Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej

Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ɡe̯orˈɡi.u ˈdeʒ] (listen); 8 November 1901 19 March 1965) was a Romanian communist politician and electrician. He was the first Communist leader of Romania from 1947 to 1965, serving as first secretary of the Romanian Communist Party (ultimately "Romanian Workers' Party", PMR) from 1944 to 1954 and from 1955 to 1965, and as the first Communist Prime Minister of Romania from 1952 to 1955.

Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej's official portrait, taken on 8 February 1948, which then became common during his leadership
General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party[a]
In office
October 1944 (1944-10)  19 April 1954 (1954-04-19)
Preceded byȘtefan Foriș
Succeeded byGheorghe Apostol
In office
30 September 1955 (1955-09-30)  19 March 1965
Preceded byGheorghe Apostol
Succeeded byNicolae Ceaușescu
President of the State Council
In office
21 March 1961  19 March 1965
Preceded byIon Gheorghe Maurer
(as President of the Presidium of Great National Assembly)
Succeeded byChivu Stoica
President of the Council of Ministers
In office
2 June 1952  2 October 1955
Preceded byPetru Groza
Succeeded byChivu Stoica
First Vice President of the Council of Ministers
In office
15 April 1948  2 June 1952
Prime MinisterPetru Groza
Preceded byGheorghe Tătărescu
Minister of Industry and Commerce
In office
1 December 1946  14 April 1948
Prime MinisterPetru Groza
Preceded byPetre Bejan
Minister of Public Works
In office
6 March 1945  30 November 1946
Prime MinisterPetru Groza
Preceded byVirgil Solomon
Succeeded byIon Gh. Vântu
Minister of Communications
In office
4 November 1944  30 November 1946
Prime MinisterConstantin Sănătescu
Nicolae Rădescu
Petru Groza
Succeeded byNicolae Profiri
Personal details
Born8 November 1901
Bârlad, Vaslui County, Kingdom of Romania
Died19 March 1965(1965-03-19) (aged 63)
Bucharest, Romanian People's Republic
Cause of deathLung cancer
Resting placeCarol Park, Bucharest, Romania (until 1991)
Bellu Cemetery, Bucharest, Romania (after 1991)
NationalityRomanian
Political partyCommunist Party of Romania (1930–1965)
Spouse(s)Maria Alexe
a. ^ First Secretary of the Romanian Worker's Party (from February 1948)

Born in Bârlad (1901), Gheorghiu-Dej was involved in the communist movement's activities from the early 1930s. Upon the outbreak of World War II in Europe, he was imprisoned by Ion Antonescu's regime in the Târgu Jiu detention camp, and escaped only in August 1944. After the forces of King Michael ousted Antonescu and had him arrested for war crimes, Gheorghiu-Dej together with prime-minister Petru Groza pressured the King into abdicating in December 1947, marking the onset of out-and-out Communist rule in Romania.

Under his rule, Romania was considered one of the Soviet Union's most loyal satellite states, though Gheorghiu-Dej was partially unnerved by the rapid De-Stalinization policy initiated by Nikita Khrushchev at the end of the 1950s. Gheorghiu-Dej stepped up measures that greatly increased trade relations between Romania and the Western countries. However, at the same time his government was accused of human rights violations within the country.

He died of lung cancer in March 1965. His once protégé Nicolae Ceaușescu succeeded him as General Secretary.