Romania in the two Wold Wars.
Our newly established Kingdom was squeezed between the greatest powers of the time. The Russian Empire, The Austrian Empire and Ottoman Empire. In order to understand Romania’s implication in the two world wars we need to build some context. Allow me to refresh your knowledge about WW’s.
Disclaimer! This post is the author’s approach of storytelling Romania’s history. The analogies, metaphors and sarcasm are personal touches. All of the historical facts are based on thorough research and valid sources of information.
The First World War
France, Britain, and Russia teamed up. They called themselves Triple Entente. Triple what, Radu? I know. I thought the same. So let’s make it easier to remember and call these fellas The Gryffindors. You know, like in the Harry Potter series. Japan and the U.S. joined forces later on. The Italians were a bit undecided. As they had promises made to the Germans but in the end they joined this gang.
On the other side, Germany joined the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And was later backed by The Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. These fellas were named the Central Powers. Easier name to remember. But because I like Harry Potter so much and for the sake of a good analogy we’re gonna go with The Slytherins. Now that I got you all nice and confused, you go watch those Harry Potter movies. That if you wanna understand anything from this post.
Romania in WWI
As for the Romanians, they wanted to keep it cool. We were allies of the Germans by default, remember our kings dynasty was coming from Germany. It worked for the first two years. But then The Gryffindors team came with a proposal. “Hey, you Romanians! Come to fight for us and we help you get back Transylvania and other parts inhabited by Romanians”.
Though choice for our king. But look at this lad, giving more fucks about his adopted country than the one he was born in. And so we joined the fight. The war went on for another two years. Loads of fights. Endless twists. But in the end, as you know, the Gryffindors won the war.
The Gryffindors were on the wave. The boys set up a rendezvous in Paris. They signed a bunch of papers. Drawn new borders. Created new countries. Shared the colonies of the defeated among them. We could say they played a monopoly game while deciding the future peace. Peace that would, unfortunately, not last so long.
We came out well from this. Transylvania and chunks of other territories where Romanians lived united. The reason behind it is not because we had a major role in the war but because our Queen Mary held an impressive speech at the conference. And convinced the Western Powers that they need to recognize Romania as an ally.
Therefore, Greater Romania was born. 1st of December 1918 is when this officially happened and that became our national day. After WWI Romania doubled its size. It now covered all the regions with Romanian speaking population. But also included large minorities. Hungarians and Germans in Transylvania. Ukrainians and Russians in Moldavia. Turks and Bulgarians in Wallachia. This caused a lot of tension. And stuff like this was not easy to handle for the King and his government. God knows they tried. But we’re still too poor, licking our war wounds and now fighting amongst ourselves. Greater Romania did not last long.
The Second World War
During the peace between the two world wars the Germans had it worse. Worse than any of the defeated nations. But also during this time this little man, Voldemort (a.k.a. the guy whose name starts with “H” and ends with “itler”) started getting popular and gathered more and more followers.
The Italians and Japanese decided to switch sides. Turn black and fight alongside the Dark Lord. Meanwhile, U.K., France and Co. were kinda playing in defense, at least at the beginning.
Romania in WWII
During the same time a group of Romanian bad wizards joined forces and created the Iron Guard. It’s almost an understatement to say that these fellas were not big fans of democracy. Their influence grew stronger and after performing some major black magic they exiled the king and instituted dictatorship. Under the command of Romania’s version of Voldemort, Marshal Ion Antonescu.
They joined forces with the Slytherins and waged war against the Gryffindors, particularly being involved in a lot of fights against Russia. Also, I am sad to say, that under the same leadership Romania adhered to the purge known as the Holocaust. More that a quarter of a million died in Romania. It is a very sad period in my country’s history that I am not proud of.
The Aftermath of WWII
Getting back to the main character, Voldemort started making his dream to conquer the world reality. And one by one, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland fell. Even made a deal with the Russians that he won’t invade them. But then he did. Little bastard!
The Gryffindors started to get worried. U.K., France and the U.S. launched the counterattack. Russia joined. Not because of the love they had for the Gryffindors. But because they wanted revenge against the double crossing Germans and their leader.
Voldemort was winning fight after fight. And seemed like he’s gonna win this war. But then The Gryffindors started to pull out their big guns and turned the odds on their side. As for Romania, our King Michael I managed to stage a coup, a few months before the war ended, and turn wands against the Slytherins, but it proved to be too late.
Romania at the end of WWII
When the West and the East divided their influence we, unfortunately, came under the “mentorship” of the East. U.S.S.R. a.k.a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We were not officially part of the union but extremely influenced by it, a satellite state was the current denomination. More than enough.
And guess what? With the help and influence of their mentors in Moscow a new breed of wizards, called Communists, took over power in Romania. Forced the King to abdicate and leave the country. Our monarchy came to an end. A new black and painful era would begin for my fellow Romanians. Forty-one long years of dictatorship.
What have we learned today?
That it is important to watch Harry Potter to understand my tale about the World Wars.
We also found out who fought who and who won.
Romania’s stand and outcome in all this.
We’ve learned today that Greater Romania had a short life.
That the Second World War was a painful affair for everyone.
How our monarchy ended when the Communists took power by force.
In the next post I will get a bit emotional. Because everything that I told you till now was based on research, books that I’ve read and knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. But the next one, this one I experienced myself. Although I was born one year before the Communist regime fell, its effects went on for years, some might argue that we still live with them. So join me, as I tell you the story of Romania during Communism.