Between France and Romania, between Science and Propaganda. Emmanuel de Martonne in 1919

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In the aftermath of the Great War, the geographer Emmanuel de Martonne, who began his scientific work in Romania and was a vocal advocate of that country’s intervention in the conflict, placed his knowledge and prestige at the service of redrawing the frontiers of what would become Greater Romania. This article looks at the role of de Martonne as traceur de frontières during the Paris Peace Conference, notably his manipulation of ethnic cartography. At the same time, as this partisan use of “science” shows, de Martonne is also a propagandist for the Romanian cause and post-war French influence. Thus, his confidential reports on the “lost provinces” of Transylvania, Banat, Bessarabia and Dobrogea must be seen in parallel with his published interventions and the place he occupies in a wider Franco-Romanian lobbying network. During the summer of 1919, de Martonne’s participation in a French mission universitaire to Romania plays a diplomatic role at a delicate stage of the Paris negotiations. The fate of his scientific interventions is also subject to the vicissitudes of the war’s aftermath and to the weight of lobbies hostile to Romanian territorial claims, notably on Hungary and Russia, two countries plunged into civil war.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Romanian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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