CHRONOLOGY 1914 - 1918
Romania during World War One
July 15th/28th - Austro-Hungarian Monarchy declares war to Serbia
July 17th/30th - Entente representatives announce to the Romanian government the agreement of their countries regarding the unification of Transylvania with Romania, in exchange for Romania's participation in war against the Central Powers.
July 18th/31st - Message of German emperor William the 2nd to king Charles the 1st, demanding that Romania fulfils its obligations towards the Central Powers (1883, Oct. 18/30, Vienna. Signing, in secrecy, of the Romanian - Austro - Hungarian Alliance Treaty, joined by Germany that very day).
July 19th/Aug. 1st - Germany declares war to Russia. The general alliance system connecting the great powers unleashed world war one.
July 21st/Aug. 3rd - The Crown Council held at Sinaia rejected the demand of king Charles the 1st to join the Central Powers and decided to adopt a policy of military neutrality.
Sept. 18th/Oct. 1st - Russo-Romanian secret Convention, engaging Russia to defend Romania's territorial integrity and the recognition of its rights over the Austro-Hungarian
Territories inhabited by Romanians in exchange for a favourable neutrality of Romania ("Sazonov-Diamandi Agreement).
Sept. 27th/Oct. 10th - The death of King Charles the 1st.
Sept. 28th/Oct. 11th - Ferdinand the 1st, nephew and successor of Charles the 1st, ascended to the throne.
Aug. 4th/17th - Bucharest. Signing of the Alliance Treaty between Romania, on the one hand, and France, Great Britain and Italy, on the other. Among the conditions for Romania entering the war on Entente's side, Romania's demands were to be fulfilled.
According to interlude plans, the Russian troops would begin the offensive at the same time with the Romanian ones. The Anglo-French troops would land at Salonik, in order to stand against Bulgaria, which intended to attack Romania. These plans never came through, as the Allies' Salonik actions were overcome by a strong German-Bulgarian offensive, while the Russian troops arrived too late.
As a consequence, the Central Powers troops occupied two thirds of the Romanian territory. With the help of the Russian troops the front was stabilised, at the beginning of January 1917, on the Siret River, the Danube and the St.George branch.
The 1917 campaign
In the free territory of Moldavia, from January to May 1917, the Romanian army was endowed with equipment similar to that of the enemy. A French military mission (led by General Henri Mathias Berthelot) and the warfare facilities from France and England changed the condition of the Romanian army. Two Romanian armies were organised, including approximately 400,000 men, joined by three Russian armies reaching almost 1,000,000 men. Thus the Romanian offensive of Marasti (11th of July), led by General Alexandru Averescu, and that of generals Constantin Cristescu and Eremia Grigorescu of Marasesti (1st - 24th of July) thwarted the German plans to occupy Moldavia and conquer the Odessa port.
Romania in 1918
Oct.-Nov. 1917 - The Russian communists gripped power.
Jan. 27th - Conclusion of the Brest - Litovsk Peace Treaty between Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the Ukraine.
Feb. 18th - Conclusion of the Brest - Litovsk peace between Soviet Russia and Germany.
March 5th - Signing at Buftea (close to Bucharest) of the preliminary Peace Treaty between Romania and the Central Powers, on whose basis began at Bucharest, on the 9th of March, the talks for peace making.
Apr. 24th - The Bucharest Peace Treaty, between Romania, on the one hand, and Germany, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey, on the other. Romania was compelled to give away Dobrudja, to accept border adjustments in the Carpathians and to conclude unfavourable economic agreements.
March 26th - 28th - The Rome Congress of Austro-Hungarian Empire nationalities, voting a motion in favour of recognising the right of each nation to form an independent national state or to unite with its own national state in case it existed.
Aug. 24th Paris - The founding of the National Council of Romanian Unity, led by Take Ionescu (president), Vasile Lucaciu, Octavian Goga, Dr. Constantin Angelescu and Ioan Th. Florescu. The Council was recognised on the 29th of September by the French government, on the 23rd of October by the USA, on the 29th of October by the British government and on the 9th of November by the Italian one, as representing the interests of the Romanian people.
