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Romania in World War 2Romania suffered three radical dismemberments in the first year of the war that tore away some 100,000 square kilometers of territory and 4 million people. On June 26, 1940, the Soviet Union gave Romania a twenty-four-hour ultimatum to return Bessarabia and cede northern Bukovina, which had never been a part of Russia; after Germany's ambassador in Bucharest advised Carol to submit, the king had no other option. In August Bulgaria reclaimed southern Dobruja with German and Soviet backing. In the same month, the German and Italian foreign ministers met with Romanian diplomats in Vienna and presented them with an ultimatum to accept the retrocession of northern Transylvania to Hungary; Carol again conceded. These territorial losses shattered the underpinnings of Carol's power. On September 6, 1940, the Iron Guard, with the support of Germany and renegade military officers led by the premier, General Ion Antonescu, forced the king to abdicate. Carol and his mistress again went into exile, leaving the king's nineteen-year-old son, Michael V (1940-47), to succeed him.

Antonescu soon usurped Michael's authority and brought Romania squarely into the German camp. His new government quickly enacted stricter anti-Semitic laws and restrictions on Jewish, Greek, and Armenian businessmen; widespread bribery of poor and corrupt Romanian officials, however, somewhat mitigated their harshness. With Antonescu's blessing, the Iron Guard unleashed a reign of terror. In November 1940, Iron Guards thirsty for vengeance broke into the Jilava prison and butchered sixty-four prominent associates of King Carol on the same spot where Codreanu had been shot. They also massacred Jews and tortured and murdered Nicolae Iorga. Nazi troops, who began crossing into Romania on October 8, soon numbered over 500,000; and on November 23 Romania joined the Axis Powers.

From 1941-44 Romania was an ally of Nazi Germany. It played a very active role in the invasion of the Soviet Union, and suffered very heavy losses at Stalingrad. The Fascist Iron Guard, which ran the country under Antonescu, was rabidly anti-Jewish and carried out its own Holocaust. The oilfields at Ploiesti were a very important source of oil for Germany until 1944.

In August/September 1944, when Soviet forces entered Romania the traditional elites including the monarchy overthrew Antonescu and asked the Soviet Union for a ceasefire. The Soviets ordered them to change sides ... By that stage there were German forces in parts of the country.

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Q: Did Germany occupy Romania in World War 2?
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