Petru Groza

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Petru Groza
Petru Groza Anefo.jpg
President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly
In office
12 June 1952 – 7 January 1958
Preceded byConstantin Ion Parhon
Succeeded byIon Gheorghe Maurer
President of the Council of Ministers
In office
6 March 1945 – 2 June 1952
MonarchMichael I (1945–1947)
PresidentConstantin Ion Parhon
DeputyGheorghe Tătărescu
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1948–1952)
Preceded byNicolae Rădescu
Succeeded byGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
Vice President of the Council of Ministers
In office
4 November 1944 – 28 February 1945
MonarchMichael I
Prime MinisterConstantin Sănătescu
Nicolae Rădescu
Preceded byMihai Antonescu
Succeeded byGheorghe Tătărescu
President of the Ploughmen's Front
In office
Succeeded byGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (party merged with the Romanian Workers' Party)
Minister of State
In office
30 March 1926 – 4 June 1927
Prime MinisterAlexandru Averescu
Minister of Public Works
In office
30 March 1926 – 14 July 1926
Prime MinisterAlexandru Averescu
Preceded byTraian Moșoiu
Succeeded byConstantin Meissner
Personal details
Born(1884-12-07)7 December 1884
Bácsi, Hunyad County, Transleithania, Austria-Hungary (now Băcia, Romania)
Died7 January 1958(1958-01-07) (aged 73)
Bucharest, Romanian People's Republic
Political partyRomanian National Party
People's Party
Ploughmen's Front
Alma materUniversity of Budapest
Leipzig University

Petru Groza (7 December 1884 – 7 January 1958) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian politician, best known as the first Prime Minister of the Communist Party-dominated government under Soviet occupation during the early stages of the Communist regime in Romania, and later as the President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly (nominal head of state of Romania) from 1952 until his death in 1958.

Groza emerged as a public figure at the end of World War I as a notable member of the Romanian National Party (PNR), preeminent layman of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and then member of the Directory Council of Transylvania. In 1925–26 he served as Minister of State in the cabinet of Marshal Alexandru Averescu. In 1933, Groza founded a left-wing Agrarian organization known as the Ploughmen's Front (Frontul Plugarilor). The left-wing ideas he supported earned him the nickname The Red Bourgeois.[1]

Groza became Premier in 1945 when Nicolae Rădescu, a leading Romanian Army general who assumed power briefly following the conclusion of World War II, was forced to resign by the Soviet Union's deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Andrei Y. Vishinsky.[2] During Groza's tenure, Romania's King, Michael I, was forced to abdicate as the nation officially became a "People's Republic". Although his authority and power as Premier was compromised by his reliance upon the Soviet Union for support, Groza presided over the onset of full-fledged Communist rule in Romania before eventually being succeeded by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej in 1952 and became the President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly until his death in 1958.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born as one of the three sons of a wealthy couple in Bácsi (now called Băcia), a village near Déva (today Deva) in Transylvania (part of Austria-Hungary at the time), his father Adam was a priest. Groza was afforded a variety of opportunities in his youth and early career to establish connections and a degree of notoriety, which would later prove essential in his political career.[3][4] He attended primary school in his native village, then in Kastély (now Coștei) and Lugos (now Lugoj) in the Banat. In 1903, he graduated from the Hungarian Reformed high school (now the Aurel Vlaicu High School) in Szászváros (now Orăștie). That autumn, he began his law and economics training in Hungary, studying at the University of Budapest. In 1905, he took courses at the University of Berlin, heading to Leipzig University in 1906. He obtained a doctorate from the latter institution in 1907.[2][3][4]


After completing his studies, Groza returned to Déva to work as a lawyer. During World War I he served as a soldier in the 8th Honvéd Regiment. In 1918, at the war's end, he emerged on the political scene as a member of the Romanian National Party (PNR) and obtained a position on the Directory Council of Transylvania, convened by ethnic Romanian politicians who had voted in favour of union with Romania; he maintained his office over the course of the following two years.[3]

Throughout this period of his life, Groza established a variety of political connections, working in various Transylvanian political and religious organizations. From 1919 to 1927, for example, Groza obtained a position as a deputy in Synod and Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Church. In the mid-1920s, Groza, who had left the PNR after a conflict with Iuliu Maniu and had joined the People's Party,[3] served as the Minister for Transylvania and Minister of Public Works and Communications in the Third Averescu cabinet.[2][3]

During this period in his life, Groza was able to amass a personal fortune as a wealthy landowner[5] and establish a notable reputation as a prominent layman within the Romanian Orthodox Church, a position which would later make him invaluable to a Romanian Communist Party (PCR) that was campaigning to attract the support of Eastern Orthodox Christians who constituted the nation's most numerous religious group in 1945.[2][5]


Rise to power[edit]

Groza in a formal attire portrait

Despite having briefly retired from public life in 1928 after holding a series of political posts, Groza reemerged on the political scene in 1933, founding a peasant-based political organization, the Ploughmen's Front.[3]

Although the movement originally began in order to oppose the increasing burden of debt carried by Romania's peasants during the Great Depression in Romania and because the National Peasants' Party could not help the poorest peasants, by 1944 the organization was essentially under Communist control.[3][6] The Communist Party wished to seize power but was too weak to seize it alone – post-communist historiography would later claim that in 1944 it had only about a thousand members. Accordingly, the Romanian communist leaders decided to create a broad coalition of political organizations.

This coalition was composed of four major front organizations: the Romanian Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union, the Union of Patriots, the Patriotic Defense, and, by far the most widely backed by the Romanian populace, Groza's Ploughmen's Front.[dubious ] Being a chief political actor in the largest of the Communist front organizations, Groza was able to assert himself in a position of eminence within the Romanian political sphere as the Ploughmen's Front joined the Communist Party to create the National Democratic Front in October 1944[7][8] (it also included the Social Democrats, Mihai Ralea's Socialist Peasants' Party and the Hungarian People's Union, as well as other minor groups). He was first considered by the Communist Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu for the post of Premier in October 1944.[7]

Groza's prominent status within the National Democratic Front afforded him the opportunity to succeed General Nicolae Rădescu as premier when, in January 1945, top Romanian communist leaders, namely Ana Pauker and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej rebuked Rădescu with allegedly failing to combat "fascist sympathizers".[7] With the help of Soviet authorities,[7] the Communists soon mobilized workers to hold a series of demonstrations against Rădescu, and by February many had died because the demonstrations often led to violence. While the communists claimed that the Romanian Army was responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians,[7] Rădescu weakened his own popular support by stating that the communists were "godless foreigners with no homeland".[8] In response, Andrei Y. Vishinsky, the Soviet vice commissar of foreign affairs, traveled to Bucharest and allegedly gave King Michael an ultimatum—unless he sacked Rădescu and replaced him with Groza, Romania's independence would be at risk. The king had hoped that General Gheorghe Avramescu, who commanded the Romanian 4th Army in the fight to liberate Transylvania and Hungary, would be designated the next prime minister, but, while Michael was waiting on 2 March for Avramescu to return from the front to Bucharest, the NKVD arrested Avramescu in Slovakia, and he died the next day.[9] Faced with mounting Soviet pressure, Michael complied, and Groza became prime minister on 6 March 1945.[7][8][10]

The Groza cabinets[edit]

Groza gave key portfolios such as defence, justice, and the interior to the Communists. It nominally included ministers from the National Liberals and National Peasants as well, but the ministers using those labels were fellow travellers like Groza, and had been handpicked by the Communists.[11]

Despite the annoyance of the two powers, the Communists constituted only a minority in Groza's cabinet. The leading figures in the Romanian Communist Party, Pauker and Gheorghiu-Dej, wanted the Groza government to preserve the façade of a coalition government and thus enable the Communists to win the confidence of the masses, since right after the Second World War the communists enjoyed very little political support. For this reason top communist figures like Pauker and Gheorghiu-Dej did not join Groza's cabinet. They planned to gradually impose an out-and-out Communist regime under the veil of the existing coalition government.[12] By conflating the successes of the regime with their Party, Pauker and Gheorghiu-Dej hoped to win support for the party and lay the foundations for a one-party state. Accordingly, Groza maintained the illusion of a coalition government, appointing members of diverse political organizations to his cabinet and formulating his government's short-term goals in broad, non-ideological terms. He stated at a cabinet meeting on 7 March 1945, for example, that the government sought to guarantee safety and order for the population, implement desired land reform policies, and focus on a "swift cleanup" of the state bureaucracy and immediate prosecution of war criminals, i.e., officials of the Fascist wartime regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu (see Romania during World War II and Romanian People's Tribunals).[13]

To confirm Groza in office, elections were held on 19 November 1946. The count was rigged in order to give an overwhelming majority to the Bloc of Democratic Parties, a Communist-dominated front that included the Ploughmen's Front. Years later, historian Petre Țurlea reviewed a confidential Communist Party report about the election that showed the BPD had, at most, won 47 percent of the vote. He concluded that had the election been conducted honestly, the opposition parties would have won enough votes between them to form a coalition government—albeit with far less than the 80 percent support long claimed by opposition supporters.[14]

In the mind of the Groza government, the 1946 election confirmed it in office. This claim was made in the face of protests by the United States and the United Kingdom who held that, pursuant to the agreements reached at the Yalta Conference in 1945, only "interim governmental authorities broadly representative of the population", should be supported by the major powers.[15] As a result, Groza's government was permanently estranged from the United States and the United Kingdom, who nominally supported the waning influence of the monarchist forces under King Michael I.

As Prime Minister[edit]

Groza (left), with Gheorghe Tătărescu and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, on a visit to Bulgaria, July 1947

Within days of becoming premier, Groza delivered his first major success. On 10 March 1945, the Soviet Union agreed to return to Romania Northern Transylvania, a territory of over 45,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi) that had been assigned to Hungary through the 1940 Second Vienna Award sponsored by Germany and Italy. Groza promised that the rights of each ethnic group within the restored territory would be protected (mainly, as a reference to the Hungarian minority in Romania), while Joseph Stalin declared that the previous government under Rădescu had permitted such a large degree of sabotage and terrorism in the region that it would have been impossible to deliver the territory to the Romanians. As a result, only after Groza's guarantee of ethnic minority rights did the Soviet government decide to satisfy the petition of the Romanian government. The recovery of this territory, nearly fifty-eight percent Romanian in 1945, was hailed as a major accomplishment within the formative stages of the Groza regime.[16]

Groza continued to improve the image of his own government while strengthening the position of the Communist Party with a series of political reforms. He proceeded to eliminate any antagonistic elements in the government administration and, in the newly acquired Transylvanian territory, removed three city prefects, including that of the region's capital, Cluj. The prefects removed were immediately replaced by loyal government officials directly appointed by Groza, so as to strengthen loyalist elements in local government in the region. Groza also promised a series of land reform programs to benefit military personnel, which would confiscate and subsequently redistribute all properties in excess of 125 acres (51 ha) in addition to all the property of traitors, absentees, and all who collaborated with the wartime Romanian government, the Hungarian occupiers during Miklós Horthy and Ferenc Szálasi's régimes, and Nazi Germany.[17]

Despite giving the appearance of liberal democracy by granting women's suffrage, Groza pursued a series of reforms attempting to clamp down on the prominence of politically dissident media outlets in the nation. During the first month of his premiership, Groza acted to close down Romania Nouă, a popular newspaper published by sources close to Iuliu Maniu, leader of the traditional National Peasants' Party who disagreed widely with Groza's attempted reforms. Within a month of his assumption of the premiership, Groza shut down over nine provincial newspapers and a series of periodicals which, Groza declared, were products of those, "who served Fascism and Hitlerism".[18] Groza soon continued this repression by limiting the number of political parties allowed within the state. Although Groza had promised to purge only individuals from the government bureaucracy and diplomatic corps immediately after assuming power, in June 1947 he began to prosecute entire political organizations, as, after the Tămădău Affair, he arrested key members of the National Peasants' Party and sentenced Maniu to life in prison "for political crimes against the Romanian people".[12] By August of that year, both the National Peasants' Party and the National Liberal Party had been dissolved and in 1948, the government coalition incorporated the Romanian Workers' Party (the forced union of communists and Romanian Social Democrats) and the Hungarian People's Union, effectively minimizing all political opposition within the state.[8]

Royal strike and political crisis[edit]

On August 18 , Roy Melbourne presented to Foreign Minister Gheorghe Tătărescu a verbal note showing that the American government "wants the establishment of a representative regime made up of all democratic groups in this country".  Consequently, the US will only sign a final peace treaty with a fully recognized democratic government. Both Groza and Tătărescu rejected the note, declaring it null and void. They argued that the US could not address a government it did not recognize. British diplomats also sent such a note, but the government had the same attitude.

Faced with Groza's refusal to resign, King Mihai instituted, on August 21 , the royal strike and no longer agreed to countersign the government's documents. At the December 1945 Conference , it was decided that the situation should be resolved by appointing one PNL and PNȚ member each to the government, after which free elections would be organized and freedom of "press, speech, religion and association " would be ensured.  Maniu warned that without the neutrality of the Ministries of Interior and Justice, free elections could not take place in Romania, but the decision had to be followed. On January 7 , 1946 , they took the oath as ministers Emil Hațieganu, from PNȚ, and Mihail Romniceanu , from PNL.  Basically, the decisions in Moscow represented the victory of the Soviet point of view, the government of Petru Groza being recognized by the USA and Great Britain on February 5, 1946 .

During his term as premier, Groza also clashed with the nation's remaining monarchist forces under King Michael I. Although his powers were minimal within Groza's regime, King Michael symbolized the remnants of the traditional Romanian monarchy and, in late 1945, the King urged Groza to resign. The King maintained that Romania must abide by the Yalta accords, allowing the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to each have a hand in post-war government reconstruction and the incorporation of a broader coalition force he had already organized. Groza flatly rejected the request, and relations between the two figures remained tense over the next few years, with Groza and the King differing on the prosecution of war criminals and in the awarding of honorary Romanian citizenship to Stalin in August 1947.[19]

Early on the morning of 30 December 1947, Groza summoned Michael back to Bucharest, ostensibly "to discuss important matters"; the king had been preparing for a New Year's party at Peleș Castle in Sinaia. When Michael arrived, Groza presented the king with a pretyped instrument of abdication and demanded that Michael sign it. According to Michael's account,[20][21][22][23][24][25] when he refused, Groza threatened to launch a bloodbath and arrest thousands of people.[26] Michael eventually signed the document, and a few hours later parliament abolished the monarchy and declared Romania a republic.[26]

The elections of November 1946[edit]

Groza on a 1946 Romanian stamp

After the failure of the royal strike, Mihai adopted a more cautious position with the government. In view of the elections, the governmental political forces constituted, on May 17, 1946 , the Bloc of Democratic Parties to submit joint lists for the elections. BPD consisted of PCR, PSD, PNL-Tătărescu, PNȚ-Alexandrescu, FP and PNP. Instead, the democratic parties, PNȚ, PNL and PSDI, failed in their attempt to create a common opposition front. The government also amended the electoral law, so that for the first time in history, women could also participate in the electoral process.

The election campaign was carried out by numerous and serious abuses by government forces and exacerbated opposition attacks against them. Although Washington and London repeatedly gave Maniu guarantees that the elections to be held would be free and supervised by the Western powers, the government did not hesitate to use Stalin's dictum in the electoral process: "It doesn't matter who votes with whom, it matters who count the votes" . The elections took place on November 19, 1946 , with a massive turnout. The official published results were: BPD - 69.81%, PNȚ - 12.88%, UPM - 8.32%, PNL - 3.78%, PȚD - 2.36%.

Immediately, the opposition accused the government of fraud, with Maniu claiming that the results had been reversed, so that in fact the PNȚ had won.  Instead, the governing parties claimed that the election results reflected the citizens' adherence to the BND program, and the minor incidents that occurred were provoked by the opposition. In fact, it was the same Romanian electoral tradition that the government declared that the elections were fair, while the opposition accused them of fraud.

The same divergence existed between Moscow and the British and American officials. Reports arrived in Washington from the diplomatic mission of the Western powers and from the Ministry of the Interior in Bucharest , which had the same divergent content. The US and Great Britain limited themselves to some formal declarations, the agreement on the division of spheres of influence having been taken a long time ago. The memoirs prepared by Maniu and Brătianu were not taken into account, and on December 1, 1946 , King Mihai delivered the Opening Message of the Assembly of Deputies:I am happy to be among the representatives of the country, gathered today for the first time, after a long interruption of parliamentary life .

On February 10 , 1947 , Romania signed the Peace Treaty with the Allied and Associated Powers, so the regime of the Armistice Convention officially ended.  This fact meant that Great Britain and the USA no longer had any leverage to intervene in favor of the opposition, Romania passing under the exclusive control of the USSR .

Removal of opposition[edit]

After the parliamentary elections, the essential political objective of the Groza government was to seize all power in the state and liquidate any forms of opposition. The plan was drawn up by the Minister of the Interior, Teohari Georgescu , and Pantelei Bodnarenko , a Soviet intelligence officer.  Since the beginning of 1947, the communist authorities have carried out numerous arrests against political opponents by committing serious abuses. On July 14 , 1947 , the Home Office authorities managed to set a trap for the main peasant-national leaders, who were preparing to leave for Great Britainto inform Western diplomats about the real situation in the country. The staging in Tămădău was labeled as an act of national treason and turned into a major political case.

In order to allow the involvement of PNȚ and Iuliu Maniu , the authorities extended the charges from fraudulent attempt to leave the country to activities of a political nature. On July 30 , 1947 , through a journal of the Council of Ministers, it was decided to dissolve the National Peasant Party.  On the same day, the Assembly of Deputies was convened, during which, based on a report drawn up by Teohari Georgescu , the dissolution was approved with 294 votes for and one against.  The diary stated:"The National-Peasant Party under the presidency of Mr. Iuliu Maniu is and remains dissolved on the date of publication in the Official Monitor of this Journal. The same dissolution decision also includes all county, network and communal organizations of the aforementioned party, military, youth, women's organizations and any other organizations or associations led by this party" .

On November 1 , the National Liberal Party decided to cease its activity. Five days later, the Assembly of Deputies adopted a motion of no confidence in Gheorghe Tătărescu , the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the vice-president of the Council of Ministers. The following day, PNL-Tătărescu representatives resigned from the government. The trial of the PNȚ leaders took place between October 29 and November 4 .

The sentence was established in advance, based on accusations without material cover, based not on evidence, but on political indications coming from Moscow and presented in legal form in Bucharest . Iuliu Maniu and Ion Mihalache were the only ones sentenced to hard prison for life.

Proclamation of the Republic[edit]

On November 12 , King Mihai and Queen Mother Elena went to London to witness the marriage of Princess Elizabeth , the heir to the British Crown. Here, he met Princess Ana de Bourbon-Parma . The two went to Lausanne , Switzerland , where they unofficially got engaged on December 6, 1947 . Asking for the approval of the Romanian government, the answer that came 10 days later states that the marriage was not opportune at that time.

The international press was already starting to speculate that the Romanian sovereign would stay abroad for a woman, abandoning his constitutional prerogatives. To refute the speculations, on December 18 , Mihai boarded the train in Lausanne and arrived in Bucharest three days later.  After a meeting with Petru Groza, where no conclusion was reached, Mihai and his mother went to Sinaia for the winter holidays. On Christmas Eve, Emil Bodnăraș was inaugurated as Minister of National Defense , who, according to some information, had just arrived from Moscow, where he had received from Stalin the instructions regarding the organization of the abdication of King Mihai. Prime Minister Groza gives the opening address on Russian-Romanian relations. At around 20:30 on the evening of December 29 , King Mihai was informed about Petru Groza's formal request to grant him an audience the next day, at 10:00. Initially, he assumed it was about his marriage. In the morning of December 30 , 1947 , the king, together with the queen-mother and some people from the Court moved to Bucharest , and around 12:00 they arrived at the palace on Kiseleff road . In 15 minutes Petru Groza also arrived, who was accompanied by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej . Groza was the first to address, "Well, Your Majesty, the time has come to arrange an amicable parting.". Surprised, Mihai asked what he meant by these words. "The problem of ending the monarchy. After all, I warned you that you need to prepare for something like this. You must understand that there is no place for a king in Romania anymore ," Groza declared. The king retorted, “It is not you who can tell me to go. This matter must be decided by the people" .

