Category Archives: George Manu

George Manu’s Scientific Work

Today we post an excerpt of one weekly report published by the French Académie des Sciences in 1937. It is important because it speaks about the scientific work of George Manu – Georges Mano, as he was known by his physicist colleagues in France. The note authored by George Manu and presented by Jean Perrin is entitled: “On the relationship between protons’ kinetic energy and path. The case of artificial transmutations.”

You can read about it here and here.


Call of the Nation

Today we celebrate Romania’s national day. This post is a translation of a text written by Professor George Manu. It is a description of the national resistance movement that he intended to organize before being arrested, in 1948.

Call of the Nation (C.N.)

General Guidelines

  1. PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT

C.N. is a movement of resistance and fight against the Russian invasion, an endeavour dedicated to the spiritual and administrative recovery of the Romanian nation.

It is obvious that the Romanian people cannot escape the Russian yoke unless it gets help from foreign powers who are strong enough to defeat the Russian power. It is equally true that passively waiting for others to rescue us and not taking part to the fight would not bring honour to our nation. The Romanian nation has to prove capable of mastering its destiny and its land and will therefore need to get directly and actively involved in the fight for liberation from the rule of Russians and of their communist henchmen.

Should a war start between Russia and western countries, these henchmen would certainly drag Romania into the conflict alongside the occupation powers and against the western powers who are today the only ones capable of contributing to the liberation of the Romanian people. If it deserves the dignity to live, the people will have to affirm out loud, from the very first day, that the adventurers whom Russia has unilaterally installed as “Romanian government” are nothing but a crowd of aliens who are foreign to our people and country and that in the coming fight the Romanian people will stand on the opposite side. This declaration needs to be made not only by the people’s representatives who, being abroad, are safe, but also by the people itself, in its fatherland.

Similarly to the Romanian people, other people that are today under Russian occupation, such as the Bulgarians, the Yugoslavs, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Slovaks and the Poles, will be dragged by the Soviet power’s communist henchmen into war on Soviet side. As far as it is known, these peoples hate the communist regime and, given the slightest opportunity, they shall turn the weapons against the Russians. It is self evident that the earlier and the harder a people strikes, the more it will benefit in the end. There are two invaded nations, the Romanians and the Hungarians, whom the enemies of Russia see as more trustworthy because they are not Slavs and these nations will be seen in a better light and will receive more help. To their misfortune, however, these two peoples are divided by an ancient territorial conflict referring to Ardeal. Upon the final deal, when a decision will be made referring to the land of Someș and Crișuri regions, the winner will be the nation who has turned the weapons against Russia faster and more usefully. If the Romanian nation does not want to lose once again a part of its territory, it will have to fight on its own and in due time against the eastern invader.

Should the Romanian people prove unworthy on its own, once the eastern beast defeated the western powers would look for people to govern Romania. That would be once again an opportunity for the henchmen to rush into competition, bowing and scraping, trying to get their hands on our country. Should the Romanian people not be able to prove its worth in the fight, it will simply change masters: the former henchmen will be replaced by other henchmen, still aliens, and having nothing sacred. On the contrary, should the Romanian people prove its manliness in its strenuous opposition to the invader, it would have a word to say and it will naturally be led by those who had proved their valour in the fierce fight.

These are the reasons why the resistance and the fight against the invader and its communist henchmen are today the first duty of every Romanian worth the name. Our movement emerged in response to the need to organize this fight.

But the call to arms shall not be openly launched. Given the terror started and maintained by the communist regime, the movement shall remain secret and will adopt secret ways to fulfil its mission until the time will come for it to come into light, when the great and ultimate fight would start. Until then, the first law of the movement is the law of silence.


Behind the Iron Curtain – Chapter XI (fifth part)

Yesterday (August 17, 2012), the world chess champion Garry Kasparov was arrested and brutally beaten by the Russian police. This happened while he attended a peaceful event in support of freedom of expression in Moscow, in front of the courthouse where three punk rockers were sentenced to prison for “hooliganism”.

