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Ion I. C. Bratianu's ethics and realist principles with regard to Romania's foreign policy.

Starting from the idea that International Relations Theory is grounded on the contributions of and debates between the Realist and the Idealist schools of thought, our research aims to highlight one of the relevant contributions Romanian politics brought to this field, both before and after World War I. Inspired from and situated within the framework of European political realism, the ethics (1) and principles espoused by the statesman Ion I. C. Bratianu (2) with regard to Romania's foreign policy represent the focus of our study. The importance of Bratianu's political thought and management is underscored by the manner in which the Romanian statesman used them in addressing issues of foreign policy during his mandates as Romanian Prime Minister (1910, 1914-1918, 1919, 1922-1926, 1927). At the same time, Bratianu's contribution is one of the few Romanian political attempts to codify and enforce in practice a set of ethical rules and principles of realistic political action in the field of international relations and foreign policy. This is the reason why our approach aims to reveal not only Bratianu's novel theoretical ideas, but also his political attitudes and actions, expressed and carried out in the name and spirit of Romanian political realism, against the particularly intricate and dangerous European background of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference, a period marked by the interests and forceful action undertaken by the Realpolitik of the great powers. At the same time, we endeavor to see to what extent Ion I. C. Bratianu's ethics and realistic principles were useful for the national interest and served the diplomacy, foreign policy and the Romanian State in its international relations. Moreover, we intend to point out whether they succeeded in meeting, above all, his own interests in acquiring greater power. The usefulness and relevance of such a scientific research are also ensured by the timeliness and topicality of many of the ideas, principles and attitudes adopted by the Romanian statesman, who thought and acted before and after World War I: these could well be resumed on the contemporary Romanian political scene, in the context of the cyclical evolutions of the European and international society. Our attention focuses on researching and presenting Bratianu's political discourse, which is why our approach can be considered descriptive rather than analytical. This is also due to the limited editorial space in which we can expose the vastness of Ion I. C. Bratianu's realistic political discourse and actions.

Our scientific approach takes into account the fact that in International Relations, political realism represents an analytical tradition that highlights the imperatives the states are facing in the pursuit of power politics, for the fulfillment of the national interest. (3) In the foreign specialized literature, references to the concept of political realism (4) are numerous, whereas in the Romanian studies they are rather few.

Thus, in the foreign specialized literature, highlighting and analyzing the place and purpose of ethics in the foreign policy of a state represented an important concern of the classical realist school, not only in canonical texts such as Thucydides' "Melian Dialogue" and Machiavelli's The Prince, but also in works of twentieth-century political scientists, such as Carr, Morgenthau and Niebuhr. (5) According to Morgenthau, ethical considerations must give way to reasons of state. "Realism maintains that universal moral principles cannot be applied to state actions" (6) and "state actions are not determined by moral principles and legal arrangements, but by reasons of interest and power," which represent the main purpose of politics. Similar views were expressed by Max Weber and Nietzsche, (7) and Machiavelli and his Prince--Cesare Borgia--whom Ion I. C. Bratianu admired, speak of the moral right of human interests, which states that "when the safety of the country depends entirely on the decision to be taken, no attention should be paid either to justice or to injustice." (8) In fact, many realists explicitly present the pursuit of the national interest and realistic power politics as a matter of ethical obligation. Morgenthau goes so far as to talk about the "moral dignity of the national interest." (9)

The promotion of a realistic Romanian foreign policy before and after World War I is closely related to the name of the Liberal politician Ion I. C. Bratianu. He was a man of state whose political activity was linked to the establishment of the Romanian unitary national state, Greater Romania, in 1918-1919, the introduction of major social reforms (universal suffrage and the agrarian reform), the public and governmental policies of national development inspired by the doctrine of economic nationalism ("By Ourselves") and one of the most appropriate constitutions for the historical moment and the geo-political situation in the country during the third decade of the twentieth century. All of Bratianu's acts and deeds were creations and achievements based on realistic political views and actions (Realpolitik), in the name and on the grounds of which this politician managed to dominate the scene of national politics in the period before and after World War I. At the same time, at the level of Romania's foreign policy and external relations, Ion I. C. Bratianu endeavored to define a doctrine of political realism and national selfishness, which he applied throughout his political career, and especially during the period of Romania's neutrality and the Paris Peace Conference (1919).

Bratianu's Realpolitik contended that the definition of the political option and the national interests that had to be met depended on the principles and the general and permanent directive, which the nation-state defined at a certain moment. (10) This was specified by Bratianu in the famous Letter he sent as the Prime Minister of Romania to Luigi Luzzatti, the Prime Minister of Italy, on 14 March 1914, a document showing that Romania's policy sought to serve primarily its own nation, "promoting national egoism, ensuring its security and providing it with the means to flourish and grow." (11) This fundamental directive--the policy of national egoism--was the product of political realism of Bratianu's inspiration and may be detected in most of the foreign policy approaches he promoted. This policy and, implicitly, Bratianu's Realpolitik were creations of his father and the founder of Romanian Liberalism, Ion C. Bratianu, who had defined in 1876, when he was the Romanian Prime Minister, the essence of political realism through the famous formula (inspired from English): "We have neither sympathies nor antipathies, we have only Romanian sentiments." (12) Accused during the Crown Council of 14 August 1916 that he was a Francophile, Premier Bratianu said that, like his father, he had no feelings of sympathy or antipathy towards any state, but only Romanian sentiments, stating that he was nothing else but Romanian. (13) I. G. Duca even spoke of a "traditional realistic policy" in the Bratianu family heritage, founded by Ion C. Bratianu in 1877, during the negotiations with Tsarist Russia, a policy thereafter applied by Bratianu, who had assumed it as "a real duty to adopt a policy of utilitarianism and not of barren sentimentalism." (14) He was aware that after the tough negotiations he had carried out, in the spirit of his realistic policy, during the period of neutrality, he was considered a blackmailer in the Entente camp. (15)

The essence of Ion I. C. Bratianu's political realism was expressed in his famous speech delivered in the Romanian Parliament, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when he said that "a state like ours cannot claim to issue the directives of global policy, but must clearly know the (international, our note) situation, taking advantage of various circumstances as far as possible and as well as possible for its own interests." (16) He was a visionary, calculated and responsible man of state, who knew that a people must always watch over its own interests, regardless of their rank, because "the foreign powers will not watch over them in its stead;" (17) and when a Romanian interest is at stake, our decision cannot come from others." (18) These realistic utterances of the Romanian statesman were intended to dispel the unfortunate illusion of many Romanian politicians, from different generations, whereby Europe would watch over and protect the Romanian interests at the mouths of the Danube, since these were also its interests. This deception was planted in the Romanian idealistic political consciousness by the resolution of the Paris Treaty of 1856, when Moldova received Bessarabia so that the freedom of the Danube Delta would be ensured. However, as Nicolae Iorga said, "Europe changes depending on who commands and leads it." (19)

