World War II: Romania


Figure 1.--Maria Antonescu here is visiting a Bucharest school during 1942. Maria Antonescu was the wife of Fascist dictator Ion Antonescu. He became Romanian Prime Minister in 1940 and assumed the title of "Conducator" (Fuhrer). He allied Romania with Germany and Italy and began the severe repression of Romanian Jews.

Romania with its important petroleum resources was a major target of German diplomacy. Germany did not have the petroleum to wage a war of any duration. The basic calculations were stark. The Germans estimated that they needed 12 million tons of oil annually to wage war. The synthetic petroleum industry in the Ruhr based on coal liquidficatioin would by the late 1930s produce about 3 million tons, leaving a defivcit of 9 million tons. Quite simply, NAZI Germany could not go to war without a secure source of additional oil. The oil could not be imported by sea because of the Royal Navy. The answer to this shortfall was Romania. The Romanian oil fields centered around Ploesti produced about 7 million tons annually. Romania posed some initial problems because the country had sided with the Allies in World War I and as a result had been rewarded with territorial concessions at the expense of its neighbors which had sided with the Central Powers. The Romanian royal family was a German family, but Romania had sided with the Allies in World War I. Romania agreed to sell most of its oil to Germany (1939). British efforts to bid for the oil failed. The NAZIs next convinced the Romanians to expel British technicians (July 1940). General Ion Antonescu, who had been the Minister of War, for King Carol when he seized power (September 6, 1940). This meant that the NAZIs had essentially turned Romanian into a satellite state and ally. Antonescu styled himself Conducator (Leader) styled after the Führer principle in Germany. Antonescu ininiated a Fascist state and unleased the Iron Guard, Romania'sersion of the NAZI storm troopers and no less vicious. The Iron Guard proceeded to murder democratic politicians. Antonescu also began the Holocaust in Romania. The Iron Guard killed hundreds of Jews in the streets of Bucharest. The regime swiftly instituded aide range of anti-semitic measures. Jews were fired from government jobs and many private businesses. Jewish professors were fied and students expelled from universities. [Gilbert, p. 343.] German moved into Romania, a country which Italy also has interess in, was resented by Mussolini.

World War I

The Romanian royal family was a German family, but Romania had sided with the Allies in World War I. The country finally decided to enter the war on the Allied side (August 1916). Given the weakening situation on the Eastern front this seems an unwise decession. Initially the Romanian Army scored some success. The Romanians attacked Hungarian Transylvania and occupied much of it. The Central Powers launched a counter-offensive made up of both German and Austrian-Hungarian forces (September) The Central Powers suceeded in occupying much of Romania, including all of Valachia and a major proprtion of Moldovia (late 1916). Bulgarian forces pressed forward into the Dobrudja. The Romanians managed to stop the Central Powers offensive and set up a defensive perimiter around the area of Romania they still controlled. Revolution occurred in Russia and the Russians finally quit the War (1917). This freed up forces for the Central Powers. As a result of the Revolution in Russia, the Tsarist Empire began to desintegrate. Bessarabia as a result of the substantial Romanian ethnic population voted to join Romania (April 9, 1918). The Central Powers soon afterwards launched their spring offensive and succeeded in occupying all of Romania, including Bessarabia. The defeated Romanians were forced to sign the Treaty of Bucharest (May 7, 1918). The Germans were later to complain bitterly about the harsh conditions in the Versailles Treaty. Rarely mentioned were the very severe treaties they forced on the Romanians and Russians. The Allied victory in the West, however rescued the Romanians. The Treaty of Bucharest was declared null and void under the conditions of the Armistice (November 11). Russia.

Oil

Romania with its important petroleum resources was a major target of German diplomacy. Oil was important in World War I, it was critical in World War II. Germany did not have the petroleum to wage a war of any duration. The basic calculations were stark. The Germans estimated that they needed 12 million tons of oil annually to wage war. The synthetic petroleum industry in the Ruhr based on coal liquidficatioin would by the late 1930s produce about 3 million tons, leaving a defivcit of 9 million tons. Quite simply, NAZI Germany could not go to war without a secure source of additional oil. The oil could not be imported by sea because of the Royal Navy. The answer to this shortfall was Romania. The Romanian oil fields centered around Ploesti produced about 7 million tons annually. Romania agreed to sell most of its oil to Germany (1939). British efforts to bid for the oil failed. The NAZIs next convinced the Romanians to expel British technicians (July 1940).

