State, society, and borders: What did the new borders of and within Maramures mean for local societies?
In 1919 the territory of the formerly Hungarian Máramaros County was divided by a demarcation line between the districts occupied by the Romanian and Czechoslovakian militaries. Since 1916 there already existed an arrangement about the frontier between the two countries, but the final borderline — which was not identical with the demarcation line of 1919 — was fixed on May 4, 1921, and took effect only in the summer of 1926. Throughout the negotiations over the border, arguments were put on paper that the whole territory of the former Hungarian county should belong to Romania, based on historical, economic, and geographic reasons. Moreover, in 1920 the Romanian Minister of War, General Ioan Rășcanu, addressed a report to the Romanian Foreign Minister detailing that the Ruthenians of the northern part of the county preferred to belong to Romania. The chronology of the events, and bureaucratic structures and hierarchies, are not the only details that can be reconstructed from the published official documents. The argumentative strategies, logic, and considerations of the Romanian and Czechoslovakian military and administrative elites regarding the delineation of the border also become clear through these sources. Beyond this discursive level, the archival sources on the implementation of the frontier offer many insights into the impact of the new border on everyday life. What happened when property was taken from its owner? How did herders exercise their pasture rights when this territory was annexed to another country? What kind of conflicts were generated by the new minority issues? This presentation focuses on the discrepancy between the two levels of the border delimitation: the level of the state and the level of society.