Commentary Romania

Romania erects statue to remember general who occupied Budapest

One of the Romanian generals who occupied Budapest one hundred years ago, Gheorghe Mărdărescu has received a statue in Kolozsvár (Cluj in Romanian).

The full-figure statue was unveiled by Romanian Defence Minister Gabriel Leș and historian Ioan Aurel Pop, President of the Romanian Academy and rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University.

The Hungarian–Romanian War was fought between the First Hungarian Republic (as the Hungarian Soviet Republic from March 1919) and the Kingdom of Romania. Hostilities began on November 13th, 1918 and ended on August 3rd, 1919. The Romanian Army occupied eastern Hungary until March 28th, 1920.

Three squadrons of the 6th Cavalry Regiment of the 4th Brigade under the command of General Gheorghe Rusescu, entered Budapest on August 3rd, 1919. Until midday on August 4th, 400 Romanian soldiers with two artillery guns held Budapest. Then the bulk of the Romanian troops arrived in the city and a parade was held through the city center in front of the commander, of the Transylvanian Army, general Mărdărescu and the rest of the corps of generals.

The occupation also marked the end of the 133-day Hungarian Soviet Republic, led by Béla Kun, who fled to Vienna. After the occupation, Mărdărescu was the military commander of Budapest. Leș said that during his tenure Mărdărescu "ensured the food supply and essential services for the population of Budapest decimated by the war and the Bolshevik terror".

Pop said that the actions of the Romanian Army in 1919 against the Communist regime in Hungary and its contributions to defeating Fascism in 1944-45 "made it possible for Transylvania to become part of Romania both in fact and legally."

The incursion of Romania into Hungary caused the heaviest fighting of the war. The Romanian army casualties were 123 officers and 6,434 soldiers – 39 officers and 1,730 soldiers killed, 81 officers and 3,125 soldiers wounded, and three officers and 1,579 soldiers missing in action. As of August 8th, the Romanians had captured 1,235 Hungarian officers and 40,000 soldiers, seized 350 guns, 332 machine guns, 52,000 rifles and 87 airplanes.

Title image: The unveiling of the statue of General Gheorghe Mărdărescu in Kolozsvár/Cluj. (source:

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