* Romania Romanian history

Romanian History

Figure 1.--

The Romanian nation has a fascinating history streaching back to ancient times. The medievel era is particularly interesting. Romanians played an important role in impeding the Ottomon movement beyond the Balkans. There are some striking characters in Romanian history, including Count Dracula and Nicolae Ceausescu. The Ottoman era resulted in the mixing of people throughout the Balkans. When new nations were formed in the 19th and early 20th century, there were as a result countless territorial disputes. Romania was thus caught up in disputes with neigboring countries. Romania fought with the Allies in World war I. It attempted to negotiate regional security arrangments. The country was, however, left isolated after the British and French abndoned Czechoslovakia at Munich. Hitler who was fixated on Romanian oil forced Romania to join the Axis and participated in the disaterous campaign against the Soviet Union in World War II. The Soviet Union had seizec large areas of the country and the Romanians were an important part of the German-dominated force that invaded the Soviet Union. The Soviets destroyed much of the Romanian Army at Stalongrad and in the Crimea. The Red Army seized the country at the end of World war II. It was forced to become a Soviet satellite. Stalinist secret policies arrested Romanians in large numbers, many of whom were executed. The disasterous Soviet-economic policies, especially those of Ceausescu drove Romania into national poverty from which now democratic Romania is just now beginning to recover.


Ancient History

The ancient Dacians inhabited the territory of modern Romania. The Carpathian-Danube region was settled by migratory Indo-Europeans who intermingled with native Neolithic giving rise to the Thracians (about 2000 BC). Ionians and Dorians began settling along the western shore of the Black Sea (7th century BC). This brought the Thracians into contact with the Greek and Mediterranean world. The Greek founded apoikiai (colonies) and emporia (trade stations) Dobruja (7th century BC). The Greeks refered to the local population as the Getae. The Romans called them the Daci. The Dacians had attained an important level of civilization when the Romans first encountered them. The Romans describe a Dacian Kingdom ruled by a king Oroles (early-2nd century BC). Conflicts with the Bastarnae and alliances with the Scordisci and Dardani in Illyricum and Pannonia against Rome tressed the the resources of the Dacian Kindom. King Boerebista became king (about 70 BC) ans set about reorganizing the Dacian army. Historians describe him as raising the moral standard of the people. He expanded the teritorial expnse of the kingdom and historians began to describe Dacian empire. The Dacians conquered the Bastarnae and Boii. They also seized several Greek cities on the Euxine. The Romans began ti see a Dacian threat. Caesar contemplated an expedition against them, which was assasinated before this occurred (44 BC). Led by Trajan, the Romans conquered Dacia (106 AD), the last major Roman conquest. The Roman Legions in the Dacian Wars defeated the army of the Dacian king Decebalus. The Romans pursued a policy of Romnization. Languageis importantvand a central tenant was thevpromotionnof the Latin language. The Romanians are, as a result, the only Eastern Europens to develop a romance language. The Romans were forced. to withdraw two centuries later, pressure by the Goths and Carpi. At the end of the ancient era Romanian was overrun by the Huns and became part of the short-lived Hunic Empire.

Medievl History

There was no Romania in the medievil era, but there were several predecessor states which came to make up modern Romania, some of which, however, were also claimed by neighboring countries. The most important were Moldavia, Transylvania, and Walachia. The history of Romania before 1856 is primarily the history of the principality of Moldavia and Walachia (also spelled Vallachia ).

Early Romanian history

Some of the first political organization of the Romanian people was the kniezates and voivodates which first appeared in Transylvania and Dobrudja (10th century AD). This continued later east and south of the Carpathian Mountains (12-13th centuries). There was no unified Romanian nation at this stage. Rather there were three major principalities.

