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> The decision of crossing the Dniester
dragos
Posted: June 26, 2003 08:56 pm
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The crossing of the Dniester was an important operation, as it put the Romanian Army into an "invader" posture, conducting military operation inside the teritory of the Soviet Union, with the goal of defeating the Red Army. The consequences of this actions have decided the fate of Romania for many years after.
It is difficult to say now wether this was a right or wrong decision to make, but I want to express here my opinions about it, and yours are wellcome, of course.

I think marshall Antonescu's reasons for conducting this actions were:

1. To knock out Soviet Union from the main powers scene, as it was a permanent source of danger for Romania over decades.
2. By helping Germany, to obtain the approval of Hitler to turn against the Hungarian occupation of Transylvania.

Now, we can see the consequences of this action:

1. Obviously, the destruction of the Romanian Army, during the following operations, with the climax at Stalingrad.
2. With the benefit of liberating Transylvania, the insurgency of 23 august, bringing along the loss of Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina, more human losses fighting against the Germans and the instauration of the communist regime in Romania.
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Geto-Dacul
Posted: June 27, 2003 12:13 am
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Indeed, the question of crossing the Nistru is still controversial... But it's very strange that nobody comes with another similar question : WHY DID WE CROSS THE 1938 ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN BORDER, AFTER RECONQUERING NORTHERN TRANSYLVANIA IN 1944? :( :o Why only blame the guy who took the risk and responsability? After all, during the 1944-45 campaign against "fascism", the Romanian Army abused by the Soviets suffered huge losses, maybe even higher proportionnally with these suffered against the "liberators" (We are talking here of losses inflicted by Romanian troops and also of prisoners and material, which were inferior to Romanian losses).

With or without the crossing of the Nistru, Romania could have been sure of loosing Bessarabia and N.Bucovina in case of Soviet victory. See the Finn's case, who defended their country in 1939-40 but lost Eastern Karelia, fought against SU in 1941 only for recapturing this land (and not further on "Soviet soil"), but lost it officially in 1947, plus the cession of even more land that was not captured by SU in 1940 : The Petsamo region, Finland's only débouché on the Arctic Sea and some islands in the Gulf of Finland. And that happened to a country that did not properly agressed USSR.

The Western powers were "expecting" that we do not agress "pour" USSR, but USSR did aggress us in June 1940!
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dragos
Posted: June 27, 2003 09:27 am
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QUOTE
Indeed, the question of crossing the Nistru is still controversial... But it's very strange that nobody comes with another similar question : WHY DID WE CROSS THE 1938 ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN BORDER, AFTER RECONQUERING NORTHERN TRANSYLVANIA IN 1944?  :(  :o   Why only blame the guy who took the risk and responsability?


We're talking about an option here. The Germans didn't forced Romania to carry on behind the Dniester. The "alliance" with SU offered no other choice but to obbey the Soviet orders.
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Geto-Dacul
Posted: June 27, 2003 02:54 pm
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Dragos wrote :

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We're talking about an option here. The Germans didn't forced Romania to carry on behind the Dniester. The \"alliance\" with SU offered no other choice but to obbey the Soviet orders.


AHA! A major blow to these saying that Romania was "exploited" and "forced" by Germany etc. So finally, who was the best, the German or the Soviet? :wink:

Antonescu based his actions on military honour. He also expected that Germany deliver as fast as possible the equipment promised. But you see, Germany promised a lot, and delivered little. The problem is that Germany did not knew her own industrial capacity; in the second phase of the war, she hadn't enough equipment for herself. So the crossing of the Nistru was based on the pact oil-armament, which was not integrally respected by Germany; it was respected in another sense : when Germany could not deliver armament, she traded gold in exchange of petroleum.

That's for sure that the formula : "I do not cross the Nistru until my army will be fully equipped to conduct a modern war" would have been preferable, but the moment and the conjuncture did not fully permit that kind of action. The enthusiasm of the invaders was high, the Romanian Army was placed during all the Bessarabian campaign as a defensive force, covering the flanks of the German 11th Army, and the idea of abandoning the Germans at the Nistru was nearly humiliating. The "democrat" politicians who criticisez Antonescu DID NOT understand the meaning of his actions.
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johnny_bi
Posted: June 28, 2003 01:26 am
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I will put an other question:

What if Romanian army wouldn't cross the Dnester? There was any chance to avoid the occupation of Besserabia by the Soviets after 44?

