Military Review

How Romania entered the war

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How Romania entered the war

100 years ago, 27 in August, 1916, in accordance with a previously signed agreement with the Entente countries, Romania, which bargained for a long time and waited to get the most benefit, began military operations against Austria-Hungary. The Romanian King Ferdinand addressed the army: “Romanian soldiers! I urged you to carry your banners beyond your borders ... Through the centuries, the nation will glorify you! ”


On August 28, the Romanian army launched an offensive against the Austro-Hungarian forces from its southern and western borders (the Carpathians) towards Transylvania. Bucharest was counting on a quick defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, shaken by the strong blows of the Russian army and on its share in the division of its territorial "inheritance".

Lutsk (Brusilovsky) breakthrough in Bucharest was taken as a sign of the imminent collapse of the Austro-Hungarian army, and Romania decided to go to war. When entering the war, Romania was counting on the annexation of Transylvania, Bucovina and Banat - the territories of Austria-Hungary, inhabited by ethnic Romanians, as well as Rusyns (Russians), Hungarians and Serbs. The performance of Romania was actively supported by the French and Italians. In Paris, Rome and Bucharest itself, there were enthusiastic patriotic demonstrations in praise of the Romanian weapons. Romanians were counting on quick success. France was pleased that it overtook the 600-thousand to the side of the Entente. Romanian army. The Italians were happy that their main enemy, Austria-Hungary, had a new enemy, and Vienna would have to throw part of the army into a new strategic direction.

In general, in the West, it was reasonably believed that the intervention of the Romanian army in any case would lead to a weakening of the Austro-German onslaught on the French and Italian fronts. And if Romania has problems, then Russia will have to clear them up. It happened in reality. Romania’s speech eased the situation on the Western front, but on the Eastern led almost to a double catastrophe: the Romanian army was completely defeated, Romania itself was almost completely occupied, and Russia had to quickly create a new - Southern (Romanian) front, attracting huge human and material resources to close the hole, which further aggravated the internal situation in the country and brought the beginning of the revolution closer.

Also, the performance of Romania was beneficial to Britain, France and Italy in terms of geopolitical interests. Romania, together with Greece and Italy, were viewed as a political counterbalance to the Russian interests in the Balkans and the Slavic state (first of all - Serbia). The West strengthened its position in the future post-war settlement on the Balkan Peninsula.

The supreme Russian command was negative to the performance of Romania. The chief of staff of the General Headquarters of General Headquarters, General MV Alekseev, resolutely resisted its entry into the war, considering the army of the Romanian kingdom unfit. It was believed that the neutrality of Romania creates a buffer zone between the south of the Russian Empire and the troops of the Central bloc. In the event of their victory in the Romanian theater, there was a threat to the southern Russian territories.

A similar opinion was shared by the Russian emperor Nicholas II. With the approval of Admiral Kolchak to the post of commander of the Black Sea fleet he received a number of instructions from the sovereign: “I do not sympathize with the situation in Romania in this situation: I am afraid that this will be an unprofitable enterprise that will only extend our front, but the French Union command insists on it; it requires Romania to come forward at all costs. "They sent a special mission to Romania, ammunition, and they have to yield to the pressure of the allied command." In addition, Romania’s performance was almost 2 months late, since the offensive operations of the Russian armies in the southern strategic direction had already faded. Russian armies were bloodless for months of heavy fighting and could not break through the enemy defenses. Austria-Hungary and Germany got the opportunity to maneuver forces by connecting the armies of Bulgaria and Turkey to the offensive.

It is also worth noting the military weakness of Romania. Despite the fact that the Romanian king Ferdinand I managed to put thousands of soldiers under 650 gun, the state of the military machine of the Romanian kingdom was extremely poor. The Romanian “elite” was arrogant, it made me think a lot about myself, but the country was absolutely not ready for war. The peasantry was dark and downtrodden. The educated stratum, the “elite”, was immensely proud and wanted to be like an “enlightened Europe”. The desire to "live beautifully" from the bureaucracy resulted in wild corruption, all officials stole and sold. It is clear that such an “elite” could not prepare the country for war, and the common people (soldiers) did not want to fight. The Romanian officers did not lag behind the other "chosen ones": they drank, walked, stole, practically did not appear in the barracks, did not know the soldiers. Such "commanders" were far from the rules of the strategy and tactics of war, logistics. All the novelties of military affairs passed by the Romanian army. The exercises were practically not conducted. Money for new ammunition was stolen. There was a lack of modern weapons, guns, uniforms and shoes. The Romanians had all the 1300 artillery shells, half of which were considered obsolete, and all the 800 machine guns that they could not really use. There was a catastrophic shortage of railways and highways in the country, and a third of the army was forced to engage in transportation and other logistic work in order to at least somehow supply the warring units.

It is also worth noting that the Romanian kingdom had extended (1600 km) state borders, which in the southern and western sectors were completely not covered by troops. All this, in the opinion of the Russian generals, created the danger of a quick defeat of the Romanian army, as happened a year earlier with the armies of Serbia and Montenegro. As a result, the Russian army would have to close itself and the Romanian direction.

The Russian General Staff said: “If Romania comes out against us. Russia will need 30 divisions to defeat it. If Romania comes out against Germany, we also need the 30 divisions to save it from defeat. What is there to choose from? ”In the spring of 1916 of the year, preparing for a large-scale offensive, the Russian Stavka came to the conclusion that“ the performance of Romania on the side of the Entente on the conditions it offered for Russia is harder than war with it ”.

The union of Romania with the Entente represented the great benefits of the bloc provided it was used for strategic purposes. The performance of Romania opened two offensive perspectives. By joint actions from Thessaloniki and from Dobrudja, the Entente could incapacitate the Central Powers, initially Bulgaria, and then, possibly, Turkey. Then it was possible to crush Austria-Hungary. In June, 1916, when the Austro-German front broke through the army of Brusilov, Alekseev addressed the allies: “Now is the time most suitable for Romania’s entry, and this is the only time when Romania’s intervention may be interesting for Russia.” The Russian Stavka noted that the enemy was confused, was shooting troops from everywhere and was throwing new divisions against the Russians. The grouping of the Central Powers in the Balkans is weakened and a strong and sudden blow can be inflicted on the enemy. If the Thessaloniki Front goes over to the offensive from one side and Romania from the other, then Austria-Hungary, broken by Russian strikes, will simply collapse.

However, Bucharest began to bargain. And then it turned out that the Romanian leadership is not going to fight with Bulgaria. Romania has an agreement on neutrality with Bulgaria, and Bucharest wants to throw the whole army to capture Transylvania. It is clear that the British and French did not want to fight for the Romanian appetites. This project was rejected by the Western powers. In reality, Bulgaria has not forgotten the insults of 1913, as the Romanians snatched a piece of its land. And Bulgaria will become a springboard for a powerful strike on Romania.

There was another possibility. The border with Romania opened, through Transylvania, the flank of the fortified position of the Austro-Germans and the shortest route to Vienna. The early concentration of Russian troops on the left flank of the 9 Army (Romania’s delivery deadline was definitely known from half of July) and the rapid Russian offensive immediately after Romania declared war on its territory, bypassing the Austrian positions, could lead Austria-Hungary to the brink of defeat. However, the Entente refused from this method. Romania was given the opportunity to attack in Transylvania itself, and only by strengthening it with a weak Russian corps in Dobruja.

Although it was obvious that the strategic position of Romania on the weak flank of Austria-Hungary would force the Austro-German troops to bring down all free forces on the kingdom in order to eliminate the threat to their strategic flank, block the way to the Balkans and create a threat to the flank of the Russian front. In addition, after heavy and bloody battles on the Russian and French fronts, Germany and Austria needed a bright victory to invigorate society. A quick campaign in Romania gave such a victory. It was also clear that a weak Romanian army would not be able to withstand the onslaught of the Austro-German divisions, which are well-armed and have a great combat experience, and even with the threat from the Bulgarian direction.

Thus, it appeared that the independent performance of Romania, without the support of the Entente, was only negative for Russia, as it actually happened. However, St. Petersburg once again gave way to the pressure of the Allies and did not use the opportunity to strike a blow at the enemy through Romania.

Bucharest was trading for two years, looking for the greatest benefit. Maintaining neutrality, Romania was the agricultural base of the Central Powers, selling them food. The Romanian elite wanted to get Transylvania, Bucovina and Banat at the expense of Austria-Hungary. This could offer the Entente at the expense of Vienna. In addition, France has traditionally had a strong position in the Romanian elite. Romania proudly called itself the “Latin sister” of France, and Bucharest - “little Paris”. Russia, although thanks to the Russians, Romania was freed from the Ottomans, had minimal influence on Bucharest. On the other hand, in Romania there was a German party, the Romanian king Ferdinand I was from the German Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty, and the former principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was part of the German Empire. However, the main role in choosing the side in the confrontation was played by greed - the Romanian "elite" was ready to take the side of the strong, who promises more to guarantee their share.

Since the autumn of 1915, in connection with the beginning of the offensive of the Central Powers in Serbia, the annexation of Bulgaria and the threat of loss for the Entente of the Balkans, the Entente government has increased pressure on Bucharest. The Russian Foreign Ministry also stepped up efforts to persuade Romania to a military alliance, or at least to get permission for the passage of Russian troops - to strategically reach the German-Austrian forces and help the retreating Serbs. Bucharest bargained: without refusing to cooperate, the Romanians put forward new and more and more favorable conditions for themselves to enter into an alliance with the Entente.

Thus, Bucharest waited a long time, bargained. Intensive negotiations on the entry of Romania into the war went all summer 1916 year. 5 August, French President Raymond Poincaré sent a personal message to Tsar Nicholas II, urging him to make concessions to Romania (including on the issue of post-war territories) and conclude an allied treaty with her. The agreement came 17 August. The Western Allies guaranteed Romanians financial support, the supply of weapons, ammunition and equipment. After the victory, they promised Transylvania, Banat and even Bukovina, which the Russian troops won. The military part of the agreement guaranteed the Romanian kingdom cover for the mobilization of the Romanian army by Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary. For this, the Russian corps was sent to the Romanian Dobrudja. In addition, the Western Allies pledged to launch a decisive offensive by the Anglo-French Army of Thessaloniki no later than 8 days before the opening of hostilities by Romania.

At the same time, the Romanian government finally showed its selling nature: Bucharest, having already decided to fight on the side of the Entente, sold a large amount of food to the Central Powers.
Author:
Articles from this series:
1916 Campaign

The strategy of the Entente and the Central Powers on 1916 year
"The French Armed Forces will bleed to death in any case - will she keep Verdun or not"
France and England were going to "fight to the last Russian soldier"
Russian soldiers in France
Brilliant victory of the Russian Caucasian army under Erzerum
Keprikeyskoe battle
Assault Erzerum
Defeat of the Turkish Army 3
Trapezund operation
Verdun meat grinder
Verdensky meat grinder. H. 2
Strategic defeat of the German army near Verdun
Naroch operation
Portugal in the First World War
The Fifth Battle of the Isonzo
Trentino operation
As the Russian Caucasian army defeated the Turkish army 3 th in Erzincan battle
Brusilovsky breakthrough
Lutsk breakthrough
Missed opportunities Brusilovsky breakthrough
Kolomeya battle. Battle of the Stokhod River
Kovel battle[u] [/ u]
How did the best parts of the Russian imperial army die?
Ognot. As the Turkish army tried to take revenge for the Erzerum defeat
The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo
22 comments
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  1. V.ic
    V.ic 29 August 2016 06: 27
    +10
    Somewhere in 1916, my grandfather was wounded by an explosive bullet in the leg. He recovered, but was found unfit for combat. Went on vacation due to injury. In due time after that my father was born. And the grandfather began to guard some warehouses. In Boots. In the Patriotic War, my grandfather was in the labor army / Chelyabinsk /, but no longer in boots, but in bast shoes. I heard the song "Carpathian valleys-cemeteries of daring people" first from him and only then in the movie "We are from Kronstadt".
  2. dmi.pris
    dmi.pris 29 August 2016 06: 36
    +9
    No matter where the Romanians are noted, everything is awry .. Of the gypsies, warriors are like ..
    1. siberalt
      siberalt 29 August 2016 18: 08
      0
      If the author was not Samsonov, it would be possible to discuss. And so, about an objective liberal "stuffing into Russian history." hi So I want to say - hands on the table!
  3. Al_oriso
    Al_oriso 29 August 2016 06: 44
    +9
    Romania has always been with the one who is stronger, or with the one who pays the most.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 29 August 2016 06: 52
    +10
    The essence of Romania was well shown by V.V. Mayakovsky .. Rome stands on the Tiber, the Romanians are looking to stiffen .. The truth is written in 1918. But nonetheless
    1. Same lech
      Same lech 29 August 2016 07: 33
      +9
      Since now everything is worse with the Romanians ... the country is a NATO member, on its territory the missile defense system directed against us and the Romanians themselves do not cause anything but sarcasm ...

