World War II: Soviet Agressions--Romania (1940)

Figure 1.--This press photo shows Bessarabian refugee families piling aboard rail freight cars with their meagre belonings to flee the Soviets. The press caption read, "Bessarabians Flee before Advancing Red Tide: Riding in freight cars, Bessararabian refugees fleeing before the Russian armies crossing the frontier of the disputed province are shown as they left their homes behind them to begin life anew in Rumania proper. Hundreds of thousands fled from their homes rather than submit to Red rule." The photograph was dated July 30, 1940.

Each of the NAZI aggressions are covered in great detail by historians, the Soviet aggressions are much less covered. And the Soviet assault on Romania ar best receives little more than a footnote. The fall of France as in the Baltics caused Stalin to proceed more boldly. The Soviets demanded that Romania cede the provinces of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. The population of both provinces which bordered on the Soviet Ukraine was largely Ukranian. The secret protocols to the NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact had ceded control over Bessarabia to the Soviets. The Soviets demanded not only Bessarabia, but Northern Bukovina as well. Romania had a small, poorly equipped military which could not possibly have resisted the massive Red Army. It would prove helpful to the Germans and Stalin's eviseration of Romania forced the Romanians more firmly into NAZI fold. It also probably sped up the timetable for Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Hitler was concerned about the demands because they brought the Soviets even closer to the vital Romanian oil fields--the only impprtant source of natural petroleum for the German war mchine. The Romanians who had been cooperation with the Germans pleaded for Hitler to intervene. He refused. Although concerned anout the Soviet move, Hitler did not want to risk any confrontation with the Soviets yet. His primary goal was to keep Stalin convinced that their alliance was holding--not to alert him to Brbarossa. 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. He rejected the Romanian pleas and the Romanians had to cede the provinces to Stalin. We have little information as to what happened in Bessarabia and Bukovina after it was annexed by the Soviets. We do know that Hitler ordered the Volkdutsche to leave before the Red Army moved in .


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Created: 1:53 AM 1/13/2017
Last updated: 1:53 AM 1/13/2017