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June 03, 2005


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Dearest Claudia:

Please tell your friend that this is one terrific image...It tells a story, it catches a decisive moment, the balance, color, human interest & implied irony are all exceptional.

Thanks for the post.

Best Wishes,



Excellent picture! Worth noting that in 1916, Romania was completely unprepared for war against the Central powers. The leading Romanian politicians at the time carried extensive debates about entering WWI and on which side. The deliberations took two years and eventually war was declared in Vienna. In the first year (1916), Romania got beat very badly. Subsequently, the central powers lost their grip in the balkans and Romania was able to strike back, and by 1918 the war ended and Romania re-claimed Transilvania.

This is a part of a history which often is interpreted wrongly, especially in Romania, where it is often thought that WWI was a big success (due to the recovery of Transilvania). But the war losses were very big and consequently eastern parts of the country were thereby occupied by the Soviets, eventually this became independent as Moldova although it is mostly Romanian people's.


Eduard, the Eastern part of Romania (Basarabia) was not occupied by the Soviets during WWI, but during WWII.

In fact, before WWI, Basarabia was part of Tsarist Empire. During the Soviet Revolution it declared itself independent and soon after it decided to unite with Romania.


WWI was a necessary tribute we had to pay for uniting the country. It wasn't a military success for Romania, but definately, Bratianu's genius worked.


A footnote on Bessarabia: The father of a friend of mine was a Bessarabian Communist. Despite his beliefs he, along with every other Bessarabian of age, was drafted into the Red Army. When the USSR was invaded, the Bessarabians were distrusted (probably because they once lived outside the Workers' Paradise) so they were ordered to become miners for the duration. This was despite their previous employment. My friend's father was a skilled professional, but they never used him in that job. In fact, he never received his permanent papers at all, but spent the rest of his working life filling in for people on vacations.

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