Romania History

By | November 5, 2021

People’s democracy and communist rule (1945 / 47–89)

Left alone by the Western powers (Churchill-Stalin Agreement, Moscow October 9, 1944), there was a rapid transformation into a “people’s democracy”; on March 6, 1945 Michael was forced to set up a coalition government of the “National Democratic Front” under P. Groza (1945–52), in which the Communist Party (KP) gained ever greater influence. The agrarian reform announced on March 23, 1945 first dissolved the large estates and paved the way for collectivization (completed in March 1962). After elimination of all opposition forces 1946-47 (including the trial of Maniu) and the ban on non-communist parties (1947), the Romanian Workers’ Party prevailed as the sole leading power after the unification with the Social Democrats (Unification Congress February 21-23, 1948) at the instigation of the Communist Party. The forced abdication of the king and the proclamation of the People’s Republic (December 30, 1947; constitution of April 13, 1948) as well as a Soviet-Romanian friendship and cooperation treaty (February 4, 1948) sealed the integration of Romania (1947 founding member of the Cominform) in the sphere of influence of the USSR; In 1949 the country joined the Comecon and in 1955 the Warsaw Pact (Eastern Bloc).

After the nationalization of the economy (June 1948) the industrialization of the agricultural country Romania was pushed forward rapidly. a. by expanding heavy industry. After 1960 General Secretary G. Gheorghiu-Dej (1945-65) – worried about a loss of power as a result of the de-Stalinization and favored by the withdrawal of the Soviet occupation troops in 1958 – a policy aimed at greater independence from the USSR. His successor N. Ceauşescu (1965 / 67-89) established a dictatorial system of rule (based on the secret police Securitate), which has been increasingly determined by a pronounced personality cult and nepotism since the 1970s.

Critics of the regime were arrested or expatriated (inter alia P. Goma, 1977). Ceauşescu practiced foreign policy  - also v. a. to consolidate his personal power – an “opening on all sides”.

The catastrophic economic situation (after 1980) and the intensified neo-Stalinist rule (serious human rights violations) led Romania into international isolation. The leveling of 7,000 of the 13,000 villages of Romanian Germans and Romanian-Hungarians announced in February 1983 in order to reclaim land for agro-centers gave rise to foreign policy tensions with Hungary and the Federal Republic of Germany (especially 1988/89).

Ceauşescu most strictly rejected the reform course initiated by M. S. Gorbachev in the USSR since 1985; on the other hand developed v. a. Non-conformist or regime-critical intellectual approaches by an opposition (citizens’ movement).

A first demonstration by students and workers in Braşov (November 15, 1987) could still be suppressed. But after Eastern Europe experienced a wave of peaceful revolutions in the autumn of 1989, bloody fought demonstrations and civil uprisings in Timişoara (December 16/17, 1989), then in Arad (December 18), triggered a popular uprising in Romania ( from 20. 12.), during which the army on 21./22. 12. sided with the protest movement. Bloody street fighting broke out in Bucharest from December 21st, also between army units and the Securitate. Ceauşescu, who fell on December 22nd, 1989, and his wife Elena were arrested on the 23rd of December while fleeing, sentenced to death by a military tribunal on 25th December 1989 in Târgovişte and executed. The new government formed a »Front of National Salvation« (FSN), which appointed I. Iliescu as provisional president on December 26, 1989 (»unfinished revolution«; casualty officially stated on May 24, 1990 as 1,038).

Foreign policy

In 1991 the Romanian parliament unanimously condemned the annexation of Bessarabia (1940) by the USSR (Moldova). The different views on the legal status of the Romanian-Hungarians burdened bilateral relations until the conclusion of a Hungarian-Romanian basic contract (1996); the Hungarian status law (in force since January 1, 2002) to support v. a. Romania-Hungary only found Romania’s approval at the end of 2001, but remained – as in the Slovak Republic and the EU – controversial. Nevertheless, at the end of November 2002 a declaration on a “strategic partnership” was signed (with special consideration of the protection of minorities in both countries).

According to educationvv, the central goal of Romania’s foreign policy was its political and military integration into the intergovernmental and supranational organizations of the western world. On February 1, 1993 the Romanian government signed an agreement on the association of Romania with the EC (Europe Agreement, in force since February 1, 1995). In the same year Romania became a member of the Council of Europe; On January 26, 1994, it became the first post-communist country to join NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” program. In June 1995 Romania submitted the formal application to join the EU. At the end of 1999 Romania received the status of a candidate for accession to the EU, the accession negotiations began at the beginning of 2000 and were concluded with the signing of the treaties in April 2005. An EU referendum – as in Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic – did not take place, but a referendum on the constitutional amendments to the EU norms (September 18/19, 2003). In the Kosovo war (1999) Romania supported the politics of NATO and the EU without receiving compensation for its economy damaged by the effects of the war (Danube shipping, sanctions against Yugoslavia). In February 2000 Romania, as a member of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (English abbreviation SEECP) with five Balkan countries and Turkey, was involved in the signing of a charter for cooperation and good neighborliness in Bucharest, and in February 2001 in Skopje a charter on stability and cooperation in the Balkan region. In November 2002, NATO decided to accept Romania as a future member.

On January 1, 2007, Romania became a member of the EU. Strict monitoring to monitor the political reform process was agreed. This particularly affected the judiciary and the inadequate fight against corruption. In 2010 a meeting on the EU Danube Strategy took place in Romania. Because of deficits in the fight against organized crime and corruption, v. a. France and Germany have spoken out against Romania’s accession to the Schengen area free of border controls, which was originally planned for March 2011. After a large majority in the EU Parliament in July 2011 for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen Agreement voted, at a meeting of the EU interior ministers in September 2011, however, the Netherlands and Finland also vetoed and again called for progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption. The EU Commission’s progress report for Romania published in July 2012 turned out to be negative against the background of the power struggle between the president and the government regarding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The country was placed under tightened control. The EU report of January 2014 acknowledged the country’s progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption, but the preservation of the independence of the judiciary continued to be viewed critically. Romania had not yet achieved full application of the Schengen Agreement and the legal acts derived from it by the end of 2016.

Romania History