Ploughmen's Front
The Ploughmen's Front was a Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

Agrarianism has two common meanings. The first meaning refers to a social philosophy or political philosophy which values rural society as superior to urban society, the independent farmer as superior to the paid worker, and sees farming as a way of life that can shape the ideal social values...

-inspired political organisation of plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

men, founded at Deva
Deva, Romania
Deva is a city in Romania, in the historical region of Transylvania, on the left bank of the Mureș River. It is the capital of Hunedoara County.-Name:...

 in 1933 and led by Petru Groza
Petru Groza
Petru Groza was a Romanian politician, best known as the Prime Minister of the first Communist Party-dominated governments under Soviet occupation during the early stages of the Communist regime in Romania....

. At its peak in 1946, the Front had over 1 million members.


Begun in Hunedoara County
Hunedoara County
Hunedoara is a county of Romania, in Transylvania, with its capital city at Deva.-Demographics:In 2002, it had a population of 485,712 and the population density was 69/km².*Romanians - 92%*Hungarians - 5%*Romas - 2%*Germans under 1%....

, it quickly spread into the Banat
The Banat is a geographical and historical region in Central Europe currently divided between three countries: the eastern part lies in western Romania , the western part in northeastern Serbia , and a small...

, and then into the other regions of Romania. Groza, who had been a minister in Alexandru Averescu
Alexandru Averescu
Alexandru Averescu was a Romanian marshal and populist politician. A Romanian Armed Forces Commander during World War I, he served as Prime Minister of three separate cabinets . He first rose to prominence during the peasant's revolt of 1907, which he helped repress in violence...

's People's Party cabinet (1926), aimed to improve the situation of the peasantry (which he believed had been betrayed by the main agrarian group, the National Peasants' Party
National Peasants' Party
The National Peasants' Party was a Romanian political party, formed in 1926 through the fusion of the Romanian National Party from Transylvania and the Peasants' Party . It was in power between 1928 and 1933, with brief interruptions...

), calling for a social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

 program in the countryside and tax reform
Tax reform
Tax reform is the process of changing the way taxes are collected or managed by the government.Tax reformers have different goals. Some seek to reduce the level of taxation of all people by the government. Some seek to make the tax system more progressive or less progressive. Some seek to simplify...

 favourable to small holdings. The group was also republican
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 in ambitions, probably from the moment it was created (before 1940, Groza was recorded to have said "my last king was Decebalus
Decebalus or "The Brave" was a king of Dacia and is famous for fighting three wars and negotiating two interregnums of peace without being eliminated against the Roman Empire under two emperors...

, after whose death I became a republican").

In 1935, the organisation aligned itself with the outlawed Romanian Communist Party
Romanian Communist Party
The Romanian Communist Party was a communist political party in Romania. Successor to the Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to communist revolution and the disestablishment of Greater Romania. The PCR was a minor and illegal grouping for much of the...

 (PCR), an agreement inspired by the Stalinist
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 Popular Front
Popular front
A popular front is a broad coalition of different political groupings, often made up of leftists and centrists. Being very broad, they can sometimes include centrist and liberal forces as well as socialist and communist groups...

doctrine and signed in Ţebea
Baia de Cris
Baia de Criș is a commune in Hunedoara County, Romania, close to the small town of Brad. It is composed of nine villages: Baia de Criș, Baldovin , Căraci , Cărăstău , Lunca , Rișca , Rișculița , Țebea and Văleni.The village of Țebea is where the Revolt of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan started in 1784,...

 (after negotiations overseen by Scarlat Callimachi
Scarlat Callimachi (communist activist)
Scarlat Callimachi or Calimachi was a Romanian journalist, essayist, futurist poet, trade unionist, and communist activist, a member of the Callimachi family of boyar and Phanariote lineage...


During this period, the Ploughmen's Front never obtained more than 0.30% of the vote. Outlawed together with all parties in 1938, through a law passed by the authoritarian
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 regime of King
King of Romania
King of the Romanians , rather than King of Romania , was the official title of the ruler of the Kingdom of Romania from 1881 until 1947, when Romania was proclaimed a republic....

 Carol II
Carol II of Romania
Carol II reigned as King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until 6 September 1940. Eldest son of Ferdinand, King of Romania, and his wife, Queen Marie, a daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria...

, it remained active in clandestinity during the dictatorial rule of Ion Antonescu
Ion Antonescu
Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

 (when Groza was detained in 1943-1944), and surfaced after its fall in 1944 and the start of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 ascendancy and influence
Soviet occupation of Romania
The Soviet occupation of Romania refers to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania...

 (see Romania during World War II
Romania during World War II
Following the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the Kingdom of Romania officially adopted a position of neutrality. However, the rapidly changing situation in Europe during 1940, as well as domestic political upheaval, undermined this stance. Fascist political forces such as the Iron...


In October of that year, it joined other the PCR-led National Democratic Front (FND), alongside the Union of Patriots, the Union of Hungarian Workers, the Socialist Peasants' Party, and the Romanian Social Democratic Party
Romanian Social Democratic Party (defunct)
The Romanian Social Democratic Party was a social-democratic political party in Romania. It published the magazine România Muncitoare, and later Socialismul, Lumea Nouă, and Libertatea.-Early party:...

