Nicolae Ceausescu -Roman`s Former Dictator
AuthorNicolaeCeausescu -Roman`s Former Dictator
NicolaeCeausescu was born in Scornicesti, Olt County on 26th January 1918 where he studied until age 11, before escaping toBucharest. In Bucharest he became an apprentice shoemaker in theworkshop of Alexandru Sandulescu, who introduced him to an illegalCommunist party. During the early 1930s, he was involved inactivities of Romanian Communist Youth movement where he was jailedseverally in 1933 for street fighting during strike, in 1934 forcollecting signaturesto protest the railway workers’ trial and in1936 for contempt of Court. He later married Elena Petrescu acommunity activist in 1939 before being arrested in 1943 forConspiracy against social order where he met his cell mate, theCommunist leader Gheorghe Georgiou- Dej whom later became thecommunist leader of Romania in 1952. In 1944-45, right after escapingPrison, Nicolae became a secretary of the Union of communist Youth.In 1947 he headed the ministry of Agriculture before serving as theDeputy Prime Minister of Armed forces under Gheorghe Gheorghiu whomhe later succeeded and became the general secretary of Romania’scommunist party from July 1967 (Kunze28). He was later affirmed as the head of state.
Initially,Nicolae gained popularity for adopting an independent foreign policy.In his regime, he made notable achievements in construction offactories and schools, establishment of hydroelectric plant,introducing free education and subsidized higher education. He alsoadvanced modern technology and science, promoted industrializationand boosted agriculture through collective irrigation schemes(Câmpeanu36). He was depicted as international statesman due to his ability toarbitrate in international conflicts and strived to maintain peace inRomania.
Early1970s, he introduced an open policy towards United States and WestEurope. Romania became the first among the Eastern European countriesto join the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) and togetherwith Yugoslavia established trade agreements with European EconomicCommunity. His frequent official visits US, UK, Spain and Francedepicted him as a reforming communist. He was respected due to hisability to arbitrate in international conflicts and negotiate ininternational forums. He maintained diplomatic relationship with bothIsrael and PLO (Kligman46). Romania participated in Both Moscow and Summer Olympics evenafter most of East European countries boycotted the Summer Olympics.In late 1960s, Nicolae made abortion illegal and complicated thedivorce process in effort to increase the population (Kunze29).
Ceausescuintroduced a system of governance in 1974 and changed his title toexecutive President. This system enabled him to be re-elected everyfive years, not because he was the best statesman but because he hadpowers to execute state functions that did not require thelegislature. He fired the president of Supreme Court and prosecutorgeneral at his will granting himself all the governing powers(Câmpeanu44). He also emulated North Korea’s System of Governance includingestablishment of personal cults in his regime, giving himself titlessuch as the Conducator, and building himself a King- like scepter.Further, Nicolae appointed his wife, Elena and other members of hisextended family to high posts in the government and the Party. In1978, Ceausescu overhauled the whole security after Ion Mihai Pacepadefected to United States (Kligman53).
Byearly 1980, Ceasescu government had accumulated a huge foreign debt. He was able to borrow heavily from the West but the loans laterdevastated the Country’s finances. The country’s funds were alsoconstrained after the collapse of a secured deal to obtain cheap oilfrom Iran. The deal collapsed after Shah was overthrown. To offsetthe huge foreign debt, he ordered enormous volumes of exports ofagricultural and industrial products and also changed theconstitutions to hinder Romania from getting more loans from West.This led shortages of agricultural and industrial products includingbasic necessities (Kligman63). There were food rationing and frequent power outages in Romanialeading to low standards of living and social unrest. He alsocurtailed the media freedom and engaged a secret police force toenforce the controls. All Radio stations were also closed and peoplewere only entitled to watch one broadcasting channel at limited timeevery day. This led to frequent demonstrations in the city ofTimisoara which later spread to Bucharest (Kunze39). He escaped a Coup d’état organized in 1984 when he sent thearmy involved to harvest maize. Ceasescu regime came to an end whenhe ordered his secret police to fire the anti-governmentdemonstrators in Timisoara killing and injuring innocentdemonstrators. The Army joined the demonstrators and capturedCeasescu and his wife as they were trying to free the Capital city(Câmpeanu56). On December 25, the couple was tried hurriedly and convicted ofmass murder, illegal gathering of wealth and other crimes. They werelater shot by the firing squad.
Inconclusion, Nicolae Ceausescu may have been one of the mostfundamental figures in the Roman history. In spite of hailing fromrelatively humble grounds, Ceausescu managed to rise to the highestoffice in the land, where he made crucial changes in the policies andstructures of governance in the country. Of particular note is theadoption of the independent or open system and the welcoming ofinternational partners. However, the huge debts that his regimeincurred had devastating effects on the economy, with the governmentengaging in considerably dictatorial tendencies so as to keeprevolution and opposition down.
Câmpeanu,Pavel. Ceaus̜escu:the Countdown.Boulder: East European Monographs, 2003. Print.
Kligman,Gail. ThePolitics of Duplicity: Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu`sRomania.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Print
Kunze,Thomas. NicolaeCeauşescu:Eine Biographie.Berlin: Links, 2000. Print.