Romanian Nationalism

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Patzinak
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Romanian Nationalism

Postby Patzinak » 11 Mar 2008 00:19

michael mills wrote:
[...] The dominant school of thought, the "characteristic expression of Rumanian identity in the 1920s" (Hitchins) was Orthodoxism, i.e., a fusion of (Eastern) Orthodox spirituality and the values of the Romanian village life, strongly influenced by (Oriental) Patristics, Kierkegaard, and Berdyaev. The most influential school of thought was Nichifor Crainic's Gândirea; Crainic (originally a student of theology and head of propaganda under Antonescu) sought to lead "a return to the 'authentic values' of the Rumanian spirit, that is, to the teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy" (Hitchins, 1994). Another extremely influential thinker, Nae Ionescu (mentor of later luminaries like Cioran or Eliade), was broadly in agreement -- "To be Romanian means to be Orthodox", he wrote. Their influence on Romanian nationalism, especially on the younger generation, was decisive.[...]


What is your interpretation of the origin of the fierce ethnic conflict between Romanian nationalists and Bulgars, given that the Vlachs who settled in Wallachia and Moldavia derived their entire culture from Bulgaria, including the use of Old Bulgarian as a liturgical language, the cyrillic alphabet etc.? I had though it was because Romanian nationalists in the 19th century wished to re-define Romanian identity as "Latin", and to deny any relationship to Orthodox Slavic peoples such as the Bulgarians and Ukrainians.

By the way, this question of mine is not a challenge to a fight, but a request for information.


The basic problem here is one of question framing.

(1) Terms.

(a) "Bulgar" and "Bulgarian" are not synonymous; the former is commonly used as a synonym of "proto-Bulgarian", i.e., a non-Slavic people.

(b) "Vlachs" may have different meaning in different contexts. In this context, it is imprecise and confusing. Keep in mind that Vlachs most commonly speak Aromanian (Macedo-Romanian) which, depending on your linguistic stance, is either a different dialect of Romanian, or a different language from standard Romanian (Daco-Romanian). Vlachs, in relatively small numbers, did settle in Wallachia and Moldavia, but it was a pre-modern and modern phenomenon.

(c) "Old Church Slavonic", rather than "Old Bulgarian" (Altbulgarisch), is nowadays the preferred term for the liturgical language (except, of course, in Bulgaria). The two terms are not entirely interchangeable.

(d) Finally, to communicate meaningfully, we must agree on what "ethnic conflict" (let alone a "fierce" one) means; and I'm not sure I quite understand what it means for you.

(2) Assumptions.

Your question assumes a number of more or less controversial items.

(a) The existence of an ethnic conflict between Romanians and Bulgarians in the 19th c. (Note that "nationalism" is not an ethnic attribute, hence "Romanian nationalists" cannot be an ethnic group.) I'm not aware of such a conflict; perhaps because we mean different things by "ethnic conflict".

(b) That Old Bulgarian or Old Church Slavonic was the liturgical language in what is now Romania. That is incorrect; the liturgical and chancellery language was Church Slavonic in its Middle Bulgarian redaction. (There were also minor Serbian and Russian influences.)

(c) That Wallachia and Moldavia "derived their entire culture" from Bulgaria. First, I believe that cultures which are derived entirely from a single source are quite rare, and neither of the two can be thus described. Second, while the 13th c–17th c Wallachian/Moldavian "high culture" was no doubt to a large extent derived from Middle Bulgarian sources, the latter were not specifically Bulgarian, but translations of Byzantine models. IOW, by adopting Slavonic, the Romanians gained droit de cité in the "Byzantine Commonwealth" (Obolensky; cf. also Iorga's "Byzance après Byzance"), not in a Bulgarian cultural sphere. The influence of Middle Bulgarian translations of Byzantine originals (e.g., John Zonaras, George the Monk, Constantine Manasses) is overwhelming in such works as the Moldavian chronicles; likewise notable is the influence of Byzantine sources (e.g., St John Klimakos' "Ladder" [Lestvica]) on the most important original Slavo-Romanian work, Învățăturile lui Neagoe Basarab….

(d) The original issue was Romanian nationalism in the interbellum; but the mention of the 19th c suggests that you assume constancy in the character and aims of Romanian nationalists. There was no doubt continuity, but the differences are more important.

Romanian nationalism originated among the late 18th c Romanian Uniate élites of Transylvania. Their aim was to gain recognition and political equality for the majority excluded by the Unio and by the edicts of religious tolerance. The Latin (hence, aristocratic) descent was a major supporting argument; Slavic and Orthodox connexions were de-emphasised because they would not have helped.

When nationalism crossed the Transylvanian Alps, it became not anti-Bulgarian nor anti-Slavic, but anti-Greek, as a reaction to a thoroughly Hellenised élite. Subsequently, the Romanian nationalist programme, that of the Pașoptiști (Fortyeighters), aimed at modernisation and independence from Russia (who displayed a marked inclination to occupy these nominally Ottoman dependencies and an equally marked reluctance to leave). The Latin origin was, again, used to elicit Western (primarily French) support for this programme, which would not have been helped by stressing either the Orthodox or the Slavic elements. But the programme was not anti-Bulgarian and even less anti-Orthodox; the religious issue under Alexander John Cuza was neither Kulturkampf nor French-style anticléricalisme, but an effort to secure a national base for the Orthodox Church.

The pașoptist modernising programme came under criticism towards the end of the 19th c from numerous quarters, conservative (Maiorescu) as well as populist (sămănătorism) and radical (Iorga). By the end of the WW1, it had been completely abandoned by the radical and even moderate right, who firmly rejected the urban, bourgeois, capitalist and liberal Western values, in favour of Orthodoxy and ethnic nativism (Crainic's "ethnocracy"), or, for the moderates, corporatism (Manoilescu) or Zeletin's "neoliberalism". As Prof Radu Florescu put it,

[…] the intellectuals of the inter-war years […] looked at the problem of nationalism almost exclusively in religious terms. Substituting 'Orthodoxy' for 'Latinism', they claimed that adherence to the Orthodox Church was the one true badge of Rumanian nationality. By an extraordinary process of oversimplification, countless school children during the inter-war years were instructed that Rumanianism and Orthodoxy were inseparable terms, and that the nation 'born in Orthodoxy' owed its national survival to 'Orthodoxy'. This was no mere historical accident, since Orthodoxy was the religion most suited to the nation's soul. To be a Rumanian Catholic or Jew was simply inconceivable. […] Nor were such views circulated in the classroom alone; they formed the theme of a bewildering array of publicists, theologians and politicians, ranging in their views from extreme monarchists to members of the Iron Guard. […]


--Patzinak

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alecu
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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby alecu » 11 Mar 2008 19:23

Very good reply with a slight correction. Vlachs/Blachs/ Vlasi was the common term other people reffered to them. They called themselves "rumun/raman/roman/arman". Farsherot Aroumanians use "ramani" and "arman", the first one beeing the traditional one.
Today Romanians of Timoc Valley and Vojevodina numbering a few hundreds of thousands and speaking the Daco-Romanian dialect call themselves both Romanian and Vlach.
Regions once inhabited by Romanians have names like "Valahia, Vlahia, Vlasca, Vlasska" from places quite far apart no matter the dialect once used.
Mountaineous people Aroumanians were traveling with their flock or with their caravans (carvunari) all over the Eastern Europe, they are said to have had almost a trade monopoly. In an old nationalistic map there is even a Crimean region depicted inhabited by Muslim Aroumanians.
In the Turkish empire Aroumanians and Romanian Mocani (shepards) often met with their flocks in the Carpathian and Balkans and continued together, there were no borders. Modern times brought borders and different modern linguistic changes that drew Vlachs apart.
The changes of the nationalistic century happened quickly preventing some Vlachs from achieving a modern culture and a literary language of their own or using the Northern Vlach one. The distruction of the city of Moscopole, the quite astonishing Vlach citadel, also left Vlachs with a cultural handicap. Thus they were not able or enough "awaken" to seize power in their lands. Instead they lost all momentum by helping other nationalities form states. They were and still are conservative, I would say that this is a common trait of all old nationalities dying out.

