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> 1968 - Russian-Romanian tensions, The Czechoslovak scenario in Romania?
Cezarprimo
Posted: April 24, 2011 10:15 am
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Soldat
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Hi all,

I know that in 1968 Romania was opposed to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, a stance that provoked anger in Moscow. At the same time, in some Western capitals there were discussions about how much liberty of action should the Soviets have behind the iron curtain.

I would like to ignite a discussion about what really happened back then. Did the Russians tried to invade Romania as well? Was the Romanian army preparing to defend the country against their "communist brothers"? If so, what chances would they have? How would the international community react?

Cheers,
C
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ANDREAS
Posted: April 24, 2011 05:34 pm
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The Warsaw Pact troops were to invade Romania on 22 November 1968, at 4 am, according to documents from the Office of Public Archives in the UK. General ® Neagu Cosma, from the Foreign Intelligence Directorate (DIE), obtained through a Polish officer - which was in contact with Colonel Ion Bichel - information that Brezhnev personally, together with Andropov, head of the KGB and several Red Army commanders have prepared a invasion of Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. Data further disclosed to Ion Stanescu, president of the State Security Council, have shown that this action was due to Kremlin's dissatisfaction over the policy of Dubcek, Ceausescu and Tito. The plan was developed in detail by a team in which the Polish officer was part. The invasion was supposed to take place in stages, first to Czechoslovakia, then at intervals of two to three weeks, were Romania and Yugoslavia. But Nicolae Ceausescu took not seriously the Securitate reports before August 20, 1968.
On August 5, 1968, the Securitate prepare a summary note which shows that the soviet Secret Services had sent to the socialist countries embassies in Romania, under various coatings, especially tourists, well-trained agents with specific operational tasks. After the meeting of 21 August 1968 in front of the CC of the PCR, precautions were taken rapidly, the Securitate troops has been put into a state of alarm, the Securitate central directorates and centers had raised barriers from sandsacks at the windows and doors.
In Ceausescu's conception, in case of war, the Securitate had to be the organizer of a partisan war. There were plans studied for both variants -Ceausescu's evacuation in China, as well as alternative roads to the south of the Carpathians, for a swift and safe travel.
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ANDREAS
Posted: April 24, 2011 07:04 pm
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Under this plan, the Soviet troops together with Hungarian and Polish troops were to invade Romania on 22 November at 4.00 am. Total number of invasion troops would reach 150,000 troops, said the document from the British Archives Office revealed to the public in 2000.
Source : Ziare.com
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ANDREAS
Posted: April 24, 2011 11:49 pm
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According to a romanian general, who represented Romania in the military structures of CFAU al Tratatului de la Varsovia (the United Military Command of the Warszaw Treaty) interviewed some time ago (2 or 3 years I guess) in the radio broadcast ORA ARMATEI on Radio Romania Actualitati the romanian military and political leadership had informations about at least 2 hungarian and 1 soviet mechanized division (from Hungary) who held intimidation maneuvers directly towards the western border of Romania at end august 1968, with another 2 mechanized divisions (1 hungarian and 1 soviet) which could be added immediately in an offensive action against Romania. Also a polish Detachment (2 Airborne Regiments, 1 Tank and 1 Reconaissance Battalions, and other smaller units) was dislocated in Eastern Hungary and was ready to join a military action against Romania.
He said that other 8 to 10 soviet Divisions (mostly Mechanized but also Tank-) were ready to attack from the north and east (USSR-Ukraine and Bassarabia) our country. Naturally he could not say with certainty if the soviets had a plan or just simulated the preparations of an invasion to intimidate our leadership...
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21 inf
Posted: April 25, 2011 04:16 am
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Long time ago I readed (unfortunatelly I dont rem the source), that Ceausescu made plans in case of defeat in front of soviet army. The plan was that surviving romanian army to retreat in Yugoslavia. The yugoslavian part specified that agree this plan, but romanian troops retreated on yugoslavian soil to be disarmed, as it was a foreign army on yugoslavian teritory (the same case as the polish army which retreated in Romania in 1939).
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Cezarprimo
Posted: April 25, 2011 07:16 am
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I've found this article on the internet: [URL=http:// http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2000/ja...finformation.uk]Britain on brink of war with Soviet Union in 1968[/URL]. It was written by Martin Bright and appeared in "The Observer" on Sunday January 9'th, 2000. Next I am quoting the paragraphs pertaining to our discussion here as a measure of preserving them, should the article be sometime deleted from guardian.co.uk. The emphasis is mine.