This event unfolding in 2012 inspired me to go back to what George Manu wrote about the Russian political regimes in his “Behind the Iron Curtain”, in 1948.

43. How might Russia be stopped? (excerpt)

In fact, the difficulties encountered by the American and English people in their relations with the Russians seem to be the result of an illusion. Democratic ideology and anti-racial propaganda during war broadly spread the rather simple idea that all men were perfectly identical all over the world. Besides, American and British people know very little about foreign mentalities and are prone to be too generous in their estimations. Hence the illusion mentioned above. Cabinet members in Washington and London, as well as American and English journalists, and the more so the English speaking man in the street, think of the Russians as they would do about themselves and seem to be amazed and even puzzled when they find a difference. As a matter of fact, Russian mentality has very little in common with Anglo-Saxon mentality.

First of all, the Russians possess no tradition of liberty, of representative government and of political education of the people. Nothing ever existed in Russian history approaching “Magna Charta”, “Habeas Corpus”, the Pilgrim Fathers or the Declaration of Independence.  The Russian people, from the very beginning of their history, that is over 1 000 years, have always lived under autocratic regimes of terror, supported by a secret police. These autocratic regimes of terror were mostly created by foreigners and led by them, thus clearly demonstrating how little prepared Russian people are for political life in their own country. The only great leader of true Russian stock in the whole Russian history was Peter the Great. A government of the people, by the people and for the people never existed in Russia and still less exists to-day. Russia has always had and still has a government of the foreign minority, by the secret police and for the military caste. To-day, Russia has the government of the Georgian Stalin, by the N.K.V.D., for the Red Army. Such a government, if free from internal trouble, might only be expansionist, just as it was in the past.

In the second instance, Russia has never had precise limits. Russia is an immense plain, boundlessly outstretched. No large rivers, no high mountains, no infinite oceans divide Russia from her neighbouring countries. Russia is not an island like Great Britain, nor strictly limited between two oceans like the United States. For a Russian, the idea of being bound is as intolerable as would have been for an American of 1820 or 1830 the idea of the United States being forbidden to extend into the Far West[1].

In the third instance, the Russian is no sedate man, who feels happy to live where he is born and where his parents and ancestors were born, have lived and died. The Russian is a nomad. He therefore considers the ideas of removal and deportation as quite natural. All those who have travelled in Russia are familiar with the sight of a small two-wheeled cart going, on and on, on endless roads, carrying a bundle of old rags and pushed in turns by the members of a family moving hundreds of miles west, south and eastwards because they had been told a better living could be found there, far away.

These three Russian characteristic features: the autocratic and military regime, the lack of geographical bounds and the nomadic mood, can only bring on a tendency of expansion, that is to say an imperialistic policy, just as the whole history of Russia proves.

Another characteristic feature of the Russian people is that they have never partaken in any way, during the last thousand years, of the slow creation of the present Western Civilization, under none of its forms, spiritual, moral, social, scientific, artistic, technical or economic. A thin upper class began after 1750 to assimilate these forms and, after 1830, even to create, but this class was swept away by the Soviet Revolution.

The Russian people and their present leading class have been educated, have lived and go on living in the atmosphere of an Asiatic conception of life, the roots of which are in a very far-off past and which is almost impossible to grasp for a Western mentality. First of all, the Russians only understand power and constraint as grounds of a government and of law. Tolerance, goodwill, the respect of one another, freely accepted discipline, are completely strange to them, and are regarded as signs of weakness. Promises and signatures are not considered as freely accepted engagements but as simple formalities, settled on the spur of the moment. Lies are considered shameful only if they are discovered and good faith is considered a sign of simplicity of mind. An atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust is the normal consequence of such a conception of life.

The Asiatic mentality is especially noticeable when a Russian is in contact with a Western man, whom he envies for his education, riches and cleverness, whom he despises for his sincerity regarded as simplicity, and whom he instinctively suspects of being an enemy.

