Published on 8 Sep 2016
German Zeppelins brought terror and destruction to the British homeland since the beginning of the war. But a new invention helped to bring the first one down this week 100 years ago: the incendiary bullet. The public is overjoyed as the first behemoth strikes the ground as a flaming ball of fire. At the same time an unusual calm descends on the battlefields around Verdun: Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff visited the battlefield for the first time and are appalled by what they see.
September 9, 2016
September 6, 2016
Published on 5 Sep 2016
Visit the Fortress Museum in Przemyśl: https://goo.gl/maps/8vdZ8AbqapG2
Romania’s history before World War 1 was heavily influenced by the great powers surrounding them. Not only was a considerable minority of Romanians living in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Romanian royal family had ties to Germany, Britain and Russia. After fighting in the Balkan Wars, Romania remained neutral during the first two years of World War 1 but decided to join when the moment seemed right.
September 2, 2016
Published on 1 Sep 2016
After more than two years of carnage, the war is still growing as Romania joins the war. The moments seems right to them as the Russians steamrolled the Austro-Hungarian Army on the Eastern front this summer. But can the unproven and under equipped Romanian Army really seize the moment? The German High Command wants to make sure that Romania regrets joining the Entente and sends two of their best generals: Erich von Falkenhayn and August von Mackensen.
August 19, 2016
Published on 18 Aug 2016
The Italian offensive taking Gorizia last week surprised everyone. Including Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna who overlooks the huge strategical advantages now open in front of him. Instead he hesitates and “glorious” victory gets a few dents. At the same time, Romania is getting ready to join the war on the side of the Entente too and on the Western Front German morale is dwindling as the French and the British Army are getting more confident at the Somme and at Verdun.
December 29, 2014
How these challenges were met varied between the two Imperial halves. The Hungarians dealt with the nationalities problem mainly by behaving as if it didn’t exist. The kingdom’s electoral franchise extended to only 6 per cent of the population because it was pegged to a property qualification that favoured the Magyars, who made up the bulk of the wealthier strata of the population. The result was that Magyar deputies, though they represented only 48.1 per cent of the population, controlled over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats. The 3 million Romanians of Transylvania, the largest of the kingdom’s national minorities, comprised 15.4 per cent of the population, but held only five of the Hungarian parliament’s 400-odd seats. From the late 1870s, moreover, the Hungarian government pursued a campaign of aggressive ‘Magyarization’. Education laws imposed the use of the Magyar language on all state and faith schools, even those catering to children of kindergarten age. Teachers were required to be fluent in Magyar and could be dismissed if they were found to be ‘hostile to the [Hungarian] state’. This degradation of language rights was underwritten by harsh measures against ethnic minority activists. Serbs from the Vojvodina in the south of the kingdom, Slovaks from the northern counties and Romanians from the Grand Duchy of Transylvania did occasionally collaborate in pursuit of minority objectives, but with little effect, since they could muster only a small number of mandates.
In Cisleithania [the German Austrian half of the empire], by contrast, successive administrations tampered endlessly with the system in order to accommodate minority demands. Franchise reforms in 1882 and 1907 (when virtually universal male suffrage was introduced) went some way towards levelling the political playing field. But these democratizing measures merely heightened the potential for national conflict, especially over the sensitive question of language use in public institutions such as schools, courts and administrative bodies.
Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War In 1914, 2012.
August 19, 2013
Romanian Communism in its last years sat uneasily athwart the intersection of brutality and parody. Portraits of the Party leader and his wife were everywhere; his praise was sung in dithyrambic terms that might have embarrassed even Stalin himself (though not perhaps North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, with whom the Romanian leader was sometimes compared). A short list of the epithets officially-approved by Ceauşescu for use in accounts of his achievements would include: The Architect; The Creed-shaper; The Wise Helmsman; The Tallest Mast; The Nimbus of Victory; The Visionary; The Titan; The Son of the Sun; A Danube of Thought; and The Genius of the Carpathians.
Tony Judt, “The End of the Old Order”, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, 2005.
February 2, 2013
Romania’s Gandul has a bit of fun at Britain’s expense:
Public fears in the UK over mass immigration by Eastern Europeans has prompted a peculiar response from Romania: One newspaper published a series of ads playing on British cultural stereotypes, and saying why people should move to Romania instead.
“Our draft beer is less expensive than your bottled water,” one of the ads proudly states, hinting at the high costs of living in the UK. Another ad made fun of British cuisine: “We serve more food groups than pies, sausage, fish and chips.”
Other ads touched upon politics, weather and even women: “Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister.”
The ‘Why don`t you come over?’ ad campaign was designed by the online Romanian newspaper Gandul and GMP Advertising firm in response to numerous reports in the British media about a possible government initiative to launch a negative ad campaign discouraging Romanians and Bulgarians from coming to work in Britain.
Update, 13 September: The campaign just won a Gold Award at AdStars.