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Around and after the end of WW2, many Romanians believe that "the Americans are coming" to save us from the Soviet takeover. There is a belief that promises were made at high levels to Romanian leaders.

As a result, there was a big resistance movement in the mountains, including parts of the Romanian Army who were waiting to sync with the Americans once they come. Of course, this never happened.

Do we know any details about what, if any, promises were made, by who and to whom? If promises were made, are there any documentation of what US leadership were thinking about offering them, and subsequent failure to follow through?

I've read/seen interviews with people mentioning specific promises made by certain US officials. Unfortunately I don't know those sources anymore, that's why I'm asking.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Robert Columbia
    Dec 30, 2021 at 1:01
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    If you feel the Wikipedia article linked to in the question doesn't adequately answer the question please explain why.
    – Brian Z
    Nov 28, 2022 at 17:51
  • @BrianZ in various interviews with high ranking officials at the time, including the former King, there were mentions of promises made at high level (ambassadors, etc) that the West will provide increasing support to the Resistance. That never materialized. These discussions and promises are not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, and might not have been officially documented, but they were the reason many resistance fighters tragically joined the movement.
    – Andrei O
    Nov 29, 2022 at 8:17
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    Frankly, it's obvious that the US was not going to start a nuclear apocalypse for Romania. Do note however that Romanian sources claiming to have received promises is not the same as the promises having actually been made, although the US/West did want to let people believe that the Americans were going to come rescue Eastern Europe.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 29, 2022 at 8:45
  • @andreio editing your question to include the specific details of your prior research would improve it greatly.
    – Brian Z
    Nov 29, 2022 at 13:20

2 Answers 2

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There's nothing special about Romania here. There were anti-Communist insurgencies throughout the Communist-controlled portion of Europe.

After losing millions of lives in the war against Nazi Germany, the citizens of democratic countries were not going to tolerate another major war. Even before the Soviets developed nuclear weapons, such a war would have killed millions more and held no certainty of victory. In 1918 the Western powers had tried to defeat the Soviets and failed miserably against a ragged band of fanatics. In 1945 the Soviet Union was a confident, victorious country with millions of battle-hardened soldiers and Western-made weapons. Invading Romania would have achieved nothing and got millions of people - mostly Romanians - killed.

The Allies did, in fact, manage to halt the Soviet takeover of some European countries - Greece is a good example. If any promise was made before the end of the war, it would have been on the basis of supporting one side in an unstable power vacuum, not overthrowing an established government backed up by armed Russians.

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    This is correct. The British Chiefs of Staff had a study made on what would be required for the Western Allies to fight the Soviets by conventional means at the end of WWII. The results, as noted in Alanbrooke's diary, were not enticing. It would have been possible to keep Stalin from invading Western Europe, at the cost of the US, the British Empire and the French remaining mobilised "forever." This was not politically realistic and was not contemplated. Nov 29, 2022 at 12:11
  • Thanks. If you have a page ref I'll put it in the answer. Ofc you could write your own if you prefer.
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 29, 2022 at 14:18
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    @NeMo Operation Unthinkable. This also included the re-mobilization of German POW's I mentioned. And the one you want to see fired immediately would have been Winston Churchill. ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Dec 1, 2022 at 7:52
  • Well, the British public did immediately fire him after the war was over (:
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 1, 2022 at 10:14
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The Western Allies had very limited ability to help eastern European countries that the Soviets had invaded. Contrary to the belief of some that they could have continued advancing to Moscow in spring 1945, they lacked the strength to do that by conventional warfare, and their populations were growing tired of war.

There's a revealing passage in War Diaries 1939-45, by Alan Brooke. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from December 1941 and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee from March 1942. He was a member of the US-British Combined Chiefs of Staff committee from its creation in April 1942. With all these roles, he dealt with strategy world-wide. His private diary was rather open about everything he did and thought, and you need a modern edition: the volumes published in the 1950s edited by Arthur Bryant have been ... excessively bowdlerised and tittivated.

In the entry for 24th May 1945, he writes:

This evening I went carefully through the Planners' [Joint Planning Staff] report on the possibility of taking on Russia should trouble arise in our future discussions with her. We were instructed to carry out this study. The idea is of course fantastic and the chances of success quite impossible. There is no doubt that from now onwards Russia is all powerful in Europe.

He was not considering nuclear weapons, since he would not have known much about the Manhattan Project, and nobody knew how effective or practical they would be. There was lots of theory, but no more.

At some point during the 1950s he wrote an addition to this diary entry. It is a bit long to quote in full, but the salient point is:

The results of this study made it clear that the best we could hope for was to drive the Russians back to about the same line the Germans had reached. And then what? Were we to remain mobilised indefinitely to hold them there?

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  • In the scope of those studies, there was the idea to re-arm the German Wehrmacht. And I don't mean the re-armament of West Germany from 1956 onward, but right then and there, in 1945, releasing the German POW's and turning them into a fighting force again, basically having them continue to fight the war they had just been defeated in.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 30, 2022 at 8:29
  • Wow. Whoever had that idea should have been instantly fired
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 30, 2022 at 15:19
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    @NeMo no, it was a valid question that needed asking. But more as a "what if" than an actively implemented scenario. Planners ALWAYS plan, for example in the 1930s the US Army was planning an invasion of Canada were the UK to fall to Germany. In 1918 the Dutch government was planning an invasion of Belgium, the Queen had asked them to look at the possibility of reuniting the Netherlands along the pre-1830 border from before Belgian independence. Doesn't mean either was actually seriously considered.
    – jwenting
    Dec 1, 2022 at 8:26
  • I take your point that political intentions can't be deduced from military plans. In any case, I'm glad that a wiser course was chosen. Sometimes doing nothing is very wise.
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 1, 2022 at 10:27
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    Yeah so in short, Eastern Europe was abandoned and left to be destroyed by the Soviets, after the US played a major role in helping them win that section of Europe. There's very little knowledge in the West of the tragedies that happened, and the repercussions are still felt today. Everyone celebrates the end of WW2 counting from 1945, but for us Eastern Europeans, we were basically ellibrated in 1989, 44 years and a couple of generations destroyed later.
    – Andrei O
    Jan 19, 2023 at 15:22

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