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Henri Coanda - Historical Background



Uppdated 2010-06-18



The Creation of Modern Romania

During the reign of King Charles I of Hohenzollern, the country gained full independence from the Ottoman Empire, after a difficult war known in the history as the War of Independence, or the Russo-Turkish war, 1877-1878, in which Romania's contribution was decisive.
Although lacking a fully unitary state, the cultural life of Romania benefited by a relative cohesion, the Old Kingdom being during the period 1878-1918 the main centre around which revolved the creative forces of the Romanian provinces under the foreign rule.
Henri Coanda was born during the consolidation of the Romanian Kingdom, when intellectuals trained in the Western countries returned to Romania in order to materialize their progressive ideas.
The beginning of a new century brought Romania a confused period with social movements and world war against which the "young" kingdom could not stay in neutrality.

The beginning of the First World War, the neutrality of Romania

Our country's fate in the first world war decided by the Crown Council in Sinaia from 21 -3 August.
The neutrality of Romania lasted two years (1914-1916), during this period the Romanian state prepared the conditions for entering the war.
In 1916 Romania entered the first world war on the Entente side, after the Entente agreed to recognize the Romanian rights over Transylvania , Banat and Bucovina.
On 14-27 august 1916 Romania declared war to Austria-Hungary and the Romanian troops advanced beyond the Carpathians, being welcomed with enthusiasm by the Romanians in Transylvania.
The starting of a Bulgarian-German offensive in Dobrogea forced the Romanian army to withdraw from Transylvania, two thirds of our country being occupied.
During april 27 April - May 7, 1918, the government ruled by Alexandru Marghiloman signed a peace treaty (Known as the treaty of Buftea-Bucharest) with the central powers, which proved to be very restrictive for Romania. The historians called this treaty the "horrid peace" because of the harsh conditions imposed to Romania: the Austro-Hungarian Empire occupied the Carpathians and Romania ceded to Bulgaria-Southern Dobrogea, the only access of our country to the Black Sea being through Constanta's harbour.
In late October the Romanian government headed by General Constantin Coanda, Henri Coanda's father denounced the "peace of Buftea" and the Romanian army crossed for the second time the Carpathians in Transylvania.

Romania after the great Union of 1918

The Great Union of 1918 created a new territorial, economic and demographic framework in the evolution of the Romanian Society.
Romania had an area of 295049 km2 and a population of over 18 000000 inhabitants in 1916.
Between the two world wars, a period of industrialization and urbanization took place, which created an infrastructure that could support the advanced economy.
The reforms in 1918-1923, especially the introduction of the universal suffrage, the realization of a land reform in 1920-1921, and the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1923, changed the old social and political structures.
After the economic recovery period, a process completed in 1923, Romania "crossed " three periods: the first-between 1924-1928, a period of economic ascent, the second-1929-1933 known as the economic crisis and the third between 1934-1939, a period of industrialization.
In 1938 Romania had priority in certain economic sectors: 6th place in the world and 1st place in Europe in oil production, 2nd place in Europe at natural gas production and gold, 4th place on the continent in wheat production.

The Constitutional monarchy

The constitutional monarchy was the key element of the political system in Romania.
King's powers were specifically defined by the Constitution from 1923.
The king exercised the executive power, was the leader of the army, and had the right to conclude international agreements, to coin money, to appoint or to remove ministers, to convoke or dissolve the parliament.
The government exercised the executive power on behalf of the king.

  • King Carol I of Hohenzollern (1866-1914)
  • King Ferdinand I -the second king of Romania (1914-1927)
  • During 1927-1930 a crisis occurred in the royal dynasty (Michael I was a minor and the leadership was exercised by a royal regent)
  • King Carol II (1930-1940)
  • King Michael I (1940-1947)
Michael I was forced to abdicate on December30, 1947-Romania was proclaimed People's Republic and the leadership was exercised by the communists.

The Second World War

As the Romanian foreign policy turned decisively to Germany in November 23, 1940, the government acceded to the Tripartite Pact, consisting of Germany, Italy and Japan.
Considered as a "holy war" -because the main purpose was the liberation of Basarabia and Northern Bucovina, it was supported by the Romanian population. The Romanian army liberated the territory kidnapped by the U.R.S.S in 1940.
After the catastrophic defeat of the German troops in front of the city of Stalingrad, the Romanian government realized that Hitler could not win the war, and the biggest concern became the protection of Romania against the Soviet threat.
U.S.A and U.K didn't negotiate a separate peace with Romania because of the Soviets who imposed unacceptable conditions for the conclusion of the armistice.

The Communist Period

In the communist historiography the birth of the proletarian state was December 30, 1947-with the abdication of King Michael I, the last Monarch of Romania, the constitutional monarchy being abolished by the communists.
The democratic political leaders were thrown in jail, the historical parties were removed and the monarchy was the last redoubt conquered by the communists. The new power allowed the former king to leave the country but he was withdrawn the Romanian citizenship.
The first decisive step was the international recognition of the Government Groza in January 1946, then a large falsification of elections in November 1946 and the peace treaty signed in Paris in 1944 - the Allies implicitly recognized the result of elections. Then, followed the arrest of the traditional parties and political leaders in July-November 1947.
In the early years of the Communist domination, Romania's war worn resources were exploited by the Soviets. During 1947-1962 many people were killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons. There were hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens.
Nicolae Ceausescu was elected the new General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1965 and the president of the state in 1967.
The denouncing of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the brief relaxation of the internal repression helped the new communist leader to create a positive image of the country, especially in the west. In this historical context Henri Coanda decided to return to Romania, founding the Institute for Scientific and Technical Creation (INCREST). In the following year, in 1970, he became a member of the Romanian Academy. Coanda died in Bucharest November 25, 1972, at the age of 86.