Romania Table of Contents
The Soviet occupation of Romania made the Red Army the predominant external influence on the development of the Romanian armed forces after 1945, especially after the communists seized power in 1947. After the war, obviously pro-German elements were purged from Romania's armed forces under Red Army supervision. Meanwhile, a second division of former Romanian prisoners of war that was organized and indoctrinated in the Soviet Union entered in late 1945 to join the Tudor Vladimirescu First Volunteer Division as the nucleus of the new Romanian Army under Soviet control. Once the communist regime took power, fully 30 percent of the Romanian officers and noncommissioned officers were purged from the ranks. They represented Romania's most experienced soldiers and the greatest source of opposition to the increasing Sovietization of the Romanian Army. The Romanian military establishment was reorganized according to the Soviet model. Soviet officers served as advisers to Romanian units down to the regimental level, and large numbers of Romanian officers went to the Soviet Union to receive education and training.
Emil Bodnaras, a member of the PCR Politburo who was in exile in Moscow during the war and had returned to Romania with the Red Army in 1944, became the first postwar minister of national defense in 1947. In many cases, trusted party functionaries were simply assigned appropriate military ranks and appointed to crucial posts in the armed forces. Political loyalty to the PCR served as a more important selection criterion than did professional military competence or experience. The party closely monitored the political attitudes of officers who were not members of the PCR.
When the PCR was firmly in control of the country and Romania securely within the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union was willing to withdraw its occupation forces, which happened in May 1958. By the mid-1960s, however, the Ceausescu regime had begun to de-Sovietize the armed forces, to reemphasize Romanian military traditions, and to carve out an autonomous position within the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. The Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 20, 1968, was the watershed event in postwar Romanian military development.
Data as of July 1989