Author: Viorica MOISUC

Abstract: The philosophy closely linked to these upheavals of 1789 gave ideological support embraced in various forms by the intellectuals of the time. It is no less important that the so-called Napoleonic Empire, which dragged the French nation into endless wars, reaching the heart of absolutist Russia, brought with it the whole mentality, ideology and way of life inaugurated by the Revolution of 1789 in all corners of Europe. Therefore, a new era, anti-absolutist, anti-feudal, democratic, based on new principles, hitherto unknown, shook the old rules, even in areas where the foot of the French soldier had not reached. That is why the periodization of Professor Andrei Oţetea seems to me perfectly valid for the Romanian Principalities, which were part of Europe and which did not remain untouched by the upheavals of the transformations in the years following the fall of the Bastille.

Keywords: Romanian Principalities, patriotic spirit, human rights, nation, Europe, Transylvania, national unity, communism, history textbooks

He was a person who, at first glance, commanded a special respect. Through the wide-rimmed glasses made of black tortoise shell he examined you carefully with his penetrating gaze, and you knew from the beginning that you could not speak as you wanted, what you wanted, but measured, serious and to the point.

Born on July 24 / August 5, 1894, Andrei Oţetea descended from an ancient community of shepherds – “mocani”, as they were called at the time – from the village of Sibiel, Sălişte commune, one of the villages from “Mărginimea” Sibiului, known throughout Romania and beyond it, settling as far as the Tatra Mountains and as far as the Kuban. “They were,” said Andrei Oţetea on the occasion of the celebration by the Romanian Academy of his 70 years of life – “the unifying carriage between the three Romanian Principalities until the Great Union, which included us all in the same borders.”[1] Andrei Oţetea came from the depths of time, from where, perhaps, his strength of character, his resistance to the vicissitude of time, his verticality were derived; Sibiel, fairytale land, guarded by secular forests of firs, opens the way to the “roof of the world” – the wonderful settlement of sheepfolds on Mount Crinţi covered with endless flocks of sheep.

“From these «mocans»” – said Andrei Oţetea – “something more precious came to me than all material inheritances, something stronger than everything that later experience could add, I mean the way of conceiving work as a vital necessity and the idea that not being able to work, regardless of the safety or insecurity of living, is the greatest misfortune a human being can hit… In the parental home, I saw what it means to have a sense of duty pushed to total sacrifice and complete self-forgetfulness… the constant struggle with the hardships of life and, what is more remarkable, without the exigency of a job well done ever sacrificed.”[2]

About the teacher Ioan Dobrotă, from the confessional primary school, to whom Andrei Oţetea kept a warm memory, he said “one of the modest intellectuals, prelates, teachers who have formed the framework of our national resistance and the lever of progress of the Transylvanian peasantry…, fulfilled with a rare skill and authority, for almost six decades he was an enlightened guide to the people in all branches of the village economy, especially in fruit growing”.[3]

Advised by his teacher, the young Andrei Oţetea was sent to the high school in Sibiu. “To him, to the teacher,” acknowledged acad. Andrei Oţetea, “I owe the fact that, at the age of 13-14, I was not sent to the sheep in the Danube pond like the other boys of my age. And, to a large extent, I owe to his example the feeling of solidarity that binds me to my home village”.[4]

In Sibiu, at the Hungarian State High School, Andrei Oţetea showed a disapproving attitude towards the denigration of Romanian history, culture and language in the lessons given by the history teacher Thurzo Ferenc, an attitude that will cost him hard. The reaction was the establishment by the students of a literary society and the publishing of the lithographed magazine Izvorul, which had set itself the mission of telling the truth about Romanians’ culture. Considered a dangerous “conspirator” against the “unity of the Hungarian homeland,” the student Andrei Oţetea was eliminated from school. He finished high school at the Romanian school “Andrei Șaguna” in Brasov, with Lucian Blaga, Nicolae Colan (the future metropolitan of Transylvania) and other young Transylvanians with nationalist views.

“Andrei Şaguna High School – Andrei Oţetea appreciated – brought me the confirmation of the most beloved dreams regarding the quality of the Romanian language and its ability to express the most subtle ideas and the deepest feelings.”[5]

The young Andrei Oţetea, so attached to the soul of his people, could not stay out of the struggle that the Romanians were waging on all fronts for the realization of the national ideal: UNION. Along with Onisifor Ghibu, also from Săliște, Axente Baciu, Sebastian Bornemisa, Iosif Schiopul, Nicolae Oancea, Nicolae Colan (his school colleague), Andrei Oţetea signed the First Declaration of Union of Romanians in one state, written in revolutionary Chisinau on January 24, 1918. Throughout this period, he was actively involved in propaganda for the Union. He collaborated with the press that voiced the will of the Transylvanians to shake the Hungarian yoke and unite with the Fatherland. In 1919, in Sibiu, he wrote articles full of patriotic-fighting spirit for the newspaper Patria led by A. Agârbiceanu.

