Rumania: The How of Enslavement
The Soviet Union has used the second World War toast Communist colonial empire in Europe and Asia. It accomplished this task while repairing its own war devastation, with only one or two embarrassing outbreaks of opposition, and at minor cost in men and money. On occasions was able to enlist the unwiliingnid 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 |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 ccAintry. Perhaps the. best one to study ison-Slavic neighbor of the Soviet Union, bitterly anti-Communist in strongly nationalist in feeling. Inumania wbb at war
Approved /or Re,easG
with the Soviet Union. By New Years Dayer king, loved by all his 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, was accomplishedinimum of internal disturbance and international tension. How was it managed?
In foreign policy, as perhaps ln no other human activity, it is important to know what you want. The Soviets innew precisely what they wanted: first, the utter defeat of Germany; second, the advancement of Communism. 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 feare, Foreign Minister
Molotov was hurried forwardormal statement that the USSR would
not interfere with the social structure or internal affairs of Rumania. (Now-adaysolicy would be called "Coexistence")- Molotov'save encouragement to those Rumanians who had opposed entering thes an ally of Germany or who were having their opinions changed by the pressure of 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 Rumania's withdrawal from the war.
These Rumanian diplomats soon discovered,hat 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. By mid-August
greement for an armistice had not been reached in Cairo, yet the
Red Army had entered Rumanian territory. Rumanian leaders attook charge. With the approval of Iuliu Maniu and Dlnuof the National Peasant and Liberal Parties and vigorousthe pro-German policy, the arrest of Marshal Ion Antonoscu, thehis foreign minister. Mihal Antonescu (noyat the palace in Bucharest was planned. Onugust, thesummoned to the palace and arrested at the order of Kingaide 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 responsibility
ationaDy-run state. The Social-Democratic Party, lad by Constantin
Titel-Petrescu.ucharest 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, Ihe Rumanian Communist Party had been proscribed virtually since its creation. Whatever leadership it had been able to develop--the leaders of the Rumanian party had never been betterthird-rate--was 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 couldin Rumanian without the tacit approval of the USSR. How betterapproval be assured than to accept Communist assistance forcoup d'etat and agree to Communist ministers entering the Conservative Rumanian hopesational workingwith the Communists were favorably influenced by the nature ofleadership on the
Lucrctaiuawyer and memberell-known intellectual family, was the leader of the Communist Party. Patrascanuome-trained Communist product who had never visited the USSR. Partyhad fallen to him when such leaders as .Cheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej had
been imprisoned and Ana Pauker exiled to the Soviet Union. The middle class leaders, many of whom had known him and his family, believed they could work with him. -
Any illusions King Michael and his advisors may have hadroles of the USSR and the Western Powers in the Balkans shoulddissipated by events following close on the heels of the coupreversal of Rumania's role in the war and the passage
to the side of the United Nations in no wise influenced the Soviets. demand, negotiations for an armistice with Rumania were movedand there permitted to drag on until terms were at last signed In the interim the Red Army had advanced beyond
Bucharest without opposition and hadprisoners.
Thusof 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 Beizure of its supplies as spoils of war would 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 lessons they had learned from the Italian armistice negotiations. As General Eisenhower had signed the Italian document for all the Allies, so Marshal Malinovskiy performed the same
functions with the Rumanians. In contrast to the Allied control commission for Italy, composed only of British and Americans, the three AlllcB 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 itook at face value Soviet denials of any intention to change the Rumanian 'social order.
Armistice terms they permitted the Soviets to impose gave theompletely free hand in the country. The Soviet High Command was given the right 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 Ihe active instrument of Sovietwould be the Rumanian Communists. Positions of leadership ln the Rumanian Communist Party were immediately taken by Communists returning
from exile in the USSR. Two of the most prominent were Vasile Luca, a
Hungarian, and Anaew. Emil Bodnaras, an Army officer who had deserted to the USSR inthe early thirties, had returned clandestinely before the coup d'etat ofugust, toommunist guerrilla force. Other Soviet-trained Communists given responsible positions of responsibility
were Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Deailroad worker, and Teohari Gcorgescu,rinter, both of whom were released from Rumanian prisons by thecoup d'etat. 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 was the Minister of Justice, Patrascanu. 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 probable reactions of their Western Allies. Whatever their -intentions may have been during thislow, steady drift toward the left was noticeable in governmental affairs. Successive reorganisations of the cabinet increased Communist strength while diminishing the Influence of the traditional forces. TJie first victims were Iuliu Maniu and Diniu Bratianu, Ministers of State in the first cabinet of General Sanatcscu. 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 fameerm in
a concentration 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 Georgescu, 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. Ana Pauker, Gheorghlu-Dej and
visited Moscow, ostensibly to negotiation on
. While there, they were instructed 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, asInterior, attempted to quell the disturbances. The Communistsviolence, which they then blamed on Radescu. At the height ofSoviet Foreign Minister Vyshinskiy flew to Bucharest, andthe King dismiss the "reactionary" Radescu. King Mihai, shockedcrude interference in Rumanian internal affairs, at firstto name Prince Barbu Stirbey. Vyshinskiy in turn demandedof Petruealthy Transylvanian industrialist,of the Plowman's Front, aaplinter peasant group, and a Vyshinskiy's performance at the palace waa typically Communistcrudity. The King wasappoint Grozaew cabinet
or take the consequences. arch the new cabinet assumed office.
