Iaşi, July 12, 1942. We get news from Bucharest that Marshal Ion Antonescu is seriously ill in Predeal. All kinds of versions about his disease, general anemia or the consequences of an old syphilis, so he had to undergo malaria treatment. Meanwhile, it seems that the old political parties are getting restless, and Mihai Antonescu, deputy chairman of the government, is trying a rapprochement to the Iron Guard in order to create a party. [...] It is obvious that the domestic situation is bad, that the world of politics is beginning to fret against Marshal Antonescu, who is going blindly on in this war, deeply believing that he is moving toward victory. All this only comes from the fact that Marshal Antonescu has a deep feeling that he is a genius, that he is better than everyone else, and that his decisions are the best. Anyway, he acts like a dictator, and dictators have never been able to accept advisers, they only want accomplices. Actually, with this man, appearances are better than reality, he lacks modesty, likes to be flattered, and he has assumed a responsibility that he is not going to be able to carry out up to the end. I am horrified at the abuse and thefts that are being committed; I am horrified at the inability of certain ministers: they are not adequate for the present times, they are just a bunch of people flattering the marshal and his wife [...] August 5, 1942. [...] I found Cernăuţi flourishing; the shops evacuated by the Jews have been reopened by Romanians. All the factories are working. There is only one sad thing: that they do business and even atrocities are being committed against the Jews who must be evacuated out of Bukovina. Plus, a lot of adventurers came in and took over the factories, making huge profits. I found a lot of do-nothings who came here to get rich, and who were not embarrassed to say that they came to the Romanian California in order to get rich. Iaşi, August 7, 1942. The Romanian troops have begun to be shipped to the front along the Cernăuţi-Lemberg route, and from there eastward, to Dnepropetrovsk-Stalino. [...]The news from the front is good, especially the operations in the Caucasus, which are moving very fast. We feel we are getting close to the end of the war, and I wonder if we are not going to arrive there when it is over. In that event, we will get either an occupation mission over the vast conquered territory, or a mission to occupy a portion of the defensive front, which will be established in winter. We would have liked to participate in combat missions, but we are probably arriving too late. Iaşi, August 14, 1942. [...] Nations need to create idols and heroes, and the choice does not fall on those who deserve it; in many cases, it is fate that decides. Indeed, we can say that in history only names and dates are true, while facts are forged more often than not. Iaşi, August 18, 1942. [...] The newspapers have published a report filed by the Patronage Society, which is run by Mrs. Antonescu, in order to snuggle down the public, which is increasingly alarmed because of the fraud being committed there. Anyway, the report is interesting, considering the fantastic sums of money handled by that society, which are taken out of the state budget; and the members of the society are bragging about their success, when their personal contributions are actually zero. [...] Iaşi, August 31, 1942. I went to Bucharest for a couple of days, and I took care of some personal business. [...] I saw General Şteflea, chief of the General Staff, who briefed me about the future mission on the front. There is talk about forming a group of armies (the Third and Fourth Romanian Armies and the Sixth German Army) under the command of Marshal Antonescu. I do not know whether the marshal will be healthy enough to exercise this command, but I can see this man’s ambition, who wants to appear as a great commander now, at the end of the operations. In order to satisfy this ambition of his, he is sending the entire Romanian army to the front, even if the Germans never asked him to do that. [...] January 30, 1943. Nothing but music and speeches on German radio stations, because this is the 10th anniversary of I-do-not-know-what event of National Socialism. We must have gotten this craze about speeches from the Germans. In Stalingrad, the German Sixth Army and the Romanian troops (the First Cavalry Division and the Twentieth Infantry Division) are breathing their last. Therefore Fuehrer Hitler has not worked the miracle to relieve the troops here, which are mostly German, therefore he will never take the trouble to relieve the ones on the Don River, which are only Romanian! [...] Volnovakha, January 31, 1943. [...] In Stalingrad, 22 German divisions and two Romanian ones are on the verge of death. If the Germans had ordered an withdrawal in time, we would have been on the Cir River today with 200,000 Germans and 100,000 Romanians, and we would have been able to hold out. Now everything is lost because of the resistance and encircling tactics imagined by the Fuehrer. Of course, the Russian army, now freed because the Stalingrad forces were destroyed, will create an even greater crisis in another part of the front. [...]  Pologye, February 3, 1943. [...] In Pologye, much to my surprise, I find very many German soldiers, teeming everywhere; most have run away from the units that were withdrawing from the Caucasus, and now the German command is trying to gather them. In the evening I listen to the Fuehrer’s salute to the German Sixth Army, which capitulated at Stalingrad, on the radio. He mentions that two Romanian divisions and a Slovak regiment were there, too. A few days before, I think, Goebbels said the word “capitulation” does not exist in German dictionaries. The Stalingrad episode is over; one marshal and many generals captured: the Russians can be proud of such a capture. And all these misfortunes because Hitler believes he is a great strategist. Hitler’s speech ended this way: “They sacrificed to save us.” Not much consolation for the sacrificed ones – and then, we will see whether this sacrifice will bring about salvation. I believe they would have been more useful if they had withdrawn and held out somewhere else. [...] COMMANDER OF THE FOURTH ARMY February 23, 1943. Today I am leaving for Crimea. [...] I cross the Dnepr River on the ice and I go south, on a bad road. [...] So, here I am in Crimea, where my new mission begins. [...] March 4, 1943. [...] I am indoors listening to Radio Bucharest, where Propaganda Minister Marcu is making a speech about the radio. This minister is a great fan of Italy, and he does not know how dissonant his praising words sound in our souls, because all our misfortune comes from Italy, too. This country, overlooking our blood ties, did us the great injustice of supporting the Hungarians – and this is how we lost the greatest part of Transylvania under the Vienna diktat of August 1940. In the past, too, I remember Italy was the last country to recognize our rights over Bessarabia, and that only happened after the Averescu government bought some old Italian weapons, which means that we paid them to recognize our rights. [...] Bucharest, March 10, 1943. After the agreement made on the phone with Colonel Zaharia, the marshal’s chief of staff, I went to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers at 7.30 PM. The marshal was very busy; many people were waiting for audiences. He did not ask me anything about the front, he told me directly that I had been called to say whether I accept to become chief of the Military House of His Majesty the King. He explained to me that the king was too young, and that older, more experienced people had to be placed around him, and this is why he considered me and Grigorcea, as palace marshal; Grigorcea was minister to Rome at the time, but he was to be recalled for this high post. Of course, I was extremely surprised, because I believed I had been called to report on what I had found in Crimea and the Caucasus, and I had brought documentation with me about that. Although I had been absent from Bucharest for a long time, some rumors about the tension between the king and the marshal had reached me. Of course, I could not respond immediately; I said I wanted to see the king first and then read the Royal House Statutes, to see what my duties will be and if I would be able to carry them out. The audience ended at that, so I was expected to give my definitive answer after I became perfectly well informed. March 12, 1943. At noon I had an audience with the king, and the queen mother attended. I described to them my meeting with the marshal, and I asked them if they agreed to my appointment to this post, or whether it was the marshal’s initiative. The king told me he had asked the marshal for me and the marshal accepted, even more, he had asked for me as early as the preceding year, but the marshal disagreed, saying he needed me on the front. The queen filled me in on the tension between the king and the marshal, saying they were terrorized by the marshal and threatened to be expelled. The king is being completely sidelined and treated as if he did not matter, all powers having been taken away from him; all he has left is the right to give decorations and grant pardons, and those, of course, according to the marshal’s indications. When I heard all this, I realized I was getting a post entailing much responsibility and which was not exactly easy – namely to be some kind of a buffer between the king and the marshal. [...] The king accepted my suggestions, so I accepted to become chief of the Military House. Meanwhile, there was much talk in Bucharest about the situation between the king and the marshal, and they were all on the king’s side, especially the politicians in all parties. When they heard I was being appointed to this post close to the king, they all agreed it was a good choice, but they were afraid I would not accept, and this is why many were keen to visit me and explain to me that I should not hesitate, as this is in the best interest of the country, because the king was too young and needs a devoted adviser, plus the marshal had to be held in check. Generals Mihail, Pleniceanu, and Niculescu – comrades and friends – came to my home and gave me details about the disagreement between the king and the marshal, and they told me it would be a great misfortune for this country if the marshal made it so that the king had to abdicate, so I had to stay. I told them that I had accepted the post in principle, following my audience with the king. March 13, 1943. People in the city do not know about my decision, so they keep asking me to accept the post. [...] I find that the marshal has become unpopular and everybody hates him, but he is staying in power due to the Germans, who do not trust anybody else. People are mostly unhappy because the Romanian army was defeated in Russia and because of his wife’s behavior, who acts like a queen. [...] March 15, 1943. I got to see the marshal to give him my definitive answer. I feel the marshal is not happy with my decision, and he hoped I would not accept. [...] Marshal Antonescu would have liked the king to remain in complete isolation. March 16, 1943. I go to the war minister, advise him of my decision, and ask him to prepare the appointing decree. [...] March 27, 1943. The decree has not been issued yet, so people are intrigued. When I went to the ministry I found the decree signed both by the king and by the marshal, so I ordered it to be sent immediately to the Official Gazette. When the decree was published, the public quieted down, and I am opening a new chapter in my activity. I confess I am worried, starting out on a new road. Will I get to the end of this road in good conditions? It is up to fate. June 1943. Since the marshal had put enormous distance between the army and the king, I decided to help the king get in contact with the army again, little by little and quietly. I take advantage of the opportunity that the Germans were selling some cars in Galaţi and the king wanted to buy one, so I arrange the king’s agenda – the king will visit the Galaţi squadron of fighter aircraft, where I have high school friends, and the queen mother will visit the hospitals in town. [...] On June 4 in the morning we landed on the Galaţi airport, where an honor company welcomed the king with flags and music, and so did all the senior officers and generals in the garrison, with the mayor and the county prefect. The king spent all morning among the officers in the squadron of fighter aircraft, displaying competent knowledge about aircraft and engines. In fact, I believe that if he had not been king, he would have made an excellent mechanical engineer, as he has talent for that. I arranged for him to have lunch at the air force officers’ mess, not on the royal yacht, which was in the harbor. [...] My idea was good, because the lunch atmosphere was so warm, that every man felt close to the royal family. Still to obtain this rapprochement between the king and the army, several lunches followed in Sinaia, with all the generals invited there, one by one. On June 11 the conscripts of the Guard Battalion took the oath in the king’s presence. The ceremony was held in Sinaia on the bank of the Prahova River. The king spoke enthusiastically to the young soldiers. [...] July 1943. Field Marshal von Manstein arrives in Bucharest; he is the conqueror of Sevastopol. Last winter he commanded the group of armies beaten by the Russians, where Romanians also participated, unfortunately. [...] On July 12, the king and the queen mother went to Constanţa; the king visited the navy and the navy air force, and the queen mother visited the hospitals in Constanţa and Carmen Sylva. [...] In recent days the press wrote about the visit of Mihai Antonescu, vice-president of the government and foreign minister, to Italy, where he met with the king of Italy and with Mussolini. I believe they are over-covering this event, because everything will be reduced to sending food to the hungry people in Italy, although this country does not deserve our contribution; it has always supported Hungary and Bulgaria against our interests. The operations in Sicily are going badly for the Italians and Germans, and on July 26 we heard that Mussolini resigned and Marshal Badoglio replaced him. Let the Italians get fed up with the totalitarian regime, through which an adventurer has led the country to disaster. Mussolini’s resignation must have produced disappointment in Germany. On July 27 I was called to Sinaia urgently. When I arrived, the king and the queen mother were in an audience with Mihai Antonescu, who had returned from Italy. [...] After the guests left, the king and the queen mother filled me in on what Mihai Antonescu had said. They are expecting Italy to get out of the action. The government has approached Hungary and Bulgaria, to see if there is any possibility of all of us leaving the Axis at the same time. I said this was wrong, and that they should negotiate with England through Turkey, to see what advice England is offering to us and how we have been treated in England’s conventions with Russia. The king and the queen mother are thinking that if the events precipitate, they should leave. I told them not to worry, the events could not precipitate soon. I believe the British have no interest for Germany to be destroyed and Europe invaded by the Russians. England knows very well that Germany alone can stop the Russians. If Hitler leaves the way Mussolini did, one hour earlier, this will be in favor of