RUMANIA: THE HOW OF ENSLAVEMENT

Created: 8/1/1944

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How

Rumania: Enslavement

The Soviet Union has used the second World War to consolidate a

'vast Communist colonial empire in Europe and Asia. It accomplished

'this task while repairing its own war devastation, with only one ox two

embarrassing outbreaks of opposition, and at minor cost in men and money.

On occasion it was able to enlist the unwilling aid of its recent allies who so

bitterly oppose both Soviet philosophy and intentions. Ineneration,

then, the USSR has established an empire that includes virtually all

territories ever held by the tsars and some lands never controlled by the

imperial regime. By virtue of its imperialist base, the USSRole

in world affairs that onlyas even approached by its

imperial forebears. eritable Communist heartland, its surrounding

empire sits astride two continents, impinges on three oceans, and weighs

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on the hearts of all free men.

Howingle nation alter the world balance in soime withoutajor conflict with other Great Powers?

It will help if we examine in detail the Soviet technique of domination as appliedingle country. Perhaps the best one to study Ison-Slavic neighbor of the Soviet Union, bitterly anti-Communist instrongly nationalist in feeling. Inumania was at war

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with the Soviet Union. By New Years Dayer king, loved by all hi- people, had abdicated, her revered political leaders were imprisoned, her government was controlled by native Communists. This result, so desirable from the Soviet point of view, wan accomplishedinimum of internal disturbance and international tension. How was it managed ?

In foreign policy, as perhaps in no other human activity, it is important to know what you want. The SovietB innew precisely what they wanted: first, the utter defeat of Germany; second, the advancementommunism. If the two goals could be reached together, so much the better. Duringt became clear that capitalist Rumania, anti-Soviet ally of Hitler, would be the first nation to be Invaded by the Red Army In its advance westward. In order to allay western fears. Foreign Minister Molotov was hurried forwardormal statement that the USSR would not interfere with the social structure or internal affairs of Rumania. olicy would be called 'Coexistence"). statement gave encouragement to those Rumanians who had opposed entering the war as an ally of Germany or who were having their opinions changed by the pressure ol events and the Red Army. Unofficial Rumanian emissaries, headed by old Prince Barbu Stirbey, made their way abroad In the spring of the year, to negotiate with the British, Americans, and Russians for

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Rumania's withdrawal from thr war.

These Rumanian diplomats soon discovered, however, that an arrangementtraightforward betrayal of their German ally could not be made quickly with the Russians, who had demanded that they play the major role in negotiations with this neighboring state. Bygreement for an armistice had not been reached in Cairo, yet the Red Army had entered Rumanian territory. Rumanian leaders at home now took charge. With the approval of luliu Maniu and Dinu Bratianu, leaders of the National Peasant and Liberal Parties and vigorous opponents of the pro-German policy, the arrest of Marshal Ion Antonescu, the Rumanian dictator, and his foreign minister, Mihai Antonescu (noy the King at the palace in Bucharest was planned. Onugust, the Antonescus were summoned to the palace and arrested at the order of King Michael. Generalaide to the Kingareer army officer, was asked to form an all-Party cabinet.

The destruction of the Antonescu dictatorship permitted long-suppressed political forces to boil to the surface. Maniu and Bratianu, the nation's foremost political leaders, would be assured positions of responsibilityationally-run state. The Social-Democratic Party, led by Constantinu6harest lawyer well known in theatrical circles, was not strong but it didaven for left-wingers who could not stomach the Communists.

Rumanian Communism, however,urious phenomenon. eakly offspring of socialism, the Rumanian Communist Party had been proscribed virtually since its creation. Whatever leadership it had been able to develophe leaders of the Rumanian party had never been better than third-ratewas in the Soviet Union or in hiding. Its totalon4 was not more than one thousand, and was probably much less.

The hard facts of geography, nevertheless, gave Rumaniantheir chance. Maniu and Bratianu knew that no regime could now exist in Rumanian without the tacit approval of the USSR. How better could Soviet approval be assured than to accept Communist assistance for the proposed coup d'etat and agree to Communist ministers entering the new government? Conservative Rumanian hopesational workingwith the Communists were favorably influenced by the nature of the Communist leadership on the spot.

