British Plans and Attempts at Subversion in Romania, 1939-44 | Wilson Center
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British Plans and Attempts at Subversion in Romania, 1939-44

We cannot talk about resistance in Romania either to the pro-German dictator Ion Antonescu, or to his German allies, in the same terms as in the case of France or Yugoslavia. The circumstances of Antonescu’s accession to power, his maintenance of Romania’s sovereignty during the period of alliance with Germany, and his pursuit of the war against a Communist Russia considered a predator, meant that any armed resistance to his rule was viewed by most Romanians as treachery.  There were no organized resistance operations of the kind conducted by the maquis in France, or by Mihailovici and Tito in Yugoslavia. This is not to dishonour the few Romanians whose anti-Axis convictions led them to undertake clandestine activities in favor of Allied – particularly British - military intelligence. Romania began to figure in British calculations about Hitler's intentions in Central and Eastern Europe after the Anschluss of March 1938. The British concluded that their only weapon against German ambitions in countries which fell into Hitler's orbit were military subversive operations.

Dennis Deletant, Visiting Ion Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University and formerly professor of Romanian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College in London charts those operations in Romania between 1939 and 23 August 1944, the date of King Michael’s coup against Antonescu.


  • Dennis Deletant

    Former CWIHP Senior Scholar
    Visiting Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies