STUDENT MOVEMENTS IN 1922-1923. THE CREATION AND ACTIVITY OF THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN LEAGUE DURING THE FIRST DECADE OF THE INTERWAR PERIOD
After World War I, Romanian society confronted with problems resulting from the complex process of administrative and legislative democratic adjustment to the new ethnical, economical, and territorial realities resulting from the Great Union. Land reform and universal suffrage led to substantial modifications in the country’s economical and socio-political physiognomy, accelerating the rhythm of the process of modernization and development of the democratic institutional structures of interwar Romania. Both the land reform, carried out through massive expropriation, and especially the universal suffrage allowed new social segments, ignored until then, to enter the political life, eroding the political and economical foundation of the great landlords which were mostly grouped in conservative parties.
The Romanians had great hopes and expectations which they were acutely claimed/ portrayed by press, political meetings, cultural societies and civic associations after the Great Union. At the same time, all these hopes for a better future were strenuously expressed by young people that had recently returned from the trenches and entered universities, with all the idealism and elation characteristic of their age. Universities of Jassy, Bucharest, Czernowitz and Cluj were about to be confronted with a huge number of students coming from the newly united provinces, most of them with left-wing affinities or even communists. Due to the personality and influence of professor A. C. Cuza, nationalist students launched a real right-wing assault in the University of Jassy.
Student movements of December 1922 – started in Cluj University but continued strenuously in the other universities – and explicit claims to apply the numerus clausus principle are the founding moment and argument of the 1922 generation, as students’ representatives who became leaders of the national- Christian movement of the 1930s defined themselves later. These student movements were a significant stage in the genesis and evolution of the Right in interwar Romania. Other significant facts are also the way in which professor A. C. Cuza from Jassy managed to capture the most important student leaders, the continuation of claiming actions in 1923 and, finally, the creation of the National-Christian Defense League with the large participation of the nationalist students. The professor of Jassy preached encouraging the Romanian element in every domain but especially in the University, mainly through his Political Economics courses taught over a quarter of a century. His speeches maintained an atmosphere of students’ resistance against the intrusion of the authorities in student life and university, against left-wing and pro-Jewish press, and though preparing the student movement of 1922-1923 and the founding and the activity of the political organization named the National-Christian Defense League.