ABSTRACT

It is too soon for a final assessment of the communist era in Romania. Many memoirs remain unwritten, archival resources are as yet unavailable, and we are still too close to Nicolae Ceausescu's death and the horrors of his regime for a dispassionate analysis of his role in Romanian history. Nevertheless, considerable information has al-ready appeared, and we can expect much more in the next decade. The recent and pending revelations, on Ceausescu, combined with the publication of this volume in honor of Adam B. Ulam and his work on the history of communism and individual communist leaders, make an initial comparison of the personalities and political strategies of Stalin and Ceausescu worthwhile. This chapter will suggest a number of significant similarities and differences in the backgrounds, personalities, and political strategies of the two men, and point to avenues of further comparative inquiry into the nature of communist and postcommunist regimes and the origins, methods, and legacies of dictatorial rulers.