On 12 October 1940, the sending of German troops to Romania was announced, which had already begun. On 15 November Antonescu met in Rome with Mussolini and on 22 he signed the Romanian adhesion to the Italian-German-Japanese tripartite pact in Berlin; in early December, a ten-year German-Romanian economic cooperation protocol was signed. This growing Nazi influence exacerbated the ever-flowing relations with the USSR, while England broke off diplomatic relations with Romania in February 1941.
On June 22, Romania followed Germany in declaring war on the USSR. Romania had already served as an attack base for the German invasion of Yugoslavia in April. Under the command of gen. Antonescu, the German and Romanian armies of the southern sector crossed the Prut. After reoccupying Bessarabia and northern Bukovina in July, and immediately re-annexed, the Romanian armies continued the campaign in Ukraine as well. The Bug and Odessa region was entrusted to the Romanian civil administration, under the name of Transnistria and served as a deportation area for Jews expelled from Romanian territory. On December 6, England declared war on Romania and on December 14, Romania declared war on the United States, following the Japanese, German and Italian example.
The euphoria of the first military successes of the summer of 1941 galvanized the Romanian people around the gen. Antonescu, defined conduct ǎ tor in imitation of the Nazi “Führer”, and appointed marshal by the king. But the subsequent bleeding of the army and the dead-end prolongation of the war against the USSR produced the slow but fatal disintegration of the home front, which gave its first manifestations in the autumn of 1942-winter 1943, through secret appeals addressed to the king by the leaders. of the former national peasant and liberal parties, I. Maniu and C. Brǎtianu. Mihai Antonescu, as well as the conductor himself, became a cautious spokesperson for this state of weariness and the opportunity to get out of the war, in talks with Mussolini. The decline of the Russian campaign, the Soviet counteroffensives and the surrender of Italy (September 1943) widened the breach of the defection, which became irreparable with the approach of the Soviet armies to the Romanian borders and with the massive Anglo-American aerial bombardments. As early as the spring of 1944, the first polls for surrender began in Constantinople and Cairo. But a secret agreement concluded at the same time between the Allies, hopes Russia and England, entrusted Romania to Soviet influence, while Greece was left to the English one. The secret negotiations were then transferred to Stockholm with the Soviet minister, Mrs Kollontay. while Greece was left to the English one. The secret negotiations were then transferred to Stockholm with the Soviet minister, Mrs Kollontay. while Greece was left to the English one. The secret negotiations were then transferred to Stockholm with the Soviet minister, Mrs Kollontay.
On 23 August the armistice treaty was signed in Moscow. On the same day, Marshal Antonescu, summoned to the royal palace, was discharged by the king and arrested, to leave power to a cabinet of national democratic concentration, headed by gen. Sǎnǎtescu, who was succeeded in December by gen. Rǎdescu.
The Soviets had crossed the Romanian border on 22 August and with rapid advance occupied IaŞi, to the north, Galaţi and Ismail at the mouth of the Danube and, continuing south, on 2 September they reached the Bulgarian border between Giurgiu and Silistria. No resistance the Soviets met in the Wallachian Plain. The invasion of Romania consequently proceeded rapidly also in the Transylvanian Alps. On 10 September the Soviets were already in Alba Iulia, on 14 in Deva and could proceed north towards the Hungarian border, the main objective, and to the west straddling the MureŞ on Arad and also here at the same border, which they passed on 9 October. In the Wallachian Plain, after the occupation of PloeŞti with the adjacent oil wells and of Bucharest (31 August), the advance proceeded very quickly towards the Iron Gates, which were reached on September 6 in Turnu Severin. From this location, after violent fighting, the Soviets moved towards Serbia where they joined with the liberation army of Marshal Tito in Negotin, and then proceeded together towards Croatia and Austria.
The Moscow armistice represented a real provisional peace treaty. In fact, in addition to relations of a military nature, it also regulated territorial issues, restoring the Russian-Romanian borders of June 1940 and canceling the Vienna arbitration concerning Transylvania. He established the payment of 300 million dollars in reparations, which could be carried out in 6 years, and committed Romania to declare war on Germany, a declaration made on 30 August, together with that against Hungary, against which Romanian divisions were sent to fight.
Russia had pledged since April 1944, with a declaration by Molotov, to respect the integrity of Romania and not to interfere in its internal affairs. With the Yalta Declaration of February 12, 1945, the Big Four pledged to collectively assist the liberated countries and former Axis satellites for the restoration of free democratic regimes. But these statements were tainted by the first secret agreements for the zones of influence, of which Romania and Greece were the first victims.
In fact, following the riots caused in Bucharest on February 24, the king was forced by the Soviet deputy commissioner Vyšinskij to resign the gen. Rǎdescu, on the grounds that his government had not guaranteed order in the Romanian rear of the Red Army, and to appoint the pro-Communist Petre Groza as head of the government. The national peasant and liberal parties then passed into opposition. The king appealed, on 23 August, to the signatories of the Yalta declaration to assist him in the creation of a democratic regime and broke all constitutional relations with his prime minister. Moscow, on the other hand, openly supported Groza, with a series of economic agreements and the return of prisoners.
The first attempt at the conclusion of the peace treaties, carried out by the Council of Foreign Ministers in London in September, ran aground on the Anglo-Saxon opposition to the Romanian and Bulgarian communist governments. The Anglo-Russian-American conference in Moscow in December attempted to restore Yalta’s commitments with the Declaration of 28 December concerning the assistance of the Big Three for the establishment of democratic governments in Romania and Bulgaria. A compromise was reached in January 1946 with the admission to the Groza cabinet of representatives of the national-peasant and liberal parties. But the experiment lasted exactly as long as the peace treaties were drawn up, in the Councils of Foreign Ministers in Paris and in the Luxembourg conference. The Foreign Minister, Tǎtǎrescu, he expounded the Romanian point of view to Luxembourg and was useful to the Groza regime, since he belonged to the previous Romanian political class. But when the treaties were about to be definitively approved in the New York Council of Foreign Ministers, the elections of November 19, 1946 gave an overwhelming majority to the list of the government bloc dominated by the Communists, despite the great sympathy received in national opinion especially by the national peasants. by Maniu.
On 10 February 1947, Romania also signed the peace treaty in Paris, which confirmed the territorial and financial clauses of the armistice. The Anglo-American reservations about the democratic nature of the government lost all effectiveness. The treaty contained clauses for the guarantee of fundamental human rights; but the progressive insertion of Romania into the eastern bloc deprived any western intervention for the application of these guarantees. On the other hand, the freedom of navigation on the Danube was also affirmed in a generic way and its protection left to the discretion of the sovereign states. Romania definitively regained Northern Transylvania. But the Russian-Romanian economic agreements acquired a greater value than the treaty,
When the treaty entered into force on September 15, the Inter-Allied Control Commission ceased to exist, but the Russian troops did not evacuate the Romanian territory, as the treaty recognized the USSR the right to keep troops in Romania until the conclusion of the peace treaty. with Austria, to control the lines of communication between Russia and the Soviet zone of Austria. The political-military insertion of Romania in the eastern bloc was therefore perfected with the twenty-year treaties of mutual assistance concluded on January 16, 1948 with Bulgaria, January 24 with Hungary and February 4 with the USSR.
The internal regime was also quickly Sovietized. The leader of the opposition, Maniu, and other national peasants were tried in October 1947 and sentenced to severe penalties; reason: an attempted escape by some of them and an alleged plot with Western powers. In November, Tǎtǎrescu was ousted from the Foreign Ministry, which was hired by Ana Pauker, the leading exponent of the Communist Party. On December 30, King Michael abdicated and left Romania, which was thus transformed into a people’s democratic republic. On March 28, 1948, single-list government elections were called, with small minorities in the opposition, for the election of a constituent, who in less than a month adopted a constitution on the popular Soviet type similar to that in force in Russia, Bulgaria. and in Yugoslavia.