Diplomacy

NAZI diplomats were active in Romnania during the 1930s and Fascist influence gained in importance furing this period. France and Britain pledged attempted to negotiate an alliance with Romania as it became increasingly obvious that wa was coming. They signed an agreement to ensure the independence of Romania (April 13, 1939). The Munich Accords had badly damaged the credibility of the Allies and the NAZI invasion of what was left of Czechoslovakia meant that a bulwark between Germany and the Balkans had been removed. Britain and France were very far away. The Soviets were a poweful potential ally, but to many Romanians were a greater threat than the NAZIs. Efforts to negotiate similar arrangements with the Soviets failed because Romania understandably refused to allow the Red Army to enter the country.

NAZI-Soviet Non Aggression Pact (August 1939)

Hitler and Stalin agreed to a Non-Agression Pact whjich stunned the world (August 23, 1939). The agreement essentially provided Hitler a free hand to invade Poland, thus launching World war II (September 1939). Unkown to Romania, and other countries in Eastern Europe, the agreement contained secret protocol essentially dividing Eastern Europe. One of the countries concerned was Romania. The Soviets and NAZIs did not, however did not reach any definitive agreement on the Balkans. Here a key country was Romania. Romania had joined the Allieds in World war I and in the post-War settlement obtained some territory from the former Russian Tsarist Empire. Thus there was territory thst Stalin coveted. And Romania with the Ploesti oil fields was a petroleum exporter. And the NAZIs desperately needed the Romanian oil to wage war.

NAZI Invasion of Poland: World War II (September 1939)

No longer constrained by the danger of the Allies obtaining Soviet support, the NAZIs invaded Poland (September 1) thus launching World War II. The NAZI-Soviet pact as well as Germany's spectacular success in Poland panicked the Romanian Goverment. Romania still had ties to the Allies. They granted refuge status to Poland's government escaping the NAZIs and Soviets. Romanian premier, Armand Calinescu, proclaimed neutrality. The Fascist Iron Guards immediately assassinated him (September 21). King Carol managed to maintain the country's neutrality for several months. The fall of British withdrawl at Dunkirk and the fall of France radically chanhed the European situation. Hitler and Stalin now controlled the Continent and Romanian would have to deal with both to survive.

Deteriorating Security Situation

The power of the German Blitzkrieg in Poland shocked the Romanians. They did, however, grant refuge to Polish officials who managed to reach Romania. Premier, Armand Calinescu, was intent on remaining neutral and was supported by King Carol. The Iron Guards assassinated Calinescu (September 21, 1939). King Carol attempted to maintain Romanian neutrality. The collapse of France and the British withdrawl at Dunkirk May-June 1940) meant that the Allied guarantees were meaningless. This left King Carol little option other than an arrangement with Hitler. This was especially true because of Soviet designs on Romania.

Soviet Partition (July 1940)

The Soviets demanded that Romania cede the provinces of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. The Soviets presented the Romanian Government a 24-hour ultimatum. The population of both provinces which bordered on the Soviet Ukraine was largely Ukranian. Bessarabia had been part of the Tsarist Empire, but not Bukovina. The secret protocols to the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact had ceded control over Bessarabia to the Soviets. The Soviets demanded however, not only Bessarabia, but Northern Bukovina as well. Romania had a small military which could not possibly have seriously resisted the Red Army by itself. Hitler was concerned about the demands because they brought the Soviets even closer to the Romanian oil fields. The Romanians pleaded for Hitler to intervene. He refused. King Carol had known Allied sympathies. In addition, although concerned anout the Soviet move, Hitler did not want to risk any premature confrontation with the Soviets yet. The Germany military was still largely deployed in the west, having just defeated France and contemplating a cross-channel invasion of Britain. Hitler already had his mind set on the east, but he was not yet ready. The German Ambassador in Bucarest rejected the Romanian pleas and advised the Romanians to cede the provinces to Stalin.

Volkdeutsche

Romania which fought with the Allies in World War I, joined the Axis in World War II. We only have limited information at this time on how the the Volkdeutsche fared during World War II. Under the terms of the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact (August 1938), the NAZIs recognized Soviet rights to Bessarabia, then the eastern province of Romania. We know that the Volkdeutsche in Bessarabia left when the Soviets seized the province from Romania (July 1940). Hitler was not pleased, but did not yet wish to confront Stalin. The NAZIs encouraged the Volkdeutsche who had resided there for centuries to leave rather than stay under Soviet rule. Once safely across the River Prut, however, the Volkdeutsche were not allowed to resettle, but rather confined in camps. I'm not sure what happened to them after the NAZIs invaded the Soviet Union (June 1941). Presumably many tried to return to their former homes.

