Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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Sanatescu served before as a liaison between King Michael and the armed forces. The Sanatescu government consisted mostly of generals. Only four civilians were included, one of whom was a communist.

The first act of this government was to restore the constitution of 1923-- suspended by King Carol, Michael's father--legitimizing the revival of political parties. The Sanatescu government was also expected to mobilize Romanians against the expected response of Germany. When the German attack did not materialize, the government was reorganized. Sanatescu remained prime minister and he added that of the post of minister of defense to his titles. All other cabinet posts were given to civilians of the coalition, including the communists, the liberals, the social democrats, and the peasants. Two additional communist ministers were appointed, increasing their number to three in the new government; Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (see Gheorghiu- Dej, Gheorghe), who took over the ministry of transportation and communications; Vlad Rakoasa, who gained the post of minister of minority affairs; and Lucretiu Patrascanu (see Patrascanu, Lucretiu) who retained his earlier assignment. The leading communists who had spent the war years in the Soviet Union, the Muscovites, included Ana Pauker (see Pauker, Ana), Vasile Luca (see Luca, Vasile) and Emil Bodnaras (see Bodnaras, Emil). They returned to Bucharest but remained in the background for the time being. They spent their time in reorganizing the almost defunct Communist party, which had less than 1,000 members.

The second Sanatescu government lasted for only a month. Its minister of the interior, a member of the Plowmen's Front, a radical peasant organization that was infiltrated by the communists, could be counted on to support communist policies.

At this point, Joseph Stalin used blackmail to change the Romanian political scene. He declared that Romania was in default in the obligations its government undertook when it signed the armistice in Moscow. The government allegedly did not supply the Soviet occupying armies with the necessities agreed upon. Therefore, the transfer of the administration of Transylvania, promised to the Romanians, was delayed.

At this, King Michael replaced Sanatescu with another military man, General Nicolae Radescu, as prime minister. Radescu reorganized the government. He had good credentials in the new situation; originally, he was opposed to Romania's participation in the war against the Soviet Union and was consequently imprisoned. Now he combined the prime ministership with the post of minister of the interior and replaced the communist minister of the minorities with a non-party man. But his government, also, lasted for only a short time, since Stalin was determined to turn Romania into a Soviet satellite.


Bibliography

Markham Reuben, Romania Under the Soviet Yoke ( Boston, MA, 1949); Fischer-Galati Stephen , The Socialist Republic of Romania ( Baltimore, MD, 1969); Berciu Dumitru, Romania ( New York, 1967); Deletant Andrea, Romania ( Santa Barbara, CA, 1985).

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