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struggles for defence. Quite naturally, the Romanian society was not - and, as a matter of fact, could not be - spared of class struggle between privileged classes and the strata lying at the foundation of the economic and political structure. There were numerous social uprisings and revolutions along many centuries which played the role of a motive power of general progress. But, whenever the country was the victim of an aggression or such a vital goal as defence or win- ning of independence became topical for the entire people, general interests pre- vailed over those proper to the various components of the nation. Thus, almost all the peasants, townsmen and feudal landed gentry took part in the defensive wars fought under the leadership of some remarkable voivodes and military leaders, such as Iancu of Hunedoara, Stephen the Great, Vlad the Impaler and Michael the Great, in the 14th - 16th centuries. During modern times the libera- tion movements involved, in addition to the previous social forces, the working class and the bourgeoisie as well. The last significant concentration of social and national forces against the background of capitalist structures occurred in 1940- 1944 and had for its goal the liberation of the country from under fascist domina- tion.4 On the political level, the expression of this last concentration was an am- ple patriotic coalition formed of the Communist, Social-Democratic, National- Peasant and Liberal parties, the royal circles and other groups opposing fascism, which achieved a national liberating insurrection in August 1944.

A thorough historical analysis undoubtedly attests to the fact that the working masses and successive progressive movements played a decisive part within all these concentrations of the Romanian people's national forces. For many centuries the burden of the struggle for liberty was carried by the Roma- nian peasantry - a vigorous class, capable of immeasurable sacrifice, the main keeper of the language and of those traditions of Roman civilization which are specific to the Romanian people. Over the last century this task has been en- trusted to the working class, which asserted itself ever more strongly in the van- guard of the struggle for the social and national emancipation of the Romanian people. Side by side with Romanians, the co-inhabiting nationalities - Magyars, Szeklers, Germans, Serbians, etc…, - who gradually settled down, under certain historical circumstances, in the Carpathian-Danubian-Pontical area, likewise made their contribution to the liberation struggles.

A third element required by the answer to the above-mentioned question is the use by the Romanians during the defensive wars they waged of such fighting devices and methods that were most suitable for their own possibilities and the enemy forces. Through their size, demographic, economic, technical and mili- tary capacity, the aggressors have often been true giants of history, which the Romanian people could not oppose with comparable material resources or hu- man effectives. That is why it was compelled to adopt strategic and tactical schemes depending on the circumstances - original solutions or borrowings from the experience of some other peoples - that often allowed it to win victory over its powerful enemies.5 The tactics of "scorched earth" ahead of the invaders, the

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