BI

BTW, IMO - no...
I think that Besserabia was lost anyway... Ion Antonescu gave a shoot... the rest we know ...
The political situation wouldn't change anyway... Romania would have been anyway 90% - Soviets' influence...
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daveh
Posted: June 28, 2003 09:11 am
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As I understand it the Bulgarians were not at war with the Soviet Union but were occupied by the soviets is this correct? Does this example suggest what might have happened to Romania even if she had not invaded the Soviet union. After all Romanian oil was the principal fuel source for the Germans and the soviets would have desired to stop its supply what easier way to do this that occupy the fields?
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Geto-Dacul
Posted: June 28, 2003 04:17 pm
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Great idea, daveh! That's exactly what I was trying to explain! Even if Romania would not have taken back Bessarabia and N.Bucovina, or even if she would not have crossed the Nistru, the Soviets would still had found a "pretext", a reason, to invade the country, because everything was roughly decided at Teheran and Casablanca. Bulgaria is the perfect example of the country who remains neutral with USSR, but who's invaded and that some few days AFTER the establishment of a pro-Anglo-American government!
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allanteo667
Posted: June 29, 2003 08:02 pm
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Your example is great, but I want to insist on another subject! Antonescu motivated the crossing of the Nistru by saying it was due to honor! Nowadays, this word doesn't mean much! Just an abstract idea. But I believe that morally speaking, this reason is enough!

The russians had been our ennemies since their existence! And, in modern times, a constant threat for the national unity. A german blitz victory in 1941 would have been the best thing ever for Romania, as an axis allied country!
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dragos
Posted: July 07, 2003 07:56 am
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Iuliu Maniu, July 18, 1941:

"If the entire Romanian public opinion, we all, have consented for reconquest the provinces that had been broken through aggression, out of the body of their Motherland, we are definitely against that Romania should have in its view aggressive goals. It's not admissible that we present ourselves as aggressors as concerns Russia, which today is Great Britain's ally - probably a winner in the war - for another objective but Bukovina and Bessarabia, joining at fight as combat fellows with Hungary and the Axis, those who have raped, through an arbitrary act, non-ratified by anyone, an important part of our country, thus injuring our territory, our pride and our national honour. Even the combat fellowship that existed until now, which was imposed by the circumstances, is as unfortunated as it may be, as long as we still have received no satisfaction in Transylvania's issue, but this has, however, a single justification: that it was destined to have repaired the loss we had suffered a year before, as a result of the pressures put upon us by the Axis, which at that time had tied our hands and stopped us to defend ourselves.
Now, they have untied them. Both Bessarabia and Bukovina joined our Ancient Kingdom through their free will and on the basis of the principle of self determination of the peoples. It would be too pretentious for us to believe that the carrying on of the German-RusSian war is depending on our collaboration, as well as it would be no less pretentious that we, the Romanians, should proclame a holy war against Russia, taking as a reason its internal statal and social organisation. The holy war, both military and political, let us assume for the Great Romania, with all its provinces. We do not have a single Romanian soldier to be offered as a victim in the benefit of some foreign goals. We must spare our Army for our Romanian tasks, which are great and multifarious and of tragical present interest for the very soon coming days."

Ion Antonescu, October 29, 1942:

