Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

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Futurist
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Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 23 Jun 2020 04:09

Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia? After all, one would think that there was the potential for Romania to get some small territorial gains from such an invasion--if, of course, the other Axis powers would have actually approved of this Romanian expansion, of course.

For instance, in 1931, Yugoslavia had some Romanian-majority and/or Vlach-majority territories in the northeast (colored orange on the map below):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... tnicka.gif

Image

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 01 Jul 2020 01:46

@steppewolf: Any thoughts on this?

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Steve » 04 Jul 2020 02:49

Apparently the Romanians were not asked to join in. German preparations were made amazingly quickly and it is hard to believe the Romanian army could have been ready even if asked.

Hitler had not been intending to invade Yugoslavia since the country had on March 25th joined the Tripartite Pact. The British had known this was coming and were plotting a coup with Serbian officers which took place on the 27th. That this could cause a German attack was recognised by the British. As a result of the coup Hitler decided to destroy Yugoslavia. The British role in the destruction of Yugoslavia rarely seems to get a mention.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 04 Jul 2020 08:01

Steve wrote:
04 Jul 2020 02:49
Apparently the Romanians were not asked to join in. German preparations were made amazingly quickly and it is hard to believe the Romanian army could have been ready even if asked.

Hitler had not been intending to invade Yugoslavia since the country had on March 25th joined the Tripartite Pact. The British had known this was coming and were plotting a coup with Serbian officers which took place on the 27th. That this could cause a German attack was recognised by the British. As a result of the coup Hitler decided to destroy Yugoslavia. The British role in the destruction of Yugoslavia rarely seems to get a mention.
From the perspective of Yugoslavia, the best thing was to cooperate with the Nazis. From the perspective of the Allied war effort, the best thing might have been what the Yugoslavs did in real life--thus possibly buying the Soviet Union some additional time before the Axis invasion of their country.

It is quite interesting that Hungary was invited to join in the Axis attack on Yugoslavia but Romania was not, though.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by steppewolf » 05 Jul 2020 13:35

Romania had no interest in invading an ex Ally. As far as I know, Hitler asked if we want some territory but he was refused.

Romania and Yugoslavia were also members of the Balkan Pact that was formed in 1934. The signatories of this treaty Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece and Turkey guaranteed the borders and sovereignty of other nations and suspend all territorial claims to each other. Romania and Yugoslavia didn't have any, but all countries hoped that Bulgaria will sign too, which they refused. Although a large population of Romanian speakers was in Yugoslavian Banat area, there was never an issue of border once this was established in 1919.

Also the royal families of Yugoslavia and Romania were related. Yugoslav king Alexander Karadjordjevic married princess Maria, daughter of king Ferdinand of Romania.

It's described in Axworthy's work the context very well.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 08 Jul 2020 06:15

Futurist wrote:
04 Jul 2020 08:01
Steve wrote:
04 Jul 2020 02:49
Apparently the Romanians were not asked to join in. German preparations were made amazingly quickly and it is hard to believe the Romanian army could have been ready even if asked.

Hitler had not been intending to invade Yugoslavia since the country had on March 25th joined the Tripartite Pact. The British had known this was coming and were plotting a coup with Serbian officers which took place on the 27th. That this could cause a German attack was recognised by the British. As a result of the coup Hitler decided to destroy Yugoslavia. The British role in the destruction of Yugoslavia rarely seems to get a mention.
From the perspective of Yugoslavia, the best thing was to cooperate with the Nazis. From the perspective of the Allied war effort, the best thing might have been what the Yugoslavs did in real life--thus possibly buying the Soviet Union some additional time before the Axis invasion of their country.

It is quite interesting that Hungary was invited to join in the Axis attack on Yugoslavia but Romania was not, though.
So, yeah, having Yugoslavia take a hit for the Allied team in World War II was extremely noble on the Yugoslavs' part--but also extremely bloody for them, unfortunately. :(

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 08 Jul 2020 06:16

steppewolf wrote:
05 Jul 2020 13:35
Romania had no interest in invading an ex Ally. As far as I know, Hitler asked if we want some territory but he was refused.

Romania and Yugoslavia were also members of the Balkan Pact that was formed in 1934. The signatories of this treaty Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece and Turkey guaranteed the borders and sovereignty of other nations and suspend all territorial claims to each other. Romania and Yugoslavia didn't have any, but all countries hoped that Bulgaria will sign too, which they refused. Although a large population of Romanian speakers was in Yugoslavian Banat area, there was never an issue of border once this was established in 1919.

Also the royal families of Yugoslavia and Romania were related. Yugoslav king Alexander Karadjordjevic married princess Maria, daughter of king Ferdinand of Romania.

It's described in Axworthy's work the context very well.
Wow! Romania deserves credit for not taking any Yugoslav territory even when it had the chance to do so.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by CNE503 » 09 Jul 2020 19:31

Actually, Romania did participate. Antonescu allowed the German army to attack Yugoslavia from Romanian territory: XXXX. Armeekorps (motorisiert) towards Belgrad, and a small task force under Oberst Bazing that seized the "Iron Gates" at dawn on April 6th, 1941. Romanian riverine monitors were to provide fire support from the Danube river - but they didn't.
First, Romania was reluctant to attack one of its ally of the Balkan League. But when Yugoslavia crumbled down, it mentioned his interest for Banat.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jul 2020 19:39

CNE503 wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:31
Actually, Romania did participate. Antonescu allowed the German army to attack Yugoslavia from Romanian territory: XXXX. Armeekorps (motorisiert) towards Belgrad, and a small task force under Oberst Bazing that seized the "Iron Gates" at dawn on April 6th, 1941. Romanian riverine monitors were to provide fire support from the Danube river - but they didn't.
First, Romania was reluctant to attack one of its ally of the Balkan League. But when Yugoslavia crumbled down, it mentioned his interest for Banat.

CNE503
So, why'd Romania never acquire the Yugoslav Banat?

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Peter89 » 11 Jul 2020 12:31

Futurist wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:39
CNE503 wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:31
Actually, Romania did participate. Antonescu allowed the German army to attack Yugoslavia from Romanian territory: XXXX. Armeekorps (motorisiert) towards Belgrad, and a small task force under Oberst Bazing that seized the "Iron Gates" at dawn on April 6th, 1941. Romanian riverine monitors were to provide fire support from the Danube river - but they didn't.
First, Romania was reluctant to attack one of its ally of the Balkan League. But when Yugoslavia crumbled down, it mentioned his interest for Banat.

CNE503
So, why'd Romania never acquire the Yugoslav Banat?
German interests lied in the region. First of all: ethnic Germans. Initially, the 8th Waffen-SS Division (Florian Geyer) was made up about 40% of Banat and Transsylvanian ethnic Germans.

In case of the Transsylvanian ones, it was their choice: either to join the HRA or the Romanian army, or join the Waffen-SS. The ethnic Germans in Northern Transsylvania chose the Waffen-SS almost without exception.

Therefore, eg. the HRA's 1st Army, IX. Corps, 26th Infantry Regiment (Dés) had serious problems to reach their numbers, especially at the III. Batallion, in Beszterce, which was mostly inhabited by ethnic Germans back then.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Peter89 » 11 Jul 2020 12:32

Second, it was a major grain producing region.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by CNE503 » 11 Jul 2020 20:36

Futurist wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:39
So, why'd Romania never acquire the Yugoslav Banat?
Because Romania was to slow to chose the path of war against Yugoslavia, most probably.
I need to check my sources, but Hillgruber definitely mentions something about this.

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by Futurist » 17 Jul 2020 23:29

CNE503 wrote:
11 Jul 2020 20:36
Futurist wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:39
So, why'd Romania never acquire the Yugoslav Banat?
Because Romania was to slow to chose the path of war against Yugoslavia, most probably.
I need to check my sources, but Hillgruber definitely mentions something about this.

CNE503
This guy? :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreas_Hillgruber

If so, in which book of his?

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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by CNE503 » 18 Jul 2020 16:20

Himself.
The book is Hitler, König Carol und Marschall Antonescu: die deutsch-rumänischen Beziehungen, 1938–1944, Franz Steiner Verlag GmBH, Wiesbaden, 1954/1965, 382 pages. Though written several decades ago, this is the book to have when it deals with Germany and Romania during WWII.

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CNE503
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Re: Why didn't Romania participate in the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia?