the British and Germans making it up, which would make Europe happy. I wonder if Hitler is capable of such patriotism. Generally, dictators cling to power up to the end. The British prime minister is making a very measured speech. Italy’s decision is being expected; the newly-formed government is made up of older people, which is very significant, because it seems that they are going back to older formulas. Recently, young people in all countries, allowed to run things, have led the world to disaster. There are movements against Fascism in Italy. The British-American press is attacking Mussolini, only the Hungarian press is taking his side. Benes’ speech in London, supporting us against the Hungarians, is interesting. We would not have one worry now if our army was whole and if we had not interfered in the war against Russia! We would have carried a lot of weight, and we may have decided the fate of the war, intervening at the last moment. The Turkish press suggests that the Russian claims against us are not only limited to Bukovina and Bessarabia, they also want Dobrogea. I believe this is not about Dobrogea, because a conflict would emerge, since neither England nor Turkey will allow the Danube mouth to be occupied and the Russians to get close to Constantinople. Perhaps that conflict would be in our favor. August 1943. This very day, August 1, at 1.40 PM, the air alarm was sounded. The enemy (Americans and Canadians) came via Bistreţu on the Danube with 130 bomber planes, and attacked the oil region in Prahova Valley. [...] Ploieşti has become world famous: all the radio stations talk about is the raid against that city. News arrives that the destructions are much heavier. The government is bracing to issue a communiqué, hiding the seriousness of the situation. The situation in Italy is still unclear. [...] Great shame on the Italians, because the Anglo-Americans are conquering Sicily and perhaps all of Italy with 14 divisions; if there is any resistance left in Sicily, this is probably due to German troops. Heavy fighting on the eastern front, the Germans have lost Orel. The Russians are making huge efforts to arrive in the Balkans before the Anglo-Americans. I went to the General Staff to get the complete documentation on the aircraft that bombed the oil region. Obviously, the main refineries have been shut down. Going through the documents found in the planes that were shot down and those found with the aviators that have been captured, I see with pleasure that our people is characterized as having national dignity, not hating the Anglo-Americans, and only hating the Russians and even the Germans. All the prisoners are happy with the way they have been treated: they are asking not to be handed over to the Germans, but to be gathered in a camp, where they want a teacher to teach them Romanian. Before this raid Romania did not have anything to suffer from air incursions. Only the Russians made a few attempts, with few airplanes and weak results. This time, however, we had to suffer. The prisoners admit that the air defense was good and active, which is why they had losses they did not expect. [...] The army and army corps commanders have been called at the War Ministry to be briefed about the situation and most of all about the project to organize the army. There are still those among us who believe that Germany is training a powerful army, which will deal a decisive blow. They are so far from reality! In Italy – chaos. December 1943. The situation on the eastern front is bad. The Russians keep enlarging the bridgeheads west of the Dnepr River. I believe the Germans will soon be forced to move their defense much further to the west, perhaps on the Bug River, if not even on the Dniester River, and abandon the Baltic countries. The Anglo-Americans are advancing slowly in Italy. We spend a sad Christmas. Now people are aware of the misfortune approaching us. The newspapers can no longer deceive the public. Concern is taking over everyone’s soul, little by little. January and February 1944. [...] Great panic in Romania! They ordered the evacuation of Bukovina, Bessarabia, and northern Moldavia. The trains are full of people. The government makes the mistake of withdrawing the authorities as well, abandoning the peasants who are not being evacuated. The order came to mobilize the Fourth Army Corps, not in order to participate in the operations, but to maintain order and recall the mobilized men in case the Russians cross the Dniester River. By the end of the month, the situation improves a little, because the Germans managed to patch up the front. [...] Bad domestic situation; basic product prices are going up. The Iron Guard members and the Communists are beginning to be active. February 1944. [...] They are continuing to evacuate the north of the country. I read each day the Operations Barometer of the General Staff to keep His Majesty informed, and I never find any improvement on the front. I expect the German defense to be moved on Bug or the Dniester River soon. In Poland the Russians have penetrated deeply enough, and they are threatening the communications to Lemberg. By end-February we are beginning to think about an