Nicolae Ceausescu’s Last Speech (1989)

The world was rapidly changing with the end of the Cold War. Nicolae Ceausesu was losing his popularity as General Secretary and leader of Romania. The uprising against him could not be crushed. Other Eastern European states were in revolt when the Soviet Union withdrew military support. Ceausesu was different in certain respects seeing as he had more independence than other Eastern European communist states. He condemned the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Nicolae Ceausesu  even invited President Richard M. Nixon  to the Socialist Republic of Romania. What Ceausesu did was to play the West and  the East off against one another to secure his control and position in Eastern Europe. This meant having diplomatic relations with China and the United States. The Soviet Union had poor relations with both of these countries, which could have put Romania in a precarious situation. He also was influenced by the cult of personality of Kim il-Sung and Mao Zedong then decided to build his based on those models. The footage above was his last speech in December of 1989. The crowd is already frustrated, but Ceausesu’s attempts to placate them fail. The promise of a minimum wage increase seems like an empty proclamation. The standard of living in Romania had become so low, that it sparked rebellion. Exports of agricultural and industrial goods to pay for foreign debts caused the decline and the end of the regime.

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