1944-1948 1956-1968

A People's Republic, 1948-1956

Administration . The People's Republic was proclaimed in 1948. The National Democratic Front, established in 1945, would present a list of candidates at general elections, which the voters would approve; general elections were held in 1948 and 1952. Petru Groza held the office of PM from 1945 until 1952; he was succeeded by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1952-1955) and Chivu Stoica (1955-1961). Within the People's Republic of Romania, the position of Secretary General of the Communist Party was more important; it was held by G. Gheorghiu-Dej 1944-1954, by Gheorghe Apostol 1954-1955, by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej 1955-1965.

Foreign Policy : Romania joined the COMECON in 1949, became a founding member of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, was admitted to the UN in 1955. In 1948, when a dispute between the USSR, Bulgaria and Albania on one side, Tito's Yugoslavia on the other broke out, Romania sided with the USSR.
Romania pursued a confrontational policy toward western countries, including the Vatican and Turkey, forcing foreign-owned companies into bankrupcy to cover up intended nationalization, accusing individual foreigners to be spies etc. In such trials the judiciary was used as a political tool.

Political History : In 1948 Romania was proclaimed a people's republic, with all the characteristics of Soviet satellite states of such a constitution : a camouflaged one-party-state (the Romanian Workers' Party dominating the NDF), a planned economy, nationalized industry, mines, collectivized farmland, a strongly hierarchic administration. From 1948 to 1952, the official name of Romania was RPR (Romanian People's Republic).
1950 saw party purges and an administrative reform rearranging the organization of the country into districts.

The Economy : Romania had rich mineral deposits (coal, petrol, even some gold), a rather weak industry, but a traditionally strong architecture. The nationalization of industries, domestic as well as foreign-owned, began in 1948. In 1949 and 1950, Romania implemented one-year-plans; the first (and rather ambitious) five-year-plan was implemented in 1951-1955. Romania economically was rather dependent on the USSR, which claimed most of her mineral and oil production (and set the rouble exchange rate). Collectivization began in 1948, but progress was comparatively slow and was completed in 1962.
In 1948, Romania produced 2.39 million metric tons of wheat, in 1953 a bumper 3.96 million, in 1956 2.43 million (IHS p.294). COMECON suggested to develop Romania into Eastern Europe's breadbasket; the Romanian administration instead pushed for the development of heavy industries.

Ethnic, Religious Minorities . The Romanian People's Republic promoted atheism.
In 1948 the Uniate Church was compelled to merge with the Orthodox Church; Uniate clergy who refused to comply faced arrest. The standardization of Romanian schools in 1948 resulted in the closure of all foreign schools. When relations with Yugoslavia deteriorated, the Romanian administration pressurized the Serb minority living in the Romanian part of the Banat.
In the years 1947 to 1956, most of Romania's Jews emigrated to Israel.
Romania's ethnic German community was treated badly. In 1951 over a thousand ethnic Germans from the Banat were forcefully resettled in the Baragan Steppe; they were allowed to return in 1955.
In 1952 a Hungarian Autonomous Provibnce within Romania was created, covering most of Northern Transylvania.

Social History . The census of 1948 counted 15.8 million inhabitants of Romania, the census of 1956 17.4 million.
The Communist administration had emancipated the women in 1948, granted them voting rights, had improved girls' access to education, career opportunities.
Other successful policies of the Communist administration included improved education in general and better medical care. Following Stalin's Death in 1953, Romania began the process of closing down labour camps.

Cultural History . Romanian athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960. Marksman Iosif Sirbu in Helsinki 1952 won Romania's first gold medal.

Articles Elections in Romania, Petru Groza, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Chivu Stoica, Berihah, History of the Jews in Romania, Banat Swabians, Hungarian Autonomous Province, Romania at the 1952 Summer Olympics, Communist Romania, from Wikipedia
Post World War II History of Romania, from Brief History of Romania
Article Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic, History of Romania : Communist Romania, from Wikipedia
The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, from Radio Romania International
The Vatican and the Romanian Greek Catholics in the Light od some Documents of the Securitate 1965-1999, by Christian Vasile
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Romania, by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Romania, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Warsaw Pact Treaty 1955, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Rumanian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money and from Currency Museum
Flag of the RPR, 1948-1952, from FOTW
REFERENCE IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, NY : Stockton Press 1992 [G]
Ehemaliges Bundesministerium für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kriegsgeschädigte (ed.), Das Schicksal der Deutschen in Rumänien (The Fate of the Germans in Romania), Augsburg : Weltbild 1994 [G]
Article : Rumania, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1950 pp.607-608, 1951 pp.609-610, 1952 pp.610-611, 1953 pp.618-619, 1954 pp.621-622, 1955 pp.669-670, 1956 pp.606-607, 1957 pp.667-668 [G]
Article : Rumania, in : Americana Annual 1957 pp.678-680 (on events of 1956) [G]
Article : Rumania, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1952 pp.354-355 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 10th 2002, last revised on June 26th 2007

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