Main events in Modern History

Romania emerged as a state, led by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, in 1859, by the union of Moldavia and Wallachia, with his simultaneous election as a ruler in both states. In 1848 there was a revolution in Moldova, Wallachia and Transylvania. The purposes of the revolutionaries were not fulfilled, but they laid the foundation for the following developments.

Fig. 7 – Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza

Alexandru Ioan Cuza was forced to abdicate in 1866 by a large coalition of parties of the times, also called the Monstruous Coalition, being forced to leave the country, the German prince Carol de Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen being proclaimed Lord to secure German support for independence Romania.

Fig. 8 – Carol of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen

Between 1871 and 1877, Romania gradually proceeded to deliberately circumvent the prerogatives of Turkish suzerainty through political acts that clearly defined its entity in international relations. Romania’s participation in the war of 1877-1878 and the conquest of state independence meant legal equality with all sovereign states, having a profound moral significance because it lifted the constitution of the free Romanian nation and allowed the union to be realized in 1918.

Fig. 9 – The Scene of the War for Romania’s Independence

The Congress of Berlin, despite some unfair terms, represented the international recognition of Romanian independence and the full entry of Romania into the European concert.

In 1918, Transylvania, Bucovina and Bassarabia united with the Romania, forming Great Romania or inter-war Romania, which had the largest territorial expansion in Romania’s history.

Fig. 10 – Map of inter-war Romania

In the context of the Second World War, in 1940, Great Romania, under the pressure of Nazi Germany, gave away territories to Hungary, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union.

In contrast to the chaotic withdrawal from Bessarabia, territorial cessation, dissatisfaction with public opinion, and the protests of political leaders, King Carol II suspended the Constitution of Romania and appointed as Prime Minister General Ion Antonescu. This, supported by the Iron Guard, asks the King to abdicate in favor of his son, Mihai. Antonescu then assumes dictatorial powers and becomes head of state as well as chairman of the council of ministers. In 1941, as an ally of Germany, Romania declared war on the Soviet Union.[1]

On August 23, 1944, Romania withdrew from the alliance with the Powers of the Axis, forming an alliance with the Allied Powers (Great Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union).

Socialist Romania

On August 23, 1944, the Soviet army was already in northern Moldova since March, King Michael gives his consent to the removal of Marshal Antonescu by force if he refuses to sign the armistice with the United Nations. Following King Antonescu’s refusal, King Mihai ordered the marshal’s arrest, and Romania fights together with  the Allies.

Less than 3 years after the occupation of Romania by the Soviets, in 1947, King Mihai I was forced to abdicate and the Romanian People’s Republic – state of popular democracy was proclaimed. The established regime, led by the Romanian Workers’ Party, strengthens its position through a Stalinist policy of discouraging any political opposition and changing the economic and social structures of the old bourgeois regime. In the early 1960s, the Romanian government began to assert a certain independence from the Soviet Union, without abandoning “revolutionary conquests.” In 1965 communist leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej dies, after which Romania enters a period of change. After a brief struggle for power, Nicolae Ceausescu, who became general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party in 1965, President of the State Council in 1967 and President of the Socialist Republic of Romania in 1974, came to the head of the Communist Party. President Nicolae Ceausescu became more and more authoritative in the 1980s.

Fig. 11 – Nicolae Ceausescu en route to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain during the official visit, June 13, 1978. (Rolls Press / Popperfoto / Getty Images / Guliver)[2]

In the context of the fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe, a protest in mid-December 1989 in Timisoara quickly turned into a national protest against the socialist political regime, removing Ceausescu from power.[3]

After the removal of the communist regime in Romania in December 1989 and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991), the Romanian state initiated a series of economic and political reforms.

Fig. 12 – The Anti-Communist Revolution of December 1989




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