The rather violent misunderstanding which occurred in London in September 1945 between Mr. Bevin and M. Molotov and in February 1946 between Mr. Bevin and M. Vyshinski was due to this fundamental difference of mentalities. Mr. Bevin was certainly aware of the fact when he reproached M. Molotov his “Mongolic” way of discussing.

The Russians regard the American and British declarations about the four – years’ “brotherhood of arms” against Germany as childish and ridiculous. They fought Germany quite naturally because the latter invaded their country, they are proud to the outmost for having beaten the “fascist invaders” and they simply welcomed the American war material because they wanted it. But they certainly have no such thing as a feeling of comradeship towards their former allies. This feeling is purely Western and completely strange to their minds. To-day, the Russians only think of drawing the utmost profit out of their success and no feeling of comradeship would ever prevent them from prompting any kind of trouble against Western Powers. Besides, in Russian military circles, they openly speak of the third World War which they consider unavoidable and about the successes they expect to have against their former allies.

Therefore, all efforts made by the United States and Great Britain in order to attract Russia into an international system of mutual understanding seem to be fatally doomed to fail. Russia cannot be caught in the game of the universal peace because this game allows freely accepted rules and no Russian could ever understand the meaning of the word “game-rule”. The only rules the Russians understand are those imposed by strength.[2]


[1] On the question of boundless Russia, see for instance: Grégoire Gafenco, “Préliminaires de la guerre à l’est”, Fribourg, Egloff, 1944, pp. 370 – 375.

[2] On all these questions, one may consult Brooks Atkinson’s highly interesting article “Russia 1946” in the “Life” issue of July 22-th 1946.


Soviet Communization of Romania

Today’s post reproduces an article that, according to the official archives, was written by George Manu in 1947. The article analyses the developments in Romania after the end of WWII. According to a note, Manu had handed the article to Col. John R. Lovell – military attaché at the United States legation in Bucharest, Romania in 1946 – 1949. The author’s intention was to get the article published in American newspapers.

Some parts of the text are missing (and marked accordingly) because they were not visible – the text was edited starting from scanned images of the original documents.

Abrupt communization in the Russian zone

            The political change accomplished in Romania represents a link in a general scheme of abrupt communization which is now being achieved in the entire Russian zone of influence in Europe. Indeed, until the Paris Economic Conference clearly revealed in July past that the Continent was split into two camps, the Russians had persistently attempted to convince Western public opinion that the governments they had imposed upon the countries submitted to their control were not purely communist ones. In fact, these governments were supported by coalitions of parties or small groups led by the Communists but bearing reassuring names like “National Union” in Poland, “National Democratic Front” in Rumania, or Fatherland’s Front” in Bulgaria. The coalitions sometimes happened to comprise determined anti-communist parties or personalities who had been constrained to collaborate under American or British pressure. At that time the Western powers still acted under the illusive outlook that had prevailed at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, according to which Communism could be used as a candid ally against Fascism. Thus, Mr. Mikolajczyk was induced to enter the Polish government, M. Subasich to trust Marshal Tito’s good faith, Messrs. Tildy and Nagy to give up the administration of Hungary to the communists, and M. Petkov to act as minister of foreign affairs at Sofia. Moreover, M. Maniu’s refusal to compromise with the Rumanian Communists was openly qualified as narrow-minded obstinacy. The Russians fully availed themselves of this Anglo-Saxon naivety and, under the cover of the broad democratic conditions thus set on foot, methodically promoted their plan of gradual communization. Besides, the resistance of the middle classes and the farmers was discouraged and the reluctant but yet actual collaboration of the anti-communist parties only helped to compromise and dismember them. The best example was that of the Hungarian Smallholders Party.

During 1947 the Russians apparently became less interested in concealing their purposes. They probably considered the communist regime imposed in their zone of influence strong enough to throw off the mask of democracy. Consequently, the anti-communist parties, whether collaborating or not, were involved in “fascist” conspiracies incidentally discovered by the Russian secret police, evicted from government, implicated in repeated trials, dissolved and outlawed. Messrs. Mikolajczyk and Nagy were compelled to flee abroad, nothing was ever heard of M. Subasich, M. Petkov was hanged and M. Maniu sentenced to life imprisonment. The only country where this operation has not yet been carried through is Czechoslovakia, seemingly on account of M. Benes widespread international relations. Nevertheless, “fascist” conspiracies have already been mentioned, M. Ursiny, Slovakian vice premier of the Gottwald cabinet, has been compelled to resign, and the regional government of Slovakia is now presided over by a Communist.

