by Glenn E. Torrey
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012. Pp. xvi, 426.
Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio, index. $39.95. ISBN: 0700618392
A very good look at one of the “forgotten” fronts of the Great War, by Romanian specialist Glenn Torrey.
Torrey opens with some background on the Romanians' decision to join Britain, France, and Russia against their erstwhile ally Germany. He then gives us a look at the parlous state of the Romanian Army, as well as overly optimistic Romanian -- and Allied -- war planning, and then addresses actual the outbreak of hostilities. Torrey goes on to examine the initial Romanian successes, which were quickly followed by a series of stunning defeats by German, Austrian, and Bulgarian offensives that overran much of the country and destroyed much of its army, an operation that should have held lessons for the Western Allies, but they were not prepared to learn them. The account of this disaster is followed by a discussion of how, under the most trying of circumstances, aided by a French military mission, the Romanians rebuilt a credible army, only to face inevitable defeat with the collapse of Russia. Several concluding chapters cover the final year of the war, during which Romania endured occupation and a harsh peace at the hands of German and Austria, only to recover all it had lost and more with the collapse of the Central Powers.
A volume in UPK’s excellent series “Modern War Studies, The Romanian Battlefront in World War I is well-written and carefully documented, and will prove profitable reading for anyone interested in the First World War.