      the poorest folly gathered to fight with us as cannon fodder ...
      history hasn’t taught them anything ... will go under the distribution again ... we should not regret these dumb freeloaders ... we will beat from the heart.
      1. Leto
        Leto 29 August 2016 10: 51
        +1
        the poorest folly

        And how are they poor?
      2. Leto
        Leto 29 August 2016 10: 51
        +1
        the poorest folly

        And how are they poor?
        1. alexej123
          alexej123 30 August 2016 09: 02
          0
          First of all, spirit and mind. Arranges? And, tell Europe, so look, in the CAPITAL, in Bucharest there are areas like Brazilian favelas. Will you find such in Moscow? Yes, you’re up in Russia.
          1. Pasha
            Pasha 18 January 2017 12: 08
            0
            correctly.
            they are poor in spirit.
            and they don’t know their truth.
            and we have nothing to do there, they proved the price of their friendship and brotherhood.
            but any attempts to cross our border should be stopped. deep ditch and 9g.
  5. demotivator
    demotivator 29 August 2016 07: 35
    +5
    Quote: Al_oriso
    Romania has always been with the one who is stronger, or with the one who pays the most.

    So wow! The world war had already been going on for two whole years, and Romania hesitated, deciding on which side to take its stand, either on the side of the Entente, or together with Germany and Austria-Hungary against it. The statement attributed by various authors to various military authorities is widely known. Its essence is this: it does not matter on whose side Romania will stand, because the number of divisions necessary for its defeat or rescue from it is exactly the same. In both cases, Russia would have to solve this problem. This was the "problem": the entry of Romania into the war did not bring any benefit to the Entente, but Russia did considerable harm. The armed forces of Romania were very weak, and Russia had a very long border with it. If the Romanians entered the war, the Russian front automatically lengthened. To fill it would have to spend all the reserves and weaken other sectors of the front. And here again the Englishwoman began to shit us - Great Britain is straining all her strength to drag Bucharest into the war on the side of the Entente. For the Romanian government to enter the war with a light heart, British diplomats promised territorial acquisitions at the expense of Austria-Hungary, and supported the strange belief that Romania could declare war on Austria alone. This is what the Romanians did, but right after that, Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey declared war on them. The Russian Black Sea Fleet also received a new headache: it had the additional task of covering the Romanian coast from enemy ships. For Russia as a whole, this grief-ally brought only problems. As it turns out, the Russian divisions, which covered the “Romanian” gap at the front, were preparing for the Dardanelles operation! They were then transferred to the Romanian front, abandoning the operation to seize the straits and Constantinople!
    Thus, by drawing Romania into the war, the British managed to disrupt the Russian operation to capture the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.
    1. murriou
      murriou 18 January 2017 12: 19
      0
      Quote: demotivator
      the Russian divisions, which covered the “Romanian” gap at the front, were preparing for the Dardanelles operation!

      I really sympathize with you, believe me. crying Take the world map, find the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus on it, and recognize the difference between them. laughing
      In some primer, learn about the Dardanelles operation, incl. I also advise you about the time and the forces that took part in it. In fact, it ended a year before Romania joined the WWII lol

      As for the Bosphorus landing operation, I read its plans. The stunning incompetence of the tsarist "strategists" already at the planning stage of the operation, which could not have had any other results, except for a catastrophic failure and a huge number of victims on the Russian side ..
  6. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 29 August 2016 08: 11
    +6
    I liked the article, a lot of information unknown to me. It is also good that a list of articles on this topic has been printed.
    Romania was not reliable and cunning, and right now it’s appetites about Moldova, ...... and they are glad to NATO.
    1. murriou
      murriou 18 January 2017 13: 44
      0
      This topic has not yet been touched upon with the mysterious loss of the main part of the Romanian state gold reserve during the war. laughing
  7. paul72
    paul72 29 August 2016 09: 59
    +8
    In the future, Romania will conclude a separate peace with the central powers, losing Bulgaria to part of the territory. And after the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary, Romania will take its place among the victorious powers, receive its share of the Austrian inheritance, and even seize Bessarabia from Soviet Russia.
    As a result, Monsieur Churchill will say: "Romanians are not a nationality, they are a profession."
  8. soldner
    soldner 29 August 2016 13: 25
    +9
    The funny thing is that after being defeated on the battlefield, Romania emerged from two world wars as a winner with territorial acquisitions. After World War I, the Entente entrusted the Romanians to suppress the revolution in Hungary and on the southern outskirts of Russia. Romania took Transylvania and Bessarabia with Bukovina. And in 1944 in time they spread to the side of the USSR, the king even received the Order of Victory
    1. murriou
      murriou 18 January 2017 12: 53
      0
      Quote: soldner
      the king even received the Order of Victory

      For the overthrow of Antonescu, deservedly so.
      Antonescu was a dictator and friend of Hitler, all of Romania was in his hands.
  9. Akuzenka
    Akuzenka 29 August 2016 16: 06
    +2
    I don't think I remember exactly, Himmler said: "To occupy Romania, you need a Wehrmacht division. To defend Romania, also a Wehrmacht division." Comments are superfluous. Exactly, a fascist, put it.
    1. onibo
      onibo 29 August 2016 21: 46
      +2
      This is a joke and sounds like this:
      "Chief of Staff Halder comes to Hitler and reports:
      - My Fuhrer, Romania entered the war.
      - Halder, with this nonsense you could manage yourself. Allocate five divisions against them.
      “My Fuhrer, you do not understand.” Romania entered the war on our side.
      - This is much worse. Find ten divisions somewhere to defend them. "
      1. murriou
        murriou 18 January 2017 12: 28
        0
        Laughter with laughter, and the entry of Italy into the war with France in 1940, to the great displeasure of Hitler and in violation of their preliminary plans with Mussolini, required the Germans to urgently allocate selected forces to save the "older brother" from defeat in the Alps.

        We add that by this moment the defeat of France was already almost complete, and the Italians wished to fall on the tail of the winners laughing
  10. alatanas
    alatanas 9 December 2016 10: 20
    0
    Short story (actions of the Bulgarian army).
    On August 17, Romania signs an agreement with ANTANTA. The 27th begins mobilization and declares war on Austria-Hungary. In Bulgaria, the 3rd Army is being formed under the command of the gene. Stefan Toshev. September 1, Bulgaria declares war on Romania. 2nd 1st Cavalry Division under the command of gen. Ivan Kolev advances in Dobrudja freeing the city Tervel. 4th released Dobrich6th - Balchik и Kavarna. 7th taken Tutrakan (fortress and fortification fortified area), 8th - Silistra14th - MangaliaOn the 22nd Kyustendzha (Seg. Constanta), 22nd Medjidia (Medjid), the 25th Black waterOn the 26nd Khirsovo. December 18th taken BabadagDecember 22nd - Tulcealater and Sulina.Thus, the troops occupy the Danube Delta. January XNUMXst released Machin, a7th - Isakcha. This ends the liberation of Dobrudge from the Romanians by the Bulgarian 3rd Army within 4 months with the help of one German brigade and 2 Turkish divisions (invited to participate by the Germans).
    On the 6th, Bucharest was taken (from Svishtov’s side), the king and the government flee to Yash (Iasi), and Romania leaves the war by signing the Bufteyski and Bucharest peace treaties with the AGREEMENT countries.

    Romanian trophy weapons after the capture of Tutrakan fortress
  11. murriou
    murriou 18 January 2017 12: 23
    0
    Alexander, I must add one more significant detail to your quite intelligible article.

    By 1916, Germany was on the verge of a fuel crisis. Before the WWII, the Germans stockpiled about 100 thousand tons of liquid fuel, but military spending, primarily the needs of the fleet, exhausted them almost completely in 2 years.
    Romania’s entry into the WWI gave the Germans access to its oil resources, after some hostilities, and the fuel problem for Germany was removed before the WWII.