Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

4-30-2016

Abstract

I explore the external and internal factors that led to Romania’s joining the Axis during World War Two, the circumstances and negotiations that surrounded King Michael’s coup, and the effects the coup had on the armistice terms proffered by the Allies. The bulk of my analysis focuses on the development of the armistice terms from those of total surrender to more beneficial terms that protected Romanian sovereignty. I argue that the coup played an integral role in securing these more favorable terms for Romania. I use declassified telegrams and documents between the Allies and King Michael’s shadow government as my main primary sources. I refer to these documents as they appear in the 1944 and 1945 editions of the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).

I analyze the differing motives of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union in accepting the Romanian surrender, and discuss each of the separate visions the “Big Three” had for post-war Romania. I then examine the almost immediate Soviet violation of the armistice terms. Using this Soviet behavior as evidence, I finally argue that the Cold War began during 1944 as the Allied powers clashed over how to restructure post-war Romania. I again rely on declassified material from FRUS. My secondary sources include biographies of King Michael, analyses of the surrender in book and article form by primary witnesses to the events as well as period scholars, and books that complete the historical narrative and place these events in context.

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