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THE STRUGGLE OF THE ROMANIAN PEOPLE AGAINST FOREIGN DOMINATION AND FOR WINNING NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE

[Major-General Dr Ilie Ceausescu, Romanian Commission on Military History, Bucharest, Romania]

All along its millenial history the Romanian people has permanently as- pired to establish peaceful relations with all the peoples of the world, broad unlimited contacts with some other cultures and civilizations. It has never sown national discord or harboured expansionist intentions or, on the contrary, se- cluded itself behind some artificial barriers.

As far back as the 1st millenium B.C., for instance, the autochthonous an- cestors of the Romanians - the Traco-Geto-Dacians - had established close rela- tions with the Greek, Celtic, Roman and Scythian civilizations, which ultimately led to interesting cultural syntheses.1 Born out of the Traco-Geto-Dacian element melting with the Roman one on the ancestors' ethnic territory - the Carpathian- Danubian-Pontical area - the Romanian people has shown propensities towards universality and concord. In the whole Romanian history there is not a single instance of expansionist actions beyond the borders of it's own ethnic territory. The international treaties and conventions concluded by the Romanians at differ- ent times were meant either to ensure common defence with other peoples against certain aggressors, or to develop peaceful economic, cultural, scientific and political relations. Romanians have never, on their own account and initia- tive, triggered off military campaigns against other peoples.

However, unfavourable historical circumstances have often compelled the Romanian people to take-up arms in order to defend its ancestors' territory, lib- erty, independence, its unity and at times even its national being. For the Roma- nian territory, located as it is at the crossroad of big international arterial roads and owing to its strategic importance and, last but not least, to the richness of its soil and subsoil (cereals, gold, timber, salt, later on oil, etc...), has had the power of a magnet upon a great number of expansionist empires and states for many centuries on end. Suffice it to mention the comings and goings of almost all mi- gratory populations through the Romanian territory for over half a millenium. Subsequently, the Romanians had to cope with the wave of Ottoman expansion, rounded off, successively or concomitantly, by those of the Austrian, Russian and other empires. Before mid-20th century, the Romanian people lived, like many other peoples, through the tragedy of domination by the Nazi Reich.

The repeated invasions the Romanian people went through had a strongly negative impact upon its development. They provoked huge material damages and losses to it, were a brake on its economic and social development, and de- prived it - at times for centuries on end - of its independence and sovereignty; they also led to parts being severed fron its territory, which were included by

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