Kingdom of Romania
|Kingdom of Romania
Nihil Sine Deo
"Nothing without God"
"Long live the King"
The Kingdom of Romania in 1939.
(1881–1916 / 1918–1947)
|-||1927–1930||Michael I (1st reign)|
|-||1940–1947||Michael I (2nd reign)|
|-||1881||Ion Brătianu (first)|
|-||1946–1947||Petru Groza (last)|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|Historical era||Belle Époque / World War I / Interwar period / World War II|
|-||Proclamation||14 March 1881|
|-||Treaty of Trianon||4 June 1920|
|-||Constitution adopted||29 March 1923|
|-||Coup d'etat of 1944||23 August 1944|
|-||Soviet occupation||12 September 1944|
|-||Republic proclaimed||30 December 1947|
|-||1915[b]||138,000 km² (53,282 sq mi)|
|-||1939[b]||295,049 km² (113,919 sq mi)|
|Density||57.2 /km² (148.3 /sq mi)|
|Density||67.8 /km² (175.6 /sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Bulgaria
|a. ^ Was formally declared Conducător (literally, "Leader") of the state on 6 September 1940, by a royal decree which consecrated a ceremonial role for the monarch.
b. ^ Area and population according to Ioan Suciu, Istoria contemporana a României (1918–2005).
The Kingdom of Romania (Romanian: Regatul României) was a constitutional monarchy which existed between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania (1866, 1923, 1938). The Kingdom of Romania began with the reign of King Carol I of Romania who gained Romanian's independence in the Romanian War of Independence, and ended with the abdication of King Michael I of Romania in 30 December 1947, imposed by the Soviet Union with the tacit and secret, implicit consent of its allies (as a result of the Yalta Conference and secret agreements). As such, it is quite distinct from the Romanian Old Kingdom, which refers strictly to the reign of King Carol I of Romania, between 14 March (O.S.) (27 March (N.S.)) 1881 and 27 September (O.S.) (10 October (N.S.)) 1914.
From 1859 to 1877, Romania evolved from a personal union of two vassal principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) under a single prince to a full-fledged independent kingdom with a Hohenzollern monarchy. During 1918-20, at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Eastern Moldavia (Bessarabia), and Bukovina were united with the Kingdom of Romania, resulting in a "Greater Romania". In 1940, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, Northern Transylvania and Southern Dobruja were ceded to the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria respectively, only Northern Transylvania being recovered after World War II ended. In 1947 the last king was compelled to abdicate and a socialist republic ruled by the Romanian Communist Party replaced the monarchy.
Unification and monarchy
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|Early Modern Times|
|Kingdom of Romania|
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|Romania since 1989|
|By historical region|
The 1859 ascendancy of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as prince of both Moldavia and Wallachia under the nominal[clarification needed] suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire united an identifiably Romanian nation under a single ruler. On 5 February 1862 (24 January Old Style) the two principalities were formally united to form the Principality of Romania, with Bucharest as its capital.
On 23 February 1866 a so-called Monstrous coalition, composed of Conservatives and radical Liberals, forced Cuza to abdicate. The German prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was appointed as Prince of Romania, in a move to assure German backing to unity and future independence. He immediately adopted the Romanian spelling of his name, Carol, and his descendants would rule Romania until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1947.
Following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, Romania was recognized as independent by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878 and acquired Dobruja, although it was forced to surrender southern Bessarabia (Budjak) to Russia. On 15 March 1881, as an assertion of full sovereignty, the Romanian parliament raised the country to the status of a kingdom, and Carol was crowned as king on 10 May.
The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires, with Slavic populations on its southwestern, southern, and northeastern borders, the Black Sea due east, and Hungarian neighbors on its western and northwestern borders, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models.
Abstaining from the Initial Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Romania entered the Second Balkan War in June 1913 against the Tsardom of Bulgaria. 330,000 Romanian troops moved across the Danube and into Bulgaria. One army occupied Southern Dobrudja and another moved into northern Bulgaria to threaten Sofia, helping to bring an end to the war. Romania thus acquired the ethnically-mixed territory of Southern Dobrudja, which it had desired for years.
