What happened to Bessarabia on August 23, 1944?

The context of the war years

Romania, situated at the convergence point of the interests of the Great Powers, was forced to participate in the Second World War from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. In the first stage with the Axis powers (Germany), and from August 23, 1944 against them. Romania was forced to go to war on the side of Germany because they promised that Romania would regain lost territories (northern Bukovina and Bessarabia).

The external situation of Bessarabia

The summer of 1944 seemed gloomy and foreshadowed inevitable changes. Marshal Ion Antonescu saw the need to continue the fight alongside Germany, but King Michael I (Mihai) was categorically opposed. Thus, on the morning of August 23, 1944, Ion Antonescu appeared at the royal palace in the audience, to ask King Michael to approve his measures in order to continue the war with Germany. The king rejected his proposal and ordered the arrest of Ion Antonescu and the main ministers. In the evening of the same day, the royal proclamation announced to the country the change of regime, and the Romanian troops were ordered to cease military operations against the Soviet armies.

The removal of the Antoniscian government led to a turning point in all plans of the country. Through the public declaration of August 24, the newly established government, that of Constantin Stănescu, ensured Romania’s participation in the anti-Hitler war. Antonescu was detained for 2 years in the U.R.S.S. and then returned to the country and executed. He was executed even though he loved his country and dreamed of seeing it reunited again. In 1944, when he left with his special train “Patria,” he declared to the soldiers: “You have no land to give up. We have nowhere to go. Here we will fight and on this earth we will die. I will be the last to fight until I fall to defend my country.”

The internal situation of Bessarabia

In the spring of the same year, 1944, the situation on the Soviet front changed radically. The Soviet armies carried out large-scale offensive operations, liberating much of the German-occupied territory.

The offensive of the Soviet armies on the Iasi-Chisinau front began on August 20, 1944. On this day, the armies of the Second Ukrainian Front on the Chitcani bridgehead began the offensive. On August 22, Soviet troops entered Ungheni, Causeni, Cimislia. On August 23 in the localities: Tighina and Comrat and on the morning of August 24 – in the city of Chisinau. Chisinau was severely bombed by Soviet aircraft and completely destroyed. As a result, 70% of the total housing space was destroyed, almost all industrial enterprises.

During the days of August 24-26, they entered the localities of Leova, Cahul, Hîncești. By August 26, almost all of Bessarabia had been conquered by the Soviets.

During the Iasi-Chisinau operation, many Romanian soldiers died. Their corpses lay in the Prut riverbed, forming pools that prevented water from flowing. The Prut was no longer flowing normally, being also upset by the great tragedy of the Romanian nation! Probably since the Prut has been the Prut, the old man has not seen the Romanian fight with the Romanian!

The greatest tragedy was still to come — Bessarabia was handed over to the 25th NKVD in order to restore Soviet power.

Thus Bessarabia was subjected to new attempts under the communist regime.

Reminding me of all this, my heart is filled with deep sorrow and boundless love for my country.

Doesn’t she deserve to be loved?

Today we form history, today we write history! But let us leave to our children a beautiful country, not one full of reproach and curse, let us leave peace to the next generation!

I love my country and I will, but you?

Translated by Ina Croitoru