Silviu Anghel, The Motley Map: the Game-Changing Effect of Ethnographic Cartography on the Romanian-Russian Negotiations, 1914–1916
Romania’s negotiations to enter the First World War were a long and tortuous journey. A key issue in the negotiations was the list of Romanian territorial demands. The present article, based on newly published telegrams between Constantin Diamandy and Ion I.C. Brătianu as well as the discovery of some of the maps used in the negotiations analyses these territorial demands. In particular, both sides claimed to justify their opposing positions on the same ethnographic principle. The article argues that the two sides had very different understanding of the ethnographic principle. A key aspect in the negotiations was the use of ethnographic maps, which changed the understanding of the ethnographic principle. The maps were fundamental in the negotiations and shaped the demands and the result of the negotiations.
A key concept in the negotiations was that of territories inhabited by Romanians, in effect a notion of the ideal Romanian state based on history as well as ethnography. This concept in places conflicted with the ethnographic principle. The negotiations showed how Romanian diplomacy tried to merge the two principles and adapt them to the demands of the Russian side.
The article also analyses the territorial claims of Ion I.C. Brătianu in light of Romanian ethnographic cartography and the Romanian image of the ideal Romanian state. It argues that Ion I.C. Brătianu was in fact only demanding what most Romanian intellectual and political elites would consider to be Romanian territory and it discusses the role ethnography had in these ideal claims.