Legacies of 1968: Autonomy and Repression in Ceausescu’s Romania, 1965-1989

by Crowder, Ashby B

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis examines the relationship between foreign policy autonomy and domestic repression in Romania from 1965 to 1989. This time period coincides with the rule of Romanian communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu. The thesis argues that Czechoslovakia's 1968 Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact invasion that spelled its end had a significant impact not only on Romanian foreign policy, but also on Romanian domestic policy, until the December 1989 Revolution. The legacy of the Prague Spring shaped the prism through which Romania's communist government evaluated threats domestic and foreign; in fact, it led the leadership to conflate the two, to the point where foreign interference was a necessary condition for domestic opposition in the official conception. Approaching the study of Romanian communism within this autonomy/repression dialectical framework, the thesis examines the relationship between ideological fanaticism and public policy in the Ceausescu regime. It discusses the ways in which the regime used tactics of manipulation, persuasion, and repression to cope with threats it saw as simultaneously domestic and foreign. The theory behind this approach, therefore, could be applied to other cases of repressive, autarchic dictatorship. The thesis offers new perspectives, arguments, and evidence, as it includes substantial original archival research as well as discussion of recent Romanian language literature. It is divided into four chapters. Chapter I reviews the literature on Romania’s autonomous foreign policy as well as the literature discussing the relationship between the autonomy policy and Romania's domestic affairs. Chapter II discusses Romania's political "thaw" in the 1960s, Romanian interpretations of the Czechoslovak Prague Spring, as well as Romanian evaluations of the Soviet threat it faced, or did not face, in the late 1960s and beyond. Chapter III discusses the "re-Stalinization" of Romanian politics and society in the years following the Prague Spring and relates the atmosphere of domestic repression to the perception of foreign threat. Chapter IV examines the effects of the autonomous course on the development of Romanian dissidence, opposition, and resistance in the 1980s.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ceausescu nicolae communism czechoslovakia dictatorship eastern europe prague spring romania romanian communist party soviet union warsaw treaty organization


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.