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby michael mills » 12 Mar 2008 02:02

Thanks for this information.

But why query was about why Romanian governments that had a nationalist ideology oppressed the Bulgarian ethnic minority in Romania.

If Romanian nationalism of the 1920s and 1930s was based on an Orthodox religious identity, then it is easy to see why Romanian nationalists would have a strongly negative view of Jews because of the latters' totally alien religion and culture. It is also easy to see why Romanian nationalists would have a dim view of the Hungarian ethnic minority in Transylvania, given its Catholic treligion and culture, and status as the foremr ruling class in that territory. Likewise, it is easy to see why Romanian nationalists would be prejudiced against the German ethnic minority, given its Catholic or Lutheran religion.

But why were Romanian antionalists so hostile to the Bulgarian ethnic minority in Dobrudja and Bessarabia, given that both Romanians and Bulgarians were part of the Byzantine civilisation based on the Orthodox religion? If the nationalist ideal of Romanian identity was based on the Orthodox religion, why did it seek to obliterate Bulgarian identity, which was equally based on the Orthodox religion? Why the hostility to a people that had the same Orthodox identity and used the same liturgical language, Church Slavonic?

I had always thought it was because Romanian nationalism sought to dissociate the Romanian people from the Byzantine cultural sphere, which was either Slavonic or Greek, and adopt a "Latin" identity, ie stressing putative descent from Roman colonists as opposed to peoples supposedly descended from primitive Slavonic invaders. I accept that I may have been mistaken in that assumption, but I would like an answer to my query.

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Patzinak » 12 Mar 2008 06:21

michael mills wrote: […] why Romanian governments that had a nationalist ideology oppressed the Bulgarian ethnic minority in Romania.


You have to provide specific examples of the Bulgarian minority being "oppressed" to a larger extent than, say, the Ukrainian minority or any other minority.

(Btw, I rather disagree with the rest of your post -- it seems to me you work on assumptions which need to be proven and information which is not accurate -- but I'm trying to keep things in focus.)

--Patzinak

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby alecu » 12 Mar 2008 17:55

"I had always thought it was because Romanian nationalism sought to dissociate the Romanian people from the Byzantine cultural sphere, which was either Slavonic or Greek, and adopt a "Latin" identity, ie stressing putative descent from Roman colonists as opposed to peoples supposedly descended from primitive Slavonic invaders. I accept that I may have been mistaken in that assumption, but I would like an answer to my query."

Other than the Roman or Slavonic descent there is an older one the Dacian-Thracian -Ilyrian. It is the one responsabile with a lot of the Romanian/Vlach and Albanian aspects of life. Romanian identity also is based on the Byzantine culture, in the first Milenium Dobrudja (many Roman bazilikas) and regions of Walachia were under Byzantine control. Remeber that much of the area inhabited by Romanians was South of the Danube under Byzantine rule. There were also conflicts like the one involving Ionita Assan, the vlacho-bulgar voievod, and the Byzantines. I dunno the statute of the duchy of Thessalia or the principality of Pindus, autonomuos Vlach regions for a short time span.
Romanian "domnitori" were also big benefactors of the Mt. Athos monasteries, and those of Meteora, claiming a Byzantine legitimacy, as does also the Romanian Church.

About the hostility towards Bulgarians, you have to know that the Bulgarian and Macedonian national emancipation was helped by Romania, Romania being also responabile for 1878 San Stefano which saw Bulgaria independent. Conflicts arose with the claims of Bulgarians to Dobrudja and other claims in the Blakans, that led to the quick Romanian campain in Bulgaria and its swift surrendor.

