By Tim Lambert

His Early Life

Nicolae Ceausescu was a tyrant who ruled Romania. was born Ceausescu in 1918 into a Romanian peasant family. When he was very young Ceausescu became a Marxist.

Marxism was the creation of Karl Marx (1818-1883). According to him society went through an inevitable series of stages ending in Communism. The industrial workers, he said, would inevitably rise up against the capitalists and Capitalism would be replaced by Socialism in which the state would own industry. However the state would 'wither away' leaving a classless society or Communism. Needless to say the promised utopia never materialized. Marxism was a foolish dream.

When he was 15 Nicolae Ceausescu joined the Communist Party. Ceausescu was imprisoned twice, in 1936 for 2 years and in 1940 for 4 years. Meanwhile in 1940 he married Elena.

In June 1941 under Antonescu Romania joined the German invasion of Russia. However on 23 August 1944 Romania changed sides and declared war on Germany.

The Dictator

However after the war Russian troops were stationed in Romania, which made a Communist takeover inevitable. In February 1948 other left wing parties merged with the Communist Party and a totalitarian regime was introduced in Romania. Industry was nationalized.

In 1965 Nicolae Ceausescu became Secretary-General of the Romanian Communist Party. In 1967 he became President of the State Council. He now held 2 powerful positions. Finally in 1974 Ceausescu became president of Romania.

Nicolae Ceausescu made Romania independent of the Soviet Union, unlike other Eastern European states. When Czechoslovakia was invaded by other Communist states in 1968 Ceausescu denounced them. His refusal to submit to the Soviet Union made him popular in the west and President Nixon visited Romania in 1969. Ceausescu visited Britain and stayed in Buckingham Palace as a guest of the queen in 1979. The USA granted Romania 'most favored nation' status. Furthermore Romania made a trade treaty with the EEC (forerunner of the EU).

In 1977 Ceausescu helped with negotiations between Egypt and Israel.

However at home Nicolae Ceausescu ran a repressive regime. He also, like other Communist dictators created a cult of personality. In the 1980s Ceausescu built a huge and extremely expensive palace now called the Palace of Parliament. Many houses churches and synagogues were demolished to make way for the gigantic new structure, which was to be a private residence for Ceausescu and his wife.

Meanwhile Ceausescu was determined to build up heavy industry in Romania but his policies simply led to a fall in living standards for ordinary people in the 1980s. At first, Ceausescu borrowed heavily to finance industrialization but later decided to repay the debts. Much of Romania's industrial and agricultural output was used to repay them and the result was severe shortages. Any dissent was crushed by the feared secret police the Securitate.

However the Communist regime in Romania suddenly collapsed in 1989. In December demonstrations took place in Timisoara. On 21 December Ceausescu was booed by a crowd in Bucharest and demonstrations followed. The next day Ceausescu appeared on the balcony of the Central Committee Building but he was forced to escape by helicopter. Other Communists deserted Ceausescu and he was arrested. Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were shot on 25 December 1989.

A history of Romania

A short biography of Stalin

A short biography of Pol Pot

A short biography of Lenin

A short biography of Leon Trotsky

A short biography of Ivan the Terrible