Basic Principles of Romania's Foreign Policy: Joint Meeting of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, the State Council, and the Romanian Government ( Bucharest, 1968); Floyd David, Romania: Russia's Dissident Ally ( New York, 1965). Shafir Michael, Romania: Politics, Economics and Society ( Boulder, CO, 1985).
Royal Coup D'Etat (1944). Until the Soviet army approached Romania's borders in 1944, the Romanian government, headed by General Ion Antonescu, was quite subservient to Nazi Germany. Romania shipped a great deal of foodstuffs and oil to the German war machine, and it sent an army to fight against the Soviet Union. It also cooperated in the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews. In the summer of 1944, the Soviet army's drive against the Germans grew in intensity. On August 4, 1944, Adolf Hitler summoned Antonescu to Berlin and attempted to extract a promise from him to the effect that Romania would stand by Germany under any circumstances. Antonescu gave an ambiguous response because he had already contacted the Allies for a possible separate peace, but the Romanians continued to support the German war effort.
King Michael prepared carefully to end Romania's participation in the war on Germany's side. The most powerful politician next to Antonescu, the National Peasant party's leader, Iuliu Maniu, supported the king. The young king wanted to forestall the exposure of Romania to an assault by the Red Army and hoped to save the old regime, or as much of it as possible. Thus, he summoned trustworthy politicians and army officers to the palace on August 23, 1944, and invited General Antonescu to be present.
When Antonescu arrived, he was arrested and was handed over to the communist leaders. The general was then spirited out of Bucharest and delivered to the Soviet army. In 1945, he was tried in Bucharest as a war criminal and shot. The king who had shared in Antonescu's decisions before and during World War II, was not touched.
The new government installed by Soviet assistance, consisted mostly of army generals. Only one member of the Communist party, Lucretiu Patrascanu (see Patrascanu, Lucretiu), was added to the cabinet as minister of justice and of state. The four civilians came from the National Peasant party, the Social Democratic party, and the Liberal party. Within two years after the royal coup d'etat, the king was forced to abdicate and consider himself lucky to be able to leave Romania as a penniless refugee.
Cretzianu Alexandru, Captive Romania: A Decade of Soviet Rule ( New York, 1956); Ionescu Ghita, Communism in Romania 1944-1962 ( New York, 1964).
Sanatescu Government. Following the royal coup d'etat on August 23, 1944, General Constantin Sanatescu was called to form a new government for Romania.