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TRIANON FOREVER | The Making of Unified Romania

An Online Exhibition of a Diplomatic Triumph

The departure of the delegations after the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty

We remember a crucial date in Romanian history, June 4, 1920, the day of the signing of the Treaty of Trianon in Versailles, France, which allowed the unification of the historical provinces of Transylvania, the Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș to the Romanian Kingdom. It was a feat of diplomatic prowess coming after years of sacrifice in the World War I trenches and the conclusion of the democratically-expressed will of Romanians.

Watch the online exhibition of original documents and rare photographs prepared by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs` Diplomatic Archives and discover the amazing saga that led to what Romanians call the "Great Unification" when all Romanian historical provinces, Moldova, Wallachia, Transylvania, the Banat, Dobrudja, Bukovina, and Bessarabia, came together in one democratic state.

In addition to the online exhibition presented on our blog, learn more about the making of United Romania HERE.

The Peace Treaty concluded between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary at Trianon, on 4 June, 1920 contributed to the structuring of the post-war architecture of Europe, along with the Treaties of Versailles (signed on 28 June, 1919 with Germany), Saint-Germain (signed on 10 September, 1919 with Austria), Neuilly (signed on 27 November, 1919 with Bulgaria) and later Sèvres (signed on 10 August, 1920 with Turkey), the latter replaced by the Lausanne Treaty (signed on 24 July, 1923). All these treaties were part of the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920) which involved diplomats from 32 countries and nationalities. Along with the five peace treaties concluded with the defeated states, the Paris Peace Conference lead to the creation of the League of Nations. Thus, a devastating war, which lasted more than four years (1914-1918), was ending taking its toll of approximatively 20 million victims, military and civilians, who were killed, injured, subjected to forced labour, taken prisoners and made to leave their home.

Ion I.C. Brătianu's arrival at the Paris Peace Conference 1919

The First Part of the Treaty of Trianon contained the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Covenant constituted of a preamble and 26 articles. It defined the main function of the League: to “promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security”. The Second Part referred to the borders of Hungary, establishing the borders of the new Hungarian state with Austria, with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, with Romania and Czechoslovakia. Part III comprised 9 sections and made references to European political clauses. Part IV of the Treaty contained provisions regarding the Hungarian interests outside Europe, respectively in Morocco, Egypt, Siam, China, etc. Part V dealt with military, naval and air matters. Part VI of the Treaty regulated the situation of war prisoners and Part VII the punishment of those trespassing the law during the War. Part VIII contained detailed provisions regarding the reparations that Hungary was set to pay to the Allied and Associated Powers for the losses they suffered during the war, and the Parts IX and X of the Treaty stated the financial clauses: the situation of some goods, the debts, the tax regime and contracts. To this end, there were instituted mixed arbitration courts to mitigate the relationship of Hungary with each of the Allied and Associated Powers. Parts XI and XII of the Treaty guaranteed the freedom of air, rail and river navigation on the Hungarian territory. Part XIII of the Treaty regulated aspects of the labour law, mentioning that the purpose of the League of Nations was to establish universal peace, which could only be based on the application of the norms of social justice. The last Part of the Treaty included various clauses such as those regarding religious organisations and commercial conventions.

Romanian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference 1919

The works of the Paris Peace Conference began on 18 January, 1919, the main actors being the representatives of the Great Powers: France, Great Britain, the United States, Italy and Japan (only for the aspects that concerned the Far East). The “Council of the Four” or the “Big Four” met in 145 meetings to debate and take decisions on all matters of major concern. There were instituted 52 commissions which prepared reports, documentary materials, maps and studies. These commissions met for 1,646 times during the works of the Conference.

Romanian delegation during the Paris Peace Conference 1919

The campaigns for international recognition and the establishment of the borders of the new states that succeeded the dissolution of the empires were conducted both in the press and with the publication of studies and brochures, as well as through the dialogue with specially created bodies in France, Great Britain and the United States of America (groups of study and analysis created within ministries or scientific societies – Comité d'Études, Inquiry Commission, The Historical Section of Foreign Office, the Geographical Society of Paris, etc.). Made up of university professors, scholars, and officers, these study groups presented to the commissions on territorial and border issues and the “Council of the Four”, studies and reports on territorial issues in Europe and the Near East. These were based on historical, geographical, strategic, political and ethnic considerations. The specialists elaborated historical, economic, ethnographic maps and other important documents.

The works of the Paris Peace Conference, Versailles 1919

Along with the vast amount of historical, political, economic and demographic documentary information collected, the delegations present at the Paris Peace Conference had an instrument with a major impact on the decisions regarding the establishment of the future borders of the states after the First World War: the ethnic and demographic maps. These gave the members, delegates and experts within the working commissions established during the Conference the possibility to have a quasi-complete and instant x-ray of the situation on the ground.

The works of the Paris Peace Conference, Versailles 1919

On 1 December, 1919, after the recognition of the new government installed in Budapest on 24 November and led by Károly Huszár, the Hungarian delegation was invited to the Paris Peace Conference. Under the helm of Count Albert Apponyi, on 5 January, 1920, a delegation of 66 people (Count István Bethlen, Count Pál Teleki, deputies, experts, diplomats and auxiliary staff) left for Paris. On 15 January, 1920, the Hungarian delegation was presented with the terms of peace, and on 20 February, its observations are recorded. The final form of the Treaty was presented to the Hungarian delegation on 6 May 1920.

Ratification of the Versailles Peace Treaty with Germany

The Romanian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference was led by Ion I.C. Brătianu. Constantin Brătianu was the secretary of the delegation, Colonel Toma Dumitrescu, the military adviser, Nicolae Mișu, the Deputy Head of the delegation, Alexandru Vaida-Voevod was part of the delegation as the representative for Transylvania and the Banat, Constantin Crișan and Ionel Mocsoni were the experts in economic and financial aspects. Caius Brediceanu, Traian Vuia, Alexandru Lapedatu, and others prepared studies and documents on the ethnographic and geographical situation of Transylvania, Banat, Bucovina, Dobrogea, etc.

Arrival of delegations for the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty

The peace treaty between the Allied and the Associated Powers and Hungary was signed on 4 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. This was 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.

Departure of delegations after the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty

The Peace Treaty concluded between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary at Trianon entered into force on 26 July, 1921, its provisions being modified successively through the Dictate (Protocol/Sentence) of Vienna on 30 August, 1940; The Armistice Convention of 12 September, 1944 between the Romanian Government, on the one hand, and the governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, on the other; And, finally, the peace treaty of 10 February, 1947 between Romania and the Allied and Associated Powers (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, Australia, Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus, Canada, Czechoslovakia, India, New Zealand, Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine and the South African Union).

Palace of Versailles, Hall of Mirrors




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