World War I and the Revolution of 1917–1918 as a Factor in Implementing the Idea of ‘Greater Romania’ Formation

Igor Piddubnyi

Abstract


Abstract

Introduction. The period of the late 19th – early 20th centuries was the time to spread the idea of Romania national unification, which included creation of a single state in the territories inhabited by Romanians. The conditions of this idea realization became very true during World War I and determined the conditions of Romania accession to the Entente. During the war, Romania managed to join more territory than the terms of agreement with the Entente anticipated.

Purpose. Given the availability of sufficient literature and documentary materials that are accessible for research, the purpose of this article is to highlight the consistency of the ‘Greater Romania’ territory formation in 1918.

Results. During World War I, after difficult negotiations with the Entente the Romanian government signed an agreement on conditions of the country's participation in the fighting on the side of the member states. These conditions allowed realizing national aspirations of Romanians in the future and creating a new country, uniting the territories inhabited with the Romanian population. The war and revolution in the Russian Empire forced the country to change the political system under conditions of war. The changes raised the issue of agricultural property and the electoral law that affected the situation in the territories joined at the end of the war.

The revolutionary events in Bessarabia and deployment of the national movement created the conditions for convergence of Bessarabia with Romania and joining it under the terms of autonomy on March 27, 1918. After a short period of time, with the accession of Bukovyna to the Kingdom on November 27, 1918, Bessarabia's autonomy was abolished and unconditional accession to Romania and subsequent dissolution of Sfatul Țării was declared.

The issue of making choice for further Bukovyna, after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, fate was linked with an attempt to achieve the right of self-determination for the leading people of the land. In the tough political opposition, the Ukrainians selected division into two parts, while the Romanians wanted to join entire Bukovyna to Romania. Addressing this issue occurred with the use of military force and organization of the General Congress of Bukovyna by the Romanian National Council in expanded format.

The most difficult was the process of joining Transylvania and the Hungarian lands where there was a confrontation with the Hungarians. Moreover, the decision preparation on accession to Romania took place at a time when the process of forming representative bodies of the Transylvania Romanians had not finished yet. However, the decision in Alba Iulia was made taking into consideration the development of democracy in the country with new borders. The meeting in Alba Iulia on December 1, 1918, completed the process of Grand unification and further defined the task of the diplomatic struggle for recognition of the new state borders.

Conclusion. The decision on the Romania entry into war on the side of the Entente opened new possibilities for joining territories inhabited by the Romanian population that were part of Austria-Hungary. Changing the political situation in the Russian Empire created the conditions for joining Bessarabia to the Kingdom. The actions of pro-Romanian parties in Sfatul Țării gave the impact for inclusion of Bessarabia in terms of autonomy, which later was canceled. In the matter of Bukovyna and Transylvania accession, the Romanian Government had to rely on pro-Romanian forces assistance, especially since there had been a confrontation with the Ukrainian and Hungarian population. The decisions of the General Congress of Bukovyna to join Romania accelerated processes of the unitary Romanian state formation in the new frontiers.


Keywords


First World War, Bessarabia, Bucovina, Transylvania, "Great Romania".

References


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