After Transylvania was completely liberated and entered a long process of reorganization within Greater Romania, Andrei Oţetea was sent for university studies, along with other young people (Mihail Ralea, Traian Ionescu, Ionică Botez and others) to France. After brilliant studies at the Sorbonne and the Institute of Political Science in Paris, the son of the shepherds of Sibiel received his doctorate in letters with the qualification “très honourable”, focusing his research concerns on a simple and controversial topic regarding the Renaissance Italian. In December 1926, he defended his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne on François Guichardin. Sa vie publique et sa pensée politique (1483-1540), a thesis whose documentation was made in the archives of Florence under the guidance of Nicolae Iorga, a thesis that has remained a reference work to this day.

In the following year, he was appointed associate professor at the University of Iaşi and then full professor with modern and contemporary history as his basic discipline. From 1947, he carried out his activity at the University of Bucharest where he was head of the Department of Universal History and, at the same time, he headed the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History of the Romanian Academy.[6]

In the last years of his life, he represented Romania at UNESCO, in France, where he died in March 1977. He found his eternal rest in the cemetery of his native village.

For the sake of historical truth

All those who have collaborated or were trained under the guidance of acad. Andrei Oţetea found from the very beginning that respecting and reproducing the historical truth as it was was a dogma for the teacher. He did not admit dilettantism, superficiality, lack of scientific probity, non-academic attire. Open to the new, fearless but well-argued approaches, Andrei Oţetea remained in the consciousness of those who worked with him or were around him, through the verticality of opinions; one cannot speak here of “courage”, but of much more than that: it was a natural state of mind that no one and nothing could have changed. His exigency was proverbial, but he always showed understanding for the one who was required to do so. He knew how to listen – which is becoming increasingly rare today –, he knew how to advise, he knew how to train people for such a difficult, interesting but also demanding job of scientific research. But, he was ruthless with stupidity, with the arrogance that went hand in hand with stupidity.

He had the misfortune, both at the University and at the Institute, to carry out his activity in the cursed ’50s when Mihail Roller and his Soviet or pro-Soviet acolytes were alpha and omega in Romanian historical science. The all-powerful Soviet advisers in all state institutions, including the Faculty of History, gave indications that, when applied, meant the Sovietization of Romanian education.

“Due to the resistance of the head of the department of universal history with whom scientists such as Ion Nestor, Dionisie Pippidi, Emil Condurachi, made a united front, students, including myself, were sheltered from these serious distortions of national and universal history, courses and seminars taking place within normal limits, even if fear was a feeling that dominated everyone. Our age and inexperience did not allow us to understand the behind the scenes of the game and the efforts of our mentors to defend us against Stalinism and its aberrations.”

Things got worse when “Comrade” Florența Rusu, a party activist determined to “organize” the so-called disorder that was there, was appointed dean of the Faculty of History, helped by several collaborators, either from the USSR or “planted” by the party with precise missions. By far the most dangerous was Saşa Muşat, appointed to the chair led by Andrei Oţetea; an uneducated individual, but who taught contemporary universal history courses, had as his main occupation the denunciation, the recruitment of students, the observation of the conduct of teachers and students. Oțetea did not accept this situation and decided to act.

He summoned to his home all the collaborators I mentioned above, as well as Prof. Constantin Daicoviciu from Cluj. Together, they decided to form a delegation to appear at the Ministry of Education to reveal what was happening in the Faculty and to insist on changing things. Which they did. The result was the replacement of Florența Rusu from the position of dean with prof. Dumitru Tudor, a well-known and highly regarded archaeologist, and the removal from the Faculty of Sașa Muşat, who was found to have brought false documents. So, it was possible to take this daring step under the existing conditions of the presence of the Soviet army, of the Russian occupation. The quality of education was defended, as much as it was possible then, through perseverance, tenacity, courage, verticality.[7]

The situation at the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of the Romanian Academy was similar: the same Roller and his men brought to the Institute people they liked, former illegals whom had nothing to do with historical research; however, they strongly defended Marxism-Leninism, the Stalinist theses on the history of the Romanian people. Maia Kertesz, Vasile Liveanu, Venera Teodorescu, Ladislau Baniay and many others, having as common feature the “fight in illegality” for the good of the Romanian people, to which was added the series of comrades whom have arrived at the Institute based on the “personnel file” and not based on any affinities with history, especially with that of Romania, were a shock group meant to undermine everything that was true science. During that period, I also entered the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute as a trainee researcher following a very pretentious competition held in front of a commission chaired by acad. Andrei Oţetea and which included prof. Mihai Berza, conf. Eliza Campus and others. The free discussions that took place in French on issues related to the Peace of Versailles, Stresemann’s foreign policy, Romania’s relations with France and England after the Peace Conference, put my little knowledge of contemporary history to the test, especially since I came from another area of ​​specialization – archaeology and ancient history.

