Duca sometimes attacked Iron Guard-members (which led to the deaths of some of the members) and jailed thousands of them. Shortly after these events and the release of many of the Iron Guard-members from jail, Duca was shot to death, as a form of revenge, on the platform of the Sinaia train station by Nicolae Constantinescu accompanied by two other persons. All three of them were sentenced to jail for the murder.
He was initiated into Freemasonry while he was studying in France. Duca wrote extensive memoirs about his experiences as a cabinet minister during World War I. His son, George, edited Duca and George's memoirs while at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in the 1970s and 1980s.