On October 25, both cities were freed from Hungarian and German control; by a decree from 1959, this day was established as the Romanian Armed Forces Day. On the evening of October 24, the Romanian 6th Army Corps attacked in the direction of Carei with a force comprising 4 divisions; at the same time, the 2nd Infantry Division of 2nd Army Corps attacked in the direction of Satu Mare, in a pincer movement. Once abroad, he renounced his abdication as forced and again took to using the title "King of Romania.". In addition, most of the products sent to Germany such as oil, grain, and equipment were provided without monetary compensation, as Germany refused to pay. Romania welcomed the war because they were allies with Germany. 2. , In a radio broadcast to the Romanian nation and army on the night of 23 August King Michael issued a cease-fire, proclaimed Romania's loyalty to the Allies, announced the acceptance of an armistice (to be signed on September 12) offered by Great Britain, the United States, and the USSR, and declared war on Germany. This is a list of battles and other combat operations in World War II in which Romanian forces took part. German and Romanian units conquered Bessarabia, Odessa, and Sevastopol, then marched eastward across the Russian steppes toward Stalingrad. Expecting military aid from Britain and France, Poland chose not to execute its alliance with Romania in order to be able to use the Romanian Bridgehead. Romanian King Carol II handed power over to the pro-German General Ion Antonescu. C. Peter Chen of Lava Development, LLC. On 23 August 1944, with the Red Army penetrating German defenses during the JassyKishinev Offensive, King Michael I of Romania led a successful coup against the Axis with support from opposition politicians, most of the army and Communist-led civilians. Between states: the Transylvanian question and the European idea during World War II.
On 8 October German troops began crossing into Romania. This caused widespread discontent among the Romanian population, even among those who had once enthusiastically supported the Germans and the war, and an angry relationship between Romania and Germany.
Consequently, by 1943 Romania became a target of Allied aerial bombardment. Later that day, historian and former prime minister Nicolae Iorga and economist Virgil Madgearu, a former government minister, were assassinated.
On 7 September, under the Treaty of Craiova, Southern Dobruja (which Bulgaria had lost after the Romanian invasion during the Second Balkan War in 1913), was ceded to Bulgaria under pressure from Germany. In the immediate wake of the loss of Northern Transylvania, on 4 September the Iron Guard (led by Horia Sima) and General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu united to form the "National Legionary State", which forced the abdication of Carol II in favor of his 19-year-old son Michael. Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself. Ion Antonescu with his wife Maria, Mihai Antonescu, Kristia Pantasi, Konstantin Vasiliu, Eugen Kristesku, Gheorghe Alexianu, Radu Lekka, and other arrested Romanian leaders were placed aboard a special train for Moscow, Russia. In the aftermath of World War I, Romania, which fought with the Entente against the Central Powers, had greatly expanded its territory, incorporating the regions of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, largely as a result of the vacuum created by the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires.
"From what we know, weshortened the war by several months," he told RFE/RL. ww2dbaseAfter the war, Antonescu was tried by the Russian-sponsored Bucharest People's Tribunal. Please refrain from using strong language. Under the pretext of stabilizing the country, the increasingly autocratic King Carol II proclaimed a 'royal dictatorship' in 1938. He was executed on 1 Jun 1946, leaving a legacy of being the head of the Romanian government that killed between 280,000 to 380,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma people. In July, after a Soviet ultimatum, Romania agreed to give up Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (the Soviets also annexed the city of Hertsa, which was not stated in the ultimatum).
Momentum in World War II had shifted dramatically and the then-21-year-old ceremonial head of state ordered the arrest of Antonescu -- a fierce soldier whom Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler had come to respect -- after Antonescu refused to break his alliance with the Axis powers. Bucharest was subjected to intense Allied bombardment on 4 and 15 April 1944, and the Luftwaffe itself bombed the city on 24 and 25 August after the country switched sides.
Despite the relatively recent acquisition of these territories, they were inhabited by a majority of Romanian speaking people (except Southern Dobruja), so the Romanians had seen them as historically belonging to Romania, and the fact that so much land was lost without a fight shattered the underpinnings of King Carol's power. Their main objective was Cluj, a city regarded as the historical capital of Transylvania. However, the treaty specifically recognized that Romania switched sides on 24 August 1944, and therefore "acted in the interests of all the United Nations".  Romanian jingoes in Odessa even distributed a geography showing that the Dacians had inhabited most of southern Russia. Carol and his mistress Magda Lupescu went into exile, and Romania, despite the unfavorable outcome of recent territorial disputes, leaned strongly toward the Axis. Even after the initial killings, Jews in Moldavia, Bukovina and Bessarabia were subject to frequent pogroms, and were concentrated into ghettos from which they were sent to Transnistria, including camps built and run by the Romanian authorities. However, the country was able to regain Northern Transylvania from Hungary.
Fascist political forces such as the Iron Guard rose in popularity and power, urging an alliance with Nazi Germany and its allies. The King then offered a non-confrontational retreat to German ambassador Manfred von Killinger. Prior to the Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad, the Antonescu government considered a war with Hungary over Transylvania an inevitability after the expected victory over the Soviet Union. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking.
Romanian troops were in large part responsible for the Odessa massacre, in which from October 18, 1941, until mid-March 1942, Romanian soldiers in Odessa, aided by gendarmes and police, killed up to 25,000 Jews and deported more than 35,000.. This article incorporatespublic domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.  In parallel with these internal developments, economic pressures and a weak Franco-British response to Hitler's aggressive foreign policy caused Romania to start drifting away from the Western Allies and closer to the Axis. Petre Dumitrescu, one of Romania's most important generals, was commander of the Third Army at Stalingrad. Michael's action, accomplished with co-conspirators, allowed Romania to switch to the Allied side and had a notable impact on the war. The goal of this By 1944, the Romanian economy was in tatters because of the expenses of the war, and destructive Allied air bombing throughout Romania, including the capital, Bucharest. The Annex to Article 18 made clear that "The Romanian Government and their organs shall fulfil all instructions of the Allied Control Commission arising out of the Armistice Agreement."
The number of deaths in all areas is not certain, but the lowest respectable estimates run to about 250,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma in these eastern regions. < Greater Romania | History of Romania | Communist Romania >, Romanian military actions in World War II. His death now draws the curtains on a unique window on the 20th century. In power, the Iron Guard stiffened the already harsh anti-Semitic legislation, enacted legislation directed against minority businessmen, tempered at times by the willingness of officials to take bribes, and wreaked vengeance upon its enemies. One of the most notable air bombardments was Operation Tidal Wave the attack on the oil fields of Ploieti on 1 August 1943. Of some 538,000 Romanian soldiers who fought against the Axis in 194445, some 167,000 were killed, wounded or went missing.. However, the newly gained territories also included significant Hungarian, German, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Russian minorities, which put Romania at odds with several of her neighbours. "The whole eastern front in Greece and Yugoslavia collapsed because of us.".  Michael I, who was initially considered to be not much more than a figurehead, was able to successfully depose the Antonescu dictatorship. The Iron Guard was forced out of the government. But the Germans considered the coup "reversible" and attempted to turn the situation around by military force. In an act out of his ambition, only two days after he became Prime Minister, he forced King Carol II off of the throne; Carol's son Mihai succeeded as king, but was largely a puppet of Antonescu's, who was named the Conductor of the nation.  Although it was an ally of Germany, Romania's turning to the Allied side in August 1944 was rewarded by returning Northern Transylvania, which had been granted to Hungary in 1940 after the Second Vienna Award.  Some attribute the postponement of a formal Allied recognition of the de facto change of orientation until 12 September (the date the armistice was signed in Moscow) to the complexities of the negotiations between the USSR and UK. As part of the deal, the Iron Guard became the sole legal party in Romania. Finally, in 1997, a newly elected, pro-Western government officially recognized Michael as a Romanian citizen and former head of state. In line with Article 14 of the Armistice Agreement, two Romanian People's Tribunals were set up to try suspected war criminals. Thank you. On 24 August, German troops attempted to seize Bucharest and suppress Michael's coup, but were repelled by the city's defenses, which received some support from the United States Air Force. Lava's technical capabilities. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. In 1913, he was decorated during the Second Balkan War. The Soviet Union was offered a 90% share of influence in Romania. On 23 Aug 1944, King Mihai placed Antonescu under arrest and switched sides by joining the Allies and declared war on Germany. The new regime featured corporatist policies that often resembled those of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The JassyKishinev Offensive, launched on 20 August 1944, resulted in a quick and decisive Soviet breakthrough, collapsing the German-Romanian front in the region. ", On 22 June 1941, German armies with Romanian support attacked the Soviet Union. At the time, he was said to be suffering from chronic leukemia and epidermoid carcinoma. site is two fold. It turned out, however, that Antonescu could not control the Iron Guard party, and an unsuccessful rebellion broke out in Jan 1941. ww2dbaseIn Jun 1941, when Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against Russia, Antonescu sent troops to help as well.
In 1992, he refused an offer to run for president on an opposition ticket, snubbing politics, unlike his cousin, Simeon of Saxe-Coburg, who ran for office and became Bulgarian prime minister in 2001. Despite this late association with the winning side, Greater Romania was not restored.  Under the terms of the armistice, Romania announced its unconditional surrender to the USSR and was placed under occupation of the Allied forces with the Soviet Union as their representative, in control of media, communication, post, and civil administration behind the front. He met his future wife at the wedding of his cousin, the young Queen Elizabeth, but tended chickens and vegetables as a farmer in England during lean years in exile. Antonescu became the Iron Guard's honorary leader, while Sima became deputy premier. But that wouldn't help him much after the war, when Romania came under Soviet occupation and political parties were banned and elections falsified to install a Moscow-imposed communist regime. Half of the estimated 270,000 to 320,000 Jews living in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Dorohoi County in Romania were murdered or died between June 1941 and the spring of 1944, of which between 45,000 and 60,000 Jews were killed in Bessarabia and Bukovina by Romanian and German troops, within months of the entry of the country into the war during 1941. However, the Romanians met fierce resistance from Russian forces near Stalingrad, and lost the momentum of the offensive. Romanian armies advanced far into the Soviet Union during 1941 and 1942 before being involved in the disaster at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 194243.
 The strategic Focani Gate was invaded on 27 August 1944 by Soviet forces, which allowed them to spread out onto Bucharest, the Black Sea and the Eastern Carpathians.  Also, numerous train stations in the country, such as Gara de Nord in Bucharest, served as transit points for troops departing for the Eastern Front. Copyright 2004-2022 Lava Development, LLC., all rights reserved, Jassy-Kishinev Offensive and Romania's Surrender. In November 1942, the German Sixth Army was briefly put at Dumitrescu's disposal during a German attempt to relieve the Third Army following the devastating Soviet Operation Uranus. If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Germany welcomed this friendship, knowing the Romania could supply her with oil that she badly needed to wage war. Hungary had lost Transylvania after World War I in the Treaty of Trianon. As the military fortunes of Romania's two main guarantors of territorial integrityFrance and Britaincrumbled in the Fall of France (May to June, 1940), the government of Romania turned to Germany in hopes of a similar guarantee, unaware that the then-dominant European power had already granted its blessing to Soviet claims on Romanian territory in a secret protocol of 1939's MolotovRibbentrop Pact. ww2dbaseSources: In the Service of the Reich, Wikipedia. You don't forget it," he said. They soon numbered over 500,000. He was found guilty for supporting the German invasion of Russia. After the initiative was lost, his popularity suffered.
 This occasionally led to violent conflict, as exemplified by the HungarianRomanian War and the Tatarbunary Uprising. But he warned that the suffering communism had imposed on the Romanian people should not be forgotten. Although the Romanian administration set up a civil government, the Transnistria Governorate, the Romanian state had not yet formally incorporated Transnistria into its administrative framework by the time it was retaken by Soviet troops in early 1944. Under the 1947 Treaty of Paris, the Allies did not acknowledge Romania as a co-belligerent nation but instead applied the term "ally of Hitlerite Germany" to all recipients of the treaty's stipulations. The cohabitation between the Iron Guard and Antonescu was never an easy one. Eugen Tomiuc is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL. In the summer of 1940 diplomacy resolved a series of territorial disputes in a manner unfavorable to Romania, resulting in the loss of most of the territory gained in the wake of World War I.
