Libmonster ID: U.S.-1200
Author(s) of the publication: V. T. FOMIN

Moscow, Publishing House "International Relations", 1966, 478 p. The print run is 4000 copies. Price 1 rub 08 kopecks.

The author of the book under review has written a number of works on the recent history of Romania, which were once positively evaluated in the Soviet and Romanian press1 . The book under review examines one of the most difficult periods in the history of Romania - the time of the establishment of the military-fascist dictatorship and the emergence of the anti-fascist struggle of the masses, which turned into a popular revolution that led to the overthrow of the bourgeois-landowner power. N. I. Lebedev not only summarized the latest achievements in this area, but also developed a number of problems that remained unexplored or poorly studied in Soviet and Romanian historiography.

The monograph is based on a solid documentary base. The author has studied the materials of the Archive of Foreign Policy of the USSR, as well as documents of the Romanian archives: the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, the Institute of Party History under the Central Committee of the RCP, the Ministry of Armed Forces and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania. The book uses a rich collection of microfilms of Romanian archival documents stored in the Historical and Diplomatic Archive of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, documentary publications on the topic published in Romania and other countries, periodicals in Russian, Romanian, English and other languages. The author is critical of various works of bourgeois researchers of Romanian history during the Second World War.

One of the most important issues discussed in this book is the nature of Romanian fascism. Bourgeois historians try to present it as a mere product of anti-Semitism. Some Western authors (A. Hilgruber, Seaton - Watson, Lukacs), especially reactionary Romanian emigrants, claim that the establishment of a military-fascist dictatorship in Romania was allegedly the result of actions on the part of the USSR aimed at the reunification of Moldovan and Ukrainian lands. The monograph clearly shows that fascism in Romania, as in other countries, arose on the basis of a sharp aggravation of the class struggle. The military fascist regime established in September 1940 was a dictatorship of the most chauvinistic and aggressive circles of the big bourgeoisie and the landlords (p. 19). This dictatorship did not receive the support of the masses of the people and from the very first days began to seek it outside, seeking to send Hitlerite troops with their help to suppress the liberation struggle of the Romanian people. At the same time, as the author correctly notes, the dispatch of German troops to Romania was directly related to Hitler's decision of July 31, 1940. on the impending attack on the Soviet Union: Romania was conceived not only as a springboard, but also as a participant in the anti-Soviet war. By signing the Protocol of Romania's accession to the Triple Pact on September 23, 1940, dictator Antonescu completed the country's political subordination to Hitler's Reich (p. 29).

Based mainly on bayonets and terror, the military legionary regime was also forced to resort to social demagogy, to create the appearance of caring for the working people. Promises were made to introduce "legionary socialism" and eliminate social injustice. The Iron Guards launched a charity campaign to help the poor. Funds for this purpose were collected through "voluntary" donations or extortion from wealthy individuals of non-Romanian nationality. "Romanization" resulted in the bandit expropriation of property by legionnaires-Iron Guards and disorganized the economic life of the country. Dubbed "the starting point of a gigantic national rescue effort," the campaign actually turned into an operation

1 See N. I. Lebedev. For peace in the Balkans. M, 1960, his own. Romania during the Second World War. (Foreign and domestic political history of Romania. 1938-1945). Moscow, 1961 (see reviews: I. Dmitriev - "International Life", 1962, N 7; Yu. K. Tomshin, A. A. Yazkova - "Questions of History", 1962, N 4); his. The Romanian People's Republic in Modern International Relations, Moscow, 1962; N. I. Lebedev, E. D. Karpeshchenko. History of the Romanian People's Republic, Moscow, 1964 (see reviews of this work: P. A. Artemchuk. In the struggle for socialism. Political Self-Education, 1964, No. 8; Ya. M. Shavrov-Voprosy Istorii, 1965, No. 11), as well as a number of other works in periodicals and chapters in collective works.

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for the enrichment of the Iron Guards. These actions, which caused partial dissatisfaction among the dominant monopolistic circles of Romania, were, we read in the book, one of the main causes of conflicts in the fascist elite. For the first time in historical literature, the author then gave a detailed account of the legionary mutiny in January 1941, which was a response to I. Antonescu's attempts to put an end to the unbridled social demagoguery of the Iron Guards. The outcome of events depended entirely on Nazi Germany, whose troops were in Romania. Considering the "Iron Guard" unable to secure German interests in Romania and mobilize the country's resources for war against the USSR, Hitler opted for I. Antonescu, allowing him to put down the rebellion. The removal of the legionnaires from the government and the abolition of the national-legionnaire (fascist) designation of the Romanian state, made by I. Antonescu in retaliation for the actions of the legionnaires, did not change either the fascist nature of the dictatorship, or its domestic and foreign policy course (p.63).