M. Tatarescu’s dismissal

The changes which recently affected the composition of the Groza cabinet illustrated this process of communization. As, on March 6, 1945, M. Vyshinski in his usual rude manner imposed upon the King of Rumania the appointment of that puppet government, he only [missing text]. In 1942, under Marshal Antonescu, M. Tatarescu was the only prime minister who attended the festivities held in Chişinău, chief city of Bessarabia, in order to commemorate the liberation of that province. Three years later, probably fearing his being prosecuted as a war criminal, M. Tatarescu entered the Groza cabinet as vice premier and minister of Foreign Affairs, subsequently playing the part imposed upon him by Russia. However, in May 1947 he attempted to oppose the first measures of frank communization proposed by his communist colleagues. The latter bluntly rejected his objections and asked him to resign. At that time Russia was still interested in fooling Western opinion and still needed the presence in the Rumanian government of a pawn assumingly representing the middle classes. Consequently, M. Tatarescu was asked to withdraw his objections and allowed to remain in office. Six months later, as the partition of Europe had become an accomplished fact, the Russians had no more reason to keep M. Tatarescu and abandoned him to his own fate.

Mme Ana Pauker

Besides, the strained international situation demanded a narrower Russian control over Rumania’s foreign policy. Indeed, Rumania commands all Russian ways of access and expansion to the Mediterranean. Being now engaged in a war of nerves and a diplomatic offensive against Italy, Greece and Turkey, which could at any moment involve her in international complications, Russia is bound to assure her backlines and consequently to supervise very strictly Rumania’s foreign relations. In view of this, Russia imposed upon her tools of the Groza government the appointment of Mme Ana Pauker as minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mme Ana Pauker was born in Rumania of foreign parents about 55 years ago. She first married a bookseller and later Marcel Pauker, a communist engineer who worked in Germany for a certain time and later went to Russia where he was shot in 1936 under the charge of being a Trotzkyst. His wife is said to have denounced him. Mme Ana Pauker spent several years in Russia where she became a Soviet subject, was a member of the former Comintern and was appointed a honorary general in the Red Army. She returned to Rumania in 1944 as communist chief leader and, in September 1947, attended the Warsaw Conference of the Communist Parties which re-organized Comintern. Thus, Mme Ana Pauker may be safely trusted by the Russians as their most reliable representative in the Rumanian Communist Party.

As soon as she was appointed minister of Foreign Affairs, Mme Ana Pauker ordered all the officials of the ministry to leave their offices. The latter were locked for about ten days and searched one by one. All the documents and the slightest scraps of paper were meticulously examined by Mme Pauker’s trusted persons under her own superintendence. As a result, 170 diplomatists and officials were dismissed within a week. Few days later several dozen more were compelled to resign. M. Tătărescu having previously dismissed 240 persons the Rumanian diplomatic service was entirely removed. They were constituted by communist outsiders, most of them belonging to the alien minorities, who had gone through a special school the Communist Party had organized a fairly long time previously under Russian supervision. The Russian purpose of eradicating any Rumanian outlook from the Rumanian ministry of Foreign Affairs was thus accomplished. Mme Pauker will now conduct this ministry as a Russian official acting at the [missing text]. Mme Pauker has been entrusted with the task of carrying through the negotiations for the entry of Rumania into the future Soviet Danubian Confederation. Actually, these negotiations have already reached an advanced stage. The Rumanian prime minister, M. Petre Groza, paid official visits to Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia and Prague during the summer of 1947, and signed political, economic and cultural agreements. The Bulgarian prime minister Dimitrov paid an official visit to Yugoslavia in August 1947 and closed at Bled an agreement with Marshal Tito preparing the creation of a Greater Yugoslavia comprising Bulgaria. During the last days of October 1947, M. Groza and Marshal Tito met secretly in a country house at Banloc, a Rumanian village near the Yugoslavian frontier, and had long negotiations which alterned with enormous revelry. Few weeks later, General Dinnyes, the Hungarian prime minister, travelled to Bucharest while Marshall Tito and M. Dimitrov met again in Bulgaria.

