Ioan-Aurel Pop


This article starts from the clear notion that the participants in World War I pursued goals and desired outcomes that would prove favourable to their own interests. While the Great Powers went into battle for political-military objectives capable of reaffirming and consolidating their position at European and world level, as well as for seeking revenge against their historical opponent, the small states and peoples of Central-Eastern Europe aspired to emancipation from the empires in which they were included against their will and to the formation of nation states based on the principle of self-determination. Romania, which had to recover its co-nationals and territories from under Tsarist and Austro-Hungarian occupation in order to achieve its much dreamed of unity, joined the Entente after two years of neutrality, in August 1916, fighting against the Austro-Hungarian Empire in order to obtain Transylvania and Bukovina. The evolution of events and the end of the war, in 1918, led to the reconfiguration of the old continent’s map: the dissolution of empires generated the birth of unitary nation states. Among them was the Romanian one. What came thus to an end was a period that had begun at the time of the 1848 revolutions, marked by national emancipation movements, by the demand for democratic rights and freedoms and by the project of creating states based on the national principle. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919-1920 enshrined the birth of these new states, granting them legal status and legitimacy, so that peoples like the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Serbs, the Croats, the Romanians, etc., became independent actors on the European stage. This contribution integrates the Romanian problem in the processes and transformations that took place in Central-Eastern Europe after the end of the “Great War”.

Keywords: Great War, Romania, Europe, nation, unitary nation state, self-determination.