Dobruja (August 1940)

Next Bulgaria with Soviet consent reclaimed southern Dobruja. Romania as an Allied country had obtained this former Bulgarian province as part of the World War I peace settlement. Bulgarian had joined the Central Powers. Since Tsarist times there had been an association between Bulgaria and Russia involving ethnic and religious ties and the liberation of the Balkans from the Turks. The NAZIs did not object as Hitler was still intent on maintaining good relations with the Soviet Union until an invasion could be organized.

Vienna Conference (August 1940)

Both Hungary and Bulgaria which had lost territory to Romania after World War I also made territorial claims to areas with substantial population of ethnic Hungarians and Bulgarians. Hungary prepared to invade Romania. Romania mobilized its army and prepared to fight. Romania ceeded the relatively small area of South Dobruja to Bulgaria, but refused to ceede Transylvania to Hungary. Hitler wishing to avoid such complications wrote to King Carol and urged negotiations. Hitler convoked a conference in Vienna. Italian foreign ministers met with Romanian diplomats in Vienna and presented them with a facti compli. Northern Transylvania was to be transferred to Hungary. It was not what the Romanians expected. There was to be no effort to arbitrate the dispute. Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop simply produced a map detailing what the settlement was to be. The Vienna Arbitration Award as the Germans called it shocked the Romanian foreign minister who collaspsed when he saw the map and had to be revieved. The Germans awarded a huge slice of Transylvania slicing deep into Romania to Hungary. The award, however, kept the area with oil and gas resources in Romanian hands. Germany also guaranteed the resulting borders of Romania. While this did not molify Romanian opinion, it did alienate the Soviets who had further ambitions in the Balkans.

King Carol

The three partitions cost Romania 100,000 square kilometers of territory and 4 million people. The Romanian people were shocked and outraged. King Carol had pledged not to yield "a single furrow" of Romanian soil. He had assumed dictatorial power in Romania and, as a result, was largely blamed when Romania first lost territory to the Soviets and then lost additional territory to Hungary and Bulgaria. The NAZIs did not trust him. He had Allied sympathies with pro-Allied advisers in his entourage. He also had a Jewish mistress.

Fascist Iron Guard (September 1940)

Te Iron Guard was the Romanian version of the NAZI SA. Popular opinion in Romania was outraged over the loss of territory to the Soviets and then Hungary and Bulgaria. This played into the hands of the Fascist Iron Guards and other extremne nationalists. The resulting political turmoil brought General Ion Antonescu to power (September 6, 1940). The Iron Guard supported by rebelious military officers and premier General Ion Antonescu with the support of the NAZIs seized control. They forced King Carol to abdicate (Septenber 6).

King Michael (1940-47)

Prince Michael succeeded his father as Michael V. He was only 19 years old. Given his age and lack of experiece and ;ack of political and military support, Antonescu was able to easily usurpe Michael's authority who was force to reign as a figurehead monarch.

Ion Antonescu

Antonescu was born into a modest middle-class family (1882). There was a a degree of family military tradition. He decided to persue a military career and attended military accademies in Craiova and Iaşi. He proved an able student. He graduated from the Cavalry School first in his class (1904). He persued further studies at the national military academy. As a junior officer he aggressively paricipated in putting dowm peasant revolts around Galaţi (1907). His ruthless actions gave rise to his being called Câinele roşu (the red dog). He gained considerable prestige for Romania's success in the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria (1913). Romania joined the Allies in World War I (1916). Althouhj the country was overrun by German and Bulgarian armies, Antonescu's role was generally seen as positive. He also helped seize land from Hungary. As a result, he had considerable following in the Romanian Army, especially among right-wing elements. The dictatorial powers that King Carol had asumed were taken over by Antonescu. He was a general and had veen the Minister of War. He as supported by right-wing elements in the military. This meant that the NAZIs had essentially turned Romanian from a pro-Allied neutral into a Fascist ally. Antonescu soon styled himself Conducator (Leader) adopting the NAZI Führer principle.

