Gheorghe Gheorgiu-Dej, 19011965
Born in Bîrlad, Romania, Gheorgiu-Dej joined the illegal Romanian Communist Party in 1930. Three years later, he was sentenced to 12 years forced labour for his part in organizing a rail strike at Grivita. Escaping in 1944, he was elected general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party. After the anti-fascist coup of 1945, he became communications minister. He was instrumental as a cabinet minister in ensuring that a government with a left-wing majority took office. As a member of successive governments between 1946 and 1952, Gheorgiu-Dej directed the nationalization and industrialization programmes. He was prime minister from 1952 to 1955 and president of the State Council (head of state) from 1961 until his death. As the most influential Romanian politician of his period, Gheorgiu-Dej played a big part in steering Romania away from economic and foreign-policy domination by the Soviet Union.
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