in this article we will talk about that in August 1944 the Axis forces were on the defensive in the West a new front was created in June after d-day Germans were fighting in central in northern Italy and in East the Soviets were on a huge offensive on a gigantic front line Germany was in a very bad situation but a new blow is about to happen on the date of 23rd of August 1944 at that day King Michael of Romania joined with conspirators and opposition politicians.
in an attempt to arrest the head of the government marshal John Antonescu the coup was successful the king removed the government and the weapons were turned against Germany but why did this happen for you to better understand the situation of Romania in the Second World War firstly we have to go 132 years back in time we are in 1812.
in the aftermath of the Russia Turkish war which happened between 1806 and 1812 the eastern parts of the Principality of Moldova known as Bessarabia were ceded to Imperial Russia in 1859 Moldova United with villagio in what will become Romania after their war of independence in 1917 in the wake of Russian Revolution the area constituted itself as the Moldavian democratic republic.
an autonomous republic part of a proposed Federative Russian state Bolshevik agitation in late 1917 and early 1918 resulted in the intervention of the Romanian army to pacify the region soon after the Parliamentary Assembly declared independence and then the union with the kingdom of Romania the Great War led to the achievement of the long-standing goal and that was the creation of Greater Romania.
a national state that would incorporate all ethnic Romanians which were divided for centuries however these new territories also included significant Hungarian German Russian and Ukrainian minorities thus the relations with Hungary and with the new authoritarian regime of the east weren’t so good in the first years of the interwar period this tuition was very good the economy grew substantially and Romania found itself.
as a major actor of Southeast Europe King Ferdinand who unified the country after the Great War died in 1927 and after his death an era of political instability is about to start Carole who will become Carole the second was the eldest son of Ferdinand – the first and became crowned prince upon the death of his grand uncle King Carole the first in 1914 his life was marked by numerous scandals among them.
marriages 2zz lamb Reno in 1918 and then – Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark in 1921 then he had continued affairs with Magda Lupescu and this obliged him to renounce his succession rights in 1925 and leave the country king ferdinand died in 1927 and Carole’s five-year-old son ascended the throne as Michael the first because Michael was still a minor a Regency council was instituted Karol then returned to Romania in 1930.
and replaced his son and the Regency that had been in place his reign was marked by political turmoil huge instability and in final evolved into a personal dictatorship beginning in 1938 due to the political situation of Europe at the time combined with its internal struggles and its geographic position Romania found itself in a very delicate posture the war was on the horizon and the only guarantee of Romania’s integrity was France and Great Britain on the 21st of June 1940 France signed an armistice with Germany and Great Britain focused on its defense Romania was alone in the summer of 1940.
a series of territorial disputes were diplomatically resolved unfavorably to Romania resulting in the loss of most of the territory gained in the wake of World War one On June 26th 1940 at 2,200 Soviet People’s Commissar Molotov presented an ultimatum to evacuate Bessarabia and North Bukovina the Qing communicated his wish to stand against.
the Soviet Union but was under the pressure of Germany in Italy Karel accepted and then again under these pressures Romania lost Northern Transylvania in southern doe brujah this caused the exile of Carroll ii in 1940 and the installation of a new dictatorship government under marshal john Antonescu Carroll was succeeded by his son Michael who was only 18 at the time.
although the young king was formerly the supreme head of the army and had full powers in reality he was forced to remain just a figure being considered by the head of the government as just an unexperienced child the new government collaborated with Germany and joined the axis in November 1940 the new goal of the state was to regain some if not all of the lost territories in 1941.
Germany and its allies prepared for the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 the offensive began after a short time Bessarabia and the northern bukovina were fully reincorporated into the Romanian state and initially the Romanian army wanted to stop there the goal was reached and Antonescu hope to regain the northern transylvania territory by diplomatic means Germany persuaded antonescu in August 1941 to also take control of the Transnistrian territory.
as a substitute for northern Transylvania also more discussions were promised on this matter if Romania was to continue the struggle in the east more and more divisions were sent to fight for what a country study by the u.s. federal research division of the Library of Congress attributes as a morbid competition with Hungary in hopes of regaining northern Transylvania as a member of the axis Romania joined the invasion of the Soviet Union on the 22nd of June 1941.
providing equipment and oil to Germany as well as committing more troops to the Eastern Front than all the other allies of Germany combined Romanian forces played a large role during the fighting in Ukraine this Arabia Stalingrad and elsewhere according to historian and author mark Axworthy the second axis army in Europe arguably belonged to Romania though this is disputed since many would agree that this position goes to the Italian Army.
in February 1943 with a decisive Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad it was growing clear that the tide war was turning against Axis powers in August 1944 Romania was fighting on its own territory the situation was critical in order to not wage war on his own territory King Michael considered to change the government on the 20th and 21st of August some meetings were held with the political leaders and army officers.
in order to establish a plan to get Romania out of the war against the Soviets on August 23rd Jean Antonescu instructed the King to request a hearing at 4:00 p.m. in the discussion that followed with the king and lasted over an hour the marshal presented in detailed the situation on the front line when the King asked him to get out of the war and sign an armistice with the Allies and Soviet Union marshal Antonescu replied that he would end the armistice with the approval of Germany and with some guarantees.
he also said that he did not object in principle to the exit from the war his own government tried to obtain favorable terms for an eventual armistice with the Soviets through Stockholm for some time but he has to refuse it arguing with the difficult conditions of armistice in relation to the Soviet Union which annex Bessarabia and northern bukovina by signing an unconditional surrender.
these territories would probably be lost and Romania would have been occupied by communist forces in the end also he argued about the turning of arms against Germany not seeing betraying your old ally as an honorable thing to do for a military officer then the king was forced to use the password if things are so then we have nothing left to do hearing the words a Colonel which was waiting outside for the signal entered the room with a group of four soldiers who arrested the marshal at 2200.
in a radio message the king announced the change of government and the new path that Romania was on formal allied recognition of the de facto change of orientation of Romania in the war came on the 12th of September 1944 until this date Soviet troops started moving into Romania 140,000 Romanian troops were taken as prisoners of war about a hundred and thirty thousand Romanian POWs were transported to the so V Union were many perished.
in prison camps Romania fought against Axis forces until the end of the war gaining the lost territories in the West at the peace conference the presence of the Soviet Army on the territory forced the Communists to come to power on November 19 1946 the first post-war parliamentary elections are held although the real results indicated the decisive victory of the peasant National Party but the probably falsified official results presented the victory with over 70% of the block of democratic parties led by communists the king was again.
a little more than a figurehead under the communist regime and on December 30th 1947 he was finally forced to abdicate and leave the country the new regime was installed with full powers as a puppet of the Soviet Union but antonescu feared the most just happened Michael remained in exile for much of his life after almost 42 years the Romanian revolution happened the communism was overthrown but on the new democratic elections former communists were elected.
in key positions at the Christmas of 1990 having a legal passport the former king came back to visit fearing a possible massive support for the former king he was stopped by a police dam driven back to the airport and forced to leave the country 1992 he made a new short visit and hundreds of thousands of people came back to see him in 1994 he was again refused to enter the country and finally in 1997 Michael gained back his citizenship on December 5th 2017 King Michael.
the first died at 96 years old the decision of the 23rd of August 1944 is considered by many an active salvation of Romania by others it is seen as an act of betrayal but at that time Romania was in a very delicate situation joining the axis and then switching sides was based on its desire to survive against two totalitarian regimes.
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