Lucretziuawyer and memberell-known intellectual family, was the leader of the Communist Party. Patrascanuome-trained Communist product who had never visited the USSR. Party lcader-ship had fallen to him1 when such leaders as Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej had been imprisoned and Ana Pauker exiled to the Soviet Union. The middle class leaders, many of whom had known him and hie family, believed they

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could work with him.

Any illusions King Michael and his advisors may have had regarding the roles of the USSR and the Western Powers in the Balkans should have been dissipated by events following close on the heels of the coup d'etat. The reversal of Rumania's role in the war and the passage of divisions to the side of the United Nations in no wise influenced the Soviets. On Soviet demand, negotiations for an armistice with Rumania were moved to Moscow and there permitted to drag on until terms were at last signed on

September. In the interim the Red Army had advancedwithout opposition and hadprisoners.

Thus .tppi n_ percent of the Rumanian Army was captured without Red casualties^and huge quantities of stores and equipment seised.

The same result could have been achieved through signature of an armistice, but capturearge portion of the Rumanian Army and seizure of ito supplies as spoils of war aouM not have been so easily accomplished. Whatever may have been Soviet intentions toward Rumania In early September, eventual Communist control of the country was aided by capture of much of its armed strength.

The Russians put to good use the lessonB they had learned irom the Italian armistice negotiations. As General Eisenhower had signed the Italian document for all the Allies, so Marshal Malinovskiy performed the same function with the Rumanians. In contrast to the Allied control commission for Italy, composed only of British and Americans, the three Allies were

represented on the Rumanian Commission but complete executive authority resided in the Soviet command. The British and Americans, it seemed, had acquiesced in Soviet domination of Rumanian affairs. Perhaps they took at face value Soviet denials of any intention to change the Rumanian

ais oi any intention to change tne Rumanian

social order

Suviet-inTcntions rfiay-havr hf.ftn.in th^ b eariy-dgyg-of ts-aiansnoriiplVtely^freeounL^* The Soviet High Command waa givenright to censor all media of public communication, reparations payable in commodities and the right to demand unlimited supplies and services for military purposes. Soviet domination of Rumania was complete.

Rumanians quickly learned that the active instrument of Sovietwould be the Rumanian Communists. Positions of leadership in the Rumanian Communist Party were immediately taken by Communists returning from exile in the USSR. Two of the most prominent were Vasile Lucungarian, and Anaew. Emil Bodnaras, an Army officer who had deserted to the USSR in the early thirties, had returned clandestinely before the coup d'etat ofugust, toommunist guerilla force. Other Soviet-trained Communists given responsible positions of responsibility were Gheorgheailroad worker, and Teoharirinter, both of whom were released from Rumanian prisons by theetat. With the exception of Ana Pauker, widowember of a

well-known Rumanian Jewish family for whose death in the USSRrotskyite she was allegedly responsible, these people were unknown in Rumanian public life. Indeed the only Communist leaders who had not undergone Soviet indoctrination wss the Minister of Justice,

Effective subversion of the Rumanian state was entrusted

to these Communists, acting under the immediate direction of the Soviet

element of the Control Commission. The presence of the Red Army

inhibited effective opposition from the majority of Rumanians.

Whileumanian policy in the autumnhe Soviets

had to consider the course of the war and the reactions of their Western

Allies. Whatever mayn-nlfirrintf Sn-rirrirttrntmiirn during this

low, steady drift toward the left was noticeable in governmental

affairs. Successive reorganizations of the cabinet increased Communist

strength while diminishing the influence of the traditional forces. The

first victims wor* Iuliu and Diniu Bratianu, Ministers of State in the first

cabinet of General Sanatescu. When the first Sanatescu government was

reorganized these two men, the most influential in Rumania, lost their

posts. Patrascanu, however, continued as Minister of Justice.

By the end of the^year, unrelenting Communist pressure had forced the appointment of General Nicolae Radescu as prime minister. General Radescu, an elderly retired officer, who had won brief fameermoncentration camp under Antonescuetter to the German Ambassador

attacking Germany's policy. His reputation as anti-German apparently won him Communist support. The Radescu Cabinet was notable for the number of Communists appointed to posts of sub-ministerial rank. Teohari Georgcscu, for example, became Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior. Radescu put himself in charge of this Ministry.

Byowever, the Russians believed that they could safely

move against the Rumanian Government. AmviPimlna', , Moscow, ostensibly to negotiate on

Whileinstructed to begin agitation against the Radescu

Government and Rumanian conservative elements. Early in February, therefore, street demonstrations against Radescu and the "reactionaries" began, and grew in frequency and violence. General Radescu, as Minister of Interior, attempted to quell the disturbances. The Communists redoubled their violence, which they then blamed on Radescu. At the height of the trouble Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinskiy flew to Bucharest, and demanded that the King dismiss the "reactionary" Radescu. King Mihai, shocked at this crude interference in Rumanian internal affairs, at first unsuccessfully

attempted to name Prince Barbu Stirbdy.* Vyshinsky in turn demanded the

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appointment of Petrueathy Transylvanian industrialist, the

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organizer ofthe Plowman'splinter peasant group, and Communist

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dity. The King was given

stooge. Vyshinsky's performance at the palace was typically Communist in its crudity. The King was given hours to appoint Grozaew

cabinet.arch the new cabinet assumed office. General Radescu fled tb the safety of the British Mission.

The makeup of Ihe Groza cabinet clearly showed Soviet tactics in the early stages of the'lXurnanian takeover. Groza, the figurehead prime minister,ain man, shallow, ambitious and easily led. He wasember of the Rumanian Communist Party, Gheorghe Tataregendary figure even among corrupt Rumanianormer member of Bratianu's Liberal Party, supporter of Rumanian fascism and henceto trialar criminal, became Foreign Minister. Other posts were filled by non-Communists representing splinter parties and non-Communist groups. The Ministry of Interior, controlling the police of the nation, was assumed by Teohari Georgescu. Gheorghiu-Dej Became Minister of Com-munications. Perhaps because sheew, Ana Pauker remained outside the government.

Reasons for Soviet imposition of the Groza Government regime atare even now not entirely clear. Whatever may have beenintention, however, this action at once opened the road toinstallationommunist regime in Rumania and sowed thelasting dissention between the USSR and the West. The Sovietso soon after theallous

repudiation of the ple'dge three states had made to aid citizens of former German satellite nations in the formation of democratic governments through free elections. Whether "motivated by Communist doctrinal considerations.

a desire io use Western preoccupation with the Pacific warelief that informal agreements with the British on spheres of influence in the Balkans gavepecial status in Rumania,Sovietof the Groza Governmentonflict that has not yet ended.

As soon as they gained effective control of the Rumanian Government the Russians began -their assault on the Rumanian social system. The first important Soviet-sponsored move was the agrarian reform of Under the terms of this decree, issued without the King's signature, all arable land in excess ofectares,roportionate amount of inventory and livestock, was to be expropriated without compensation and given to peasants owing lessectares. Certain well-organized estates, capable of being run as modelcould be exempted from seizure. Forest land was notpproximately onealf

million hectares were taken, of which about one million hidn distributed

easants. The average amount received perectare. The effect of this expropriation, it can bemore social than economic. It was designed to win the support ofWhile destroying the economic base of the conservative

From the signing of the Armistice the Soviet Union maneuvered to sub-jugate Rumania economically. The Armistice terms, whether or not so

designed in the beginning, admirably served this purpose. With apparent

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generosity, the Russians required of Rumania0 million dollars ineemingly not unreasonable amount in view of Rumanian invasion of the Soviet Union. This reparations burden was later several times increased, however,nilateral Soviet decision to value reparations deliveries at the8 prices. The reparations clause was but one of several onerous economic provisions of the Armistice. Under its terms everything taken by the Rumanians1 in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was required to be returned, such property to be identified by the Russians alone. The Rumanians were likewise required to supply Soviet armies passing through or stationed in the country. All German assets, including western properties seized by the Germans, were required to be handed over. On top of all these official claims came the looting by Soviet soldiers, suddenly placedlenty that few of them could imagine. Rumanian losses, then, bore little relation to the armistice terms. rocess, in part deliberate, in part anarchic, Rumanian economic resources were eaten away. The Vast currency inflation which resulted partly from the application of armistice terms, in parteliberate Soviet policy of impoverishment, fatally weakened the two social elements most bitterly opposed, to Communism: the middle class and the peasantry.