As a politician, Ion I. C. Bratianu was considered a Realpolitiker. (20) He was dubbed as such by one of his political opponents, Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, the leader of the Romanian National Party of Transylvania (RNP) and a former close associate of Prime Minister Bratianu's at the Paris Peace Conference from 1919, as the country's second delegate to the peace talks. Nicolae Iorga also noted the political realism of Ion I. C. Bratianu, adding that the latter "pursued--in accordance with his training as an engineer--a certain path to a given target" and "took all measures of material security, just like for the construction of a bridge across a chasm," so as to attain that political objective and to satisfy that interest. (21) In turn, Bratianu defined himself as a realistic and calculated politician in the discussion on the Message of the Throne, from 20 June 1914, when he said that: "I can be accused by both our opponents and our friends (...) that I have many flaws in my qualities, but I think neither of them have accused me (...) that I am not a man who thinks and that I do not weigh, as much as it is humanly possible, the effects of the actions I undertake." (22)

In our opinion, Ion I. C. Bratianu was one of the most important representatives of Romanian political realism, his essence and spirit concentrating the features, strengths and flaws of both Byzantinism and Occidentalism: all these were intertwined in a complex human being, who was prone and committed to realistic political thought and action. (23) To these were added other major causes and influences, which competed--in Bratianu's political personality and skills--to promote a realistic policy and impose Realpolitik as a doctrine of the Romanian state, for as long as Ion I. C. Bratianu was active in national politics. Among these causes and influences should be mentioned: his family and the political initiation his father imparted on him, his education and hobbies (he studied engineering in France and history was his main passion and preoccupation), his entourage and the political-economic-cultural environment in which he moved, along with the political models that inspired and influenced him in crystallizing the realistic political conception and management. Here we are referring to, first of all, his father, to the German man of state Otto von Bismarck (the prince of Realpolitik in modern Europe), and to Cesare Borgia and Machiavelli, the founders of the Western doctrine of political realism. (24)

Under the influence of Bismarck and his father--Ion C. Bratianu--he underwent a fundamental transformation from a man of the Revolution and of France at the mouths of the Danube into the Romanian man of state who defined the Romanian Realpolitik and promoted a realistic policy to meet Romania's interests. (25)

Another major influence exerted by the German Realpolitik may be sensed in Ion I. C. Bratianu's realistic policy of building and consolidating the nation-state as the main actor on the internal and external political stage and as the main instrument of promoting Realpolitik. Bratianu's belief in the role and mission of the state came via the Bismarckian and Hegelian conception, whereby "there is no higher value than the state, that is the homeland we belong to," (26) and a politician's foremost goal was that of strengthening the state. Bratianu strongly believed in the conception according to which "the State is the ultimate goal of human activity" (27) and, in his case, of political activity. Bismarck significantly influenced the public speeches of Ion I. C. Bratianu, when he spoke of the Romanian state. (28) In a speech he delivered on 24 June 1909, on the theme of "organization, State and King," Ion I. C. Bratianu showed that "in the modern view, the state is no longer what it used to be: the power that absorbed and all too often destroyed everything. In the modern conception, the State," he said, "is the power that harmonizes forces and renders them fruitful for the individual and for society. The old idea of the state and the new idea of the state may also be drawn from the two historical formulas, one of which was given by the prototypal king of yore, Louis the XIV, who said The State, It Is I, while the other was given by Frederick II, King of Prussia, who said, I am the first servant of the state. Where one or the other conception may lead has been revealed by history itself." (29)

At the same time, the Architect of the Romanian nation-state stated, at the end of January 1923, that the aim of his realistic policy of political and statal construction envisaged a "solid state life, based on broad democratic foundations." (30)

On the other hand, the essence of Realpolitik--as Bismarck conceived and imposed it--determined that the duty of a state was to satisfy its interests, developing its own power and action in all respects and regardless of any consideration, "even if population were to be wretched, even if the sacred and vital interests of other states were undermined." (31)

We do not know whether Bratianu studied Sun Tzu's The Art of War, but it is clear that he believed in one of the Chinese strategist's principles, which stipulated that a great leader could achieve a victory without removing his sword. As shown by the testimony of a politician from the time of neutrality (1914-1916), Ion I. C. Bratianu wanted to bring Romania national territories without involving the country in World War I. In this regard, a significant testimony is that of Alexandru Marghiloman--the Conservative Party leader--who, following a discussion he had with Bratianu at the end of May 1915, noted in his journal: "the entire conversation we had yesterday gave me the impression that Bratianu would be delighted to have a win without drawing the sword, just like Maiorescu in 1913." (32) To achieve such a political feat, Ion I. C. Bratianu resorted--both in foreign policy and in the negotiations he carried with the Entente and the Central Powers--to lies, deception and hypocrisy, as Machiavelli (33) preached or as Sun Tzu recommended in The Art of War. Memorable are the moments from the neutrality period when Ion I. C. Bratianu had meetings with the ambassadors of the Central Powers, whom he simply exasperated with his deceit and false statements. From among the dozens of testimonies in this regard, mention should be made of the confession the German Ambassador in Bucharest, von dem Busche, made to Alexandru Marghiloman that Bratianu had just looked him in the eye and assured him that he would not negotiate with Russia, even though he did. (34) Also, in the same respect, we should also point out the statement made by the German General Falkenheim, who cabled his country's ambassador to Bucharest, saying that he was looking forward to the end of the war so he would get to know Bratianu, for he had "never met a man capable of lying like him." (35) Because of this behavior and such attitudes and actions, Bratianu was denounced in Parliament that he allegedly had "links to both warring parties, deceiving them both and always on the prowl for the best opportunity." (36) He resorted to such unethical behavior primarily because he had no other means of national power at hand and also because he literally had a great talent as an actor. We should not forget Kenneth Waltz's argument according to which there is a great difference "between politics conducted in a condition of settled rules and politics conducted in a condition of anarchy." (37) In fact, Bratianu conducted Romania's foreign policy and aimed to meet the national interests in the anarchic conditions of the Great War. It should be emphasized that while in the civilized human society the manifestation of such immoral behavior is unacceptable, for a statesman who managed the interests of a small country--as Romania was between 1914 and 1916, under the conditions of a global war--positioned between two great empires that were engaged in armed conflict, such behavior could be tolerated and was, moreover, necessary, especially since he acted in the service of national interest and by virtue of the Romanian Realpolitik.

In order to have an accurate picture of the ethics espoused by the statesman Ion I. C. Bratianu during neutrality, we should mention his honest address to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Czernin, made on 27 July 1914, one day before the declaration of war of the Dualist Empire against Serbia, when, at the request of the diplomat that Romania should clearly state its position, he adopted, we believe, a flawless ethical attitude as a Romanian statesman. Prime Minister Bratianu informed the ambassador that Romania would conduct a politics of abeyance, but if Bulgaria became involved in the conflict and if significant changes affected the balance of power between the states in South-East Europe, Romania's situation would become "critical." Although he did not doubt that Austria-Hungary would defeat Serbia, Bratianu opposed any changes to the Serbian border. If this were to happen and if Bulgaria were the beneficiary of this situation, Bratianu declared his intention to seek "a corresponding increase of Romania's territory." (38) His attitude as an imperturbable and impenetrable Sphinx, and his Oriental-Talleyrandist attitudes and tactics generated a huge outpouring of hostility and antipathy against him. This attitude, however, was self-imposed, serving as a true shield for this statesman, who had to govern a small and weak country in a Europe that was engaged in war. We should insist that Ion I. C. Bratianu's controversial ethics during neutrality generated particularly tense moods in the sphere of domestic politics, too, as one of the leaders of the Conservative opposition and the movement that supported Romania's joining the war on the Entente's side, Nicolae Filipescu, was on the point of slapping Premier Bratianu and challenging him to a duel for his refusal to declare war on the Central Powers, at the time of the Battle of Lemberg. However, as he had stated since 1914, "what we need, more than ever, if to be the masters of ourselves, so that we can be the masters of our destinies." (39) The fact is that in the two years of neutrality, Ion I. C. Bratianu managed admirably to control his feelings and act as a realistic statesman and a promoter of national egoism. Moreover, in a moment of rest, after a grueling day at the time of neutrality, he admitted to his main political collaborator, I. G. Duca, that "so far, thank God, I have led everybody on the way I wanted and, not to brag, I found it an easy game to play." This confession appears to confirm the words of his adversaries and of the foreigners who characterized him as the prototype of an Oriental politician, whose words one cannot count on. However, the key lies in the second part of his confession: "If only the pipe didn't choke on me right now! How difficult the country's situation is and how overwhelming our responsibility!" (40) That is why Ion I. C. Bratianu could not afford to engage in "heroics without calculation" in Romania's state policy, especially at a time of war, even though the public pro-Entente or pro-German pressure was huge. The statesman Ion I. C. Bratianu simply exasperated with his composure both his opponents and his friends, the foreign diplomats in Bucharest, as well as the journalists. What is legendary is the episode in which in the dramatic context of the German attack on Verdun, when all the pro-Entente opposition was on fire, fretting and screaming that Europe was collapsing because of the cowardice exhibited by the country's Liberal Prime Minister and of the Romanian Country, Ion I. C. Bratianu peacefully retreated to Florica, where he spent all day studying ancient Byzantine coins with a magnifying glass, which he then ranked in cabinets, while the Entente ambassadors who visited him suffered genuine nervous breakdowns because of this unethical and disrespectful conduct towards the moral and ideal norms in whose name the Entente had waged war against the Central Powers. (41) In fact, Bratianu's behavior represented a smart diplomatic strategy to negotiate with the Allies, who did not accept the two non-negotiable conditions: the signing of the military agreement whereby the Russian-Romanian troops were placed under the command of King Ferdinand and the granting of the entire Banat province to Romania. (42) At the same time, as George F. Kennan shows, the "primary obligation of any government is to the interests of the national society it represents," and therefore moral norms are no longer relevant for it. (43) On the other hand, throughout the period of neutrality, Ion I. C. Bratianu's main purpose, correctly identified by the experienced Austro-Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest, Ottokar Czernin, was to gain time. Bratianu did everything that was humanly, politically and diplomatically possible to avoid the war, and when the pressures exerted by the Entente were so great and he realized that the step had to be taken, he delayed the inevitable for as long as he could. What is significant, in this regard, is the note of the Austro-Hungarian diplomat who became the Foreign Minister of the Dualist Empire, written on 1 July 1916, in which Ion I. C. Bratianu was characterized as "this wily politician who always wanted to gain time, even if only a few more weeks." (44) Ion I. C. Bratianu's cunning and deceit--mentioned by the British Ambassador to Bucharest, G. Barclay, during the period of neutrality--was also pinpointed by his close collaborator, I. G. Duca, who in July 1914, after Bratianu warmly defended Austria and rebuked Duca and Prince Stirbey for slandering Vienna, remarked with annoyance: "I am sure that his anger was hypocritical and who knows what combinations he was after then or what impression he wanted to give? In these respects, Bratianu evinced "infinite subtleties," and Duca claimed that Bratianu remained unfathomable to him. (45) The fact is that he had the great quality of a statesman: that of being discreet and impenetrable to his opponents and even to his political friends. Al. Vaida Voevod believed that the "loquacity of the people of Bucharest had taught him to keep silent" and had imposed his reticence towards people. (46)

In addition, he had a real talent as a stage actor, a fact noted by Nicolae Iorga, who mentioned the various roles Bratianu played and his talent for political theater. (47) These qualities necessary in a realistic statesman exasperated him during neutrality and led the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, Ottokar Czernin, to declare, during a visit to Bucharest on 27 February 1918, that Bratianu was "the biggest bastard history has known." (48) Exasperated by Premier Bratianu's negotiations, growing pretenses and frequent pirouettes meant to delay as much as possible Romania's joining the war, the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau wrote in an article he published in his newspaper, L'Homme Libre, that "Bratianu is swinging towards the four cardinal points, regretting that there are only four of these." (49) In turn, Mihail Manoilescu, one of his most vehement political opponents, who was arrested, in fact, at Bratianu's order--noted in his Memoirs that he had an "exact intuition that statesmen should not be slaves to commonplace morality." (50) Duca also testified to this effect: "the truth is that Bratianu, with all his great qualities, sometimes engaged in petty stubbornness; suddenly, it was as if he was another man." (51) The reference was to Bratianu's error of completely ignoring Take Ionescu in Paris, during the Peace Conference. In this respect, C. Argetoianu recorded in his Memoirs, following a discussion with Take Ionescu, who had returned home in the summer of 1919, that he had obtained Pasici and the whole of Torontal from the Allies and that Bratianu's stubbornness and his megalomania "cost us a county." (52) The same "Bratianu sometimes indulged in fireworks of Oriental policy," according to an opinion expressed by his collaborator Duca, who referred to Bratianu's announcement that he would withdraw from the helm of the NLP after the signing of the armistice with the Central Powers. (53) A similar view was conveyed by Al. Vaida Voevod, who spoke in his Memoirs of "Bratianu's Byzantine tactics that have become his second nature." (54)

In December 1919, in an extensive speech he delivered on the Romanian foreign policy in the Parliament of Greater Romania, Ion I. C. Bratianu defined the conditions of good politics in the field of international relations and of Romanian foreign policy. (55) Before the over 450 MPs elected through universal suffrage for the first time in the country's history, he stated that a good foreign policy was subject to compliance with the existence of three essential conditions" "--a precise goal;--a precise knowledge of the conditions in which you are, so that you may realize the ways to implement it; and, once the ways have been determined, decided action to reach (achieve, our note) this goal." (56) It should be noted that on 7 September 1913, the day when he made public the Letter to the National Liberal Party, Ion I. C. Bratianu stated that the national power of a state was the factor that set the goals of a realistic foreign policy. It was also at that time that he indicated the action directions of Romania's national development strategy, which, in Bratianu's conception, had a direct impact on the country's foreign policy: "Romania," he said, "(...) has the overriding duty to light its paths and to strengthen and develop its social, military and economic organization, in order to ensure the conditions for its existence and prosperity." (57)

In December 1919, the statesman showed that the foreign policy of a country like Romania "must be based on a decisive and permanent directive, which shall imprint its general orientation, and also on the temporary circumstances it must accommodate itself to in order to fulfill its purpose." (58) The essential premise from which Ion I. C. Bratianu started, in his effort of conceptualization and pragmatic action in the field of the international relations of a state, was that like an individual, a nation built its destiny in the world through the energy with which it manifested its qualities. (59) He grounded his undertaking on the evolutionary idea whereby "great people, long-lasting works, are not accomplished only through instantaneous elans," (60) which is why a national foreign policy strategy could be effective depending on how it capitalized upon the necessary axiological benchmarks: responsibility, professionalism, pragmatism, continuity, perseverance, energetic spirit and inspiration. Ion I. C. Bratianu insisted that in order to eliminate suspicions of amateurism and adventure in promoting the Romanian foreign policy, it was necessary to establish a fundamental political directive, designed to orient the national efforts abroad. (61) The Romanian man of state severely drew our attention, from across time, that "a state must, more than in any other branch of its affairs, have some permanent norms in its relations with the outside world, by which it may guide its policy in the midst of daily fluctuations, so as to not lose the general orientation." (62)

