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The War in Romania, 1918

Map of Romania and the Allied and Central Power campaign plans for 1917. 'Romanian Territories under Foreign Rule' include Transylvania, Austria-Hungary, northwest of the Carpathian Mountains, and Bessarabia, Russia, to the east between the Prut and Nistru Rivers, regions with large ethnic Romanian populations. From 'Romania in World War I, a Synopsis of Military History' by Colonel Dr. Vasile Alexandrescu.
Text:
The Romanian Army in the 1917 Campaign
Romanian territories under foreign rule
The Romanian territory invaded by troops of the Central Powers in the 1916 campaign
The Romanian-Russian campaign plan for the summer of 1917
The German-Austro-Hungarian campaign plan for the summer of 1917
Romanian troops
Russian troops
Troops of the Central Powers

Map of Romania and the Allied and Central Power campaign plans for 1917. 'Romanian Territories under Foreign Rule' include Transylvania, Austria-Hungary, northwest of the Carpathian Mountains, and Bessarabia, Russia, to the east between the Prut and Nistru Rivers, regions with large ethnic Romanian populations. From Romania in World War I, a Synopsis of Military History by Colonel Dr. Vasile Alexandrescu.

Image text

The Romanian Army in the 1917 Campaign

Romanian territories under foreign rule

The Romanian territory invaded by troops of the Central Powers in the 1916 campaign

The Romanian-Russian campaign plan for the summer of 1917

The German-Austro-Hungarian campaign plan for the summer of 1917

Romanian troops

Russian troops

Troops of the Central Powers

Other views: Larger, Larger

January 1 through December 31, 1918

Romanian Front

1916 and 1917

After its August 27, 1916 declaration of war against Austria-Hungary and invasion of Transylvania, most of Romania was overrun by Central Power forces leaving its military holding the only the northern region of Moldavia. Defeated and wracked by disease in the early months of 1917, the army rebuilt with Russian support and French military aid. For the rest of the year, Romania's war was tightly tied to events in Russia. Russia's February Revolution that deposed the Tsar brought to power a provisional government intent on continuing the war. Russian War Minister Alexander Kerensky's offensive begun on July 1, 1917 was Russia's last offensive of the war and, although initially successful, ended in the collapse of the Russian line and the departure of many Russian soldiers from the front. The Romanian-Russian Mărăşti Offensive, launched on July 24 to support the Russian offensive, was an Allied victory. The Romanians and Russians held against the German and Austro-Hungarian Mărăşeşti and Oituz Offensives begun on August 6 and 7, the first a Romanian victory, the second a Romanian holding of the line.

Although German General August von Mackensen hoped to conquer the last unoccupied Romanian territory, commander Erich Ludendorff redeployed some of Mackensen's forces to Italy to support Austria-Hungary, leaving him without the strength to destroy the Romanian army. In July, as his offensive collapsed into a rout of his troops, Kerensky telegrammed his commanders to take no offensive actions. Romanians increasingly replaced Russians in the front lines, as Russian soldiers, some simply gangs of armed men, made their way back to Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution and Russian-Central Power armistice left Romania with no choice but to negotiate its own armistice. Romania suspended military operations on December 9, 1917.

1918

Negotiations between Romania and the Central Powers were drawn out. On February 8, 1918, Prime Minister Brătianu and his cabinet resigned, and General Alexandru Averescu formed new government. Von Mackensen participated in the opening of the final negotiations begun on March 6 which were managed by the German and Austro-Hungarian Ministers for Foreign Affairs. After repeated delays, Austria-Hungary's Ottokar Czernin threatened Romania's King Ferdinand with renewed hostilities. On May 7, 1918, Romania signed the Treaty of Bucharest. Parliament refused to pass it, and was dissolved. King Ferdinand would not ratify it.

Romanian stamps issued under Bulgarian occupation, 1916: Bulgarian Stamps of 1915-16 surcharged in red or blue in 1916.

By September 1918, Germany's spring and summer offensives had been stopped and the Allies had steadily pushed Germany back on the Western Front. Austria-Hungary had spent the last of its offensive capacity in the June offensive on the Piave. The Allied drive to retake Serbia — the Battle of Dobro Pole — was launched on September 15 against primarily Bulgarian forces. On September 26, the Bulgarians asked that hostilities be suspended. Defeated, Bulgaria signed an armistice on September 29. On November 10, Romania's King Ferdinand mobilized the army, and Romania re-entered the war on the side of the Allies.

Revolutionary and nationalist activity continued to threaten the Bolshevik government in Russia. In late 1917, in Bessarabia, a Russian region east of Moldavia with a large Romanian population, revolutionary Soldiers Assemblies and a Country Assembly were formed and an Autonomous Moldavian Republic of Bessarabia was proclaimed. On April 9, 1918, the Country Assembly decided in favor of Bessarabia's union with Romania.

On September 28, 1918, the Executive Committee of the National Romanian Party in Transylvania, decided to resume militant activity that had been suspended during the war. A party meeting on October 12 declared the right of self-determination for the Romanian Nation in Hungary and Transylvania and submitted this declaration to the Hungarian Parliament on October 18, 1918. On October 30 and 31, the Romanian National Party and the Socio-Democratic Party established a Romanian National Council to govern Transylvania prior to union with Romania. On December 1, the Great National Assembly voted the union of Transylvania and Romania, passing as well provisions for universal male and female suffrage over age 21, freedom of the press, and equal rights for all citizens.

Lot of Romanian stamps. Those from the German occupation are a German stamp surcharged

Romanian political leaders met on October 27, 1918 in Chernowitz, Bukovina, proclaiming themselves a Constituent Assembly. The voted for the union of Bukovina to the mother country, and elected a national council. On November 28, the General Congress of Bukovina, representing various ethnic groups voted for the reunion of Bukovina and Romania.

Romania Returns to the War

On the Salonika front French General Franchet-d’Esperey, commanding the Allied forces, launched an offensive, the Battle of Dobro Pole, across the entire front on September 15. The Serbs, moving through the mountains, advanced 20 miles in two days west of the Vardar River valley. Cavalry (Moroccan French Spahis) moved through the mountains. The French advanced. The Bulgarian right collapsed.

On September 26, the Bulgarians asked that hostilities be suspended. Defeated, Bulgaria signed an armistice on September 29, the same day the British breeched the Hindenburg Line on the Western Front. By November 10, Franchet-d’Esperey had driven the occupiers from Serbia and was in Belgrade, its capital, across the Danube from Austria-Hungary. The same day King Ferdinand mobilized the army and Romania re-entered the war.

Romania mobilized 1,249,601 men for the war, and suffered 510,000 casualties killed, wounded, and missing

1918-01-01

1918-12-31

Events contemporaneous with The War in Romania, 1918

Start Date End Date View
1918-01-01 1918-12-31 Romania at War, 1918
1918-03-03 1918-03-03 Russia and the Central Powers sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
1918-03-21 1918-04-05 Operation Michael — the Somme Offensive
1918-03-21 1918-07-17 Germany's 1918 Offensives
1918-04-09 1918-04-29 Operation Georgette — the Lys Offensive
1918-05-07 1918-05-07 Romania signs the Treaty of Bucharest, ending its initial involvement in the war
1918-05-27 1918-06-04 Aisne (Blücher) Offensive
1918-06-01 1918-07-04 Château Thierry and Belleau Wood
1918-06-09 1918-06-13 Noyon-Montdidier Offensive
1918-06-15 1918-06-23 Battle of the Piave