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Chronology of Romania & Nicolae Ceausescu

(January 26) Nicolae Ceausescu born, Scornicesti village, Olt County, Oltenia (southwestern Romania).

1919 (January 7) Elena Petrescu born, Petristi village, Ilfov County, Wallachia, (southern Romania).
1929 Eleven year old Nicolae Ceausescu moves to Bucharest to work as shoemaker's apprentice.
1932 Nicolae Ceausescu joins Romanian Workers Party.

(June) Nicolae Ceausescu represents the "democratic" youth of Bucharest at an anti-fascist conference and is elected to the national Anti-Fascist Committee, a front organization for the RWP. (November 23) Ceausescu first arrested for inciting a strike and distributing pamphlets against state order.

1934 (June) Ceausescu arrested again for collecting signatures protesting the Craiova trial of the Grivisa railroad workers.

(August and September) Ceausescu jailed for third and fourth time. In his police file he is now described as a "dangerous communist agitator" and an "active distributor of communist and anti-fascist propaganda."

1935 Exiled from Bucharest, Ceausescu is confined to Scornicesti. Instead he goes underground and returns to Bucharest and political organizing.

(May) Ceausescu is tried in Brasov with a group of "anti-fascists." One of the accused, V. Tarnovski, protests so vehemently that the court excludes him from the trial. Ceausescu, declares his support of Tarnovski and incites other defendants to follow his example. He is given a six month sentence for his interruption and excluded from the rest of the trial.

1936-38 (June 6, 1936 -December 8, 1938) Ceausescu sentenced to two years in Doftana prison, plus six months for contempt of court, a fine of 2,000 lei, and a year of forced residence with his parents.

(August ) Ceausescu spreads communist slogans at a meeting organized by Bucharest leather and footwear workers' guild. Secret police records of the meeting reportedly show that the "communist Elena (Lenusa) Petrescu, a worker of the 'Jacquard factory,' spoke to the workers demanding "bread and justice."

1940 (July) Ceausescu sent to Jilava prison, near Bucharest, for political organizing.
1940 (November 26-27) Iron Guard attack on Jilava prison kills 64 prisoners. Communists are saved as they are protected by prison guards, whom they had radicalized. Ceausescu is particularly seen as responsible for this.
1943 (August) Ceausescu transferred to concentration camp at TÓrgu Jiu where he is interred with Communist leaders, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Chivu Stoica, and Ion Gheorghe Maurer.
1944 (August) Released from the concentration camp at TÓrgu Jiu. Appointed head of Union of Communist Youth. (September 22) First article "The United Front of Youth" appears.
1945 Brigadier General, Romanian Army.
1946 Elena and Nicolae married.
1946 Regional secretary of Oltenia.
1948 (March) Elected to Grand National assembly. Becomes candidate member of Party Central Committee. A son, Valentin, is adopted as part of a Romanian Workers Party campaign for Party cadres to adopt war orphans and others.
1949 (March) sent to the Ministry of Agriculture as a deputy minister.
1950 Daughter Zoia is born. (March) Becomes Deputy Minister in Ministry of Armed Forces.
1951 Son Nicu is born.
1952 (May) Promoted by Gheorghiu-Dej to full member of Central Committee of RWP.
1954 Becomes secretary of Central Committee and candidate member of Politburo.
1955 Becomes full member Politburo. (December 23-28) Seventh Congress of RWP. Ceausescu presents report on changes in the Party's statutes presumably as the Central Committee Secretary for Organizations and Cadres.
1965 (March 22) Ceausescu elected First Secretary of Romanian Communist Party, succeeding Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, three days after his death.
(August 21) Special session of Grand National Assembly which formally proclaims new constitution and changes name of country to Socialist Republic of Romania from People's Republic of Rumania to emphasize its passage to "socialist" status and its greater ties to West.
1966 (April) Tito and Ceasescu meet in Bucharest in the first of a series of regular annual encounters for economic and technical co-operation. (October) Series of laws passed making abortions illegal, divorce difficult to obtain, contraceptive use prohibited and increased the taxes on childless couples.
1969 (August 1-2) US President Richard M. Nixon visits Romania and Ceausescu in first foray abroad of his presidency.

(June) Ceausescu visits China and North Korea, meeting Mao Tse Tung and Kim Il Sung. Begins modeling his personality cult after theirs.


(April) Ceausescu, on visit to Cairo, meets with Anwar Sadat, Yasser Arafat, and other members of Palestine Liberation Organization to begin mediation of Mid-East war. (May) Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, visits Romania for meeting with Ceausescu.

1974 (March 28) Position of President of the Republic created especially for Ceausescu, who is then named President for life by Grand National Assembly. (October) "Law for the territorial, urban, and rural systemization" of Romania is passed. This is first envisaged as "depopulation of some less developed villages and increased housing and population densities in other rural settlements, destined eventually to become future centres of urbanization".
1975 Elena Ceausescu becomes Director of the Institute of Chemistry of the Romanian Academy.
1979 Elena becomes ex officio member of President's cabinet through her chairmanship of the National Council of Science and Technology. Romania is approximately 10 billion dollars in debt to Western banks for large scale industrialization of the 1970s. Ceausescu announces goal to eliminate debt within a decade.
1980 Elena becomes First Deputy Premier and second most powerful figure in Romania after Nicolae.
1981 Bread rationing reintroduced after 27 years. Measures taken to limit the consumption and storage of basic foodstuffs such as edible oil, sugar, flour, rice, coffee, and corn. Drastic energy conservation measures also imposed.
1982 Scornicesti becomes a model town for Ceausescu’s new Romania. Museum honoring the town's most famous native son inaugurated.
1984 (Early) Demolition of 10,000 hectares begins in the Uranus Hill residential area of central Bucharest, for centuries one of the city's landmarks, to make way for a new palace. Victory of Socialism Boulevard designed to be at least as long as the Avenue des Champs Elysees ending in the massive House of the People (Casa Poporului) edifice, rumored to be the largest governmental structure in the world. (Spring) Systemization advanced for rest of country. More than 11,000,000 people throughout country to be resettled from private one- family houses as apartment building tenants. 7,000 of 13,123 villages to disappear in ten years with remaining rural sites replaced by standard 4-5 story apartment buildings. (Summer) Romania sends team to Los Angeles Olympic Games despite Soviet-led boycott.
1985 Ceausescu's proclamation of a "scientific" diet for Romanians, is interpreted by them to limit consumption thus supporting exports.
1987 Nicu Ceausescu, heir apparent, is named head of Sibiu County government.
1989 (December 16) Riots break out on in Timisoara in southwest Romania. Police open fire, killing scores of people. (December 17) Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu leave for state visit in Iran. (December 21) 100,000 people gather outside Central Committee Building. Ceausescu attempts to give speech. Eight minutes into speech, crowd begins chanting "Timisoara!" and "Down with the murderers!" (December 22) With crowds besieging the Central Committee building and the army now on side of the revolutionaries, Nicolae and Elena flee in a helicopter piloted by Lt. Colonel Vasile Malusan. Later taken into custody by rebellious army elements. (December 22-25) the Ceausescus are incarcerated in a constantly moving armored personnel carrier in the TÓgoviste army base. (December 25) the Ceausescus are put on trial in an army base schoolroom which serves as a makeshift courtroom. Throughout the trial, Nicolae rejects the legitimacy of the court, proclaims the rebellion as a coup d’etat and states that "I can only be tried before the Grand National Assembly and before the representatives of the working class." (December 25) Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu executed by firing squad. Their corpses are removed to initially unmarked burial sites in Ghencea Cemetery, southwest Bucharest.
1990 (April) Crowds protesting restitution of former Communists to power, take over University Square in Bucharest setting up tent city. (May 20) First post-revolutionary presidential elections. Ion Iliescu elected by a considerable margin amid claims of voting irregularities. (June 14) Miners from Jiu Valley in western Romania invade Bucharest at Iliescu’s behest and attack and demolish University Square tent city protests. (September 21) Nicu Ceausescu convicted and sent to prison.
1996 (September 26) Nicu Ceausescu, out of prison, dies of cirrhosis of liver. (November) Emil Constantinescu, former rector of University of Bucharest and head of opposition coalition, Democratic Convention, is elected president.
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Prepared by David Kideckel, Liz Haley & John Schoeberlein, 1998