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Title: Opposing communism : the 1956 student movement in Timisoara
Author: Snitar, Corina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 6353
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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If there is a rich literature on the Polish and Hungarian uprisings in 1956, little attention has been paid to the consequences of these revolts in Romania generally and in the city of Timișoara particularly. The thesis aims to contribute to historical knowledge of what happened in Timișoara where a group of students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering succeeded in gathering around 2000 students in the city to a meeting on 30 October 1956. In front of the deputy Minister of Education, Coriolan Drăgulescu, the Minister of Labour, Petre Lupu, and the alternate member of the Central Committee, Ilie Verdeț, the students asked for explanations about what was happening in Hungary and demanded solutions to their own problems related to the limited number of scholarships, lack of places in cheap student accommodation and the poor quality of food in the student canteens. They also called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Romanian territory, an increase in workers' wages and an adjustment to the quotas of agricultural products that peasants were required to deliver to the state. Their claims were written in a Manifesto prepared beforehand by the initiators. That same evening, the organisers and those who had spoken at the meeting were arrested and the rest of the participants were taken in for interrogation. Finally, the organisers were imprisoned for three years and after that, in forced labour camps for up to five years. Based on archival research and oral history, my research investigates the motivation behind the students' decision to protest. The thesis shows how the Hungarian revolt was a catalyst in an already tense social situation in a country where everyday life was marked by generalised poverty. It shows how the fate of the students was caught up in the political goals of the Romanian leadership. It presents details about the trajectory of the events from the moment when the initiators decided to organise the meeting until after their arrest, and it analyses the reaction of the Romanian Communists to the students' initiative, that ranged from initial uncertainty to determination to crush any form of opposition and keep the situation under control. Finally, it examines the methods of repression through interrogation and detention, followed by the professional and social exclusion of the protesters, and traces their impact on the students' lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)