Before ww2 who was more powerful Bulgaria, Hungary or Romania?

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,747
Western Eurasia
#11
Hungary was two times wealthier per capita than Romania was during this time?
The per capita GDP was apparently more than double indeed.

Though Ficino once brought to my attention that Maddison's datas were adjusted to the present day borders. We discussed that here and he presented more updated datas on Romanian GDP/capita
Is modern Greece a part of the 'West'?
Is modern Greece a part of the 'West'?
The total GDP of interwar Romania was slightly higher than the data given by Maddison (still less than of Hungary's) because in reality Romania also included Bessarabia and South Dobruja that time, but so was its population larger, and at the end the per capita GDP was even slightly lower than originally calculated by Maddison. Romania had 10 million more citizens than Hungary in 1938, but little lower total GDP.
In Hungary's case there was no change, the 1938 borders were the same as today, except 3 villages that were given to Czechoslovakia by the 1947 Paris peace treaty, so Maddison's datas IMO can be used safely for it.

Present day Bulgaria includes South Dobruja, which was part of Romania in 1938, so there again a little correction would be needed in Maddison's historical datas, but i don't think it would change the outcome that Bulgaria had the smallest economy out of these 3 countries, but per capita GDP she was slightly above Romania.
So the order in total GDP in 1938: 1. Hungary, 2. Romania, 3. Bulgaria;
per capita GDP: 1. Hungary, 2. Bulgaria, 3. Romania;
Population size: 1. Romania, 2. Hungary, 3. Bulgaria.

I guess the size of the militaries had the same order as the population of the respective countries.
 
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Likes: Futurist
Apr 2017
1,119
U.S.A.
#12
All three states primarily used equipment from France, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Germany.
In 1939 Hungary was in the process of rapidly expanding and reorganizing their military (they had been under arms limitations similar to Germany), so how powerful they were can vary greatly year to year in this period. They were beginning to produce their own tanks/armored cars (only prototypes until 1940) and other weapons.
Romania had a decent amount of heavy artillery looted from Austria-Hungary after WW1 (including super heavy 30.5 cm and 38 cm guns) and various other weapons. During the war they produced a series of interesting armored weapons. Interestingly Romania committed more troops during the war than all of Germany's other allies combined (except Italy). This is often said to have been in a morbid attempt to outperform Hungary in hopes of gaining back northern Transylvania.
Bulgaria was clearly the weakest of the three, they had little armored equipment and no heavy artillery (most imported). Even during the war the paled in comparison to Hungary and Romania.
Industry is also important when considering strength, Hungary had a larger industrial base than Romania; again Bulgaria trailing last.
Romania had unlimited oil for itself, Hungary had some (easily enough for itself), Bulgaria was reliant on imports.

So overall, Hungary had better industry, a better economy, more modern equipment and decent oil. Romania had a larger population base to draw upon, heavier artillery (albeit aging), unlimited oil (for its own use) and a decent economy. Bulgaria had little industry, the smallest population of the three (and fielded the smallest army of the three during the war), few valuable resources and few modern weapons.
Despite this, if any of the three could be said to have gained something from the war it would be Bulgaria, who actually gained territory and suffered less in comparison.
If you wanted to make comparisons you could say Hungary was like Germany, Romania was like Russia and Bulgaria was like Italy (?).
 
Mar 2019
6
Florida, US
#13
If in terms of military power, Romania, for its larger population of an army and air force would be more powerful during such a time period. However, it is just as easy to say that Hungary had more economic power for their oil supply and greater growth. In favoring military over economic power during World War Two, I would make the conclusion that Romania is a greater threat than Hungary.
 
Mar 2019
6
cucumber
#14
Romania had not any serious machine industry (most of them was inherited from Transylvania) , it was not urbanized, and even its capital city was not a metropolis (city over a million by early 20th century standard) until the communist era. There were no large industrial (machinery or electronics) companies in Romania until the communist era. I think in development pre WW1 Romania was on the same level like Tzarist Russia.

Kingdom of Romania had only 3500km railways in 1910s, not more than the small Transylvania had. (Hungary had 22000km long railway length in 1910, which did not include Croatian )
 
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Likes: macon
Oct 2013
13,861
Europix
#15
Romania had not any serious machine industry (most of them was inherited from Transylvania) , it was not urbanized, and even its capital city was not a metropolis (city over a million by early 20th century standard) until the communist era. There were no large industrial (machinery or electronics) companies in Romania until the communist era. I think in development pre WW1 Romania was on the same level like Tzarist Russia.

Kingdom of Romania had only 3500km railways in 1910s, not more than the small Transylvania had. (Hungary had 22000km long railway length in 1910, which did not include Croatian )
I think OP is referring by "before WWII" at the period between the two WW.

If yes, than the situation before WWI is rather irrelevant: none of the countries mentioned in the OP were the same.

After WWI Romania included Transilvania and Bessarabia. That the Transilvanian industry, railroads, resources were "inherited" isn't of any relevance. Romania had them and could use them, Hungary not. It's why the balance totally changed after WWI:

...
Of the three it had the greatest population, and by far most valuable natural resources...
.
 
Mar 2019
27
Europe
#16
Romania (Wallachia) for many years have been under Bulgarian rule.
Bulgaria after WWI included todays North Macedonia and vast territories of Northern Greece.
So at one point was roughly the size of Romania I guess.
Even without South Dobruja was a huge territory.
 
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Sep 2012
3,720
Bulgaria
#17
@armageddon87 Welcome to the forum!

Romania (Wallachia) for many years have been under Bulgarian rule.
Sure. During medieval times and for a while after the end of 1916 when their capital fell and great chunk of their Kingdom was under the control of Central Powers.
Bulgaria after WWI included todays North Macedonia and vast territories of Northern Greece .
After the First Balkan War I presume you meant, after WWI situation was pretty gruesome.
So at one point was roughly the size of Romania I guess.
Other then medieval times, after the First Balkan War for a while idd.
Even without South Dobruja was a huge territory.
.. and we should thank as oddly as it looks AH for the Treaty of Craiova. For nearly three decades this territory was part of the Kingdom of Romania.
 

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