The Great War Part 253, June 21st 1919

202 The Great War was no thought of defeat in the minds of the promenaders no foreboding of evil troubled the blue and brilliant afternoon. Fourteen days later the well-to-do inhabitants of Bukarest were leaving the city in droves terrified by the German advance and the Govern­ment asked the Legations to be ready to leave at a moments notice. Then followed a period of anxious hope. 1 find in my diary during this period many entries like these :October 1 7 th .—Altho ugh time is on the side o f the Rumanians in view of the fact that Russian troops are on their way to help th ewe a th eris unfortunately lending great assist­ance to the enemy. I t is many years since a n autumn was so hot and dry .The roads are all san dafter along rod u g ht. The move­ment of heavy guns is made easy. Day after day the sun shines steadily .Change is eagerly hoped for. In spite of this and other han di­ caps however the R u man ian troops are doing the best work they have done yet. They are fighting stubbornly in the Carp a th ian Passes a g a inst F a elk n hay n s supreme effort to force his way into the plain .If they can hold him for a short time longer all will be well. HOME .OF RUMANIAN STA Residence of M. Take Jonescu in Bukarest, occupied by Germans. This patriotic Rumanian statesman look's! leading part in his country’s intervention in the war onside of the Allies. The bridge was also open to attack from Austrian monitors. Avarescu’s adventure was no doubt a risky one. But in war it is often the risky ad­venture which succeeds while the cautious following of routine heads nowhere. Officers who were with the force which crossed the Danube assured me that there was good hope of success. They had four days food and ammu­nition. They themselves had no fear of their bridge being destroyed. Certainly it would have been better to obtain command of the river but then the plan was only feasible if carried out as a surprise. I do not venture to decide who was to blame for its failure but I will quote what Field-Marshal Mackensen said to General Avarescu in 1918. They were discussing the operations of two years before and Mackensen asked “What made you get back across the Danube ?We should ”have had “he said a bad quarter of an hour there. You had us between your four Rumanian Why Avarescu crossed divisions and Zionchkovskis eight Russian the Danube divisions. It looked bad for us but we counted upon your civilians getting rattled and saving us. That was why we told Falkenhayn to press on as hard ashe could in the Predeal Pass which he did with the result for which we hoped.” That result was the order to General Avarescu to withdraw and to abandon the move which far more than anything the Rumanian armies had yet done threatened serious danger to the enemys positions as Field-Marshal Mackensen admitted. Thus the position which had appeared to be so favourable for Rumania at the beginning of October was justin over a fortnight changed so entirely that the Rumanians began already to fear the worst. On October 1st a hot Sunday, I walked on the Chaussee Kisseleff which serves Bukarest both as Champs Elysees and as Bois de Boulogne. There B U K A REST IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY. .One of the principal squares in beautiful Bukarest during the German occupation. Enemy troops are seen marching through it watched by the inhabitants with fear and wretchedness in their hearts. The triumphant Von Mackensen took up his quarter in the Royal Palace. October 19th .—Some snow has fallen in the mountains but thew eath eris again obstinately w armand dry .The spirit of the R u man ian resistance is still fine and resolute. The feeling a t Head quarters this morning was cheerful. They are confident they can delay the progress o f the enemy until the Russians arrive. October 25th A.— high military authority said tome one day :"We are in abetter position than w e were a week ago. W e are still holding the min the Carp a th ian Passes. Our armies are unbeaten and they a regaining strength and experience every day .The retire men tin the Dob ru ja is of course unfortunate but the main thing is that we are a week nearer to the moment when the tremendous pressure which our troops are now bearing will be relieved.” October 28th .—Marked rise in cheerfulness. A Government organ ,the “Ind 6p endance R o u maine ”says in its leading article “Events are now wearing more and more sa tisfa c to ryan aspect. Each day we continue to resist brings nearer the hour when thanks to operations in course o f development we shall have the advantage over the enemy and be able to resume the offensive upon our whole fro t.”n After all this encouragement to be hopeful of assistance arriving in time to save them the Rumanians suffered badly when they realised that their capital and more than half their country must be lost. The swing-back from confidence to despair was natural enough given a volatile excitable
Add Names


We have sought to ensure that the content of this website complies with UK copyright law. Please note however, that we may have been unable to ascertain the rights holders of some items. Where we have digitised items, we have done so with items that to the best of our knowledge, following due investigations, are in the public domain. While the original works are in the public domain we reserve all rights to the usage of the digital works.

The document titled The Great War Part 253, June 21st 1919 is beneath this layer.

To view this document now, please sign up as a full access member.

Free Account Registration

Please enter your first name
Please enter your surname
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter your password, it must be 8 or more characters

Already a member? Log in now
Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait