Nicolae Ceausescu was the leader of Communist Romania for more than twenty years. He was the last communist leader in Romania, in 1989 he and his wife were executed. After the revolution in 1989 the democracy in Romania was restored.
Nicolae Ceaușescu was born on 26 January 1918 in a village of Scornicești near Bucharest as one of the 10 children to a poor family of peasants. Because of the lack of money in his family he could not get good education.
At the age of 11, after he left his family due to his abusive, alcoholic father, he stayed with his sister and worked in a workshop for a shoemaker Alexandru Săndulescu who was an active member of the Communist Party. Due to the influence of Communist surrounding he joined Romania’s worker movement in 1932. Because of joining the underground Communist Party, he was detained and sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was sent to a Doftana Prison in Brasov, where he was physically abused, harassed and maltreated.
Being imprisoned and physically abused in the mid-1930s permanently influenced Ceaușescu. He also met his mentor Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who was a revolutionary and later Communist leader of Romania, and Nicolae was also introduced to other party elders and Marxist-Lenin theories in prison.
Ceaușescu escaped from prison in 1944 after the Soviet invasion of Romania. In less than one year he began his climb to power as Romania fell under Communist rule.
During the next two decades with Gheorghiu-Dej as the country’s ruler Ceaușescu became an important part of the government and in 1955 he became a full-time member of the Politburo. Gheorghiu-Dej chose Ceausescu as his successor shortly before his death. Gheorghiu-Dej died of cancer on 19 March 1965.
Despite of that Gheorghiu-Dej chose Ceausescu as his successor, Nicolae was not the obvious leader, there were many older candidates. Nevertheless Ceaușescu was elected general secretary on 22 March 1965 and at the beginning he became quite popular not only in Romania, but also in states of the west block.
He refused to attend in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, which was held by Warsaw Pact forces in order to stop Prague Spring (a period of Alexander Dubček’s attempt to liberalise the regime in Czechoslovakia) and during his ruling Romania did not play any active role in the Warsaw Pact.
However, after a short period of relatively calm rule, Ceaușescu’s regime became increasingly brutal and repressive. His rule grew into the most rigidly Stalinist in the Soviet bloc. He controlled the media and the speech with rules that were very strict even by Soviet-bloc standards. He also created the secret police called the Securitate which became one of the most ever-present and brutal secret police forces in the world. In 1982, when he tried to pay off the large debt of Romania, Ceaușescu planned to export much of the country’s agricultural and industrial production. This action resulted in extreme shortages of many basic essentialities and drastically lowered living standards.
Ceaușescu’s regime broke down after he ordered his security forces to fire on anti-government demonstrators in the city of Timișoara on 17 December 1989. The demonstrations spread to Bucharest and became known as the Romanian Revolution, which was the only violent removal of a Communist government in the course of the revolutions of 1989. Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, fled the capital but were captured by the armed forces. On 25 December they were charged of genocide and sabotage of the Romanian economy by a special military tribunal. They were both convicted and then shot by a firing squad.