Transylvania's situation in 1918 in documents

1918 October 10th / 23rd, Paris. Information from St. Pinchon to G. Clemenceau regarding the situation in Transylvania.

The French Republic
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Department of Political and Commercial Affairs
Europe. Top secret.

Communication with Transylvania
The news coming in from the Hungarian, Austrian and German press signal a revival of the Romanian nationalist turmoil in Transylvania, where, since the beginning of the war the protests against the Hungarian domination, no matter how frequent, were never but individual, isolated deeds, as the harshness of the Hungarian military regime deprives the people, whose opinions cannot, however, be doubted, of any possibility to show their feeling collectively and on a large scale (...).

E. Fürstenberg's report to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the failure of the negotiations between Transylvania Romanians and the Hungarian government; summoning of the National Assembly at Alba-Iulia; the Romanians' percentage as against the other nationalities.

The General Consulate of the German Empire in Hungary
Presented on the 6th of December

The Romanian Question

The negotiations between the Hungarian and Romanian governments, held several weeks earlier at Arad, failed. The Romanians' claims seemed unaccepta- ble for the Hungarian government, that faced the demand to give up any right to the Hungarian territory inhabited by Romanians. The Romanian supplications actually culminated with the recognition of an absolutely independent Romanian state on this territory. The Romanians now wish to fulfil their national desires without the governmental approval and convoked to this end, on the 1st of December, at Alba-Iulia, a Romanian National Assembly. Undoubtedly, here they are going to proclaim a Romanian state on Hungarian soil. By doing this, they will actually declare the separation from Hungary; however, it is still very questionable if they also decide joining the kingdom of Romania. If they decided anything regarding this matter, that by no means would attempt at making it a reality, but at enabling the Romanians to put pressure on the Hungarians. Often they talk in the Romanian circles about the National Assembly proclaiming the autonomy of the Romanian territory in Hungary, that would begin contacting the Kingdom of Romania. The presumed Romanian state on Hungarian territory will have an independent government and parliament at Sibiu, and a particular delegation will be sent to the Romanian central parliament. It is understood that the Romanians will grant full rights to the other nations, especially to the Hungarians and Saxons. They make tempting promises especially to the Saxons in order to win them to their cause. They claim for their state, besides the 16 Transylvania counties, the 12 counties of Hungary itself. On this territory, the Romanians by no means possess the absolute majority that they have only in about 12 counties. The Hungarians, above all the Szecklers, are very hostile to these Romanians goals.

Apud. The Romanians in 1918. The fulfilment of the national state unity of the Romanian people. Foreign documents: 1916 - 1918. 2nd vol., Bucharest, 1983

1918 October 24th / November 6th, Lugoj. Report of the supreme committee of Caras Severin county to Jaszi Oszkar, regarding the unrest in the county; the chasing of the local authorities, the creation of the Romanian militia and of the Romanian and Swabs National Councils; the Romanians' tendency to organise independently. The author of the report requires instructions regarding the position that is to be adopted from now on.

No. 1563
From the supreme committees of the Caras- Severin county

Subject: The Romanian national movement, Lugoj, 6th of November 1918. Top confidential.

At Lugoj, residence of my county, since the forming of the people's government, my subordinates and I make efforts during these hard days to mediate a peaceful agreement between the Hungarians, Germans and Romanians living here. This is the reason for all the measures taken to defend public order, especially that as a result of the turmoil going on, unfortunately, in almost all the villages of the county, our first duty is to restore public order. In many places the disturbances were so serious that the authorities stood helpless, while in some localities the county chiefs, and in other more numerous the notaries public had to flee to save their lives. The raging masses, that at the beginning was made up only of armed soldiers released from their garrisons, was gradually joined by the civilian population and they did not content themselves with the destruction of the local authorities and their headquarters, but raised against all those factors seen as an enemy of their material welfare. They robbed the houses of the rich and the village shops, chased away the cattle. It could not be stated that all this was aimed against one nation in particular, as also in purely Romanian villages there were robberies. The entire regrettable rebellion was rather a fit of passions of the raging masses against everything representing the established order and consolidated relations. Now I must refer to one more aspect. From a number of places I get information on the will of certain Romanian citizens to grip power; they found councils and summon the administration chiefs to give up their assignments. According to this information, they are just citizens with no intention of producing disorder.

1918 October / November 8th, Brasov. Report of Lerchen, German Consul in Brasov, to Chancellor Max von Baden, on the state of mind and decisive role of the Romanians-as a vast majority - regarding Transylvania's future political structure.

German Imperial Consulate
Brasov (Hungary)
8th of November 1918

Since I handed in to your Highness my humble report of 25th of October, no. 2083, the events in Transylvania, as in general evrywhere in Hungary, have been hastening. As a result of a complete dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian army, unfortunately, there were serious disorders and plunder, committed by the lewd and chaotic soldiers. Here at the Consulate headquarters, there has been a rather quiet atmosphere, as preventive measures have been taken. The German troops that lately have arrived here in Romania in large numbers have also helped to maintain the safety of this town (...) As to the future shape of Transylvania, things seem unclear. The most popular opinion is that, in case it will join Romania, it will be granted - rallied to Hungary - a special status and autonomy within a Hungarian state Federation. The Romanians, who make up the majority of the population, will have the last word. Transylvania has its own Romanian National Council, with the headquarters at Arad, and since last Sunday, a Cluj branch where delegates from all over Transylvania turned up. The Assembly decided that the Romanian nation in Transylvania should resolutely claim its sacred right to be master of its own fate. The decision on the future state affiliation of the entire Romanian people will rest only with the Romanian National Assembly. The Councils have also decided to organise troops of Transylvanian Romanians, led by Romanian officers, under the Romanian national flag and using Romanian language. The soldiers are to give their oaths only to the Romanian National Council. The achievement of this Romanian goal depends firstly on the Budapest developments and the consolidation of the Hungarian government. The close relationship between the president of the Hungarian Council of Ministers, count Karoly and the Entente could have as a consequence the Entente favouring not only Romania as far as Transylvania is concerned. Because no matter how much Karoly cherishes the democratic approach and supports the rights of the nationalities, still he is above all a Hungarian, concerned with the absolute preservation of the integrity of his own country.


Letter of Vasile Stoica, vice-president of the National Council of the Romanians in Transylvania and Bukovina, sent from Paris to the USA secretary of state Robert Lansing, after concluding the peace with Germany; the Transylvanians' determination to go on fighting next to the Allies until the final victory.

To Mr Robert Lansing
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July the 12th 1918

The peace imposed by the Central Powers on the Romanian Kingdom, surrounded by enemies, all over the place and its failure to get help from the Allies, angered the entire Romanian nation. This was a blow particularly for us, the 4 million Romanians who, oppressed by Hungary and Austria, see in the Romanian Kingdom's fight our salvation, and, deserting the Austro-Hungarian armies over one hundred thousands of us joined Romania's red-yellow-blue flag. The Romanians who today find themselves outside the clutch of the German fist, above all us, the Romanians in Transylvania and Bukovina, refuse to recognise any peace that will not grant us full freedom and will not unite our entire people into a unique Romanian state. Moreover, we will do everything in our power to organise the force we possess in the allied countries and will continue to fight on the Allies' side until the final victory. To this end, in Paris we organised the National Council of the Romanians in Transylvania and Bukovina, choosing as president Mr. Traian Vuia and as vice-president professor Vasile Stoica, now living in Washington (...).