Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Walter Bacon

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Garver

Third Advisor

Dr. Jerold Simmons


Romanian-American relations between 1938 and 1940 evolved at an oscillating path and developed asymmetrically according to the pattern o f a big power-small power relationship. This period presents particularly interesting features due to international trends and the evolution of Romanian internal situation. The United States did not consider the East Central European region (where Romania was situated) to have a specific importance for its national interest. Therefore, the foreign policy decision-makers of the State Department did not designed a strategy toward East Central Europe in the interwar period. Moreover, this region had little to offer to the United States strategically, economically, and politically. Neither Romania nor the United States had important political and economic interests in the other. Their material and political resources were different. Especially Romania confronted serious economic problems which impaired her abilities to develop sound trade relations with and to pay her debt to the United States in the interwar period. The rapid advance of Germany in East Central Europe compelled Romania to ask the United States for assistance in armaments and raw materials. This initiative in Romania’s arms’ imports constituted a new and original departure from the previous decade. Romanian officials requested credits and loans from American private banks and manufacturers but they did not succeed in their quest due to Romania’s poor payment abilities. The American journalists and diplomats active in the Balkans informed accurately and regularly the State Department about the aggressive economic policy o f the Third Reich and anticipated Romania’s weak chances to resist to Germany’s drive to the East. They also identified that country as crucial in the German “drang nach Osten” due to her natural resources such as oil and grains. Unfortunately, Romania suffered during the entire interwar period from a poor public image which presented her to the American public as an exotic, politically and ethnically troubled Balkans kingdom. The United States did not have any notable strategic, military, or economic interest in Romania at the time of Germany’s march in the Balkans. Despite the warnings of American diplomats and journalists, the State Department could not connect the developments in this area with the fate of the United States and did not design an active policy to prevent its falling into Germany’s sphere of influence.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1997 Emma Porfireanu