viding better living conditions for the peasantry. However, the program had more sinister purposes as well. It was aimed at gaining full control over the lives of the rural folk, a goal that even full collectivization of the land had failed to achieve. It was also a means for the drastic "solution" to the existence of Hungarian and German minorities in Transylvania. In this sense, this was a traditional goal of chauvinistic Romanian nationalism.
The plan was introduced soon after Ceausescu gained complete control of the Romanian Communist party. According to the plan, the peasants in a given area were to be concentrated in new, high-rise apartments, and their old dwellings were to be bulldozed into the ground. The high-rises would become the nuclei of new urban concentrations from which farm workers would travel to the fields of their collective farms. After the completion of their day's work, they would return to their new homes which would be equipped with modern amenities and cultural opportunities.
However, the plan, fit for a Corbousier, turned out differently in real life. The simple country folks affected by "systematization," had to be driven by force to abandon their homes which had been in their family's possession often for many generations. The process also meant that they had to abandon hope to ever regaining their lands from the collectives into which they were being driven by force. The modern conveniences promised them turned out to be electricity which could be used for only two hours a day; running water which was not running for weeks on occasion; and heat which was simply not available for the long months of winter. They had to spend inordinately long hours each day commuting between their collectives and their homes. Agricultural production in the "systematized" villages actually declined. But the government's purposes were achieved at least in one sense. The apartments were equipped with listening devices, enabling the secret police to monitor conversations and "ferret out" people's secret thoughts. Thus, the control of the population was "modernized" and made more complete.
Systematization was especially vicious in the areas occupied by ethnic minorities. Villages with their ancient churches and cemeteries were razed to the ground. All memories that would remind people of their ethnic and cultural heritages were eliminated. This was a giant step toward creating a Romanian national state indeed by methods sinister enough to raise an outcry in Western public opinion when they became known. Fortunately, the lack of gasoline and other instruments of destruction limited the systematization process, and it was still in its early stages when the Ceausescu clan was overthrown.
Giurescu Dinu, The Razing of Romania's Past ( New York, 1989); Sampson Steven L., National Integration Through Socialist Planning ( Boulder, CO, 1984); Shafir Michael, "The Historical Background of Rural Resettlement," Radio Free Europe Research Report: Romanian Situation Report, No. 10 ( August 23, 1988).
Timisoara Revolt (1989). On December 20, 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu (see