Soviet occupation of Romania

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The Soviet occupation of Romania refers to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_0

The fate of the territories held by Romania after 1918 that were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 is treated separately in the article on Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_1

During the Eastern Front offensive of 1944, the Soviet Army occupied what had been the Kingdom of Romania prior to the military occupation. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_2

The northwestern part of Moldavia was occupied as a result of armed combat that took place between the months of April and August of that year, while Romania was still an ally of Nazi Germany. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_3

The rest of the territory was occupied after Romania changed sides in World War II, as a result of the royal coup launched by King Michael on August 23, 1944. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_4

On that date, the King announced that Romania had unilaterally ceased all military actions against the Allies, accepted the Allied armistice offer, and joined the war against the Axis Powers. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_5

As no formal armistice offer had been extended yet, the Red Army occupied most of Romania as enemy territory prior to the signing of the Moscow Armistice of September 12, 1944. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_6

The armistice convention and eventually the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 provided a legal basis for the Soviet military presence in Romania, which lasted until 1958, reaching a peak of some 615,000 in 1946. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_7

The Soviets and Romanian communists referred to the events of 1944 as the "liberation of Romania by the glorious Soviet Army" in the 1952 Constitution of Romania. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_8

On the other hand, most Western and Romanian anti-communist sources use the term "Soviet occupation of Romania," some applying it to the whole period from 1944 to 1958. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_9

Background and beginning of the occupation Soviet occupation of Romania_section_0

See also: Romania during World War II and King Michael Coup Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_10

After having withdrawn its troops from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in response to the June 1940 Soviet Ultimatum, Romania entered an alliance with Nazi Germany and declared war on the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_11

Romanian troops entered World War II in 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, under the German High Command. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_12

Following the recapturing of the territory annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, Romanian troops occupied Southern Ukraine all the way to the Southern Bug. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_13

However, Romania's eastern campaign ended in disaster, notably at Stalingrad. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_14

By the end of 1943, the Red Army had regained control over most of the Soviet territory, and was advancing westward beyond the borders of USSR to defeat Nazi Germany and its allies. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_15

It was in this context that the Soviet forces crossed into Romania and occupied Northern and Eastern Moldavia. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_16

On August 23, 1944 King Michael launched a coup d'état, thereby overthrowing the pro-Nazi government of Ion Antonescu, and putting Romania's Army on the side of the Allies. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_17

As a result, King Michael was the last monarch behind the Iron Curtain to lose his throne, on December 30, 1947. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_18

The coup facilitated the advance of the Red Army into Romania at an accelerated pace, and enabled the combined Romanian and Soviet armies to liberate the country from the German occupation. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_19

In the absence of an actual signed armistice, the Soviet troops continued to treat the Romanians as a hostile force. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_20

The armistice was signed three weeks later, on September 12, 1944, "on terms Moscow virtually dictated." Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_21

The coup effectively amounted to a "capitulation", an "unconditional" "surrender" to the Soviets and the rest of the Allies. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_22

In the wake of the cease fire order given by King Michael, between 114,000 and 160,000 Romanian soldiers were taken prisoners of war by the Soviets without resisting, and they were forced to march to remote detention camps, located in the Soviet Union; according to survivors interviewed in a 2004 documentary, up to a third of the prisoners perished on the way. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_23

By September 12, the Red Army had already gained control over much of the Romanian territory. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_24

Under the terms of its Armistice Agreement with the Allies, Romania became subject to an Allied Control Commission, composed of representatives of the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom, while the Soviet military command exercised predominant, de facto authority. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_25

Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were again incorporated into the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_26

Founding documents Soviet occupation of Romania_section_1

The Armistice Agreement Soviet occupation of Romania_section_2

Article 3 of the Armistice Agreement with Romania (signed in Moscow on September 12, 1944), stipulated that Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_27

Article 18 of the same agreement stipulated that Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_28

In the Annex to Article 18, it was made clear that Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_29

, Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_30

and that The Allied Control Commission would have its seat in Bucharest. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_31

In line with Article 14 of the Armistice Agreement, two People's Tribunals were set up for the purpose of trying suspected war criminals, one in Bucharest, and the other in Cluj. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_32

The plenipotentiary signatories to the armistice as indicated therein were: Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_33

Soviet occupation of Romania_unordered_list_0

Paris Peace Treaties, 1947 Soviet occupation of Romania_section_3

Main article: Paris Peace Treaties, 1947 Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_34

The effect of the Armistice Agreement ceased on September 15, 1947, when the Paris Peace Treaty with Romania entered into force. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_35

Article 21, paragraph 1 of the new treaty provided the legal foundation for continued and unlimited Soviet military presence in Romania: Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_36

The Romanian delegation at the Paris Conference was headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Gheorghe Tătărescu. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_37

The Peace Treaty with Romania was signed on February 10, 1947, in the Salon de l'Horloge of the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_38

On the Romanian side, the four signatories were Gheorghe Tătărescu, Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu, Ștefan Voitec, and Dumitru Dămăceanu. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_39

The signatories for the Allied powers included United States Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, and British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Ernest Bevin. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_40

Soviet forces in Romania, 1944–1956 Soviet occupation of Romania_section_4

See also: Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_41

Soviet occupation of Romania_table_general_0

Estimated strength of Soviet forces in RomaniaSoviet occupation of Romania_table_caption_0
DateSoviet occupation of Romania_header_cell_0_0_0 StrengthSoviet occupation of Romania_header_cell_0_0_1
May 8, 1945Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_1_0 80,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_1_1
November 1, 1945Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_2_0 500,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_2_1
January 4, 1946Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_3_0 420,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_3_1
March 1, 1946Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_4_0 615,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_4_1
June 1, 1946Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_5_0 400,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_5_1
November 1, 1946Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_6_0 240,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_6_1
1947Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_7_0 60,000 – 130,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_7_1
May 1 – July 1, 1948Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_8_0 35,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_8_1
October 1, 1948Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_9_0 32,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_9_1
July 1, 1949Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_10_0 28,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_10_1
October 1, 1949Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_11_0 19,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_11_1
January 1, 1950Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_12_0 32,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_12_1
April 1, 1950Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_13_0 33,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_13_1
September 1, 1950 –
September 1952Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_14_0
32,000Soviet occupation of Romania_cell_0_14_1

After the conclusion of the Armistice Agreement in 1944, Soviet troops occupied the entire territory of Romania. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_42

Estimates of troop levels vary between 750,000 and 1 million (estimates of British military officials), to between 1 and 1.5 million (estimates of the Romanian General Staff); many Western diplomats and experts refer to more than 1 million Soviet troops. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_43

On November 8, 1945, King Michael's name day, an anti-communist demonstration in front of the Royal Palace in Bucharest was met with force, resulting in dozens of casualties. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_44

Soviet officers restrained Romanian soldiers and police from firing on civilians, and Soviet troops restored order. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_45

The estimated strength of Soviet forces stationed in Romania (including air, navy, ground, and security troops), from VE Day to 1952, is shown in the table on the right. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_46

During the second half of 1946, more than half of the combat capabilities of the Soviet Air Forces were residing outside the USSR, with the largest portion in Poland and Romania (2,500 planes in each country). Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_47

The troop levels surged to a high of 615,000 in March 1946, but they were drawn down after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty in 1947. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_48

By the end of 1946, Soviet units in Romania were concentrated in five areas: CraiovaSlatina, SibiuAlba-Iulia, Constanța, and BrăilaFocșani. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_49

Troop levels reach a relatively stable level from May 1948 until October 1956: two full divisions, plus supporting units adding up to roughly a third division. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_50

Although with the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955 the reason for the presence of Soviet troops as stated in the Paris Peace Treaties ceased to exist, Premier Gheorghiu-Dej announced that these troops would stay as long as foreign soldiers continue to be stationed in West Germany. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_51

Soviet troops stationed in Romania participated in the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of November 1956. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_52

Soviet troop facilities inside Romania were off limits to all Romanians at the time. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_53

Reorganization of the Romanian Army Soviet occupation of Romania_section_5

Soviet occupation of Romania_table_general_1

Treaty limited Romanian forcesSoviet occupation of Romania_table_caption_1
TypeSoviet occupation of Romania_header_cell_1_0_0 StrengthSoviet occupation of Romania_header_cell_1_0_1
Land forcesSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_1_0 120,000 officers and troopsSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_1_1
Anti-aircraft forcesSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_2_0 5,000 officers and troopsSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_2_1
Naval forcesSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_3_0 5,000 officers and troopsSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_3_1
Air forcesSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_4_0 8,000 officers and troopsSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_4_1
TotalSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_5_0 138,000 officers and troopsSoviet occupation of Romania_cell_1_5_1

The Soviet occupation of Romania led to a complete reorganization of the Romanian People's Army under the supervision of Soviet Army representatives. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_54

The manpower of the Romanian army was limited by the Paris peace treaty to a total of 138,000 (officers and troops); however, under the Soviet occupation it grew far beyond the limits imposed by the treaty, through increasing militarization of Romania's population. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_55

By 1953, regular army forces had grown to approximately 300,000; reserve army forces to approximately 135,000; and "interior" forces (border guards, security brigades, et al.) Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_56

under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior to over 325,000. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_57

At the inception of this organizational overhaul, pro-German elements were purged from the Romanian armed forces. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_58

In 1944–45, two divisions composed of Romanian volunteers— former prisoners of war, trained in the Soviet Union during the war, and also Communist activists such as Valter Roman— were formed: the Tudor Vladimirescu Division, under the command of Colonel Nicolae Cambrea, and the Horia, Cloşca şi Crişan Division, under the command of General Mihail Lascăr (who was to serve as Minister of Defense from 1946 to 1947). Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_59

These two units were to form the nucleus of the new Romanian Army under Soviet control. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_60

Once the Romanian Communist Party took the reins of power, 30% of officers and noncommissioned officers (mostly experienced soldiers, but at the same time a potential source of opposition to the Sovietization of the Army) were purged from the military. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_61

Following the Romanian Workers' Party seizure of political power, the Sovietization of the Romanian army went into full gear, under the supervision of the new Minister of Defense, Emil Bodnăraş. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_62

This reorganization involved the adoption of the Soviet model of military and political organization, and a change of the military doctrine of combat and defense, in the context of Romania's integration into the Soviet strategic system, at the dawn of the Cold War. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_63

Soviet officers were appointed as advisers charged with supervising the thorough reorganization of the army. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_64

They held leadership and surveillance positions in the main institutions of the state, but also in areas of lesser importance. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_65

In the beginning, they only held a few positions in the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff, and the political sections inside the army. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_66

With the passage of time, the number of Soviet advisers gradually increased, while at the same time their positions became permanent. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_67

In November 1952, there were 105 permanent and 17 temporary Soviet adviser positions in military schools. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_68

After 1955, their number began to decrease: 72 in 1955, 63 in 1956, 25 in 1957 and 10 in 1958. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_69

After 1945, new military regulations were developed, following the templates of the Red Army, and they were finalized in 1949–1952. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_70

Consequently, a number of officers and military students were sent to the Soviet Union to complete their training. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_71

Between 1949 and 1952, 717 Romanian students were being trained in the USSR, while in 1958 471 Romanian military students were pursuing education in the USSR. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_72

Their number decreased in the following years. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_73

Reorganization of the security services Soviet occupation of Romania_section_6

Main article: Securitate Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_74

Immediately following the August 23, 1944 events, communists began to infiltrate the Ministry of Internal Affairs on a large scale. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_75

The General Directorate of the Security of the People (Romanian initials: DGSP, but more commonly just called the Securitate) was officially founded on August 30, 1948 by Decree 221/30. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_76

The Securitate was set up by SMERSH, an NKVD unit charged with dismantling the existing intelligence agencies and replacing them with Soviet-style bodies in the Soviet-occupied countries of Eastern Europe. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_77

The SMERSH unit in Romania, called Brigada Mobilă, was led until 1948 by the former NKVD operative Alexandru Nicolschi. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_78

Its stated purpose was to "defend democratic conquests and guarantee the safety of the Romanian People's Republic against both internal and external enemies." Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_79

The first Director of the Securitate was Soviet intelligence operative Gheorghe Pintilie. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_80

Alexandru Nicolschi (by then a general) and another Soviet officer, Major General Vladimir Mazuru, held the two deputy director positions. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_81

Expulsion of Germans Soviet occupation of Romania_section_7

Main article: Expulsion of Germans from Romania after World War II Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_82

The Red Army took part in the expulsion of up to 70,000 Transylvanian Saxons from Romania that was initiated in January 1945. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_83

In October 1944, the Sănătescu government, at the request of the Allied Control Commission, began arresting young Romanian citizens of German descent, who were eventually placed at the disposal of the Soviet command. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_84

At the request of the Allied Commission, the Rădescu government ordered the forced transportation by train of Transylvanian Saxons to the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_85

In a protest dated January 13, 1945, the Rădescu government affirmed the Romanian government's duty to protect each of its citizens, regardless of ethnic origin, and noted the absence of a legal basis for the deportation of the Transylvanian Saxons. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_86

The expellees were gradually allowed to return to Romania between late 1945 and 1949, though it is estimated that up to 10,000 perished during the expulsion or while in the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_87

Such deportations would be outlawed in 1949 by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_88