While paying tribute to N. I. Lebedev's study of the social and nationalist demagogy of the Antonescu dictatorship and the nature of its relations with the Hitler clique, it should be recognized that the problem of Romanian fascism still requires further study. The specifics of fascist rule in Romania have not yet been fully revealed. The book's explanation of the social nature of the fascist regime, in our opinion, is not specific enough, because the author did not give a detailed description of the monopolistic elite, whose aspirations were expressed by the Antonescu dictatorship.

Of great interest is the section of the book that discusses the reasons and goals of Romania's participation together with Germany in the war against the USSR. Romanian fascist newspapers recognized that entry into the anti-Soviet war would have taken place even if Romania had not had to return to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940 the territories previously captured from it. As a result of the war against the USSR, the Romanian rulers hoped to get Soviet lands. In the Romanian bourgeois press in the summer of 1941, voices were heard in favour of moving the border "to the Dnieper or further" (p.108). The ruling elite also hoped to resolve the escalating internal contradictions by means of war and to distract the masses from the revolutionary struggle. In this connection, N. I. Lebedev reveals the complete inconsistency of the claims of bourgeois authors that it was the struggle of the USSR for the return of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina that pushed Romania into the Hitler camp and made its participation in the anti-Soviet war inevitable.

The monograph provides a scientifically based analysis of the Romanian Resistance movement, and shows the leading role of the Romanian Communist Party in organizing the anti-fascist struggle on the basis of extensive factual material. The war, which was a disaster for almost all segments of the population, objectively contributed to the expansion of the base of the anti-fascist movement in the country. In order to create a monolithic anti-fascist front for the struggle for freedom and independence, the Communist Party developed and proposed on September 6, 1941, the " Platform of the united national front of the Romanian people against the fascist invaders and the military fascist clique led by the traitor Antonescu "(p. 157), which included the following main points: ending the war against the USSR and fighting together with all freedom-loving peoples against Hitlerism; the overthrow of the military-fascist regime and the creation of a government of national independence from representatives of patriotic forces; the abolition of the Vienna diktat and the return of Northern Transylvania to Romania; the arrest and punishment of persons responsible for the anti-Soviet war. The Communist Party expressed its readiness to cooperate with all parties, groups, politicians and patriots who are ready to fight against Hitlerism and its Romanian allies. Developing this platform, the author writes, the Communist Party proceeded from the fact that Romania was facing the end of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, that the revolutionary movement developed directly from the struggle of the entire people against the fascist yoke. The defeat of fascism was seen as a prerequisite for further revolutionary struggle for the elimination of capitalist exploitation. The Platform emphasized that the Romanian Communists did not abandon their program of struggle for the ultimate goal - for socialism, the path to which will open only after the defeat of bloody fascism (p.159).

The book contains many facts from the history of the heroic anti-fascist struggle

page 162

communists. However, as can be seen from the study, the Romanian Resistance movement in the period up to August 23, 1944 did not yet acquire the character of a mass armed struggle and was mainly limited to acts of sabotage, disobeying orders of the fascist authorities, evading conscription, desertion from the front, etc., were determined by the specific conditions in which it developed (p. 158). Unlike the countries occupied by German-Fascist troops, Romania formally acted as an ally of the German Reich in the war, which fascist propaganda portrayed as a "war for the return of the Romanian provinces". The temporary successes of the Hitlerite bloc in this war, the seizure and looting of Soviet lands by the Romanian fascists contributed to the spread of chauvinistic frenzy among a certain part of the population. The involvement of all patriots in a decisive struggle against the Nazis and their minions in Romania was also hindered by the hostile activities of the Forish group, which had made its way into the leadership of the Communist Party. Gheorghiu-Dej once noted that "as long as there were traitorous elements in the party leadership, the party organizations could not organize a broad mass movement against the anti-Soviet war." 2

The author shows that the Soviet Union, through its heroic struggle during the Great Patriotic War, had a decisive influence on the internal political situation in Romania. Antonescu's fascist military clique lost almost its entire army on the Eastern Front. The defeat on the Volga, according to the English magazine "New Statesman and Nation", shocked Romania, perhaps more than it shocked Germany. The crisis of the Antonescu dictatorship, created by the victories of the Soviet Army, caused a radical change in the course of World War II, which sharply worsened in the spring of 1944, when Soviet troops crossed the border of Romania: the " crisis of the upper classes "was supplemented by a"crisis of the lower classes". A revolutionary situation has matured in the country. Under these circumstances, the Communist Party set out to prepare an armed uprising with the aim of overthrowing fascism and withdrawing the country from the war.

