He graduated from the "Military School of Artillery, Combat Engineering and Navy officers" in 1907, with the rank of sub-lieutenant, being promoted lieutenant in 1910, captain in 1915 and major in 1917 during World War I. After the war he attended the Şcoala Superioară de Război (Military Academy), at present Carol I National Defence University, graduating in 1920 when he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After reaching the rank of colonel in 1928, and of Brigadier General in 1935, Vasile Atanasiu was advanced to Divisional General in 1940, before the beginning of World War II and to Lieutenant General in 1942.
He served as Commander of the 2nd Army Corps in 1941, and moved to the 3d Army Corps which he commanded from June 22, 1941 to March 20, 1943. In this capacity he led the Corps in the military actions for the liberation of Bessarabia in the battle for the beachhead of Albiţa on the Prut River, and then in the advance to the Dniester at Tiraspol. He was then in command of the corps on the front line from Karpovo to Dalnik during the battle for Odessa.
In 1943 he was appointed Inspector-General of Artillery position which he held from March 20, 1943 to February 12, 1945. He then took command of the 1st Army, taking part in the battles on the Czechoslovakian front in the Javorina, between the rivers Hron and Morava and thereafter in Bohemia. Atansiu retired in 1948.
He was awarded the Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, the Czechoslovak Order of the White Lion, the Soviet Order of Suvorov and the Soviet Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" 
- "Generals from Romania". Generals.dk. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- * Şerban Pavelescu - Generalul de armată Vasile Atanasiu. - Revista de Istorie Militară nr. 2/1995, p.38-39.
- Alesandru Duţu, Florica Dobre, Leonida Loghin - Armata română în al doilea război mondial 1941–1945 - Bucureşti, Editura Enciclopedică, 1999