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> 26. The Romanian Society during the first month of War
dragos
Posted: January 27, 2004 12:45 pm
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by Mihai Retegan

At about 25 years after being involved into the First World War, the Romanian society was called to take an examination concerning its capacity to react upon awkward predicaments. The analysis undertaken upon the main levels made obvious some distinctive features. Unlike the previously evoked situation, the measures regarding the organization for war of the huge, but also delicate gearing represented by the society, were taken - with few exceptions - after launching military operations. Therefore, there were no consequences of a previous experience.

Another element which has to be considered is the existence of certain fields unaffected by the warfare. An important line of conduct adopted during the first month of war was represented by the attempt to create - for the public opinion - a "heroic" image of military commitments and to grow it rich in order to make people understand the necessity of going on with the military operations.

Concerning the organization of everyday life, some relevant measures were taken at a high level (transfernng the Government leadership prerogatives to Mihai Antonescu, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, during General Ion Antonescu's absence from Bucharest). Some other measures were taken for regulating the common activities: traffic interdictions for civilians during the night-time in the main towns of the country; the obligation to apply the camouflage; promulgation of the necessary legislation for property protection (either private or public) during the air alarms and bombardments; rationalization of some source food stuffs (pork, beef, animal and vegetable oil, sugar); provisioning the people with the necessary means of subsistence (including the compulsory sale of the "popular" products as well as the fight against speculation); imposing certain restrictions regarding the regime of some raw and "controlled" materials (among which the withdrawal of the 1 and 2 lei coins); interdictions of sports competitions because of the danger represented by bombardments or other criminal attempts (even the final football game for Romanian Cup, planned to take place on June 28 between F.C. Rapid and Unirea Tricolor, was cancelled).

The cultural life was not affected by the war. Movies and plays were still scheduled in the halls of the biggest towns. The only thing reminding of the war was the projection of the Romanian (ONC) and German (UFA) war newsreels. Cinema poster area was dominated by American productions. The Romanian Academy and Military Writers Association carried on their activities (the latter used to organize weekly meetings within the framework of which there were presented new literary and scientific production of its members).

Important efforts were made for the agriculture - the main production branch of the country - not to be affected by the lack of workers: General Radu R.Rosetti, Minister Secretary of State at the National Culture and Cults Department asked the teaching staff, the clergy, the pupils and the students to participate in summer agricultural labour, in order to gather in the cereals; more than 13,000 military men were distributed in the counties of Ialomita, Constanta, Braila, Ilfov, Vlasca, Ramnicu-Sarat; General Antonescu approved that the units located in the inner area (which was situated westward of the above mentioned counties) should participate in the harvest on fields disposed up to fifty kilometres away from their garrison.

Propaganda was one of the most important fields of activity. Therefore, Radio Romania, Radio Bucharest and S.W.Station were broadcasting about 10 hours a day. There were published four main daily papers: "Curentul", "Evenimentul zilei" (in two editions), "Timpul", "Universul", war-publications: "Soldatul" ("The Soldier"), political publications: "Ardealul", and "Transilvania", as well as other local newspapers.

The first signals regarding the necessity to continue the war beyond the Dniester river appeared in the central newspapers, around 5-6 July, and they were formulated under the form of certain articles written by famous historians, demographs and etnographs who pointed to the regions located east of the Dniester river. Their liberation represented an imperative which was to be immediately fulfilled.

One of the main features characterizing propaganda was the "fashioned" presentation of the operations performed by the Romanian troops. Taking into account the legitimate character of Romania's war, one may wonder whether such an operation was necessary or not. Today we have a profound knowledge of the violence of the fights, which, for our own armed forces, ended in a daily average of 250 dead and missing men (over 22-26 July); still, for the public opinion such a figure could be considered as great. A negative tendency would have been determined if that figure was added to the inherent difficulties of life in time of war.
The state of mind, as it was registered in the informative synthesis of specialised structures, entirely justified such an option for approaching the war.
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Florin
Posted: January 31, 2004 04:56 am
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QUOTE
Today we have a profound knowledge of the violence of the fights, which, for our own armed forces, ended in a daily average of 250 dead and missing men (over 22-26 July)


I think you should typewrite: over 22 June - 26 July.
It is obvious for me, you and others, but some people may understand:
over 22 July - 26 July.

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The camouflage of the windows and the paper tapes to be glued on the same windows was a new spice for the daily life.
People learned as an information that at least in one case some Jews in Moldavia lit a red light bulb in a chimney, to undermine the camouflage, but I cannot confirm if this information was eventually justified or not.

Sometimes the Russian twin-engine bombers entered deep in the Romanian territory, but they were easy victims for the Axis fighters.
My grandmother was at 4 km from Rimnicu-Sarat ( Buzau county). She witnessed how 8 Russian bombers were shut down with no problems by a pair of Messerschmidt-109. She said it was like during an exercise: one from below, one from above, one from below, one from above... Each Me-109 pilot could claim 4 kills after few minutes... I am not surprised that Luftwaffe rose the requirement for the Iron Cross from 5 to 10 kills. The episode was in June or July 1941.
There was a strong German aerial base close to Rimnicu-Sarat. I cannot confirm if the Germans took over the Boboc aerial base. The Boboc aerial base was used since the beginnings of the Romanian military aviation. I have a family photo with a canvas biplane having a wood propeller, and some people in front of it, one of them being my grandfather's uncle.
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