restricted access Historicizing a Disputed Theme: Anti-Communist Armed Resistance in Romania
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Dorin Dobrincu Historicizing a Disputed Theme: Anti-Communist Armed Resistance in Romania1 The wars waged by small irregular groups against regular military forces or even big armies, of the “classical” type, have been known since Antiquity. But the term “guerrilla war” entered the military vocabulary with the Napoleonic invasion to Spain, at the beginning of the 19th century, when the Spanish irregular forces played an important part in Napoleon’s defeat. The term “guerrilla” means “small war” or “irregular war” waged by unprofessional civil-soldiers, who transform into fighters when their country is invaded by a foreign power.2 Therefore, if a war is carried on with regular armies, it is considered to be the “great” (classical) war, while guerrilla warfare is the “small war,” the unconventional one, a “harassing war,” which brings together “functions and practices of fight, where the cunning, the cheating, the surprise and the secret intercross and support each other.”3 1 The title of the paper delivered on 29 November 2007, in Washington, within the symposium “Stalinism Revisited—The Establishment of Communist Regimes in East-Central Europe and the Dynamics of the Soviet Bloc”, was “The Anti-Communist Armed Resistance in Romania in Comparative Perspective .” Considering the fact that the topic of the anti-communist armed resistance in Romania is very little known in the English language historiography , we though it might be useful to insist more upon the development of the phenomenon, offering in the final section the so necessary comparative perspective. 2 Virgil Ney, “Guerrilla Warfare and Modern Strategy,” in Modern Guerrilla Warfare: Fighting Communist Guerrilla Movement, 1941–1961, Franklin Mark Osanka ed., introduction by Samuel P. Huntington (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1963), p. 25. 3 Alain Dewerpe, Spionul: Antropologia secretului de stat contemporan, transl. from French by Dan C. Mihăilescu (Bucharest: Editura Nemira, 1998), p. 61. i3 Stalin book.indb 305 10/15/09 9:47:37 AM 306 Stalinism Revisited The “guerrilla war,” the “unconventional war,” the “irregular war,” the “internal war,” the “maquis” (a term for the French Resistance only), the “paramilitary operations,” etc., are all concepts that compelled recognition during World War II and continued during the Cold War. They started to be attentively investigated after World War II4 giving birth to a rich military and political literature. But in the second half of the 20th century, in certain political and military circles, they substantiate the idea that the guerrilla war, the partisan war, is not just a liberation war, but one against colonialism and capitalism. Actually, this was only about the left wing partisan war, particularly the communist one.5 There was no place left for the anti-communists’ partisan war, as they were all together and automatically associated with fascists. The anti-communist Resistance in Eastern Europe was not known in the West, except at a quite superficial, even false, level. On the other hand, because of the hostile public environment in countries like France, where the intellectuals had been blinded by communism after World War II, it was not possible to know any better. As a result of these generalized reductionisms, the idea that being an anti-communist corresponds to being a fascist spread.6 Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement became famous: “All anti-communists are dogs.” For an intellectual of his importance—holding a place in the foreground of the international intellectual stage for so long—being an anti-communist was nothing more and nothing less than a moral crime.7 After World War II, this kind of intellectual opinion maker played an essential part in the formation of a negative perspective on anti-communists all over the world, especially in Eastern Europe. In the present paper, we shall dwell on the anti-communist armed resistance in Romania. We have in view the temporal and spatial 4  Samuel P. Huntington, “Guerrilla Warfare in theory and policy,” introduction to F.M. Osanka ed., Modern Guerrilla Warfare, p. xv. 5  Guerilă, rezistenţă, război popular: Culegere de texte din literatura social-politică şi militară străină (Bucharest: Editura Militară, 1972). 6  François Furet, Trecutul unei iluzii: Eseu despre ideea comunistă în secolul XX, transl. from French by Emanoil Marcu şi Vlad Russo (Bucharest: Editura Humanitas, 1996), pp. 373–5, 396. 7  Raymond Aron, Spectatorul angajat, interview with Jean-Louis Missika and Dominique Wolton, transl. from French by Miruna Tătaru-Cazaban (Bucharest : Editura Nemira, 1999), p. 165. See also Monica Lovinescu, “O paranteză cât o existenţă,” Secolul, Vol. 20, Nos. 10...