Groza states that the government will arrange the material problems so that the royal family can lead a comfortable life. Also, Gheorghiu-Dej alluded to a possible lawsuit that could be filed "His Majesty". At that moment, Mihai declared that "your proposal raises serious constitutional issues" . "We've thought of everything ," Groza replied, pulling out a sheet of white parchment paper from the folder he'd been holding since the audience began. "I will study this paper ," declares the king, hoping to buy more time. Precise horror:“You must read now. We are not leaving this house until the paper is signed, even if we have to stay here until tonight. Our people are waiting for the news of the abdication. If we don't have your signature, there will be trouble . "

At that point, the king went into the next room, where the Palace Marshal informed him that the guard had been changed, the palace was surrounded by troops, and telephone communications were down. When he returned to the room, Mihai asked why all these measures were taken. "The people are impatient Sire, we have been here for quite a long time ," answered Groza. "What if I refuse to sign"? , asked the king. Groza resorted to a last threat: "You saw, everything was foreseen. A civil war may break out. We cannot be responsible for anyone's security. And you will bear the responsibility" .

In a report from December 1990 , Mihai claimed that Groza and Gheorghiu-Dej resorted to blackmail: "They told me that the members of the government, that is, the communists, would have to, in order to counteract any form of opposition, execute over a thousand of students among those who had been arrested in the last year" . He also stated that Groza "came up to me and asked me to feel his waistcoat near the pocket. He said to me: Touch! And he had the gun in his pocket, giving the explanation: So that what happened to Antonescu doesn't happen to me . " After this, Mihai sits down at the table and signs the abdication document.

At 15:30 the Council of Ministers met . Petru Groza announced the act of abdication and a government proclamation was issued to the country. This informed the king's abdication and appreciated that "Thus, the Romanian people acquired the freedom to build a new form of state - the People's Republic" . At 19:10, under the presidency of Mihail Sadoveanu , the extraordinary meeting of the Assembly of Deputies opened.

Two bills were unanimously approved. The first took note of the abdication of King Mihai I , for himself and his descendants, the Constitution of Romania was abrogated, and the new official name of the state became the Romanian People's Republic . It was also specified that the legislative power will be exercised by the Assembly of Deputies until its dissolution and the meeting of a Constituent National Assembly, which will be held at a date fixed by the Assembly of Deputies. It will adopt the new Constitution of the RPR. Through the second project, the members of the Provisional Presidium of the RPR were appointed: Constantin Ion Parhon , president, Mihail Sadoveanu , Ștefan Voitec , Gheorghe Stere andIon Niculi , vice presidents. The meeting ended after only one hour.

President of the MAN presidium[edit]

On February 24, 1948, the Assembly of Deputies was dissolved . Three days later , the People's Democracy Front was established , an electoral alliance formed by the Romanian Workers' Party (the new name adopted by the communists following the merger with the PSD), the Plowmen's Front , PNL -Bejan and the Hungarian People's Union . On March 28, the elections were held for the Grand National Assembly, the unicameral legislative forum of the RPR. The first objective of the Great Assembly was to draft a new fundamental law. The Constitution of the Romanian People's Republic was promulgated on April 13, 1948 .

