Franklin Mott Gunther on the prospect of anti-Jewish measures in Romania in 1940



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I have the honor to report that Ambassador Stoica, formerly Ambassador at Ankara and now Under Secretary of Propaganda, told me the other evening at dinner at my house in honor of himself and the representatives of the American newspapers, that his Government was going to do everything within its power to prevent anti-Jewish outbreaks, but that it greatly feared such outbreaks on the part of the Army as the latter was so incensed at the treatment meted out to it by the Jews

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in Bessarabia when it was withdrawing. I observed that for once Rumania had a good press in the outside world, where there was great sympathy because it had been set upon by a powerful nation of 180,000,000 people, and that I thought it would be a great pity to sacrifice this for the sake of a Pogrom or two.

On another recent occasion I had an opportunity informally to emphasize to Prime Minister Gigurtu that any internal disturbance, especially Jewish persecution, might easily be seized upon by Russia as an excuse for further action. [...] The Gigurtu group maintains that to pass rigid laws against Jews at the

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present critical moment would seriously affect the economic structure of the State, as well as create a most unfortunate impression among nations abroad, particularly the United States. Some observers take the view that should there be no further pressure from Hungary and Bulgaria for territorial cession at present the moderate group will win its point and there will be no strong anti-Semitic reaction in Rumania; if, however, the Government is forced to cede more territory immediately, a cession for which public opinion has not yet been adequately prepared, the Iron Guard thesis will be more likely to win because the Government will find it necessary to resort to anti-Semitic agitation as a cloak and counter-irritant.

In recent days a few mild anti-Jewish measures have been announced but nothing to suggest a really vicious program. [...]

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I accordingly feel that no really strong Jewish persecutions are apt to eventuate in the near future except as they may arise out of new circumstances created by the evolution of international events or further dissatisfaction in the Army.


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The United States of America were neutral during the first two years of the Second World War. They were brought into the conflict by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 and became one of the decisive belligerent nations, defeating Japan in the Pacific and heavily contributing to the war effort against the Axis powers, e.g. during the Allied landings in North Africa, Italy and France. American forces invaded German territory early in 1945. On the eve of the Second World War...