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At the close of World War II the Communist Party had fewer than 1,000 members. Three years later, at the official congress that sanctioned the merger with the Social Democratic Party, it reported more than 1 million members. This rapid growth was the outcome of an intensive propaganda campaign and membership drive that employed political and economic pressures. Subsequently, a purge of socalled hostile and nominal members during the early 1950s resulted in the expulsion of approximately 465,000 persons.

During the early years of full Communist control, the party considered itself the vanguard of the working class and made a sustained effort to recruit workers. By the end of 1950, the party reported that 64 percent of leading party positions and 40 percent of higher government posts were filled by members of the working class. Efforts to recruit workers into the party, however, consistently fell short of goals.

By 1965, when the name Romanian Communist Party was officially adopted, membership had reached 1,450,000--about 8 percent of the country's population. Membership composition at that time was 44 percent workers, 34 percent peasants, 10 per cent intelligentsia, and 12 percent other categories.

After his accession to power in 1965, Ceausescu sought to increase the party's influence, broaden the base of popular support, and bring in new members. His efforts to increase PCR membership were extremely effective. By February 1971, the party claimed 2.1 million members. The Twelfth Party Congress in 1979 estimated membership at 3 million, and by March 1988, the PCR had grown to some 3.7 million members--more than twice as many as in 1965, when Ceausescu came to power. Thus, in the late 1980s, some 23 percent of Romania's adult population and 33 percent of its working population belonged to the PCR.

At the Thirteenth Party Congress in November 1984, it was announced that the nationality composition of the PCR was 90 percent Romanian, 7 percent Hungarian (a drop of more than 2 percent since the Twelfth Party Congress), less than 1 percent German, and the remainder other nationalities.

As of 1988, workers made up about 55 percent of the party membership, peasants 15 percent, and intellectuals and other groups 30 percent (see table 10, Appendix). Because of the PCR's special effort to recruit members from industry, construction, and transportation, by late 1981 some 45.7 percent of workers in these sectors belonged to the party. In 1980 roughly 524,000 PCR members worked in agriculture. Figures on the educational level of the membership in 1980 indicated that 11 percent held college diplomas, 15 percent had diplomas from other institutions of higher learning, and 26 percent had received technical or professional training.

In the 1980s, statistics on the age composition of the party were no longer published. The official comment on the subject was that the party had a "proper" age composition. Outside observers, however, believed that the average age of the membership had risen dramatically. The share of pensioners and housewives increased from 6.6 percent in 1965 to 9 percent in 1988.

Women traditionally were underrepresented in the PCR. In late 1980, they accounted for only 28.7 percent of the party's members, prompting Ceausescu to call for increasing their representation to about 35 percent.

A document on the selection and training of party cadres adopted by a Central Committee plenum in April 1988 provided information on the backgrounds of individuals staffing the political apparatus. According to that document, workers, foremen, and technicians supplied 79.8 percent of the cadres of the PCR apparatus, 80.1 percent of the apparatus of the Union of Communist Youth (Uniunea Tineretului Comunist, UTC--see Glossary), and 88.7 percent of the trade union apparatus. By late 1987, the proportion of women in the party apparatus had risen to 27.8 percent from only 16.8 percent in 1983. More than 67 percent of activists in the state apparatus and 59.4 percent in the trade unions were under forty-five years of age. The document also asserted that 95.7 percent of PCR Central Committee activists and 90.7 percent of activists in judet, municipal, and town party committees were graduates of, or were attending, state institutions of higher education.

Data as of July 1989

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