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Paperback | $22.00 Short | £30.95 | ISBN: 9780262561662| March 2003
 

The New Rumania

From People's Democracy to Socialist Republic

Overview

Originally published in 1967; back in print in 2003

As contemporary history in general, and political history in particular, this book will be of immeasurable interest to any student of East European affairs. It is based almost exclusively upon primary sources, and incorporates information secured by the author through direct interviews with Rumanian officials. By tracing the evolution of the "Rumanian course" from its ideological birth in the early 1940's to its practical application by Gherghiu-Dej and his successor and protégé, Nicole Ceausescu, the author has characterized not only independent nationalism but Communist rule as well.

Seemingly under the paternal tutelage of the Soviet Union, Rumania has in the past attracted little attention beyond the East European Communist bloc. While most countries paid scant attention, Rumania was busy smashing the image of her docility by systematically cementing policy to action in an attempt to assert her national independence. The origins and development of this independent course are set forth and explicated here, for the first time, in light of the political history of the Rumanian Communist Party.

That Rumania resisted Khruschev's internationalism and exploited the inherently contradictory policy of "peaceful coexistence" to further nationalist aims; that Rumania collaborated with China and openly courted Western social and cultural currents of influence despite Soviet admonitions; that, in short, Rumania rejected the stultifying security of the Communist bloc-is shown to be no mere "historic accident" born of whims and on-the-spot decisions. Stephen Fischer-Galati's interpretation of these events recognizes the element of continuity in Rumanian politics and relegates prominence to those political personalities, notably Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who "as early as 1955...were cautiously pursuing national policies first formulated in 1945 and envisaging a possible eventual assertion of independence from the Kremlin."

What emerged from the often precarious, always single-minded course followed by Rumania under the direction of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej was "the attainment of the objective conditions for independent action within the framework of general international cooperation." In exercising the skills of the professional historian, Professor Fischer-Galati takes elements of rationalization and propaganda into account but simultaneously finds Rumanian contentions justified by the impressive advances made by the nationalist Communist Party in coping with the socioeconomic situation.

Professor Fischer-Galati evaluates the extent of Rumanian transformation since 1944 with an eye to previously advanced claims and counterclaims, achieving thereby a balanced, objective view of national Communist fulfillment of Rumania's "historic legacy".