General Radescu fled to the safety of the British Mission.
The makeup of the Groza cabinet clearly showed Soviet tactics in .the early stages of their Rumanian takeover. Groza, the figurehead prime .minister,ain man, shallow, ambitious and easily led. He waa not.ember of the Rumanian Communist Party. Gheorghc Tatarescu, legendary figure even among corrupt Rumanianormer member of Bratianu'a 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. Ghcorghiu-Dej became Minister of Communications. Perhaps because sheew, Ana Pauker remained outside the government.
Reasons for Soviet imposition of the Groza Government regime atarc even now not entirely clear. Whatever may have beenintention, however, this action at once opened the road toinstallationommunist regime in Rumania and sowed thelasting dissension between the USSR and the West. The Sovietso soon after the Yalta agreementa callous
repudiation of the pledge the 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 deaire to use Western preoccupation with the Pacific warelief that informal agreements with the British on sphere! of influence in the Balkans gavepecial status in Rumania, the forceful Sovietof the Groza Governmentonflict that has not yet ended.
As soon as they gained effective control of the RumanianRussians began an assault on the Rumanian social system. TheSoviet-sponsored move was the agrarian reform of 22 Under the terms of this decree, issued without the King'sarable land in excess ofectares,roprotionateinventory and livestock, wae to be expropriated withoutgiven to peasants owing lessectares. Certaincapable of being run as model farms, could be exempted Forest land was not affected at that time. Approximately onohalf million hectares were taken, of which about one millioneasants. The average amount received perectare. The effect of this expropriation. It can bemore social than economic. It was designed to win the support offor the new regime, while destroying the economic base ofland-owning
From the signing of the Armistice the Soviot Union had maneuvered toRumania economically. The Armistice terms, whether or not ao designed in the beginning, admirably served this purpose. With apparent
generosity, the Russians required of Rumania0 million dollarsineemingly not unreasonable amount in view of Rumanian
invasion of the Soviet Union. This reparations burden was later several jtimes increased, however,nilateral Soviet decision to value reparations
deliveries at the8 prices. The reparations clause was but one of
several oncrouB 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 atone. 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 relations to the armistice terms. By a
process, 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.
While the Communists acted to destroy the economic strength of their opponents, they undertook at the same time to destroy their political influence.
Iuliu Maniu. -the National Peasant leader,rime target. Throughout the autumn andising crescendo of propaganda termedfascist" and hater of the Soviets. The power of censorship granted the Soviets under the armistice was used to close downboth National Peasant and Liberal newspapers and deny these parties access to the printing press. Rumanian Communist propaganda attacking the Rumanian government and the historical parties .flowed 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,demonstrators
were killed by shooting of undetermined origin. Soviet charges of unprovoked murder at once blanketed Radescu's protestations. The stage was thus set for Vyshinskiy'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 infavor of the Groza regime andviolence ifeactionary" 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 as 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 this period--perhaps it was the only occasion afteras the mass of Rumanians able to register its hatred of its Communist masters. Early on the morninging Mihai's name day. the citizens of Bucharest began to trickle by ones and 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 citizen* to sign the guest books at the palace. On this occasion, however, the palace gates were locked; police and civilian goons turned away all those seeking to enter except foreign diplomatic and military officials. The crowd, whose growing numbers soon overflowed the square began lo sing the national anthem and cheer the king. '
Serious violence could have been avoided, even then, if Rumanian Com-
munists had usedodicum of good judgment. Insteady, by mid-morning
truckloads of thugs wheeled into the square with obvious orders to break up the demonstration. In their haste to oounter the demonstration
for the king the Rumanian Communiats 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. Several trucks were attacked, overturned and sat 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 thrownquad of civilians with submachine guns crossed the sidewalk into
the street and fired on the crow. were killed and wounded.
.Although it had not come prepared for conflict, the crowd held its ground !until lunchtlme. Nothing in Rumania, and certainlyoliticalcan take precedence over mealtime. The crowd went home to
eat and tha square was forthwith occupied by government troops.
Although it filled the press and radio with charges of murdergainst its opponents that were designed to conceal its own involvement, the 'Groza Government (and the Soviet occupation authesritiee)evere
defeatovember. None of theho were accused of
| fomenting the bloodshed, were ever brought'to trial, perhaps because photographs taken in the Palace Square on that day by members of the IT. S. Military Representation clearly revealed Communist provocations.