Sept. 2nd - The New York Congress of the Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Serbs, Croats and Carpatho-Russians voted a motion demanding the dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the release of all peoples.
The Entente Offensive
Sept. 12th - The Balkans allied armies broke through the Bulgarian Dobropolje front and advanced towards Sofia.
Sept. 16th - the Salonik signing of the Bulgarian capitulation document.
Oct. 4th - Germany, and then, Austro-Hungary, propose peace to the Allied Powers.
THE UNIFICATION OF BESSARABIA WITH THE ROMANIAN KINGDOM
March 27th - The Country's Village of Chisinau (capital of Bessarabia) decides the unification of Bessarabia with Romania.
THE UNIFICATION OF TRANSYLVANIA WITH THE ROMANIAN KINGDOM
Sept. 29th - The Executive Committee of the Romanian National Party, gathered at Oradea adopted unanimously a declaration drawn up by Vasile Goldis, demanding the recognition of this organisation as provisional leading body of Transylvania. An "Action Committee" was founded, with the headquarters at Arad, presided by Vasile Goldis.
Oct. 3rd - The Manifesto of Emperor Charles the 1st of Habsburg - To my faithful peoples, regarding the reorganising of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy into a Federation of six independent states (Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Yugoslav, Polish and Ukrainian).
Oct. 3rd - The Declaration of the "Body of Transylvania and Bukovina Volunteers" answering the manifesto of Charles the 1st of Habsburg, and proclaiming the unification of their territories with the Romanian Kingdom.
ON THE GREAT UNIFICATION
The Entente's victory, that had begun to become clear by 1918 in the West,
influenced also the Balkans front. Sarrail's army at Salonik finally advanced and broke through
the Bulgarian lines. Marghiloman's government resigned on the 24th of October /
6th of November 1918. It was followed by general Coanda's government, that called
immediately for general conscription and, on the 28th of October / 10th
of November, Romania re-entered the war. A war that the following day ended by the armistice
signed at Compiegne. It ended in western Europe, not in the eastern one, where, after the
armistice, at Belgrade, on the 31st of October / 13th of November 1918,
the military deeds would go on intermittently in Hungary.
The military defeat entailed the dissolution of the central empires. The first one to
crash down was, as expected, the Austro-Hungarian one. On the 18th of October Emperor Charles
(Franz Joseph had died in 1916) announced by a manifesto the transformation of the monarchy
into a federal state. It was clearly much too late. The empire could no longer be saved, but
the winners' diplomacy (especially that of Great Britain).
But the peoples of the empire acted before the diplomats and decided their own fate.
The Romanians as well on the 12th of October, the Romanian National Party of
Transylvania adopted the Declaration of self-determination, drawn up by Vasile Goldis in
accordance with the national right of each nation to be its own master". Six days later, this
Declaration was read in the Budapest Parliament by Alexandru Vaida Voevod, while in Vienna
Iuliu Maniu concentrated 70,000 Transylvanian soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army, with which
he heads towards Transylvania.
The Central Romanian National Council, founded on the 3rd of November 1918,
of the representatives of the Romanian National Party and the Democratic Social Party, overtook
Transylvania's control, profiting also by the quick disintegration of the Hungarian
Meanwhile, similar deeds took place in Bukovina, where on the 27th of October a Romanian
National Council was created, led by Iancu Flondor, who expressed Bukovina's desire to unite
with Romania, actually proclaimed the unification, unconditionally, and with great enthusiasm
at Cernauti, on the 28th of November 1918. Karolyi Mihaly's government formed on the 31st of
October at Budapest, having as minister for nationalities the democrat Jaszi Oszkar,
tried to negotiate with the Central Romanian National Council. The negotiations took place at
Arad, between the 13th and 15th of November, but failed. At the same time the Hungarian
government signed on the 13th of November the Belgrade armistice with General Franchet
d'Esperey, chief of the Orient army. An arbitrary borderline between Hungary and Transylvania
was designed, leaving under Budapest's authorities towns like Satu Mare, Oradea, Beius, Arad
and historical regions like the Banat (under Serbian administration), Crisana, Maramures.
