The “Centenary. Marasti, Marasesti, Oituz” exhibition, which will be inaugurated on Tuesday, starting at 17.00 at the National History Museum of Romania, will present to the visitors, with the help of the images, archive documents, maps and objects, dramatic events of the summer of 1917.
The exhibition is opened at the National History Museum of Romania since Wednesday to Sunday and it can be visited until the beginning of 2018.
The organizers are the National History Museum of Romania (MNIR) under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, in cooperation with the National Archives of Romania, the National Military Museum “King Ferdinand I”, the Association “Prospectorii Istoriei”, The Vrancea Museum – Focsani and the County Museum Complex “Iulian Antonescu” – Bacau.
The most glorious moments of the Romanian Army during the World War I were recorded in the summer and in the early autumn of 1917. In Marasti, Marasesti and Oitus, “the Romanian fully proved (…) that if he is well armed and leaded, he could face any soldier in the world”. Against great sacrifices, in “cruel circumstances, painfully bitter for our soldiers, who were fighting to regain their homes” (Queen Marie), they defended what was left from the free Romania.
For the conduct of the military operations in 1917, the War Council decided that two “blows” had to be implemented: one of them, given by the Romanian Army 2 in the Marasti area, with the purpose to fix the enemy forces and to support the actions conducted by the Romanian Army 1, and one of the Russian Army 4, which had to give the second “blow” on the Inferior Siret, in the Namoloasa area.
The objective: to destroy the main group of forces of the enemy, represented by the German Army 9.
The result of the Battle of Marasti (July 11/24 – July 19/August 1, 1917), the Romanian Army 2 managed to make a break large of 30 km and deep of 20 km in the front of the Austro-Hungarian Army, causing the command of the Central Powers to change its operation plan and bring significant reinforcements in the area. The Romanian Army lost 1460 soldiers, and other 3419 soldiers were injured and missing. 2200 death soldiers and 4700 injured and missing soldiers were recorded on the side of the Central powers.
Romanian soldiers captured 2700 prisoners. A very important issue was the moral impact on the Romanian soldiers and officers, who saw for the first time that the strong enemy army can be defeated.
The Battle of Marasesti (July 24 / August 6 – August 21 / September 3, 1917) was , by its length, proportions and intensity, the most important battle occurred on the Romanian front during the World War I. By losing the battle at Marasesti, the Central Powers had to waive for good the offensive actions on the Romanian front and to start defending themselves. “The Germans told after the war that they were going to fight at Marasesti carelessly, thinking that they have to face the people from the previous autumn, and they were so amazed when they had to face the new enthusiasm of the Romanians, which they compared to the one of the French soldiers on the Western front”, according to Constantin Argetoianu.
The Romanian Army 1 lost 27,410 people (16 percent of the troops at the beginning of the battle): 5,125 dead soldiers, 9,818 missing soldiers and 12,467 injured soldiers. The Russian Army 4 lost approx. 25,650 people – 7,083 dead soldiers, 8,167 missing soldiers and 10,400 injured soldiers. The German Army 9 recorded more than 60,000 people out of the battle (dead, missing or injured people).
Simultaneously with the Battle of Marasesti, the third battle took place at Oituz (July 26 / August 8 – August 9 / 22, 1917). The Central powers were stopped against serious losses: 1,800 dead soldiers, of which 52 soldiers were officers, 4,850 injured soldiers of which 143 were officers, and 5,700 missing soldiers, of which 27 were officers. In total, more than 12,000 fighters. The enemy recorded extremely large losses (1,500 soldiers of the Central Powers died only at Ciresoaia).
The victories at Marasti, Marasesti and Oituz prevented Romania to be out of the war and temporarily stopped the Central powers to advance to Ukraine.