AKA ‘Genius of the Carpathians’.
Kill tally: An estimated 5,000 killed during the 1989 revolution that ousted Ceausescu. Possibly thousands of deaths per year during the 1980s from deprivations caused by an unnecessary austerity program. Tens of thousands more lives ruined during Ceausescu’s reign.
Background: Romania achieves independence in 1878, becoming a constitutional monarchy. The Romanian Communist Party is banned in 1924 because of its ties with the Soviet Union but continues to operate underground. The country is occupied by the Germans during the Second World War and falls behind the Soviet Union’s ‘Iron Curtain’ at war’s end. With Soviet backing the Romanian Communist Party takes control of the government. The king is forced to abdicate. On 13 April 1948 the government proclaims the Romanian People’s Republic and adopts a Stalinist constitution.
Mini biography: Born on 26 January 1918 in the village of Scornicesti, 130 km west of Bucharest in southern Romania. His father is a peasant. When he is 11 Ceausescu moves to Bucharest, the nation’s capital, to work as a shoemaker’s apprentice. Read the rest of this entry »