World War I
1914-1918
1924-1941







Romania 1918-1924


The Creation of Great Romania : When Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany surrendered in the late fall of 1918, it was clear that the borders in Eastern Central Europe were to be redrawn, following the principle of the self-determination of peoples formulated in U.S. president Woodrow Wilson's 14 points. The Treaty of St. Germain (for Austria) was signed on September 10th 1919, the Treaty of Neuilly (for Bulgaria) was signed on November 27th 1919, that of Trianon (for Hungary) on June 4th 1920; in the meantime, the future of areas contested by several claimants was uncertain.
In Transylvania the Romanian and German population opted for Romania, the Hungarian population minority for Hungary); the union of Transylvania with Romania was declared on December 1st 1918, the Treaty of Trianon confirmed Transylvania's union with Romania on June 4th 1920.
Hungary, from April to August 1919 experienced Red Terror under the administration of the Hungarian Soviet Republic headed by Bela Kun. In August 1919 the Romanian army invaded, terminating the Soviet Republic, and taking control of areas in eastern Hungary, with the cities of Oradea (Arad) and Timisoara (Temesvar), areas with a Romanian (and a Hungarian, in the Banat also a German) population element; in the Treaty of Trianon of June 4th 1920 Hungary ceded these areas to Romania.
A General Congress of Bukovina of Nov. 27-28 1918 opted for union with Romania, which was confirmed by the Treaty of St. Germain on September 10th 1919. Yet the union was contested by the Ukrainian National Council in Galicia; Ukrainians (Ruthenians) had been underrepresented, Romanians overrepresented in the General Congress of Nov. 1918.
Bessarabia was a different case, as it concerned a territory hitherto forming part of the Russian Empire. The Romanian majority in a convened Bessarabian assembly opted for annexation into Romania and for the dissolution of the asembly; Ukrainian delegates opposing this decision had been arrested and executed.
In the Treaty of Neuilly, Bulgaria confirmed the Southern Dobruja to be Romanian territory.

The New Provinces and the Old Kingdom : the administration of the new provinces was, to a considerable extent, filled with personnel from the Old Kingdom. Romania formally accepted her obligations regarding the treatment of ethnic minoritiies; the constitution of 1923, however, declared Romania a unified kingdom, not allowing for political autonomy of areas such as Transylvania, the Bukovina and Bessarabia. Policies such as the land reform (1919-1921) and legislation requiring education to be conducted only in Romanian language (1923-1926) were interpreted by the minorities as directed against them (Rumanization). Ukrainian nationalists undertook an attempt to include the Bukovina in the West Ukrainian People's Republic (1919); Bessarabia saw the Khotyn rebellion of 1919, the Tatarbunary Peasant Rebellion of 1924, both of which were suppressed by the Romanian army.

The Economy : Agriculture was still the dominant sector. In 1919-1921 a major land reform was undertaken; land owned by nobles and corporations such as the church was confiscated, and, in parcels, given out to peasant families. In regions such as Transylvania, the bulk of beneficiaries from thuis reform were ethnic Romanians, but ethnic Hungarian and German peasants also received farms of their own; the land confiscated had been almost exclusively owned by Hungarians and Germans.
Transition from a planned, regulated wartime economy to a free market economy resulted in a temporary surge of the inflation rate. The country experienced problems restoring regular rail transportation, as many locomotives were damaged and the country lacked the facilities to repair them; the state of relations between Hungary and Romania resulted in reducing the cross-border traffic to a trickle. In 1920 the army temporarily took over the administration of the country's railways; the situation improved gradually. In 1921 the country experienced a financial crisis; a major bank failed.
The country pursued a protectionist policy, despite of which the country's industrial enterprises, the most important of which were in the oil industry, were largely foreign-owned. In 1923 Romania passed a law confiscating the property of former enemies, which were to be regarded part of the war reparations due to Romania.

Foreign Policy : Romania, in the months following World War I, pursuing a policy of faites acompli, had expanded to more than double her prewar area. Thus it feared the retaliation by the countries which had suffered, most notably Hungary and the Ukrainian SSR (USSR). Romania entered in a defensive alliance with Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Little Entente, 1921) and with Poland (1921), alliances which were interpreted as under the protection of France.

