“From this peace one can hope (…)”. The allocution of the Secretary of State Richard von Kühlmann on the peace talks with Romania (Buftea-Bucharest, April/May 1918)
Author: Claudiu-Lucian TOPOR
Keywords: Germany, diplomacy, peace, parliamentarians, parties, war, annexations, compensations, Bucharest, 1918.
At the end of April 1918, Richard von Kühlmann, Secretary of State in the German Foreign Minister, met with the parliamentarians of the main political parties in order to explain the meaning and the progress of the peace talks in Bucharest. He had to reply to numerous reproaches and had prepared a sound argumentative exposition. The content of the respective exposition is analyzed in the pages of the present paper. The chosen historical perspective reconsiders the context and circumstances of this event. The analysis of the arguments used by von Kühlmann to combat the accusations of the conservative opposition represents as many keys of discussions on the purposes of the German policy in Eastern Europe at the end of the Great War. Regarding the goals of the Romanian delegates, the paper proposes conclusions drawn more from the diplomatic conduct and less from speculation on the articles of the treaty. If it was a punitive peace (the victor’s peace), then it was a peace dictated by immediate political imperatives. If a permissive peace (the losers’ peace) was signed, then the reason was to secure strategic compensations for the future. Following the acts of peace superimposed by the diplomacy displayed by Richard von Kühlmann in Bucharest, as this is revealed by the analysis of the report presented to the Parliament, the present research tries to clarify an old controversy: what was the outcome of this peace (Buftea-Bucharest, 1918) in the dramatic evolution of the scenarios for the last months of the war.