Files from the Whispered History of Romanians (10)

Cadrilater was ceded without a fight

by General Ion Victor Antonescu government (1),

just as King Charles II had done previously

in the cases of Northern Transylvania,

Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina


The coming to power on a wave of a large popular discontent against the policy of the old government and, among the first measures of the new government, to be just continuation of the old policy generating that discontent, one of the many facets of hypocrisy of the policy in Romania, it is exemplary illustrated by General Ion Victor Antonescu government (1).

On June 26, a month known in Romania as the popular name of “ciresar” (n.a. in Romanian, “ciresar” means the month when cherries ripen), of the year 1940, it came the cherry on on the “coliva” (n.a. in Romanian, “coliva” means a cake given as remembrance of the dead people at funeral and memorial services) of the Greater Romania, the ultimatum note from Joseph Stalin, through which was demanded the “return at all price” of Northern Bukovina, of Bessarabia, including the Herta Region, until June 30, meaning a loss of 50,762 square kilometers of the territory of Greater Romania.

How, as usually, a calamity does not come alone, on August 30, month known in Romania as the popular name of “gustar” (n.a. in Romanian, “gustar” is an alterative word from Roman word “august”, under the influence of the Romanian word “a gusta”, meaning to taste) of the same year, by the Second Vienna Arbitration, called by us, Romanians, Vienna Dictate, it has lost Northern Transylvania, that is 43,492 square kilometers, an event not at all on the taste of Romanians, ordered by Adolf Hitler.

The cede without a fight of Northern Bukovina, Bessarabia, including Herta Region, was made during the Gheorghe Tătărăscu government (6), which governed during the period May 11  – July 3, 1940, and Northern Transylvania during the Ion Giugurtu, government, that governed in the period July 4 – September 4, 1940.

These territorial losses led to ample street demonstrations, seized by Legionnaire Movement, which, by their leader, Horia Sima, imposed Carol II to appoint Ion Antonescu as President of the Council of Ministers. The king accepted with the condition to form a national coalition government. The historical parties were unwilling to stand near the Legionnaire Movement, so on September 4, 1940, Ion Antonescu formed a government composed in majority of members of the old Ion Giugurtu government: General David Popescu, at  Interior Affairs, Mihail Manoilescu, at Foreign Affairs, Gheorghe N. Leon, at National Economy, Ion. V. Gruia, at Justice, Dumitru Caracostea, at the National Education, Ion Nichifor Crainic (n.a. born Ion Dobre), at National Propaganda, Vasile Gomoiu, at Health and Social Care, and the Legionnaire Radu Budisteanu, at Religious Affairs and Arts; at National Defence appeared a new name… Ion Antonescu.

In the period September 3 – 6, 1940, it was held the so – called “legionnaire revolution”, which led to the abdication of King Carol II, on September 6, 1940.

The same day, Ion Antonescu declared oath as a member of the Legionnaire Movement. Horia Sima, confirmed as commander of the Legionnaire Movement, founded Legionnaire Police, after the model of Assault Battalions from Germany (n.a. “Sturmabteilung”, with the acronym S.A.), also known as the Brown Shirts, with the main purpose of the liquidation of the political opponents.

On September 7, although Ambassador Alexandru Cretianu, head of the Romanian delegation, has opposed, Ion Antonescu urged Henri Meitani, a delegation member, to sign a treaty – I quote from “Letters of a Dniesteran – Tiszan Man” (n.a. Gunivas Publisher House, Chisinau, 2013) – “through which Romania ceded Cadrilater, with an area of ​​7,726 square kilometers”. A few days later, on September 13, Ion Antonescu “ratified this treaty in the following terms: «We, General Ion Antonescu, Conductor of State and President of Council of Ministers, seeing and researching the Treaty between Romania and Bulgaria, signed in Craiova September 7, 1940 (…) agree and entrust that we receive the Treaty, with the Protocol, the Accords and the letters that precede, approve them, strengthen them and promise to do to be fulfilled in their form and scope, without letting them to be violated in any way. Towards the faith that we have signed this act of ratification and we ordered to be invested with the Romanian State Seal. Given in Bucharest, on September 13, 1940»”.

Behold that even the General Ion Antonescu government (1) did to be pleeased to Hitler and ceded from the territory of Greater Romania, in this case, Cadrilater, which is exactly what did previously the governments of Gheorghe Tatarescu (6) and Ion Giugurtu. But, at this time there have been no manifestations of discontent of the population, because the Legionnaire Police took care to destroy any initiative in this regard.

As an aside, I have to quote a mention, which I did in “Letters of a  Dnisteran – Tiszan Man”: “Hitler did not love Romania, victor in the World War I, when it annexed territories (…) becoming the Greater Romania, while Germany was humiliated, converting from the German Empire («Deutsches Kaiserreich») in Weimar Republic («Weimarer Republik»)”.

Then the German Empire lost the colonies in Africa (n.a. Togo, Cameroon, German South – West Africa, the current Namibia, German East Africa, the current Burundi and Rwanda), but also several territories in Europe (n.a. Alsace and Lorraine, to France, Eupen and Malmedy urban areas, to Belgium, North Schleswig, to Denmark, Western Pomerania, Posen Province, Eastern Silesia and Soldau Zone of Eastern Prussia, to Poland, Hulczyn area of Upper Silesia, to Czechoslovakia).

As another aside, I have to quote a mention that I made also in “Letters of a Dniesteran – Tiszan Man”: “Hitler considered Germany a kind of suffering sister of Hungary, and it a big loser in World War I”.

Thus, Adolf Hitler returned to Hungary 11,927 square kilometers, taken from Czechoslovakia (n.a. First Vienna Arbitration, November 2, 1938, parts of Southern Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia of South – West), 43,492 square kilometers, taken from Romania (n.a. Second Vienna Arbitration, august 30, 1940, Northern Transylvania), 10,123 square kilometers, taken from Yugoslavia (n.a. Armistice of Belgrade, April 17, 1941, Backa and Baranja).

The fact that Ion Antonescu also placed a cherry on the “coliva” of Greater Romania, ceded without a fight a part of the Greater Romania, was not mentioned in “dejisto-ceausist” Romania, in order not to disturb the communist friendship between Romania and Bulgaria and, especially, not to offend Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which had incorporated inside its borders Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia, including Herta Region.

Also, the same fact is overlooked by nostalgics of the Legionnaire Movement, very numerous and influential, so that in post-decembrist Romania, this subject was avoided in all events I participated or about which I read, consecrated to Greater Romania.


Doru Ciucescu


The text is part from the volume in course of translation “Files from the Whispering History of Romanians”

(The translation from Romanian and the adaptation are realized by the author himself)