1918 Romanian typographers' strike

The 1918 Romanian typographers' strike was a labor strike in Bucharest, Romania.[1][2][3] The strike began on December 6, 1918, when the city's typographers went on strike for higher salaries, an 8-hour work day, and recognition of their union.[1][2][3] The striking workers declared a second protest the following week, and on December 13, they were joined by various left-wing groups, who demanded the abolition of the Romanian monarchy.[1][3] It is estimated that over 15,000 participated in the December 13th demonstrations.[2] The strike was violently put down by the Romanian military, resulting in the deaths and injuries of dozens of workers, although the death toll has been disputed.[1][3]

ContextEdit

Following the end of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in the Soviet Union, much of Europe saw various communist uprisings.[1] Over 700,000 Romanian soldiers and civilians were killed during the war.[2]

Compounding this, working conditions amongst the urban population were poor at the time, with children as young as six working, and workdays lasting from 12 to 16 hours per day.[2] Previous protests during World War I were violently suppressed via emergency powers granted to the government.[2] Increasingly, left-wing groups began making themselves more visible, with typographers printing large amounts of left-wing material.[2]

When Ferdinand I returned from exile on December 1, 1918, 6,000 railway workers went on strike in Bucharest.[2] On December 3, 5,000 civil servants went on strike.[2]

EventsEdit

On December 6, 1918, typographers in the city on Bucharest had gone on strike, demanding higher salaries, an 8-hour work day, and recognition of their union.[1][2] During this strike, the protestors announced a second protest the following Friday.[1] On the 13th, protestors marched down Calea Victoriei, near the royal palace.[1] The protestors then approached a military general, asking for permission to protest, which the military did not approve.[1] The military then began shooting the protestors with four machine guns.[1] One military official at the time noted that such shootings went against regulations placed upon the military, which required a military prosecutor to be present to approve such shooting, and that the guidance stated that warning shots should have been fired instead.[1]

Aftermath and death tollEdit

Initially, the government reported a low death tolls, with figures ranging from 6 to 16 strikers that had been killed,[1][2][3] although subsequent figures suggest that perhaps 87 or 102 strikes may have been killed.[1][3]

Socialist organizer Ion Frimu was among those wounded by the military officers, and died from his wounds weeks later.[2] Other prominent figures who were arrested at the march included Alecu Constantinescu and Alexandru Bogdan.[3] Constantin Titel Petrescu and N. D. Cocea were some of the lawyers who defended those arrested.[3]

LegacyEdit

Under the Socialist Republic of Romania, December 13 became a national holiday, known as "Typographers' Day".[2]

A large mausoleum for Ion Frimu was erected in Tineretului Park, and a commemorative statue and plaque was built at the site of the protest.[2] One of the streets the protestors marched down, Ion Câmpineanu Street (Romanian: Strada Ion Câmpineanu) was renamed to December 13, 1918 Street (Romanian: Strada 13 Decembrie 1918), but reverted to Ion Câmpineanu Street following the fall of the Socialist Republic of Romania.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lambru, Steliu (2018-12-24). "100 years since the events of December 13, 1918". Radio Romania International. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gorky, Patricia (2019-01-08). "Typographers' revolt: The day Bucharest stood still". Liberation School. Party for Socialism and Liberation. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Nacu, Florin (2019-04-01). "Why Did the Socialist Movement Fail in Modern Romania?". Revista de Stiinte Politice (61): 80–92.