Purifying the Ranks: Ethnic and Minority Policy in the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War


  • Grant Harward

    1. Texas A&M University
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    • Grant completed his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University (BYU), during which time he took a break from school and lived in Romania for two years where he learned the Romanian language and became interested in Romanian history. His capstone research paper at BYU focused on the communist takeover in Romania. He obtained his master's degree at the University of Edinburgh in the History of the Second World War in Europe. His thesis dealt with German stereotypes of the Romanian Army during the Second World War and has since been published. He currently is at Texas A&M working on his Ph.D. focusing on a social-military history of the Romanian Army and its motivations for fighting on the Eastern Front, including its participation in the Holocaust. He has just participated as a fellow in the Auschwitz Jewish Center programme.


During the Second World War, the Romanian Armed Forces joined in the conflict between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The Romanian Army's contribution to the Axis war effort has been largely forgotten or sidelined since the war. Similarly, Romania's minorities and their military service or restriction from military service has been overlooked. Romania's expansion after the First World War greatly increased the number of minorities in the country and also those serving in the military. The way the Romanian Armed Forces dealt with minorities and their contribution to the Romanian war effort should not be forgotten as the true extent and depth of the war on the Eastern Front is being revealed. Romanian nationalist and ethnic policies affected the ranks as much as it shaped the rest of its wartime policy of ethnic ‘purification’.