RRI Live!

Listen to Radio Romania International Live

The Americans in Romania in the second half of the 1940s

About Romanian-American relations during and post-WWII told through inteviews to Radio Romania's Oral History Centre.

The Americans in Romania in the second half of the 1940s
The Americans in Romania in the second half of the 1940s

, 01.05.2023, 14:00


Romanian-American
relations deteriorated at great speed during WWII. Fighting on
opposite sides, they were adversaries owing rather to circumstance.
Romania had joined Germany in the war to protect itself from the
aggression of the USSR, while the United States were allies with the
USSR because they were fighting together against Germany. Despite
this, Romania and the United States maintained minimal contacts,
which eventually helped them re-establish closer ties. One example
was the camp for American prisoners injured in Romania. Gheorghe M.
Ionescu, who was a member of the National Peasant Party and a
pro-American, was interviewed in 2004 for Radio Romania’s Oral
History Centre about his WWII experience. He described how German
planes from a German military aerodrome in Geamăna, Arges county, in
the centre-south of Romania, intercepted the US aircraft when the
latter began bombing the area:





They
fought in the air above
the village. When the
American
aircraft was hit, eight Americans from the
8-crew
B-26 bomber parachuted themselves. Four died when hitting the ground
and four were injured. The wind had blown them into a forest towards
Cireşu. The civilian defence, the town hall and army troops were all
mobilised and the alarm sounded. We were sent to look for them, but I
didn’t go. The Americans eventually came out of the forest and
turned themselves in. They were
put
on two carts and taken
to the
hospital in Piteşti where they received treatment and recovered.





Showing
lots of fair-play, the Americans thanked the locals for the humane
treatment they had shown to the prisoners. Gheorghe
M. Ionescu:


About
a month later, we heard an announcement on Radio London: Many thanks
to doctor Nelecu, surgeon and the head of the hospital, for the care
and attention he gave to the American soldiers. After they recovered,
the American soldiers were of course sent to the prisoner’s camp in
Predeal, where it must be said that the Romanians treated them well.
They even played tennis there, it was more like a resort than a
prisoner camp, and certainly nothing like those run by the Russians.
The four soldiers who died parachuting themselves were buried in the
cemetery in Lăceni. Each had identification tags with their name,
regiment, age and their civilian data. The Americans had their own
exact records and it couldn’t have been more than a week or ten
days after 23rd
August 1944 that they showed up in the village and exhumed the
soldiers and took them back to Oklahoma where they had their home and
families.





Gheorghe
Barbul, the
personal secretary to marshal Ion Antonescu told the historian Vlad
Georgescu in a talk hosted in 1984 by Radio Free Europe that although
enemies in the war, Romania and the United States were engaged in
negotiation:





The
first direct contact with the Americans was made in Stockholm by
Rădulescu, Mihai Antonescu’s chief of staff. His interlocutor was
a personal observer of Roosevelt in Europe who did have any official
capacity. The US president used this system in order to circumvent
the regular diplomatic channels and not be reproached by allies that
he was conducting separate talks. The result of the Stockholm meeting
was summed up by Mihai Antonescu like this: president Roosevelt is
worried about the line of intersection in Europe between American and
Soviet armies. The news brought back by Rădulescu
had a profound effect in Bucharest. Marshall Antonescu felt he had
been right in believing that by resisting the Russians militarily and
preventing them from entering Europe, he was doing a service not only
to Romania, but also to the Anglo-Americans.





After
Germany’s defeat in 1945 and Romania’s occupation by the Soviet
army, Romania could only hope that the American diplomacy would save
it from the prospect of communism. The myth of the Americans’
landing in the Balkans dates to this time and was, naturally, an
illusion. The Liberal leader Radu Câmpeanu said in an interview in
2000 that the American envoys told Romanian politicians that the US
had very little influence in Romania:





Nicolae
Penescu recounted to me the following episode that took place at the
end of 1944. The National Peasant Party kept its files containing
certain secret records and information with a certain Mr Melbourne.
He was an officer from the American mission who had connections with
the political parties. Melbourne lived in a flat somewhere near
Grădina Icoanei. One time the party needed a document kept by
Melbourne and sent someone to look for it. After consulting the
document, Melbourne invited him to stay for a chat and told him ‘I
must tell you that we have no power here, it’s Moscow who has all
the power. You should try and reach and understanding with them, to
talk to them.’ So he goes back and tells his leader Maniu what
Melbourne had advised. And Maniu put his hand on his and said: we
will do what we believe in’.





Although
history separated them from 1945 until 1989, Romania and the United
States maintained their mutual affinities and after 1989 bilateral
relations returned to their normal course, as was to be expected.

Radio NOREA
The History Show Monday, 22 July 2024

Radio NOREA

Between 1945 and 1990, a number of international radio stations used to broadcast in Romanian. These were mainly stations from Western Europe and...

Radio NOREA
History Show
The History Show Monday, 08 July 2024

From the history of the women’s press in Romania

Individual rights and freedoms, enunciated since the 18th century, focused on the promotion of equality, beyond any criteria of religion, race,...

From the history of the women’s press in Romania
Радио NOREA
The History Show Monday, 17 June 2024

Restored Romanian monuments in Bessarabia

  On March 27, 1918, Bessarabia, stretching between rivers Prut and Dniester, united with Romania after it had been annexed by Russia in 1812...

Restored Romanian monuments in Bessarabia
History Show
The History Show Monday, 10 June 2024

Romania’s relations with the Vatican

The Romanian space, today inhabited by a mostly Christian-Orthodox population, was one of spiritual and religious confluence. The multi-confessional...

Romania’s relations with the Vatican
The History Show Monday, 03 June 2024

Plan Z

Occupied after 1945 and having communist party regimes imposed on them, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe practically had no national...

Plan Z
The History Show Monday, 27 May 2024

Desertions in the Romanian Army in WWI

In a state of war, conscripted into a strict institutional form like the army, the military man is under great pressure. It’s about being alive...

Desertions in the Romanian Army in WWI
The History Show Monday, 13 May 2024

Radio drama for children

A priority mission of the Radio was to educate and bring culture to everyone. Children are a generous audience and shows for them have always been...

Radio drama for children
The History Show Monday, 06 May 2024

The Romanian Institute of Technical Documentation  

  Institutional history is not always as interesting as the biography of a personality, or as the story of a breakthrough that changed...

The Romanian Institute of Technical Documentation  

Partners

Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român
Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS
Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online
Institului European din România Institului European din România
Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti
Muzeul Național de Artă al României Muzeul Național de Artă al României
Le petit Journal Le petit Journal
Radio Prague International Radio Prague International
Muzeul Național de Istorie a României Muzeul Național de Istorie a României
ARCUB ARCUB
Radio Canada International Radio Canada International
Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti” Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti”
SWI swissinfo.ch SWI swissinfo.ch
UBB Radio ONLINE UBB Radio ONLINE
Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl
creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti
italradio italradio
Institutul Confucius Institutul Confucius
BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți

Affiliates

Euranet Plus Euranet Plus
AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters
Digital Radio Mondiale Digital Radio Mondiale
News and current affairs from Germany and around the world News and current affairs from Germany and around the world
Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona

Providers

RADIOCOM RADIOCOM
Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company