Romania in WWII?

I found myself reading about the Russian campaighn in WWII-those epic battles (Kursk, Stalingrad, etc.). I was surprised to learn that Germanie’s largest aly was Romania-they sent 1.2 million soldiers into Russia! How effective was the Romanian army? It seems pre-WWII Romania was a mostly agricultural country-I’m quite sure that they were incapable of making tanks and fighter planes. Why the love for Germany? Romani a was a latin-culture sountry, with no ethnic ties to Germany. Did Germany promise rich pickings in Russia? Of course, the war was a disaster for Romania-they lost, and the Russians invaded. plus, Germany drained her of oil-they didn’t pay a cent! Did the Romanians ever get over WWII? Must have been a big loss to many families-I think they were a country of only 15-16 million.
Have any good books in English been published about WWII and Romania?

no real answers for your questions, but if you had missed it here is an excellent site on the roumanian army in WWII

I should also add that Romania had no particular love for Germany, but rather a fear of the USSR which had just annexed some disputed border territory from Romania in 1940

I just read a couple of biographies of Hitler and others in the bunker and Hitler in the bios was often quoted as saying the Romanians lost the Battle of Stalingrad.

Romania was in a bad position in WWII. It was surrounded by countries that hated it. Hungary wanted Transylvania and Bulgaria wanted Dubruja. Russia wanted basically what is today Moldova, back. Romania had gained all those areas after WWI. So before Hitler launched his campaign in the Soviet Union, Romania was forced to give up all that territory.

You can imagine that didn’t make the Romanian people happy giving up so much land. Since Bulgaria and Hungary were pro German, Romania had no where to turn but to the Soviet Union to get some territory back.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that the Axis consisted of just Germany, Italy, and Japan. In fact several other countries joined the Axis, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, and Slovakia. In most cases these countries were motivated by a sense that they had lost territroy to some neighbouring country and figured an alliance with Germany would help them get it back.

It wasn’t so much a love for Germany as a number of other factors. The Soviet Union had forced Romania to give up territory in 1940 so there was a natural desire to recover this land (a similar desire brought Finland into the Axis as well). Simple anti-communism and fear of Soviet Russian was another element. Romania had also in the 30s become increasingly part of Germany’s economic sphere of influence so there were strong economic links. Also and perhaps most importantly of all Romania was in no position to say no. In WW1 the Romanians had foolishly allowed themselves to be talked into entering the war on the side of the Allies and got promptly invaded and overrun for their troubles. They weren’t keen to repeat the experience and Hitler had only just recently demonstrated his rage at the ‘mutiny’ of Yugoslavia by bombing Belgrade and invading that country.

Also if I remember rightly the Germans did pay for the oil but in trade credits with Germany. They did this with all their allies. In the circumstances though it worked in Germany’s favour, she wanted food, oil and raw materials from her allies and before the war had paid for these by exports of consumer goods and machinery. With the diversion of production into war materials, consumer goods for export dried up, so Germany’s allies ended up with ever larger trade credit balances.

Some books in English are:

Third Axis Fourth Ally
Reluctant Axis

The Romanian army did not perform well. The country wasn’t a particularly keen participant in the war and its soldiers were unsurprisingly not very motivated to die for the cause. It was also very ill-equipped to fight the Red Army and did not have the anti-tank weapons and armoured support it needed to successfully fight hordes of Russian tanks. In the Stalingrad campaign the Soviets deliberately launched its counter-offensive at flanks held by Rumanian and Hungarian units as these were regarded as ‘soft’ sectors of the Axis line. The Romanian forces rapidly collapsed under the Soviet assault.