About the Sachsen and Schwaben in Romania I must say that it was and is a loved minority. The towns and many villages of Transilvania owe their beauty to this hard working comunity. As far as I know in modern times, Romanians have shown their respect towards them and allowed them their rights. They were also allowed to join the German army (SS 8 Division Florian Geyer was 40% German Transylvanian). Many Romanians joined the SS units (SS-Jagdverband Ost)after the Soviets set foot in Romania. Vlachs from Vojevodina with Legionaire leadership fought against the Red Army.
That good attitude lasted until the Soviet army established itself and the alien leadership - the Communists.
Today due to Communism they all but left, still they are regarded with reverence. There are beautifull ghost villages were there were once Sachsen. The German Party won the Sibiu mayor office although the actual German minority is only a shade of what it was, and many powerfull parties had candidates.

I wouldn't say that conflicts involving (Orthodox and Greek-Catholic ) Romanian and (Catholic and Protestant )Hungarians are relegion based.

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Csaba Becze » 14 Mar 2008 09:08

alecu wrote:About the Sachsen and Schwaben in Romania I must say that it was and is a loved minority. The towns and many villages of Transilvania owe their beauty to this hard working comunity. As far as I know in modern times, Romanians have shown their respect towards them and allowed them their rights.


If it would be the truth (which isn't), could you explain me, why did the Romanians kill the civilian leaders of the German ethnic villages, why did they looted them, why did they collected and killed the unarmed German ethnic soldiers, who were at home, recupering from their wounds in August, 1944 after the Romanians turned to the allies?

There were some atrocities against them in older times too, committed by Romanians (for example during the Horia revolt not only thousands of Hungarians were butchered, but some Saxons as well).

I hope, you know more "sources", than Xenopol...

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Patzinak » 14 Mar 2008 20:14

Csaba Becze wrote:[…] why did the Romanians kill the civilian leaders of the German ethnic villages, why did they looted them, why did they collected and killed the unarmed German ethnic soldiers, who were at home, recupering from their wounds in August, 1944 after the Romanians turned to the allies?[…]


Could you please provide some sources? I'm particularly interested in specifics (numbers, the meaning of "civilian leaders" and "unarmed soldiers", etc). The looting part -- oh well, that's par for the course. Kriegsbeute, usw.

Csaba Becze wrote:[…] the Horia revolt […]


Folks, could we try to stop going back to Horia, Dózsa, the Siculicidium, Stephan Ludwig Roth, or, for that matter, Attila, Trajan, or Adam and Eve?

How about something more constructive and to the point, such as specific developments in Hungarian nationalism and their correlation to Romanian nationalist politics; the application of the numerus clausus at the 'exiled' university at Szeged and its impact east of the border; the ideologic content of the "Turul" or "Foederatio Emericana" associations and their influence, if any, on the Romanian "Generația '22"; etc?

--Patzinak

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Csaba Becze » 15 Mar 2008 08:40

Well, I posted my comment, since the quoted text was not true. There was no black and white, "good" or "bad" nation in Transylvania and there were some tensions among all of them.

I really don't understand, what is your problem with the Horia story, since it is regarded as a Romanian nationalist revolt, we are in a topic, called "Romanian Nationalism" and it is you, who mentioned much more earlier times in your former posts (or it is allowed only to you?) I did not mention the far earlier Dózsa (who was not Romanian, but Hungarian and his revolt was not in Transylvania and it had not any connection witht he Romanian nationalism) or Budai Nagy Antal (who was again Hungarian, and his revolt started because of the extremely high taxes - the Vlachs joined the Hungarians in this case, but it was not a "Romanian nationalist revolt against the Hungarians" as some Romanians present it, but a typical mass revolt against the unacceptable common charges)

What would be "more constructive comment" in this case? It is not me, who is posting incorrect information in this forum.

But as I mentioned here some years ago - unfortunately, I have no time to postig here a lot (and fighting windmills)
Good luck for your far more constructive posts....

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby michael mills » 15 Mar 2008 12:58

I did not say that the Bulgarian minority in Romania was more oppressed than the Ukrainian minority.

The source of my query was the statement made by Patzinak on the thread about Antonescu, in relation to alleged support by the Jewish minority for the Soviet take-over of Bessarabia in 1940, that it was not only the Jews who had a reason to dislike the Nationalist government of Romania (and therefore prefer Soviet rule), but also other ethnic minorities, such as Bulgarians and Ukrainians, who had also been oppressed by that government.

