Treaty of Bucharest (1916)

Treaty of Bucharest (1916)

The Treaty of Bucharest of 1916 was signed between Romania and the Entente on OldStyleDate|27 August|1916|14 August in Bucharest.

After two years of careful neutrality, in 1916, Romania joined the war on the side of the Entente in order to obtain Transylvania, a territory ruled by Hungary, but with a Romanian population majority and Hungarian and German minorities.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, popular nationalist movements were on the rise also among Romanians. A dream of a nation state, and the creation of a Romanian nation were gradually developing. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were united to eventually become the Kingdom of Romania in 1881.

On ideological level, Romanian nationalist historians established histories linking present Romanian people first with Roman settlers, then also with the Dacian Empire, two thousands years back in history. This promoted a 'noble' cultural heritage to be proud of, and justful claims to territories once populated by the Dacian people, which stretched from the Danube Delta to the Tisza River.

According to the treaty, Romania was to attack Austria-Hungary from the South. In return, the French would grant a bit more than the territory of Transylvania to Romania after the war. Romania declared war on 27 August, and launched three armies of 440,000 men the same night across the passages of the Southern Carpathians.

The advance of the Romanian army was easy, as Austria-Hungary did not station considerable forces along the Romanian border. By mid-September, however, the attack was halted, as German-Bulgarian troops started manoeuvres threatening the Romanian army South of Bucharest.

By end of October the Romanian army was pushed out of Transylvania with the help of German reinforcements arriving in Transylvania to aid the humble forces of Austria-Hungary. Inevitably, this weakness further subjected Austria-Hungary to Germany. By the end of 1916 the capital, Bucharest fell, the government fled to Iaşi, Moldova, and Wallachia was under the control of Central Powers. The toll of the campaign was approximately 100,000 dead for Romania, but it gained Transylvania.

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