World War II, 1945: Restoration of the Romanian administration in Northeastern Transylvania

On March 9, 1945 the Romanian administration was re-established in Northeastern Transylvania. A festive meeting was organized on the occasion in Cluj on March 13, 1945, with King Mihai, Prime Minister Petru Groza and the first deputy of the Soviet People's Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, A.I. Vyshinsky, attending. Members of the Romanian government and the USSR representatives on the Allied Control Commission were also present at the celebration of the restoration of the Romanian administration in Transylvania. The Groza Government, set up on March 6, 1945, wanted to show the Romanian public that it enjoyed the USSR's support in definitively settling the territorial disputes with Hungary. Romanian Prime Minister Petru Groza had an exchange of telegrams with Marshall of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin, finalized with the Soviet government's approving on March 9, 1945 the transfer of the northeastern part of Transylvania under Romanian administration. * * * The annexation of Northeastern Transylvania by Hungary was the result of the Second Vienna Award rendered on August 30, 1940. Romanian-Hungarian negotiations on the surrender of a Romanian territory to Hungary began on August 16, 1940 at Turnu Severin, following Hitler and Mussolini's recommendations. The negotiations were extremely difficult due to Hungary's exaggerated demands, shows the "History of Romanians" (vol. 8, coordinator Ioan Scurtu, Encyclopedic Publishing House, 2003). Thus, the Budapest delegates claimed a territory of about 68,000 sq km with 3.9 million inhabitants, of whom 2.2 million Romanians and 1.2 million Hungarians, while the Romanian delegation spoke for an exchange of population with small territorial corrections. "Finding that the Romanian-Hungarian negotiations were leading nowhere, Hitler decided to intervene personally to solve the situation. On August 27 he single-handedly established the state border between Romania and Hungary. German historian Andreas Hillgruber, who closely studied this subject, contends that on that day "Hitler made one of his most fateful decisions", shows the cited volume. Although unsolicited by either of the parties, Germany and Italy took up through their Foreign Ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galeazzo Ciano the position of arbitrators and summoned the representatives of Bucharest and Budapest to Vienna, in separate meetings. Here they were put before a fait accompli and informed that Romania and Hungary had no other way but accept Germany and Italy's arbitration decision. King Carol II called the enlarged Crown Council meeting on the night of August 30, 1940 to decide whether Romania was to accept or not the arbitration, the provisions of which were unknown; 21 of those present pronounced themselves in favor of the "arbitration", and ten against it (C.I.C. Bratianu, Ion Mihalache, Arthur Văitoianu, Victor Iamandi, Silviu Dragomir, Mihai Popovici, A.C. Cuza, dr. C. Angelescu, Victor Antonescu); there was also one abstention. The Hungarian Foreign Minister was also authorised to sign the arbitrators' decision. On this basis, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galleazzo Ciano rolled out the map with the new Romania - Hungary border. Romania was compelled to surrender to Hungary the northeastern part of Transylvania, representing 43,492 sq km, with 2.6 million inhabitants of whom 50.2 percent Romanians, 37.1 percent Hungarians, 5.7 percent Jews, 2.8 percent Germans, 1.9 percent Gypsies, 2.3 percent Ruthenians, Czechs, Slovaks. Some of the Romanian political leaders, particularly the opposition spearheaded by Iuliu Maniu, challenged the territorial surrender imposed on Romania in 1940, which apart from Northeastern Transylvania, included Basarabia, northern Bucovina, and the Quadrilateral. The opponents to these acts considered that the only fit decision was to defend the country at any risk and against anyone. Such a decision would have projected the image of a Romania that didn't bend to impositions, but that of a state capable of fighting for itself, and not for the interests of others driven by ill-advised calculations. (Sources: "The History of Romanians", vol. 8, coordinator Ioan Scurtu, Encyclopedic Publishing House, 2003; "The History of Romania by Dates", coordinator: Dinu Giurescu, Encyclopedic Publishing House, 2003; "The History of Romanians During the Four Kings' Rule (1866 -1947)", vol. 4, Ioan Scurtu, Encyclopedic Publishing House). AGERPRES (Documentary research: Mariana Zbora-Ciurel, Photo archive editor: Elena Balan, editor: Irina Andreea Cristea; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Simona Iacob)

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