After his studies in Romania, he also studied at the École Polytechnique in Paris in 1890, the School of Artillery and Engineering Application of Fontainebleau, in 1892 and the Superior School of War in Paris in 1894.
He became Chief of Staff of the Romanian Army in December 1913, and played an important role in the development of the operationial plans of the Romanian Army in the years prior to the entry of Romania in World War I.
During the Romanian Campaign (World War I), Cristescu was Chief of Staff of the 2nd and 3rd Romanian Army and later of Army Group General Averescu. From 10 November to 5 December 1916 he was Commander of the Northern Army. Between 11 June and 30 July 1917 he commanded the Romanian 1st Army.
Again Chief of the General Staff after the War, he coordinated the organisation of the new national Army of Greater Romania.
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