In a Liberal meeting that took place in Timifoara on 12 June 1921, Bratianu told the Banat people who had come to listen to him, that "on this vast and stormy sea of social and international struggles" the Romanian man of state should tie his actions to higher purposes, to the "leading polar stars, which do not move with the time of night and may give him untreacherous directives that may ensure his reaching the desired havens." These polar stars could help the coordinator of foreign policy to find solutions to deadlock situations, especially when the fight had been lost on the international stage or when the man of state was lost in the maze of international relations. (63) In Bratianu's conception, the "polar stars" were what he called the general and permanent directives of foreign policy that the Romanian state assumed at a certain time and that it promoted in the long run, for "this is the only way to make great politics." (64) In support of his claims, Bratianu gave, in Parliament in 1919, the example of his favorite state, England, "which must be admired by all, given the constancy of the principles whereby it conducts its foreign policy." England's status and power in the world--he told the elected representatives of the reunited Romanian nation--were due to the admirable consistency with which it had followed the principles and guidelines of its foreign policy. (65) Therefore, on that occasion, the statesman announced that the principles on which he had founded and would found his foreign policy were not mere "inventions or inspirations, produced under the influence of some special circumstances, but indeed represent for us and for those who worked in our sense, before us, throughout time, the permanent principle of Romania's policy." (66) Moreover, for the Romanian statesman, "the general and permanent directives of Romanian politics are so clear that there can be no discussion upon them." (67)

Thus, according to Ion I. C. Bratianu, the permanent directions of the Romanian foreign policy were: 'Romania can never be against France and England, nor can it be against Germany. Romania is not a great power, and it cannot interfere in the disputes between the Great Powers." (68)

One of the general and permanent directives of the Romanian foreign policy, which also guided Bratianu's attitude, was that of national sovereignty, stemming from Bratianu's principle of national conservation. This was the fundamental principle of foreign policy that was strongly cultivated by the man of state in the Romanian political and civic culture and was used during the Paris Peace Conference, especially once its agenda included the issue of solving the problem of the minorities through the great powers' intervention in and control of the internal affairs of small states like Romania. Apud Ion I. C. Bratianu, all the Romanian state propaganda, including the communist one, fully capitalized on this principle. In the spirit of this principle, on 27 May 1919, in Paris, Bratianu sent a diplomatic note to the French government, in which he stated: "Overall, Romania is ready to receive any directive that all the member states in the League of Nations will admit on their own territories in this matter. Otherwise, Romania will not, under any circumstances, accept foreign government intervention in the enforcement of its domestic laws." (69) Then, in a letter sent to Mihail Pherekyde, the Interim Prime Minister from Bucharest, on 3 June 1919, after reading the provisions for the minorities from the Peace Treaty with Austria, Ion I. C. Bratianu firmly enunciated this principle: "My conviction is that we can in no way accept these conditions. We have inherited an independent country and we cannot sacrifice its independence even for the sake of expanding its boundaries." (70) The doctrinal culmination of this principle came with the act of state Bratianu carried out through his government's resignation, when he stated: "The supreme council of the great powers, which has replaced the Peace Conference of the allied states, took no account of this treaty and decided to impose upon Romania conditions that it cannot accept, because they are incompatible with its dignity, integrity and political interests. Bucharest, 12 September 1919." (71)

The Romanian man of state did not accept the thesis that the great powers could dictate the interests of a state without its taking part in the discussion that interested it directly. He captured this thesis in the famous formula: "One cannot decide about us without us." (72) Hence, he believed, the need for the states "that want to live to be strong enough in manifesting their rights," (73) which would contribute to developing the sense of national security. (74)

However, in his political career, Ion I. C. Bratianu had to deal with extreme situations, in which the great powers decided Romania's destiny arbitrarily and abusively, after the disaster of the Romanian-Russian front from 1918, when Romania was forced to seek an armistice and, eventually, to sign the abusive peace from Bucharest. In the Crown Council from Iafi, held on 17 February 1918, Bratianu--who had been informed by King Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary's claims to annex Dobrogea--argued that in a Diktat situation, as that of the claim to cede Dobrogea, "as a prerequisite to be accepted even prior to the negotiations, no other condition that will be imposed will be more painful if the most unacceptable of conditions is accepted. Then," Bratianu advised, "all that would be left to do would be to ask the enemy to impose all possible conditions and accept them without question, showing thus that this is not an agreed and definitive peace, and through this moral protest against the whole of humanity, the [Diktat's] violent character will be shown before the eyes of all, in its true light." "This course of action," he also said, "would be a moral protest that would impress mankind and even the enemy peoples more than if these conditions were accepted in the wake of discussions." In the same council, Bratianu told the king and the assembly of political leaders that "however great the demands on the matter of the Danube, of oil, cereals and so on, they will not surpass the taking of Dobrogea away," or the loss of national territory, that "resistance is necessary as our only strong protest" and that "although eventually defeated, we may save our honor by not caving in without bloodshed, when we are demanded to rip off the body of our country and tear out its very lungs." (75) At the same time, Bratianu advised, in the case of a threat coming from a state against Romania, the Romanian statesman "must know the reality and the efficacy of intimidation" so as to distinguish between empty threats and real dangers. (76)

Ion I. C. Bratianu considered that each state had the moral obligation to promote and defend its interests, adopting the perspective that "the independence of all the countries has an identical character, which does not vary with their population numbers and the extent of their territory." (77)

Moreover, he made the successful promotion of a foreign policy strategy conditional upon increasing the responsibilities of the decision makers and institutions handling the destinies of the state. (78) Those responsible, the Liberal politician stated, must take full responsibility for the foreign policy decisions, and in case of failure, they should not attempt, through political maneuvers, to transfer the political responsibility onto their potential associates. (79) In this regard, in the Parliament from Iasi, he said that he would not share his policy with anyone, even in so desperate a situation as that of the refuge from 1916. (80) This view was contradicted by C. Argetoianu, who claimed that "he was always ready to share misfortune and damage with another," referring to Bratianu's political practice of accepting national unity governments only after incurring serious problems, as he also did after Turtucaia, when he co-opted Take Ionescu's conservative faction, partly also in order to disperse political responsibility for the disaster on the front. (81)

