Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism / Edition 1

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Stalinism for All Seasons is the first comprehensive history of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP). It traces the origins of the once-tiny, clandestine revolutionary organization in the 1920s through the years of national power from 1944 to 1989 to the post-1989 metamorphoses of its members. Vladimir Tismaneanu uses documents that he discovered while working in the RCP archives in Bucharest in the mid-1990s and interviews with many of the party members from the Ceau_escu and Gheorghiu-Dej eras to tell the absorbing story of how RCP members came to power as exponents of Moscow and succeeded in turning themselves into champions of autonomy. Tismaneanu analyzes both the main events in Romanian communism and the role of significant personalities in the party’s history. Situating the rise and fall of Romanian communism within the world revolutionary movement, Stalinism for All Seasons shows that the history of communism in one country can illuminate the development of communism in the twentieth century.

Tismaneanu discusses significant moments in the final six decades of world communism, including the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Comintern, Stalin and the Bolshevization of the Eastern European communist parties, and de-Stalinization. He examines important events in international affairs during Nicolae Ceau_escu’s rule (1965-1989)—particularly Romania’s role in the Sino-Soviet conflict, the Middle East, European communism, and European security. Finally, Tismaneanu identifies the RCP’s descendants among Romania’s current political parties and personalities. Embracing a long and complex period, this book will interest readers of twentieth-century history and anyone curious about communism and postcommunism.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Tismaneanu's book is less a political history of communism than it is a thorough account of leadership battles in the Romanian Communist Party from its origins at the turn of the nineteenth century to its demise in 1989. Born to parents who were well-connected party members, Tismaneanu was among the first into the archives, and he uses new material not simply to fill the gaps but to shed light on the paradoxes of Romanian communism: how a pariah party that was Stalinist to the core eventually turned on its Soviet master and embraced nationalism — and how "national Stalinism" was acceptable to the West as long as it meant autonomy from Moscow. That is, until it became grotesque in Nicolae Ceausescu's last decade, leading to the regime's violent death. Still, Tismaneanu argues, history notwithstanding, the refurbished party remains a central force in Romania.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520237476
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2003
  • Series: Society and Culture in East-Central Europe Series, #11
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 395
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Vladimir Tismaneanu is Professor of Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park; Director of the university's Center for the Study of Post-Communist Societies; and editor of the journal East European Politics and Societies. He is the author of and editor of numerous books, including Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel and Fantasies of Salvation: Nationalism, Democracy, and Myth in Post-Communist Europe.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Why a History of Romanian Communism?

1. Understanding National Stalinism: Legacies of Ceausescu’s Socialism
2. A Messianic Sect: The Underground Romanian Communist Party, 1921–1944
3. The Road to Absolute Power: From Quasi-Monarchy to People’s Democracy, 1944–1948
4. Stalinism Unbound, 1948–1956
5. Aftershocks of the the CPSU’s Twentieth Congress, 1957–1960
6. Opposing Khrushchevism: Gheorghiu-Dej and the Emergence of National Communism, 1960–1965
7. Ceausescu’s Dynastic Communism, 1965–1989

Epilogue: The RCP’s Afterlife: Where Did All The Members Go? 1989–2000
Appendix: The Romanian Communist Party’s Leadership: A Biographical Roster
Select Bibliography


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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2004

    A masterpiece of modern political science

    As a man, and as an artist as well ,it is a duty of honor for me to speak about this work, at least because of my background : I was an anti-Communist dissident and also I was a forbidden writer by the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. Briefly ¿ this multi-layer book is a masterpiece of modern political science. This history of Romanian Communism is one particular case speaking crystal-clear about global Communism . Due to Vladimir Tismaneanu and his history of Romanian Communism we have an accurate, a splendid x-ray of Communism in the world. More than that this book is as a wonderful political novel ¿ written by Vladimir Tismaneanu with genius and, believe me, plenty of fine, ironical humor. Therefore, reading this work, you can easily re-make historically and politically the whole nightmare of the Communist era, in Romania, and in Europe, and world-wide as well. Yes ¿ a tragic nightmare. A disaster. Vladimir Tismaneanu presents to us, with knowledge and skills of a master in laser-surgery, the anatomy and the functions of this Monster , Communism - alas ! somehow still alive . His lesson is a fundamental lesson about humankind¿s fatal errors and disasters ¿ which we do not have the right to repeat and re-live. At least, because you have to admit this terrible reality: nazism = communism = Islamic terrorism. At last but not at least, considering this irrefutable truth ¿ I warmly recommend you the lesson of Vladimir Tismaneanu, his work as a unique book of our modern times. A healing book ! And, for this lesson, we definitely have to be grateful, from the bottom of our hearts, to Vladimir Tismaneanu ¿ who is practically the genuine creator of the modern school of Romanian political science.

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