 (the Ploughmen's Front absorbed the Socialist Peasants' Party one month later).

In February 1945, although represented inside the Nicolae Rădescu
Nicolae Radescu
Nicolae Rădescu was a Romanian army officer and political figure. He was the last pre-communist rule Prime Minister of Romania, serving from December 7, 1944 to March 1, 1945....

 cabinet (as it had been in the Constantin Sănătescu
Constantin Sanatescu
Constantin Sănătescu was a Romanian statesman who served as the first Prime Minister of Romania after the August 23, 1944 coup, through which Romania left the Axis Powers and joined the Allies....

 one) it took part in violent incidents that led to its fall. Groza, who was first considered for high political office in late 1944, led the third cabinet after the fall of Antonescu (formed on March 6, 1945); while the government was maneuvered by the PCR, the Ploughmen's Front did hold the Ministry of Agriculture and Royal Domains, which was assigned to Romulus Zăroni, and that of Culture and Arts, which was assigned to Mihai Ralea. In late 1947, Stanciu Stoian became another one of the party's leading members to be presiding over a ministry — that of Religious Affairs; additionally, Octav Liveazeanu became head on the Information Ministry.

The party ran on a single platform with the PCR during the 1946 general election
Romanian general election, 1946
The Romanian general election of 1946 was a general election held on November 19, 1946, in Romania. Officially, it was carried with 79.86% of the vote by the Romanian Communist Party , its allies inside the Bloc of Democratic Parties , and its associates — the Hungarian People's Union , the...

, which the Groza cabinet won through large-scale electoral fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

, and had PCR activists such as Constantin Agiu and Mihail Roller among its nominal members. It thus played an active part in the proceedings leading to the creation of Communist Romania
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...


At the time, PCR leaders began using Antonescu's 1943 crackdown on the Front as an instrument in intra-party fights: after General Secretary
General Secretary
The office of general secretary is staffed by the chief officer of:*The General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace, a government agency for the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace...

 Gheorghiu-Dej had ordered his predecessor Ştefan Foriş
Stefan Foris
Ştefan Foriş was a Romanian communist activist and journalist who served as general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party between 1940 and 1944....

 to be abducted and held in secrecy, it was alleged that Foriş' collaborator Remus Koffler had functioned as an agent for the former secret service (Siguranţa Statului), and that he had engineered Groza's arrest.

Nevertheless, relations between the Front and Communists were tested at times: after its first congress (July 1945), Groza's party called for the preservation of small, privately-owned, agricultural plots and voluntary cooperative farming
Cooperative farming
An agricultural cooperative, also known as a farmers' co-op, is a cooperative where farmers pool their resources in certain areas of activity....

 instead of the collectivization advocated by the PCR; in the period known as the "Royal strike" (beginning in the autumn of 1945 and marked by King
King of Romania
King of the Romanians , rather than King of Romania , was the official title of the ruler of the Kingdom of Romania from 1881 until 1947, when Romania was proclaimed a republic....

 Mihai I
Michael I of Romania
Michael was the last King of Romania. He reigned from 20 July 1927 to 8 June 1930, and again from 6 September 1940 until 30 December 1947 when he was forced, by the Communist Party of Romania , to abdicate to the Soviet armies of occupation...

's refusal to sign his name to legislation advocated by the government), Groza, urged on by Zăroni and Mihail Ghelmegeanu, objected to Soviet pressures on the monarch and even threatened Vasile Luca
Vasile Luca
Vasile Luca was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian and Soviet communist politician, a leading member of the Romanian Communist Party from 1945 and until his imprisonment in the 1950s...

 that he would withdraw support for the PCR. Eventually, the Front gave in to Communist demands (as a politician whose career survived the group's demise, Groza continued to sporadically clash with the PCR).

In July 1947, the Front was joined by Nicolae D. Cornăţeanu and other members of the defunct National Union for Work and Reconstruction (a small political grouping formed by Constantin Argetoianu
Constantin Argetoianu
Constantin Argetoianu was a Romanian politician, one of the best-known personalities of interwar Greater Romania, who served as the Prime Minister between September 28 and November 23, 1939. His memoirs, Memorii. Pentru cei de mâine. Amintiri din vremea celor de ieri Constantin Argetoianu...

), and, in 1948, it absorbed Anton Alexandrescu's faction (a splinter group of the National Peasants' Party).

The Ploughmen's Front ceased to exist when it dissolved itself in 1953. According to the 1991 testimony of former PCR leader Gheorghe Apostol
Gheorghe Apostol
Gheorghe Apostol was a Romanian politician, deputy Prime Minister of Romania and a former leader of the Communist Party, noted for his rivalry with Nicolae Ceauşescu.-Early life:...

, the latter action was instigated by the main party; he also indicated that, in retrospect, Gheorghiu-Dej had found such measures taken against pluralism to be regrettable ("Dej himself said: «What a stupid thing we have done! We could at least have allowed the Ploughmen's Front to exist!»).
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