armistice. We gather at the Little House – the king’s house behind the palace in Victoria Street – and we begin the first talks. The following participate in those talks: the King, Foreign Minister Niculescu Buzeşti, Sbârcea, deputy palace marshal, Ioaniţiu, the king’s secretary, and myself. I see in these talks: Niculescu Buzeşti is more measured and better informed, Sbârcea is more impulsive, to which is added his personal hatred of Marshal Antonescu. March 1944. The work of the Higher Army Council lasted for 16 days, and all they dealt with was promotions, characterizations, and complaints. We are not being briefed about any large projects that would be of interest to the army – especially operations. Meanwhile, the marshal and General Şteflea went to see Hitler again, and they came back optimistic; I do not understand the basis for that optimism. [...] I guess the Germans are planning to withdraw up to the Carpathian Mountains, turning Moldavia into the operations theater. People are worried sick thinking about a massive evacuation. The marshal, despite his characteristic obstinacy, must see that his policy was wrong. We had no business participating in this great conflict, and it would have been to our advantage if we had been able to stay neutral. An Arab proverb says “When studs fight, let colts stay out of it.” The representatives of various political parties, who have had no activity so far, are rushing on me to contact the king, and they propose all kinds of solutions, which, vetted, lead to nothing practical and positive. Considering the serious events on the Bug River, I am surprised that the Germans are not forcing us to order general mobilization. Although I no longer have contact with the troops, I suppose their morale is low, and, if they re-entered the operations, they would no longer react like they used to. Apart from all this, there is tension with Hungary, following some incidents in Cluj. The German operations on the eastern front are not good strategically. This front, which is so very important, is being left without strategic reserves all the time. Since the Germans still have 300 divisions inside waiting, it would have been wise for 50-60 divisions to stay in Bessarabia and Trans-Dniester, as a strategic reserve for the eastern front. Apart from the fact that these units would not have consumed the little food they have in Germany by staying there, they would have kept the Russians at bay. However, it seems that the Germans are confused, because they are afraid of an Anglo-American invasion on the Atlantic coast, and they are waiting for them with all their forces, while the Russians are operating unhindered. Even if that invasion takes place, they do not need all the German reserves. The German General Staff is unable to assess which one of the two fronts is more dangerous. It is not hard to see that the Russian front is the most dangerous one. March 18, 1944. [...] The headquarters of the Romanian Fourth Army has been established in Iaşi. [...]This army has the task to defend the crossing over the Dniester River, to prevent enemy recon detachments from going west of the river. There is much activity in politics, owing to the initiative of the opposition, not of the government. Barbu Ştirbey left for Cairo to contact the representatives of the three great powers for a separate armistice. Marshal Antonescu, who has never been a politician, is not up to the events, and he seems totally paralyzed in making a decision. The London and Turkish papers are writing a lot about our situation. Benes’ statements are being discussed; he tells us that the Russians agree to give us the entire Transylvania, but they will take Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from us. We should act in that direction, so as not to lose everything. I was on the phone with Savârşin, telling the adjutant on duty to ask the king to come to Sinaia, considering the events. I wanted the king to be closer and impose himself on the government a little, taking advantage of its confusion on the events. I believe the marshal is not so intransigent anymore. March 20, 1944. The enemy managed to cross the Dniester River at Soroca. So the Russians are now touching our national soil. The contact between the Russians and the Romanian troops on the Dniester River has been established. Although the Russian forces that crossed the river are weak, our reaction is even weaker, for some reason. [...] March 21, 1944. I went to Sinaia to brief the king on the situation and to suggest to him what he has to say to Mihai Antonescu, who will have an audience with the king today. The marshal and Mihai Antonescu will go to see Hitler, who may offer us Transylvania. We must not accept that easily, because we are not sure we can keep it; we must not turn the Hungarians into victims in the eyes of the international public. Transylvania should come to us through a plebiscite, and we must make an agreement with the Hungarians through German intervention. March 22, 1944. I contacted Dinu Brătianu, leader of the National Liberal Party, who presented to me his opinions and the result of the audience Iuliu Maniu, leader of the National Peasant Party, had with the