These notes depict Carol II, who reigned as King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until his abdication on 6 September 1940.
Despite its long-standing Francophile inclinations and attempts to remain neutral when World War II erupted on 3 September 1939, Romania turned towards the Axis side after France fell to Germany on 21 June 1940. The following week, Romania agreed to submit to Russian demands and ceded Bessarabia and Bukovina without conflict on 28 June. Two months later, Romania ceded northern Transylvania to Hungary through the Second Vienna Award of 30 August, further discrediting King Carol II with the public.
On 6 September 1940, King Carol II was compelled to abdicate in favor of his son Michael, with Marshal Ion Antonescu acting as the new prime minister with full powers in ruling the state by royal decree. Romania was proclaimed a National Legionary State, with the Legion as the country’s only legal party. Postage stamps, coins, and banknotes were designed with Iron Guard insignia, but only postage stamps were issued. Specimens of 500- and 1,000-leu notes with Iron Guard overprints were prepared, but remained unissued because the Legion was removed from power on 21 January 1941 after trying to rebel against Antonescu.
To prevent notes in the ceded territories from flooding back into Romania and causing inflation, Romania overprinted circulating 500- and 1,000-leu notes with two female farmers until new notes could be designed and introduced.