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The Rise and Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, “the Romanian Fuehrer”

December 31, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Traditionally, Christmas is a time of peaceful reflection and restful appreciation of the fast disappearing year. In 1989, there was much to contemplate.


The most dramatic symbol of totalitarian tyranny, the Berlin Wall, fell dramatically. The Evil Empire, as Ronald Reagan memorably described the Soviet Union, was dissolving. The Soviet satellites were gone: Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Bulgaria all defenestrated their communist rulers. Even the Soviet republics were restless, headed out of the Russian-dominated union. Indeed, Lithuania was just a couple months away from declaring independence.

Even the ruthless totalitarian state created by Romania’s dictator and dictatress, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, was gone. And they were subjected to justice after 24 years in power. It was imperfect, but it was justice nonetheless.


The Rise of Ceausescu


Nicolae was a member of the communist youth movement. He was arrested and imprisoned multiple times. His 1936 mugshot at age 18 still haunts the internet. His country passed from traditional monarchy to troubled democracy to royal dictatorship to military control to occupied territory. In World War I, Bucharest had gained territory seized from the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires. As World War II approached, Romania lost those lands. First allied with the Nazis, Bucharest switched sides in 1944 but was still dominated by the conquering Soviet Union, which established a communist government.

Ceausescu rose within the system, becoming party general secretary in 1965 and president in 1967. He trended liberal at first, easing censorship and denouncing the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. But by 1971, he had shifted back, mimicking the Chinese communists by issuing “July Theses” and imposing “Socialist Humanism,” the ultimate oxymoron.

He vied with Albania’s Enver Hoxha to establish the most totalitarian European communist state, while maintaining independence from Moscow. In fact, Ceausescu became the West’s favorite communist, despite the devastation that he wreaked on his own people.


Thirty years have passed, but it is important never to forget the evil that men and women can commit.


His …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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