Transylvania and Hungary (10th-13th centuries)

Hungarian kingdom to the east in the early medievel era attempted to establish control over what is now Romania. Territorial disputes between Hungary and Romania continued into the 20th century. The Hungarians were a tribe which migrated west from the Volga. The tribe settled in Pannonia (895). The German Emperor Otto I stopped them from moving further west (995). It is at this time they began to settle permanently in modern Hungary and begin to look at lands to the south and east, manning the area of modern Romania. The Romanian kniezates and voivodates resisted the Hungarians, but in part because they were not unified the Hungarians gradually gained control over much of Transylvania (10-th-13th centuries). (Hungarian control there is the principal reason that Moldavia and Walachia have dominated Romanian history.) The Hungarian monarchy to establish control over what was essentially a ethnically Romanian province sought to encourage Hungarian migration into the area. The Crown made Transylvania an autonomous voivodate. The Crown, in order to consolidate their power in Transylvania and protect the frontier of the voivodate, also promoted the settlement by Szecklers and Germans (Saxons) (12-13th centuries).

The Mongols (13th century)

The Mongols swept through Eastern Europe, destroying Kiev (the most important early Russian state) and seriously weakening the medeivel states in Eastern Europe, especially the Poles and Hungarians (13th century). With the death of Genghis, the Mongols withdrew east leaving a desstabllized situation in eastern Europe. Out of this situatiion Moscow would begin to rize in Russia. In Romania the principalities of Molavia and Walachia would increase in prominance.

Moldavia and Walachia (14th century)

The Mongols had severely weakened the powerful medieval states north of the Carpathians (Poland and Hungary). This allowed Moldavia and Walachia to emerge as independent medievil principalities. The Tartar principalities to the the east did not have the strength of the former Mongol empire. Basarab I founded Moldavia (around 1310). Bogdan I founded Walachia (around 1359). Both the Polish and Hungarian kingdoms attempted to seize control of both principalities, but failed (14-15th centuries). The Romanians defeated a Hungarian army at Posada (1310).

Ottoman threat (14th-15th century)

The principalities of Moldavia and Tranyslvania after establishing their autonomy from the larger Christian kingdoms to the north (Hungay and Poland) in the laste 14th century faced a challenge from the expanding Islamic Ottomon Empire from the south. The Ottomans entered the Balkans (1354) an reached the Danube which flows through modern Romania (1396). The Christian kingdoms and principalities resisted the Ottomans. The specific kingdoms and alliances varied over time. They were resisted by the Byzanties, Bulgars, and Serbs. The voivodes of Wallachia, both Mircea the Old (1386-1418) and Vlad the Impeller (1456-1462), with Stephen the Great and Holy (1457-1504) played important roles. The voivode of Moldavia and Iancu of Hunedoara, the voivode of Transylvania (1441-1456) played major roles in resisting the northword advance of the Ottomons.

Ottoman Era (16th-19th centuries)

The Ottomon Empire gradually consolidated uts hold over the Balkans and began an advance into central Europe. Mohammed II shocked Christian Europe when he finally succeeded in overcoming the massive fortificatiins of Constantinople and took the surrounded city (1453). This ended nearly 1,000 years of Byzantine history. Suleiman the Magnificent seized Belgrade (1521). The Ottomons then destroyed the Hungarian kingdom by killing the last Hungarian king at the battle of Mohacs (1526). (The crown passed to the Hapsburgs.) This in effect surrounded the principalitities of Moldavia and Wallachia. They were forced to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan, thus becoming a part of the Ottoman Empire. Although the Romanian provinces for three centuries remained within the Ottomon Empire, they were largely autnomous provinces. There were also rebellions and shifts in the status of the principalitiesand by the 19th century Ottomon authority had become nominal.


After the Battle of Mochas, the Ottomans took Buda and turned Hungary into a pashalik (a province governed by a pasha--an official appointed by the Ottomon sultan). Transylvania which had been controlled by the Hungarian crown became a selfruling principality (1541), but like Moldavi and Walachia recognised the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan. The Romanian provinces, however, were the only Christian principalities to retain their state struture within the Ottoman Empire. This meant they maintained Christianity as the state religion even though they were nomially a part of the Ottoman Empire. It also meant that they maintained their military force as well as their political and administrative systems. These principalities paid tribute to the Ottoman sultan. The Romanian provinces not only bought autonomy with their tribute, but it meant that they were protected from the incroachment from the stronger Christian kingdoms from the west and north. As a result, a small island of Byzantine culture survived in eastern Europe. (This explains in part the importance of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Byzantine cultural traditions in much of Romania while the Catholic Church is stronger in Translvania which was for many years under Hungarian control.)

Michael the Brave (1593-1601)

Michael the Brave became voivode of Wallachia (1593). Michael joined the Christian League inspired by the Papacy to resist the encrochments of the Ottomons into Christian Europe. The Holy Roman Empire was the principal power resising the Ottomans. Majpr battles and the Holy Roman Empire and he succeeded, following heavy battles (Calugareni, Giurgiu) were fought. Michael was able to unite the Romanian provinces for the first time (1599-1600). Michael proclaiming himself 'Prince of Wallachia, Transylvania and the whole of Moldavia.' His principality, however, lasted only a brief period. The aristocracy in the different provinces did not fully support him. In addition the great powers surronding Michael (Austria (the Hapsburgs), Poland, and the Ottomons all had desires on his territiry. Michael was assassinated (1601).

Decline of the Ottomon Empire and Poland

The Ottomanse failed to take Vienna in a major military campaign (1683). The arrival of a Polish army saved the city. This proved to be the highwater-mark of the Ottomons. Naval defeats in the Mediterrean at the hands of the Spanish weakened the Ottomons. The rise of science and industry in Western Europe and failure of the Ottomons to move innovate like the West meant that that their military and economic strength would gradually decline. The first sign of this was the Austrian-Turkish peace treaty of Karlowitz (1699). Under the terms of the treaty, the Austrian Hapsburgs who inherited the Hungaroan crown obtained control over Transylvania which became an autonomous principality within the Hapsburg empire. The Hapsburgs made in a great principality under an appointed governor (1765). At the same time that the Ottomons declined, so did Poland. Poland was divided by three partitions between Austria, Prussia and Russia.

Rise of Russia

Another major development affecting Romania was the rise of a powerful new kingdom to the east--Tsarist Russia. Moscow rose in influence under the Mongols or Tartats as the became known. Ivan achieved independence from the Tartars and successive Tsars expanded the domains of Muscovy. The Russians under Peter the Great (1696-1725) reached the Dniester River. The Deniester became the boundary between Moldavia and Tsarist Russia. This threatened Ottomon rule, but as the Tsars desired to seized the Bosporous and Dardenelles so they could control access to the Mediterrean, it also meant that the Romanian principalities might like the Poles be absorbed into the Russian Empire.

Ottoman reforms (18th century)

The Ottomons had largely allowed Moldavia and Walachia to operate with great autonomy within their empire. This change as pressure from the Russians increased. The Ottomans replaced the former autnomous regimes in Moldavia (1711) and Wallachia (1716) with the Phanariot system. The Greek quarter of Constaninople was Phanar. The sultan recruited Greeks there for important positions in the Greek Orthodix church and as officials in Greece and other areas. These voivodes (governors) were seen as more loyal than local Romanian officials. Observers report that Ottomon economic exploitation increased during this period and corruption became more prevalent. They also report important political and social reforms. The most important was the abolition of serfdom two centuries before that action was taken in Russia. Other attempts at modernization occurred. The Phanariot system did not attempt to undermine domestic autonomy at the local level. Thus Moldavia and Walachia continued to be unique political entities within the Ottomon Empire.

Protracted warfare

Moldavia and Walachia in the 18th and early 19th century pccupied a unique position. Not only were they a unique Christian entity within the Ottomon Empire, they were also located at the point where the three great empires of Eastern Europe touched (Austrian, Ottomon, and Russia. The status of the two provinces was recognized in international treaties such as Kuchuk-Kainargi (1774). Moldavia and Walachia also became a battleground for the contending empires. Austria and Russia engaged the Ottomons in a series of wars: 1710-1711, 1716-1718, 1735-1739, 1768-1774, 1787-1792, 1806-1812, 1828-1829, 1853-1856). The Ottomons would have been expelled earlier, however, the Napoleonic Wars distracted and weakened the two empires for more than two decades. As much of the fighting occurred in what is now Romania, there was considerable loss of like and physical destruction during this period. There were a series of occupations and annexations. Austria annexed Oltenia (1718-93) and Northern Moldavia which they called Bukovina (1775-1918). The Russians following the Russian-Turkish war (1806-1812, annexed eastern Moldavia, the land between the Prut and Dniester rivers, which they later called Bessarabia (1812-1918). Bukovina and Bessarabia continued to be contested territories in the 20th century. The final outcome is yet to be settled. Bessarabia is today a frament of the old Soviet Empire called Moldavia. While nominally independent, the Russians maintain trrops there.

