In the summer of 1916, following long negotiations, the Romanian state entered the war alongside the Entente. The treaty of alliance signed on the 4/17th of August 1916 with France, Russia, Great Britain and Italy stipulated Romania’s legitimate right over the territories inhabited by Romanians in the Banat and Austro-Hungary (articles 4 and 5) and also the right to participate in the peace negotiations after the war. The alliance treaty was doubled by a Military Convention whereby the Allies committed to launch a big offensive in Thessaloniki, which to support the Romanian army’s attacks against Austro-Hungary. Moreover, the Allies were supposed to sell and deliver daily to Romania 300 tons of ammunition and weapons and to send Allied Military Missions.
Romania’s entry in the war relaxed the Western front, as German troops headed to Romania, which Germany wanted rapidly eliminated, especially since it needed its oil resources. The 1916 campaign was disastrous for Romania, with the Central Powers occupying more than a third of its territory, while the army, the royal family, part of the administration and the population withdrew to Moldova. The sacrifices of the Romanian people were huge. Not only did many soldiers lose their lives in battle, but also hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians died because of epidemic typhus and recurrent fever. The miraculous reorganization of the Romanian army in 1917, with the help of the Allied Military Missions, made possible its resistance against the armed forces of the Central Powers, culminating in the great victories of the summer of 1917 (Mărăşti, Mărăşeşti, Oituz).
The signing of the armistice with the Central Powers on the 9th of December 1917, and then of the Bucharest Peace, on the 7th of May 1918, were reproached to Romania by the Entente. But it was not Romania who should have been accused! The Armistice and the peace became necessary because of the collapse of the Russian front, following the Brest Litovsk armistice and the permanent pressure of the Central Powers. It must be said that the treaty of Bucharest was not enforced because King Ferdinand refused to promulgate it, so that ratification instruments could not be exchanged. Romania’s re-entry into the war on the 10th of November 1918 meant that on the 11th of November, the day of the Armistice, Romania was at war with the Central Powers.
In March 1918, in a critical moment for the Romanian Kingdom, the union of Bessarabia with Romania was negotiated and accomplished. The union was not recognized by the Bolsheviks, nor by the Ukrainian state, which wanted to annex the Romanian territories. This was the first step towards the making of the Romanian national unitary state.
Once the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy fell, the Romanians within the former empire were able to decide their own fate. Therefore, the Romanian population in Bukovina, Transylvania, Banat, Maramureş and Crişana began organizing in view of obtaining the autonomy of these provinces and their union with the Romanian Kingdom.
The Union of Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom was voted on the 28th of November 1918 in Cernowitz by the General Council of Bukovina. Two days later, in Alba Iulia, the Union of Transylvania with Romania was decided by a popular plebiscitary gathering.
But the resolutions of the Romanian population from all these territories had to be validated by being internationally recognized at the Conference of Peace which was to be held in Paris.
The Paris Peace Conference 1919 – 1920
Through Royal Decree no. 10408/1918, the King appointed Ion I. C. Brătianu, the president of the Council of Ministers and Secretary of State in the Foreign Affairs Department, as “our plenipotentiary at the Conference for the peace negotiations”.
Romania’s Delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris comprised: Ion I.C. Brătianu (president), general Constantin Coandă, dr. Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, Nicolae Mişu, Victor Antonescu, Constantin Diamandy, George Danielopol (the latter four being, at the moment, the Romanian ministers to London, Paris, Petrograd and Washington). Delegates and technical advisers were: P. Zaharide (engineer), S. Rosenthal (jurist), Ermil Pangrati (university professor). As technical experts on juridical matters were appointed Eftimie Antonescu, C. Antoniade, Mircea Djuvara. Expert on military matters: General Staff colonel Toma Dimitrescu. Experts on economic and financial matters: G. Caracostea, dr. C.D. Creangă, Constantin Crişan, Iancu Flondor, D. Marinescu, Ioan Moscony, dr. Moroianu, dr. Ludovic Mrazec, Eugen Neculcea, George Popescu, Nicolae Ştefănescu, Ioan Tănăsescu, Ioan Pelivan. Experts on ethnographic and geographic matters: Caius Brediceanu, prof. dr. Coltor, Alexandru Lapedatu, archbishop Bocşa, Vasile Bitenco, Traian Vuia. The general secretariat of the Romanian delegation to the Paris Conference was ensured by Aurel Vasiliu and Ion I. Pleşia. These were joined the following months by dr. Petre Cazacu, dr. Ion Cantacuzino, Nicolae Titulescu, Octavian Goga, G. Bobancu, C. Sipsom, C.I. Băicoianu, D. Gheorghiu, I.C. Pilide, Ion Pilat, Acsentie S. Constantin, Atanasie Popovici, Şeban Mihail.
Rumors about the Allies’ refusal to observe the treaty of August 1916 preceded the Romanian delegation’s departure to Paris. The fact that the Allies invoked the compromise made by Romania by signing an armistice in December 1917 and then the Bucharest Peace in May 1918 did not represent a moral or juridical argument from the Romanian delegation’s point of view. In its vision, the Allies had to apply the provisions of the Alliance Treaty, the more so that they had failed to carry out the fundamental military ones, such as their actions on the Thessaloniki front, whereas Romania had done its part, with huge sacrifices, even risking state dissolution.
The Paris Peace Conference was a diplomatic exercise of countries coming from a devastating war, which mentally, physically and economically exhausted all participants. Both the victors and the defeated were equally at the end of their powers, left with only war industries, a commerce reduced to armament and subsistence, with an agriculture in great part devastated, with a reduced active population, with millions of dead, injured, war orphans and widows.
After the world cataclysm, the Great Powers made use of democratic means only partially: although sitting at the same table the winners and the defeated, those in the former category had different statuses, firstly taking into consideration their size and importance and only secondly each allied state’s war effort. The lack of an actual equality of rights, even if de jure the Great Powers never abandoned this principle, created discrepancies in the way the victorious states were treated and this led to discontents which lasted until the beginning of the Second World War.
The thirty delegations of the allied and associated states and the five delegations of the defeated states each tried to defend in Paris their own interests to the detriment of others. Finally, a compromise was reached. The diplomatic arsenal used by both the winners and the losers was varied: from diplomatic and artistic lobby to paid propaganda, focused on old or new political and regional sympathies, and to public protests, veiled threats and precipitated withdrawals from the conference. Interpreting nowadays all these actions creates a complete image of the conference.
The initial goal was to solve two stringent problems – the conclusion of peace with the defeated states and war reparations. But The Big Four (David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson) were also faced with the problems caused by a reconfigured Central Europe, where the Great War seemed to have broken down into several smaller wars.
Nonetheless, the majority of borders settled in Paris have lasted, because they were the frontiers of European nations and were in great part outlined taking into consideration the ethnic composition of the regions in question and the will to unite of the populations inhabiting them.
Once the delegations that arrived in Paris were divided into councils and committees, the status of the participating victor states became even clearer. Thus, the Council of Ten (the prime ministers and the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan) and the Council of Four (the political leaders of the Great Powers: David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson) had the de facto power of decision. The delegations debated in front of these two councils the problems arisen and the 16 committees of experts only had the role to concretely put in force the decisions taken by The Big Four.
The lobby of the smaller victors was sometimes less ingenuous than that of the defeated. The terrible war was no longer assumed by any of those who had started and led it, but had been defeated. Austrians representatives claimed an honest peace and negotiated the payment of only a part of war reparations attributed to Austria, arguing that the state which had started the world war by attacking Serbia no longer existed. However, behind the scenes Austrian representatives were trying to find a solution for partially restoring the lost empire. Hungary’s representatives denied any culpability regarding the war, showing that decisions had been taken in Vienna, not Budapest. Moreover, they claimed vehemently that territorial losses caused by the formation of new states in Central Europe or by the unification of others, such as Romania, were illegitimate and truncated the Hungarian millennial territory. Bulgaria’s delegation, which arrived later at the conference, protested vehemently against the loss of territories conquered during the war and denounced the violence committed against the Bulgarians by the neighboring nations – the Romanians, the Serbian and the Greeks -, ignoring the violence they submitted them to during the war (the Bulgarian state was accused of 76 war crimes, being only surpassed by Germany, with 122 war crimes).