The future Danubian Confederation as contemplated by Russia should comprise Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. The latter two countries would be probably united into a Greater Yugoslavia which would become in this manner the most important partner in the future Confederation and would naturally be entrusted with its leadership. Thus, Belgrade would become the siege of both the central government of the Confederation and the central committee of the recently re-established Communist International. Russia would dispose on the Danube of a strong first-line position watched by her trustworthy tool, Marshal Tito, and enabling her to interfere with European affairs without too openly unmasking herself. Besides, she would definitively establish her domination up to the gates of Vienna and Trieste without disclosing her imperialistic ambitions as would be the case if the concerned countries were merely invited to enter the Soviet Union as “free and independent” partners, like the Ukraine or Bielo-Russia. The future Confederation would comprise 60 million inhabitants of whom 35 million Slavs and 25 million non-Slavs. The former might be used in order to crush the national resistance of the latter, Rumanians and Hungarians who have as yet brought much trouble to the Russian plans by their stubborn opposition, in spite of their being governed by subservient tools.

A Soviet Kingdom?

            In fact, another problem may trouble the Russian plans. Rumania still is a Kingdom and King Michael still keeps on his throne. According to the Constitution, he might appoint or dismiss the government at his will and thus legally overthrow the communist regime as soon as an opportunity would occur. In doing this, he would certainly be supported by all the Rumanian people. As a matter of fact, King Michael is beloved by his subjects since he attempted to dismiss the Groza government in August 1945, in compliance with an Anglo-American note asserting that this government did not fulfil the conditions settled at Yalta. Soon after, the Western Powers abandoned the King to his own resources and, according to the Moscow agreement of December 1945, obliged him to resume relations with a government they had attempted to overthrow four months previously. Being thus deceived by the Western powers, the King has become very careful. He was often compelled to yield before Russian pressure and to sanction measures he strongly disapproved. None the less, it seems unlikely that the Russians might accept the idea of a Soviet Kingdom. Thus, they will most probably constrain King Michael to abdicate as soon as they will be in a position to realize their projects concerning the Danubian Confederation that would be the last political change undergone by Rumania before her final disappearance into the Soviet world. At that point, Rumania and the whole of South – Eastern Europe would presumptively become free from fear, as nothing worse could ever happen to them.

Bucharest

25th of November 1947


Behind the Iron Curtain – Chapter XI (fourth part)

42. The resistance of Turkey.

Turkey is situated in an even more important place than Greece in the way of Russian ambitions southwards. She holds the two straits, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, through which Russian navigation has to pass in order to get from the Black Sea into the Aegean and the Mediterranean. The key of both Straits is Constantinople, the fascinating Metropolis of Byzantine prestige, the legendary “Tsargrad”, the Imperial City whose heirs the Russians imagine to be since the marriage of the last Byzantine emperor’s niece to the Grand – Prince of Moscow Ivan III.

Turkey who has always felt against Russia the same hereditary distrust as Rumania, has been very careful in her policy towards her powerful northern neighbour since the latter has taken the Soviet form of government. Mustapha Kemal signed as early as 1921 a treaty of friendship with Russia. A cautious policy of good neighbourliness was carried on by Mustapha Kemal, later Kamal Atatürk, until his death in 1938. The same policy has been continued by his successor, President Ismet Inönü.

The alliance with Great Britain signed in the spring of 1939, six months before the outbreak of World War II, has perhaps been considered by the Turks like an assurance against Russia as well as against Germany.

As a matter of fact, Turkey succeeded by herself in securing her neutrality in 1941 when the German troops, after their rapid campaign in Yugoslavia and Greece, were the masters of the Balkans and menaced her European frontiers. Thus Turkey rendered a serious service to the Allies. One might imagine what would have been the consequences of an occupation of Turkey by the Germans at a moment when in Iraq revolution was brewing, when it had overthrown the pro-British government and attacked the British garrisons, at a moment when the whole Arabian world was in a dangerous turmoil. The end of the war would perhaps not have been the same and Turkey’s merit is the greater as Germany and Russia were then almost allied.

Turkey remained neutral during the following years. Mr. Churchill himself, although publicly accusing Turkey of excessive prudence during the spring of 1944, was unable to change her policy. Turkey was familiar with Russian policy for centuries. A Russian victory in Europe and a Russian occupation of the Balkans directly hit her interests and she could not be expected to co-operate in the realization of such an object. In fact it might seem natural that she should try to prevent it and if Turkish insistences did effectively work at Bucharest trying to prevent Rumania’s capitulation towards Russia in August 1944, such insistences might only have been consistent with Turkish interests.

In this respect, however, a serious reproach should perhaps be made to the Turkish government. It was said that an Anglo-American army was ready for landing in the Balkans during the autumn of 1943, should Turkey have entered the war. This army was to occupy the whole South-Eastern Europe after the capitulation of Rumania who was to surrender to British, American and Turkish armies and not to Russian ones. As a matter of fact, the Russians still were on the Dnieper at that time. If this were true and these plans were not fulfilled following the excessive prudence of the Turkish government, the latter might be considered as directly responsible for the Russian occupation of South-Eastern Europe and for all its consequences, including a possible third World War[1].

Turkey only joined the war in 1945 when there were no more Germans left at her frontiers, and only in order to be one of the United Nations and so be more able to defend her interests.

The careful policy of the Turkish government as well as the attitude of the Turkish press and public opinion thoroughly displease Russia. Hence the periodical attacks of the Russian press against Turkey and the Turkish press, with the ritual and unavoidable accusation of “Fascism”, hence the inimical policy of the Russian government towards Turkey. The first public demonstration of hostility against Turkey was the denunciation in April 1945 of the treaty of “friendship and good neighbourliness” which both countries had signed in 1925. Although the Russian government stated that this denunciation was not an act of hostility and that negotiations with the Turkish government would start in order to prepare a new treaty; in fact nothing has been done and the relations between Russia and Turkey are left to their own devices.

The main problem between Russia and Turkey refers to the Straits. The navigation through Bosphorus and Dardanelles is regulated by the Montreux Convention ratified by Turkey, the great powers and the Black Sea riparian countries, a convention to which Russia also adhered. Turkey exerts navigation control. The Montreux Convention was signed for a ten year period, that is until August 1946 and was to be automatically prolonged unless any of the signatories would express a wish to modify it. Russia has in due time demanded a new convention that would have given her either the right to solely control the Straits or to share control with Turkey. Turkey rejected any limitation of its sovereignty. The United States of America and Great Britain supported Turkey on this subject but admitted the idea that other aspects of the Montreux Convention could be modified. The second pending problem between Russia and Turkey refers to the Kars – Artvin region that is connected with the even more serious problem of Armenia.

The Kars – Artvin region is situated in Transcaucasia, at the frontier with the soviet republics of Georgia and Armenia. Its surface is 10.000 sqm and it has 550.000 inhabitants. It was taken by the Russians from the Turks in 1878 at the Berlin Congress and was returned to the Turks in 1918, through the Treaty of Brest – Litovsk. After the annulment of the Brest – Litovsk Treaty, the annexation to Turkey in 1921 was confirmed by the treaties in Moscow and Kars. At present the region is again claimed by the Russians, but the Turks firmly reject this demand.

Formerly, the region had been inhabited by Armenians and Georgians. Now, its inhabitants seem to be Turks in their majority, after the former inhabitants had been killed or deported during the first years after World War I. In Turkish Armenia, including the Kars – Artvin region, there seem to be now less than 100.000 Armenians instead of nearly one million before the first World War[2]. It may be understood why the Armenians feel an outstanding hatred against Turks.

