Greater Romania

Greater Romania

:See "România Mare" for other meanings

The Greater Romania ( _ro. România Mare) generally refers to the territory of Romania in the years between the First World War and the Second World War (WWI and WWII), the largest geographical extent of Romania up to that time and its largest peacetime extent ever (295,649 km²); more precisely, it refers to the territory of the Kingdom of Roumania (or Kingdom of Romania) between 1919 and 1940.

The name and its meanings

The original Romanian term, "România Mare"," or Great Roumania, did not carry the possibly expansionist or irredentist sense of its English translation; it is rather used in the sense of "re-integration" of the ancient Roumanian territories that share both a common language and culture, as further described next (and also in the cited references). One can compare the current and dominant use of this term with today's use of its larger 'cousin' name of 'Great Britain'. The name was coined not long after the Treaty of Versailles, when the re-attachment of Transylvania to the Kingdom of Roumania occurred as a result of the Treaty of Trianon; thus the Kingdom of Romania under King Ferdinand I came to include all provinces with a large ethnic Romanian majority, by comparison with the previous Romanian Old Kingdom under King Carol I, which did not include the provinces of Transylvania and Bessarabia, but included most of Bukovina. An alternative name for "România Mare", coined at the same time, was in the Roumanian language "România Întregită" (roughly translated in English as, "Integrated Romania", or "Entire Romania"). "România Mare" was seen (and is also now seen by the great majority of the Romanian people, both at home and abroad) as the 'true', "whole" Romanian state, or, as Tom Gallagher states, the "Holy Grail of Romanian nationalism". cite book |author=Gallagher, Tom | title= Modern Romania: the end of communism, the failure of democratic reform, and the theft of a nation | publisher= New York University Press | location=New York |year= 2005 | pages= p. 28 | isbn= 0-8147-3172-4 | oclc= | doi=]

The term "România Mare" may have also acquired another, 'irredentist', meaning after the forced annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary--which was approved and directly ordered by Hitler, and of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina by the dictator Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union in 1940.

Sometimes the term is used only in English by the occupiers of the former Roumanian territories who seem to allege that 'it conveys an expansionist-territorial tendency', which is not at all the meaning employed by either the vast majority of the Romanians or its current democratic government allied with NATO. When used in a political context, perhaps only in relation to the extremist and rather unpopular/improperly called 'Greater Romania' Party, it might acquire an 'irredentist' connotation, mainly concerning the territories occupied after World War II by the Soviet Union, that are now either part of Ukraine or the Republic of Moldova --whose official language and coat of arms on its flag are those of the Old Romanian Kingdom and the same as those of the Great Roumania, ('Greater Romania'), or the " "Heart of Romania" ". Furthermore, it is not very often mentioned today that during the Soviet occupation, large numbers of Romanians in Bessarabia and Bukovina have been ruthlessly either displaced or 'eliminated', in a Holocaust of proportions and inhuman cruelty not seen since similar Hitler's atrocities towards Jewish populations; after such 'ethnic cleansing' or genocide by the Soviets of "more than half-a-million Romanians" in these still occupied territories, similarly large numbers of Russians were moved into the occupied territories of Bessarabia and Bukovina in order to ensure their permanent presence in these ancient Roumanian territories.


In 1918, at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the Romanian Old Kingdom.

The Union of Transylvania and Banat with the Kingdom of Roumania

The Union of Transylvania with Roumania

Transylvania (the last of the three to do so) joined Romania by a "Proclamation of Union" of Alba Iulia adopted by the Deputies of the Romanians from Transylvania, and supported one month later by the vote of the Deputies of the Saxons from Transylavania. The Hungarian-speakers from Transylavania, about 32% at the time (including a large Hungarian-speaking Jewish community), and the Germans in Banat did not elect Deputies at the official dissolution of Austro-Hungary, since they were considered represented by the Budapest government of the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungary. In Bukovina, after occupation by the Romanian Army, [Volodymyr Kubijovyč, Arkadii Zhukovsky, [ Bukovyna] , in "Encyclopedia of Ukraine", Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2001] [Sherman David Spector, "Rumania at the Paris Peace Conference: A Study of the Diplomacy of Ioan I. C. Brătianu", Bookman Associates, 1962, p. 70 ] a National Council voted for union with Romania. While the Romanian, German, Polish and Jewish deputies voted for, Fact|date=August 2007 the Ukrainian deputies (representing 38% of the population at the time) [ Donald Peckham, Christina Bratt Paulston, "Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe", Multilingual Matters, 1998, p. 190 ] voted against. Bessarabia, having declared its sovereignty in 1917 by the newly formed "Council of the Country" ("Sfatul Ţării"), was faced with the disorderly retreat of disbanded Russian troops through its territory in January 1918. Romanian troops occupied the province [Ray Egerton Henderson Mellor, "Eastern Europe: A Geography of the Comecon Countries", Macmillan, 1975, p. 79 ] [ William Aylott Orton, "Twenty Years' Armistice, 1918-1938", Farrar & Rinehart, 1939, p. 41 ] [ Volodymyr Kubiĭovych, "Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia", University of Toronto Press, 1963, p.756,] allegedly to protect it from the Bolsheviks who were spreading the Russian Revolution. After declaring independence from Russia on 24 January 1918, the Romanian dominated "Sfatul Ţării" voted for union with Romania on 9 April 1918: of the 148 deputies, 86 voted for union, 3 against, 36 abstained (mostly the deputies representing the minorities, 36% at the time) [ [ Results of the 1897 Russian Census at Молдавский и румынский: 469,852; 451067; total population--"Moldavian and Roumanian: 920,919 people",] ] and 13 were not present.

Interwar period

The union of the regions of Transylvania, Maramureş, Crişana and Banat with the Old Kingdom of Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon which recognised Romanian sovereignty over these regions and settled the border between the independent Republic of Hungary and the Kingdom of Romania. The union of Bukovina and Bessarabia with Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Versailles. Romania had also recently acquired the Southern Dobruja territory called the "Cadrilater" ("Quadrilateral") from Bulgaria as a result of its victory in the Second Balkan War in 1913.Romania retained these borders from 1918 to 1940. In that year, it lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, lost the considerable territory of Northern Transylvania to Hungary in the Second Vienna Arbitration, and lost the "Cadrilater" to Bulgaria in the Treaty of Craiova. In the course of World War II, Romania (in alliance with the Axis Powers) took back Bessarabia and was awarded further territorial gains at the expense of the Soviet Union (Transnistria or western Yedisan or western New Russia; these were lost again as the tide of the war turned. After the war, Romania regained the Transylvanian territories lost to Hungary, but not those lost to either Bulgaria or the Soviet Union, and in 1948 the Treaty between the Soviet Union and Soviet-occupied Communist Romania also provided for the transfer of four uninhabited islands to the USSR, three in the Danube Delta, and one in the Black Sea (Snake Island),with the latter being used as a 'spy heaven' by the Soviet Union.

Additional supporting historic documents

*Movement for unification of Romania and Moldova
*List of famous Romanians who were born outside present-day Romania
*Tatarbunary Uprising
*Little Entente

Further reading

*cite journal
quotes =
last = Leustean
first = Lucian N.
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 2007
month = September
title = "For the Glory of Romanians": Orthodoxy and Nationalism in Greater Romania, 1918-1945
journal = Nationalities Papers
volume = 35
issue = 4
pages = 717–742
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =

References and Notes

External links

* [ Video with the redrawing of the borders after the First World War]

< World War I | History of Romania | World War II >

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