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> 61. The International Context
Posted: June 30, 2005 08:15 pm
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by Florin Constantiniu

Romania's escape from the Nazi Reich's orbit through the August 23, 1944 act took place in an international context defavourable for our national interests. This strategic-political frame has been characterized by serious and grave concessions that both U.S.A. and Great Britain had made in their Soviet ally's favour. The attitude of London and Washington might be explained by the military reasons, induced due to the development of the military operations on the eastern front.

Hitler's Germany had lost the war as a result of the failures in the East. The only choice for the Reich to gain the victory — taking into account the fact that Germany did not dispose of a large source of raw-materials, which are strictly needful to carry out a modern war — consisted in the "Blitzkrieg", in other words, in very short campaigns, characterized by the massive strikes of the tank-aircraft binomial. Successfully accomplished in 1939-1941 period, the "Blitzkrieg" was called to know the ruin during "The Battle for Moscow", in the winter of 1941-1942, which has been the true great reversal of the World War II. "The Kursk Battle" (July 5 — August 23, 1943) meant not only the failure of the third Wehrmacht's summer offensive, but also the definitive change of the strategic initiative, from Germans' hands into the High Soviet Command's ones. Starting with the summer of 1943 the agony of the Wehrmacht begun and, in the same time, one may say that it was the precise moment which marked the practically non-interrupted advance of the Red Army towards Europe's heart.

During all this period, the British-American contribution to the fight against the Reich was rather a modest one; the high strategic air offensive action was to be started only in 1943, and the second front was to be opened through the Normandy landing (June 6, 1944). It was normal, due the given circumstances, that both Churchill and Roosevelt would be afraid of Stalin's temptation for concluding a new agreement with Hitler, who was, at that time, weakened and forced to make some concessions. Our researches — which are to be verified in the Soviet archives, recently opened — showed the fact that Moscow has sent the biggest number of signals towards Berlin beginning with the moment of the Wehrmacht's defeat at Stalingrad, until the launching of "Citadel" Operation (July 5, 1943). Had Stalin wanted to conclude a separate peace with Hitler, or his intention was just to put pressures on the British-American Allies, purposing to rush them for the opening of the second front? While waiting for an answer to this captivating question from the Soviet sources, a fact remains certain, and that is: Churchill and Roosevelt, being both entirely convinced of their impossibility to kneel down Germany by themselves, in the absence of Soviet Union's support, have multiplied their concessions in Stalin's favour, reaching at last to accept that at the end of the war U.S.S.R. would have to dispose itself of a "security belt" or a strategic glacis, made up of several countries revolving round Moscow's orbit. This series of states was to include Romania, too.

The successful development of the "Uman-Botosani" offensive operation (March 5 — April 7, 1944) brought the Red Army on the Romanian land. The hastened withdrawal of the German troops — sometimes even looking as they were in a complete confusion -has created the feeling that the line of the front on the north of Moldavia will not resist much longer and that the Red Army's way through the Balkan Peninsula was widely opened.

Churchill's most disquieting anxieties were linked by the opportunity of the Red Army's presence in Greece. The British prime-minister was considering Greece as an European outpost for the Suez Channel's defence — one of the two beacons (sided with Gibraltar) of the Empire's road which made the connection between the metropolis and its Asian possessions. The presence of a Great Power (for instance, U.S.S.R.) on the Greek land meant a threat for the security of the Suez Channel, and Churchill was determined to avoid that any Soviet troops were to be settled in that country.

From May till the end of June 1944 negotiations were carried concerning the settlement of the spheres of influence for U.S.S.R. and Great Britain in the South-Western Europe, on the basis of the inclusion of Romania within the Soviets' sphere of influence; Greece was to be included into the British one.

Stalin principially agreed with such a delimitation, but he claimed that Roosevelt should express his consenting for the Soviet-British arrangement. Confronted with the opposition of the State Department's officials, who were hostile on what concerned a policy totally against the principles stipulated by the Atlantic Charter, Roosevelt assented a so-called "time for test" for only three months (July — September 1944).

Thus, the August 23 act was accomplished under the circumstances in which both Churchill and Roosevelt had recognized Stalin's first say in handling Romania's problems. As far back as April 23, 1944 Churchill had wrote to V. M. Molotov: "we consider you are our leaders concerning the Romanian affairs".

On his turn, Stalin was convinced that he might have obtained more profitable advantages by adopting a "moderate" attitude — which would presented him to his Western Allies in the role of a "classic" leader, completely unusual, if one would carefully compare this new (masked) face of the Soviet leader with the revolutionary Messianism of the Kommintern organisation (that's why he dissolved the organisation, but only officially , because it had continued to activate disguised, under a camouflage-cover). If "Uncle Joe" would show a smiling face and if he would again adopt a friendly attitude (as he had acted at the Teheran Conference) — Stalin thought — be h Churchill and Roosevelt will be ready to cede in his favour a large sphere of influence in Europe.

Stalin gave dispositions to all the communist parties to collaborate with all "bourgeoise" political forces com-mited in the fights against fascism. He imposed to his Italian and French comrades to give-up their plans for taking the power in their countries (a fact that was possible, due to their massive presence in the resistance movements), just for the purpose not to give alarming signals to London and Washington.

The Romanian Communist Party's policy consisting in the cooperation with King Mihai I and with the democ-ratical parties was thus integrated into these orders come from Moscow.

Obviously, the political democratical forces which were involved in the action for Romania's detachment from Germany's orbit didn't know anything about the abandonment of their country by the Great Britain and the U. S. A. in the Soviet hegemonic area. But the most astonishing fact remains the one that they continued further on, a very long time, to nourish the hope of a western support for an action that would have stopped the Soviet expansion and — meanwhile - the communist transformation of the South-Eastern Europe.
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