Romania greatly benefited from WWI by gaining considerable land. However, before WWII many of these acquired lands had been lost again. They entered WWII allied with France…changed to support Hitler…and then switched back again to maintain independence.
Despite being under the governance of USSR, in 1968, Romanian President Nicolae Ceauşescu refused to support Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. He received huge backing (over $1billion) from USA, and his condemnation of Afghan invasion earned him decoration from Great Britain. Meanwhile, unknown to the rest of the world, Romanians suffered painfully during his 25-year dictatorship. Thousands were imprisoned or repressed by the much-feared secret police, huge amounts of money were squandered on megalomaniacal, grandiose projects and the population lived in abject poverty.
As communism ended Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife were assassinated. During his reign practicing a faith, freedom of speech and to a great extent creative thought were expelled and sadly lost on a generation. Christians experienced persecution, criminal records and were even martyred for their love of Jesus. Corruption and mafia-style elections shamed the government and many families starved with no access to food.
Romania became one of the newest EU members, joining in January 2007. Money from the EU has improved infrastructure, standards in state orphanages and urban development. However, the majority of people in rural Romania never see any of these benefits. The cost of living has increased yet their meagre incomes have remained the same. In Romania unemployment is at an all-time high, HIV is devastating a generation and many orphanages remain in appalling conditions under the radar of EU officials.
Today many thousands of people in rural communities live in squalor without the means to feed their families, heat their homes or pay for adequate healthcare.