Romania Travel Guide
History of Romania - Independence and Monarchy
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Romanian Army tanks entering Chişinău in 1941
In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later, under pressure from the Allies, on August 14/27 1916, Romania joined the Allies, declaring war on Austria-Hungary. For this action, under the terms of the secret military convention, Romania was promised support for its goal of national unity for all Romanian people.
The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster for Romania as the Central Powers conquered two-thirds of the country and captured or killed the majority of its army within four months. Nevertheless, Moldavia remained in Romanian hands after the invading forces were stopped in 1917. By the war's end, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire had collapsed and disintegrated; Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania proclaimed unions with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. By the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favour 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 with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris.
The Romanian expression România Mare 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, managing to unite all the historic Romanian lands.
During the Second World War, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on June 28, 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance. Under pressure from Moscow and Berlin, the Romanian administration and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well from Northern Bukovina to avoid war. This, in combination with other factors, prompted the government to join the Axis. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was awarded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis arbitration. The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated in 1940, succeeded by the National Legionary State, in which power was shared by Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu had crushed the Iron Guard, and the subsequent year Romania entered the war on the side of the Axis powers. During the war, Romania was the most important source of oil for Nazi Germany, which attracted multiple bombing raids by the Allies. By means of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from the Soviet Russia, under the leadership of general Ion Antonescu. The Antonescu regime played a major role in the Holocaust, following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy of oppression and massacre of the Jews, and Romas, primarily in the Eastern territories Romania recovered or occupied from the Soviet Union (Transnistria) and in Moldavia.
In August 1944, Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael I of Romania. Romania changed sides and joined the Allies, but its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947. By the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered about 300,000 casualties.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia