Who's Who - King Carol I

King Carol I King Carol I (1839-1914) was Romania's strongly pro-German King when war broke out in August 1914; despite his sympathies to the German Kaiser he was unable to constitutionally bring Romania into the war.

Born on 20 April 1839 in Sigmaringen, King Carol I - actual name Karl Eitel Friedrich - was educated at Dresden and Bonn (as the German Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) and served in the Prussian war of 1864 against Denmark.

Offered the throne of Romania following the overthrow of Alexandru Cuza in February 1866, Carol was formally elected reigning prince in April of the same year (with Napoleon III's approval).

He married, in 1869, to Princess Elizabeth of Wied (later to gain renown as the poetess Carmen Sylva).  Although unpopular at home during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War in view of his openly pro-German sentiments he nevertheless survived an attempt directed towards his overthrow in 1871.

His domestic popularity was however re-established with his military leadership during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.  Carol was finally crowned king of Romania in the wake of Romania's independence from Ottoman rule in May 1881.

Having negotiated a secret alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1883 Carol demonstrated - albeit in private - his ongoing sympathies towards the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II.

Carol worked to introduce a national military establishment and encouraged the development of the nation's financial interests.  Less concerned with addressing rural issues he was obliged to quell a peasant's uprising in 1907 which claimed as many as 10,000 lives.

With war brewing in 1914 Carol found his own enthusiasm for the German cause starkly at odds with popular feeling in the country, which was decidedly anti-German.  Prevented constitutionally from bringing his country into the war he watched with unhappiness as Romania was declared a neutral state in August 1914.

Still personally widely liked, he worked - without success - to foster links with the Central Powers throughout September 1914.  Humiliated by failure, Carol was contemplating abdication when, on 10 October 1914, he died at Sinaia at the age of 75.  He was succeeded by King Ferdinand I.

A "box barrage" was an artillery bombardment centred upon a small area.

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