Ion I. C. Bratianu paid increasing attention to the Romanian diplomatic offensive abroad, considering that it should be promoted as a long-term strategy. (82) He grounded his strategic plan upon the idea that the historic mission of the Romanian people had been to serve as the representative and defender of Western civilization in the Carpathians and at the mouths of the Danube. (83) In order for Romania to carry out this European mission, Ion I. C. Bratianu believed that its foreign policy must be energetic, persistent and consistent in following this goal. (84) In addition, he strongly argued that demagoguery had no place in foreign policy actions. (85) Such political undertakings, he considered, had to have a twofold character: moderate form and energetic substance. (86) In the answer he offered to the Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse on 16 October 1912, in response to the questions asked by the newspaper's war correspondent in Bucharest, the one who would become the Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky, Ion I. C. Bratianu stated that the Romanian foreign policy could meet the national goals only if it was serious and responsible, without engaging in a sense of adventure. He also insisted that it should not suggest the "appearance of passivity", which would not be consistent with Romania's interests, role and national power. (87)

Making the effectiveness of foreign policy actions conditional upon the determination to achieve that goal (88) and upon concentration on issues that were at the order of the day, (89) Bratianu found it inconceivable to use improvisation in support of the diplomatic offensive. (90) On the other hand, just like in the case of domestic politics, Bratianu's tactics established a direct link between the efficiency of the diplomatic offensive and the international context. Moreover, Ion I. C. Bratianu laid down the mandatory rule that the Romanian man of state must square his action with the global interests, "which for us are the European ones," seeing this as a cause for national success. (91) He also contended that a professional foreign policy approach required great self-restraint, discretion, as well as much political and diplomatic skill on the part of the factor responsible for promoting it. (92)

In Bratianu's view, there were other fundamental principles that ought to guide the Romanian external policy. Among these, the principle of national conservation played an essential role, as long as it did not harm the prestige of the state, but enriched it. (93) At the level of foreign policy, it was possible for "the power of the national will to overcome the inertia of the government," demanding that vigorous initiatives be undertaken to satisfy a major interest. (94) Therefore, he considered, political action in the sphere of foreign policy should be able to "awaken the national preservation instinct," so that a government should not find itself in a position to act following the energetic manifestation of the national instinct. (95) In his opinion, the action of awakening the national consciousness--that would enable it to manifest itself realistically in major foreign policy decisions--had to be made in an organized and responsible manner and not in anarchic and chaotic forms. (96)

One of Bratianu's important foreign policy principles, which the great statesman used consistently in his external action and in positioning Romania in relation to the attitude and demands of the major powers, was the principle of intransigence. By virtue of this principle, Ion I. C. Bratianu believed that "in the major issues, in the moral questions that govern the future of a nation and to which its interests of honor and nationality are related, there can be no price haggling and no reasons of expediency, no descending from the high and safe realm of principles. Whatever the vicissitudes of days and years, whatever their duration, the time for reward will come." (97) The essence of Bratianu's notion of intransigence in international relations and in the Romanian foreign policy is perhaps best revealed by the public statement he made before leaving for Paris to disavow his great rival, Take Ionescu, who had just given in on the matter of the claim for the entire Banat, in accordance with the Treaty of Alliance with the Entente from August 1916. "I will never cede anything and if I knew that at the Peace Congress they would not give us everything that is written in the treaty, I would refuse to attend the Congress." (98)

Notwithstanding all this, Ion I. C. Bratianu did not take a stand against transaction (negotiation, our note) and opportunism, considering them to be efficient means and attitudes in promoting and satisfying the national interests. (99) In fact, at the end of the Crown Council of August 1916, when it was decided that Romania should join the war against the allies from the former Central Powers bloc, he stated that at that time he "was not allowed to hesitate and incur the historical responsibility for having missed the most propitious moment offered to the Romanian people, who could achieve their much-desired union, which had been awaited for centuries." (100)

In fact, it was Ion I. C. Bratianu who reached the ultimate heights in the Romanian diplomatic art of negotiation during the period when he negotiated Romania's adherence to the Entente. In a way, Ion I. C. Bratianu's arrogant display of intransigence in Paris was a crafty form of negotiation, which provided a basis and a space for maneuvers to the new Romanian negotiator, Alexandru Vaida Voevod. Moreover, at the Genoa Conference of 1922, Bratianu realized that extreme intransigence was of no use either to the state or the one who promoted it. From the conference summoned for finding solutions to pay the war reparations owed by the defeated powers, on 20 April 1922, Bratianu wrote to his brother Vintila, who, as the minister of finance, had asked for intransigence on the amount Austria owed as damages: "excessive intransigence leads to nothing"; He also stated that he had agreed with the proposed moratorium on the payment of reparations by the defeated states, urging him to seek other financial solutions, since there was little hope that Romania would obtain money from those compensations. (101)

An important place in the hierarchy of Bratianu's diplomatic action principles was occupied by the principle of reciprocity, whereby the Romanian state's acceptance of an obligation entailed the partner state assuming a mutual obligation. In his view, any alliance that would require only one party to sacrifice its interests and succumb to the pressure of the other was doomed to failure, "because only a leveling of the debts, benefits and sacrifices may seal a treaty." (102) For him, only the mutual exchange of services represented the true ground for the robustness of bilateral or multilateral state relations.

Another important principle espoused by Bratianu in the domain of Romanian foreign policy referred to the fact that in the disputes occurring between the great powers, the attitude of a small or middle-sized state could be none other than that of expectation. (103) Ion I. C. Bratianu showed that Romania could have no other conduct than that dictated by the interests of peace, respect for treaties, non-interference in the disputes between the major powers and in the internal affairs of other states. (104)

To these was added the principle of not accepting the other states' interference in Romania's internal affairs, much needed for a harmonious philosophy of policies conducted in the name of national self-interest. He strongly clamored against the thesis whereby external pressures or international solutions might be justified in some circumstances in order to solve matters pertaining to a state's internal politics. He was convinced that "the political or social matters are addressed by each state in a special manner and only the solutions given by the national authorities in full awareness of the situation" can settle them favorably. (105) Last but not least, the hierarchy of Bratianu's principles in matters of foreign policy included honoring Romania's promises and commitments in international relations. "Keeping one's word is fundamental to the life of peoples as well as individuals," he told the newspaper Le Petit Parisien, on 28 May 1917, after returning to Iasi from a visit to Russia. About Romania, Bratianu always stated, hauntingly, that "it will remain faithful to the letter of the Treaty that binds us and comply with its commitments." (106)

Bratianu justified the importance attached to these principles in the statement he delivered in the Chamber on 17 December 1919, when he showed that for the Romanian state, "leaving the ground of principles would mean accepting defeat, because only principles may give us, in international life, the necessary compensation before the large powers." (107)

In conclusion, as it could be noticed from the references we have made, Bratianu's Realpolitik was not just a state policy (of Romania), but also a party policy (of the National Liberal Party) and a statesman's policy. All these were the expressions, attitudes and political behaviors of several generations in the most important political family of modern and contemporary Romania--the Bratianu family--around which the Romanian elite organized itself as a political party and as a group of economic and financial interests (the oligarchy). This organization and this specific model of policy making--Realpolitik--had a definite purpose that satisfied, at the same time, two fundamental interests, both beneficial to Romania. First, it satisfied the private and lucrative interest of the national bourgeoisie, which was on the rise and wanted power in the Romanian society. Second, it satisfied the interests of an important country and nation in Europe, whose national territory had been divided and dominated by three empires. The modern Romanian state was created in 1859 and as we have shown, through one of its founders and promoters of Romanian liberalism, Ion C. Bratianu, it embraced the political realism of Bismarckian inspiration. It is an undeniable historical fact that all the new nation-states of Europe assimilated political realism as a state doctrine because they wanted to have their interests acknowledged as such or to impose them, depending on their geographical location and internal power. This is what Ion I. C. Bratianu, as the man responsible for the national interests, also did, being influenced by the model of the German and English political realism, as well as by American pragmatism.

The promotion of a realistic policy by Ion I. C. Bratianu, on behalf of Romania, was done under difficult circumstances and in dangerous and complicated contexts, requiring a special political and historical sense, much attention and diplomacy, together with the cold calculation and political determination of the Romanian statesman. In fact, Ion I. C. Bratianu was a master of contextualism, as attested by his negotiations in the national interest with the Entente powers during the period of neutrality. Just like in the human and animal world, the Romanian Realpolitik clashed with the realistic policies of the other nation-states or great powers on the international political stage. The results of these confrontations are well known and they can represent--if we refuse to accept the promptings of Ion I. C. Bratianu--the wise and useful advice that history has conveyed to us: that only developed nations with a solid internal organization can successfully accomplish their interests.

The realism of Bratianu's foreign policy and, implicitly, his--perhaps controversial--ethics, along with the principles on which he based his political and diplomatic actions had, nevertheless, remarkable results in terms of satisfying the Romanian interests at the end of World War I. Positioned in the camp of the winners, Romania's surface increased by 128.6% (which meant more than the doubling of its territory). We should mention that the territory of Greece increased by 11.9%, while Serbia, replaced by the new state of Yugoslavia, was by 183.6% larger than Serbia had been in 1914. (108) Our scientific research has hopefully revealed that in promoting a realistic foreign policy and, especially, in meeting the goals and ambitions of a small and weak country on the periphery of Europe--especially the ideal of Romanian unity--the ethics and principles of the Romanian statesman adapted to and served the national goals and interests, as well as his own political interests. At the same time, it is also interesting that despite being a Liberal and a contemporary of Woodrow Wilson's, whose ideas--especially the principle of the peoples' self-determination--assisted him in meeting the national ideal and fulfilling his political goals, Ion I. C. Bratianu was only to a little extent the supporter and promoter of idealism and liberalism in international relations. The Romanian statesman's speeches on democratization and ethics in international relations, peace, cooperation and European progress can be considered to have been liberal and idealistic only after the national ideal was achieved, and especially after Bratianu's Realpolitik was crushed, at the Paris Peace Conference, by the political realism of the great powers of the Entente in 1919.


1. 1918 la romani. Desavarsirea unitatii national-statale a poporului roman. Documente externe. 1916-1918, (1983), vol. III, Bucurecti: Editura Stiintifica si Enciclopedica.

2. Abrudeanu, Ion Rusu, Pacatele Ardealului fata de sufletul Vechiului Regat. Fapte. documente si facsimile, Bucurecti: Editura Cartea Romaneasca, no year.

3. Argetoianu, C., (2008), Memorii pentru cei de maine. Amintiri din vremea celor de ieri, vol. I-II, (1996), vol. VI; (1997), vol. VIII, Bucuresti: Editura Machiavelli.

4. Bitoleanu, Ion, (2006), Sef de partide priviti cu ochii vremii lor, Constanta: Editura ExPonto.

5. Bratianu, Ion C., (1912), Discursuri, Scrieri, Acte si Documente, vol. II, part I, Bucurefti: Imprimeriile Independenta

6. Bratianu, Ion I.C., (1933, 1939, 1940), Discursurile lui Ion I.C. Bratianu. Editura George Fotino, vol. I-IV, Bucurefti: Editura Cartea Romaneasca.

7. Bratianu, Ion I.C., Cuvintele unui mare roman, Editura Ramuri, Craiova.

8. Bratianu, Gh. I., (1940), Actiunea politica si militara a Romaniei in 1919, in lumina corespondentii diplomatice a lui Ion I. C. Bratianu, second editions, Bucurefti: Editura Cartea Romaneasca.

9. Bratianu, Gh. I. (1932), Intransigenta si transactie in politica externa a Romaniei, Bucurefti

10. Bratianu, Gh. I. (1934), File rupte din cartea razboiului, Bucurefti: Editura Cultura Nationala.

11. Diamandi, Sterie, (1991), Galeria oamenilor politici, Bucurefti: Editura Gesa.

12. Donnely, Jack, (2008), "Realismul," in Scott Burchill (ed.), Teorii ale relatiilor internationale, Iasi: Institutul European.

13. Duca, I. G. (1981-1982), Amintiri politice, vol. I-III, Jon Dumitru Verlag, Munchen.

14. Hayden, Patrick (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations, London: Ashgate Publisher, 2009.

15. Hitchins, Keith (1994), Romania. 1866-1947, Bucurefti: Editura Humanitas.

16. Iorga, Nicolae, (1933), Supt trei regi. Romania contemporana de la 1904 la 1930, Bucharest.

17. Iorga, Nicolae, (1984), O viata de om asa cum a fost, ed. Valeriu Rapeanu and Sanda Rapeanu, Bucurecti, 1984.

18. Iorga, Nicolae, (1923), Politica externa a regelui Carol I, Bucharest: Institutul de Arte Grafice Luceafarul S.A.

19. Jelavich, Charles and Barbara, (1999), Formarea statelor nationale balcanice. 1804-1920, Cluj Napoca: Editura Dacia,.

20. Marghiloman, Al., (1927), Note politice, vol. I, Bucuregti: Editura Institutului de Arte Grafice Mihai Eminescu.

21. Morgenthau, Hans J. (1978), Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

22. Sugar, Peter F., (2002). Nationalismul este-european in secolul al XX-lea, Bucurefti: Editura Curtea Veche.

23. Seicaru, Pamfil, (1994), Romania in marele razboi, Bucurefti: Editura Eminescu.

24. Vaida, Voevod, Al, (1995), Memorii. Ed. Alexandru Serban, vol. II, Cluj Napoca, 1995.

25. Vaida, Voevod, Al, (2003), Scrisori de la Conferinta de Pace. Published by Mircea Vaida Voevod, Editura Multipress.

26. Xeni, Constantin, (1933), Take Ionescu. 1858-1922, Editia a III-a, Bucurefti: Editura Universul.

Scientific studies

1. Bratianu, Gh. I. (1936), "Bismarck si I. C. Bratianu," Conference delivered at the University of Berlin, 22 January 1936, extract from Revista Istorica Romana, Bucurefti: Imprimeria Nationala.

2. Djuvara, Mircea, "Principiile si spiritul ultimelor tratate de pace," in Politica externa. 19 prelegeri ale Institutului Social Roman, Bucurefti: Editura Cultura Nationala.

3. Albescu, Oana, (October 2010), "Etica in Relatiile Internationale sub auspiciile interdependentei complexe," Sfera Politicii, vol. XVIII, No. 10 (152).


1. "Dezbaterile Adunarii Deputatilor," 1920, 1924

2. Viitorul, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924

3. Universul, 1938

4. Patria, 1919

(1) "The contemporary field of international ethics is preceded of course by a long history of moral and political thought, which explores the many ethical and philosophical issues arising from the attempt to sort out how people should live their lives in a reflective and responsible way. Central to this ongoing argument is recognition of our social embeddedness, the fact that we are inescapably related to others and therefore that our moral beliefs and political decisions impact upon the lives and decisions of others." Patrick Hayden, "Introduction", in Patrick Hayden (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations, London: Ashgate Publisher, 2009, p. 1.