Russia began to stir up the Armenian question during the summer of 1945. The Kars – Artvin region was claimed for Soviet Armenia as well as for Soviet Georgia. At Etchimiadzin, the religious centre of the Armenians situated in Soviet Armenia, a congress was held during the summer of 1945 with the participation of delegates of numerous communities from abroad, including Rumania. The Armenians from abroad were invited to return to their “fatherland” Soviet Armenia and several thousands returned from Turkey, Syria and even from Rumania. In Rumania, an “Armenian Front” was created in order to assemble all the Armenians of this country into an organization friendly to the Soviet Union[3]. The same is said to have happened in Hungary and Poland while the Armenians from Syria and Lebanon as well as those from the United States agitate the question Kars – Artvin. The Armenian problem was very well chosen as a weapon against Turkey. On one side the Turks might be put on this question in an unfavourable position, on the other side the rich Armenian communities of the Near East, Central Europe and the United States might be gained over for Russia and thus bring into the Russian game a fairly great number of clever and influential propagandists.

It may be seen that the relations between Russia and Turkey are not of the best, and might grow worse at any moment. Today, Turkey’s international position is still good and too brutal a pressure or an aggression against her would lead to an Anglo-American intervention and to the outbreak of a third World War. On the contrary, should Russia confine herself to a war of nerves and attempt to obtain concessions by diplomatic pressure, as for instance in the question of the Straits, the Anglo-Saxon Powers and consequently Turkey would perhaps yield in order to prevent complications.


[1] The plan of landing Anglo-American troops in the Balkans seems to have been abandoned during the Conference of Teheran. President Roosevelt seems to have given in before Generalissimo Stalin’s imperialistic demands, in spite of Mr. Churchill’s opposition. Thus, there seems to be no more question of a responsibility of the Turkish government …. (See: Elliot Roosevelt, “As He Saw It”).

[2] According to the Turkish census of 1935, there were only 58,000 Armenians in the whole of Turkey. The real figures are most probably higher. Indeed, one may suspect many Armenians of having prudently declared themselves to the recensor as Turks.

[3] There are about 16,000 Armenians in Rumania among whom 7,000 in Bucharest and 4,000 in Constantza. The Armenian community in Bucharest is ancient and very rich. The Armenians were sensibly more numerous in Rumania some decades ago. Many of them are now assimilated and have lost their national consciousness.


Lecture notes from prison (II)

Geoffrey Chaucer (b. 1328? – d. 1400)

This is the first great poet of England and he is therefore called the Father of English Poetry.

He was born in London, but at what date it is uncertain. His father was probably a vintner, or wine – merchant, occupying a good position in the society at the time. We do not know whether he received his education at Oxford or at Cambridge. There is some reason to suppose it may have been at both.

Of his manhood’s earlier years we know nothing that is authentic. If we may judge from his writings, he seems to have spent much of his time in reading, translating into English, and imitating the interesting romances of the French trouvères.

When he reached manhood he became attached to the court of Edward III, as attendant on the Princes Lionel and John of Gaunt. In 1359 Edward renewed his attack upon France, in his attempt to win the French crown. Chaucer bore arms and fought bravely for King and country; but unfortunately the French took him prisoner. He was soon released however, and after his return to London pensions and gifts and lucrative situations were given him, specially through the kindness of John of Gaunt, who later on became the poet’s brother in-law, having married Chaucer’s wife’s sister.

In 1372 he was dispatched to Italy on royal business. In this country he very likely met the great Italian poets Petrarch and Boccaccio, who were both alive then, and whose works were the delight of the age. When he returned to England Chaucer remembered the soft and musical language of Italy, and endeavoured in his poems to make the rough English language of his time more agreeable to the ear. He also told over again some of those delightful stories of the authors just named, and with such power that the old tales read like new stories.

All went well with Chaucer during the reign of Richard II until Gloucester, the King’s uncle interfered in the Government. Then the poet fell on evil days. His most lucrative offices were taken from him, and we frequently find him reduced to the necessity of borrowing money to meet his immediate wants.

