Outbreak of the war
End of the war

1918 – Peace between Romania and the Central Powers

Despite the defeats at the hands of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, the Romanian government managed once again to mobilise the nation at the turn of the year 1916/17. King Ferdinand promised an agricultural reform and so succeeded in getting the peasant population on his side. Furthermore, French support at the frontline made itself felt. Romania’s situation seemed to improve when the events in St. Petersburg started to make an impact, too.

As a result of the ‘October Revolution’, Romania under King Ferdinand finally agreed to a ceasefire at the end of 1917. A few months later, a peace treaty with the Central Powers on May 7, 1918 resulted in territorial losses in Dobruja and the border areas of the Danube Monarchy. Moreover, Berlin, Vienna and Sofia demanded substantial economic reparations without ending the military occupation of the country and recognising their full sovereignty in return.

Thus the Hohenzollern Empire showed its desire to inflict extremely harsh peace terms on its former opponents on the Eastern and South Eastern battlefields, not only in the agreement reached with the new Soviet government in Russia, but also in the treaty of May 7.

The course of action adopted by the governments in Sofia, Vienna and especially Berlin were guided by expansionist and hegemonic ambitions, which proved, however, to be illusory in view of the deteriorating overall military situation from the Central Powers’ perspective. The defeat of Germany and its allies led to a renewed entry into the war for Romania and its previously already demobilised army, in favour of the Entente. Now on the side of the victors once and for all, the Romanian government fulfilled its dream of ‘Great Romania’: gaining Transylvania including the Banat as well as Bucovina, Bessarabia and the Southern Dobruja led to a doubling of the nation’s territory and a tripling of the total population.


Bornemann, E.: Der Friede von Bukarest 1918, Frankfurt am Main 1978

Hitchins, Keith: Romania 1866–1947, Oxford 1994

Contents related to this chapter


  • Aspect

    Power blocks

    At the start of the war France, Britain and Russia formed the Triple Entente, extending the existing Entente Cordiale between Britain and France. The aim was to curb the ambitions of the German Empire under Wilhelm II to become a major power. Italy joined the war in 1915 on the side of the Entente. On the other side were the Central Powers consisting of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. In 1917 the USA entered the war on the side of the Entente, marking a decisive turning point that was to lead to the military collapse of the Central Powers.

  • Aspect

    After the war

    The First World War marked the end of the “long nineteenth century”. The monarchic empires were replaced by new political players. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy disintegrated into separate nation states. The Republic of German Austria was proclaimed in November 1918, and Austria was established as a federal state in October 1920. The years after the war were highly agitated ­– in a conflicting atmosphere of revolution and defeat, and political, economic, social and cultural achievements and setbacks.


Persons, Objects & Events