Romania History: Principality and Kingdom (1862–1947)

Romania History: Principality and Kingdom (1862–1947)

The desire of the representative bodies created in the Danube principalities (“Divan ad hoc”) to unite both territories under one hereditary prince led to the election of Colonel A. I. Cuza (capital of the united Danube Principalities: Jassy) in both principalities in 1859; As Prince Alexandru Ioan I, he proclaimed the unification under the name Romania (capital: Bucharest) on January 24, 1862 and carried out far-reaching reforms.

When he had to abdicate under pressure from the boyars in 1866, Karl von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was elected as Prince Karl (Carol) I by a referendum, who connected Romania culturally and politically to Central and Western Europe. A new liberal constitution (July 13, 1866; based on the Belgian model, in force until 1923) declared Romania a constitutional monarchy. On May 21, 1877, Foreign Minister M. Kog ǎ lniceanu proclaimed Romania’s independence, which was fully recognized internationally by the preliminary peace of San Stefano and at the Berlin Congress (1878). Romania, however, had to cede South Bessarabia to Russia again, but received the North Dobruja.

On March 26, 1881, according to, both chambers proclaimed Romania a kingdom and Charles king. Stability and progress shaped the period that followed; Liberals and conservatives took over from one another in power. Corruption and exploitation led to a peasant uprising in 1907, which was bloodily suppressed. By intervening in the Second Balkan War, Romania forced Bulgaria to cede South Dobruja (Peace of Bucharest, August 10, 1913). Karl’s successor was his nephew in 1914 (as Ferdinand I.). Initially neutral in World War I, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary and thus the German Reich on August 27, 1916 after the conclusion of a protection and alliance treaty with the Entente powers (August 17, 1916). A campaign by the Central Powers (1916/17) and the collapse of imperial Russia forced Romania to conclude the Peace of Bucharest, which was not countersigned by the king (May 7, 1918, loss of Dobruja; canceled in October 1918).

On April 9, 1918, the National Council (Romanian Sfatul Țării) of Chișinău voted for the unification of Bessarabia with Romania; Likewise came the Bukovina (November 28, 1918), Transylvania (after the meeting in Karlsburg / Alba Iulia on December 1, on December 24, 1918) and by decision of the Paris Peace Conference two thirds of the Banat (June 21, 1918). 1919) to the “Altreich” (“Vechiul Regat”). The new borders of Romania were recognized by the Paris suburb treaties of 1919/20 (including the relapse of the Dobruja). The new kingdom of “Greater Romania” (with 295 042 km2 and almost 16 million residents, twice as large as before 1914; 1930: 18.05 million residents) had considerable problems with its national minorities (33%; 1930: 28%), among others over 11% Romania-Hungary (1930: 1.43 million) and (1930) over 700,000 Romanian Germans and Jews each.

Domestically, universal suffrage was introduced for the male population (November 16, 1918), a radical agrarian reform was carried out (1921) and a new, more parliamentary constitution was adopted (March 29, 1923). From 1921 onwards, Romania worked closely with Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the Little Entente as well as with France (Balkan Pact 1934) and Poland (Defensive Alliance 1921).

Since 1922 the National Liberal Party, v. a. under Prime Minister I. I. C. Brătianu (1922–26, 1927) and Vintilă Brătianu (1927–28), the government; The National Peasant Party under I. Maniu also became important. Right-wing groups soon grew stronger, in particular the Archangel Michael Legion (Iron Guard) founded in 1927. The death of King Ferdinand I (1926) triggered a crisis as Crown Prince Karl (Carol) renounced the throne and went into exile. For his underage son, King Michael (Mihai) I, a Regency Council was set up (1927-30). Maniu campaigned for the return of the exiled Prince Karl, who in 1930 replaced his son as Karl II (1930–40); He ruled with rapidly changing governments, mostly supported by the Peasant Party (Prime Minister: Maniu, 1928–30, 1932–33; A. Vaida-Voievod, 1932, 1933) or the National Liberal Party (Prime Minister: Gheorghe Duca, 1933; G. Tatarescu, 1934-37). On February 10, 1938, Karl II. a dictatorial system of government (“royal dictatorship”): suspension of the 1923 constitution, dissolution of all parties, establishment of a state party. At the same time, the government pursued an economic rapprochement with Germany while maintaining the previous alliance policy.

At the beginning of the Second World War, Romania first declared its strict neutrality (September 6, 1939). A Soviet ultimatum dated June 26, 1940 forced the immediate cession of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina and accelerated the annexation to the Axis powers prepared by Charles II: The Second Vienna Arbitration Award (August 30, 1940) also took Romania away from northern Transylvania and resolved domestic politics, v. a. under pressure from General I. Antonescu, Charles II abdicated on September 6, 1940, his son Michael re-ascended the throne; in the Treaty of Craiova (September 7th) Romania also ceded southern Dobruja to Bulgaria. After the loss of a third of the Romanian national territory, Antonescu took over the actual power of government, who was proclaimed “State Leader” (“Conduc ǎ tor statului”). After temporary cooperation with the Iron Guard under Horia Sima (until January 1941), he led Romania into a close alliance with Germany (denunciation of the Little Entente, September 29, 1940; accession to the Tripartite Pact, November 23, 1940) and in the war against the USSR (June 22, 1941), in which Romania regained Bessarabia and northern Bukovina in July 1941. The defeat of the Romanian army in Ukraine and especially at Stalingrad (1942/43) shook the alliance. When the front reached Romanian territory in 1944, there was an overthrow and change of front on August 23, 1944 with the participation of the king: Michael I left Antonescu arrest and set up a coalition government with the symbolic participation of the communists. The Red Army soon occupied all of Romania; In the unconditional surrender of September 12, 1944, Romania had to concede the renewed cession of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, the payment of high war indemnities and participation in the war on the Soviet side; on 24./25. 8. Rumania had declared war on the German Reich. In the Peace of Paris, Northern Transylvania returned to Romania, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina returned to the USSR (February 10, 1947).

Romania History - Principality and Kingdom