W-Tilrte the Communists acted to destroy the economic strength of their opponents, they undC^rtook at the same time to destroy their political influence.

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Maniurime target. Throughout the autumn andising crescendo of propagandafascist" and hater of the Soviets- The power of censorship granted the Soviets under the armistice was used to close down both National Peasant and Liberal newspapers and deny these parties access to the printing press. Rumanian Communist propaganda fe**'the Rumanian government and the historical parties iJ*fv* from the Soviet radio. The historical parties could answer these attacks by word of mouth only when their representatives in the provinces were able to avoid the violence of Communist goon squads.

Communist use of street demonstrationsactic} to intimidate the Rumanian Government and its supporters began in earnest during5 and roserescendo during late February. Every control device available to Communist-dominated labor unions was used to forceinto the streets. All provocations to violence were offered the Radescu regime. At last, on ebruary,demonstrators were killed by shooting of undetermined origin. Soviet charges ofmurder at once blanketed Radescu's protestations. The stage was thus set for Vyshinsky's entrance.

Once the Communists became the dominant element in the Rumanian government, their concept of the use of the street changed. Goons were turned loose to demonstrate in favor of the Groza regime andy violence ifreactionary" demonstrations against it. National

opposition* to the Communist-sponsored government found its natural focal point in King Mihai. The young king used the Potsdam Declaration on democratic governments an an opportunity to demand that the Groza Government resign. Groza curtly refused, an action unprecedented in Rumanian politics. Relations between the king and his cabinet wereeffectively suspended, the king withdrawing to his palace at Sinaia in the Carpathians while the cabinet ruled by decree.

Only on one occasion during thiserhaps it was the only

occasion afteras the mass of Rumanians able to register

it! hatred of its Communist masters. Early on the Morning

King Mihai's name day, the citizens of Bucharest began to trickle by ones'

snd twos into the huge many-sided square fronting the Royal Palace. The

fact that King Mihai was in Sinaia (German bombing had seriously damaged

the Bucharest palace) in no way influenced the crowds. It was the custom

on this day for diplomats, government officials, and private citizens to

sign the guest books at the palace. On this occasion, however, the palace

as were locked; police and civilian goons turned away all those seeking

to enter except foreigndiploma'tic and military officials. The crowd, whose

growing numbershe square^ begad to sing the national anthem

and cheer the king.

Serious violence could have been avoided, even then, if Rumanian Com-munists had usedodicum of good judgement. Instead, by mid-morning

truck loads of thugs wheeled into the square with obvious orders to

break up the demonstration. In their haste to counter the demonstration

for the king the Rumanian Communists had commandeered Soviet army

trucks and sent them into the square still bearing Soviet license plates!

Several hours of dodging carelessly driven heavy trucks finally infuriated

the demonstrators. rucks were attacked, overturned and set on fire.

Someone in the meleeistol into the air. At once the wooden gates

at the Ministry of Interior, across the Square from the Palace, were thrown

quad of civilians with submachine guns crossed the sidewalk into

the street and fired on the crowd. persons were killed and wounded.

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Although it had not come prepared for conflict, the crowd held itslunchtime. Nothing in Rumania, and certainlyoliticalcan hold-itST*gTT>und_aga.inst mealtime. The crowd went homeand the square was forthwith occupied by Romanian troops.

Although it filled the press and radio with charges of murder designed

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to conceal its own involvement, the Groza Government|and the

occupationevere defeatovember. None of

theho were accused of fomenting the bloodshed, were i

ever brought to trial, perhaps because photographs taken in the Palace Square on that day by members of. Military Representation clearly revealed Communist provocations.

The eventsovember may have made the Soviets and Rumanian Communist! appreciate their essential weakness in the country. In any event, the Foreign Ministers, meeting in Moscow in December, ordered Foreign Minister Vyshinsky and Ambassadors Harriman and Clark-Kerr to proceed at once to Bucharest with instructions to workolution to the conflict between king and cabinet. Once again Vyshinsky dominated the Rumanian capital. Early6 it was announced that onefrom the National Peasant and Liberal Parties would join the cabinet as Ministers without portfolio. . and British Governments tfrcr^iiprm recognized the Groza regime.

A* an exercise in futility/ the mission of the three ministers hss not I been surpassed in the post-war era. The appointment of ministersauthority or responsibility. poweHess to do more than protest to meetings of the cabinet^ ol course changed nothing. The Communists con* I tinued their economic and political measures designed to establish effective control of the country, while the two representatives of the opposition were effectively prevented, by intimidation and threats, from fulfilling even the watching brief that they had been given. It is difficult to understand why the opposition leaders, Maniu and Bratianu, accepted this meaningless compromise. Presumably these Rumanian Micawbers thought something might turn up. Hoping against hopeopular pastime in Rumania in those days.

Once western recognition had been granted the Rumanian Communists were free to move toward their next objective: legitimization of their regime

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through national elections. The Communists suffered no illusions about their popularity with the country. Standing alone, they would be disastrously

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defeated. Their unpopularity had to be coveredommon ticket ofarties in the National,Democratic Front. In particular, the Communists had to combine with the Social-Democrats in order to cover their weakness in the working class.

For many months, the Communists had pushed their infiltration of the Social-Democratic Party. Constantine Titel Petrescu, the Socialist leader,an of honor without the ability to lead. When he made an effort,o take his party out of the Groza cabinet he found that the Communists, by appeals to personal ambition, the use of blackmail, and similar tactics, had effectively undercut him. Not one member of his party in the cabinet resigned. When the Socialists held their congress in March, Petrescu let it be known that he wanted his party to enter its own ticket in the approaching elections. By the useetter later shown to have beenember of this partyovernment post was able to stampede the Socialist Congree into supportommon ticket with the Communisjs.

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The elctionne-house parliament, the first supposedlyin Rumania since was announced for November.

Every device to win annd many are known in Rumania-was then employed. Several categories of opponents were eliminated byof the electoral law eliminating their right to the ballot. Local election officials, all of whom were appointed by the Groza regime and supported it, arbitrarily barred members of opposition parties from registering. Persistent opponents were frequently discouraged from

Peasant and Liberal tickets. Agents of the government andof the FND parties, when taking action against members of thefascists" and "reactionaries" they were call^were compelled to keep on the watch for visiting teams of American or British military representatives and wandering foreign journalists. On the whole,these provincial agents performed their task of suppression efficiently andinimum of fuss. Government and party officials received visiting foreigners freely during the electoral campaign and answered their questions suavely. Complaints of the historical parties could be aired with relative ease only to the foreign missions in Bucharest. Thus, although Communist control of the electoral campaign was reported to the west, open international scandal was avoided.

Control of the electoral tally onovember was not as efficient. Political parties in opposition normally do not expect to win elections in Rumania, since the government always exercises its authority to the

fullest. Without douqt, Maniu and Bratianu expected the FND to count itself into officeinimum of trouble. The confusion in government ranks as the count of votes progressed, the delay in announcing the results.

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by the partyic* was__preserved however. It ^IdwerrHnsr that the FND had captured r seats.

evelation. Even if the inevitable opposition charges of trickery and theft are accepted with circumspection, clearly the Grozaidal wave of votes that almost, if not completely, defeated the FND single ticket. The Rumanian pattern of electoralhe party ins__preserved however. It was announced

the combinedhe Liberal and National Peasant Ministers thereupon resigned from theuttressed by the appearance of popular support thus obtained, the Groza regime made the7 one of terror .in Rumania. It was able to do this, inecause agreement was at last reached on

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a peace treaty. Onebruary, the Rumanian treaty, after long and

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exacting negotiation, was signed in Paris. Its terms, which generally followed the Armisticerovided that within ninety days after the treaty came into force all allied forces, except the Soviet forces stationed in the country to maintain "communication withere required : to withdraw. The Communist regime could thus look forward at last to

mastery in its own house.

