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- - - - , 19th CENTURY R EN…






I RUMANIA. I t B-v Percy Alden, M.P.) 'M e, position of The position of Rumania is of special im- portance at the present moment. It is untrue to say that Rumania has agreed not to aban- don neutrality without the consent of Grecce. Not only so, but it is most improbable that Buunania would consent to come in on the tide of t1< Teutonic Powers. In fact, the whole of the discussion in the German papers is directed to the one end of how to avert Rumania's intervention on the side of the Allies. It is more than possible that the at- tack on .Salonika has been delayed because Rumania's neutrality is not assured, or be- cause. it it. thought that the concentration of her armies on her southern frontier implies an anti-Germanic attitude. There is no doubt that Germ.any is making great efforts to in- fluence the pro-German party, and she will not o!ol) at mere representations, for she i.s desirous of the demobilisation of the Ruman- ian army and of formal assurances of neu- trality. These circumstances make it important to understand a. little of the historical position which Rumania occupies. It is on the ques- tion cf nationality that the whole Rumanian problem rests, for notwithstanding the widely divergent theories as to the-origin of the Rumanian nation we know enough to be able to trace with some degree of certainty that the Dacians, who were a branch of the Thrac- iait race and established themselves about the 6th century B.C. on both sides of the Car- pathian ranges after anany years of conflict with Rome, came under the influence of Roman civilisation, and eventually became a flourishing dependency of the Rome Empire, so much so in fact that it was often called "Daoia Felix. The «u:bseqnen-t inroads of Gotht3 and Huns did not by any means de- stroy Roman influence upon the country or the population, but with the coming of the Slavs about the beginning of the seventh cen- tThry, the Rumanians were separated from the Romans, and parts of the Rumanian country 'became dependent on a new State founded by the Bulgarians. The Hungarians, at the end of the ninth â¢century, put an end to the Bul- garian domination "in Daoia, although the Hungarians themselves were influenced by the Daeo-Romans. It would not be untrue to say that so far as actual language and race is concerned the Rumanians are living to-dav almost exactly where their ancestors of 1500 years ago lived. The Rumanian people as a whole have not made any very large advance from an edu- cational point of view. Four-fifths of the population of Rumania proper, viz., the pea- sant population is extremely backward and illiterate. The result is that they- cannot realise their rights and their duties under the western institutions imposed upon them.. The tragedy of Rumania is that its population is scattered over countries in the possession of other States, for example, there are Ruman- ians in Transylvania (2,949,000), Bukovina (about 250,000), Bessarabia (1.000,000), and also in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. The total number of the Rumanian population is probably about 12,000,000. Of the 7,500,000 of people who inhabit the present kingdom of Rumania, nearly 5,500,000 (or about three- qu art ere) are Rumanian. These figures give H6 a clue to the national aspirations of Rumania, for the principle of nationality is the political programme of parties in that country. Rumania naturally wants Russia to give back Bessarabia taken from her in 1S78, and she naturally looks towards Transylvania with its nearly 3,000.000 of the Rumanian race deprived 'by the Hungarian Government of every possible means of political expression. In considering, therefore, the attitude that Rumania is likely to take in this war,w«o have to remember that first- of all she considers which path of conduct is likely to off-or her the greater advantage in unifying and solidi- fying the Rumanian population. It is not improbable, judging from the events of to- day, that Russia has come to some sort of agreement, with Rumania over Bessarabia, for the Ruseification of Bessarabia has never taken place owing to the reactionary attitude of the Russian, Government in respect of edu- cation. Transylvania is, therefore, the pivot upon which Rumania turns, and as the treat- ment of tiro Rumanians by Hungary has been a fundamental contradiction of the principles of justice, we may be sure that in the view of most people in Rumania and of its most powerful personalities, Rumania's interest lies on the side of the Entente. KifEjg Ferdinand is, of course, German by descent. His wife Marie, daughter of the Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha, is half- British and half-Russian. He is a nephew of KinO" Carol, to whc.m Rumania, owes niiieh I The policy of Rumania is very much in the hands of small groups of politicians, and. powerful personalities will have much to do with the future action of Rumania in this war; the chief of them is the King himself, who virtually controls the foreign policy of hie kingdom. The present Prime Minister, M. Bnatianu, is largely under the influence of thi? Crown, but he is a practical man, and does not wish his country to be exposed to danger. He is, therefore, unwilling to enter into this European Armageddon without ample guarantees for the future. It is quite possible to misjudge Rumania in taking such an action, since there arc men lik-e M. Take Jom £ scu, the exponent of progressive ideas in Rumanian politics, and Filipescu, a Coneer- vaf iv<e with strong Anti-Magyar feelings, both of whom are on the side of intervention. But a. somewhat colourless Cabinet controlled by the Government beiJ.ieves the policy of oppor- tunism to be justified. After all Rumania cannot supply herself with munitions in the same way that other countries can. She has been dependent in the past for her supply cf war material both on German and Austrian arsenals, but especially upon Krrpp. War on modern lines involving vast expenditure on munitions would soon see her exhausted in that respect, for Germany failed to fulfil even the old contracts. Accordingly Rumania waits and watches. Our withdrawal from the Dardanelles has profoundly affected her, Success there would have meant her intervention on the side of the Allies, but even under present circum- stances. with the Allies blockading the Straits, Rumania's economic position is in- secure, for her only accet-s to the Mediterran- ean is by land, and transport facilities at the moment are either expensive or non- existent. Nevertheless the interests of Ru- mania cannot be on the side of Germany or Austria j certainly not on the side of Bulgaria which improperly deprived her of a strip of the Dobrudja. Hon. Secretary, Council for the Study of International Relations.