One of the most chilling and transitional moments in history was captured on film back on December 21, 1989.
In the footage, Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu can be seen delivering a speech from the balcony of the Central Committee building overlooking Palace Square, now know as “Revolution Square,” where he praised the achievements of Romania’s socialist regime and its “multi-laterally developed socialist society.”
“Thousands of workers were bused into the square under threat of being fired. They were given red flags, banners and large pictures of Ceaușescu. The workers were augmented by bystanders who were rounded up on Calea Victoriei. The crowd, now totaling up to 80,000, were given orders on where to stand, when to applaud and what to sing. The front rows of the assembly were made up of low-level Communist Party officials and members who acted as cheer-leaders. Immediately before them were plainclothes Securitate agents and a row of police militia, who kept the mass of the crowd about thirty yards back from the front of the Central Committee building. Ceaușescu appeared on the balcony of the Central Committee building and began as he had in years past, with a speech laden with the usual Marxist-Leninist ‘wooden language.’ However, he had badly misread the crowd’s mood. Only the front rows supported Ceaușescu with cheers and applause, with most of the crowd remaining impassive. Eight minutes into the speech, some in the crowd actually began to jeer, boo and whistle at him—a reaction considered unthinkable for most of Ceaușescu’s 24 years in power.”
At about 0:40 of the video is when the crowd begins to turn on him. The look on Ceausescu’s face is unforgettable – it’s the sudden realization that his 25-year reign is over.
Four days later on Christmas Day, he and his wife were executed by firing squad after being convicted of various crimes through a hastily-assembled military court.
Watch the dramatic moment from Ceausescu’s final speech in the video below (you can see a longer version here):
Featured image via screen grab