What if Romania enter the war...

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Daniel S.
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What if Romania enter the war...

Post by Daniel S. » 17 Apr 2003 16:26

1914 - The First World War began. As an ally of Austro-Hungaria and Prussia, Romania should have entered the war on the side of the Central Powers.

July 21, 1914 - The Crown Council declared Romanian neutrality. Although faithful to his agreements with the Central Powers, King Carol accepted the decision of the Crown Council.

September 27, 1914 - The 75 years old King Carol I died. (His wife, Queen Elizabeth, died two years later.) Prince Ferdinand became King.

September 28, 1914 - King Ferdinand took the oath and promised to be a good Romanian, which meant he would not oppose Romania's entry in the war against Austro-Hungaria and Prussia.

August 14, 1916 - The Crown Council decided to enter the war joining the Triple Entente. It declared war on the Austro-Hungarian empire and Romanian troops entered Transylvania. The Central Powers responded with overwhelming force.
http://trident.mcs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mi ... gieen.html

What if Romania enter the war on the side of the Central Powers in 1914 according to the treaty of alliance?That means Romania should fight against Russians having allies Austro-Hungaria,Germany,Bulgaria and Turkey.It seems to me that this would mean more favorable odds than fighting against Austro-Hungaria,Germany,Bulgaria and Turkey and having ally just Russia.Nevertheless,Romania had chosen the second option!And it payed for that in 1916 when it was almost smashed by Central Powers,because the Russians delayed the promissed help.I think Romania
would have had more chances in war if it would have chosen the Central Powers instead of the Entente.And I think the German divisions deployed on Romanian front were very much needed on the western front.What do you think about this 'what if'?

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dead-cat
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Post by dead-cat » 17 Apr 2003 19:06

Particulary in 1914 it wouldn't have made much difference.
The german focus was on the western front and the central powers were defensive on the eastern front. They would've reinforced the southern austro-hungarian wing and probably that section of the front wouldn't have been as endangered as it actually was. But i doubt that any austro-hungarian troops could've been freed to assist in the defence of Eastern Prussia. And even if, they wouldn't have been all that usefull, since german troops trained something like Tannenberg during the yearly manouvers every year.
While it is true that the attack on Eastern Prussia (and the ill performed battle of Gumbinnen especially) necessited a shift of an army corps from the western front to the east, troops which MIGHT have made the diffrence at the Marne, i personally doubt it.
The main flaw of the operations on the western front was the watered down version of the Schlieffen plan performed by Moltke in an ill advised attempt to play safe everywhere and protect Alsace-Lorraine. Cavalery was missed during the Marne operation to cover the gaps between the 1st and 2nd army and the 1 cavalery division at Tannenberg (Schulenburg) wasn't part of the shifted corps anyways and would've been insufficient anyways. The cause for the lack of manpower on the right wing was the overstrenghted left wing which would've done very well with less troops by trading space for time and eventually making a stand at the Rhine with use of the fortresses of Metz and Strassbourg, which given the french shortage of usefull heavy artillery in 1914 couldn't be destroyed like for example the frontier fortresses were.

So since the war in 1914, given the german plan of knocking France out of the war first, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.
It might have helped 1915 when the focus shifted to the Eastern front and also it might have helped by securing a rail link between Turkey and the Central Powers earlier than it actually happened. But since the Turks did fine with the assistance they allready got so far, that wouldn't be decesive either.

1916 would have been helpful but not decesive since again, like 1914 the focus was on the western front. it certainly would've helped during the Brussilov offensive by absorbing some of the damage that was inflicted on the austr-hungarian forces, but again, 1916 the romanian army was still ill equipped, especially artillerywise so while usefull, the contribution wouldn't have been decesive.

1917 however is a diffrent story, since the focus shifted back to the eastern front, this time decesivley. If Romania joined the Central Powers in late 1916, the attacks on the weakened russian army probably would've knocked the russian army out earlier, there would be additional troops available for the attack on Italy maybe archieving a breakthrough and even open a second front in southern France, forcing the french army to keep their reserves more south, maybe decesivly delaying reinforcements during operation Michael.

Having romanian natural resources available would have been usefull but the way i see it, mainly because of oil. Other resources... well what the german army needed most was rubber. Allmost every german truck had iron wheels because the lack of rubber which, additional to increased fuel consumption destroyed roads and strained the engines. Steel was again badly needed as were ammunition factories (and trained workers). Romania could provide none in considerable quantities, to shift the balance decesivley. However food supplies would've come in VERY handy, especially during 1917/1918. The rolling stock would've helped as well, since afaik most engines were purchased from Austro-hungary.

That's all i can think of so far.

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Post by Daniel S. » 17 Apr 2003 22:49

Well,dead-cat,you made a very comprehensive evaluation from the point of what Romania could bring for the Central Powers.So...
dead-cat wrote:If Romania joined the Central Powers in late 1916, the attacks on the weakened russian army probably would've knocked the russian army out earlier, there would be additional troops available for the attack on Italy maybe archieving a breakthrough and even open a second front in southern France, forcing the french army to keep their reserves more south, maybe decesivly delaying reinforcements during operation Michael.
This means to me that even the outcome of the war could be changed if Romania joined the Central Powers in late 1916!

But my post was reffering more to what Central Powers could bring for Romania

First,I think Romania would defend herself very well against Russians
having the support of Bulgaria,Turkey,Austro-Hungaria and(why not) Germany.

Second,I think the problem is after the war ends,what will gain Romania?
That depends of who wins the war-the Central Powers or Entente.And I think it's not easy to answer.But from my point of view two things would happen anyway:

1.Austro-Hungaria collapse due to internal problems
2.Russia is very weak due to internal problems

These two facts really happened and that is way Romania can integrate Transylvania,Bukovina and Bessarabia in her own state.

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Post by Victor » 19 Apr 2003 04:37

Daniel S. wrote: What if Romania enter the war on the side of the Central Powers in 1914 according to the treaty of alliance?
This would be impossible, since the alliance would come into effect only if one of the signers was attacked. Austria-Hungary was not attacked. It was the aggressor. Plus the people was against joining a war against France.

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Post by Ken » 19 Apr 2003 13:28

AH was indeed the aggressor towards Serbia.. Russia declared war on AH.. so it could be argued..

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Daniel S.
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Post by Daniel S. » 19 Apr 2003 13:37

Victor wrote: This would be impossible, since the alliance would come into effect only if one of the signers was attacked.Austria-Hungary was not attacked. It was the aggressor.
Yeah,but after Russia enter the war against Austria-Hungary,Romania could enter too against Russia.
Victor wrote: . Plus the people was against joining a war against France.
I know the pro-French feelings of Romanians in that time but in my opinion the chances were better if Romania would have fought on the Central Powers side.At least a disaster like in 1916 could have been avoided.

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Post by Balrog » 19 Apr 2003 13:45

victor wrote that austria was the agressor during ww1. i disagree. the serbian black hand organization murdered the crown prince of austria and his wife(arch duke franz ferdinand). the serbian government worked with the black hand. i think a similair situation was after 9-11, the taliban afghan government refusing to hand over bin laden and his al-quida organization. the us attacked afghansitan, but i don't think it would be fair to describe american as an agressor agianst the afghan taliban government, the same as i think it is not fair to say that A-H was the agressor against serbia.

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Post by Victor » 19 Apr 2003 15:31

Daniel S. wrote: Yeah,but after Russia enter the war against Austria-Hungary,Romania could enter too against Russia
The treaty was referring to an unprovoked attacked by a foreign power (namely Russia). This did not happen.
Daniel S. wrote: I know the pro-French feelings of Romanians in that time but in my opinion the chances were better if Romania would have fought on the Central Powers side.At least a disaster like in 1916 could have been avoided.
The inter-war Romania that we know would not have been possible if we joined the Central Powers. I prefer to leave the things as they were.

I will quote Count Istvan Burian von Rajecz, the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister from January 1915 until December 1916:
The hope to see Romania fighting side by side with the Central Powers could be considered, from the beginning, a lost cause. Possible were only the illusions of those who did not want to understand this.

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Post by Daniel S. » 19 Apr 2003 16:14

Victor wrote:The treaty was referring to an unprovoked attacked by a foreign power (namely Russia). This did not happen.
Germany could use the same theory to justify its non-intervention.Germany entered the war though when Russia attacked A-H.
Victor wrote:
The inter-war Romania that we know would not have been possible if we joined the Central Powers. I prefer to leave the things as they were.
Who knows?I tried to imagine what would be better for Romania.I don't think we must believe that all has been done by former rullers of a country was wise and right.Sometimes it was,sometimes it wasn't.I also prefer to leave the things as they were because I can't change them...
Victor wrote: I will quote Count Istvan Burian von Rajecz, the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister from January 1915 until December 1916:
The hope to see Romania fighting side by side with the Central Powers could be considered, from the beginning, a lost cause. Possible were only the illusions of those who did not want to understand this.
I think he didn't like Romanians very much.Guess why.

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Post by Victor » 19 Apr 2003 18:54

joel pacheco wrote:victor wrote that austria was the agressor during ww1. i disagree. the serbian black hand organization murdered the crown prince of austria and his wife(arch duke franz ferdinand). the serbian government worked with the black hand. i think a similair situation was after 9-11, the taliban afghan government refusing to hand over bin laden and his al-quida organization. the us attacked afghansitan, but i don't think it would be fair to describe american as an agressor agianst the afghan taliban government, the same as i think it is not fair to say that A-H was the agressor against serbia.
According to the terms of the treaty between Romania and Austria-Hungary and Germany it was an "aggression", no matter if it was justified or not. It was not attacked militarily and unprovoked by a foreign power. It did the attacking, thus the treaty could not force Romania to join the war.

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Post by dead-cat » 19 Apr 2003 23:57


Germany entered the war though when Russia attacked A-H.
Technically not correct:

28 July - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia; Austrian reservists in U.S. are ordered to return to Austria

1 August - German ultimatum to Russia expires at noon; Germany declares war on Russia at 12:52 PM and begins mobilization at 5 PM when announcement made to crowd at Imperial palace gates

6 August - Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia


So far, Russia didn't declar war to anybody. Not that it would really matter. As soon Russian mobilization started, Germany had no choice but act faster to take advantage of the faster mobilization.
As soon one power mobilizes, every other has to do likewise, to make sure they wouldn't be at disadvantage. Happened before 1912 when Russia "partially" mobilized in Poland thus forcing Austro-Hungary to do so as well (and spend huge amounts of money).

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Post by Daniel S. » 20 Apr 2003 14:13

dead-cat wrote:

Germany entered the war though when Russia attacked A-H.
Technically not correct
When Russia has begun mobilization it was clear that Russia will enter the war against A-H and Germany because its ally-Serbia-has been attacked by A-H.That's why Germany declare war first.You are right,technically my sentence wasn't correct.

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Post by MihaiC » 07 May 2003 09:24

If Romania would join Central Powers in 1914, it would be only to attack Russia in order to take Bessarabia. Even if romanian army was poor equipt and poor lead, it was numerous enough to cause some troules to russians. It could tied up enough russian troops so Germany wouldn't be forced to shift troops from west front => Paris fall. What do you say?

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Post by dead-cat » 09 May 2003 08:10

the way the "moltke" plan was executed in the west, there was absolutly no chance whatsoever for it to succeed. those 2 corps shifted to the east for tanneneberg wouldn't make the diffrence. while they could've covered the gap between the 1st and 2nd army, it wouldn't change much because the 1st army was allready being outflanked by the french 6th (?). and there is no way paris would fall because according to the moltke version of the plan, the german army would pass paris by east and not by west thus leaving it "unharmed". the only chance to defeat the french in 1914 was to stick to the original schlieffen plan, and then those 2 coprs wouldn't matter decesivley.

russia allready enjoyed a huge numerical superiority in the south (since 2 austro-hungarian armies were deployed against serbia). since the attack on eastern prussia was regarded as premium importance for the russians there would be no troops shifted from the north to south. heck they even had problems deploying them where they should be. so the situation in the north would still be unchanced, with ot without romanian troops.

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