The most important milestones in the preparation of an armed uprising were the removal of traitorous elements from the leadership of the Communist Party in the spring of 1944 and the creation of a United Workers ' Front. The RCP skillfully exploited the contradictions in the camp of the ruling classes, establishing temporary cooperation with the monarchy in order to overthrow the Antonescu dictatorship and withdraw Romania from the war against the USSR. In June 1944, a National Democratic Bloc was formed with the participation of Communists, Social Democrats, National Tsaranists and national Liberals. The monograph emphasizes that King Mihai and the leaders of the" historical parties " agreed to cooperate with the Communist Party only after they came to the conclusion that the liberation of Romania by the troops of the Soviet Union was inevitable (p.298). This was also facilitated by the failure of negotiations in Cairo between the Romanian rulers and representatives of the United States and England, during which the leaders of bourgeois parties sought to ensure that Romania was occupied by Anglo - American troops. By the way, in N. I. Lebedev's monograph we find for the first time a detailed analysis of the course of these negotiations, so falsified by bourgeois historiography .3

The reviewed work correctly assesses the great importance of the Iasi-Kishinev operation of the Soviet troops for the victorious completion of the August anti-fascist uprising in Romania. Under favorable conditions created as a result of the Soviet Army's defeat of the 650,000-strong German-fascist group "Southern Ukraine", which held the Romanian front, the rebellious Romanian army and combat patriotic detachments led by the Communist Party disarmed and captured more than 56,000 German soldiers from August 24 to 31, 1944 (p.334).

Emphasizing the historical significance of the uprising of August 23, 1944, the author notes the contribution of Romania to achieving the final victory over German fascism. It resolutely rebuffs those modern historians who try to belittle the role of the Soviet Army in the defeat of Hitler's forces in Romania and the outstanding significance of the USSR's liberation mission in the Balkans .4

2 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. Articles and Speeches, vol. 1, Moscow, 1956, p. 343.

3 See, for example, A. Cretzianu. The Lost Opportunity. L. 1958.

4 H. Seton-Watson. The East European Revolution. L. 1950, pp. 89 - 90; "Sunday Times", 27.VIII.1944; H. Frissner. Yerratene Schlachten. Die Tragodie der deutschen Wehrmacht in Rumanien und Ungarn. Hamburg. 1956, etc.

page 163

The victory of the August anti-fascist uprising, combined with the liberation mission carried out by the Soviet Army, dealt a decisive blow to the exploiting classes of Romania, clearing the way for the establishment of people's power in the country. The political crisis of the bourgeois-landlord regime deepened even further after August 23, 1944. In Romania, a popular revolution unfolded, which was anti-feudal and anti-fascist in nature. The reviewed monograph further examines the development of this revolution up to the establishment of the People's democratic power in Romania on March 6, 1945. At the same time, the author focuses on revealing the initial period of the people's revolution, in particular, on identifying the role of the foreign policy factor.

The change in the balance of power in the international arena in favor of socialism and democracy, thanks to the decisive actions of the USSR in defeating fascism, created favorable conditions for the development of the people's revolution in Romania. The presence of Soviet troops on Romanian territory precluded the possibility of imperialist intervention and violence against the Romanian people. Inside the country, the revolutionary forces were powerful enough to prevent reactionary circles from unleashing a civil war. Therefore, the course was set for the peaceful development of the revolution, for the overthrow of the political rule of the bourgeoisie and the landlords, and for the establishment of people's power without a new armed uprising. The Communist Party succeeded in drawing the broadest strata of the population into the revolutionary struggle by creating the National Democratic Front.

N. I. Lebedev's monograph is not without some drawbacks. As mentioned above, the history of Romanian fascism, its socio - economic roots and peculiarities deserve a more in-depth study (for example, the adaptation of Romanian fascism to the backwardness and downtroddenness of the petty-bourgeois strata of the urban and rural population, its speculation on the religiosity of the masses, the role of caste officers in the establishment of the military fascist dictatorship). The author does not overcome some schematism in covering the activities of the Communist Party in underground conditions, in particular, the reasons for its sectarian mistakes that prevented the broad masses of the people from engaging in the anti-fascist struggle, as well as the reasons for the incorrect assessment of some clearly fascist organizations by the Communist Party, are not sufficiently explained.

However, critical remarks cannot detract from the merits inherent in the new book by N. I. Lebedev, who has subjected a deep Marxist-Leninist analysis of complex and politically relevant issues of Romanian history. Written vividly and engagingly, this study will be read with interest by a wide range of readers.


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V. T. FOMIN, Reviews and reviews by N. I. LEBEDEV. THE FALL OF THE ANTONESCU DICTATORSHIP // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 19.06.2023. URL: (date of access: 21.07.2024).

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