On 27 November, 64 former dignitaries or officials were executed by the Iron Guard in Jilava prison while awaiting trial (see Jilava Massacre). Ion Antonescu, Mihai Antonescu, and Kristia Pantasi were returned to Romania for trial. , According to an international commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were murdered or died in various forms on Romanian soil, in the war zones of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and in the occupied Soviet territories under Romanian's control (Transnistria Governorate). Like Finland, Romania had to pay $300 million to the Soviet Union as war reparations. Nonetheless, most Jews living within the pre-Barbarossa borders survived the war, although they were subject to a wide range of harsh conditions, including forced labor, financial penalties, and discriminatory laws.  According to historian and author Mark Axworthy, the second Axis army in Europe, arguably, belonged to Romania, though some would dispute this, regarding the Italian army as more significant..
Great Britain.  Also around this time, the Hungarian Army carried out its last independent offensive action of the war, penetrating Arad County in western Romania. As a reward, Northern Transylvania was, once again, recognized as an integral part of Romania, but the border with the USSR and Bulgaria was fixed at its state in January 1941, restoring the pre-Barbarossa status quo (with one exception). On 23 November Romania joined the Axis powers. In Romania proper, Soviet occupation following World War II facilitated the rise of the Communist Party as the main political force, leading ultimately to the forced abdication of the King and the establishment of a single-party people's republic in 1947. In AprilMay 1944, the Romanian forces led by General Mihai Racovi, together with elements of the German Eighth Army were responsible for defending northern Romania and took part in the Battles of Trgu Frumos, which David Glantz considered to be an initial Soviet attempt to invade Romania, supposedly held back by Axis defensive lines in northern Romania. , The Battle of Carei marked the last stage of recovering Romania's former territory of Northern Transylvania, ceded in 1940 to Hungary as a result of the Second Vienna Award.
Returning to Romania in 1926, he very quickly gained more and more authority, being appointed by King Carol II to be the Defense Minister in 1937 then Prime Minister in Sep 1940. Soviet forces captured Trgu Frumos and Iai on 21 August and Chiinu on 24 August 1944. For the Romanian assistance of the campaign, Antonescu was awarded the Knight's Cross by Hitler. Though much of the killing was committed in the war zone by Romanian and German troops, there were also substantial persecutions behind the front line. , On 13 April 1939, France and the United Kingdom had pledged to guarantee the independence of the Kingdom of Romania. Together with the Germans, Romanian troops regained territories lost to Russia in 1940, and went deeper into Russian territory to capture the city of Odessa where a terrible massacre took place. Ion Antonescu became the Prime Minister of Romania and King Carol II transferred most of his dictatorial powers to him. The report commissioned and accepted by the Romanian government in 2004 on the Holocaust concluded:. To contain Hungarian irredentism, Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia established the Little Entente in 1921.  After the assassination of Prime Minister Armand Clinescu on 21 September King Carol II tried to maintain neutrality for several months longer, but the surrender of the Third French Republic and the retreat of British forces from continental Europe rendered the assurances that both countries had made to Romania meaningless.. It was only after the demise of both communism and Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989 that it looked like Michael would finally return home. , In early September, Soviet and Romanian forces entered Transylvania and captured the towns of Braov and Sibiu while advancing toward the Mure River.  After recovering Bessarabia and Bukovina (Operation Mnchen), Romanian units fought side by side with the Germans onward to Odessa, Sevastopol, Stalingrad and the Caucasus. On 23 August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the MolotovRibbentrop Pact. Then, in WW1, he was Marshal Constantin Prezan's chief of staff and was vital in Romania's successful defense against German troops.
WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. Hitler rewarded Romania's loyalty by returning Bessarabia and northern Bukovina and by allowing Romania to administer Soviet lands immediately between the Dniester and the Bug, including Odessa and Nikolaev. , The Armistice Agreement of 12 September stipulated in Article 18 that "An Allied Control Commission will be established which will undertake until the conclusion of peace the regulation of and control over the execution of the present terms under the general direction and orders of the Allied (Soviet) High Command, acting on behalf of the Allied Powers". Michael, under guard by troops loyal to the communist coup leaders, was forced to abdicate and leave the country in December 1947. In February 1943, with the decisive Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad, it was growing clear that the tide of the war was turning against the Axis powers. The rest (northern Bukovina, the northern half of Hotin county and Budjak) was apportioned to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Despite initial success, a number of ad hoc Romanian cadet battalions managed to stop the Hungarian advance at the Battle of Puli, and soon a combined Romanian-Soviet counterattack overwhelmed the Hungarians, who gave ground and evacuated Arad itself on 21 September. Within four days, Antonescu had successfully suppressed the coup. This led to the achievement of the long-standing nationalist goal of creating a Greater Romania, a national state that would incorporate all ethnic Romanians. In 1940 Romania's territorial gains made following World War I were largely undone.  The coup accelerated the Red Army's advance into Romania, but did not avert a rapid Soviet occupation and capture of about 130,000 Romanian soldiers, who were transported to the Soviet Union, where many perished in prison camps. Ion Antonescu of Romania met with Adolf Hitler to discuss the ensuing disaster in Stalingrad, Russia. Many post-war studies linked him directly to the anti-Semitic atrocities. A Country Study by the U.S. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress attributes this to a "morbid competition with Hungary to curry Hitler's favor [in hope of] regaining northern Transylvania.".
Thomas, Martin. He also married Anna of Bourbon-Parma, whom he had met at the wedding of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth, and they eventually had five daughters. Romania's King Michael: WWII-Era Monarch Who Lived To See Country Emerge From Soviet Domination. However, the rapidly changing situation in Europe during 1940, as well as domestic political upheaval, undermined this stance. Throughout the Antonescu years, Romania supplied Nazi Germany and the Axis armies with oil, grain, and industrial products. King Michael receives applause after his anniversary speech at the parliament in Bucharest in October 2011. announced his retirement from public life.  The number of Romanian troops sent to fight in the Soviet Union exceeded that of all of Germany's other allies combined. Romanian Claims to the Serbian Banat in 1941, Romania's economic arguments regarding the shortness of the Second World War, Map of Romania's territorial changes during World War II, World War II archive images with the Romanian Forces, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, History of World War II by region and country, Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, and British North Borneo, Romanian armored fighting vehicles of World War II, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Romania_in_World_War_II&oldid=1095822226, Battles of World War II involving Romania, Articles with Romanian-language sources (ro), Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2022, Articles to be expanded from January 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2017, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2021, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Library of Congress Country Studies, Pages using Template:Loc without any parameters, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, 700,000 ordered, 445,640 received by the Romanian Army by mid-1943, 5,000 ordered in 1941 and delivered during 1942, Local design, entered operational service with the Romanian Army in 1943 with a production rate of 666 pieces per month as of October 1942, 5,500 purchased, 3,500 in 1941 followed by 2,000 in 1943, 125 imported from France and well over 175 built locally under licence at the, 188 imported from France and well over 410 built locally under licence at the, Captured and reverse-engineered Soviet model, produced at the, 300 ordered in September 1940, the delivery beginning in May 1941, known as, 300 ordered but only 72 delivered until the fall of France, 360 produced under licence at the Astra Works beginning with 1938, with 102 delivered by May 1941 and a production rate of 6 pieces per month as of October 1942, 200 built under licence by the Reia Works, with 100 delivered by mid-1941 and the second batch of 100 started in July 1941, the production rate being of 5 pieces per month as of October 1942, 669 pieces (former Polish ones) purchased from Germany (most common Romanian anti-tank gun in 1941), Captured Soviet model, some Romanian anti-tank platoons had four pieces during the second half of World War II, 545 made in Austria and 275 made in Italy, all purchased from Germany, 160 purchased from France and well over 140 licence-produced at the, During the second half of World War II, some Romanian anti-tank platoons each had three Pak 40 guns, used interchangeably with Romania's own 75 mm Reia Model 1943 anti-tank gun, Native design combining features from several foreign models, a total of 210 pieces were produced at the, 248 purchased from Czechoslovakia in the mid-1930s and 252 from Germany in 19401941 (the Astra Works in Romania manufactured, 180 ordered but only 144 delivered until the fall of France, 180 purchased from Czechoslovakia between 1936 and 1939 (the Astra Works in Romania manufactured.