Romania was neutral at the beginning of WWII, but then Marshall Antonescu (as he liked to be called) went to visit Hitler and then joined the war on the German side. Things have happened as they happened, but I wonder if Romania could have stayed neutral for the entire duration of WWII in any other circumstances? Some historians say that it was inevitable, because of two main reasons:

  1. Resources (mainly petroleum) and
  2. Geographical position.

Although somehow right, I fail to believe in these two parameters, and I think that there was lack of diplomacy and negotiation*. Can this be right? Could they have negotiated their neutrality?

Sweden had resources and it was close to Russia too, and yet, they stayed neutral. Denmark was a strategic point because of its Atlantic/North Sea shores, but stayed somehow neutral and even if it was invaded, they didn't have bad, bloody fights inside its territory and no armies on the Russian territory, like in Romania's case. So I wonder... what could have been done differently and could a better diplomacy/negotiation keep Romania neutral?

Question: Was Romania such an important player in WWII that entering the would have been inevitable? Were Russia and Germany so dependent on Romania?

*I base this theory by listening to what king Michael was saying about Antonescu (see video here) and considering some details from his biography.

  • 1
    is this a counterfactual? Is this an example of the doubt the existing narrative anti-pattern?
    – MCW
    May 24 '18 at 14:37
  • 4
    @MarkC.Wallace : I suppose he means that Denmark didn't send troops to fight in Russia on German side, while Romania did.
    – Evargalo
    May 24 '18 at 14:50
  • 1
    Generally, answers that are entirely personal speculation are strongly discouraged here, so we can't really do "What If"s, unless actual historians have written on that exact topic and an answer can factually report that.
    – T.E.D.
    May 24 '18 at 14:53
  • 2
    ...However, what answers can do is talk about what their incentives for joining were, and what kind of headaches would have been caused to the other belligerents without Romania's participation (which would speak to why they might have been forced in against their will).
    – T.E.D.
    May 24 '18 at 14:54
  • 1
    No, Denmark was not "somewhat neutral" and it did not "solve it diplomatically", it had been invaded and the recognized (by the Allies) government was at war with Germany since May 1940. Denmark simply could not send troops because there was no independent "Denmark" so there was no Danish Army to send. And nonetheless 6,000 volunteers were recruited, but they fought under the German flag (which technically made them traitors).
    – SJuan76
    May 24 '18 at 19:26

Based in historical facts, we might say that Romania was not neutral by then.

Russia occupied Bessarabia and Bukovina from Romania early in the war. Hence, Romania neutrality was already violated. It was after those events that Romania entered in alliance with Germany.

  • That's also true. But so was Denmark, which solved it a bit more diplomatically, i.e., without bloody fights (see for example Erik Scavenius). They cooperated with the Nazis like the Romanians, but they were more mellow and saved lives. Can one blame Antonescu for this or is there something else behind these decisions? Could he have kept neutrality, even if Romania was invaded?
    – Physther
    May 24 '18 at 17:24
  • 2
    @Physther . My answer in worldbuilding mode: Romania would not be able to stay neutral. Because if we assume that they do not enter in the war in the axis side, they would have ended as Bulgaria. Bulgaria was forced by Russia to declare war to Germany at the end of the war, they had to send its army to liberate Yugoeslavia.
    – Santiago
    May 24 '18 at 21:22
  • 1
    That makes sense. So the two pressures - Germany and Russia - would basically force it into the war in any circumstances or suffer great loses...
    – Physther
    May 25 '18 at 10:17
  • 1
    @Physther - to put it differently: Antonescu came with a non-neutrality policy because the neutrality was disastrous for Romania up to then; the fact that he came to power is the very answer to the question: no, Romania could not have remained neutral and independent under his rule, but it might have avoided invading USSR by being occupied before he came to power, and avoiding him taking power. But the army came to power and he became the leader because the army wanted to fight, only not Germany. (Denmark was occupied, by the way, so was Yugoslavia, where guerilla and civil war started.)
    – user8690
    Nov 13 '18 at 13:24
  • 1
    @cipricus, I have opened a new topic. Thanks for the suggestions! history.stackexchange.com/questions/49778/…
    – Physther
    Dec 4 '18 at 18:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.