That put the Romanians on their guard. The National Council decided to convoke, on the
18th of November / 1st of December, at Alba-Iulia, a national Assembly of the Romanians in
Transylvania and Hungary. This Assembly was going to include 600 elected deputies on the basis
of suffrage universal and 628 representatives of cultural organisations and societies. All the
Romanians in Transylvania, Crisana and Maramures cast their votes. In an atmosphere of great
popular enthusiasm for 12 days were elected 5 representatives for each constituency, within the
1910 framework. The electors' claims were: unification with Romania, agrarian reform, and
The 1,228 deputies gathered in the Alba-Iulia Casino hall, while in town about 100,000
people (according to testimonies of the time) were waiting for their decisions. All the social
categories and both churches were represented. Also representatives of all Romanian historical
On the 18th of November / 1st of December 1918, the deputies unanimously decided the
unification of Transylvania, the Banat, Crisana and Maramures with Romania, keeping at the
same time a local autonomy, in accordance with democratic rules, including the equalities of
nationalities and religions. At Alba-Iulia, as formerly at Cernauti, on the 25th of November
actually a plebiscite of all Romanians in Austro-Hungarian Monarchy took place. Also at
Alba-Iulia, on the occasion of the Assembly, the Great Romanian National Council was formed
of 200 elected members and 50 co-opted members. The following day, this Council named a
provisional government, the Ruling Council of Transylvania, led by Iuliu Maniu. The Council
sent a delegation to Bucharest, led by the Caransebes bishop, Miron Cristea (the future
patriarch of Romania), who, on the 1st/14th of December, submitted the Alba-Iulia Declaration
to King Ferdinand the 1st. On the 11th/24th of December, King Ferdinand promulgated the decree
of union sanctioning (including Bukovina and Bessarabia). The protests of Karolyi government
at Budapest were futile.
After Ion Bulei, "Short History of the Romanians", Meronia Publishing House, Bucharest, 1996
ON THE POPULATION OF GREATER ROMANIA
For the inter-war period the only complete census of Romania's population was made in 1930, while the rest of the statistical references are only approximate. According to it, the country's population was of 18,052,896 people, 2,5 million more than in 1920.
From the point of view of the ethnic stock, the Romanians represented the majority of the population, both before world war one and after its end, making up about 92% of the Old Kingdom and about 70% of the entire population of the united Romania, in 1920.
In war died about 335,000 soldiers, who together with the civilian population killed during the battles, represented one tenth of Romania's population. The 8,5 million inhabitants joining the population of the Old Kingdom after the Great Unification compensated the war casualties.
Romania's population counted in 1919, 16,250,000 million inhabitants, of which, 30% were not Romanian ethnics.
In comparison with the period before the war, the number of the Romanians living outside the borders of the Romanian state decreased significantly: 250,000 in the USA, 230,000 in Yugoslavia, 60,000 in Bulgaria, 24,000 in Hungary.
The national minorities lived mostly in the historical provinces returned to the fatherland:
Hungarians: 29% of Transylvania's population and 23% of that of Crisana and Maramures;
Germans: 24% of Banat's inhabitants and 8% of those of Transylvania;
Jews: 30% of Bukovina's urban population, 27% of Bessarabia's and 23% of Moldavia's.
After 1918 there were also emigrations abroad, however insignificant:
200,000 Hungarians from Transylvania to Hungary;
42,000 Turks from Dobrudja to Turkey;
67,646 emigrants left for the USA, between 1921 and 1930, most of them Jews.
Romania received immigrants as follows:
22,000 Jews from the USSR passed between 1918 and 1921 to Bessarabia;
in the 20's about 20,000 Romanians, who had immigrated to the USA before the war, returned to Transylvania and Bukovina.
Most of Romania's population lived in the countryside. Thus, in 1920 it represented 77% of the entire population.
According to Keith Hitchins, "Romania, 1866-1947", Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest, 1996, chapter 8, "Society and Economy".