Romania’s delegation, as well as the Romanian representatives who had been in Paris ever since the war, Romanian personalities exiled in France, such as Elena Văcărescu, as well as many others, friends of the Romanian state, such as general Henri Berthelot, who closely knew the sacrifices of the Romanian people during the war, tried and partially managed to handle the wave of information, gossip, rumors and negotiation news and to defend the interests of the united Romanian nation.
The first confrontation – The problem of the Banat
The problem of the Banat was among the first that the Romanian delegation was faced with in Paris. On the 29th of January 1919, the delegations of Serbia and of Romania appeared in front of the Supreme Council, in the presence of George Clemenceau and S. Pichon (France), David Lloyd George and A.J. Balfour (Great Britain), Woodrow Wilson and E. Lansing (the US), viscount Chinda and baron Makino (Japan), V. Orlando and S. Sonnino (Italy) and their technical experts, in order to expose their positions on the problem of the Banat. Ion I.C. Brătianu presented the report entitled The Problem of the Banat, in which was proven Romania’s right over the entire Banat, a right also stipulated in the alliance treaty of 1916. The Romanian claim was supported by the ethnical and historical rights of the Romanians in the Banat, whose division would destroy not only the geographic unity, but also the ethnic continuity of the area. The German population of Banat, the Swabians, had expressed its will to be part of the Romanian state. The Romanian leader showed the willingness of the state he represented to guarantee equal rights to all minorities in Banat, asking Serbia for reciprocity in what concerned the Romanians in the Valley of the Timok River. He also declared that Romania committed to not build fortifications on the Danube bank.
The Serbian side, represented by N. Paşici and Ante Trumbici, the Foreign Affairs Minister, claimed Torontal, the westernmost of the three counties which formed the Banat, but also some parts of the Timiş County, where there existed a Serbian minority. Serbian diplomats declared that they had not been aware of a treaty between Romania and the Entente, that they had already negotiated with a Romanian representative, Take Ionescu, and that in Torontal there was an important Serbian community, although not a majority one, and that it was impossible to defend Belgrade if Serbia did not receive part of the Banat. The negotiations and lobby for the Banat continued all throughout 1919.
On the 28th of February 1919 the Romanian delegation submitted a consistent report to the Commission for the Study of Romanian Problems. The report comprised a presentation of the historical and ethnical evolution of Banat, of the region’s ethnic situation (with the Romanians representing 37% of the total, the Schwabs 24% and the Serbians only 18%, followed by the Hungarians, with 14 %), and of the distribution of the ethnic groups within the counties.
On the 18th of March the experts of the territorial commission decided to divide Banat, two thirds being assigned to Romania and one third to Serbia. The new border practically cut in two the Bega Canal and left approximately 100,000 Romanians in the Serbian part. On the 9th of September 1919, the Romanian delegation sent a new memorandum to the Supreme Council, in which it protested against the fact that the integrity of the Banat had not been recognized. Then, on the 12th of September Ion I.C. Brătianu resigned as president of the Council of Ministers, arguing that he refused to accept the disregard of the 1916 alliance treaty with the Entente. Arthur Văitoianu was appointed in his stead.
The peace treaty concluded with Germany, Versailles, 28 June 1919
The Allied delegations received the text of the peace treaty with Germany only a short time before its signing, so were only able to make observations on it. The Romanian state was mentioned in only two articles of the treaty: in article 244, annex VIII, which stipulated the cease of any German rights over the underwater cable Constantinople – Constanţa, its value being considered equal to the war reparations owed by Germany to Romania, and in article 259, paragraph 6, which stated that “Germany confirms its renouncement, as stipulated in article XV of the armistice of 11 November 1918, to all benefits gained based on the treaties of Bucharest and Brest Litovsk and the complementary treaties, without eluding the provisions of article 292, part X (economic clauses) of the present treaty”. Romania claimed reparations for the destructions made by the German occupation troops, for plundering, during the occupation, a part of the Romanian state, for the thousands of Romanian soldiers taken prisoners in Germany, many of whom died, but all these requests were ignored and were not included in the treaty’s chapters regarding war reparations. The injustice done to the Romanian state did not remain without echo in the internal and international press. However, France, Belgium, England and other states remained the main beneficiaries of German war reparations.
Consequent with his own opinions, Ion I.C. Brătianu acted towards defending the recognition of the Romanian state’s independence, towards the drawing of borders in the spirit of the alliance treaty of August 1916 and especially towards the preservation of the united Romania’s economic and political independence.
On the 2nd of July 1919, Ion I.C. Brătianu, the president of the Romanian delegation to the Conference, left Paris, thus protesting against the injustices done to Romania. His departure was part of a strategy of image, aiming to direct the attention of the international press towards the unfair treatment Romania was subjected to.
The minorities’ problem and the treaty of peace with Austria, signed on the 10th of September 1919 in Saint Germain-en-Laye (signed by Romania on the 9th of December 1919)
In the evening of the 30th of May 1919, the Romanian delegation to Paris received a partial version of the peace treaty with Austria. The next day, it addressed the General Secretary of the conference, George Clemenceau, sending him its “declarations and positions regarding the part of the treaty of Austria received yesterday evening”. Romanian diplomats considered that “the conclusions of the peace with Austria do not allow any doubts on the union of Bukovina with Romania”, the more so that it had been stipulated in the treaty of alliance of August 1916.
With regard to article 5 in part III, section IV, concerning national minorities, the Romanian part declared that “Romania has ensured to all its citizens the complete equality of rights and political and religious equalities, without distinction of race or religion”. Ion I.C. Brătianu analyzed the provisions regarding minorities and found that they allowed the interference of other states in the affairs of the Romanian state, something inadmissible from his point of view.
The Romanian objections continued with the second paragraph of the 5th article: “Romania is willing to take all measures destined to facilitate the transit and the commerce with other nations”, a statement referring to the treaty’s provisions which intended to influence Romanian commerce and practically granted the Great Powers great economic privileges, the control of economic corridors passing through the territory of the Romanian state and the exemption from all customs or transit taxes.
Romania also had objections regarding the payment of reparations to Austria, for goods which had belonged to the Austro-Hungarian government. In the Romanian delegation’s opinion, on the one hand the empire no longer existed, while on the other hand the reparations in question amounted to only a very small part of the war reparations requested by Romania.
On the 2nd of June 1919, when Austria was sent the text of the peace treaty, the Romanian delegation discovered that its objections had not been taken into account, even though Romania was one of the allied states that had fought against Austro-Hungary. The negotiations for the minorities’ treaty and the peace treaty with Austria led to direct and significant divergences between I.C. Brătianu and Georges Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson, which made the dialogue even more difficult and caused the departure of Brătianu from Paris.
The Supreme Council discussed on the 12th of October, the 3rd and 7th of November the problems raised by the Romanians and in order to reconcile bilateral relations, it sent to Bucharest a mission led by George Clerck. The Supreme Council thus intended to once more make Romania understand the obligation of accepting the text of the treaties and the urgency of withdrawing its troops from Hungary.
The minorities’ treaty was supposed to be signed together with the peace treaty with Austria, as these two international acts were to become effective together and at the same time, with ratification instruments being deposited in Paris.
Nicolae Mişu and Alexandru Vaida Voevod signed both treaties on the 9th of December 1919, as representatives of Romania’s king, Ferdinand I.
The treaty of peace with Bulgaria signed on the 27th of November 1919 in Neuilly-sur-Seine (signed by Romania on the 9th of December 1919)
The Romanian delegation asked for and was granted the return to the Romanian-Bulgarian border of 1913, after the Second Balkan War. Also, Dobrudja and the Cadrilater, which had been annexed by Bulgaria in 1916, were restored to Romania, which was also to get war reparations from the Bulgarian state.
In September-October 1919, when the treaty with Bulgaria was negotiated, the Great Powers pressured the Romanian delegation and also the Romanian government, conditioning the signing of the treaty with Bulgaria with that of the treaty with Austria and the minorities’ treaty.
On the 15th of November 1919 the Supreme Council issued a harsh ultimatum to the Romanian state, which was requested to sign “without commentaries, reserves and conditions” the treaty with Austria and the minorities’ treaty, or else the treaty with Bulgaria, which had reached a final version, would not be signed either. The Văitoianu Cabinet refused to act on the ultimatum, which was considered not be in the spirit of the 1916 alliance, and replied that the Romanian protests were not connected to the observance of the minorities’ rights, which the Romanian state affirmed, but to the possible interference of other states in the internal affairs of the Romanian kingdom.
Because of these major divergences, the Văitoianu Cabinet fell on the 30th of November and Romania asked for a new postponement of the signing, until a new cabinet was appointed. This happened on the 1st of December, the new Romanian prime minister being Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, who was supposed to unblock the situation and reach a compromise with The Big Four.
In this tense atmosphere, with Romania’s wishes regarding its independence and the non-interference in its internal legislation and commerce being considered exaggerated by the Supreme Council, the following treaties were signed on the 9th of December: that with Austria, in Saint Germain-en-Laye, the Minorities’ Treaty and the treaty with Bulgaria, in Neuilly-sur-Seine. The Romanian resistance had ceased and Romanian diplomats only managed to obtain minimal concessions from the Supreme Council.
The Peace Treaty between the Allied and the Associated Powers and Hungary, signed on the 4th of June 1920 in Paris, at the Trianon Palace
The Union of Transylvania, Banat, Maramureş and Crişana with the Romanian Kingdom, accomplished on the 1st of December 1918, by the plebiscitary assembly in Alba Iulia, was supposed to be included in an international treaty in order to be recognized. The drawing of the border between Romanian and the new Republic of Hungary could only be done following negotiations and the creation of a commission of international experts which to trace and validate it.
The Peace Conference of Paris was to be the place where negotiations could happen and expert commissions for the borders of the new states were to be appointed. In the case of the treaty with Hungary the road was long and it involved a new war, with thousands of victims.
After the proclamation of the Workers’ Dictatorship in Hungary, on the 21st of March 1919, and after Bela Kun took the power, the danger of Hungary being Bolshevized, as well as other territories in Central Europe, increased considerably. Ion I.C. Brătianu, the leader of the Romanian delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris, presented to the Big Four the atrocities of the Bolshevik groups, whose victims were the Romanians in the areas still under Hungarian administration, a population who was asking for the help of the Romanian state, of which it had become part. In the spring of 1919, when Romania asked the Council of Ten for the authorization to occupy the entire Transylvania, the Allies decided to initiate a blockade against the Hungarian state and sent to Budapest South-African General Smuts.
Despite negotiation attempts, the conflict continued. The first fights between the Romanian and the Bolshevik army took place in the night between the 15th and the 16th of April, when Bela Kun’s army attacked the Romanian army’s posts and thus prompted the beginning of its offensive. There followed two weeks of hard fights, during which the Romanian troops reached the left bank of the Tisa River and reconquered, with great human losses, the territories occupied by the Bolshevik army. Romania was summoned by the Allied Supreme Council to not cross the river and enter the Hungarian territory.
During the following period, in face of the provocations and the hostile actions of the Kun government, the Romanian army crossed the Tisa River and, at the beginning of August 1919, it occupied Budapest. This put an end to the war and the Bolshevik concentrations were annihilated one by one. After vehement protests and threats directed by the Supreme Council against Romania, the Allies understood that the Romanian Army was at that moment the only one capable of restoring order in Hungary.
Starting with the end of October 1919, the Allies imperatively asked Romania to gradually withdraw its army until the demarcation line on the Tisa. The withdrawal was done with delay, which was also caused by the lack of means of transportation and that is why relations between Romania’s delegation to Paris and the Allies remained tense. The signing of the treaty between the two countries was conditioned by the complete withdrawal of the Romanian armies from Hungary.
January – March 1920 – negotiations in Paris and London
At the beginning of 1920, Romania’s relations with the Supreme Council had remained tense, even after Romania signed, on the 9th of December 1919, the treaties with Austria and Bulgaria and the minorities’ treaty. Alexandru Vaida Voevod, the new president of the Council of Ministers, came back to Paris intent on negotiating and on restoring the good relations with the Big Four. His mission was extremely important – the negotiation of the treaty with Hungary, of the common border, of a possible exchange of population, as well as of the reparations claimed from the Hungarian state for the occupation period.
The negotiations for the treaty with Hungary were difficult. The borders had been established by the experts of the Supreme Council and were communicated, ever since the 12th of October 1919, to the parts. It was a compromise between the four versions: American, French, English and Italian. Romania had asked, a few days prior to receiving the documents, for border modifications to be made. Four months later, on the 12th of February 1920, the Hungarian delegation protested against the communique of the Supreme Council and sent 38 observations on subjects which, in its vision, had to be re-discussed. The idea of “Greater Hungary” was still among their requests.
On the 3rd of March, the Supreme Council rejected Hungary’s requests and on the 8th of March 1920 the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers and the Ambassadors’ Council did the same.
In London it was decided to form a commission which to deal with the withdrawal of the Romanian army from Hungary and the settlement of the Hungarian-Romanian border. British general Edmund Ironside was appointed as president of the commission. He collaborated with the Great General Staff of the Romanian Army, so that the withdrawal would take place gradually until the Tisa line. General Ironside proved to be a correct man and carried out his mission without partisanship and in accordance with border negotiations and the decisions taken by the Supreme Council, which had assembled in the second part of March in Paris.
On the 6th of May 1929 the Supreme Council sent the Hungarian delegation the final version of the peace treaty with Hungary, which could no longer be modified. Preparations for the signing ceremony were initiated. The copy of the treaty was accompanied by the reply to the 38 notes and observations sent by the Hungarian delegation, a document signed by A. Millerand, the president of the French Council of Ministers. A. Millerand showed that “it was not without a mature consideration that the Allied and Associated Powers decided not to change a single word of the territorial clauses of the peace treaty. If they decided this, it was because they were convinced that any change in the borders they had established would create inconveniences even bigger than those pointed out by the Hungarian delegation. The Hungarian study simply confirmed the conclusions previously reached by the Allied and the Associated Powers, after examining all type of documents which could have been invoked in favor of the Hungarian thesis; it was based on these conclusions that the final peace borders, which were handed to you, were established. […] The will of the peoples was expressed in October and November 1918, when the dual monarchy collapsed and when the long-time oppressed populations united with their Italian, Romanian, Yugoslav or Czechoslovak brothers. The events which have unfolded since then represent all the more new testimonies of the feelings of the nations once subdued to the crown of Saint Stephen. The measures taken too late by the Hungarian government in order to comply with the autonomy requests of the nations cannot deceive anyone; they do not change in the least the essential historical truth that for many years all Hungarian political efforts were directed towards quieting the voice of ethnic minorities”.
The signing of the treaty and ways to enforce it
The peace treaty between the Allied and the Associated Powers and Hungary was signed on the 4th of June 1920 at the Trianon Palace in Paris. King Ferdinand delegated, through a royal decree, dr. Ion Cantacuzino and Nicolae Titulescu to sign the treaty on Romania’s behalf.
