Moldova: A Romanian Province under Russian Rule

Moldova: A Romanian Province under Russian Rule

Moldova: A Romanian Province under Russian Rule

Moldova: A Romanian Province under Russian Rule

Excerpt

The world that came into being after the First World War was profoundly different from the one that had existed before. Two of the most important changes were the formation of the first communist state, and the use of the nationality principle as the basis for the creation of new states (or for the enlargement of states already in existence).

The invocation of American idealism, with the famous Wilsonian points, provoked such a revolution in international relations that even the United States refused to approve the peace settlement, and in the end that “settlement” resulted in another world war. Of course, there are many different theories regarding the evolution of international relations during the interwar period; this book will focus on the Bessarabian Treaty and how the intricacies of the shifting international climate influenced Romania.

After the First World War, the Romanians saw their dreams becoming reality through the creation of Greater Romania, by the union of Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania, Crisana, Maramures and Banat with the Old Kingdom. By these acquisitions Romania more than doubled in size and emerged from the war with a population of over 17,000,000 people (as against about 7,000,000 pre-war) and a territory of 295,049 square km (as compared to 137,000 before the war). Romania was transformed almost overnight from a small country into the second largest state in eastern Central Europe. The newly acquired territories transformed Romania from a nationstate into a nationalities state, in which ethnic Romanians made up only 72% of the population. The largest minority groups were the Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Russians, Ukrainians and Gypsies. These other nationalities posed serious problems, especially in those parts of Romania where they outnumbered the Romanians (for example, in southern Bessarabia or in some parts of Transylvania). Interwar Romania had to face the severe challenge of forging extremely diverse regions (economically as well as culturally) into a unified and centralized state.

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