(2) Ion I. C. Bratianu (born 20 August 1864-died 24 November 1927) was an engineer, politician and statesman, president of the National Liberal Party (1909-1927), several times a minister and prime minister of the country, as well as an honorary member of the Romanian Academy from 1923 on. As Prime Minister of Great Romania (1918-1919, 1922-1926 and 1927), he advocated and made efforts for the country's western modernization. He introduced key reforms, such as universal suffrage, land reform, the eight-hour working day, Sunday rest, and one of Europe's most modern constitutions, adopted in 1923.

(3) Jack Donnely, "Realismul", in Scott Burchill (ed.), Teorii ale relatiilor internationale, Iafi: Institutul European, 2008, p. 43. The same author shows that "political realism, Realpolitik, "power politics," is the oldest and most widespread theory in international relations" (Ibidem).

(4) As defined by one of its leading theorists, Hans J. Morgenthau, political realism considers that politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature. For this theorist, a good foreign policy is one that minimizes the risks and maximizes the benefits for the state that promotes it. In his view, the main indicator of political realism is the concept of interest, defined in terms of national power. The procedure for determining the national interest--Morgenthau says--varies according to the cultural and political context in which the foreign policy is made. He also argues why political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a nation with the moral laws that govern the universe (Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 4-15.

(5) Jack Donnely, "Realismul", in Scott Burchill (ed.), op. cit., p. 64.

(6) Ibidem, p. 45.

(7) Ibidem, p. 64.

(8) Ibidem, p. 67; see also Oana Albescu, Etica in Relatiile Internationale sub auspiciile interdependent complexe, "Sfera Politicii", vol. XVIII, No. 10 (152), October 2010, p. 18.

(9) Jack Donnely, Realismul, p. 66; some realists adopt a radical nationalist ethics, maintaining that the "state is not to be judged by standards which apply to individuals, but by those which are set for it by its own nature and ultimate aims" (Ibidem).

(10) "Dezbaterile Adunarii Deputatilor" no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 166; (hereinafter cited as "D.A.D.")

(11) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Discursurile lui Ion I. C. Bratianu. Published by George Fotino, vol. IV, Bucharest: Cartea Romaneasca, 1940, p. 159; (hereinafter cited as Ion I.C. Bratianu, Discursuri).

(12) Ion C. Bratianu, Discursuri, Scrieri, Acte si Documente, vol.II, part I, Bucharest: Imprimeriile Independente, 1912, p. 255; At a meeting of the Crown Council from 14 August 1916, Bratianu defended himself against the accusation that he was a Francophile. "He showed that he, like his father, did not adopt this or that policy because they had sentimental preferences for this or that state, but because the interests of the country required them to form alliances with one or the other" (Ion I. C. Bratianu, op.cit., vol. IV, p. 399).

(13) I.G. Duca, Amintiri politice, vol. I, Munchen: John Dumitru Verlag, 1981, pp. 280-281.

(14) Ibidem, pp. 177-178; It should be noted that the line of realistic policy in the Bratianu family was assumed by his son, Gh. I. Bratianu in the fourth decade of the past century. The fact that Ion I. C. Bratianu was a Realpolitiker was noticed by one of the most intelligent and astute diplomats accredited in Bucharest during the period of neutrality. In a letter he sent, on 10 September 1914, to Chancellor L. Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Bucharest, Otokar Czernin stated: "Bratianu's heart is neither with us nor with others, he oscillates hither and thither, the only reason of his policy is fear and he will throw himself unscrupulously at any man that he thinks cannot defend himslef" (1918 la romani. Desavarsirea unitatii national-statale a poporului roman. Documente externe. 1916-1918, vol. I, Bucuresti: Editura Stiintifica si Enciclopedica, 1983, p. 453).

(15) Pamfil Seicaru, Romania in marele razboi, Bucharest: Editura Eminescu, 1994, p. 88.

(16) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Discursuri, vol. II, Bucurefti, 1933, p. 143.

(17) Ibidem, vol. I, Bucuresti, 1933, p. 430.

(18) Ibidem, p. 32.

(19) N. Iorga, Politica externa a regelui Carol I, Bucurefti: Instituted de Arte Grafice Luceafarul S.A., 1923, p. 303.

(20) Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, Memorii. Ed. Alexandru Serban, vol. II, Cluj Napoca, 1995, p. 76.

(21) Nicolae Iorga, Supt trei regi. Romania contemporana de la 1904 la 1930, Bucharest, 1932, p. 117.

(22) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Discursuri, vol. IV, pp. 290-301.

(23) In a speech delivered in the Parliament of Greater Romania on 17 December 1919, Ion I. C. Bratianu defined himself as the "representative of the manly consciousness of a brave and determined people" ("D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01. 1920, pp. 174-175).

(24) Constantin Argetoianu testified to the passion that Ion I. C. Bratianu had for studying the realistic conception and political action of Cesare Borgia--Machiavelli's Prince--whom he considered a great European statesman. "Ionel Bratianu confessed to his deep admiration for Cesare Borgia and had a genuine cult for this adventurer of the Renaissance--and that surprised me. It would have been easier for me to understand if he had had a cult for Ignatius of Loyola, for throughout his political career he had used the Jesuit mental reserves and never resorted to poison and dagger like the desperate son of Pope Alexander VI" (C. Argetoianu, Memorii pentru cei de maine. Amintiri din vremea celor de ieri, vol. VIII, 1927-1932, Bucharest: Editura Machiavelli, 1997, p. 81).

(25) Gh. I. Bratianu, Bismarck si I. C. Bratianu, Conference delivered at the University of Berlin, 22 January 1936, extract from Revista Istorica Romana, Bucharest: Imprimeria Nationala, 1936, p. 17.

(26) Mircea Djuvara, "Principiile si spiritul ultimelor tratate de pace," in Politica externa. 19 prelegeri ale Institutului Social Roman, Bucharest: Editura Cultura Nationala, no year, p. 2.

(27) Ibidem.

(28) The concept of Greater Romania is also of Bismarckian origin, being inspired by the German concept of "Grossdeutschland."

(29) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op.cit., vol. III, Bucharest, 1939, p. 152.

(30) Viitorul, 3 February 1923.

(31) The conception of Realpolitik dominated international life before World War I and strongly manifested itself during the Paris peace negotiations in 1919-20. This conception "led to a policy of force, a policy of cunning for all against all." This is the conception that was cynically defined by the French journalist Rene Pinon, who embraced it. According to it, "treaties are mere provisional notations of a provisional equilibrium of forces," and political action has no other purpose than to grant more power through any legal or illegal means to that state (Mircea Djuvara, op. cit., p. 2).

(32) This refers to the successful foreign policy conducted by the Conservative Government, led by Titu Maiorescu, who obtained the Quadrilater for Romania following the defeat of Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War, without the Romanian army waging a single battle (Al. Marghiloman, Note politice, vol. I, Bucharest: Editura Institutului de Arte Grafice Mihai Eminescu, 1927, p. 460.)