Fascist Rule

Antonescu moved to orient Romania into the NAZI sphere of influence. His government adopted much more severe anti-Semitic laws. There were also actions taken against Greek, and Armenian businessmen. Antonescu cooperated with the Fascist Iron Guard. He unleashed them to attack both the leaders of democratic parties as well as Jews and non-Romanian minorities. The Iron Guard launched a series of vicious attacks. Armed Iron Guard membersastormed into the Jilava prison and butchered 64 supporters of King Carol who had been arrested (November 1940). There were also vicious attacks on Jews. They tortured and murdered Nicolae Iorga.

German Intervention (October 1940)

The German High Command also approved of Antonescu as they had been working with the Romanian military. As a result, German forces began moving into Romania (October 8). Romania after the Soviet partition was a country that was afraid of further Soviet incursions. German intervention was seen by many Romanians as protection from the Soviets. There were some complications in the Axis Alliance. Romania was a country in which Italy also has interests, and the German move was resented by Mussolini. The German move into Romania proved to be a major reason for Musollin's decession to invade Greece. Antonnescu upon assuming power asked for German troops to ensure that the Soviets did not intervene. Hitler dispatched the 13th Panzer Division and units of 2nd Panzer as well as anti-aircraft units and Luftwaffe squadrons. Obstensibly these forces were to train the Romanians, from Hitler's perspective they were there to protect the oil fields. The Germans deployed 0.5 million troops in Romania. Romania officially joined the Axis Alliance (November 23). Hitler now in control wanted stability in Romania so that the country could serve its purpose of supplying food and oil for the German war effort. Iron Guard violence was now disruptive. Thus German and Romanian soldiers began disarming the militants. The Iron Guard did not quietky acceot this. Units rebelled and stree fighting broke out (January 1941). The Iron Guard took the opportunity to attack Jews before the German and Romanian authorities put down the insurection and restored order.

The Holocaust

About half of Romania's Jews were killed in the Holocaust. The fate of Romanian Jews was differed, depending on where they lived in the country. The borders of Romania changed greatly in 1940. The Romanians lost considerable territory. Stalin demanded Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. Bulgaria had obtained southern Dobruja. Hungary obtained about 40 percent of Transylvania under the terms of second Vienna Award. These humiliating losses had fueld the rise of Antonescu and the Iron Guard and weakened King Carol's position. The Jews were significantly affected by these territorial changes. Members of the pro-NAZI and virulently anti-semeitic Iron Gurard assasinated Prime Minister Armand Calinescu on September 21, 1939. Calinescu had sought to supress the Iron Guard. The Iron Guard was being trained by German army officers suposedly in Romania as teachers at Romanian schools. General Ion Antonescu who had been the Minister of War seized power with the support of thee Iron Guard and the Army (September 6, 1940). He ininiated a Fascist state. The Iron Guard conducted a trerror campaign against Jews, especially in Bucharest, but were suppressed by Anotescu when they attempted to seize power. The Army was loyal to Antonescu Hitler supported him. Antonescu's performance is mixed. The Romanian Army engaged in terrible attroicities both in Bessarabia and northern Bukovina and the Ukraine. Antonescu adopted severe anti-Semetic measures, but never allow the NAZIs to deport Jews from Romania proper. As a result many Romanian Jews surbived the War.

Yugoslavia and Greece (April 1941)

Romania proved a useful staging area for the German invasion of Yugoslavia. German units in Romania were much closer to Belgrade than the units driving south from the Reich itself.

Romanian Military

We do not know a great del about the World War II Romanian military. This is in part due to the fact that the Romanians fought on the Eastern Front mostly against the Soviets and then disappeared behind the Iron Curtain after the War. This mean information on the Romanian military was difficult to assess by Western scholars. The subject is, however, of some importance because the Romanians were the primary German ally supporting the Wehrmacht in Operation Barbarossa. The German had other allies, but none supplied more troops than the Romanians. The Romanian Army was primarily an infantry force. There was artillery, armoured, and mountain units as well as an air force and navy, but most of the country's military strength was made up by the infantry. The Romanians begn 1940 with 22 infantry divisions (1-22 Divisions and the Guards Division). The Army had to disband three divisions (the 12th, 16th and 17th) when the regions where soldiers were recruited were ammexed by neighboring countries. At the time of Barbarossa the Romanians still had a substantial calvalry force. Their armoured units, however, were equipped with largely obsolete tanks. We know very little about the training and effectiveness of Romanian units. Poor equipment and the limited availability of motorized equipment certainly impeded their operations. We are not sure just how effectively they aided the Germans or how rthey compared to other German allies. The failure of the Romanians during te Battle of Stalingrad was a major factor in the War. We are unsure, however, to what extent this reflected a failure of the Romanian soldier as opposed to inadequate equipment and supply and the overwealming supperiority of the attacking Red Army force.