Groza kept his mandate as prime minister until June 2, 1952 . Ten days later he replaced Constantin Ion Parhon as president of the presidium of the Great National Assembly, the institution that symbolically ensured the leadership of the RPR. He remained in this position until the end of his life. Prime Minister Petru Groza, delivering his speech on the occasion of the installation of the Provisional County of the People's Council of the Capital. Starting from 1948 , the communist authorities began to impose the Stalinist model of organization and management of society. On June 11, 1948 , the Groza government passed the law for the nationalization of industry. This measure aimed at the destruction of private property and generalized public ownership in industry, banking and transport. The State Planning Committee was created , which ensured economic development on a planned basis, based on economic centralism. Starting from 1951 , the economic organization plan was for five years (the five-year plan).

Also following the Soviet model, the Collective Agricultural Farms and the State Agricultural Farms were established, which indicated the types of crops and fixed the prices of agricultural goods. Peasants were allowed to keep small plots of land, but which did not exceed 0.15 ha.

On the international level, Romania was a founding member of CAER (1949) and of the Warsaw Treaty (1955). Groza's statue, in Mogoșoaia.

Old and sick, he was forced to accept, on February 7 , 1953 , the dissolution of the Plowers' Front, a competitor and thorn in the eyes of the communists. However, Groza did not join the PMR, thus achieving the political feat of placing himself in leading positions within the regime without ever having been a party member. One explanation may be the ability with which he managed to attract the support and trust of Stalin , recalled in one of his political notes:

"I approached him. He was sitting on a kind of shack, slightly higher than the floor. I threw myself on my knees, kissed his feet, and said to him: At last I have attained my ideal of a little child. This day will be the most beautiful day of my life. Stalin, obviously impressed, took me by the arm, lifted me up, hugged me. My circus made a special impression on him and I won him over. I was an unparalleled theatrical artist!"


Groza stepped down as premier in 1952, and was succeeded by Gheorghiu-Dej. He was then named president of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly (de facto president of Romania), a post he held until 1958, when he died from complications following a stomach operation.[2] He was buried at Ghencea Cemetery; his remains were later moved to the Carol Park Mausoleum, and finally to the cemetery in his native village, Băcia.


Fallen statue of Petru Groza next to the Mogoșoaia Palace (2010)

The mining town of Ștei in Bihor County was named Dr. Petru Groza after him, a name it kept until after the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.[27] After his death in 1958, Transylvania Boulevard in Bucharest was renamed Dr. Petru Groza Boulevard;[28] it is now named after Gheorghe Marinescu. There are streets named after Groza in Cluj-Napoca, Galați, and Medgidia.

A 4.5 m (15 ft) bronze statue of Groza, placed on a red Carrara marble pedestal, was unveiled in Deva in 1962. The monument, designed by sculptor Constantin Baraschi [ro], was removed in 1990, and replaced in 1999 by a statue of Trajan; in 2007, Groza's statue was transported to Băcia.[29] Another statue of him, sculpted by Romulus Ladea [ro], was inaugurated in the Cotroceni neighborhood of Bucharest in 1971; this statue was taken down in 1990, and replaced in 1993 by a monument to the Artillery Heroes.[30] As of 2010, it lies in an open field near the Mogoșoaia Palace, next to a statue of Vladimir Lenin that used to be in front of Casa Scînteii.[31]