"To stop at the Dniester River's banks and withdraw the forces out from Russia would have meant - for a man who still keeps intact his own judgement - to annihilate at once everything, all the sacrifices that have been made since the crossing of the Prut River, an action you did not pronounce publicly as being against; it means to be forever dishonoured as a people; it means to put up for our country, in case of a German victory, disastrous conditions; without having assured, in case of a Russian victory, neither the provinces we fight for, nor the borders that would Russians want to let us have, nor our liberties, and nor even the lifes of our families and of our children; finally, it means - and that's because of the unstability and the betrayal you are advsing me to perform, being this the worst crime among all - to assure for our country, within the future European community, a moral position which could deprive her of her own rights, her ideals and which might be even fatal for her.
The motion you are asking me to do, Mr.Bratianu, will make the Romanian people a victime in the benefit of all the others, because, concomitantly with the destructure, with the collapse and the destruction of the entire Army, the anarchy would gain roots in the country.
The Communists, the Iron-Guard's members, the Jews, the Hungarians, the Saxons (on Transylvania) would start sedition, fights, destruction of the order, of our peace and calm, purposing to take an advantage of this occasion for striking their final foot-blow at a people that, in such a case, would truly deserve to be qualified as a miserable one.
The Hungarians would immediately occupy the remained part of Transylvania. Do see, Mr. Bratianu, what might be the consequences of the motion you are asking me for. It would be the misfortunate gesture of a soldier lacking any sense of honour and of a man of State not only irresponsible, but insane."


Source: Romania in World War II 1941-1945, ISOSIM, Bucharest 1997
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Steve McClaire
Posted: July 10, 2003 05:02 am
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Another point to consider:

Romania did not invade the Soviet Union until well-into July, and by this time the Germans had been campaigning against the Soviets for about a month and making excellent progress. We have the benefit of hidesight, while at the time it appeared to just about everyone that the (then undefeated) Germans were on their way to another blitzkrieg victory.
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mabadesc
Posted: July 11, 2003 06:34 pm
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There are hundreds of arguments pro and against Romania crossing the Dniester. One brief argument: At the time, Antonescu (and many others) believed that Germany would quickly defeat Russia.
Perhaps he believed that by sending Romanian troops to fight alongside Germany, it would position Romania as a loyal German ally. In turn, this would have facilitated the return of Transylvania to Romania after the end of the war.
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inahurry
Posted: August 01, 2003 04:13 am
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QUOTE
Another point to consider:

Romania did not invade the Soviet Union until well-into July, and by this time the Germans had been campaigning against the Soviets for about a month and making excellent progress. We have the benefit of hidesight, while at the time it appeared to just about everyone that the (then undefeated) Germans were on their way to another blitzkrieg victory.


The German progress depended also on the amount of troops the Romanians forced the Soviets to throw against them. Romanians fought heavy and bloody battles in Basarabia(Bessarabia), so when they were capable to cross the Nistru(Dniester) river obviously Germans were more advanced comparatively on other sectors of the front.

I advance here the (not new) hypothesis : if the main direction for the German attack would have been the south the pressure on the Russians threatened to lose their oilfields would have been more important. Sure, a blitzkrieg should target the capitol and also weigh other factors, but, post factum, since the russians were able to eventually transfer many factories the capture of their oil could have proven to be decisive. Once the blitzkrieg failed I think the Germans hesitated to risk a concentration on only one direction and so diluted their offensive capabilities.
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Victor
Posted: August 01, 2003 04:35 pm
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QUOTE

The German progress depended also on the amount of troops the Romanians forced the Soviets to throw against them. Romanians fought heavy and bloody battles in Basarabia(Bessarabia), so when they were capable to cross the Nistru(Dniester) river obviously Germans were more advanced comparatively on other sectors of the front.


Steve is probably referring to the fact that the ground offensive in the Romanian sector began almost two weeks after 22 June 1941.
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dragos
Posted: August 11, 2003 09:43 am
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QUOTE
I advance here the (not new) hypothesis : if the main direction for the German attack would have been the south the pressure on the Russians threatened to lose their oilfields would have been more important. Sure, a blitzkrieg should target the capitol and also weigh other factors, but, post factum, since the russians were able to eventually transfer many factories the capture of their oil could have proven to be decisive. Once the blitzkrieg failed I think the Germans hesitated to risk a concentration on only one direction and so diluted their offensive capabilities.


This is not strategical reliable because this maneuver would have been exposed to a massive counterattack from the north. This is why the Germans divided their forces on Army Groups for North, Center and South, so as each group to protect the other's flank. Most of the battles that channelled the attacker's forces into a long and narrow area were lost due to flank attacks.
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Dénes
Posted: October 07, 2003 04:09 pm
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Here's an image of Gen. Antonescu on the Bessarabian front (photo found on eBay):
(IMG:http://www.wolf.pl/aukcje/T2-009.JPG)

Dénes
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