Ceausescu & Romania

Form of Authority

photo: Party Day paradephoto montage: Ceausescu with Brezhnev, then NixonRomanian socialism (1944-1989) proclaimed the transformative power of the state under the all-knowing leader. Mass rallies and visits by Nicolae Ceausescu to the provinces reinforced this policy as did the international recognition won by taking advantage of Cold War antagonisms.

Death & Transition

photo: Ceausescu "trial"photo: Elena Ceausescu's hands are boundAfter being held captive for three days, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were condemned by a military tribunal whose authority they rejected. Their hasty and particularly gruesome execution fueled popular views that they were silenced to conceal the misdeeds of others.

photo: National Salvation Front on TVphoto: post-revolution soup kitchenAmbiguity surrounds the "events" of December 1989. Was it a genuine revolution or a conspiracy by Ceausescu's lieutenants to prevent loss of their power? The end of socialism introduced economic uncertainty, the flowering of patronage, and constant political intrigue.

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Prepared by David Kideckel, Linda Fisher, & John Borneman, May 1998