Transylvania and the Soviet Foreign Policy towards Romania and Hungary, 1941–1945.
In: Bojan Aleksov and Aliaksandr Piahanau (eds.), Wars and Betweenness: Big Powers in Middle Europe, 1918–1945, N.Y.: Central European University Press, 2020, pp. 81–99.
Posted: 25 Jan 2021
Date Written: September 1, 2020
By the end of World War II, two fundamental geopolitical metamorphoses took place in Central Europe: regional Soviet leverage drastically increased and local governments collapsed, opening the way to the establishment of pro-Soviet, and then Communist regimes. From the Soviet point of view, WWII consisted of two separate stages: the first, 1939–1941, when Moscow pursued a neutral policy — accompanied by close cooperation with Berlin in remapping Central Europe — and the second, 1941–1945, the period of the war against Germany and its allies. This paper focuses on the latter stage and seeks to explain how the Soviet Union’s increasing international weight reflected on Moscow’s policy regarding the two German-allied countries in Central Europe — Hungary and Romania. What makes this case study particularly interesting is the Soviet use of the traditional great power strategy of achieving regional influence by exploiting hostility between smaller states. In addition to showcasing the dynamics between Great Powers and small states, this essay contributes to the ongoing historiographical debate on Soviet foreign policy during the WWII. These debates were relaunched with the opening of the Russian archives after 1991 and this paper integrates newly-available sources on the Kremlin’s role in the political-diplomatic settlement of the Transylvanian question.
Keywords: Second World War, Soviet Union, Soviet Foreign Policy, Central and Eastern Europe, Romania, Hungary, Transylvania
JEL Classification: Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation