The Return of Dracula
Andrew Roach explores the Romanian struggle for nationhood
One of Europe’s oldest territorial disputes has recently resurfaced with the Romanian ill-treatment of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania, adding yet another problem to the many which surround the government of Nicolae Ceausescu. Transylvania was acquired by Romania in 1918 from the Habsburg Empire and was important in making Romanian Moldavia and Wallachia strategically viable against hostile Slav and Magyar neighbours. The majority of the population in the region are Romanian, but there have been substantial minorities of both Magyars (Hungarians) and Germans since the early Middle Ages. The latter have been a profitable source of income in recent years to the Romanian government, since their 'repatriation' has brought in large sums of hard currency from West Germany. The Magyars, however, are under strong pressure to 'Romanianise', with the beginning of a programme to demolish many of their villages and move the population into 'agro-industrial complexes'.