Irrefutable, fact-based arguments, widely accepted by the victorious Great Powers, supported the unification claims of Romania and formed the democratic and demographic basis for the decisions taken during the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920).
THE ARGUMENTS OF A LONG-AWAITED UNION
The Demographic Argument: Romanians are the Majority People
The decision to unify the Romanian provinces – Transylvania (including its neighbouring provinces: Banat, Crișana and Maramureş), Bessarabia and Bukovina – with the Old Kingdom of Romania (made possible by the former unification of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in 1859) was based on plebiscites. In these historical provinces, the Romanian population formed a majority and, by virtue of the right to self-determination of peoples, expressed the desire to integrate into Romania in purely democratic terms.
In Transylvania the Romanians formed a majority of the population, attested by modern censuses, organised by the Austrian and Hungarian authorities themselves in the decades before the unification of 1918:
• 1850 – 1.225.619 Romanians (59,4%)
• 1869 – 1.428.299 Romanians (59,7%)
• 1880 – 1.249.968 Romanians (55,9%)
• 1890 – 1.394.601 Romanians (57,1%)
• 1900 – 1.522.733 Romanians (56,7%)
• 1910 – 1.608.108 Romanians (55,3%) 
Robert William Seton-Watson
In fact, the percentage of the Romanian population in Transylvania was even higher than was reported. This observation is based on the fact that, especially from the second half of the 19th century on, Romanians from Transylvania and other ethnic groups in the eastern parts of the monarchy (Slovaks, Serbs, Ruthenians, Germans, etc.) were subjected to intense Magyarisation policies.
The decision to unite with Romania was taken democratically in representative assemblies in Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. Delegates, democratically elected, came from various social and professional categories: priests, teachers, lawyers, students, officers, soldiers, workers, and peasants.
King Carol I
It is noteworthy that other minorities in these provinces expressed their adherence to the decision of the Romanian majority. In Transylvania, the German Saxon National Council recognised the decision of union with Romania as early as December 30, 1918. Also during the General Assembly of Bukovina, which adopted the Motion of Union with Romania, Polish and German delegations declared their support of the decision.
The unification of the Romanian provinces with the Old Kingdom represented a thoroughly democratic process. The case of the Romanians was not unique. Several peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, who had previously been subjects to various empires, formed national states or united with other territories.
This historical process was well-observed by British historian and journalist R.W. Seton-Watson, who claimed that the organisation of the states pertaining to the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was made before the Peace Conference in Paris by the will of the people:
‘It is still more essential to my argument to point out that all the new States of the Danubian area took shape many weeks before the Conference could meet in Paris, and three of them nearly a week before the armistice. On 28 October the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed in Prague; on 29 October the Jugoslav National Council (representing Bosnia, Dalmatia, Slovenia, Istria and Voivodina no less than Croatia-Slavonia) proclaimed independence at Zagreb [..] on 1 December forty delegates of the Jugoslav National Council offered to the Prince Regent of Serbia the Crown of the Jugoslav provinces formerly under the Austro-Hungarian rule, and on the same day the Romanian National Assembly at Alba Iulia voted the union of Transylvania and the Banat with Romania. This bare catalogue suffices to show that it was the people themselves who were responsible for establishing the new order of things.’ 
 Ioan Bolovan, Transylvania between the Revolution of 1848 and the Union of 1918. Demographic Contributions (Cluj-Napoca: The Foundation of Romanian Culture Press, 2000), p. 197.
 R.W. Seton-Watson, Treaty Revision and the Hungarian Frontiers (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1934).
The Historical Argument: Romanians are the Oldest People
Transylvania (including its neighbouring provinces: Banat, Crișana and Maramureş), Bukovina and Bessarabia were territories inhabited by Romanians since their formation as a distinct people. Over time, these Romanian provinces became individual parts of various kingdoms and empires. Despite their inclusion into foreign states, the Romanians managed to preserve their ethnic and cultural identity throughout the centuries.
In the Modern Age, with the advent of the national idea and the national state everywhere in the world, the ideal of uniting all Romanians in one state began to take shape on both sides of the Carpathians. In the 19th century, it became a most cherished political ideal in the provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, which came together in 1859, as well as in Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia, which were part of the Austrian, later Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Tsarist Empire, respectively. At the end of the First World War, when the principle of self-determination of peoples became prevalent, this context was conducive to the establishment of the unified Romanian state.
Statues of Dacians adorning public places in Rome
These historical realities were quite well known at the time, both by specialists and the general public. An article published in the British daily The Times on January 13, 1915, eloquently discusses the origins of Romania and the situation of the Romanian population in several provinces under foreign rule:
‘[…] The Romanian populations of Bucovina and Transylvania are not, as might be supposed, colonists who have flown over the Romanian border. They have their roots deep in history. Romania itself is a geographic surprise and it is very curious to find an enclave in Eastern Europe surrounded by all parts of Slavs and Hungarians – because not only do Romanians speak a Latin language very similar to Italian, but they still keep strong signs to this day of their Latin blood […].’
 Constantin Botoran, Olimpiu Matichescu, Foreign Documents on the Struggle of the Romanian People for the Creation of the Unitary National State (Cluj-Napoca: Dacia Publishing House, 1980), p. 5, p. 67.
Revisionists and Anti-Unionists
The establishment of Greater Romania, widely accepted by the victorious Allied Powers after the Great War, was met with dissatisfaction in the neighbouring countries. To the East, Soviet Russia refused to recognise the unification of Bessarabia with Romania. Moreover, it broke diplomatic relations with Romania as early as January 23, 1918. To the South, Bulgaria at its turn claimed the two counties incorporated in Romania in 1913, Durostor and Caliacra. To the West, Hungary also advanced revisionist claims. One of its explicit foreign policy goals was to recover Transylvania. That was the reason why the Hungarian Republic’s army (of Bolshevik persuasion) initiated two offensive actions against the recently unified Romanian state in April and July 1919.
Albert, Count Apponyi
Between February 26 and March 3, 1920, at the Allied Powers Conference in London, discussions were held on the conclusion of the Treaty with Hungary. Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, at that time the head of the government, attended on behalf of Romania. Count Albert Apponyi, Hungary’s P.M., accused Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia of ‘imperialism’ because, by invoking the principle of self-determination, they broke away from Hungary and formed not national, but multinational states.
The statement failed to address, or to refute, the historical and demographic arguments upon which the Trianon Treaty was based. Instead, the Hungarian representatives asked for a series of plebiscites to be held in the disputed territories. The Conference rejected the proposal, considering it to be unfounded, as the populations of those provinces had already stated their will democratically in October and November 1918. Count Apponyi especially denied the democratic character of the Great National Assembly of Alba Iulia, which was, however, obvious in the election of the delegates and the proceedings themselves. Count Apponyi refused to acquiesce in the provisions of the Trianon Treaty, which was nonetheless signed on June 4, 1920, as it had previously been formulated. Ioan Cantacuzino and Nicolae Titulescu signed it on behalf of Romania.
Romanians: The Essentials
The long history of Romanians on the territory of today’s Romania was a central point of contention in the revisionist debates. Was this people really that old? Were Romanians native of these lands or did they come from somewhere else?
The Romanian historians and many of their Western colleagues, in spite of some blurred periods, found the answers quite straightforward. In the second half of the 1st millennium A.D., several Romanic peoples, speaking neo-Latin languages, emerged in Europe. The Romanians, along with the French, Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese, were part of this group. The formation of the Romanian people was a long-term process, which began with the integration of the territory delineated by the Carpathians, the Danube and the Black Sea, populated by Dacians, into the Roman world. The Roman Empire’s conquest of these lands was the catalyst for the process of Romanisation, which had lasting consequences.
The Dacians, the natives of the area, adopted various elements of Roman culture and, most significantly, they made Latin their language. From the Daco-Roman synthesis, a Romanic people emerged, which continued to live north of the Danube River even after the withdrawal of Roman administration in the second half of the 3rd century A.D. This Romanised population managed to survive the overwhelming influence of repeated waves of nomadic tribes, from which they embraced various elements of culture. The Slavs were the migratory people who exercised the most powerful influence on them.
Michael the Brave, ruler of Wallachia (1593-1601), Moldavia (1600) and Transylvania (1599-1600), unified the three provinces for a short while at the end of the 16th century
At the beginnings of the Middle Ages, the descendants of the Romanised Dacians began to appear in early historical texts under the name of Wallachs. Those who termed them as such (Germans, Slavs, and Hungarians) remarked upon the Romanic character of the people and on the similarity of the language they spoke to Latin. These people called themselves Romanians, a term derived from the Latin romanus, an unmistakable reference to Rome. In the centuries to follow, the Romanians lived divided in multiple historical provinces, some of which became components of foreign states. Despite this situation, the Romanian people preserved their cultural and ethnic identity and when the context proved favourable, as was the case in 1918 at the end of the Great War, they managed to unite all the provinces in which they were the majority people in one state.
Stephen the Great, ruler of Moldavia between 1457-1504, skilfully resisted the Ottoman and Polish encroachment
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