Ion Antonescu
Historical Figure
Nationality: Romania
Date of Birth: 1882
Date of Death: 1946
Cause of Death: Execution by firing squad
Religion: Romanian Orthodox
Occupation: Author of Non-Fiction, Soldier
Spouse: Maria
Military Branch: Romanian Land Forces
World War I
Political Party: None (former ally of the Iron Guard)
Political Office(s): Prime Minister of Romania
Conducator (with King Michael), also Foreign Minister and War Minister
Fictional Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War;
Coup d'Etat;
Last Orders
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Political Office(s): Prime Minister of Romania

Ion Antonescu (15 June 1882 – 1 June 1946) was the Conducător (leader) and Prime Minister of Romania for most of World War II, after leading the overthrow of King Carol II in 1940. He nominally was co-head of state with King Michael, but most of the actual power rested with Antonescu. A firm anti-Semite, Antonescu independently implemented policies, based on the Nazi model, that were responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 Jews. Under Antonescu, Romania entered the War on the side of the Axis. He survived one coup attempt by the Iron Guard party, a like-minded political rival whom Antonescu smashed with the aid of Germany. Antonescu allocated troops for the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

When the tide turned against the Axis, Antonescu attempted to reach a peace with the Allied Forces in 1944, but was instead successfully toppled by a coalition led by King Michael. He was tried in 1946 for war crimes, convicted, and executed.

Ion Antonescu in The War That Came Early[]

In 1939, Ion Antonescu was a power to be reckoned with in Romania, although Romania itself remained neutral at the outset of the Second World War. When American Peggy Druce considered travelling to Hungary and then Romania to get back to the United States, American diplomat Constantine Jenkins warned her that Marshal[1] Antonescu and his followers might not allow her to cross from Hungary into their country, though this had more to do with frosty relations between the two countries than with anything related to Druce herself.[2]

Antonescu kept Romania neutral until early 1941, when, in the aftermath of the "big switch", Romania declared war on the USSR, joining a substantial multi-national coalition[3] in exchange for the port of Odessa and the adjoining lands on the far bank of the Dniester.[4]

Romania remained a German ally even after the British and the French left their alliance before the end of 1941. Throughout the remainder of the war, Romanian troops fought exclusively in the Ukraine, but they had insufficient artillery and tanks to support the infantry. Consequently, Romanians were generally more willing to surrender rather than fight.[5] Surrender didn't save them from the gulags.[6] Moreover, given the historical animosity between Romania and Germany's other staunch ally, Hungary, the German military placed German units between the Hungarian and Romanian units on the lines.[7] However, by 1943, Germany's situation was so dire that an unreliable ally was better than no ally.

As 1943 ended, Germany was in constant retreat, rumors began to circulate that Romania was seeking a separate peace, prompting Marshal Antonescu to publicly announce that Romania was not leaving the war.[8] In April 1944, the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation overthrew Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, bringing the war to a halt in Europe.[9] Romania derived no benefit from its alliance with Germany; Odessa and the lands around the Dniester stayed in Soviet hands.


  1. See: Inconsistencies (The War That Came Early).
  2. Hitler's War, pg. 387
  3. Coup d'Etat, pgs. 63-64, HC.
  4. Ibid., pg. 124.
  5. Two Fronts, pg. 302-303.
  6. Ibid., pg. 305.
  7. Last Orders, pg. 27-28.
  8. Ibid., pg. 199.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 300, 311, HC.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ion Gigurtu
Prime Minister of Romania
Succeeded by
Constantin Sănătescu
Preceded by
Carol II (as King)
Conducător of Romania (co-head of state)
With: Michael of Romania
Succeeded by
Michael of Romania
(as sole head of state)
Political offices
(The War That Came Early)
Preceded by
Miron Elie Cristea
Prime Minister of Romania
Succeeded by
Incumbent at series' end, 1944