I am asking the simple question: why did the nationalist Romanian government oppress ethnic minorities such as the Bulgarians and Ukrainians which shared an Eastern Orthodox culture with the Romanian peoople, and were not culturally alien, as were the Jews?

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Patzinak » 17 Mar 2008 03:37

michael mills wrote:[…] I am asking the simple question: why did the nationalist Romanian government oppress ethnic minorities such as the Bulgarians and Ukrainians which shared an Eastern Orthodox culture with the Romanian peoople, and were not culturally alien, as were the Jews?


The problem with this question, as well as with your other questions, is that it's not simple. In fact, it's a good example of the fallacy of many questions (aka the loaded question). I hope you won't take it amiss if I suggest reading David Hackett Fischer's "Historians' Fallacies" (1970) -- it's inexpensive and entertaining to boot.

The question is loaded by injecting in it four assumptions:

(a) That ethnic minorities were oppressed in Romania. (That I'll grant you.)

(b) That "the Jews" of Romania constitued a single cultural community. (On the contrary, they were the most diverse assemblage of Jews in Europe, comprising perhaps as many as 7 different cultural communities.)

(c) That this cultural community was "alien". (Debatable; for instance, it is arguable that Jews who migrated to Bukovina to escape the Hmel'nic'kij atrocities were far less "alien" to the Romanian peasant then the Rheinlanders brought thither by Joseph II a century later.)

(d) That "oppression" is somehow a function of (or caused by) the extent to which a culture is "alien". (Cultural distinctiveness -- the existence of the out-group -- may generate aversion, prejudice, hate, etc; but oppression is something else. It requires institutional structure, ideological content, and social support. Furthermore, the notion that hate and oppression are necessarily correlated to cultural "alienness" is contradicted by a mass of historical data. Quite honestly, I find it odd that someone contemporaneous with the Wars of Yugoslav Succession, Rwanda, and Sudan, could entertain such a notion.)

Romania's treatment of minorites was a function of, (i) past history, (ii) international situation, and, (iii) two distinct nationalist projects.

(i) The example of Transylvania is well known, but it's not the only one. For instance, the ethnic conflict in Dobruja had a strong negative influence on the treatment of Bulgarians of Bessarabia and their perception of Romanian rule.

(ii) Minorities suspected of irredentism -- Hungarians, Orthodox Bulgarians, and, to a lesser extent, Ukrainians and Russians -- were less well treated than those who were not -- e.g., Germans, Muslim Turks/Tatars, Catholic Bulgarians. The treatment also varied depending on the willingness or ability of outside actors to intervene. For instance, in the 1930s, as Anglo-French influence in SE Europe waned and German influence waxed, Jews were treated progressively worse and Germans progressively better.

(iii) The two nationalist programmes were the "neoliberal" programme of the political-economic élite, and the populist/nativist programme of the radical right. The former sought to build a modernised Romanian state on the strictly centralised Napoleonic model; the latter was discussed in a previous post. Each affected minorities in different ways, depending on specific circumstances, which sometimes changed over time. For instance, the Bessarabian Bulgarians perceived the strictly centralised Romanian administration as intrusive, corrupt, and inefficient; they resented the dissolution of the zemstvo system, the enforced replacement of Russian by Romanian as language of high culture, the Romanianisation of the church, the obstacles to Bulgarian-language education, etc.

--Patzinak

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Victor » 22 Mar 2008 21:52

michael mills wrote: Why the hostility to a people that had the same Orthodox identity and used the same liturgical language, Church Slavonic?


Just "nitpicking"

Slavonic was no longer in use as liturgical language in Romanian Orthodox churches since the 18th century. The first translation of the Gospels in Romanian was in 1561, followed by the writings of the Apostles in 1563 and other religious texts in the 1570s. The introduction of the Romanian language as the official language for the mass in the Orthodox Church was started by the Moldavian archbishop Dosoftei in the last decades of the 17th century. The process was over in the 18th century. Even the Bulgarians had given up the old Slavonic liturgy at the beginning of the 20th century for a new one in modern Bulgarian.

