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> 52. The Position of the Romanian Political Forces during...
Posted: July 15, 2004 09:44 pm
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The Position of the Romanian Political Forces during the Antisoviet War

by Constantin Botoran

The deep political crisis suffered by Romania after the territorial raptures from the summer of 1940 forced King Carol II to discharge the Government led by Ion Gigurtu on the 4th of September and to appoint General Ion Antonescu as head of a new Government, the General being invested with "all power" for ruling the Romanian State. As the politicians of the moment said in those days, Ion Antonescu was the only man capable — as a carieer officer and as a political leader too — to maintain the internal order and to take the decisions which were inevitable for avoiding a Romanian catastrophe. Starting from these circumstances he try to win the support of Berlin.

It is beyond any doubts that the most important decision taken by the new head of the Romanian State — a decision that had no alternative in the exis-tent context at the end of 1940 and the beginning of 1941 — was to join Romania beside Axis' policy and to launch the war against the Soviet Union, a war waged together with Germany for the liberation of the Romanian territories annexed by the Soviets in the summer of 1940. Faced to such acts that had overwhelming consequences, the National Liberal Party and the National Peasant Party manifested serious reserves, as they saw in them a subordination of Romania to the benefit of the III Reich's interests, thus the future of the country being affected. Yet, the public opinion that rallyed to the goal of restoring the integrity of the Romanian State, the total adhesion of the Army and the victories in the fights carried out together with Germans for liberating Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina determined the leaders of the two parties to declare their adhesion for Antonescu's action. Iuliu Maniu and C.I.C. Brătianu, through messages enhanded to the Government, made known their loyalty, assuring General Antonescu that their parties will support his political choice. They also expressed the joy and satisfaction of all Romanians for bringing back to the ancestors' heart the millions Romanian people from the two territories stollen by the USSR in June 1940 and their gratefulness for the brave Romanian Army that "washed the shape of shame from under the cheeks of the Motherland".

In spite of such statements made when the Romanian Army was carrying on heavy fights for liberating Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina, the leaders of the two "historical" parties continued to remain firmly convinced that the final victory was to be on the side of the Anglo-Saxone powers. Also they considered that if Romania would remained in the German camp till the end of the war this would have been a great disastre for the country. Their adversity grew on especially after Ion Antonescu decided to continue the military collaboration beyond the national border of the Dniester river. The General was convinced that this way he will determine Hitler to declare void the Vienna Dictate.

The hostility against continuing the war beyond the Dniester — especially in what concerned Iuliu Maniu — came from the fear that Germany (in case it would have won the conflict) could give to Romania, as a compensation in exchange for the northern part of Transylvania, some territories in the East. Maniu's repeated requests to retreat the Romanian Army out of Russia and also the secret negotiations he had with representatives of the United Nations Coalition for taking Romania out of the Anti-Soviet war rose Hitler's rage. He did not lose too much time in admonishing Ion Antonescu for he was tolerating within the country such activities that "were decreasing the resistance of the internal front".

A quasi-similar position to the "historical" parties had — during the whole period of war — the Social-Democratic Party, and also the Royal Palais' circles, led by King Mihai I.

The only political party from Romania which opposed the participation of the country in the war against USSR, from the very beginning, was the Communist Party from Romania. Through its ideological doctrine and being led by a great number of minorities, this party became, shortly after it was founded, a speaker for the benefit of the revisionist interests of Moscow's, Budapest's and Sofia's Governments and, in a right manner, its members were declared outlaws in 1924. In the name of an aberrant "proletarian internationalism" promoted by Moscow this party sacralized the principie of defending the Soviet State, putting the Soviet interests upper than the national interest. In June 1940 the Communist Party welcomed the annexation of Bessarabia and of the Northern Bukovina in the benefit of USSR, also expressing regrets because the Red Army did not crossed the Prut river for continuing its "liberating march". On the 22nd of June 1941, when started the action of the Romanian Army against USSR for liberating the national territories stollen one year before the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party condemned the war "unleashed by Ion Antonescu and his gang", all of them being — in the vision of the communists — some "miserable slaves of the German Fascist bandits" and "traitors". During the whole period of the war, the communists spread manifestoes, printed anti-government proclamations and even organized sabotage actions, purposing to stop the war production in some industrial units. All these underground activities were severly punished by Antonescu.

Thus, the acces to power of Antonescu's Government and the unleashing of the war against USSR for recovering the integrity of the national Romanian State were welcomed warmthfully by the Romanian public opinion. The political forces of the country — excepting the Communist Party - backed up General's regime during the liberation of Bessarabia and of Northern Bukovina, and expressed their concerns for the future of the country after the war continued beyond the border of the Dniester.
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