Bessarabia at end WW 1 (for Victor)

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michael mills
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Bessarabia at end WW 1 (for Victor)

Post by michael mills » 12 Aug 2002 02:17

Victor

I would like to know more about what happened in Bessarabia at the end of the First World War.

From your informative posts on the thread "Bessarabia", it appears that Romanian forces moved into Bessarabia in December 1917 to suppress Bolshevik insurgents there, after the Bolshevik takeover in Petrograd.

Did that occur after the Romanian forces had surrendered to Germany? Or was Romania still at war with the Central Powers at the time.

What happened after the armistice between Romanian and the Central Powers, which I now see happened in May 1918? Was the Romanian takeover of Bessarabia then approved by the Central Powers? At what point was the Romanian possesssion of Bessarabia recognised by the Entente? I presume it was never recognised by the Soviet Union.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 13 Aug 2002 08:56

I have been in a short trip in the mountains, so I am replying to you a little late.

The Romanian troops entered Bessarabia at the end of January 1918, as I pointed out in the post made on 31 July.

The armistice with the Central Powers was signed at Focsani in December 1917. Then followed the "negotiations". The Central Powers imposed their will after threatening to restart the fighting on 20 February, when the armistice would have expired. A new one was signed after the conditions were accepted. The peace was signed on 9 May, but it was never promulgated by the king. Romania lost the entire Dobruja to Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary gained the Carpathians and Romanian became the economic slave of Germany for 90 years. The annexation od Bessarabia was recognized. However, the Romanian army remained during this period on the front line and mobilized. This is why the action in Bessarabia was possible as well as the disarmament of Russian forces which were creating disorder in Romania itself. One notable action was the elimination of the Bolshevik base at Socola, near Iasi.

The Germans protested when the Romanian troops entered Bessrabia, but did not take any serious action. After the victory of the Entente the peace treaty with the Central Powers was declared void. The annexation of Bessrabia was recognized in the treaty signed on 28 october 1920 by Romania, France, Italy and Great Britain. The SU never recognized the annexation. Recently I have heard in a historical TV show several Romanian historians mentioning the fact that during the times when the Soviet Union was not recognized internationally, they offered Romania a deal: Bessarabia for the official recognition. However, this did not happen.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 14 Aug 2002 04:39

Victor

Thanks for the information. It puts a lot of things in perspective.

I assume that until the Bolshevik coup in Petrograd in November 1917, Bessarabia was under the control of the Russian Army, which until then was allied to Britain and France. What happened after the coup? Did the Russian forces in Bessarabia disintegrate and go over to the Bolsheviks? Is that the reason why the Romanian forces (which according to your information were in a state of armistice with the Central Powers) entered Bessarabia in January 1918? I assume the Bolshevik base near Iasi consisted of rebel Russian troops.

The fact that the Central Powers recognised the Romanian expansion into Bessarabia while taking territory from it in the Carpathians and Dobrudja is interesting. It seems to mirror exactly what later happened in the Second World War, where Germany forced Romania to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary and South Dobrudja to Bulgaria, but allowed it to retake Bessarabia and Bukovina, and also further territory in Transnistria.

It seems that in both World Wars, Germany was trying to block Romanian expansion to the West by diverting it to the East.

By the way, is Dobrudja a Turkish or Tartar name? It certainly sounds like it.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 14 Aug 2002 17:03

Yes, Bessarabia was under Russian authority. The initial cry for help went to gen. Scherbachev, the Russian commander in Romania. However, the few forces available to maintain the order were made up of Bessarabians. Probably some disintegrated and others were just pressed into the newly formed "cohorts".

The Bolshevik forces in Bessarabia were made up mostly of Russians or Ukrainians and came from Odessa. The majority of the Romanians were on the nationalists side (Sfatul Tarii). The Romanian forces entered Bessarabia initially to secure the back of the front in Moldavia in the event of of the restart of the hostilities. Also, the Russian command had no troops available of its own to send to Bessarabia.

The Russian forces in Romania disintegrated after the armistice. The Bolshevik base near Socola (there is a mental hospital now there :D ) was made up of former Russian soldiers. They attempted to assassinate gen. Scherbachev, but the killer was cut down by the Ukrainian bodyguard. Three Romanian regiments then surrounded the base and they surrendered.

Most of the Russian soldiers in Romania started to go back home on their own initiative, leaving a trail of burning villages, raped women and looted barns after them, thus forcing the Romanian government to use the army to disarm them. Thus ended another "co-operation" between the Romanian and Russian armies.

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Post by michael mills » 15 Aug 2002 02:53

Victor

Thank you for this information. It fills lots of gaps in my knowledge.

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