The Monarchs and the World Wars

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The new Constitution (inspired from the Belgian one of 1831), which was promulgated in 1866 and was in use until 1923, proclaimed Romania a constitutional monarchy.

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On March 14/26, 1881, Romania proclaimed itself a kingdom and Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was crowned King of Romania.
After gaining its independence, the Romania state was the place to which the hopeful eyes of all Romanians who lived on the lands still under foreign occupation turned.

In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later on August 14/27, 1916 it joined the Allies, which promised support for the accomplishment of national unity; the government led by Ion I.C. Bratianu declared war on Austria-Hungary.

The international peace treaties of 1919-1920 signed at Neuilly, Saint-Germain, Trianon and Paris, established the new European realities and also sanctioned the union of the provinces that were inhabited by Romanians into one single state (295,042 square kilometres, with a population of 15.5 million).

The universal suffrage was introduced (1918), a radical reform was applied (1921), a new Constitution was adopted - one of the most democratic on the continent (1923) - and all this created a general-democratic framework and paved the way for a fast economic development (the industrial output doubled between 1923 and 1938). With its 7.2 million metric tons of produced oil in 1937, Romania was the second largest European producer and number seven in the world. The per capita national income reached $94 in 1938 as compared to Greece - $76, Portugal - $81, Czechoslovakia - $141, and France - $246.

When World War II broke out, Romania declared neutrality (September 6,1939) but she supported Poland (by facilitating the transit of the National Bank treasure and granting asylum to the Polish president and government). The defeats suffered by France and Great Britain in 1940 created a dramatic situation for Romania. The Soviet government applied Plank 3 of the secret protocol of August 23, 1939 and forced Romania by the ultimatum notes of June 26 and 28, 1940 to cede not only Bessarabia, but also Northern Bukovina and the Hertza land (the latter two had never belonged to Russia). Under the Vienna "Award" - actually a dictate - (August 30, 1940) Germany and Italy gave to Hungary the north-eastern part of Transylvania, where the majority population was Romanian. Following the Romanian-Bulgarian talks in Craiova, a treaty was signed on September 7, 1940, under which the south of Dobrudja (the Quadrilateral) went to Bulgaria.

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