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> Armistice negociations with Soviet Union
Carol I
Posted: June 03, 2005 05:15 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Jun 3 2005, 01:35 PM)
I agree that fighting to the end was not an option. But the Soviets would have stopped on the FNG line and Antonescu would have signed a real armistice, not a unconditional surrender like Mihai. The negociations with the Soviets were almost complete. Stalin considered Antonescu a better partner anyway. While Antonescu was emprisoned in Moscow, Stalin proposed him to be appointed PM again, if he agreed to sign a treaty to secede Basarabia and Bucovina to the Russians. Antonescu refused and tried to hang himself the same night.

I do not remember seeing any proof that armistice negotiations with the allies were completed by 23 August 1944. Anyhow, leaving this aside, the remainder of the theory is questionable. Since January 1943, all the Allies talked only about "unconditional surrender". The western allies did negotiate an armistice with Italy, but this infuriated Stalin and if I remember right he tried to obtain or even obtained some sort of promise that no conditional surrenders will be accepted in the future. I do not therefore think that the Soviets would have negotiated an armistice with Romania in 1944. Unconditional surrender seemed much more appealing to them.
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dragos03
Posted: June 06, 2005 12:55 pm
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The negotiations were not complete but were advanced enough. Stalin was enraged because Italy's armistice eased the job of the Western Allies. I don't think he had anything against a conditional surrender of Romania, facilitating his own drive to Berlin and crippling the Nazi war machine.

Also, it doesn't matter if the Pobeda order changed Mihai's attitude for a day or for a year. True leaders never change their attitude for something like that.

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Victor
Posted: June 06, 2005 06:52 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Jun 6 2005, 02:55 PM)
The negotiations were not complete but were advanced enough. Stalin was enraged because Italy's armistice eased the job of the Western Allies. I don't think he had anything against a conditional surrender of Romania, facilitating his own drive to Berlin and crippling the Nazi war machine.

I don't think Stalin would have renounced the claim on Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and neither would have Antonescu accepted their loss.
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dragos
Posted: June 07, 2005 09:27 pm
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QUOTE (Victor)
I don't think Stalin would have renounced the claim on Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and neither would have Antonescu accepted their loss.


According to RIM 4(10)/1991:

On 2 and 12 April 1944, Soviet Union proposed Romania an armistice rejected by Antonescu.

The armistice request stipulated that if the Romanian army ceases fighting against Soviet Union and joins the Red Army in the fight for liberating Transylvania, the Romanian Army would not be disarmed, would keep all the armament and would be helped in this mission (liberating Transylvania). However, the Red Army would not cease operations on Romanian territory until all the German armies in Romania are liquidated.

It seems that the main reason Antonescu rejected the ultimatum and delayed the negociations with SU indefinitely is that he wanted to negociate with the Germans too before ceasing hostilites with the Soviet Union, and not keeping a claim on Bessarabia, since this was already under Soviet occupation by the time of Soviet proposal, with no hope of getting it back.
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Victor
Posted: June 08, 2005 05:53 am
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You left out a very important condition of the Soviet armistice offer in April 1944, during the Stockholm talks: the Soviet Union will annex Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina unconditionally. Bessarabia wasn't entirely under Soviet occupation. The front line passed through its middle all the way to the Dnestr. IIRC, Antonescu wanted to settle the issue of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina after the war at the peace talks, hoping for support from the West and wouldn't sign such a treaty.

The Soviets had no objection to Antonescu giving the Germans a period of time to retreat, but for logical reasons doubted that Hitler would have just packed his things and retreated over the Carpathians. If Antonescu just wanted to negotiate with the Germans, then he would have done so in the 3 months he had at its disposal until the Jassy-Kishinev Offensive.

I would recommend the book Romania in al doilea razboi mondial by Dinu C. Giurescu, ALL, 1999 for a look on the subject. Unfortunately, mine is packed away with the rest of the books, because of the construction works going on at home. Maybe someone else who has it can quote from it. johnny bi?
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sid guttridge
Posted: June 08, 2005 09:11 am
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Hi Victor,

The way I see it is not that Antonescu couldn't or wouldn't negotiate with Stalin - such negotiations had already taken place and terms largely agreed.

The question is: How soon would Antonescu have acted at a time when speed was vital for Romania? We know he wouldn't have acted quicker than the King, because the established and unarguable historical reality is that he didn't act quicker than the King.

Whatever else may be said against the King on other issues, on this vital one he undoubtedly acted with a decisiveness Antonescu wasn't showing. At his last cabinet meeting that morning (23 August) Antonescu had apparently made provision for the evacuation of the government to western Romania (Hateg?).

This does not look like the action of a man immediately prepared for an armistice. It looks more like the action of a man still considering turning Romania into a battlefield, the result of which might have been Hungary's defection to the Allied camp before Romania's, with possibly disasterous consequences for Romania's claim to Northern Transilvania.

Cheers,

Sid.

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dragos
Posted: June 08, 2005 09:52 am
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QUOTE (Victor)
You left out a very important condition of the Soviet armistice offer in April 1944, during the Stockholm talks: the Soviet Union will annex Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina unconditionally.


This was obvious.

QUOTE (Victor)
The Soviets had no objection to Antonescu giving the Germans a period of time to retreat, but for logical reasons doubted that Hitler would have just packed his things and retreated over the Carpathians.


I'm not sure that the Soviets had no objection to Antonescu giving the Germans time to retread. In fact, they had objection to the 15 days period given to Germans to withdraw on 24 August.
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sid guttridge
Posted: June 08, 2005 10:56 am
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Hi Dragos,

If I remember rightly, the Soviet Union's armistice conditions being negotiated with the Finns, at the same time as the Romanian negotiations, also had provision for the Germans to be allowed 14 days to evacuate Finland. (The Germans attacked the Finns on the 14th day. They didn't wait that long in Romania).

Cheers,

Sid.
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johnny_bi
Posted: June 08, 2005 12:48 pm
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Unfortunately I have only Armata romana in al doilea razboi mondial, Meridiane 1995... :( that states only that:
"The decision of the Western allies to propose the unconditional surrender and the exigences of the Romanian part made the negocitions to fail".
From the map I see in the book , a big chunk of what we call Besserabia was occupied by the Soviets as soon as April and May. When the Iassy-Kishinev operation started (20.08.1944), we can say that the Northern half of Besserabia was already in Soviet hands.

Unfortunatelly, the other sources I had are far, far away from me... I had a very good magazine , edited by Ion Cristoiu (?) which presented also all peace talks...
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dragos
Posted: June 08, 2005 03:59 pm
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QUOTE (sid guttridge @ Jun 8 2005, 01:56 PM)
Hi Dragos,

If I remember rightly, the Soviet Union's armistice conditions being negotiated with the Finns, at the same time as the Romanian negotiations, also had provision for the Germans to be allowed 14 days to evacuate Finland. (The Germans attacked the Finns on the 14th day. They didn't wait that long in Romania).

Cheers,

Sid.

In the Soviet declaration of 2 April 1944 there was the warning that the Red Army would not cease operations on Romanian territory until the entire German forces would be annihilated. This statement was reiterated on 24 August 1944, in the declaration of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, broadcasted by radio Moscow, as response to the proposal made by Bucharest to allow the Germans a 15 days break to leave Romanian territory. However, on 26 August 1944, Veaceslav Molotov transmitted to USA and Great Britain embassies in Moscow, Averell Harriman and Archibald Clark, that he agrees the armistice to be negociated on the basis of the 6 articles of April plus the 3 clauses solicited by Romanians at Cairo, one of them being the period of 15 days for the Germans to withdraw. But by that date, the clause was not practicable because Romanian troops were already engaged in fights with the Wehrmacht.
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Carol I
Posted: June 08, 2005 04:08 pm
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QUOTE (Victor @ Jun 8 2005, 06:53 AM)
Bessarabia wasn't entirely under Soviet occupation. The front line passed through its middle all the way to the Dnestr.

Map showing the front line on 19 August 1944 (probably not accurate in details):
(IMG:http://img21.exs.cx/img21/8816/Map.jpg)
Source: Red Storm in Romania
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Victor
Posted: June 08, 2005 04:36 pm
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Indeed, it isn't too exact. The front line passed north of Iasi, not south of it at that date.
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Victor
Posted: June 08, 2005 04:55 pm
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Well, I found an old discussion on the same issue here: http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=32

I also found there the info I was looking for, without having to go look for the book in a friend's cellar were my books are presently stored.

On 4 June Frederic Nano, the Romanian representative at the talks in Stockholm, communicated to Bucharest that points 1, 2 and 4 of the minimal conditions presented by the Soviets are not negotiable (among this was the Bessarabian issue). Moscow agreed to reduce the quantum of the reparations to some degree and to give 15 days to the Wehrmacht to retreat from Romania, even though it did not believe that the Germans would do such a thing willingly. They also agreed to leave a district of Romanian territory under Romanian control.

The reply from Bucharest came on 11 June and it said that we were not willing to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and that the speeding up of the negations at Stockholm could hamper other efforts. The telegram was signed by Gheorghe Davidescu and Camil Demetrescu. The author was Ica Antonescu.

During his detention at the palace the marshal wrote a memoir through which he motivated his attitude:
For about two years now, Mihai Antonescu tried to obtain from the Anglo-Americans guarantees for the future of the country. If he would have found any, I would have signed the armistice even when Germany was strong.
I requested from Berlin the permission to negotiate an armistice.

