CREATORS OF NEW ROMANIA
(b. March 9, 1859, Babele, Ukraine – October 2, 1938, Bucharest, Romania)
Alexandru Averescu was a prominent military leader and a politician. As the son of a former officer, he began his studies in Ismail and continued them in Bucharest, at the School of Arts and Craftsmanship. In 1877, when he was 18 years old, he enlisted as a volunteer in a detachment of gendarmes and participated in the Romanian War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. For his bravery, he was advanced to the rank of sergeant. His experience at the front led him to decide on a military career and, in 1881, he enrolled at the prestigious School of Mănăstirea Dealu, and would go on to specialise at the Superior School of War, whose courses he graduated in 1886.
After the completion of his studies, Averescu received various appointments, which he successfully carried on, thus attracting the support of King Carol I who named him Brigadier General in 1906. He was promoted to the rank of Divisional General in 1912 and then to Army Corps General in 1917.
After Romania’s entry into the First World War, in 1916, he was named head of the Second Army. In this position he masterminded two crucial victories in 1917, at Mărăști and Oituz, thus succeeding in blocking the advance of German armies towards Iași where the majority of Romanian authorities had taken refuge. His decisive contribution during the war brought him the Marshal’s sceptre in 1930.
Averescu also held a significant role on the political scene, as Minister of War in the difficult period of 1907-1909, when Romania was confronted with devastating peasant revolts, and in the final stages of the First World War. The situation was particularly delicate at the beginning of 1918 as he had to negotiate an armistice with the Central Powers, which had occupied most part of the Old Kingdom of Romania. Although he signed preliminary documents, he soon resigned. He abandoned the army and focused on politics. Averescu had three mandates as Prime Minister (January-February 1918, March 1920 – December 1921, March 1926 – June 1927), and also came to hold, as time went on, the portfolios of multiple ministries: of War, of External Affairs, of Internal Affairs, and of Finance.