The peace treaty with Hungary had 14 parts (364 articles): I. The Covenant of the League of Nations; II. The Borders of Hungary; III European political clauses; IV. Hungarian interests outside Europe; V. Military, naval and aerial clauses; VI. Prisoners of war and tombs; VII. Sanctions; VII. Reparations; XI. Financial clauses; X. Economic clauses; XI. Aerial navigation; XII. Ports, waterways and railways; XIII Work; XIV. Miscellaneous clauses.
The second part largely referred to the “Borders of Hungary”, which were traced and maps were annexed. Thus, in article 27 the actual borders were established: paragraph 1 – the border with Austria; paragraph 2 – the border with the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs; paragraph 3 – the border with Romania; paragraph 4 – the border with Czechoslovakia. Article 28 completed article 27: “The borders described in the present treaty are indicated for their definite parts, on a map with the scale 1/1,000,000 annexed to the present treaty. In case of divergence between the text and the map, the text prevails”.
The text of the treaty with Hungary is clearly structured, similarly to the other treaties signed previously with Germany, Austria and Bulgaria and it covered all existent political, military and economic problems, as well as those concerning borders, financial reparations, monetary exchanges, the situation of citizens of other nationalities and their properties, work conditions.
It was intended to form, after the signing of the treaty, demarcation commissions with full power of decision, granted by the treaty. Decisions had to be taken with a majority of votes and were compulsory for the states directly concerned, which had to equally cover the expenses of the commissions’ members.
Articles 29, 30 and 31 clearly stipulated how the borders were to be traced and the obligations of the parts, among which that of putting at the disposal of the Demarcation Commissions all necessary documents. Also, local authorities were obliged to cooperate with the members of the commissions. Once the process ended, there had to be drafted definitive “demarcation reports” with maps and documents annexed, in three original copies, one for each limitrophe state and one for the French Government which then had to issue legalized copies to all signatory states.
The third part of the treaty was entitled “Political clauses”. The third section was dedicated to Romania. Thus, according to article 45, “As far as it is concerned, Hungary renounces in favor of Romania to all rights and titles over the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy situated beyond Hungary’s borders, as fixed in article 27, part II (Hungary’s Borders), territories recognized by this treaty and by any other treaties concluded with the purpose of regulating these current affairs as belonging to Romania”.
According to article 46, the Demarcation Commission had to be formed in 15 days from the signing of the treaty and it comprised seven members, five representatives of the Great Powers and a representative of each of the two states in question, who to “fix on-site the trajectory of the borderline as described in article 27 – paragraph 3, part II (Hungary’s borders)”.
In section IX of the treaty, “General Provisions”, in article 74, it was clearly stated that “Hungary declares starting from now on that she recognizes and accepts the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Romania, the State of the Slovenes, the Croats and the Serbs and of the Czechoslovak State, such as these borders were fixed by the main Allied and Associated Powers. Hungary commits to recognize the full value of the peace treaties and the additional conventions which have been or will be concluded by the Allied and Associated Powers with the states that fought alongside the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, to accept the measures already taken or which will be taken regarding the territories of the former German Empire, Austria, the Bulgarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire and to recognize the new states within the borders fixed for them”.
Provisions concerning the Romanian state appear in several chapters of the 8th part, “Reparations”. These were to be partially paid by the countries that had emerged from the former empire and by those in whose composition had entered territories previously included in the Empire. The amount of the reparations was to be settled by special commissions.
In the 9th part of the treaty with Hungary, entitled “Financial clauses”, in article 193, paragraph 2, it was clearly stated that “As far as it is concerned, Hungary renounces in favor of Romania to all benefits resulting from the Bucharest and the Brest Litovsk treaties, without affecting article 227, part 10 (Economic clauses) of the present treaty. She commits herself to transfer to Romania and the main Allied and Associated Powers respectively any monetary instruments, monetary values and negotiable instruments or products that she received as a consequence of the above mentioned treaties”.
Article 207, paragraph 6, of the 10th part (Economic clauses) stipulated that Hungary could conclude economic conventions with the neighboring states in what concerned the exchange of vital commodities, without which their economies could not function, but in maximum six months this type of border trade had to be regulated through agreements.
