Full Name 26 Kingdom of Romania
Alliance Axis - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Entry into WW2 22 Jun 1941
Population in 1939 19,934,000
Military Deaths in WW2 370,000
Civilian Deaths in WW2 533,000
 - Civ Deaths from Holocaust 280,000


ww2dbaseThe Kingdom of Romania, a nation with rich soils and oil (although the latter was largely controlled by foreign companies), slowly developed from a liberal constitutional monarchy to a dictatorship through the inter-war years. In Dec 1937, King Carol II appointed nationalistic League of National-Christian Defense leader Octavian Goga as the prime minister. In Feb 1938, the king dismissed Goga and personally assumed the role of the head of government. On 7 Mar 1939, he appointed Armand Calinescu as the prime minister, who would be assassinated by members of the ultra-conservative Iron Guard on 21 Sep 1939. When the European War broke out, Romania could have been pulled into the war should Poland activated a treaty signed between Poland and Romania, but Poland did not do so, thus allowing King Carol II to officially declare Romanian neutrality. A large number of Polish troops, government officials, and refugees flowed across the Polish-Romanian border; many of them were interned by the Romanians. In 1940, as Romania's guarantor France fell under German control, and as Romania faced a succession of territorial losses (as dictated by Germany and the Soviet Union), the population began to express disapproval of the government. The Iron Guard party seized the opportunity, gradually gaining influence starting with Horia Sima's entry into the government in Jul 1940 to Ion Antonescu's appointment as the prime minister. Antonescu, who by then had become independent of the Iron Guard party, immediate set forth a foreign policy that moved Romania toward joining the Axis (which would take place in Nov 1940) as the means to regain lost territory. Romanian troops were among those marching into Soviet territory at the start of Operation Barbarossa; in fact, the Romanian contingent in the invasion forces was larger than all the other non-German forces combined. In terms of domestic policy, Antonescu's government expanded Romania's anti-Semitic laws, making the lives of Romanian Jews in the early Antonescu years far harsher than the lives of German Jews in the early Adolf Hitler years. Romanian Jews did receive a slight reprieve, however, when the Romanian government later realized that by allowing European Jews to transit through Romania to safer lands, it stood to gain a handsome profit by charging these refugees exit visa fees. Abroad, Romanian institutionalized anti-Semitism was exhibited by the conduct of Romanian troops operating in Ukraine and southern Russia, who massacred upwards of 260,000 Jews. On the economic front, oil fields were increasingly nationalized, and a significant portion of the production was exported to Germany to support the German war effort. In 1941, the Iron Guard attempted to overthrow Antonescu, but it failed, leading to the top Iron Guard leadership fleeing to Germany, no longer playing a role in Romanian government. By 1943, as the Allies began to turn the tide of the war, Romania increasing became subjected to Allied bombings; the targets of such bombings were frequently oil fields such as the major complex at Ploiesti, although major population centers such as Bucharest were hit as well. As Soviet troops entered Romanian territory, and as German and Romanian troops failed to slow the Soviet advances, King Mihai I and his supporters overthrew Antonescu's government in a coup d'├ętat. The king then aligned Romania with the Allies and the Soviets, at the same time declaring war on Germany on 23 Aug 1944. Several bloody clashes took place between Romanian troops and their former German allies in Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Although Romania concluded WW2 on the winning side, it lost territory at the end of the war, largely because the Soviets had significantly downplayed King Mihai I's defection (forcing Romania to sign a document of unconditional surrender in Sep 1944 instead) and because the Western Allies refused to acknowledge Romania as a co-belligerent nation in the 1947 Treaty of Paris. In post-war negotiations of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union was given a 90% share of influence in Romania, which would lead to the end of the kingdom and the rise of the Socialist Republic of Romania. The communist republic would fall in 1989.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Jun 2014

Antonescu, IonDragescu, MarianaRosenberg, Vera
Antonescu, MihaiDumitrescu, PetreRusso, Nadejda
Avramescu, GheorgheDutescu, VirginiaSănătescu, Constantin
Burnaia, IrinaMihaiStirbey, Marina
Carol IIPaunescu, Stefanica

Events Taken Place in Romania
Soviet Demands on Romania and the Second Vienna Arbitration27 Jun 1940 - 30 Aug 1940
Operation Tidal Wave1 Aug 1943
Jassy-Kishinev Offensive and Romania's Surrender8 Apr 1944 - 26 Sep 1944
Operation Frantic2 Jun 1944 - 22 Sep 1944
Budapest Strategic Offensive Operation29 Oct 1944 - 13 Feb 1945

IAR 80


Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici with an IAR-22 aircraft, 3 Jan 1935Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici at the B─âneasa airport in Bucharest, Romania, 24 Mar 1935King Carol II of Romania and his son Prince Mihai inspecting, Romania, 10 May 1939French-built R35 light tanks in Romanian service on parade, circa 1940s
See all 29 photographs of Romania in World War II

Romania in World War II Interactive Map

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Romania in World War II Photo Gallery
Irina Burnaia and Petre Ivanovici with an IAR-22 aircraft, 3 Jan 1935
See all 29 photographs of Romania in World War II

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