The hardship only began after that. It was my years of apprenticeship in contemporary history research. The professor was present at the Institute before 8 o’clock in the morning and began his “visits” through sectors and especially to the Library, checking what and how the researchers work – especially the young ones. He controlled the way we used to prepare the files, guiding us, and then calling us for long discussions in his office, on the topic we were studying and “researched” us carefully and rigorously. From him and in this Institute I really learned the method of research, the rigor, the consistency, the discipline of this work that is not given to any graduate of the Faculty of History to do. You need passion, curiosity, giving up many of the attractions of youth; you need to organize your own intelligence in such a way as to remove everything that is not essential, focusing on your research topic. Professor Oţetea did not admit half measures. I’ve never heard him say, “Leave it be, it works anyway!” The bar of his demand rose higher as he found that the researcher was ready to move on. At the same time, he did not hesitate to act as surety for the publication in the Studii magazine – which he had founded – or in any publishing house of studies or books disavowed by the critics supporting Roller’s ideology.

This happened to me with a review (proverbial for many years) – my first publishing attempt that the head of the Contemporary History section of the Institute, Vasile Liveanu, supported by his friend and collaborator, Stefan Voicu – editor-in-chief at Lupta de clasă magazine – flatly refused and banned its publication. It was a very harsh discussion about a book entitled Înrobitorul tratat economic româno-german din 23 martie 1939[8], written by Angara Fedotova (later Niri), a Soviet woman who had entered the MFA archive as if it were her own home, taking everything she wanted, while me and others like me – non-Soviet Romanians – waited in vain for approvals for access to this archive. The book was (is) from one end to the other, a gross false history. It was in line with the writings of her colleague in ideas, Jeanette Benditer, professor at the Faculty of History of the University of Iași. I studied it carefully and dismantled it one by one with indisputable counter-arguments. My conflict with Liveanu taking an ugly and dangerous turn, the steps led me to the director of the Institute, acad. Oţetea, to which I gave the text written by me, informing him of the situation I was in. The next day, Andrei Oţetea called me, congratulated me and said “Your review will be published. I take responsibility. But as for Liveanu, I want to ask you something: did you read his book 1918? What do you think of her?” I replied that it does not respect the historical truth and that Romania is not a “creation” of the Peace Treaties! The teacher’s answer, which I will never forget, was this: “This book… it can be seen that it is not written by a Romanian!” And with that he said it all. I knew, from that moment on, that I had a solid support in Professor Oţetea, and in my relations with Liveanu, tense, dominated by fear until then, I have adopted a completely different attitude. Fear had left me.

Those were terrible times then; the deeper compromise, the abdication, the taking over of the Soviet theses were – I must admit – the easiest means not only for survival, but also for “promotion”. The question was: what did you choose?

Universal history and the history of Romania – the real ones, even with some omissions in the so-called “delicate” issues, have gained more and more ground, especially through the two publications of the Institute, Studii, history magazine, and Revue Roumaine d’History. The historical truth about the Great Union, about the character of Romania’s participation in the First World War and others could be told, although certain limits related to Bessarabia could not be exceeded then. But, great strides have been made. Unfortunately not easy, with far too many confrontations, with far too many turmoil.

But Oțetea did not pay much attention to the “annoyances” of Soviet historians. The Romanian-Czechoslovak Colloquium in Prague, in May 1969, with the theme Romanian-Czechoslovak Relations between 1890-1920, so shortly after the suppression of the “Prague Spring”, gave acad. Andrei Oțetea the chance, as President of the History Section of the Academy, to emphasize the permanence of the friendship between the two peoples, especially in difficult times “after the invasion of the country, in August 1968, by Soviet troops and those of the Warsaw Pact!”[9]

The Soviet annoyance was largely seen at the 13th International Congress of Historical Sciences in Moscow, where a very cold greeting was reserved for academician Andrei Oțetea.[10]

However, nothing made him deviate from the path he had walked on all his life: dignity, verticality, scientific rigor, promotion and support of the national interest.

Author of Textbooks

It is an axiomatic truth the fact that history, magistra vitae, gives a young person a solid foundation of general culture, gives him a more complete vision of the present and the future, creates feelings of patriotism, love of country, respect for ancestors – notions that are out of date today, unfortunately. Professor Oţetea, who became a lecturer at the Faculty of History in Iaşi, enrolled, along with other great scholars of the time, as P.P. Panaitescu, C.C. Giurescu, D.D. Pătrăşcanu and others, in the gallery of those who, compiling textbooks, strived to provide students with the tools necessary for a good knowledge of their homeland’s past but also of universal history.

In 1934, the Ministry of Public Instruction drafted the School Curriculum for Secondary and High School Education, which had undergone structural changes. It starts from the premise that “national education must remain the warp of the general culture that can help an internal strengthening of the country. To win the centuries of delay in our evolution, or even to our participation in the universal development of culture,” a remarkable truth underlined after 16 years from the Great Union, when Romania had in front of it the extremely difficult mission to bring to a common denominator the education from all provinces united, different in organization, structure, background and form. The process reached, at the beginning of the fourth decade, a level that allowed the transition to a higher stage – the elaboration of a General-valid syllabus for the entire secondary and high school education.

For history, the main goal was to “equip students with the necessary information on the development of political and cultural life of mankind in general and the Romanian people in particular, to teach them to look at the value of things through history, while developing them a sense of human solidarity and confidence in the vitality of our people.” The primacy of patriotic education was emphasized, with history teachers being given the mission “not to miss any opportunity to develop, in the students, the consciousness of citizens, to awaken and strengthen the love and the spirit of sacrifice towards the homeland.” Moreover, it was emphasized that in the upper course, i.e. in 5-8 grades, special importance must be given to contemporary history, because it “serves in the highest degree to clarify the present.” In order to broaden the horizon of students, to develop the analytical thinking, the syllabus provided for the introduction in history textbooks of a new chapter “on political currents and contemporary social issues”. I think, in retrospect, that this 1934 syllabus of the Ministry of Public Instruction could be a very useful and interesting study material for those who elaborate the history discipline syllabus nowadays.

Contemporary history for the seventh secondary class (365 p.), written by professor Andrei Oţetea from the University of Iaşi (approved by the Ministry of National Education in 1938), was published by „Cugetarea” Publishing from Bucharest in 1938 and was withdrawn in 1940 in the circumstances I will mention below.

To give you an idea of ​​the contents of the textbook, here is how the subject was divided, from the French Revolution of 1789 to the world crisis and the fate of Europe: Part I contains, in 8 chapters, the issue of the French Revolution with all its stages, the establishment of the Empire and its fall. Part II, with 14 chapters, refers to the Restoration and the policy of the Holy Alliance, the oriental question in the 19th century, the revolutions of 1848 in the West and in Central and South-Eastern Europe, the industrial revolution and its consequences, the union of the Romanian Principalities, the unity of Italy and Germany, the Russian-Romanian-Turkish war, the formation of the two alliances – the Entente and the Triple –, the formation of the USA, Latin America. Part III, entitled The Age of Imperialism (12 chapters), talks about the colonial expansion of European states and the situation in the colonies, about China and Japan, the pre-war crises, the First World War and the Paris Peace Treaties, the historical evolution of Europe and the world, until the immediate pre-war period.

What I want to emphasize is the fact that in the entire statement of the international issues, the history of Romanians is organically integrated in the universal. For the matter, this approach was specific to Andrei Oţetea. Another feature of this manual is the presentation of the movement of ideas in different fields: cultural, social, political, artistic.

Thus, Chapter V of Part III is devoted to Marxism. Starting from the social consequences of the industrial revolution, the author explains the emergence of the first professional associations “for the betterment of the workers”, the reform programs being the work of intellectuals such as Saint-Simon or Robert Owen and Karl Marx. In connection with “scientific socialism”, Andrei Oţetea explains: “In the first half of the 19th century, socialism was only a humanitarian dream. His followers drew up abstract plans for the organization of the society, following an ideal of justice and humanity that was inspired by natural law and primitive Christianity. After the experience of the revolution of 1848, socialism gave up these utopias and no longer sought to build ideal social regimes, but limited itself to studying social facts and detaching the laws that govern the society’s evolution. The founder of this socialism, called scientific, because it is based on what is and not on what it should be, if people were not as they are, was Karl Marx (1818-1883)”.[11]

After these brief considerations, the author presents, in simple sentences and in an accessible way, notions such as “plus-currency,” “concentration law,” “the materialist conception of history,” concluding in a substantial paragraph with the critique of Marxism. It should be noted that Andrei Oţetea returned several times, in his works and lectures, to the dialectical and historical materialism, a problem that preoccupied him in direct connection with the economic-social and political transformations that society was going through at that time.

“Contemporary political and social currents” – a requirement introduced by the Ministerial Syllabus of 1934, determined the author to design massive paragraphs, in chap. XII, about fascism and National Socialism, including realistic characterizations of these far-right movements that have strangled democratic freedoms and established dictatorial regimes. This content attracted harsh reactions from the German Legation in Bucharest; on May 30, 1940, the German minister addressed a Note to the Romanian authorities requesting the total revision of the textbooks of contemporary history written by D.D. Pătrăşcanu and Andrei Oţetea, motivating that in the chapter about “Hitlerism” there are pages that, “besides being full of mistakes, are obviously inspired by anti-German tendencies”. After a month and a half, the German Legation in Bucharest made another request (Romania was at that historical moment – June 1940 – caught in the German-Soviet tongs and had already lost part of Moldova and the northern of Bukovina as a result of the Soviet aggression of June 26-28). In these circumstances, the Ministry of Public Instruction asked the authors to suppress or revise the texts on “Hitlerism” and “fascism”. In another month, the Publishing House replied that “it will take into account the recommendations made for a future approval”. In reality, that approval was no longer given, the respective textbooks were considered “expired” on September 2, 1940.[12]

The chaos during the war also had a negative impact on the approach to the main problems in universal and national history. After the unfortunate “liberation” of August 23rd, 1944, Mihail Roller and his Muscovite clique were enthroned in history, the history “textbook” of this character of sad memory remaining a black page of the ‘50s.

A special place in Andrei Oţetea’s textbook has the issue of nationalities (chapter VI, Part III) with the emphasis on the nationalities’ principle – a factor of decisive importance in the evolution of society at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

The textbook is accompanied by a Bibliography for each chapter, a bibliography that does not lack the great Romanian and foreign synthesis monographs, which seems inconceivable today for a history textbook for the seventh (11th) high school class. This bibliography happily completes the synthetic exposition in the textbook of a long historical period.

I would like to emphasize the periodization of contemporary history. As I already believe that it has been established from what has been said so far, the universal contemporary history, which also included the history of the Romanians, had as conventional date of separation the year 1789, i.e. the French Revolution that opened a new era in the history of Europe. I fully share this view for several reasons, including:

  • France went, through a revolution made by the people, from the absolutist feudal regime, to a regime with new features – economic, social, political that heralded an era of superior economic development;
  • the slogan “equality, freedom, fraternity” meant the enthronement of democracy, individual freedom and social freedom;
  • the notion of citizen is outlined in relation to the homeland in which he lives, and the “nation” defends its national territory;
  • the French revolution excludes discrimination on political and ethnic grounds between citizens by establishing the permanence of equality acquired by birth by each individual.

The philosophy closely linked to these upheavals of 1789 gave ideological support embraced in various forms by the intellectuals of the time. It is no less important that the so-called Napoleonic Empire, which dragged the French nation into endless wars, reaching the heart of absolutist Russia, brought with it the whole mentality, ideology and way of life inaugurated by the Revolution of 1789 in all corners of Europe. Therefore, a new era, anti-absolutist, anti-feudal, democratic, based on new principles, hitherto unknown, shook the old rules, even in areas where the foot of the French soldier had not reached. That is why the periodization of Professor Andrei Oţetea seems to me perfectly valid for the Romanian Principalities, which were part of Europe and which did not remain untouched by the upheavals of the transformations in the years following the fall of the Bastille.

Indeed, after 1789, the social, national, and political revolutions in Europe continued, despite the policies of the Holy Alliance.

Exegete of the history of Tudor Vladimirescu and of Eteria, Andrei Oţetea considers that “the insurrection of 1821 took place within the general struggle for the emancipation of the peoples”.[13]

In 1955, Oţetea discovered, in the state archives in Budapest, Tudor’s Oath with the Eteria and, a year later, he studied Russian diplomatic and consular documents, which, Professor Oţetea states, “allowed us to reconstruct the authentic history of Eteria and its most secret relations with the Russian diplomacy.” These documents “gave a decisive confirmation to the thesis that placed the revolution of 1821 within the general movement of the independence of the peoples.” It results from these documents – we read further – that “in the spirit of the Russian imperial cabinet, the task of the Eteria was to provoke in European Turkey a state of anarchy, which the Ottoman government could not dominate by its own forces and which would allow the autocrat tsar to intervene not to support the revolution but to restore order, with the assent of the Holy Alliance or even at the request of the Gate.”

In the same perspective, Oţetea analyzes as well the promotion by Napoleon III of the principle of nationalities that will give impetus to the Romanians’ 1859 struggle for Union.[14]

Contemporary history textbooks today. Some general considerations

History, a textbook for the 11th grade, with 5 authors of which the coordinator is Alexandru Barnea, edited by Corint Publishing (no year) is a “mixtum compositum” from which everyone understands what he wants or nothing. It starts with “Premises of integration,” continues with “European integration,” followed by “Colonization and Decolonization,” next comes “Globalization,” then it reaches the “Romanians in the movement of ideas from the first part of the 20th century,” focusing on personalities such as Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran, Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Vulcănescu, Constantin Noica (the Young Generation), but also mentioning Brâncuşi. We find out only one thing about the Legionary Movement (The Iron Guard) – that it was “a political phenomenon still insufficiently studied and known” (p. 18).

In the 1970s, Romania remained “stuck in a paradigm of communist origins” (p. 18). The appearance of Gabriel Liiceanu’s Jurnalul de la Păltiniş – one of the “few dissident artists” was more of an exception than a rule. After this brilliant introduction, the chapter “Romania in European competition” appears where we find in a page cut vertically in half that there was the First World War, the Little Entente, the Balkan Understanding, the Briand-Kellogg Pact, Take Ionescu and Titulescu.

We do not find out anything about what happened in Romania in 1940, i.e. in a half sentence “the loss of a significant part of the national territory in favour of the USSR, of Horthy Hungary, of Bulgaria” is mentioned. However, the “courage” of King Michael I on August 23, 1944 was not enough, say the authors (p. 21), because Romania “was placed in the camp of the defeated states”. This and nothing more. Next, there is a page about the “image of Romania in the ‘90s” where we see the figures of Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu during the last “balcony scene”, children with AIDS, the miner’s riots etc.

The chapter that begins on p. 34 talks about “Occupations and professional statuses in the twentieth century,” followed by “The new technological and informational evolution,” “Migrations in the contemporary world (20th and 21st centuries),” and we return to “Human migrations in the interwar period” because we had forgotten to talk about the human misfortunes in Bolshevik Russia and Hitler’s Germany. Then we find out interesting things about “Contemporary human migration”. Finally, of course, we cannot help but learn about “The house, bastion of privacy,” a chapter in which we are told that, in the past, parents and children lived together, the daily cleaning of oneself taking place before everyone’s eyes, and in terms of objects for personal use, the list was very short: a watch (in best cases scenarios), a knife, a pipe, a string of rosaries, goods of symbolic value, the only ones that were passed down from generation to generation”. I mention that is the twentieth century they are taking about (p. 50). “In the last 50 years, the situation has seen a radical change. Multi-room housing and comfort have become much more affordable.” On p. 52, a question is asked: “Family, a decaying institution?” We do not find the answer. A reference to a text from the Dilema Veche and a picture of a series of mothers’ breastfeeding babies “on demand” do not make things very clear (p. 53).

Of course, the issue of “the transition between private and public” is related to contemporary history, because we find out an absolute truth: “you no longer need to get married to escape parental guardianship or to have regular relationships with a partner of the opposite sex”. Conclusion: “In this situation, the family is no longer the framework of private life, but only a space in which several persons each live their own existence” (p. 53). We enter, on p. 56, another branch of history: “Directed economies,” “Liberal economies,” “Rural economy – urban economy in Romania”. Finally, a very dear problem that leads us into absolute darkness follows on p. 66: “The Romanian Diaspora and Exile” – from which we find neither what the diaspora is, nor what is exile or self-exile, nor what is a refugee etc. Representatives of this type of people are not missing from here, such as Ioana Măgură Bernard, Noel Bernard, Monica Lovinescu, Virgil Ierunca, Nestor Rateş, Emil Hurezeanu, Nicolae Stănişoară, Vlad Georgescu and others, as well as the radio stations “Vocea Americii,” “Europa Liberă,” „Deutsche Welle.” With the chapter “Technology and everyday life,” students find out what happened to Chernobyl, about dialysis and tomography, about naval propulsion and many other wonders.

Another question follows “Environmental degradation, an inevitable consequence of economic development?” In fact, what we do with pollution, climate change and finally the call for students to join GreenPeace. Going back, according to modern customs, to the past centuries, the authors deal with the Romanian contributions to the development of science and culture. Only now, on two and a half pages, the names of some Romanian scientists from various fields appear. Thus, we come to p. 82 to a different issue “Types of state organization. Ideas for political regimes. The great doctrines.” These are conservatism, liberalism and socialism, all the others being derivatives of one or another of these doctrines, or a combination of those (p. 82). However, we find out that “conservatism lacks a program.” “The World after 1989” (why this time?) raises many questions for the authors. The UN, the USA, the Arab World, Asia, Cuba, African chaos are, the authors say, “very complex issues.” Another chapter, “Romania, from totalitarianism to the rule of law” (p. 88), gives free rein to the blame of the dejist and Ceausescu totalitarianism, the Security and the Political Police and in the following chapter, “The long transition to the rule of law” (p. 90), lines up the FSN, the Democratic Convention, CNSAS, the heads of governments, the press subordinated to power, the DA Alliance, the declaration of war on corruption by Traian Băsescu beads.

But how were things at the beginning of the twentieth century? On only one page, p. 92, the authors deal with the  Constitution of 1866, the War of Independence, the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania, the parliamentary system, etc. and finally (p. 96) “the electoral system and the dynamics of political parties in Romania in the years 1918-1938” appears as a case study followed by “the dynamics of the parties in power” (p. 98), where we find out who Corneliu Zelea Codreanu and Gheorghe Cristescu were. The last chapters of this “textbook” try to enlighten us about “conflicts’ solving in the contemporary world” (including the Versailles system, p. 103), “Cooperation and conflict in the second half of the twentieth century,” “Romania and regional conflicts in the 20th century” (p. 108), bringing us back in 1913, to the Peace of Bucharest, the First World War, the Balkan Understanding, the Prague Spring of 1968 – all listed in three quarters of a page. The Warsaw Pact (p. 112), “Religious Fundamentalism” (p. 116) and “Religious Architecture” followed by “Pilgrimage’” (p. 120) and “Religious Diversity” come next. The textbook ends with what it began – “European integration” (p. 126).

The 11th grade textbook, called History, has nothing to do with history, school syllabus, passing exams from one school year to another.

History is no longer “magistra vitae.” It is no more.

Biography & list of works

OŢETEA, ANDREI (July 24, 1894, Sibiel, Sibiu County – March 21, 1977, Paris), historian. Corresponding member (May 27, 1948; November 2, 1948) and full member (July 2, 1955) of the Romanian Academy; president of the Department of Historical Sciences of the Romanian Academy (1963-1974).

Secondary education in Sibiu and Brasov and higher education in Paris: at the Sorbonne, he studied Italian and French; in parallel, he attended the courses of the School of Political Science; in 1926, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the Italian historian and diplomat Francesco Guicciardini, becoming a doctor of letters. He was a professor at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Iaşi, which, between 1945 and 1947, he led as rector, and at the Department of Medium, Modern and Contemporary General History of the University of Bucharest; director of the National Theatre in Iași (1939–1940, 1946); director of “N. Iorga” Institute of History from Bucharest (1947–1948, 1956–1970). He was concerned with the study of universal history: François Guichardin – his public life and political thought (1927); Considerations on the Genesis and Spirit of the Renaissance (1927); The ideal man of the Renaissance in the work of Fr. Guicciardini (1928); Renaissance and Reformation (Affinities and Contrasts) (1929); The Establishment of the Neapolitan Legation in Constantinople (1740) (1929); The agony of the old French regime and the formation of the revolutionary spirit (1930); Guicciardini’s Supplication to Francis I (1934); The Religious Wars of France and the Genesis of the Idea of ​​Tolerance (1937); Czechoslovak drama after the White English Paper (1938); The Economic Causes of the Renaissance (1939); Geographical discoveries and the beginning of European expansion (1939); The struggle for supremacy over Italy and the formation of the European political system (1494–1559) (1939); Italian Humanism (1939); Renaissance and Reformation (1941; 2nd ed., 1968; ed. in Hungarian, 1974); Russian Politics in the East in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century (1947); The Renaissance (1964). Following research in the archives of Naples, he published the work Contribution à la Question d’Orient. Esquisse historique, suivie de la correspondance inédite des envoyés du roi des Deux-Siciles à Constantinople (1741-1821) (1930). He was closely concerned with the Revolution of 1821 and its leader: The Great Powers and the Revolutionary Movement of 1821 in the Romanian Principalities (1944); The Etherist Movement in Moldova (1821) (1944); Tudor Vladimirescu and the Eteria Movement in the Romanian Principalities (1821–1822) (1945); Tudor Vladimirescu’s oath with Eteria (1956); The Romanian peasants from Transylvania and the movement of Tudor Vladimirescu (1956); A New History of the Movement of 1821 (1957); The legend of the expatriation of Tudor Vladimirescu after the Bucharest peace (1812) (1959); The Holy Alliance and the Etherist Insurrection of 1821 (1967); The character of Tudor Vladimirescu’s movement (uprising or revolution?) (1967); Tudor Vladimirescu ’821 (1971); Tudor Vladimirescu and the Revolution of 1821 (1971); Tudor Vladimirescu from the perspective of Romanian historiography (1971).

He was the editor-in-chief of the five volumes of documents on the Revolution of 1821, and his research in the archives of Budapest led him to discover unique materials on the echo of Tudor Vladimirescu’s movement in Transylvania, published in the new series of the “Hurmuzaki” collection. (Documents regarding the history of Romania, vol. I-III, Solidarity of the Romanians from Transylvania with the Tudor Vladimirescu movement; The Romanian peasants from Transylvania and the Tudor Vladimirescu movement, 1962–1967).

He left papers and studies on important moments in the history of Romania: the establishment of French consulates in Romanian Principalities (1932); A new image of Mihai the Brave (1938); The Great Power and Union of Principalities (1943); The Revolution of 1848 and the Romanian Peasants (1948); The extraeconomic constraint of the clacas at the beginning of the 19th century (1954); Hagi Constantin Pop House of Commerce and its role in the development of trade in Wallachia (1955); The Second Slavery of the Romanian Peasants (1746-1821) (1955); Genesis of Organic Regulation (1957); The uprising of 1907. Its historical importance and its place in Romanian historiography (1957); The 1907 uprising and Romanian historiography (1957); The Michael Gross Plot (1957); A Phanariot cartel for the exploitation of the Romanian countries (1959); Considerations on the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Moldova and Wallachia (1960); The Second Slavery in the Daubian Principalities (1831-1864) (1960); The influence of Moldova and Wallachia on the policy of the Gate (1960); Union of the Romanian Principalities (1966); The Romanians and the Disintegration of the Habsburg Monarchy (1967); The penetration of the Romanian trade in the international circuit (in the period of transition from feudalism to capitalism) (1977) etc. Under his editorship, the following papers have appeared Mihail Kogălniceanu, Historical Writings (1946); Documents regarding the Union of the Principalities (3 vols., 1959–1963); Studies on the Union of the Principalities (1960); History of Romania (vol. II – III, 1962, 1964); K. Marx, Notes on Romanians (Unpublished Manuscripts) (1964, et al.); The Great Peasant Uprising of 1907 (1967, et al.); Osterreich-Ungarns in den Weltpolitik 1900–1918 (1968, et al.); History of the Romanian people (1970; ed. in Italian and in English, 1974); History of the World in Dates (1972). He left studies on the life and activity of some personalities such as Kogălniceanu, historian (1941); N. Bălcescu (1946); N. Bălcescu, historian (1946); Ioan Filitti, historian (1946); Mihail Kogălniceanu, historian and statesman (1956); N. Iorga, historian of the Romanians (1965; also in French); Nicolae Iorga, eminent personality of the Romanian culture (1965); A maker of modern Romanian history: Mihail Kogălniceanu (1967; in French in 1968); Tribute to the scientist C. Daicoviciu (1968). He also wrote textbooks: Ancient History. Peoples of the Orient – Greeks – Romans (textbook for the fifth grade, secondary school) (1935); Medium and Modern History from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Peace of Westphalia (textbook for the second grade, secondary school) (1936); Medieval and modern history (textbook for the sixth grade, secondary school, girls and boys) (1936); Contemporary history (textbook for the seventh grade, secondary school) (1938); Modern and contemporary history (textbook for the third grade, secondary school) (1943), Universal History Course, Reformation and Counter-Reformation (1948), L’union des Principautés, problème d’équilibre européen au milieu du XIXe siècle (cours d’été et colloque scientifiques) (1965). President of the National Commision for UNESCO, vice-president of the Latin World Academy in Paris and member of the Society of Modern History of France, and was awarded the title of “Emeritus Scientist”.