Failed Liberation War and Revolution

The modern Romanian morarchy grew out of the wars of liberation conducted by two interelated conflicts. The first was the wars between Austria, the Ittmons, and Russia for control of the Balkans. The other was the struggle of the Romanians and other Balkan Christian people with the Ottoman Empire. The "Panduri" Revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821 spread out all over Wallachia at the same time as the the Greek movement for Independence (Eteria). Even though the Revolution was suppressed by the Ottomons with great brutality and Tudor Vladimirescu killed by his Greek allies, it can be considered as a success. Following the Revolution, the Ottoman Sultan stopped appointing Phanariot Greeks as govenors (Voievozi) in Moldavia and Walachia.

The Russian-Ottoman War (1828-29)

The Russian-Ottoman war (1828-29) considerably reduced Ottomon influence in the Balkans while strenthening Austrian (Habsbourg) and Russian influence. As a result, new innovative western ideas, currents and concepts were introduced in Romania and other provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Revolutions of 1848

Expanding European influence mean that the 1848 Revolutions in Western Europe inspired similar outbreaks in Eastern Europe. Events proceeded differently in the three Romanian provinces. In Transylvania, the most active revolutionaries were Simion Barnutiu and Avram Iancu (who was the leader of the resistance against the Habsbourgic troups sent in to reinstate "order and discipline"). In Wallachia Nicolae Balcescu was the spiritual leader of the revolution. In Moldavia, the most famous leader was Mihail Kogalniceanu. These spiritual leaders brought both new ideas about liberty and human rights and also new life into the old dream of Michael the Brave--a unified, independent Romanian State. After they were exiled, they continued the struggle for an independent Romanian state.

Crimean War (1854-56)

The declining Ottomon Empire came to be called "The Sick Man of Europe". It might have collapsed in the 19th century had the great powers at the time been able to agree on partition along the lines of the Polish Partitions in the 18th century. Britain and France later supported by Italy and Aystria (but not Perussia) fought te Crimean War to prevent wholesale Russian annexation of Ottoman territory. The Crimean War had a major role in creating modern Romania. Romanian nationalists that had participated in the 1848 revolutions pressed for a Romanian state at the Congress of Paris which ended the Crimean War (1856). As a result of the resulting treaty, the status of the Romanian Principalities was guarateed by the seven signatory powers, the southeastern part of Bassarabia was rejoined with Moldavia, and also local assemblies were allowed to decide on their own future political organisation.

Independence Movement

Russo-Turkish War (1877-78)

Russian and the Ottomans fought a series of Balkan Wars. In each the Russians gained ground. Yhe Ottoman Empire would have collpased early in the 19th century, had the major European powers not differed on how to carve it up. Concerned about the Russian succeeses, Britain and France intervened in the Crimean War to support Turkey. The last Russo-Turkish War occurred in 1877-78. It was also the most important one. Tsarist Russia in 1877 came to the aid of its fellow Christian Orthodox ally Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria in local rebellions against Ottoman rule. The Russians attacked diretly through Bulgaria toward Turkey and gained considerable success. After completing the Siege of Pleven, the Russians advance into Thrace, taking Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey) in January 1878. The Ottomans conceded and in March 1878 agree to the Treaty of San Stefano with Russia. This treaty liberated Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro from Ottoman rule. It granted autonomy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and created a Bulgaria (much larger than modern Bulgaria) under Russian protection. The great powers, especially Britain and Austria-Hungary, were concerned with the massive Russian gains confirmed by the treaty. Here the British were coflicted. Public opinion had been aroused against Ottoman attricities against Christians in the Balkans, yet Queen Victorian was stongly anti-Russian and many officials were concerned about the Russians mocing south toward Suez. The great powers this compelled Russia to accept more limited gains under the Treaty of Berlin (July 1878). Russia's gains from the war were sharply reduced.

Romanian Monarchy

The Romanian monarchy was a 19th century creation introducing a German family. The Romanian nation, however, has a fascinating history streaching back to ancient times. The medievel era is particularly interesting. Romanians played an important role in impeding the Ottomon movement beyond the Balkans.

Balkan Wars (1912-13)

The Balkans Wars are very complicated and involved extensive assaults and killing of civilians by all sides. Italy began the assault on the Ottomon Empire by declaring war in this case to secure a new colony in North Africa--Libya. The Turko-Italian War (1911-12). While fought outside the Balkans, it further weaked Ottomon troops. In this case the Ottomons largely ceeded to Italian demands because of the worsening situation in the Balkas. The First Balkan War (1912) was essentially a continuation of the wars for independence from the Ottoman Empire. This meant by the 20th century dividing up the spoils of the Ottomon territories in Europe. The new Balkan states (Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia) combined to drive the Ottomans from Eastern Roumelia (Lower Thrace and Macedonia). Unfortunately for the people of Macedonia and other Balkan lands, there was no agreed plan for partitioned the territory liberated from the Ottomans. Which lead to the Second Balkan War (1913). This time the primary target was Bulgaria. Romania joined this war to get a slice of Bulgaria--Southern Dobrud˛a. Even the Ottomns attacked Bulgaria which had occupied areas desired by its neighbors. The First Balkan War had been fought by the Balkan states obstensibly to liberate Christian peoples from Muslim Turkis rule. The Second Balkan War was largely fought among those Christian states and involved attrocities and ethnic cleaning that still affect the people of the Balkans today. While not active participants, the Wars also involved Russia and Austria-Hungary. The rivalries involved were probably a factor in the ability of the two Emoires to contain the escalating conflict after the assasination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand which finally led ton World War I. In the end, Bulgaria was outraged by the territories that it had to surender. In particular it had to renounce its claims to Macedonia and cede Southern Dobrud˛a back to Romania. This left an embittered Bulgaria, once World War I (1914) broke out, willing to join the Central Powers to regain these territories. As did the Ottomons. The Greeks, Serbs, and Romanians joined the Allies.

World War I (1914-18)

Romania was one of the new European countries carved out of the Ottoman Empire. The boundaries were quite different than modern Romania. The country was ruled by a German monarchy. Romania at the time of World War I had three main provinces (Valachia, Moldovia, and the Dobrudja). The first two of these provinces had a largely homogenious population of ethnic Romanians, speaking Romanian and the Orthodox faith. The Dobrudja was, howver, ethnically diverse. As a result of Ottomon rule, there were Muslim Turks as well as various neighboring national groups. Ethnic Romanians were a minority. There were also Romanian minorities in neighboring countries. To the east was Bessarabia (between the Pruth and Dnjestr Rivers). This was once the the eastern half of the principality of Moldovia. Russia acquired the area from the Turks (1812). Other Romanians lived in Southern Bukovina (an Austrian province) and Transylvania (an Hungarian province). Similar circumstances involved all the Balkan states. Romanian nationalists as did nationalists in other countries desired an expanded state emcompassing all the territories with important Romanian populations. Such irredentist desires had fueled the Balkan Wars that preseeded World war I. Romania at first declared itself neutral. The country finally decided to enter the war on the Allied side (August 1916). Given the weakening situation on the Eastern front this seems an unwise decession. Initially the Romanian Army scored some success. The Romanians attacked Hungarian Transylvania and occupied much of it. The Central Powers launched a counter-offensive made up of both German and Austrian-Hungarian forces (September) The Central Powers suceeded in occupying much of Romania, including all of Valachia and a major proprtion of Moldovia (late 1916). Bulgarian forces pressed forward into the Dobrudja. The Romanians managed to stop the Central Powers offensive and set up a defensive perimiter around the area of Romania they still controlled. Revolution occurred in Russia and the Russians finally quit the War (1917). This freed up forces for the Central Powers. As a result of the Revolution in Russia, the Tsarist Empire began to desintegrate. Bessarabia as a result of the substantial Romanian ethnic population voted to join Romania (April 9, 1918). The Central Powers soon afterwards launched their spring offensive and succeeded in occupying all of Romania, including Bessarabia. The defeated Romanians were forced to sign the Treaty of Bucharest (May 7, 1918). The Germans were later to complain bitterly about the harsh conditions in the Versailles Treaty. Rarely mentioned were the very severe treaties they forced on the Romanians and Russians. The Allied victory in the West, however rescued the Romanians. The Treaty of Bucharest was declared null and void under the conditions of the Armistice (November 11).

