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> 10. Why War?
Posted: January 07, 2004 06:54 pm
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by Constantin Botoran

The main purpose of Romania's entering the WWII on June 22, 1941 was to liberate its territories annexed by the Soviet Union in Summer 1940. It was a war waged for a "just and sacred" cause, against a totalitarian country whose regime proved, ever since its establishment in Russia, the most redoutabile enemy of the Romanian state's territorial integrity.

Following Germany's aggresion against the USSR, for Romania it was created the real opportunity - virtually, the unique opportunity of remaking the Romanias' national and state unity. The Romanian Government, forced by the events, was bound to attempt at accomplishing this essential national goal by joining, and having the suport of Germany - a country that, in pursuing its well defined purposes in this area of Europe, had a main part in Romania's maim through the Vienna Dictate and, by the pressures it exerted on Bucharest, in ceding Bessarabia to the Soviet Union and Cadrilater to Bulgaria. That is why its alliance with Germany seemend very unnatural to many Romanian people, but, at that time, it was the only possibility of remaking the integrity of the country. There was no other alternative, as Great Britain and France had been both eliminated as factors of power in Europe.

Ion Antonescu, the Romanian leader thaught that his country's joining Germany also implied an ideological dimension - to annihilate communism and to remove the Russian social political totalitarian regime which proved to be, through its aggressive character, a real threat to the peace and security of the peoples on other continents. It is exclusively in this regard - removing the Russian totalitariam regime - that an identity of interests between the Romanian and the Axis leaders can be found.

By participating in the Eastern War, Ion Antonescu and the Romanian Governement aimed not only at liberating Bessarabia and Northem Bukovina from the Soviet occupation, but also at creating the conditions for cancelling the effects of the Vienna Dictate an bringing Northern Transylvania, tha had been annexed by Hungary, back within Romanian borders. In every meeting between Ion Antonescu and the Reich leaders, the Romanian leader spoke of the necessity of rendering void the effects of Vienna Dictate and of liberating north-western Romania from under Hungarian occupation.

By ordering "Soldiers, cross the Prut!” Ion Antonescu urged the Romanian military to bring "to the country body, the ancient lands of your Bassarab ancestors, the voievod's woods of the Bukovina". Simultaneously, he adopted a set of measures to counteract a probable Hungarian offensive in southern Transylvania, and then to launch the offensive to liberate the territory stolen in August 1940.

As the steps taken by the Romanian Government for cancelling the effects of the Vienna Dictate were received with reserves and hesitations in Berlin, Antonescu was bound, by the force of events and by the urgency of accomplishing the full unity of the Romanian State, to continue the military operations on Germany's side even beyond the Dniester, as he was convinced that this was the only way to attract the Reich's leadership to the Romanian cause. The Romanian political parties' leaders criticised his decision, but the subsequent events showed, in another context, that many and heavy sacrifices of the Romanian nation were needed to render the Vienna Dictate void.
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