We’ve fallen a little behind on our World War I series. Over the next few weeks/months, we’re going to work to get caught-up to the calendar.
The Romanian ambassador to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was insistent on delivering his communique on August 27th, 1916. Entrusted with a diplomatic message directly from Romania’s Prime Minister Ion Bratianu, the ambassador was rushing to made sure it reached the correct authorities within the Dual Monarchy.
In a verbose note that covered Romania’s relatively short diplomatic history with the Habsburgs – the nation had at one point been a part of the Triple Alliance along with the Austrians, Germans and Italians – Bratianu recited a long list of perceived slights and concerns for the young Romanian nation. The Dual Monarchy had regarded the Romanians as “an inferior race” which had led to a “continual state of animosity,” at least according to Bratianu. For these reasons, and many, many others, the note concluded: “Rumania considers herself, from this moment, in a state of war with Austria-Hungary.”
The Romanian ambassador had done his job. Only the note was supposed to be delivered on August 28th, not the 27th – meant to arrive as Romanian troops were already crossing the Austro-Hungarian border.
Romania had surveyed the landscape of the Great War and decided to join the Entente in a grasp for territory and power. Within two days of their premature declaration of war, they found themselves surrounded and in conflict with every nation of the Central Powers.
Romania’s choice to go to war in the late summer of 1916 may have been cynically opportunistic, but the nation’s optimism seemed firmly grounded by the war’s recent turn of events. Continue reading