Greater Romania (1918-19)

With the defeat of Germany in the West, Romanians in and outside the country began to piece together their fractured state as well as to acquire territory with Romanian populations from Russia and the defeated Central Powers (Bulgaria and Hungary). The Armistice on the Western Front made this possible (November 11, 1918). Germany was forced to declare the Treaty of Bucarest null and void. The military forced of both Russia, Bulgaria, and Hungary were dreastically weakened. Bessarabia during the War had voted to join Romania. The General Congress of Bukovina voted for the "unconditioned and everlasting unification of Bukovina within its old borders up to Ceremus, Colacin and the Dnestr, with the kingdom of Romania" (November 28). The great national assembly in Alba Iulia proclaimed the "unification of all Romanians from Transylvania, the Banat, Crisana and Maramures with Romania for all ages to come" (December 1). Romanian fought a war with Hungary. After the communist Bela Kun seized power in Budapest, the Hungarians attacked Romania across the Tisza River (early 1919). The Romanians attacked from Transylvania and occupied Budapest for several months. The unification of all the lands inhabited by Romanians was endorsed by Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War (1919).

Inter-War Years (1918-39)

Romania proceeded with major reforms following World War I. These included the universal ballot (1918) and a major land reform (1921). King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria were crowned at Alba Iulia (1922). A new democratic constitution was approved (1923). Important natural resources provided the basis of a strong national economy and considerable economic development occurred during the 1920s. The Wall street Crash and ensuing world-wide depression affected Romania primarily by reducing the demand for Romanian exports which had been a major support for the economy. This caused worker unrest and political instability greatly strenthening the country's small fascist movenent in the country. Corneliu Codreanu founded the Romanian fascist movement (1927). It was sunsequently renamed the Iron Guard. The Iron Guard grew in strength during the 1930s as the Depression worsened. Romanian fascists did not have the national greviences to feed of of as was the case in several other European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, and Hungary). Prince Carol had been living in exole. He became King Carol II (1930). He brought Elena Lupescu, his mistress, back to Romania with him. King Carol had thousands of Iron Guard members arrested and Codreanu executed. King Carol II eventually abolished the constitution and proclaimed a royal government, esentially a royal dictatorship (1938). Romanian foreign policy was centered on the persuit of security, a primary concern because of the fact that it was surrounded with aggreved states which believed that Romania had unjustly seized their territory affter World war I (Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Soviet Union). Romanian foreign policy was overseen by Nicolae Titulescu. Romania joined the League of Nations. Romania tried to form regional alliances. he country joined the Little Entente (Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia (1921). This was followed by Balkan Entente (Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey) (1924). Romanian efforts were, however, undermined by the rise of the NAZIs in Germany. NAZI diplomacy offered badly needed trade deals. The British and French abandonment of ally Czechoslovakia at Munich (1938) left Romania isolated and militarily vulnerable.

World War II (1939-45)