In 1916 Romania entered World War I on the Entente side, but was quickly defeated and occupied by German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Romania engages in a conflict against Bulgaria but as a result Bulgarian forces, after a series of successful battles, regain Dobruja that was previously taken from Bulgaria by the treaty of Bucharest and the Berlin congress. Although the Romanian forces did not fare well militarily, by the end of the war the Austrian and Russian empires were gone; governing bodies created in Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina chose union with Romania, upheld in 1919 the Treaty of Saint-Germain and in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon.
Romanian Old Kingdom (1881–1918)
The Romanian Old Kingdom (Romanian: Vechiul Regat or just Regat; German: Regat or Altreich) is a colloquial term referring to the territory covered by the first independent Romanian nation state, which was composed of the Danubian Principalities — Wallachia and Moldavia. It was achieved when, under the auspices of the Treaty of Paris (1856), the ad hoc Divans of both countries - which were under Imperial Ottoman suzerainty at the time - voted for Alexander John Cuza as their prince, thus achieving a de facto unification. The region itself is defined by the result of that political act, followed by the inclusion of Northern Dobruja in 1878, the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania in 1881, and the annexation of Southern Dobruja in 1913.
The term came into use after World War I, when the Old Kingdom was opposed to Greater Romania, which included Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia, and Bukovina. Nowadays, the term mainly has a historical relevance, and is otherwise used as a common term for all regions in Romania included in both the Old Kingdom and present-day borders (namely: Wallachia, Moldavia, and Northern Dobruja).
World War I
Romania delayed in entering World War I, but ultimately declared war on the Central Powers in 1916. The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster when the Central Powers quickly crushed the country's armed forces (despite fierce Romanian resistance, especially at Mărăşeşti) and occupied most of the country, including Bucharest and the strategically important oil fields. But after the war ended, Romania's government quickly reasserted control and put an army back into the field. Transylvania was soon overrun, as was Moldavia, since the power vacuum in Russia caused by the civil war there allowed Romania to assert its claims over that territory. War with the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 resulted in the occupation of Budapest by Romanian troops and the end of Béla Kun's Bolshevik regime.
Union with Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina
At the Paris Peace Conference, Romania received territories of Transylvania, part of Banat, Bessarabia (Eastern Moldavia between Prut and Dniester rivers) and Bukovina. Thus, Romania in 1920 was more than twice the size it had been in 1914. Although the country was satisfied and had no further territorial claims, it aroused the enmity of Bulgaria, and especially Hungary and the Soviet Union.
Greater Romania now encompassed a significant minority population, especially of Hungarians, and faced the difficulty of assimilation. By contrast, the prewar Romanian state had only one real minority, Jews, but nonetheless anti-Semitism was widespread.
Transylvania had significant Hungarian and German population, and with a historically contemptuous attitude towards Romanians, they now feared reprisals. Both groups were effectively excluded from politics as the postwar Romanian regime passed an edict stating that all personnel employed by the state had to speak Romanian. The new Romanian state was also a highly centralized one, so it was unlikely that the Hungarian or German minorities would exercise political influence without personal connections in the government in Bucharest. The Romanian policy towards Hungarians and Germans was fairly balanced, and both were permitted to have schools in their respective languages and the freedom to publish written material. Judicial hearings would also be conducted in their native official languages.
Lesser minorities were not as well treated because of their small numbers and because they had no outside power to support them. Jews in particular were highly unpopular. Despite being less than 10% of the Romanian population, they held a disproportionate control of small businesses, banks, shops, factories, and the skilled trades and crafts. Most had emigrated from Russia to escape the pogroms and as such, they invariably spoke Ukrainian or Yiddish and rarely more than a few words of Romanian. For the most part, they were there simply for business and had no interest at all in Romanian history or culture.
Romanian education was a mixed bag. While the nobility had a long tradition of sending their sons to Europe's finest schools, the educated were a tiny minority. Transylvania had the most educated population in Romania, while Bessarabia and other ex-Russian areas fared the worst. While all Romanian children were required to attend at least four years of school, few actually went and the system was designed to separate those who would go on to higher education from those who would not. While this was partially necessary due to limited resources, it also ensured that peasants had almost no chance of becoming educated.
High school and college education in Romania was modeled after French schools. Students undertook a rigid curriculum based around the liberal arts and anyone who could pass was very well-educated. However, Romania suffered from the same problem as the rest of Eastern Europe, which was that most students preferred abstract subjects like theology, philosophy, literature, the fine arts, and law (in the philosophical rather than the applied sense) to practical ones like science, business, and engineering.
The peasant population was among the poorest in the region, a situation aggravated by one of Europe's highest birth rates. As elsewhere, peasants everywhere were convinced that land reform would solve their problems, and after the war they began to clamor loudly for such action, which led to the 1921 land reform. But it did precious little to improve productivity, especially since the richness of Romania's soil was negated by a lack of modern farming techniques. Agricultural exports could not compete with those of Western Europe and North America, and the onset of the Great Depression caused the market for them to completely dry up.
In 1919, a staggering 72% of Romanians were engaged in agriculture. And due to one of Europe's highest birth rates, as much as a quarter of the rural population was unnecessary surplus. Farming was primitive and machinery and chemical fertilizers almost unheard of. The Regat (prewar Romania) was traditionally a land of large estates worked by peasants who either had no land of their own or else dwarf plots. The situation in Transylania and Bessarabia was as bad or worse. After peasant calls for land reform snowballed into an avalanche, King Carol II had to oblige, especially once communist groups started taking advantage of the situation. In the end, it did nothing to remedy the basic problems of rural overpopulation and technological backwardness. The redistributed plots were invariably too small to feed their owners and peasants also could not overcome their tradition of growing grain over cash crops. Since draft animals were rare, to say nothing of machinery, actual agricultural productivity was worse than before.
Despite the land reforms, landowners still controlled up to 30% of Romania's soil, also including the forests that peasants needed for fuel. Romania also had little opportunity to export agricultural products since the biggest ones like grain couldn't possibly compete with producers in the United States or elsewhere.
Romanian industry was quite well-developed due to an abundance of natural resources, especially oil. Lumber and various minerals were produced mainly for export, but most industry was owned by foreign companies, over 70% during the interwar period.
By the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favor of Romania all the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over Transylvania. The union of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty of Saint Germain, and in 1920 a part of the Western powers recognized Romanian rule over Bessarabia by the Treaty of Paris.
The interbellum years
The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation "Great Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the interwar period, and by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the time. Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost 300,000 km²). At the 1930 census, there were over 18 million inhabitants in Romania.
The resulting "Greater Romania" did not survive World War II. Until 1938, Romania's governments maintained the form, if not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The National Liberal Party, dominant in the years immediately after World War I, became increasingly clientelist and nationalist, and in 1927 was supplanted in power by the National Peasants' Party. Between 1930 and 1940 there were over 25 separate governments; on several occasions in the last few years before World War II, conflict between the Iron Guard and other political groupings approached the level of a civil war.
Upon the death in 1927 of his father Ferdinand, Prince Carol was prevented from succeeding him because of previous marital scandals that had resulted in his renunciation of rights to the throne. After serving three years in exile, with his brother Nicolae serving as regent and his young son Michael as king, Carol changed his mind and with the support of the ruling National Peasants' Party he returned and proclaimed himself king.
Iuliu Maniu, leader of the National Peasants' Party, engineered Carol's return on the understanding that he would forsake his mistress Magda Lupescu, and Lupescu herself had agreed to the arrangement. However, it became clear upon Carol's first re-encounter with his former wife, Elena, that he had no interest in a reconciliation, and Carol soon arranged for Magda Lupescu's return to his side. Her unpopularity in Romania, no doubt due in large part to her having a Jewish father, was to be a millstone around Carol's neck for the rest of his reign, particularly because she was widely viewed as his closest advisor and confidante.
The 1929 economic crisis greatly affected Romania and the early 1930s were marked by social unrest, high unemployment, and strikes. In several instances, the Romanian government violently repressed strikes and riots, notably the 1929 miners' strike in Valea Jiului and the strike in the Griviţa railroad workshops. In the mid-1930s, the Romanian economy recovered and the industry grew significantly, although about 80% of Romanians were still employed in agriculture.
As the 1930s progressed, Romania's already shaky democracy slowly deteriorated toward fascist dictatorship. The constitution of 1923 gave the king free rein to dissolve parliament and call elections at will; as a result, Romania was to experience over 25 governments in a decade.