The acceptance of the Soviet conditions from April would have meant:
to allow the Soviets to move around Romania where they wanted to, that is to allow them to occupy the territory, with all the consequences
to put the country in a perpetual state of slavery, because the sums for reparations were not mentioned
to practically renounce at Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.


He concluded that:
The fact that we are its neighbors, its attitude towards Finland, the Baltic countries and Poland, the tragic experiences of the others, which were subjugated by Russia after believing its promises, save me from insisting.
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dragos
Posted: June 08, 2005 08:46 pm
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QUOTE (Victor)
On 4 June Frederic Nano, the Romanian representative at the talks in Stockholm, communicated to Bucharest that points 1, 2 and 4 of the minimal conditions presented by the Soviets are not negotiable (among this was the Bessarabian issue). Moscow agreed to reduce the quantum of the reparations to some degree and to give 15 days to the Wehrmacht to retreat from Romania, even though it did not believe that the Germans would do such a thing willingly. They also agreed to leave a district of Romanian territory under Romanian control.


I have found the same info, so the Soviets indeed agreed to give 15 days for Romania to settle its affairs with the Germany. However, in case the truce would have been accepted by Romania in full Soviet offensive, it is unlikely that the Red Army would have stopped to allow putting in practice of this point, as it was proved in the immediate period after 23 August 1944.

Here are some different perspectives on the views of Marshal Ion Antonescu:

The Marshal was taking into account not only the variant of a separate peace with the Soviet Union. "The Marshal will not turn weapons against his German ally - the report added - for the single benefit of Russia. In Romania a chaos could come after that and Russia would surely not involve itself, trying to take all the advantages from this situation, as it had already done in Poland (this was an allusion to the inactivity of Red Army, which hadn't interfered itself to stop the German repression in Warsaw). However, if some British-American troops would appear on the Danube line - was written further - the Romanian Army would turn arms against the Germans. Only three British divisions, in the mentioned circumstances, could be sufficient - as Marshal believes - to determine such an action." According to Colonel Teodorescu's view, Marshal Antonescu trusted very much W. Churchill, and he imagined - being totally mistaken! - that the British prime minister "secretly" wished that Romania should continue to oppose resistance against the Red Army, thus preventing the advance of the Soviet Union in the South-Eastern Europe.

Source: Romania in World War II, ISOSIM, Bucharest 1997.
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sid guttridge
Posted: June 09, 2005 10:20 am
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Hi Dragos,

Churchill did, indeed, want to enter the Balkans, with an eye to post-war geo-politics. However, the Americans wanted to keep their focus on the primary aim of defeating the existing enemy: Germany. This meant invading France, not the Balkans.

Throughout 1943 Britain had supplied large amounts of armour, aircraft and anti-aircraft artillery to Turkey and built numerous air fields there in order to induce it to enter the war on the Allied side. In the autumn of 1943 the British tried to seize the Italian Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean in order to apply more pressure on both the Turks and Germans. However, the RAF couldn't supply adequate fighter cover due to the long range, and the Americans would not commit many of their long range fighters to the Aegean. As a result the British were defeated.

A further British plan was developed to seize Rhodes, but this required a lot of landing craft at a time when the Anzio landing in Italy had priority in early 1944, and the Americans therefore refused to make them available. As a result, the British had to abandon serious plans to invade the Balkans and the Turks lost interest.

In Operation Zeppelin in the first half of 1944 the British continued to pretend that they had a fictitious "12th Army" in the Middle East preparing to invade the Balkans in order to tie down German forces there. This was the main reason why there were some good German divisions (i.e. 22nd Air Landing, 1st Mountain, 1st Panzer, 4th SS Panzer Grenadier, etc.). in the Balkans. After the war Tito claimed they were tied down by Commiunist partisan activity. This was not true. They were in the Balkans on anti-invasion watch and anti-partisan action was only a secondary activity.

It was in these circumstances, where he couldn't get the Americans to agree to a landing in the Balkans at all, that Churchill first proposed dividing the Balkans into spheres of influence with Stalin (which eventuqally turned into the percentages agreement). This did at least allow him to occupy Greece in late 1944. Yet even here the Americans proved obstructive. When the Greek Communists, deserted by Stalin, tried to seize the country in December 1944, the American Ambassador stayed "neutral" and wouldn't even allow British troops to have water from the US Embassy well! Churchill and Roosevelt had their biggest argument of the war over Greece.

If Antonescu invested his hopes in Churchill, he was misreading the shift in relative British an American influence over strategy. By the second half of 1943 the US could dictate Western Allied strategy because it was much the stronger Western Allied power, and the US had no intention of being diverted into the Balkans.

Cheers,

Sid.
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