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> 1940: the other way, Would Romania attack?
Posted: November 26, 2005 04:20 am
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Imagine the situation: in 1940 USSR didn't pretend to return Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Would Romania attack it with Germans in 1941 in that case?
sid guttridge
Posted: November 26, 2005 10:33 am
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Hi i16stealth,

If Romania had not lost Basarabia and Northern Bucovina in 1940, it would have had a much better chance of resisting pressure in Transilvania and Dobrogea.

If King Carol had managed to keep the country together it is unlikely that either Antonescu or the Iron Guard would have been significant players by June 1941 and he would still be in power.

I would suggest that the key factor would therefore be Carol's character. Is he known to have expressed any interest in acquiring territory across the Nistru? Could he have resisted the temptation of some easy gains by allying himself to an apparently victorious Hitler?


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Posted: November 26, 2005 11:42 am
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Interesting question. IMO it is rather difficult to give a definite answer.

Following the sacking of Nicolae Titulescu, the Romanian foreign policy started to slowly steer twards Germany. The Soviet Union was considered a hostile power by most of the politicians and by Carol and the attitude towards it was, logically, a defensive one. Guarantees were seeked for in the West and in Germany. There was no intention of aggression towards the SU.

However, if nothing happens in June 1940 and in August, while the Transylvanian crisis is taking place, there aren't border clashes and pressure from the Soviet side, Carol could very well choose to resist Hungary, which is alone in the beginning. From here on events could go several ways, depending on many factors. Germany could end up as an enemy and eventually as an occupier, thus the prospect of military collaboration with the Third Reich is slim.
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Posted: November 26, 2005 11:00 pm
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Diplomatic correspondence between Molotov and Berlin, whether direct or facilitated by Count Schulenberg, repeatedly expresses Germany's major interest in Romania. This is at first completely acknowledged by the USSR, but, as 1940 draws on, Stalin begins to articulate an increasing interest on all territory presently part of Romania.

Given the USSR's rivalry (though initially hidden) and enmity versus Germany, and given Germany's oil interests in Romania, one would be hard-pressed to envision a scenario where the Soviet Union does not infringe on Romania's sovereignty. Perhaps, had Germany's emergence as a major European power not occured, one may imagine a scenario where the Soviet Union would not raise demands on Romanian land. However, even this is far-fetched since it doesn't take into account Stalin's all too real ambitions of Soviet expansion over the Balkan region.

Therefore, in the real context of German-Soviet rivalry and race to control Central and Eastern Europe, one should see Russia's demand for Basarabia and N. Bukovina only as the first installment of a multi-part approach where the final goal was gaining control over all of Romania and inherently over the Ploesti oil fields, thus severing Germany's major fuel source and military hopes.

On the other hand, if we backtrack to August 1939, during the secret German-Soviet negotiations, we see a Hitler so anxious to obtain Stalin's political support for the invasion of Poland that he instructs Ribbentrop that, if need be, Germany would go so far as to relinquish to Russia all interests over the rest of Eastern Europe, up to and including the Dardanelles. However, this sounds like a "temporary" negotiation chip, since, had Hitler really abided to it, the resulting situation would directly impede with Germany's lebensraum policy. As it turned out, the German-Soviet pact was signed without Ribbentrop having to make such a promise, but it would have been interesting to see how it would have affected Romania in 1940.

Just my personal opinion on the matter, nothing to put a lot of stock into, but I would be interested in hearing your opinions, Victor and Sid.
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