The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945

By E. Garrison Walters | Go to book overview

11
Interwar Romania

THE CASUAL OBSERVER of the East European situation in 1919 would doubtless have thought Romania the most fortunate of the states of the region. This was a nation with both tradition and a continuing governmental structure (one of only three in the region), and most important of all, it was the only state that was territorially satiated. "Greater Romania" was more than double the size of its predecessor of 1914; it had no serious claim on any of its neighbors' territory. This was also a land known to be well endowed in natural resources. In addition to the traditional mineral reserves of the Carpathians and of the Western Mountains of Transylvania, two elements of obvious importance for the future were present in abundance: oil, and water power for the making of electricity. Finally, the lowlands had a history of producing grain for export. To our casual observer, Romania's most serious problem would have been the considerable war damage.

This superficial picture is an extremely inaccurate one. Upon close analysis, most of the things that appeared to be Romania's greatest benefits were at the same time the sources of potentially fatal weaknesses. The territorial settlement was the most obvious case. Though Romania did not claim any of her neighbors' land, three of the five did not return the favor--Bulgaria, Hungary and the Soviet Union; indeed the latter two were unrelentingly hostile and strove ceaselessly to chop Romania down by at least half. Thus, a "have" nation was no more secure than a "have not"; the issue of maintaining national integrity was for Romania every bit as crucial a concern as was irredentism for Hungary or Bulgaria. And, just as in the revisionist states, the issue of national frontiers had sufficient power to warp the entire fabric of domestic political, social, and economic life.

Romania's territorial success had another dark side. The prewar

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The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - What Is Eastern Europe? xi
  • 1 - The Lands of Eastern Europe 1
  • 2 - History to 1800 16
  • 3 - History, 1800-1848 32
  • 4 - History, 1848-1914 47
  • 5 - Why is There an Eastern Europe? 110
  • 6 - The Great War 132
  • 7 - Interwar Eastern Europe an Overview 150
  • 8 - Interwar Poland 171
  • 9 - Interwar Czechoslovakia 189
  • 10 - Interwar Hungary 205
  • 11 - Interwar Romania 219
  • 12 - Interwar Yugoslavia 237
  • 13 - Interwar Bulgaria 251
  • 14 - Interwar Albania 261
  • 15 - Eastern Europe in World War II 270
  • 16 - The Soviet Example 308
  • 17 - The East European Communist Parties to 1945 325
  • Afterword Eastern Europe on the Eve of A New Vassalage 359
  • Appendix - Maps 365
  • Notes 393
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 407
  • Index 417
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