QUOTE
Britain was on the brink of war with the Soviet Union in the winter of 1968 after Ministers became convinced that the Russian President, Leonid Brezhnev, was about to invade Romania.

Secret documents released by the Public Record Office yesterday show that, in September 1968, Prime Minister Harold Wilson made detailed contingency plans for military intervention in eastern Europe.

Ministers were afraid that the crushing of the 'Prague Spring' - the popular uprising in Czechoslovakia - would lead to the extension of direct Soviet control into neighbouring Romania and even Yugoslavia, seen as the strategic heart of Europe.

Romanian President, Nicolae Ceausescu had condemned the Soviet action in Czechoslovakia and it was thought that Moscow was preparing to teach him a lesson.

Minutes from meetings at the time record Defence Secretary Denis Healey telling Wilson that Britain could not 'stand idly by' if the Soviet Union continued its expansion. A telex from Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, made public for the first time, shows that towards the end of 1968, Britain believed that Soviet tanks were about to enter Romania. Intelligence sources even put a date - 22 November - on the invasion.

[...]

Plans to  send crack British troops to the Balkans were hatched at a secret meeting between Wilson, Healey and Stewart on 6 September 1968. If a 'direct threat' were made to Yugoslavia, Healey planned to arm Yugoslav guerrillas and send crack British Army units of the sort used during the Second World War to aid partisans.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Healey 'agreed with the Prime Minister that a Russian invasion of Romania could well be the first stage towards the establishment of such a threat.'

[...]

The European crisis began when Russian tanks entered Prague in August 1968. The Yugoslav leader, Marshal Josip Tito, instructed the Yugoslav ambassador in London to ask what British plans were if Romania was invaded, as Yugoslavia was committed to coming to the aid of its neighbour. Tito was particularly concerned that Nato had come to an agreement with Moscow to set up 'spheres of influence' in Europe.

[...]

Throughout September, Wilson and Stewart entered a series of desperate talks with Ceausescu. Soviet troop movements on the Romanian border were beginning to cause serious concern in London and Washington.

The newly opened files also show Britain was terrified about possible attacks on Berlin and Austria. By the beginning of October, the Foreign Office told Washington in a memo that it thought the Russians were 'conducting a war of nerves' with Romania and Yugoslavia and outlined what it believed would be the Soviet plan: troops would move from Hungary and through Romania swiftly to seize Belgrade and key bridges at Novi Sad and Panchevko.

On 19 November, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office received a chilling telex from the British delegation to Nato. It contained precise details of the Romanian invasion plan, which had been received from Dutch military intelligence. 'Soviet, Hungarian and Polish troops will enter Romania on 22 November at 0400 hours, total strength about 150,000. The composition of the Polish contingent: one tank battalion, two airborne battalions, six signal companies, three military police companies, two airborne regiments.'

Three days later, Stewart sent an urgent telex to Bucharest: 'We have assessed the most recent information available to us and have concluded that the Russians are making preparations for very early military action against Romania.'

[...]

Pimlott (Harold Wilson's biographer) believes it was a defining moment of the twentieth century. 'Russia's decision not to invade Romania was (...) possibly even more significant than the decision not to crush Solidarity in Poland.'


P.S.: I've structured the post according to rule 14 of the 'Forum Guidelines'. However, as this is a rather large portion of the entire article, I would advise the site admins to check if this is infringing copyright regulations, I don't want to cause any inconvenience.

Regards,
C
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ANDREAS
Posted: April 27, 2011 06:37 pm
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QUOTE
Long time ago I readed (unfortunatelly I dont rem the source), that Ceausescu made plans in case of defeat in front of soviet army. The plan was that surviving romanian army to retreat in Yugoslavia. The yugoslavian part specified that agree this plan, but romanian troops retreated on yugoslavian soil to be disarmed, as it was a foreign army on yugoslavian teritory (the same case as the polish army which retreated in Romania in 1939).

I remember reading myself about this in a book, where were also published the transcripts of the talks between Ceausescu and Tito, or maybe, the romanian and yougoslav delegations... I am not sure... I guess there were also detailed the measures taken from our military from autumn 1968 onwards, but I can't remember very well which ones were these actually... something about keeping the soldiers, incorporated in the previous autumn, in the active duty, the mobilization of reservists, preparation of defense alignments in the depth of our territory, and some others I can't remember...
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21 inf
Posted: April 27, 2011 07:41 pm
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Actually they kept in the baracks a surplus of soldiers, I think 3 contingents instead one or 2. Those who had to be liberated stayed more and some were called earlier to the duty. My father told me how it was, he was drafted soldier in the romanian army in 1968, aged 19. He told me they had a "consemn" called "Umbra" which said that all soldiers had to walk in the yard of the barracks only near the concrete fence, it was forbiden to show themselves in the middle of the yard, to avoid detection by posible spies, to camouflage the unusual increased number of soldiers in the baracks at that time.
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ANDREAS
Posted: December 18, 2011 11:22 pm
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For those interested in this subject (the soviet-romanian political and military tensions back in 1968) but also the whole political and military relations between Romania and the Warsaw Pact, please read : Larry L. Watts - Fereste-ma, Doamne, de prieteni /Razboiul clandestin al Blocului Sovietic cu Romania, Editura RAO, 2011.
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contras
Posted: December 19, 2011 09:00 am
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QUOTE
For those interested in this subject (the soviet-romanian political and military tensions back in 1968) but also the whole political and military relations between Romania and the Warsaw Pact, please read : Larry L. Watts - Fereste-ma, Doamne, de prieteni /Razboiul clandestin al Blocului Sovietic cu Romania, Editura RAO, 2011.


Yes, ANDREAS, is a very interesting book, I recommend it, too. It is about the entire history of Romanian-Russian relations, until 1978.
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petru32
Posted: December 19, 2011 09:16 pm
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My father was at the time a young lieutenant (lt-major), he was a flying instructor at the military flight school (I think Bobocu ) he told me that he was dispatched at Campia Turzii (which was not an air base yet, there were some ruined buildings) and put in charge of a unit o light aircraft where most pilots were older than him, they were organized as a liaison and light bombardment unit (I think), he told me that his subordinates told him not to wary as they already know what to do as most of them were World War 2 :) they were there for couple of months
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Dénes
Posted: December 19, 2011 09:51 pm
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In 1968, most WW2 veteran pilots were over 45 years old. Quite old age for a military pilot.

Gen. Dénes

This post has been edited by Dénes on December 20, 2011 12:16 pm
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ANDREAS
Posted: December 19, 2011 10:34 pm
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I read somewhere (I'll come back with a mention of the book or paper where I found it) that large-scale maneuvers of the Air Forces of Romania and Bulgaria were organized some time after 1970, maneuvers that faced air battles (mock battles), who were supervised by the Soviets (as usual) and after which the Romanian pilots were highly appreciated by the Bulgarian "opponents". But this does not change the outcome of a possible invasion of Warszaw Pact forces back in 1968!
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21 inf
Posted: December 20, 2011 04:10 am
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In 1968 there was a big mobilisation of romanian army. The soldiers who were to be let to go home that year (lăsaţi la vatră) were not liberated from military service, but kept in the barracks. An aditional contingent was drafted, so in baracks were 3 contingents instead of the usually 2.

And then, the legend of romanian laser apeared, the laser who melted the soviet tanks on the border :ph34r: :lol:
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muggs
Posted: December 20, 2011 10:16 am
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I really want to find out some day who perpetrated this laser tank "urban myth"..my history teacher in high school for whom i had deep respect and also later found out that he wrote several works, even saw him on national tv 2 or 3 times...was VERY convinced that these were facts.

Unless of course..these were deployed...

(IMG:http://i.imgur.com/74HpX.jpg)
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