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Liquidation of the opposition, however, did not wait on ratification of

the treaty. During the spring, night arrests of opposition leaders were

begun. Clearly the Communists no longer felt great need to respectopinion. In July, Ion Mihalache, deputy leader of the National-Peasants, was arrested with several companions just before their departure abroad by air. Although it is evident that Mihalache had preparedeparture with the full consent of Maniu, who was ill at the time but would

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' not have left the country, the vice president clearly fell into the hands of

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lore their oeparture on

government provocateurs. Mihalache and his associates were arrested at plane-side just before their departure onJuly. The arrest of Iuliu Maniu followed

Theof^Marniu, Mihalachejf^ others^ on charges^ which openedthe extent

of Communist encroachment on Rumanian liberties since the coup^'etat of In slightly more than three years since that coupjj'etat, the Communists had decided that they could proceed with impunity against their principal opponent and the dominant leader of the country. For the first time in the post-war period, open accusations of conspiracy te were made against Americans. Minor j officials of the American Military Representation in Bucharest were accused of plotting dire crimes of espionage and subversion with the

dependents, headed by Maniu. The evidence introducedypical

farrago of distortions, falsifications and induced confessions. Because it was the first case of this kind, however, the sensational testimony attracted some attention in the American press.

The trail of Maniu was noteworthy for the splendid defiant gesture

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of Constantln Titel Petrescu, the Socialist leader. At the earlier war-crimes trial of the Antonescus, luliu Maniu, after completing hishad stepped to the dock and shaken the hands of the Marshal and Mihai Antonescu. This magnanimousy the Antonescus' principal opponent wns not lost on the Rumanian people. The Communist press boiled with indignation over this "fascist" gesture. Upon completing his testimony at the Maniu trial, Petrescu stepped over to the dock and shook Maniu's hand. It was Petrescu's finest hour.

The verdict of the courtoregone conclusion. i ha lac he and others were sentenced to life imprisonment. Varying terms in prison were meted out to the other defendants. Political opposition to Communism in Rumania was effectively silenced.

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There remained one last opponent of Communist domination. King Mihai. Communist "friendship" for theecessary tacticad passed throughlear realization thatof Rumania in the developing Soviet system required his removal. The disappearance of Maniu facilitated this action.

During the autumnhe Communists moved to take over important cabinet posts that had been held by non-party members of the Government coalition. Anu Pauker, the principal leader ofthe party, entered the cabinet as Foreign Minister, replacing Gheorghe Tatrescu whose usefulness had ended with the ratification of the peace treaty. At

the same time, Emil Bodnaras, knowmeserter from the Rumanian Army, was named Defense Minister. Groza continued as4?rime Minister.

The departure of King Mihai was complicated, and perhaps aided, by his attendance at the marriage of Princess Elizabeth in his own plans for marriage. After attending Elizabeth's wedding, Mihai continued his visit in England. By this time his interest in Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma had become obvious. His return to Bucharest oji

$r December seems to have surprised the Government whicljexpected Mihai to abdicate and remain abroad. Since therequired the assent of his Government, the King formally tJJ- /V

{j WKaCeverre-Jas^rr-th^nj^^

thfi jvis

Prime Minister Groza requested that the King, who j

was spending Christmas holidays at Sinaia, come to*

a special train took Mihai, his mother

palace on the outskirts of Bucharest. The Interview was short and pointed. King Mihai was offered an opportunity to abdicate at once "or be responsible for the resulting bloodshed." He was shown Soviet tanks patrolling the streets. He was to be permitted, on the other hand, to take his personal possessions and members of the Royal suite abroad with him. hort period of consultation and reflection, the King accepted the terms offered. An offer to keep the Royal estates was

The Rumanian Communists, who had numbered lessnn threealf years had overturned the monarchy.

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