Ştefan Ştefănescu (coord.), Enciclopedia istoriografiei românești, Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, Bucharest, 1978.

Ioan Chiper, “Bibliography of the work acad. A. Oţetea,” in Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, 3/1969.

A. Oţetea, Scrieri istorice alese (ed. Florin Constantiniu, Şerban Papacostea), Bucharest, 1980.

Ştefan Ştefănescu, “Andrei Oţetea – creatorul școlii de istorie,” in Memoriile Departamentului de științe istorice și arheologie, 1994;

Ştefan Ştefănescu, “Andrei Oţetea – historian of the Renaissance and the Reformation,” in Academica, year IV, no. 8 (44) / 1994.

Ştefan Ştefănescu, “Andrei Oţetea. O operă istorică exemplară,” in Istorie și diplomație în relațiile internaționale, Constanţa, 2003.

VIORICA MOISUC: University professor, doctor in historical sciences, member of the European Parliament (2007-2011), Romanian senator (2004-2008). Her scientific work, published in the last five decades, has made and is part of the compulsory bibliography for any student and researcher interested in knowing International Relations. As a professor and doctoral supervisor in the field of Contemporary History of Romania, she has created a real school of historical research, of studying the historical phenomenon in all its complexity. Among her numerous authorial works, we mention the “Romanian Diplomacy and the issue of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Romania between March 1938 and May 1940” (edited by the Romanian Academy, 1971, work awarded the Nicolae Bălcescu Prize of the Romanian Academy); “The premises of the political isolation of Romania 1919-1940” (Humanitas, 1991); “History of International Relations until the middle of the twentieth century” (Romania of Tomorrow Foundation Publishing House, 2000, 2003, 2007); “Romania and Russian Foreign Policy. A century in the history of the Romanian Treasure ‘preserved’ in Moscow” (Demiurg Publishing, Iași, 2013); “Romania and the Czechoslovak crisis. Documents, September 1938” (History, 2010); “Bessarabia, Bucovina, Transylvania. The union – 1918. Documents” (D.I.P. 1996, Romanian and English edition); “Romania’s treasure evacuated to Moscow in 1916 and confiscated by the Soviets, a Present International Problem” (Augusta Publishing House, Timișoara, 2001) and others. In collaboration and as a coordinator: “Problems of foreign policy of Romania 1919-1939” (vol. I, II, III, Militară Publishing House, 1971, 1977, 1988); “Affirmation of the national, independent, unitary states from Central and South-Eastern Europe 1821-1923” (Academiei Publishing House, 1979, Romanian, English, German editions); “Romania and the Paris Peace Conference. The triumph of the principle of nationalities” (Dacia Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca, 1983); “Romania’s Treasure in Moscow” (Globus Publishing House, 1993); “The Generation of the Great Union of Romanians – 1918 – Historical landmarks” (Romania of Tomorrow Foundation Publishing House, 2018) etc. In addition to the above, the internships in Romanian and foreign archives, numerous participations in international scientific events, conferences presented at various universities and research institutes abroad have ensured her an international notoriety.

[1] Analele Academiei Române, vol. XCV, p. 556, 1964.

[2] Ibidem.

[3] Andrei Oţetea, „Anii mei de ucenicie au durat toată viața”, in Amintiri despre anii de școală, Bucharest, 1966, pp. 131-132.

[4] Ibidem, p. 132 (See also Romanian Academy, Discursuri de recepție, vol. X / 2006-2009, p. 351).

[5] Ibidem, p. 134.

[6] See Analele Academiei Române, vol.  XCV / 1964, p. 561; Analele Academiei Române, „Dezbateri”, volumes LXVII / 1947-1948, Bucharest, 2000, pp. 337-338.

[7] See Memoriile Secţiei de ştiinţe istorice şi arheologie, Series IV, volume XIX / 1994, Romanian Academy Publishing House, Bucharest, 1946, pp. 18-23.

[8] In English, The enslaving Romanian-German economic treaty of March 23, 1939.

[9] Ibidem, p. 22.

[10] Ibidem.

[11] Andrei Oţetea, Istoria contemporană a clasei a VII-a secundară, “Cugetarea” Publishing House, Bucharest, 1938, pp. 275-276.

[12] Apud Victor Tănăsescu, „Pagini antifasciste din manualele școlare românești”, in Magazin Istoric, year XIII.

[13] Andrei Oţetea, Tudor Vladimirescu și revoluția din 1821, Editura Științifică, Bucharest, 1971.

[14] Andrei Oţetea, L’Union des Principautésproblème de l’équilibre  européen au milieu du X1X-eme siècle (summer course in Sinaia, July 25-August 25 – no year).