when the Romanian people won its full state independence. Nevertheless, the policy of force and dictate promoted by the big empires had a negative impact upon its national sovereignty in the subsequent period as well, as it actually hap- pened with some other small and medium-size peoples as well.
The history of the Romanian people's struggle for independence and lib- erty attests to the truth - expressed by the President of socialist Romania - "that the policy of the people's oppression, of colonialist spoliation and imperialist domination, hindered the progress of some human communities and caused great losses to civilization, but they were not able to stop the irreversible process of the assertion of the peoples' will to live free and independent, to freely develop as sovereign nations the great empires collapsed and on their ruins there ap- peared tens and tens of new independent states, whose peoples powerfully voice t h e i r d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o u n a b a t e d l y g o f o r w a r d o n t h e r o a d o f 6 s o c i a l a n d n a t i o n a emancipation, of material and social progress". l
Subordinated to the cause of its own liberation, the century-old struggle of the Romanian people has concurrently served, in a direct or indirect manner, the fundamental interests of other peoples. For instance, the Romanian territory played for a long time the role of an advanced fortress of Christian Europe in the way of Ottoman expansion, to the checking of which it contributed precisely at a time when this one had attained its acme. This role was rightly acknowledged by the European consciousness of the time. The Pope called the Romanian voivode lancu of Hunedoara "the most powerful, nay unique, champion of-Christ", while about the Romanian voivode Stephen the Great he said: "The feats ... you have wisely and valiantly accomplished against the heathen Turks, our common ene- mies, brought so much fame to your name that you are now on every body's lips and very much praised by everyone". 7 Much later, the war of independence waged by the Romanians in 1877-1878 facilitated the struggle for liberation of other peoples in the Balkans. During World War II the Romanian army contin- ued to fight after the liberation of their motherland and in cooperation with the Soviet troops in the territories of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria until the great victory won over fascism in May 1945.
Historical experience, corroborated with the analysis of contemporary real- ity, lay at the foundation of the entire policy promoted by socialist Romania in the international arena. One may easily see in her consistent wish for concord among all the nations of the world, in her firmly condemning aggressions and aggressors, in her opposing the arms race, that vocation for peace and friendship among peoples which has been present like a defining constant in the entire Ro- manian history. The same as in her wish of liberty and independence, in her resolutely rejecting any foreign encroachment, in her asserting the necessity to eliminate the old imperialist policy of force and dictate from international rela- tions there is the millenary experience of the Romanian people - a small people which suffered all the bad consequences of foreign domination and was forced to