Romania with its important petroleum resources was a major target of German diplomacy. Germany did not have the petroleum to wage a war of any duration. The basic calculations were stark. The Germans estimated that they needed 12 million tons of oil annually to wage war. The synthetic petroleum industry in the Ruhr based on coal liquidficatioin would by the late 1930s produce about 3 million tons, leaving a defivcit of 9 million tons. Quite simply, NAZI Germany could not go to war without a secure source of additional oil. The oil could not be imported by sea because of the Royal Navy. The answer to this shortfall was Romania. The Romanian oil fields centered around Ploesti produced about 7 million tons annually. Romania posed some initial problems because the country had sided with the Allies in World War I and as a result had been rewarded with territorial concessions at the expense of its neighbors which had sided with the Central Powers. The Romanian royal family was a German family, but Romania had sided with the Allies in World War I. Romania agreed to sell most of its oil to Germany (1939). British efforts to bid for the oil failed. The NAZIs next convinced the Romanians to expel British technicians (July 1940). General Ion Antonescu, who had been the Minister of War, for King Carol when he seized power (September 6, 1940). This meant that the NAZIs had essentially turned Romanian into a satellite state and ally. Antonescu styled himself Conducator (Leader) styled after the Führer principle in Germany. Antonescu ininiated a Fascist state and unleased the Iron Guard, Romania'sersion of the NAZI storm troopers and no less vicious. The Iron Guard proceeded to murder democratic politicians. Antonescu also began the Holocaust in Romania. The Iron Guard killed hundreds of Jews in the streets of Bucharest. The regime swiftly instituted a wide range of anti-Semitic measures. Jews were fired from government jobs and many private businesses. Jewish professors were fied and students expelled from universities. [Gilbert, p. 343.] German moved into Romania, a country which Italy also has interess in, was resented by Mussolini.

Cold War (1945-89)

The Red Army occupied Romania (autumn 1944). There was relatively little support for Communism in Romania. but as the Soviets controlled the country and arrested individuals who critivised their presence, the Communists quickly seized control of the country. The pro-Communist government of Petru Groza seized control. took over power. The World War II dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu was tried and executed (June 1946). The Government forcef King Michael I to abdicate. Groza oversaw a rigidly Stalinist regime and any one expressing any opposition to the regime was arrested. Many were shot without trials. Romania became a compliant Soviet sattelite. The Government instituted Soviet-style policies: nationalisation and collectivisation. The state took over the operation of all industrial entreprises, mines, banks and transport facilities and operated them on the basis of a centrally planned economy. The state prepared 5-year plans as part of an industrial development program. The first Five Year Plan was announced (1951). Romania under Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej began to move away from slavishly following Soviet foreign policies (1960s). Nicolae Ceausescu who succeeded him maintained this independent foreign policy. The Romanian Communists, however, did not change domestic policies of state control and industrial development. Romania before World War II had been a largely agrarian country and exporter of natural resources. Communist policies favored the growth of heavy industry resulting in the rapid growth of cities. Ceausescu attempted to accelerate Romania's industrial development and a number of grandiose show-case projects. Major investments were made in industry, extensuvely funded by Western loans. The problem was that much of the industrial development was not well planned or administered. Despite the investment the Communist-era industrial concerbs were inefficent and uncompetitive. Often the cost of production exceeded what the output could be sold for if buyers could be found aT all. In addition virtually no importance was assigned to pollution from the new factories. The inefficency of Romanian industry made it impossible for Romania to pay off its accumulating national debt by exporting. Ceausescu's answer to Romania's growing economic problems was a program of national austerity (1980s). The standard of living for the Romanian people fell precipitously. Romania was forced to export what did sell--its agricultural production and coal and oil. But because of inattention, the agricultural sector had declined. There was thus less to export and a much larger urban production to feed. The result was domestic food and fuel shortages. The Securitate (the Communist secret police) vigorously supressed discent. Ceausescu ignored the growing problems and instead sponsored megalomaniac construction projects in an effort to give his regime an appearance of success. There was also an effort to create a leadership cult for Ceausescu. His writings were published in guge print runs. Despite the national austerity ptogram, Ceausescu, his family, and close supporters lived in luxury. Ceausescu ruled Romania with an iron fist for 25 years. One Romanian historian describes the period, "Ceausescu's regime slowly dragged the Romanians into an economic, social and moral deadlock. All these years were dominated by lies, corruption, terror, violation of human rights, and isolation from the Western world." After Gorbechev made it clear that the Soviet Union would not use force in Eastern Europe, Communist regimes began to collapse (1989). Ceausescu attempted to resist the process. A disturbance in a crowd Ceausescu was speaking to sparked a nation-wide uprising (December 1989). Ceausescu fate was sealed when the Romanian army joined the national uprising. Ceausescu fled Bucarest. He was soon arrested. The new provisional government tried and executed him and his wife (December 25, 1989).



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