In March of 1989, six prominent members of the Romanian Communist Party sent Nicolae Ceauşescu an open letter which was also leaked to the international press. In it they explicitly disagreed with his policies and suggested a number of reforms. In the context of numbing propaganda and relatively little overt resistance to his regime the letter seemed a bold move, in line with other reformers….
In February 1990, the ethnographer Irina Nicolau and a few friends, printed 250 copies of Ne-a luat valul [On the Crest of the Wave], the first book published in Romania about the 1989 Revolution. Included were 141 pieces of graffiti from December 1989-January 1990. This brochure was produced by Nicolau in 1999, when she served as director of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant….
One of the most decisive moments in the Romanian Revolution of 1989 was Ceausescu’s December 21st speech (or lack thereof). This speech was an annual event and carefully scripted by the regime to insure both success and the appearance of popular support. Workers, military units and other popular organizations were bused to the capitol and given orders on where to stand, when to applaud and….
One of the more challenging parts of teaching Romania is the relative unfamiliarity of many Americans with the geography of the places in Eastern Europe, especially the Balkans. Having some grounding in 'where' things are happening leads to better understanding of why and how things are happening. Thus, a good place to begin any study of Eastern Europe is to show students a map of the….
In the last years of the regime, Pavel Câmpeanu, a prominent sociologist and a lifelong leftist and former prison cellmate of Nicoale Ceauşescu during World War II managed to smuggle out this article, which was published in The New York Review of Books. For his safety, the editors did not publish his name since it was known that the Romanian secret service was quick to punish, even….
As the confrontation in Timisoara continued, the Romanian government tried to stonewall in its diplomatic contacts, and thus control the flow of information, in the hope that the repression unleashed against protesters would succeed in pacifying the rebels and then the dictatorship could resume business as usual. Personnel in all Romanian embassies around the world were asked to a) pretend that….
The seemingly cordial conversation between the Soviet and Romanian communist leaders less than two weeks before the troubles started in Timişoara provides evidence of the wide differences between them. Ceauşescu wields the formulas of orthodox socialism, while Gorbachev tries to point him toward modernization, change, flexibility, and listening to the wishes of the Romanian people. Ceauşescu….
Written on March 11, 1990, the Timisoara Proclamation, was a 13-point document that called for continuing to build on the victory over the communist dictatorship achieved in December 16-20, 1989. The Timsoreni expressed frustration that their efforts had been marginalized by the new regime in Bucharest although they alone had confronted the Ceausescu government courageously before others joined….
Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu fled from Bucharest by helicopter on December 22, but the pilot soon landed, claiming that they would be fired upon. The couple then hijacked a car but they were recognized, chased and caught by local police in Tirgoviste. Ion Iliescu announced on national television the next day that the Ceausescus had been arrested, and he said, “The time will come for their just….
The transcript of the Mitterrand – Gorbachev meeting of July 1989 illustrates the international awareness of the extensive control and repression of citizens in Ceauşescu’s Romania. Unlike his predecessors, Gorbachev was not in control of the Eastern block countries, nor the defender of communist orthodoxy; on the contrary, he had loosened state control over the economy and society, and….
One of the most important indicators of a societies transition to what economists often call “modern industrial society” is a decline in infant mortality rates. As you might imagine, declines in infant mortality rates are also very important to individual citizens, because it means that their children are much more likely to live to adulthood. This rate reflects the number of children who….
Modern map of Romania. Timişoara (Temesvar in Hungarian) has become more homogeneous during the 20th century, but remained a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional city, closer in distance and perhaps culture to the Serbian (Yugoslav) and Hungarian capitals than to….
The Map showing the political and administrative areas of Romania. While the borders have remained stable since 1945, some of the neighboring states have changed after the fall of communism in the….
The original map came from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Timişoara (Temesvar in Hungarian) in Western Romania was long under Habsburg rule. Like much of Austria-Hungary, the city has been ethnically and religiously diverse. The Banat’s political ties to Romania date only to….
Of all of the East Central European revolutions, only Romania's turned violent. After government security forces killed protesters in the city of Timisoara, violence broke out between the army and the secret police, with the army standing by the protesters. Following a failed speech in the main square of Bucharest on December 21, 1989, Prime Minister Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were hunted….