Primary Documents - Romanian Ambassador to U.S. on Romania's Wartime Experiences, October 1917
Reproduced below is the statement issued by the Romanian Ambassador to the U.S., Constantine Angelscu, in October 1917 on the subject of Romania's experiences thus far - which were not auspicious - in her war against the Central Powers.
Click here to read King Ferdinand's proclamation to the Romanian people; click here to read the King's proclamation to the Romanian Army issued the dame day; click here to read former Romanian Prime Minister Take Jonescu's statement in support of the war effort; click here to read the reaction of the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg. Click here to read a memoir of the invasion of Romania by Queen Marie.
Statement by Romanian Ambassador to U.S. Constantine Angelscu, October 1917
The first phase of our entry into the great struggle was fraught with immense sacrifices and sufferings. Our front, more than 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) in extent, had to be defended by us single-handed, for the help we had been led to expect did not arrive. But the courage of our soldiers did not fail.
Unhappily, we sustained losses amounting to over 50,000 killed and 150,000 wounded. And that was not the full extent of our calamities. There was our retreat in Moldavia, the heartrending exodus of the inhabitants of the occupied territories, rich and poor, old men, women and children, abandoning their homes before the advance of the hated enemy; and our enforced destruction of the oil wells in Rumania, representing hundreds and hundreds of millions of francs in value, as well as of our stores of cereals and our factories, to prevent their falling into the hands of the invaders.
To these indescribable misfortunes were added other sufferings which culminated in an epidemic of exanthematic typhus, which claimed an immense number of victims.
In spite of all this, however, my country did not lose faith, but remained profoundly attached to the common cause. Our sorely tried army awaited with passionate ardour the moment when it could turn the tables on the enemy, and when that moment came in 1917 it did so in most magnificent fashion.
In the battles of Marashesti men were seen to throw away their steel helmets and their coats, and, thus freed, fall on the enemy with tremendous fury. Many are the heroic deeds that have been related of them.
When, in consequence of the condition of internal affairs in Russia, the order came from Petrograd to stop the Rumanian offensive, our officers and men wept from disappointment.
Later Mackensen assumed the offensive. His object was to conquer Moldavia also on the occasion of the first anniversary of the entry of Rumania into the war, and, once in the possession of the whole of Rumanian territory, the Germans had the intention of proclaiming a new regime.
They reckoned without the valour of the Rumanian soldier. As a matter of fact, Rumania saved the eastern front. The offensive of Mackensen was definitely broken, and the Rumanian Army, with our chivalrous King at its head, was absolutely confident that it was no longer possible to break through the Rumanian front.
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
A "red cap" was a British military policeman.
- Did you know?