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Issue No. 16 (2011) Archives – Valahian Journal of Historical Studies
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Issue No. 16 (2011)


Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 5-19
No. of Pages: 15
Keywords: , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: Studying bilateral relations of “distant” countries is a complex issue, especially in cases where there are no evident mutual interests or mutual threats or when there are no special conflicting interests either. However, this kind of research does not necessarily differ qualitatively or methodically from the study of countries and cultures which are much closer to each other. However, the undramatic day-to-day affairs, which have not moved the destinies of the two nations, can often reveal interesting examples of political identities and mentalities and surprising links, especially if the bilateral relations have been used in order to gain a foothold of the wider reference group of the other party. Most often it is hoped that one would find markets for its products or diplomatic support and to make oneself more known also among other countries in the area. However, it is more common to find negative than positive stereotypes, when one deals with bilateral “distant” relations. It is what is peculiar, odd, exotic, even frightening and shocking, that gets the attention and is exaggerated. All this creates a contrast and a possibility to strengthen one’s own identity. I shall here refer to some examples especially in the Finnish case. All in all, studying the bilateral relations of two distant countries in the very least gives a possibility to find something new; how have those narratives, which we already know, been seen on a smaller scale and in unusual arenas – and how have these smaller nations themselves influenced the larger narrative?
Open access on CEEOL: NO



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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 21-33
No. of Pages: 13
Keywords: , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: How people perceive their environment has a crucial role in all decisions they make. This is true in the relations between nations and countries, too. It can also be argued that mental images as such form an important part in all human interaction. This paper analyzes the image of Romania that was created and conveyed by the Finnish embassy in Bucharest during the Second World War. The Second World War was a turning point in Finnish-Romanian relations. The Finnish embassy was established in Bucharest in late 1939, and as a consequence of the war Finland and Romania – as co-belligerents – clearly became more important to each other than ever before. Existing common knowledge of Romania was relatively scarce in Finland, so Finnish envoys had a good chance in affecting perceptions of Romania among leading Finnish political circles. This analysis focuses on the main elements of this image, as well as the overall image of Romania that was conveyed to Finland through diplomatic material created by the embassy in Bucharest. The main task in this analysis is to explain the composition of the image – why it was exactly as it was. It can be seen that the image of Romania was created not only on the basis of domestic features and bilateral factors but also on the basis of larger cultural and political views and aims.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 35-52
No. of Pages: 18
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: As former far-flung European colonies, Chile and Australia have developed most of their socio-historical path in asymmetrical relationship to the Northern Hemisphere. Nevertheless, the advent of globalisation and the Pacific Region as a new site for strategic alliances with the end of the Cold War has decentred this prevailing asymmetry and given visibility to new settings of representation as well as the construction of meanings and identities.
By examining a selection of Australian and Chilean presidential and ministerial discourses between 1990 and 2010, this paper aims to shed light on how Chile and Australia have constructed their relationship in the context of the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2008, and the role of the Pacific Ocean in the geographical imaginations of both countries. This paper argues that the contours of globalisation and the constructed trajectories of Chile and Australia around the Pacific Ocean as a space where capital and people freely flow gave rise to the re-imagination of these two relatively distant countries as connected places.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 53-72
No. of Pages: 20
Keywords: , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: The relations between Britain and Nigeria were chequered in the four decades following Nigeria’s independence in October 1960. Only a slight difference is discernible in the level of closeness between both countries when Nigeria was under democratic governments or under military dictatorships. The fact that Nigeria was governed by authoritarian military regimes for much of the period from 1960-1999 did not therefore substantially affect relations even though British foreign policy has emphasized opposition to dictatorial governments and military juntas for centuries. This article interrogates the seeming contradiction and challenges the notion that the values defended by liberal democracies like Britain automatically make relations between them and military regimes adversarial. It maintains that there are instances where this general pattern is not followed depending on other factors. This is clearly revealed by the fact that the first half of the 1970s marked one of the best experiences of Anglo-Nigerian relations even though Nigeria was under a military government during the period. The relations between Britain and Nigeria however turned sour under another military government in Nigeria from 1976-1979. A similar pattern of chequered relations is discernible from 1984-1998. The article contends that economic considerations, the approach of Nigerian leaders to governance at different times, whether civilian or military, and the prevailing condition of the international system were prominent factors that shaped the Anglo-Nigerian relations. The factor of undemocratic government in Nigeria was therefore only one of numerous other determinants of relations.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 73-94
