December 25, 1989
Romanian soldiers guard the entrance to an underground tunnel used by the Securitate - former leader Nicolae Ceausescu's secret police.
The week-long series of violence that overthrew the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, ended in a trial and execution of Ceausescu and his wife Elena by firing squad. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to violently overthrow its Communist regime or to execute its leaders.
The Romanian populace was dissatisfied with the Communist regime and leader Ceausescu's economic and development policies were blamed for the country's shortages and widespread poverty. The powerful secret police (Securitate) controlled what was essentially a police state. Ceausescu was not pro-Soviet but "independent" on foreign policy. He imitated the hard-line, megalomania, and personality cults of communist leaders like North Korea's Kim Il Sung.