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Neagu Djuvara

Neagu Djuvara

Neagu Djuvara


Neagu Djuvara (b. August 18, 1916) is a Romanian historian, essayist, philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. Early life A native of Bucharest, he descended from a prestigious Aromanian family. His father, Marcel, a graduate of the Technical University of Berlin and a Captain in the Romanian Army's Engineer Corps, died of Spanish flu in 1918; his mother, Tinca, was the last descendant of the Gradişteanu family of boyar origins (according to Djuvara, she was related to all boyar families in Wallachia). Read more on Last.fm
Neagu Djuvara (b. August 18, 1916) is a Romanian historian, essayist, philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. Early life A native of Bucharest, he descended from a prestigious Aromanian family. His father, Marcel, a graduate of the Technical University of Berlin and a Captain in the Romanian Army's Engineer Corps, died of Spanish flu in 1918; his mother, Tinca, was the last descendant of the Gradişteanu family of boyar origins (according to Djuvara, she was related to all boyar families in Wallachia). Djuvara's uncles Trandafir and Alexandru Djuvara were notable public figures.

Djuvara was born during World War I; as an infant, he was taken by his family into refuge in Iaşi after the occupation of southern Romania by the Central Powers, and then, through Imperial Russia, into Belgium (where Trandafir Djuvara was Minister Plenipotentiary). He attended lycée in Nice, France, and graduated in Letters (1937) and Law (1940) from the University of Paris (his Law thesis dealt with the antisemitic legislation passed by the governments of King Carol II in Romania). Djuvara later stated that, at the time, his political sympathies veered towards the far right: he became a supporter of the Romanian fascist movement, the Iron Guard, and took part in the February 1934 riot against the French Radical-Socialist government of Édouard Daladier. During World War II, he returned to Romania , where he married and fathered a child. He joined the Romanian Armed Forces and was stationed in Ploieşti under the Iron Guard's National Legionary government. Following the establishment of Ion Antonescu's dictatorship and the start of Operation Barbarossa (see Romania during World War II), as an Officer Cadet, he fought on the Eastern Front, saw action in Bessarabia and Transnistria, before being wounded in the arm during the Battle of Odessa (1941). He stated that he gave up his interest in the far right after a 1943 dialog with fellow diplomat Victor Rădulescu-Pogoneanu, who convinced Djuvara to become "a supporter of parliamentary democracy". Diplomat Subsequently, Djuvara decided to apply for office in the diplomatic corps, won the competition, and was sent by Foreign Minister Mihai Antonescu as Diplomatic Courier to Sweden, on the very day Ion Antonescu was toppled by a coup d'état and Romania pulled out of the Axis Powers to join the Allies (August 23, 1944).

In this capacity, he was instructed to communicate to the Romanian Ambassador in Stockholm, Frederic Nanu, that he was to ask the Soviet representative Alexandra Kollontai whether earlier terms advanced by Joseph Stalin in regard to peace with Romania were still valid (Nanu was also told not to inform the Western Allies of these talks). Speaking in retrospect, he argued against claims made by Nanu, according to which Ion Antonescu had thus indicated his willingness to step down and hand leadership of Romania to King Mihai I. According to Djuvara, the last Soviet offer for Antonescu made only minor concessions — the entire country was to be occupied by the Red Army, with the exception of a random western county (to function as a provisional administrative center), and 15 days were given to the Romanian government to reach an armistice with Nazi Germany (Djuvara considered this latter expectation particularly unrealistic, as it involved Germany consciously abandoning Romanian territory to its enemy).Furthermore, Djuvara indicated, "Neither I nor Nanu were mandated to sign any document, to launch into any peace process". Appointed Legation Secretary in Stockholm by the Constantin Sănătescu executive, Djuvara was dismissed by the new Romanian Communist Party officials upon Ana Pauker's appointment as Foreign Minister (1947).[18] Exile Having been implicated in absentia in the series of show trials inaugurated in the wake of Communist Romania by the Tămădău Affair, accused of being a spy, he decided to remain abroad. He left for Paris and was subsequently involved in advocacy of anti-communist political causes and the rallying of exiled intellectuals. Briefly employed by the International Refugee Organization, Djuvara became involved with the body of Romanian exiles, the National Romanian Committee, and helped organize American-assisted drops of voluntary paratroopers in support of the Romanian anti-communist resistance (most of whom were captured by the Securitate).

He renounced his position by 1951, and subsequently worked for the exile magazine Casa Românească. In 1961, he settled in Niger, serving as an adviser for the country's Foreign Ministry (extending a two-year contract until 1984), and was a Professor of International law and Economic history at the University of Niamey. Djuvara was an acquaintance of President Hamani Diori, and notably accompanied him on official duty to Addis Ababa, attending the opening session of the Organisation of African Unity (1963). Having already begun to further his studies of Philosophy in Paris, he received a doctorat d'État in the Philosophy of history (with the thesis Civilisations et lois historiques). He was later awarded a diploma in Philology from INALCO. After 1984, he returned to Europe, resuming his activities with Casa Românească and other Romanian cultural institutions in exile.

Djuvara was an active contributor to Radio Free Europe, and divided his time between Paris and Munich (occasionally traveling to Canada and the United States). Post-1989 Djuvara returned to his native country soon after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Between 1991 and 1998, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Bucharest. During the early 1990s, has been a noted critic of Romanian political developments, and especially of the Mineriad and the National Salvation Front government. He has since joined the National Liberal Party, and expressed his concern that President Traian Băsescu was unable to complete planned reforms in the wake of Romania's accession to the European Union, as well as his belief that the former Securitate was still in a position of power. He has also taken a conservative stance on European affairs, being a vocal critic of Europe's multiculturalism. Most of his works in Romanian have been published by Humanitas. Read more on Last.fm.

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