The eventsovember may have made the Soviets and Rumanian Communists appreciate their essential weakness in the oountry. In any jcvent, the Foreign Ministers, meeting in Moscow in December, ordered Foreign Minister Vyshinskiy 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 Vyshinkiy dominated the Rumanian capital. Early6 it was announced that onefrom the National Peasant and Liberal Parties would join the
cabinet as Ministers without portfolio. The U. S. and British Governments
immediately recognized the Groza regime.
As an exercise in futility the mission of the three ministers has not
been surpassed in the post-war era. The appointment of ministers without
authority or responsibility, powerless to do more than protest to meetings
of the cabinet, which they attempt on sufferance, of course changed nothing.
The Communists continued 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, Marfiu and Bratianu, accepted this
meaningless compromise. Presumably these Rumanian Micawbers throught something might turn up. Hoping against hopeopular pasttime 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 through national elections. The Communist! suffered no illusions about their popularity with the country, Standing alone, they wouldbe disastrously defeated. Their unpopularity had to be coveredommon ticket of all
iparties 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 Petreacu, the Socialist
leaders,an of honor without the ability to lead. When he made an
effort,to 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 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 the partyovernment post was able to stampede the Socialist Congrce into supportommon ticket with the Communists.
The electionne-house parliament, the first supposedlyin Rumaniawas announced forovember.
Every device to win nn election--and many are known to Rumania--waa then employed. Several categories of opponents were eliminated by provisions of 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 ffom registering.
Persistent opponents were frequently discouraged from registration by the violence of thugs. Candidates for Parliament were discouraged by every form of pressure from running on the National Peasant and Liberal tickets. Agents of the government and representatives of the FND parties, when taking action agaaist members of the
ascists" and "reactionaries" they were called--were
compelled to keep on the watch for visiting teams of American or British military representatives and wandering foreign journalists. On the whole, nevertheless, 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 traditional
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 tho electoral tally onovember was not as efficient. jPolitical parties in opposition normally do not expect to win elections in
Rumania, since the government always exercises its authority to the .fullest. Without doubt, Maniu and Bratianu expected the FND to count
itself into officeinimum of trouble. The confusion in government
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-ipeasants, was arrested with several companions just before their departure abroad by air. Although it is eviderl that Mihalache had prepared the departure with the full consent of Maniu, who was ill at the time but would not have left the country, the vice president clearly fell into the hands of
^governmentprovocateurs. Mihalache and his associates were arrested
!at plane-side just before their departure Thearrest of
Iuliu Maniu followed on
The trial of Maniu, Mihalacheon charges of
of Communist encroachment on Rumanian liberties since the coup d'etat of In slightly more than three years since that coup d'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, the open accusations of conspiracy were made against Americans. Minor officials of the American Military Representation in Bucharest were accused of plotting dire crimes of espionage
'and subversion with the defendants, headed by Maniu. The evidence
:introducedypical farrago of distortions, falsifications and Because it was the first case of this kind, however,testimony attracted some attention in the American
which openeddemonstratedthe extent
The trial of Maniu wae noteworthy for the splendid defiant gesture iof Constantin Titel Petrescu, the Socialist leader. At the earlier war-crimes trial of the Antonescus, Juliu Maniu, after completing hishad stepped to the dock and shaken the hands of the Marshal and Mihai Antonescu. This magnanimous gesture by the Antonescus' principal opponent was 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 the the dock and shook Maniu's hand. It was Petrescu's finest hour.
The verdict of the courtoregone conclusion. Maniu, Mihalache 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.
There remained one last opponent of Communist domination. King Mihai. Communist "friendship" for theecessary tactic
had passed throughlear realisation that integration of Rumania in the developing Soviet system required his removal. The disappearance of Maniu facilitated this action.
During the autumnhe Communists at last moved to take over Important cabinet poets that had been held by non-party members of the Government coalition. Ana Pauker, the principal leader of the party, entered
the cabinet ae Foreign Minist er, replacing Gheorghe Tatrcacu whose usefulness had ended with the ratification of the peace treaty. At the same time, Emll Bodnaraa. the deserter from the Rumanian Army, .was named Defense Minister. Groza continued aa figure-head Prime Minister
The departure of King Mihai was complicated, and perhapshis attendance at the marriage of Princess Elizabethown plans for marraigc. After attending Elisabeth's wedding,his visit in England. By this time his interest inof Bourbon-Parma had become obvious. His return to BucharestDecember seems to have surprised the Government which had
.apprently expected Mihai toabdicate and remain abroad. Sincethcmarriage required the assent of his Government, the King formallyaction
This wish of the King to marry forced the Communists leaders to a
decision. Prime Minister Groza requested that the
King, who was spending Christmas holidays at Sinaia, come to Bucharest
later. Groza and Gheorghiu-Dej met the King at
his aunt's 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." Hewas 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. AnOriginal document.