But he bore up against misfortune with a cheerful spirit, and it is pleasant to know that in the first year of the reign of Henry IV he received new pensions and his last days were free from care. He was buried in the Poet’s Corner at the Westminster Abbey.


Lecture notes from prison (I)

Some of Manu’s lectures for his students in Aiud prison survived. Few of them had been written on soles or soap bars and taken out from prison. Most of them were preserved in people’s memory.

Irrespective of their background, political prisoners had a strong interest in learning English. This is why some of Manu’s lectures were given in English. Subjects cover a broad range: history of France, England and USA, English literature, history of geographical discoveries.

The following posts will give several examples of these lecture notes collected by Gheorghe Jijie in George Manu – a Monograph.

The Magna Charta Libertatum

The Magna Charta was signed at Runnymede on June 19, 1215 by King John the Landless, at the Barons’ request.

The Magna Charta was the first form of an English Constitution. For the first time, the rights and the privileges of the barons, of the Church and of the freemen were put in writing, limiting thus the powers of the King. The Charta is considered as a regulator of the public life in a moment when the incipient forms of the political life were crystallizing in the history of England.

Four copies of the historical text were preserved, out of which two are originals: one (without royal seal) in the cathedral of Salisbury, the second (and the best preserved) in the cathedral of Lincoln, and two can be admired at the British Museum.

The Magna Charta, through its 63 clauses, was only a reconfirmation of the feudal contract between the sovereign and its vassals. The King, by brutally breaking it (through arbitrary taxation, confiscation of certain properties and annulment of certain feudal privileges) justified the Barons’ rebellion, also supported by the Church (itself in possession of a large piece of land) and by categories of the free population.

The Magna Charta represented a temporary victory of the peripheral powers against the central one (and from this point of view it was a regress) but also a break from the narrow frame of the feudal contract through the alliance the Barons made with the free citizens of towns, especially the Londoners (and from this point of view it meant a progress). Its importance varied in time. The clause regarding the freedom and the integrity of the persona of the free-men – at first sight an act of great justice – sanctioned the large number of villains, through a decrease in time of this category of the population.

This clause will gain in practical significance, and as a proof we have the fact that starting with the reign of Henry II, all monarchs reinstated the principles of the Magna Charta. Within ten years, the Magna Charta was promulgated three times: in 1216 and in 1217 (with major changes favoring the crown) and again in 1225 (when it was cut with a third). Until 1416 it had already been reconfirmed 50 times.

With the fall of feudalism, at the end of the War of the Roses, and also due to a tight link between the Crown and the bourgeoisie under the Tudors, Magna Charta became obsolete and probably ignored.

It is significant that in his “King John”, Shakespeare does not mention it. But during the conflict with the Stuarts, the Parliament rediscovered it.

For centuries in a row, it was erroneously considered the foundation of the democratic liberties in the history of the island. It was only during the 20th century that the historians interpreted it in its real light – as a juridical feudal document, through which the Barons could invoke a collective “diffidatio” had the sovereign broken the feudal contract.

We could not put an end to this brief presentation of the juridical system during the XI – XIII centuries without mentioning the legal procedures concerning women and Jews.

Feudalism limited the liberty of women, by making right to possess property dependent on the military service. Furthermore, both the civil and the church regulations specified the dependency of women to men, the former having to obey in all circumstances, otherwise threatened with physical punishments.

As far as the Jews were concerned, the first communities settled under William I, mostly in Winchester, being under the protection of the Crown, offering in exchange large amounts of money under their assumed role of moneylenders. The money was obtained from all the well-to-do social categories, at exorbitant interests. This way the Crown exerted a double financial exploitation, a direct one through Persian on the Jewish moneylenders and an indirect one on the population. The anti-Semite feelings of the towns-people, born under these circumstances, were exacerbated during the Crusades. Under the rule of Richard I pogroms took place, under the accusation of ritual crimes in York, Lincoln, Stanford. In 1290, under the rule of Edward I the Jews were expelled from the country.