Domestic Affairs : By decree in March 1919, Romania's Jews were granted naturalization, i.e. Romanian citizenship. It was confirmed by the constitution of 1923.
The Constitution of 1923 recognized Orthodox faith as state religion; restrictions limited the activity of Roman Catholic orders. Romania was declared a unitary state. An Anti-Semitic campaign by Romanian Fascists, headed by C.Z. Codreanu, swept Romania (1922-1923), the most visible stage of which were the universities of Bucharest, Cluj and Iasy; police and the army had to move in to restore law and order; Codreanu was arrested and sentenced to jail in 1923.







EXTERNAL
LINKS
Article : Greater Romania, from Wikipedia
Article : Romanianization (Rumanization), from Wikipedia
Article : Transylvania as part of Romania, from Wikipedia
Article : Tatarbunary Uprising, from Wikipedia
Article : Khotin Uprising, from Wikipedia
Article : Little Entente, from Wikipedia
Article : Peasants' Party (Romania), from Wikipedia
The Land Reform of 1919-1940 : Lithuania and the Countries of East and Central Europe, by Gediminas Vaskela
Great Romania 1919-1940, from Romanian Academy
Land Reform and Economic Development. The Case of Romania, MA Thesis 2004 by Georgeta Vidican
Greater Romania. From Democracy to Dictatorship, from Romanian Travel Guide
The Constitution in Romania, by Ioan Muraru
Romania : Increasing Anti-Semitism, from Jewish Virtual Library
History of the Iron Guard, from Claremont McKenna College
Independent Romania, from Jewish Virtual Library
DOCUMENTS Rumanian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Agreement between the Allied and Associated Powers with regard to the Contributions to the Cost of Liberation of the Territories of the Former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (St. Germain-en-Laye, 10 September 1919), from Australian Treaty Series
Declaration modifying [Articles 4 and 5 of] the Agreement between the Allied and Associated Powers with regard to the Contributions to the Cost of Liberation of the Territories of the Former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, 1919, from Australian Treaty Series
Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Bulgaria, and Protocol (Neuilly-sur-Seine, 27 November 1919), from Australian Treaty Series
Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Roumania [Romanian Minorities Treaty] (Paris, 9 December 1919), from Australian Treaty Series
Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland, Roumania, the Serb-Croat-Slovene State and the Czechoslovak State relative to Certain Frontiers of those States (Sevres, 10 August 1920), from Australian Treaty Series
Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary, Protocol and Declaration, Trianon June 4th 1920, from Australian Treaty Series
Treaty between the Principal Allied Powers and Roumania respecting Bessarabia (Paris, 28 October 1920), from Australian Treaty Series
Law regarding the Union of Transilvania, the Banat, Crisana, The atmar and Maramures with the old Kingdom of Romania, 1918, from The Great Union of the Romanians, 1st December 1918, posted by CIMEC
Resolution of the National Assembly in Alba Iulia Dec. 1st 1918, from The Great Union of the Romanians, 1st December 1918, posted by CIMEC
Bill of Union with Bessarabia, March 27th 1918, from The Great Union of the Romanians, 1st December 1918, posted by CIMEC
Convention of Defensive Alliance between Roumania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, signed at Belgrade, June 7 1921, posted by Ungarisches Institut
Minorities Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Roumania, Dec. 9th 1919, posted by Ungarisches Institut
Convention for a Defensive Alliance between the Polish Republic and the Kingdom of Roumania, signed at Bucarest, March 3 1921, posted by Ungarisches Institut
REFERENCE IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, NY : Stockton Press 1992 [G]
Article : Rumania, in : New International Year Book 1919 pp.584-585, 1920 pp.596-598, 1921 pp.630-631, 1923 pp.662-663 [G]
Article : Moldavia, pp.368-369, Article : Bukovyna, pp.67-69, Article : Bessarabia, pp.47-48, in : Kohut, Zenon E., Historical Dictionary of Ukraine, Rowman & Littlefield 2005, pp. 368-369, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 947.7 K79h
Article : Rumania, in : Statesman's Year Book 1919 pp.1174-1183, 1924 pp.1229-1238 [G]


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 21st 2002, last revised August 24th 2007

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