marshal. [...] March 23, 1944. The king came to Bucharest. The marshal and Mihai Antonescu left for Germany.Because the Hungarians did not present enough guarantees, the Germans occupied Hungary, taking over the administration. Domestic measures have been taken to prevent something similar from happening here. Dinu Brătianu is sending me a copy of the protest letter he sent to the marshal. In the afternoon I had a conversation with General Mihail, who has ties with politicians, to find out about everybody’s opinions. In the evening, at the Little House, we discussed until late at night with the king, Buzeşti, and Stârcea, to see how we could bring about the armistice. March 25, 1944. The Annunciation. We hope for some good news, too, today. The reality is sad. The enemy is advancing everywhere. [...] The disaster is probably beginning. The exodus of the Moldavian population is touching. People are waiting for the marshal to come back from Germany. March 27, 1944. Yesterday, the marshal had an audience with the king. I think he came back from Hitler without any positive result, and he does not even believe in the efficiency of the measures that will be taken. [...] The king left for Sinaia. There is talk about a Crown Council; I disagree, because that would engage the king, who has not been consulted about anything so far, and now they are trying to place all the responsibility on his back. Then there is the question on how the Germans will see this council; will they occupy us entirely, like it happened to the Hungarians, and so we will lose our entire freedom of action? We are advancing fast toward disaster. The people coming from Moldavia are informing me that the army is in a very bad shape in point of equipment and discipline. Thousands of German deserters have gathered in Galaţi; very many have begun to curse Hitler – they used to worship him before. People are maddened, because the Moldavian refugees spread panic wherever they go. [...] March 18, 1944. I was called to Sinaia urgently. After examining the political and military situation, I requested an audience with Mihai Antonescu; I went to see him late in the evening with Negel, the administrator of the Crown Domains, and Sbârcea. Since the Germans are not observing their commitment to defend our soil, we no longer have any obligation, either. We analyze again to see whether it is a good idea to hold a Crown Council. We need to hear the marshal’s opinion as well. The Germans force us to withdraw to a position south of Iaşi, namely Dealu Mare-Strunga-Târgu Neamţ, as well as to Corneşti Plateau in Bessarabia. Therefore, we cede northern Moldavia and Bessarabia. March 30, 1944. Private lunch at the Little House: the king, the marshal, Mihai Antonescu, and me. After lunch we examine the situation. Some disagreement between the marshal and Mihai Antonescu. It seems that the latter is inclined to side with us, to request an armistice. The marshal wants to reinforce the position at Dealu Mare-Târgu Frumos-Strunga, where he believes the enemy can be stopped. It would be a great gain to hold out there until the end of the war, which the marshal does not see as too distant in the future. The king asked that the region of Bucharest and Ploieşti be emptied of troops. At the same time, it has been agreed to test the ground in Ankara for an armistice with Russia. I stayed until late in the night with the king, the queen mother, Stârcea, and Ioaniţiu, examining the idea of the opposition: to request an unconditional armistice of Russia and to get the Germans out of this country. It is not practical to accept the unconditional armistice, it would not be much different from an unconditional surrender. We must negotiate with the Russians in order to obtain certain facilities, and this is only possible as long as we still have an army on the front that can hold out. I believe the other part is very difficult. It is easy to come up with an idea – chasing the Germans out of this country – but there are two great hurdles against implementing it: one, the Germans are strong and numerous here, and two, how will the officers and the soldiers react to the idea of turning against the Germans? There is military honor, and that would not admit this act of treason. We need to wait a little longer and analyze everything carefully, so as not to rush into an adventure. 31 March 1944. Mihai Antonescu was scheduled to have talks with various political personalities, who are very keen for us to get out of the war, but none of them comes up with any solution on how to do that. I am curious to see the result, and who is the man who will assume responsibility to take up the reins of the government.  PALACE MARSHAL April 1, 1944. Since His Majesty is beginning to be active in politics, he proposes to me to become palace marshal. As chief of the Military House, people would become suspicious if they saw me talking to politicians, but as palace marshal it would be my duty to keep contact with people outside. As palace marshal I am the highest-ranking dignitary of the palace, and I have more freedom of action. They drafted the royal decision appointing me to that post today, and it was published in the Official Gazette.