The Peace Treaty with Hungary, signed at the Trianon Palace on the 4th of June 1920, is the international act which recognized the union of Transylvania, Banat, Crişana and Maramureş with the Romanian Kingdom and fixed the common Romanian-Hungarian border, Hungary’s debts to the Romanian state, but also those of Romania to the Allied and Associated Powers, in virtue of the fact that part of its new national territory had been included in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Peace Treaty signed at the Trianon Palace respected the principle of ethnic majority in the regions of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and confirmed the justness of the decisions taken by the national gatherings assembled in the provinces that united with the Romanian Kingdom, as well as by those in the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and in Czechoslovakia.
The enforcement of the Trianon Treaty was a long-lasting process of over several years, during which various commissions were active: the Commission for the demarcation of borders between Hungary and the neighboring states (Austria, Romania, the Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian Kingdom, Czechoslovaki); commissions for the settling of war reparations, the restitution of historical goods or of state or private owned goods confiscated by the Austro-Hungarian authorities during the war and the occupation, commissions for the repatriation of war prisoners and for the identification and care of tombs belonging to war victims, as well as the International Commission of the Danube, which elaborated the fluvial regime of the Danube.
The enforcement of the peace treaty with Hungary – the border problem
The commission for the demarcation of the border between Romania and Hungary functioned between 1920 and 1925. It comprised five delegates from France, Great Britain, Italy, Romania and Hungary, each of whom coordinated a work team from the mentioned countries.
The commission issued two official documents, which became annexes of the Trianon Treaty and which established: the sections of the borderlines, the general rules for the drawing of the border, the materialization of the borderlines, the description of boundary markers, the use of the register for borderlines and boundary markers, the correspondence between Romanian and Hungarian place names and the presentation of technical work information.
The commission for the demarcation of the border between Romania and Hungary was composed of: brigadier general Robert Meunier (France) – president, lieutenant-colonel A.V.F. Russel (Great Britain), lieutenant colonel Teodoro Paolott (Italy), brigadier general Constantin S. Dumitrescu (Romania) and captain Alfred von Dietrich Sachsenfeln (Hungary).
The border, with a total length of 448 km, was divided into 10 sectors, designated with alphabet letters. The first three sectors (A, B, C) were the most problematic. There were subject to negotiation the width of the borderline, the placement of boundary markers, their types (principal, intermediary, final), their shape, the engraving on the side of the boundary marker facing either Hungary or Romania of that country’s coat of arms, the engraving on the marker of the date “4 June 1920” and of the day it was mounted. For section C – the territory “beginning from where the communal limit of Battonya next to Heimtanya changes direction and ending at the common point of the communes Kevernes-Elek-Curtici” – there was a separate document, which became an annex of the treaty, because the disputes concerning it were the fiercest.
The actual drawing of the border according to the text of the treaty with Hungary was done after long negotiations for each of the 448 km and a field work which lasted from July 1920 until the 27th of June 1925, when the official acts settling the border were finalized and signed. Teams of French, British, Italian, Romanian and Hungarian engineers, militaries, geographers worked on-site during several years in order to determine the definitive and effective border between the two countries. All these led to the issuing of an internationally recognized act which settled the border that still currently separates the two states. The issue of the optants was another chapter of the interwar diplomatic disputes between Romania and Hungary, but also of Hungary’s relations with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Nicolae Titulescu’s pleadings at the United Nations in the trials of Hungarian optants made history and the problem was solved as late as 1930, by signing the Paris Convention, which created an Agrarian Fund for the payment of Hungarian optants; the fund consisted of the land rents deposited by Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia for the use of Hungarian optants and the debts owed by Hungary to England, France, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Japan, which these states ceded to the Agrarian Fund.
Transforming the armed victory into a stabilization of Europe and of the new and old states proved to be difficult to accomplish, but the 100 years that have passed since the Conference prove, in 2020, the viability of the European organization decided upon at the Peace Conference in Paris.