SovRoms Soviet occupation of Romania_section_8

Main article: SovRoms Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_89

The SovRoms were Soviet-Romanian joint ventures established on Romanian territory at the end of World War II, and lasting until 1954–1956. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_90

An agreement between the two countries regarding the establishment of these enterprises was signed in Moscow on May 8, 1945. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_91

In theory, the purpose of these ventures was to generate funding for post-war reconstruction efforts. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_92

However, their real purpose was to provide resources for the Soviet side. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_93

Generally, they were a contributing factor to the draining of Romania's resources, in addition to the war reparations demanded by the Armistice Agreement and the Paris Peace Treaties, which had been initially set at 300 million U.S. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_94 dollars. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_95

The Soviet contribution to the creation of the SovRoms consisted mostly in reselling leftover German equipment to Romania, at systematically overvalued prices. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_96

The total value of goods sent from Romania to the Soviet Union was estimated at 2 billion dollars, exceeding by far the amount of war reparations demanded by the Soviets. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_97

By 1952, 85% of Romanian exports were directed towards the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_98

The last Sovrom was dissolved in 1956. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_99

One of these companies was Sovromcuarţ, which started its operations in 1950 at the Băiţa mine in Bihor County, under a name that was meant to conceal the true object of its activity. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_100

Its initial workforce consisted of 15,000 political prisoners; after most of them died of radiation poisoning, they were replaced by local villagers, who were completely unaware of the fact that they were working with radioactive material. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_101

Romania secretly delivered 17,288 tons of uranium ore to the Soviet Union between 1952 and 1960, which was used, at least in part, in the Soviet atomic bomb project. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_102

Uranium mining continued there until 1961. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_103

All ore was shipped abroad for processing, initially to Sillamäe in Estonia; the uranium concentrate was then used exclusively by the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_104

Comparison with Soviet occupation of Bulgaria Soviet occupation of Romania_section_9

Comparing the Soviet occupation of Romania to that of Bulgaria, David Stone notes: "Unlike Bulgaria, Romania had few cultural and historical ties with Russia, and had actually waged war on the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_105

As a result, Soviet occupation weighted heavier on the Romanian people, and the troops themselves were less disciplined." Soviet occupation of Romania_sentence_106

In popular culture Soviet occupation of Romania_section_10

Soviet occupation of Romania_unordered_list_1

  • Davai ceas, davai palton (eng.: give the wristwatch, give the overcoat). The well-known Romanian stage actor Constantin Tănase was performing in Bucharest a year after the arrival of Soviet troops. He used to satirize the soldiers' habit of "requisitioning" all personal property in sight (in particular, wristwatches and coats), demanding them by saying, "Davai ceas, davai palton". There are differing accounts of his demise, in August 1945, but one of them states that he was found dead two days after one of his satirical acts.Soviet occupation of Romania_item_1_2
  • The writer Mihail Sebastian was among the eyewitnesses to the events of 1944. In his diary (Journal, 1935-1944: The Fascist Years), he described the atmosphere in Bucharest at the time, as follows: "Bewilderment, fear, doubt. Russian soldiers rape women (as Dina Cocea was saying yesterday). Soldiers stop cars, let the driver and passengers out, get behind the wheel, and take off. Stores looted. This afternoon, at Zaharia, three of them broke in the safe, taking watches. (The watch is the toy they like the best.)" Sebastian died in a tram accident just weeks after the Soviet Army occupied Romania. His Journal has recently gained a new audience in the West. In 2004, American playwright David Auburn wrote a one-man play, entitled The Journals of Mihail Sebastian; it made its debut the same year in New York City, starring actor Stephen Kunken in the role of Sebastian.Soviet occupation of Romania_item_1_3
  • The 25th Hour. Virgil Gheorghiu's best-known book depicts the plight of a young farmhand, Johann Moritz, under German and Soviet occupation. Johann is sent to a labor camp by a police captain who covets his wife, Suzanna. At first, he is tagged as a Jew. Later, he is "rescued" by a Nazi officer, who forces him into service as a model for German propaganda. Imprisoned after the war, he is severely beaten by his Russian captors, then put on trial by Allied forces because of his work for the Nazis. In 1967, Carlo Ponti produced a film based on this book; directed by Henri Verneuil, it featured Anthony Quinn as Johann and Virna Lisi as Suzanna.Soviet occupation of Romania_item_1_4

See also Soviet occupation of Romania_section_11

Soviet occupation of Romania_unordered_list_2

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: occupation of Romania.