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Patzinak » 23 Mar 2008 06:14

Off-topic, but to supplement Victor's post.

(1) When, how, and why Romanians adopted Church Slavonic as liturgical language is a controversial issue. It probably came through obedience to Bulgarian sees (Vidin, Silistria), but the suggested dates vary from the 9th to the early 14th c.

(2) Liturgical use of Romanian first occurred in Transylvania, as a the result of the Church's encounter with the Reform. The first books in Romanian were printed in Transylvania, a good many under (Hungarian) Calvinist and (German) Lutheran sponsorship. The short-lived effort to Calvinise the Romanians reached its peak with the superintendency of Tordássy Pál (Pavel din Turdaș), who replaced Slavonic with Romanian (1569) -- how's that for a tidy bit of irony? However, the extent of the impact of this early "Romanianisation" is also a controversial subject.

(3) The more durable replacement of Slavonic by the vernacular began with family usage. About half of extant private documents of Wallachian boyars of the time of Mihai Viteazul are in Romanian, while all but one of those issued by Mihai's chancery are in Slavonic; some fifty years later, the overwhelming majority of chancery documents, in Wallachia as well as in Moldavia, were issued in Romanian. The Church was more conservative, but already in 1680 the Metropolitan of Wallachia was complaining of the large number of priests who didn't understand Slavonic. At the turn of the century, Constantin Brâncoveanu's private secretary, an Italian, noted the usage of Romanian in church service as a recent inovation; by mid-18th c, the Slavonic tradition had all but expired.

--Patzinak

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Re: Romanian Nationalism

Postby Cezarprimo » 02 Apr 2008 13:51

michael mills wrote:What is your interpretation of the origin of the fierce ethnic conflict between Romanian nationalists and Bulgars, given that the Vlachs who settled in Wallachia and Moldavia derived their entire culture from Bulgaria, including the use of Old Bulgarian as a liturgical language, the cyrillic alphabet etc.? I had though it was because Romanian nationalists in the 19th century wished to re-define Romanian identity as "Latin", and to deny any relationship to Orthodox Slavic peoples such as the Bulgarians and Ukrainians.


I am not aware of any 'fierce' ethnic conflict between Romanian nationalists and Bulgars, could you please provide some data on this topic.

If you imply that the identity of the Romanian people is not latin, then you are mistaken and I see no contradiction between orthodoxy and latin origin, as the Orthodox religion needs to be associated rather with the Eastern Roman Empire than with Slavic people. One can argue that the Eastern Roman Empire was hellenized, but even so, this was mostly with respect to the ruling elite and then, to some extent, the entire Roman Empire was hellenized. Therefore, there is no contradication between latin origin, Eastern Roman Empire and orthodoxy, there is continuity.

I believe that for Romanian nationalists, the terms 'latin' and 'orthodox' are rather complementary than conflicting.

alecu wrote:About the Sachsen and Schwaben in Romania I must say that it was and is a loved minority.

The Germans become a 'loved' minority in Romania because on many occasions in their history in Transylvania they interacted with the Romanian original inhabitants in a rather fair manner when compared with the Hungarians. This has rather to do with the fact that the Germans constituted the bulk of the town-burgeoisie and were hence seeking trade relations to the Romanians, while the Hungarians constituted the feudal-aristocracy and for them the Romanians were just the serfs working on their lands. Later during the Austrian rule, the Germans were fearful of the Hungarian demands for a larger role in the Empire and were thus open towards Romanian demands for more rights that they used as leverage against the Hungarians. Then, during the national awakening in Transsylvania and after the dual-moarchy was established the Germans feared themselvs the maghiarization policies of the Hungarians and were thus open for the demands of the Romanians for more rights. Finally, the Germans supported the creation of Greater Romania in 1918. I am talking here specifically about the German minority in Romania as I believe the Romanians regarded the Nazi-Germany support for the partition of Transylvania in 1940 as an act of open aggression.


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