Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Day in History: Nov 23, 1940: Romania becomes an Axis "power"

On this day in 1940, Romania signs the Tripartite Pact, officially allying itself with Germany, Italy, and Japan.

As early as 1937, Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore great resemblance to that of Germany's, including similar anti-Jewish laws. Romania's king, Carol II, dissolved the government a year later because of a failing economy and installed Romania's Orthodox Patriarch as prime minister. But the Patriarch's death and peasant uprising provoked renewed agitation by the fascist Iron Guard paramilitary organization, which sought to impose order. In June 1940, the Soviet Union co-opted two Romanian provinces, and the king searched for an ally to help protect it and appease the far right within its own borders. So on July 5, 1940, Romania allied itself with Nazi Germany—only to be invaded by its "ally" as part of Hitler's strategy to create one huge eastern front against the Soviet Union.

King Carol abdicated on September 6, 1940, leaving the country in the control of fascist Prime Minister Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Signing the Tripartite Pact was now inevitable. Originally formulated in Berlin on September 27, the pact formally recognized an alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan, termed the "Axis." As more European nations became subject to fascist domination and invasion, they too were drawn into the pact, albeit as unequal partners (Hungary was made an Axis "power" on November 20). Now it was Romania's turn.

While Romania would recapture the territory lost to the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded Russia, it would also have to endure the Germans' raping its resources as part of the Nazi war effort. Besides taking control of Romania's oil wells and installations, Hitler would help himself to Romania's food crops, causing a food shortage for native Romanians.

Also on This Day

Lead Story
First issue of Life is published, 1936
American Revolution
Reluctant Patriot Edward Rutledge is born, 1749
Elvis Presley's "Spinout" opens in U.S. theaters, 1966
Civil War
Union General Benjamin Prentiss is born, 1819
Cold War
Reagan gives CIA authority to establish the Contras, 1981
The Birdman of Alcatraz is allowed a small taste of freedom, 1959
Southern Italy rocked by earthquake, 1980
General Interest
Flemish pretender executed in London, 1499
Billy the Kid born, 1859
"Boss" Tweed delivered to authorities, 1876
IRA member sentenced for Mountbatten's assassination, 1979
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory creator Roald Dahl dies, 1990
Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy, is published, 1874
Blues legend Robert Johnson makes first-ever recording, 1936
Old West
Colorado governor sends militia to Cripple Creek, 1903
Franklin Pierce is born, 1804
BC wins on Hail Mary, 1984
Vietnam War
Laird discloses the details of the Son Tay Raid, 1970
Paris peace talks deadlocked, 1972
World War I
Battle of Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia, 1915

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