(33) Ion I. C. Bratianu had great admiration for Cesare Borgia, whom he considered "the greatest political genius of all time" (C. Argetoianu, Memorii pentru cei de maine. Amintiri din vremea celor de ieri, vol. I-II, 1871-1916, Bucurefti: Editura Machiavelli, 2008, p. 240).

(34) Al. Marghiloman, op. cit., p. 460.

(35) Ibidem, p. 143.

(36) Charles and Barbara Jelavich, Formarea statelor nationale balcanice. 1804-1920, Cluj Napoca: Editura Dacia, 1999, p. 339.

(37) Jack Donnely, op. cit., p. 50.

(38) Keith Hitchins, Romania. 1866-1947, Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas, 1994, p. 273.

(39) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit, vol. IV, p. 312.

(40) I. G. Duca, op. cit., vol. I, p. 72.

(41) Ibidem, pp. 234-235.

(42) "D.A.D.", no. 40, of 29 January 1924, p. 947; the Minister of Agriculture in the Bratianu Government, Al. Constantinescu, revealed in a speech he delivered in Parliament, on 27 December 1923, where he referred to Bratianu's ethics and tactics, that "we kept the treaty unconcluded for six months until we were given Bukovina, with Chernowitz and the whole Banat." (Ibidem)

(43) Jack Donnely, Realismul, p. 66; Kennan maintains that the priority concern for the national interest is an "unavoidable necessity" and that it consequently "cannot be classified either as good, or as bad." (Ibidem)

(44) 1918 la romani, vol. I, p. 728.

(45) I.G. Duca, Amintiri politice, vol. I, pp. 37-39.

(46) Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, Scrisori de la Conferinta de Pace. Published by Mircea Vaida Voevod, Editura Multipress, 2003, p. 226.

(47) N. Iorga, O viata de om asa cum afost, ed. Valeriu Rapeanu fi Sanda Rapeanu, Bucurefti, 1984, p. 430.

(48) 1918 la romani ..., vol. II, Bucurefti, 1983, pp. 1080-1081.

(49) Sterie Diamandi, Galeria oamenilor politici, Bucurefti: Editura Gesa, 1991, p. 32

(50) Ion Bitoleanu, Sefi de partide priviti cu ochii vremii lor, Constanta: Editura ExPonto, 2006, p. 75.

(51) I.G. Duca, op. cit., vol. III, Munchen, 1982, p. 184.

(52) C. Argetoianu, op. cit., vol. VI, Bucurefti, 1996, p. 38.

(53) I.G. Duca, op. cit., vol. III, p. 98.

(54) Al. Vaida Voevod, Scrisori de la Conferin a de Pace, p. 70.

(55) "D.A.D." no. 15, 01.01.1920, pp. 165-175; on that occasion, he resumed the definition of an efficient Romanian foreign policy, which he had given in September 1913, amid the deepening Balkan crisis.

(56) Ibidem, p. 166.

(57) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Discursuri, vol. IV, pp. 46-47.

(58) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 166.

(59) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Cuvintele unui mare roman, Craiova: Editura Ramuri, no year, p. 89.

(60) Idem, Discursuri, vol. IV, p. 459.

(61) Ibidem, vol. II, p. 631.

(62) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 166.

(63) Viitorul, 15 June 1921.

(64) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 166.

(65) Ibidem.

(66) See: Ibidem, pp. 165-166.

(67) Ibidem, p. 166.

(68) Universul, 28 November 1938; Bratianu presented this foreign policy directive to the Liberal leader Tancred Constantinescu during the refuge from Iafi.

(69) 1918 la romani ..., Bucurefti, 1983, vol. III, p. 387.

(70) Ibidem, p. 432; As one can see, he was the author of these official state concepts--such as "autonomy", "political independence", "sovereignty", which later came to be so abused by Ceaufescu's propaganda.

(71) Patria, 16 September 1919.

(72) Viitorul, 4 December 1921.

(73) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Discursuri, vol. II, p. 615.

(74) Idem, Cuvintele, p. 86.

(75) Ion Rusu Abrudeanu, Pacatele Ardealului fata de sufletul Vechiului Regat. Fapte. documente si facsimile, Bucharest: Editura Cartea Romaneasca, p. 139.

(76) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 32.

(77) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 160; Ion I. C. Bratianu considered that the Romanian statesman's duty to defend and promote the national interests was an important service to humanity, which he defined as the sum total of all the nations of the earth (Ibidem, p. 159).

(78) Ion I. C. Bratianu, Cuvintele ..., p. 104.

(79) Idem, Discursuri, vol. IV, p. 409.

(80) Sterie Diamandi, op.cit., p. 44.

(81) C. Argetoianu, op.cit., vol. I-II, p. 297.

(82) Ibidem, vol. III, p. 375.

(83) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 175; see also: Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit, vol. IV, p. 50.

(84) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 50.

(85) Ibidem, vol. III, p. 458.

(86) Ibidem, p. 550; see also: "D.A.D." no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 166.

(87) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. III, p. 549.

(88) Ibidem., vol. IV, p. 460.

(89) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 167.

(90) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 50.

(91) "D.A.D.", no.15, 01.01.1920, p. 166.

(92) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 459.

(93) Ibidem, p. 63; In line with this principle, the Romanian statesman sent several clear and trenchant messages to the West. The most significant seems to be the one sent to the Western governments in the famous letter addressed to the Italian Prime Minister Luigi Luzzatti, in which he showed that although the major European interests had supported the independence of the country, "before all and above all, it is the result of the qualities, work and sacrifices of the Romanian people. It is the natural result of our entire national development, and it is up to no one to call this independence into question." (Ibidem., p. 160).

(94) Ibidem, p. 46.

(95) Ibidem, vol. III, p. 550.

(96) Ibidem, p. 551; "The more difficult the circumstances in which we are, the greater is our duty to raise the national consciousness as high as possible" (Ibidem, p. 552).

(97) Gh. I. Bratianu, Intransigenta si transactie in politica externa a Romaniei, Bucharest, 1932, p. 9.

(98) C. Xeni, Take Ionescu. 1858-1922, Bucharest, 1933, pp. 395-396.

(99) Gh. I. Bratianu, File rupte din cartea razboiului, Editura Cultura Nationala, Bucharest, 1934, p. 19.

(100) Ion Rusu Abrudeanu, op. cit., p. 127.

(101) Biblioteca Academiei Romane, MSS, The Ion I. C. Bratianu Fund, S1(120)/CCCLXV.

(102) Viitorul, 14 July 1921.

(103) This principle is very well reflected in the official statement released by the first Crown Council on 4 August 1914, Ion I. C. Bratianu's creation, in the formula: "Let's wait for the events to unfold. In all likelihood, the war will probably be long. We will have another occasion to speak our minds" (Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, pp. 306-307).

(104) Viitorul, 5 February 1924.

(105) Ion I. C. Bratianu, op. cit., vol. IV, p. 160.

(106) Ibidem, vol. IV, pp. 443-444.

(107) "D.A.D.", no. 15, 01.01.1920, p. 174.

(108) Peter F. Sugar, Nationalismul este-european tn secolul al XX-lea, Bucurefti: Editura Curtea Veche, 2002, p. 20.

Ion Novacescu has a PhD in history from Babef-Bolyai University (2010); he is an Associate Faculty member at the Faculty of European Studies, Babef-Bolyai University.Contact:
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