Post by CNE503 » 18 Jul 2020 17:37

Here it is (in German), pp.125-126:
Inzwischen hatte die deutsche Gesandtschaft in Bukarest am 5. April abends endlich die Weisung des Auswärtigen Amtes erhalten, den rumänischen Staatsführer von dem an nächsten Tage beginnenden deutschen Angriff auf Jugoslawien offiziell zu verständigen. Da Gesandter von Killinger gerade in Urlaub weilte, lieβ sich Gesandter Neubacher beim Staatsführer in Predeal melden. Antonescu zeigte sich von den Mitteilung Neubachers nicht überrascht und erklärte, Rumänien erhebe gegenüber Jugoslawien, mit dem es immer freundschaftliche Beziehungen unterhalten habe, keine Ansprüche. Deshalb werde Rumänien bei diesem Feldzug abseits stehen. Sollten jedoch ungarische Truppen in den jugoslawischen Teil des Banats einrücken, werde er der rumänischen Armee den Befehl erteilen, die Ungarn zu vertreiben.
Unter dem Eindruck dieser Haltung des rumänischen Staatsführers entschied das OKW am 12. April, daβ das Gebiet zwischen der jugoslawisch-rumänischen Grenze und der Theiβ (Westbanat), das von den Verbänden des XXXXI. Armeekorps besetzt wurde, unter deutsche Militärverwaltung treten solle, während das Gebiet westlich der Theiβ unter ungarische Verwaltung kam.
Die rumänische Stellungnahme änderte sich aber, als in Bukarest Nachrichten über die von Ribbentrop und Ciano auf der Konferenz in Wien vom 20. bis 22. April getroffenen Beschlüsse über die Aufteilung Jugoslawiens einliefen. Schon am 23. April sandte General Antonescu ein Memorandum an die deutsche und die italienische Regierung, in dem er ausführte : obwohl Rumänien bisher keine territoriale Vergröβerung auf Kosten Jugoslawiens angestrebt habe, sein un durch die erheblichen Zugeständnisse an Ungarn und Bulgarien eine neue Lage entstanden. Im einzelnen forderte er neben einer allgemeinen Revision der Grenzen in Südosteuropa die Angliederung des bisher jugoslawischen Teils des Banats an Rumänien und die Bildung eines freien Mazedonien mit autonomer Verwaltung der rumänisch besiedelten Gebiete im Timok- und Wardartal.
Hitler hatte jedoch mit den in Frage stehenden Gebieten andere Pläne. Während das Westbanat Ungarn schon "vertraulich fest zugesichert" worden war, sollte das sogenannte "Eiserne-Tor-Gebiet", in dem nach einem Vorschlag Dr. Neubachers ein Riesenkraftwerk zur Stromversorgung der Donau- und Balkanländer gebaut werden sollte, später eine Art Kondominium aller interessierten Staaten werden.
Indessen faβte der rumänische Gesandte in Berlin Bossy Anfang Mai einige "höfliche Redensarten" Staatsminister Meiβners als deutsche Zusage auf, daβ Rumänien das Westbanat und die weiter südlich am Eisernen Tor gelegenen Gebiete erhalten sollte. Als jedoch deutlich wurde, daβ die Reichsregierung auf die rumänischen Wünsche nicht einging, schlug Mihai Antonescu am 16. Mai dem italienischen Geschäftsträger Formentini vor, einen rumänischen Korridor durch das Timoktal bis zur neuen Grenze Groβalbaniens zu ziehen, um eine "lateinische Barriere" durch den Block der slawischen Völker zu legen. Aber auch dieser merkwürdige Plan konnte nicht verwirklicht werden.
Obwohl das XXXXI. deutsche Armeekorps von rumänischem Gebiet aus in Jugoslawien eingedrungen und die deutschen Flugzeuge zu ihren Angriffen gegen Belgrad von rumänischen Flugplätzen aus gestartet waren, brach die jugoslawische Exilregierung die diplomatischen Beziehungen zu Rumänien erst Anfang Mai ab. Daraufhin erkannte Rumänien am 6. Mai 1941 als letztes der Deutschland verbündeten europäischen Länder den "Unabhängigen Staat Kroatien" an.

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