Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968

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Revolution Square, Bucharest on 21 August 1968
Ceaușescu gesticulating while giving his speech

Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968 was a public address by Nicolae Ceaușescu, General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party and President of the State Council, strongly condemning the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. On the night of 20–21 August 1968, five Warsaw Pact nations - the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, and Poland - invaded Czechoslovakia in an effort to quell the reformist ideology of Alexander Dubček, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

On 21 August, in what became his most famous speech,[1] Ceaușescu boldly denounced the invasion in a public address before 100,000 people in Palace Square in Bucharest, and declared that it was a "grave error and constituted a serious danger to peace in Europe and for the prospects of world socialism."[2] His address was perceived as a bold gesture of disobedience to the Soviet Union both at home and abroad. The speech was part of the post-1956 efforts of the communist elite in Bucharest to emancipate their Party from Moscow.

Ceaușescu's response consolidated Romania's independent voice in the next two decades, especially after Ceaușescu encouraged the population to take up arms in order to meet any similar maneuver in the country: he received an enthusiastic initial response, with many people, who were by no means communist, willing to enroll in the newly formed paramilitary Patriotic Guards.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Conflicted Memories: Europeanizing Contemporary Histories, edited by Konrad H. Jarausch, Thomas Lindenberger, p. 43
  2. ^ Apoteoza lui Ceaușescu – 21 august 1968

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