No. of Pages: 22
Keywords: , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: Could small states rise against the superpowers of the Cold War in order to promote their own interests in world affairs? This was the basic premise for this study and it argues that, in the period of reference, Romania could and did develop an independent policy in the Middle East, different from that of the Communist bloc. In spite similarities, Romania’s policy pursued its own economic and political interests, aimed at identifying alternative sources of raw materials and markets, in order to reduce its vulnerability in front of Moscow. The basic aim was to be acknowledged as an independent partner. Relying on Romanian Communist Party sources, declassified in the recent years, this study reveals that this policy was successful and its goals were reached.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 95-106
No. of Pages: 12
Keywords: , , ,
Summary/Abstract: The non-aggression treaty signed on 23 August 1939 between Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and communist leader Stalin aiming at dividing the spheres of influence in the geopolitical space located between Germany and the USSR from the Baltic to the Danube, is the act which led to the outbreak of World War II. Germany is nowadays assuming full responsibility for Hitler’s outbreak of war, while the Russian or the Anglo-American historiographies are still reluctant to associate Stalin to Hitler. For this reason, today, more than 70 years after its signing by J. von Ribbentrop and V.M. Molotov, would be more appropriate that the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Treaty be called the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Romania is the place where the first cracks in the implementation of this Pact occurred. After the ultimatum addressed to the Moscow government in Bucharest on 28 June 1940 and the occupation by force of Bessarabia, Northern Bucovina and Herta, the USSR had not been invited at the German-Italian arbitration in Vienna on 30 August 1940, despite its claims on southern Bukovina. After the surrender of Northern Transylvania to Hungary and of Southern Dobrogea to Bulgaria, Germany and Italy granted a territorial guarantee to Romania, which deeply disturbed the USSR. This was the first crack in the covenant. Following the occupation of Austria by Germany on 5 April 1938, the latter considered the Danube a German river. At the Danube Conference in Vienna (5-12 September 1940), Germany abolished the International Danube Commission (IDC) and set up a Council of Fluvial Danube. Following the occupation of Bessarabia, the Soviet Union became riparian to the Danube and declared that it was interested in all matters concerning the Danube. It supported the abolition of IDC, but it additionally proposed the abolishing of the European Commission the Danube (CED) and the creation of a unique Danube Commission to cover the whole river, which was not agreed by Germany. This will produce a second crack in the Hitler-Stalin Pact.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 107-124
No. of Pages: 18
Keywords: , , ,
Summary/Abstract: Borrowing the expression of H. A. Gibbons „for so long as there is water in the Black Sea and wheat on the steppes of Russia there will always the issue of the Straits”, the Romanian historian, Gheorghe Brătianu, considered, in 1943, that the future of the Balkans and the Black Sea depended on the way in which the Great Powers succeeded, in the light of post-war agreements, to harmonise their interests. The change in the course of the war influenced Soviet plans for taking control of the Balkans and the Black Sea regions. Tensions between the Allies grew in the course of 1946. The Balkans and the Black Sea found itself the objects of a conflict whose causes were to be found in the reopening of competition for control of the region. The end of the war brought an important change in the balance of forces in the Balkan region. The launch of the Truman Plan (March 1947), but especially its military component, placed the USA in the coordinates of the peripheral security strategy. The outbreak of the Cold War and Turkey’s adherence to the Marshall Plan left the Straits out of Soviet control and announced the beginning of new stages in the shaping of centres of power and domination in the Balkans and the Black Sea region.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 125-135
No. of Pages: 11
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: The author discloses British sources to demonstrate the efforts of the Foreign Office and the British representatives in Bucharest to stop the seizure of power by a Communist Government. Soviet, American and British representatives participated to the Allied Control Commission of Romania, headed by Soviets; this provided the British a clear view of Soviet interferences. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden even though instructed British representatives in Bucharest to support Soviets due to the common war efforts, hoped to avoid the inevitable until the end of February when Soviet Union decided to impose a pro-Soviet Government despite his attempts to discuss the matter with Soviets on the terms provided by the recent Declaration on Liberated Europe, issued at Yalta. The Soviet Union succeeded in imposing the fall of the Rădescu Government because the Red Army had occupied Romania and British and United States Governments had no real means to support the cause of a neutral Romanian Government.
Open access on CEEOL: NO



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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 137-149
No. of Pages: 13
Keywords: , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: 1928 was an important year for Romanian-German relations. It was the year when the agreement settling the economic dispute between the two countries was signed, opening the way for the German participation in the endeavours meant to stabilize the Romanian currency, leu, and the foreign loan the Romanian authorities wanted to obtain. However, our study focuses on how Nicolae Petrescu-Comnen, the new Minister Plenipotentiary of Romania in Berlin, sought to address the diplomatic cooperation with the German authorities, who, at first, regarded him with scepticism. During 1928, Comnen tried to improve Romania’s image in the German media, creating a press office and initiating contacts with the main German news agencies and newspapers. For him, this element was essential as it would help loosen the relations between Bucharest and Berlin. In the summer of 1928, when negotiations were in deadlock, Comnen proposed a set of measures to revive discussions. He was of the opinion that the Romanian state should not miss once again the chance to solve old disputes with Germany, which would have allowed the initiation of a stronger economic cooperation between the two countries. Although Comnen was not part of the negotiating team, his relations with the German politicians and bankers and his expertise in German policy have contributed to the success of the negotiations. The signing of the Romanian-German agreement on November 10 is therefore the result of the diplomatic activity of the Romanian ambassador in Berlin.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 151-175
No. of Pages: 25
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: The study focuses on the private as well as on the official relationships of the Romanian and Serbian princely and then royal families from the second half of the 19th century. Since the rapports of the Obrenović family with the Romanian Principalities and afterwards with Romania, were much more substantial than those of Cuza or of the Hohenzollerns with Serbia, the biggest part of the study concerns mostly these features. The dynamics of these relationships was influenced by the fact that Milan and Alexander Obrenović, kings of Serbia in that period and Queen Natalia – Milan’s wife and mother of Alexander – had solid Romanian origins. This situation brought all three of them in close connection with Romania and its reigning dynasty. The facts behind these official and private relationships are less familiar both to the unskilled history reader and also among the scholars who studied the history of the 19th century. The dissemination of such less known or even unknown details could be worthwhile for Balkan and European historiography. The circumstances can help us to more deeply understand the connections between the private relationships and the official decisions of the monarchs and to better place their actions within the larger framework of the European and world history. The outcome of the inquiry is an initial landmark into an unexplored field of history completed by using a great diversity of published and unpublished records.
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Language: English
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 177-197
No. of Pages: 21
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: Britain has the oldest constitutional and representative system of government in the world, but it is unusual among modern states in not having a written constitution. From the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 onwards, Britain gradually developed a stable constitution that enshrined the joint sovereignty of the monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, while defending the liberties of the people and making the legislature increasingly responsible to a widening electorate that eventually, by the earlier twentieth century, included all adults, male and female. Until the late twentieth century this constitution enjoyed massive support at home and was greatly admired abroad. Developments over recent decades, however, have posed serious challenges to this long established and well-supported constitution. The most important developments have been the changes made by Britain’s entry into the European Community, the growing concern about the decline in parliament’s authority, the rise of nationalist sentiment in the non-English parts of the United kingdom that have resulted in the devolution of power from the Westminster Parliament to regional legislative bodies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and the widespread desire to democratize the composition of the House of Lords but the absence of any agreement how to do this. Many changes have been made and others contemplated but not achieved over recent decades. It is still far from clear, however, whether these changes have improved or undermined a constitution that has served Britain so well over the previous three centuries.
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Language: French
Subject(s): History
Page Range: 199-209
No. of Pages: 11
Keywords: , , , , ,
Summary/Abstract: At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century Russia became an important center of European and, indeed, world avant-garde. The present study demonstrates that Igor Severianin – the founder and driving force behind the Egofuturists (a group representing a faction of the Russian avant-garde) – played a major role in realizing the most important objectives of the Russian avant-garde, namely, the idea of artistic synthesis and internationalization phenomenon, establishing intercultural communication. Throughout his professional career, which included organizing a wildly successful exhibit shown in Russia and in twelve other European countries, publishing literary translations from and into Russian, as well as popularizing Estonian culture and literature, Severianin, perhaps more than any of his fellow Futurists, succeeded in achieving meaningful cross-cultural exchange. The idea of artistic synthesis is the most important means through which a wealth of avant-garde artists can now be rediscovered, because this idea captures what is common to their work and, thus, allows their work to be seen as a unitary whole within the history of universal culture.
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Language: English
Subject(s): Review
Page Range: 211-214
No. of Pages: 4
Keywords: , ,
Summary/Abstract: The volume gathers the papers presented during the international conference “The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia”, organized in October 2008 by the University of Ottawa. Its most important contribution to the academic literature on the Prague Spring comes from the authors themselves. The editor, M. Mark Stolarik, points that out in the “Introduction”: most authors are natives of Central and East European countries and based their papers on access to recently declassified archives in their countries. M. Mark Stolarik is Chair in Slovak History and Culture at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa, and was the initiator of the above-mentioned conference. The volume reassess the causes and outcomes of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the internal decision-making process and the factors acting upon it and also draws interesting conclusions in light of new archival evidence.
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