Opetation Barbarossa (June 1941)

The NAZIs lunched the graetest miitary camapign in history by invading the Sovirt Union (June 22, 1941). Stalin was completely suprissed. The Romanians supported the NAZI invasion and participated in it. German and Romanian forces quickly conquered Bessarabia, but Odessa and Sevastopol held out. The War was at first very popular in Romania. Many Romanians saw it as a way of reclaiming the lost territory. And at first the invasion went very well. Romania mobilized more troops for Barbarossa than all of Germany's other Axis allies combined. Many more than the Hungarians. Romnaian officials still hoped to regain northern Transylvania from Hungary. Hitler did reward the Romanians by not onlt returning Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but by allowing Romania to annex Soviet territory east of the Dniester, which included Odessa.

Allied Air Strikes on Ploesti (1942)

Allied air rades on the Ploesti oil fields began in 1942. The first raids had minimal effect. The Germans had made Ploesti one of the most heavily guarded sites in Europe.

Home Front

Romania supplied Germany with grain, other foodstuffs, and a variety of industrial products. It was the oil, however, that was Romania's principle contribution to the NAZI war effort. Romania was Germany's principle source of oil throughout the War. The NAZIs were, however, not willing to actually pay for these deliveries either in manufactured goods or gold--both were needed for the war effort. Romania was theoretically a NAZI ally. Despite the fact that the Romanian Army was numerically the most important German ally on the Eastern Front, the NAZIs treated Romania more like an occupied country. Romanian oil was a key support for the German war effort, but the Germans essential seized the oil without paying for it. Economic conditionsin Romania as a result deteriorated. Shipments of oil no longer earned exprt income. The shipment of agricultural and indstrial products to the Germans caused shortages in the domestic economy. Food became in short supply and inflation skyrcketed--reached disruptive levels. The expansion of the miitary caused labor shortages and adverseky affected domestic production. The economy was further disrupted bu Allied air strikes.

Stalingrad (September 1942-January 1943)

Antonescu plans for the future were dashed at Stalingrad. The Germans in the drive on Stalingrad wer overstreached, largely because Hitler divived the German force for a drive south into the Caucauses. He dismissed the objections of important commanders. The drive on Stalingrad and the fighting in the city was conducted primarily by German units. The Germans used allied troops (Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian) to cover their flanks north and south of Stalingrad. The units did not have the same commitment to the War as the NAZIs nor were they as well trained or equipped as the Germans. Zukov's plaam involved sucking the German's into the caulderon of Stalingrad and with forces he was building up, attack north and south of the city in a giant pincer to surround the Germans in the city. The Red Army smashed the Romanian and allied forces screening Stalingrad (November 1942). The losses were staggering. Few of the Romanians ever returned to their country.

Peace Feelers

The disaster at Stalingrad made it clear by 1943 that Germany would not win World War II. Antonescu realized that Romania would have to make peace. Romanian representatives contacted American and British diplomats in Cairo and Istambul. The Allies insisted that Antonescu first make peace with the Soviets. Stalin was suspicious throught the War that the Allies would make a separate peace with Hitler so they were not about to fuel his suspicions, especially with Antonescu who was tainted with with Fascist rule. Antonescu refused to surrender to the Soviets, but negotiated with them through their Stockholm embassies. Sweden was a neutral country and both Romania and the Soviets had an embassy there.

Kursk (July 1943)

The defeat in North Africa was punishing, but it was on the Eastern Front against the Soviets that the great bulk of the Wehrmacht was deployed. The Germans after Stalingrad fell back, but began amassing their forces for a third summer offensive of the Russian campaign. The offensive this time was even more limited than in 1942. The target was a buldge in the Soviet line, the Kursk salient. The fighting on the huge Eastern Front involved vast armies in some of the most savage fighting ever recorded and Kursk may well have been the most vicious fighting of the War. The latgest tank battle in history occurred during 1943 at Kursk where the Germans suffered losses from which they never recovered. It was their vast important offensive on the Eastern Front. Without the Soviet defeat of the Wehrmacht, the Western Allies would have been hard pressed to contain the Germans or cross the Channel. A victorious Russian ally, however, meant that peace following the War would be far from ideal and leave the peoples of Eastern Europe locked into a new totalitarian dictatorship for a half a century. Kursk forced the Germans to withdraw from the Ukraine. This left Romania exposed to the resurgent Red Army.

Translvania

Romanian-Hungarian animosities simmered throughout the War. Romanians never accepted Hitler's award of te province to Hungary (1940). Antonescu was apparently planned a war with Hungary to regain Transylvania. The Romanian Army was, however, was devestated by the Sivies as part of the Salingrad operation (November 1942). Antonescuattempted to bring the restof te Romanian Army back to Romania, but Hitler refused. Instead the Romanians were used as prtt of a disasterous defense of te Crimea (1944). Few survived.

Soviets Reach Romania (August 1944)

The Red Army reached Romanian teritory (August 1944). It was at this time that a Madame Kolontay, Stlin's agent in Stockholm, presented a draft armistice agreement to the Romanians. Given the military situation, it seemed a generous offer. The Soviets demanded that the German armies leave Romania within 15 days. The Soviets pledged to only pass through north territory as they pushed west toward Hungary and Germany. They pledged not to take Bucarest and the south of the country. They also offered to recognize Romanian claims to Hungarian-occupied Transylvania. Soviet intentions are not entirely clear. Apparently they were trying to seize the country, but if they encountered serious military opposition, Stalin may have signed the armistice so that he could focus on the Germans. The Soviets launched an offensive on the Iasi-Chişinău-Cetatea Albă line toward Bucarest.

Antonescu Arrested (August 23, 1944)

Antonescu prepared to defend Romania. He deployed nine elite divisions on the Focsani-Namoloasa-Galati line. He believed that they could hold the Soviets until the Armistice could be signed. Romanian diplomats sent the Soviet proposal August 22). Anti-Fascist elements in Romania were plotting with King Michael to remove Antonescu and end the War. German forces in Rmania were weak and the King and others did not want to fight the Soviets virtually aolne. Opposition leader Iuliu Maniu intercepted the telegram with details on the Armistice. King Michael cooperated in a plot to arrest Antonescu. There was still support within the Army so arresting him was not an easy undertaking. The King invited Antonescu to the Royal Palace. Antonescu reported on the proposed Armistice and military situation. The King insisted that he mmediately sign an unconditional surrender. Antonescu insisted that the Aristice that he was negotiating was preferable, although he had no proof that such an armistice really existed. He told the King that "signing unconditional surrender to the Russians is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute". King Michael withdrew. His advisors urged him to arrest Antonescu. The King returned and told Antonescu that he and his ministers were dismissed. Soldiers loyal to the King then enteed the room and arrested him along with his minister, Mihai Antonescu. Both were locked in the Palace safe. Communist agents working with the King handed them over to the Soviets.

Soviets Occupy Romania (September 1944)

King Michael immediately declared a ceasefire. The Red Army ignored the King's cease fire and persued yheir offensive. The Soviets quickly broke the Romanian defensive line. Most Romanian soldiers refused to fight. The Soviets took more than 0.6 million prisoners. The NAZIs refused to recognize the new Romanian Government. They attacked Bucarest hoping to put down the new Government. German military resources by this time gad been badly degraded. And even Hitler decided against committing the few military resources available in Romania at a time that the Red Army was driving through Poland toward the Reich. The Romanian Army which refused to fight the Russians, did engage the Germans and held the capital until the Red Army reached it.The Romaniand surrendered unconditionlly (September 12, 1944).

Antonescu's Trial (1946)

The Soviets returned Antonescu to Romania for his trial (May 1946). He was tried by the Bucharest People's Tribunal. The Romanian Government by this time was firmly in Communist hands. He was found guilty of betraying the Romanian people to NAZI Germany, the economic and political subjugation of Romania to Germany, cooperation with the Fascist Iron Guard, the murder of political opponents, mass murder of civilians and crimes against peace, and for participation in the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union. The Court found him guilty and sentenced him to death. He was executed in Jilava Prison where so many Iron Guard attrocities occurred (June 1, 1946).







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Created: 2:35 AM 10/12/2004
Last updated: 3:00 AM 1/13/2017