Increasingly, these governments were dominated by any of a number of anti-Semitic, ultra-nationalist, and mostly at least quasi-fascist parties. The National Liberal Party steadily became more nationalistic than liberal, but nonetheless lost its dominance over Romanian politics. It was eclipsed by parties like the (relatively moderate) National Peasants' Party and its more radical Romanian Front offshoot, the National-Christian Defense League (LANC) and the Iron Guard. In 1935, LANC merged with the National Agrarian Party to form the National Christian Party (NCP). The quasi-mystical fascist Iron Guard was an earlier LANC offshoot that, even more than these other parties, exploited nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy.
Already, the Iron Guard had embraced the politics of assassination and various governments had reacted more or less in kind. On December 10, 1933, Liberal prime minister Ion Duca "dissolved" the Iron Guard, arresting thousands; 19 days later he was assassinated by Iron Guard legionnaires.
Throughout the 1930s, these nationalist parties had a mutually distrustful relationship with King Carol II. Nonetheless, in December 1937, the king appointed LANC leader (and poet) Octavian Goga as prime minister. Around this time, Carol met with Adolf Hitler, who expressed his wish to see a Romanian government headed by the Iron Guard. Instead, on 10 February 1938 King Carol II used the occasion of a public insult by Goga toward Lupescu as a reason to dismiss the government and institute a short-lived royal dictatorship, sanctioned seventeen days later by a new constitution under which the king named not only the prime minister but all ministers.
In April 1938, Carol had Iron Guard leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu arrested and imprisoned. On the night of 29–30 November 1938, Codreanu and several other legionnaires were killed while purportedly attempting to escape from prison. It is generally agreed that there was no such escape attempt, but that they were murdered in retaliation for a series of assassinations by Iron Guard commandos.
The royal dictatorship was brief. On 7 March 1939, a new government was formed with Armand Călinescu as prime minister; on 21 September 1939, three weeks after the start of World War II, Călinescu, in turn, was assassinated by legionnaires avenging Codreanu.
In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which stipulated, among other things, the Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia. After the 1940 territorial losses and growing increasingly unpopular, Carol was compelled to abdicate and named general Ion Antonescu as the new Prime-Minister with full powers in ruling the state by royal decree.
|Ruthenians and Ukrainians||582,115||3.2|
|Czechs and Slovaks||51,842||0.3|
|Serbs, Croats and Slovenes||51,062||0.3|
Largest cities as per 1930 census:
Notes: 1 - including 12 suburban communities.
After Independence, the Romanian Old Kingdom was divided into 33 counties.
In 1938, King Carol II promulgated a new Constitution, and subsequently he had the administrative division of the Romanian territory changed. Ten ținuturi (approximate translation: "lands") were created (by merging the counties) to be ruled by rezidenți regali (approximate translation: "Royal Residents") - appointed directly by the King. This administrative reform did not last and the counties were re-established after the fall of Carol's regime.
|• 1859 –||Alexander John Cuza unites Moldavia and Wallachia under his personal rule.|
|• 1862 –||Formal union of Moldavia and Wallachia to form principality of Romania.|
|• 1866 –||Cuza forced to abdicate and a foreign dynasty is established. Carol I signed the first modern Constitution.|
|• 1877 –||April 16. Treaty by which the Russian troops are allowed to pass through Romanian territory
April 24. Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire and its troops enter Romania
May 9. Romanian independence declared by the Romanian parliament, start of Romanian War of Independence
May 10. Carol I ratifies independence declaration
|• 1878 –||Under Treaty of Berlin, Ottoman Empire recognizes Romanian independence. Romania ceded southern Bessarabia to Russia.|
|• 1881 –||Carol I was proclaimed King of Romania on March 14.|
|• 1894 –||Leaders of the Transylvanian Romanians who sent a Memorandum to the Austrian Emperor demanding national rights for the Romanians are found guilty of treason.|
|• 1907 –||Violent peasant revolts crushed throughout Romania, thousands of persons killed.|
|• 1914 –||Death of Carol I, succeeded by his nephew Ferdinand.|
|• 1916 –||August. Romania enters World War I on the Entente side.
December. Romanian Treasure sent to Russia for safekeeping but was seized by Soviets after the Romanian army refused to withdraw from Bessarabia.
|• 1918 –||Greater Romania is created.[clarification needed]|
|By the Treaty of Versailles, Romania agreed to grant citizenship to the former citizens of Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires living in the new Romanian territories.[dubious ]|
|• 1919 –||A military conflict occurs between Romania and Hungarian Soviet Republic led by Béla Kun. The Romanian Army takes over Budapest on 4 August 1919. The city is ruled by a military administration until 16 November 1919.|
|• 1920 –||The Treaty of Trianon officially assigns Transylvania and Partium to Romania.|
|• 1921 –||A major and radical agrarian reform.|
|• 1923 –||The 1923 Constitution is adopted based on a National Liberal Party project.
National-Christian Defense League (LANC) founded.
|• 1924 –||LANC member (later Iron Guard founder) Corneliu Zelea Codreanu assassinates the Prefect of Police in Iaşi, but is acquitted.|
|• 1926 –||Liberal Electoral Law adopted.
"Little Entente" with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and Franco-Romanian Treaty.
|• 1927 –||The National Peasants' Party takes over the government from the National Liberal Party.
The Legion of the Archangel Michael, later the Iron Guard, splits from LANC.
Michael (Mihai) becomes king under a regency regime.
|• 1929 –||Beginning of the Great Depression.|
|• 1930 –||Carol II crowned King.|
|• 1931 –||First ban on Iron Guard.|
|• 1933 –||16 February. Griviţa Railcar Workshops strike violently put down by police.
10 December. Prime Minister Ion Duca "dissolves" the Iron Guard, arresting thousands; 19 days later he is assassinated by Iron Guard legionnaires.
|• 1935 –||LANC and National Agrarian Party merge to form the fascist National Christian Party (NCP).|
|• 1937 –||Electoral "non-aggression pact" between the National Peasants' Party and Iron Guard, later adding the Agrarian Union. Romanian Communist Party denounces pact, but, in practice, supports the National-Peasants.
LANC forms government, but is rapidly in conflict with Carol II over his Jewish mistress.
|• 1938 –||10 February. Royal dictatorship declared. New constitution adopted 27 February.
29–30 November. Iron Guard leader Codreanu and other legionnaires shot on the King's orders.
|• 1939 –||7 March. Armand Călinescu forms government.
23 August. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact stipulates Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia.
1 September. Germany invades Poland. Start of World War II.
21 September. Călinescu assassinated by Iron Guard legionnaires.
|• 1940 –||6 September. After the forced abdication of King Carol II, his 19-year-old son Michael I assumes the throne, being obliged to grant dictatorial powers to Prime Minister and Conducător Ion Antonescu.
14 September. The Kingdom of Romania is supplanted by a short-lived dictatorship called the National Legionary State.
- "Constitutiunea din 1923" (in Romanian). Legislatie pentru Democratie. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Dennis Deletant, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania, 1940–1944, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006. ISBN 1-4039-9341-6
- Ioan Scurtu (2005). "Istoria contemporana a a României (1918-2005)" (in Romanian). Bucharest. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Text of the Treaty of Trianon". World War I Document Archive. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
- Bernard Anthony Cook (2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Taylor&Francis. p. 162. ISBN 0-8153-4057-5. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
- Malbone W. Graham (October 1944). "The Legal Status of the Bukovina and Bessarabia". The American Journal of International Law (– Scholar search) (American Society of International Law) 38 (4). JSTOR 00029300.[dead link][dead link]
- "Statul national unitar (România Mare 1919 - 1940)". Istoria romanilor din cele mai vechi timpuri pana astazi (in Romanian). Media.ici.ro. Archived from the original on 2010-01-08. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Ioan Scurtu,Theodora Stănescu-Stanciu, Georgiana Margareta Scurtu. "Decret regal privind investirea generalului Ion Antonescu cu depline puteri". Istoria românilor între anii 1918–1940 (in Romanian). Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Populaţia pe Neamuri (in Romanian). Institutul Central de Statistică. pp. XXIV. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
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- Video with the redrawing of the borders after the First World War
- Romanian Tourism Map from 1938
- Lampe, John R. (1982). Balkan Economic History, 1550–1950: From Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations. ISBN 0-253-30368-0.