August 23rd represents a significant day in Romanian history as it marks one of the turning points of World War II. 23 August 1944 marks one of the most important moments in the modern history of Romania because itís the date on which Romania decided to take action against Nazi German and join the allied forces in their war against the Nazis.Itís an important date not only for Romania,but also for the rest of Europe as it shortened the war with a few months. Romania,a country that was initially neutralat the beginning of World War II,couldnít maintain its position because of several factors which influenced the political situation at the beginning of the war.The fact that the forces of the Axis led by Nazi Germany were very successful in the initial stages of the war and conquered many territories with very little resistance,and even a power like France collapsed very quickly to the Nazis,made Romania feel vulnerable;further on,in the summer of 1940 Romania was forced to accept several compromises which led to the loss of large parts of its territory,including a part of Transylvania which they gave up for Hungary and Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina,taken by the Soviet Union.Another factor that would change Romaniaís neutral stance was the rise of the Iron Guard,an extremist organization which supported the Nazis and which grabbed power together with marshal Ion Antonescu in 1940,forcing king Carol II to abdicate in favor of his son Michael.They Iron Guard was eventually kicked out of power by Antonescu and many of its members were imprisoned in 1941,but at that time Romania had already been involved in a war for a few months. Romania joined the Axis powers on 23 November 1940 and it played an active role in the German invasion
of Soviet Union not only with a big number of troops,but also by supplying the Axis forces with oil,grain and industrial products.However,the fate of the war changed dramatically after the US joined the Allied forces,and by 1943 it was obvious that Germany would be the loser.Romanian economy was down and the country was constantly under Allied air bombing,and more and more people were discontent with the countryís involvement in the war. Eventually,on August 23rd 1944,King Michael summoned marshal Antonescu to his palace and demanded him to withdraw Romania from the Axis;the marshal refused and he was arrested by soldiers of the guard,and on the same day the king announced on a radio broadcast that Romania became loyal to the allies.A truce was signed a few weeks later and until the end of the war Romanian troops joined the Red Army and fought in Transylvania,Hungary,Yugoslavia,Austria and Czechoslovakia,contributing to the liberation of these territories and the defeat of the Nazi Forces. During the communist regime the 23rd of August was the national day of Romania;huge parades were organized in honor of that day,until the Revolution from 1989 overthrew the Communist regime and the national day was changed,but the 23rd of August remains an important date in Romanian history.Itís hard to say what would have happened if Romania had remained loyal to Germany until the end,but I guess the consequences would have been worse.The act of Ďbetrayalí of Nazi Germany which took place on that day may not have influenced the war decisively,as it was obvious that the Germans and their allies would be defeated,but it shortened the war considerably and saved many lives;at least from this point of view,it was a memorable day in Romanian history.