Our colleague Dávid Ligeti is the next lecturer at the Orbán Balázs Academy. The title of his lecture is The War for Transylvania in 1916–1917.
Location: Tamási Áron High School, Nyírő József terem (Hall), Márton Áron tér (Square) 4, Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc, RO)
Date: 6 PM on (Tuesday) May 8th, 2018
In 1916–1917 a bloody war raged for Transylvania as a consequence of the Entente coming to an agreement (on August 17th, 1916) with Romania, which though neutral had, since 1883, been in a defensive alliance with the Central Powers. In exchange for switching sides, Romania was promised 110 thousand km2 of territory.
As per the final deadline in the agreement, on the night of August 27th, 1916, Romanian troops surged across the eastern border of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, followed by a declaration of war in Vienna. The Romanians had attacked a legitimate (on paper) ally. The Dualist Monarchy had already been in a desperate situation before the Romanian aggression due to catastrophic military losses. In the Brusilov Offensive alone, more than 600 thousand soldiers had fallen. The Kingdom of Romania attacked Transylvania with three armies numbering 45 thousand men; the k.u.k. 1. Armee had but 34 thousand men with whom to defend. Despite enjoying an overwhelming advantage in manpower, the pace of the Romanian attack still failed to meet earlier expectations. Nonetheless, during the subsequent two weeks, nearly 10 thousand km2 of territory – including a substantial part of the Szeklerland – fell into Romanian hands. The Romanian attack led to an outright exodus among Transylvanian Hungarians. For the first time during WWI, Hungarian-inhabited lands were transformed into battlefields. More than 200 thousand people, mainly Szeklers, fled the area.
Soon thereafter, however, significant German and k. u. k. reinforcements arrived in Transylvania, while German General August von Mackensen initiated an attack from Bulgaria. The Romanians suffered decisive defeats first at Sibiu and then Brașov. Six weeks after attacking Transylvania, the Romanians had been routed and completely expelled. Continuing their attack into November and December, the Central Powers advanced into Wallachia. On December 6th, they triumphantly captured Bucharest, the capital of Romania. At the beginning of 1917, the front stabilized along the banks of the Siret River. At the end of 1917, Romania was forced into an armistice, followed by peace in May 1918.
In addition to going into detail about the war, Dr. Ligeti talks about the fate of the Szeklerland, in particular Székelyudvarhely.