Nume: NISTOR Paul

Tema: Discurs literar-artistic şi construcţie identitară în secolele XVI-XX

Partener: Academia Română, Filiala Iaşi Institutul de Istorie A.D. Xenopol, Iaşi

Proiect: Graphic Art and Ideology in Cold War Romania (1948-1964)

Date de contact:


I graduated from “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi, and the National School for Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucureşti. I attended the Faculty of History, in Iaşi (1994) and my BA paper was titled: “PNL’s Economic Policy in the Early Twentieth Century”. In Bucharest (1997), I attended specialization courses in International Relations and European Integration, and the BA paper had the title: “The Emergence of the Multipolarity During the Post - Cold War Period”. In 2006, I obtained the Ph.D title in History, at “Al. I. Cuza” University, Iaşi, with the thesis: “American Policy of Containment in Europe (1945-1952)”.

During the period 1997-2003 I worked as a History teacher - Arts High-School, Iaşi. Since 2004 I have been a scientific researcher at the „A.D.Xenopol” Institute of History, Romanian Academy, Iaşi. As a researcher, I am interested in the study of the foreign policy of Communist Romania. I have published several articles related to Romanian-American relations in the Cold War Era, relations between the Popular Republic of Romania and the United Nations, and some articles about the links between Romania and others Communist countries at the beginning of the Cold War. I have also published a book – “Fighting Against the „West”. P.C.R., Dej’s Romania and the American Policy of Containment”, and other coordinated books: „International Relations: Today and Tomorrow”, “International Relations: The World of Diplomacy. The World of Conflict” and “Diplomacy and Diplomatic Destinies in the Romanian world”.

I discovered my interest in studying the use of art and ideology after I had done a research on Romanian political cartoons during the Cold War.

Graphic Art and Ideology in Cold War Romania (1948-1964)

The project proposes an analysis of the way in which, in Romania, through the aggressive use of ideology-driven art, the traditional identity was gradually given up and the seed of the communist-internationalist identity was being planted. The overthrowing of the identity values would not have been possible without the modern mechanisms of propaganda, a propaganda led also through a culture controlled by the state-party.

The first stage of the project aims at investigating the role which man has in the art-ideology-building of identity values relation. Hardly can we talk in these conditions of a freedom of art and of unchained creativity. The unique party imposed norms and watched the sketchers and drawers’ behaviour. The artist’s deontology was a serious detail at the time and the question of responsibility and engagement was an almost compulsory one in a society in which all were asked to contribute with something in their fields to the great effort of changing the old world. The artist’s duty and mission, aspects that were not present in the free world, inserted abruptly the moral signification of the product resulted from the work of a man of culture. Even in art responsibility was the key-word.

The second stage aims at identifying the responsibility of totalitarian regimes in the art-ideology-national identity relationship. The analysis of the manner in which the unique parties were interfering with the artistic life, of the attempt of controlling, of the transformation of art into propaganda and manipulation technique, all these will be carefully filtered in order to discover the long term intentions that the ideologist wanted to obtain by the political use of the artistic sphere. In totalitarianism, art was no longer viewed as an autonomous field; it had become part of the social revolution. The totalitarian regimes of the first half of the 20th century (Stalinism/Nazism/fascism) had been direct inspiration sources for the Romanian Communist Party that copied the propagandist methods through art.

The third stage covers the inventory and analysis of Romanian political graphic productions. We will observe, select and comment the representative drawings belonging to visual arts imbued with political ideologies. In archives and libraries we will try to recover images with special impact, images from the advertising graphic area, posters, political caricatures and illustrations that accompanied the engaged literature. In order to discover the most expressive examples we will approach albums containing images of advertising graphic and posters, caricature albums and former exhibitions bearing a political message. We will also study graphic products from newspapers and magazines, magazines of the Plastic Artists Union and part of the belletrist productions viewed as having a special educative role at the time.

The last stage of the project deals with the interpretation of the ideology-driven graphic art which was a component of the communist propaganda. By obtaining the control over all culture forms, the unique party used the visual metaphor as much as the indoctrinated discourse. Through these techniques, the ideologists of the R.C.P. were launching the main themes towards society and, at the same time, by a continuous action, were overthrowing the national values replacing them with a mixed identity in which the Marxist-internationalist dimension was not to be neglected.

Published Studies and Articles

  • The Recollection Issue in International Relations. The Romanian- Ukrainian Treaty, 1997 in Xenopoliana, XI,1-4, „A.D.Xenopol” Publishing, Iaşi, 2002.
  • Romania and the UN at the beginning of the Cold War in Society and History in Eastern-Carpathian Area (XIII-XX centuries) , Iaşi, Junimea Publishing, 2005.
  • Communist Celebrations and Romanian Propaganda in the USA in Xenopoliana, XIV, 2006.
  • Cold War Diplomacy. Romanian-American Relations in 1949 in A.D.Xenopol Institute of History Yearbook Iaşi, XLIII Tome, 2006.
  • Romania’s Integration in the UN. An outcome of the dynamics of the International System of States in International Relations: Today and Tomorrow, PIM Publishing, Iaşi, 2007, pp. 139-156.
  • Romania in the American Strategies of Containment of the Communism (1947 -1951) in Europe XXI” Magazine, European History and Civilization Centre, Iaşi, XV-XVI Tome, 2006-2007, pp. 367-378.
  • Diplomacy – Career and Personal Drama. The Staff of Romania’s Legation in Washington at the beginning of Cold War in Studies on Romanian and International Relations, Lucian Leuştean, Petronel Zahariuc, Dan Mâţă (publishers), Iaşi, „Al. I. Cuza” University Publishing, 2007, pp. 287 – 302.
  • Romania’s non-Political Relations to The Eastern States at the beginning of the Cold War in Society and State in Europe Tome, Universitaria Craiova Publishing, Craiova, 2008.
  • The relations between Communist Romania with the Soviet Union in 1955. Cultural and non-Political Aspects in A.D.Xenopol Institute of History Yearbook Iaşi, 2009.
  • Popular Republic of Romania’s Relations to the Communist Bloc at the beginning of the Cold War in Romania and the European Security Systems 1919-1975, Ioan Ciupercă, Bogdan-Alexandru Schipor, Dan Constantin Mâţă (coord.), „Al. I. Cuza” University Publishing, Iaşi, 2009.
  • Monarchy under the Surveillance of the Romanian Communist Diplomacy (1947-1948) , in Craiova University’s Annals. History, XIV, no. 2(16)/2009, B+ category, Internationale SCOPUS Data Base.
  • The Five who scared … America, too. The immediate effects of the attempt in Bern (1955) over the Romanian Diplomacy. The American case, in Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, No. 12, Winter/2009, B+ category, Cetatea de Scaun Publishing, Târgovişte, 2009.
  • The difficulties encountered by the new Romanian Communist diplomats in the USA – 1950, in The Romanian-American Magazine, no. 2, 2010.
  • The image of the enemy in the Romanian political cartoons during the Cold War, in From fiction to reality, Andi Mihalache, Silvia Marin-Barutcieff (coord.), University “Al.I. Cuza” Publishing House, Iaşi, 2010.


  • Fighting against the „West”. P.C.R., Dej’s Romania and the American Policy of Containment of the Communism, Bucharest, “Vremea” Publishing House, 2006. (PhD Thesis) – Author
  • International Relations: Today and Tomorrow, PIM Publishing, Iaşi, 2007, coordinator
  • International Relations: The world of Diplomacy. The world of Conflict, Ionuţ Nistor, Paul Nistor (coord.), PIM Publishing, Iaşi, 2009.