Romania in the Second World War 1939–1945: unknown facts and new views on the problem

Serhii Luchkanyn

Dr. habil. (Philology), Professor, Institute of Philology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

UDС 94(498)”1939/1945″



The article is devoted to the analysis of different views in Romanian historiography on the participation of I. Antonescu, along with Germany, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and Finland, in the war against the USSR, starting from June 22, 1941.

It is known that the decision to join the anti-Soviet war was taken by I. Antonescu alone, without any consultation with any political group, or even with the king Mihai, who has learned from the BBC radio that Romania had entered the war with the USSR. First, the war was proclaimed as a “sacred war” against Bolshevism for the return of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, received full support from the king and from the leaders of the “historical parties”, as well as from a wide range of the population. However, in August 1941, at the request of Hitler, having already military rank of Marshal, Ion Antonescu decided to continue the war in the East, which has been completely unfounded (the territory to the East of the Dniester never belonged to Romania). The modern Romanian historiographers emphasize that the continuation of the anti-Soviet war on the other side of the Dniester, which led to large (and useless) human losses, has become one of Antonescu’s greatest mistakes. The article also raises the issue of the Holocaust in Romania during the Second World War (suppressed during the communist years), the decline in the scale of the tragedy in that period. It is noted that the arrest of I. Antonescu on August 23, 1944 was the merit of the young king, Mihai I, and his entourage, and not the Communist Party of Romania represented by Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu.

Key words

Romania, Second World War, historiography, Holocaust, Ion Antonescu, Mihai I.

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