  1. ^ Nick Thorpe (25 October 2011). "Romania's ex-King Michael I defends his wartime record". BBC News. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Petru Groza of Rumania Dies; Chief of State of Red Regime, 72", in The New York Times, 8 January 1958; ProQuest Historical Newspapers – The New York Times (1851–2002), p. 47
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Cioroianu, 6.1.1 (pp. 149–150)
  4. ^ a b Ioan Scurtu (2003) Structuri politice în Europa centrală și de sud-est (1918-2001): România, Editura Fundației Culturale Române, Bucharest, ISBN 9789735773540, p. 280
  5. ^ a b Cioroianu, 6.1.2 (pp. 150–152)
  6. ^ Liliana Saiu (1992). The Great Powers and Rumania, 1944–1946. New York City: Columbia University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0880332328.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Cioroianu, 6.1.3 (pp. 152–159)
  8. ^ a b c d R. J. Crampton (1997) Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century – And After, Routledge, New York City, ISBN 0415164230, pp. 229, 231
  9. ^ Paltin Sturdza. "6 martie 1945: Guvern general Avramescu sau dr. Petru Groza?" [6 March 1945: Government of General Avramescu or Dr. Petru Groza?]. Historia (in Romanian). Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  10. ^ Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Charles Sudetic (July 1989). "Postwar Romania, 1944–85". In Bachman, Ronald D (ed.). Romania: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 90006449.
  11. ^ Charles Sudetic. Petru Groza's Premiership. Romania: Country Studies.: "The government included no legitimate members of the National Peasants' Party or National Liberal Party; rather, the Communists drafted opportunistic dissidents from these parties, heralded them as the parties' legitimate representatives, and ignored or harassed genuine party leaders."
  12. ^ a b Stephen Fischer-Galați (1967), The New Rumania: From People's Democracy to Socialist Republic, Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, pp. 29–30, 35, OCLC 243006
  13. ^ "Groza Pledges Order", in The New York Times, 8 March 1945; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, The New York Times (1851–2002), p. 4
  14. ^ Petre Țurlea (2000), "Alegerile parlamentare din noiembrie '46: guvernul procomunist joacă și câștigă. Ilegalități flagrante, rezultat viciat" [The Parliamentary Elections of November '46: the Pro-Communist Government Plays and Wins. Blatant Unlawfulness, Tampered Result], Dosarele Istoriei (in Romanian), 11 (51): 35–36
  15. ^ Paul Winkler (22 March 1945) "Interim Government", in The Washington Post; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, The Washington Post (1877–1989), p. 6
  16. ^ "Transylvanian Area Restored to Romanians", in The Chicago Daily Tribune, 11 March 1945; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, Chicago Tribune (1849–1985), p. 8
  17. ^ "Sweeping Reform Begins in Rumania", in The New York Times, 12 March 1945; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, The New York Times (1851–2002), p. 5
  18. ^ C. L. Sulzberger, "2 Moves by Groza Spurring Reforms", in The New York Times, 25 March 1945; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, The New York Times (1851–2002), p. 16
  19. ^ W. H. Lawrence, "Chamber Ratifies Rumanian Treaty", in The New York Times, 24 August 1947; ProQuest Historical Newspapers, The New York Times (1851–2002), p. 43
  20. ^ "The Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews". Archived from the original on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  21. ^ "Republica s-a instaurat cu pistolul" [The Republic was installed with a pistol]. Ziua (in Romanian). 10 May 1996. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  22. ^ (in Romanian) Timeline Archived 18 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, semi-official site dedicated to HM King Michael I Archived 12 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, as retrieved on 21 January 2008
  23. ^ (in Romanian)"Princess Margareta, designated dynastic successor", Antena 3, 30 December 2007
  24. ^ "A king and his coup". The Daily Telegraph. 12 June 2005. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007.
  25. ^ Craig S. Smith, "Romania’s King Without a Throne Outlives Foes and Setbacks", The New York Times, 27 January 2007
  26. ^ a b "Compression". Time. 12 January 1948. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007.
  27. ^ Lavinia Stan (2012). Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Romania: The Politics of Memory. Cambridge University Press, 17 Dec. pp. 211–213. ISBN 9781139619820.
  28. ^ Light, Duncan; Nicolae, Ion; Suditu, Bogdan (2002). "Toponymy and the Communist city: Street names in Bucharest, 1948–1965". GeoJournal. 56 (2): 135–144. doi:10.1023/A:1022469601470. JSTOR 41147676. S2CID 140915309.
  29. ^ "Statuia Dr. Petru Groza (demontată în 1990)". (in Romanian). Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Statuia Dr. Petru Groza din cartierul Cotroceni". (in Romanian). 15 April 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  31. ^ Ion, Alexandra (11 July 2010). "El Pais: Lenin și Petru Groza năpădiți de bălării și furnici pe maidanul de la Mogoșoaia". Retrieved 2 August 2021.


Party political offices
Preceded by President of the Presidium of the
Great National Assembly of Romania

12 June 1952 – 7 January 1958
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Romania
6 March 1945 – 2 June 1952
Succeeded by