Cold War and Process of Transformation in Central-Eastern Europe

General Information
Number of Hours: 
Monday 9:45 - 11:15
Preliminary requirements: 

General knowledge on the international political and economic relations, theory of politics and political geography.

Course Description: 

1. Introduction, description and explanation of basic concepts, geography and geopolitics of the region

2. The post-war order in Central-Eastern Europe, the communist takeover, implementation of socialist economic and social model.

3. Central-Eastern Europe during the Cold War: The Warsaw Pact, CMEA, Political instability in Central-Eastern Europe.

4. The anti-communist opposition in Central Eastern Europe and the end of communism.

5. Transition to democracy in the post-communist states.

6. Evaluation of the course

Aims of the course: 

W1. Student explains issues of the political geography and modern history of the states of the Central-Eastern Europe. Student knows the important lines of political, economic, cultural, civilization, religious and ethnic divisions of the region.

W2. Student understands and is able to exemplify the political, economic and social processes occurring in the region during the times of the Cold War and can relate them to the process of political and economic transformation.

W3. Student is able to analyze and evaluate the meaning of the key regional and international factors influencing the situation of the Central-Eastern European states during the Cold War, including the Soviet domination, totalitarian/authoritarian communist regimes, social and economic reforms and changes, East vs. West rivalry etc.

W4. Student knows the conditions of the democratic transformation of the Central-Eastern European states and is able to explain the internal politics and socio-economic processes of those states nowadays.


U1. Student is able to properly operate the main concepts from the theory of international relations and use them to construct the descriptions of political, economic and social events in the history of the Central-Eastern Europe.

U2. Student has the skills to evaluate and describe the role of the Central-Eastern Europe in  international politics. Student is able to distinguish and differentiate the political interests of the states of the region and the interest of the third parties in the region.

U3. Student posses the ability to present the processes and occurrences such as nationalization, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, collectivisation, mass industrialization in the Central-Eastern European context, and is able to use them to describe the current events.

U4. Student is able to plan different variants of the socio-political processes in individual Central-Eastern European states and draw up the main methods of dealing with the new dangers and challenges.


K1. Student is qualified to formulate and verify his/her own opinion about the internal and international processes occurring in the states of the Central-Eastern Europe. Student is able to discuss on the given topic and independently arrange the discussions about the countries of the region.

K2. Working individually and in a group student can prepare analytical models, presentations, papers and reports on a given topic.

K3. Student understands the importance of the knowledge from the field of international relations for the analysis of social, economic and political problems of the Central-Eastern European states.

Teaching methods: 

Seminar, text analysis, discussion, case studies, work in groups, presentation, report, paper.

Evaluation & Completion: 

Passing of a written test consisting of 5 questions. Preparation of presentation or an essay. Active participation in the discussion.

Basic Literature: 

1. A. Hyde-Price, The international Politics of Central-Eastern Europe, Manchester 1996.

2. P. G. Lewis, Central Europe since 1945, London 1994.

3. J. D. Nagle, Democracy and democratization – post-communist Europe in comparative perspective, London 1999.

4. T. I. Berend, Central and Eastern Europe, 1944-1993.

5. I. Jeffries, Eastern Europe at the turn of the twenty-first century : a guide to the economies in transition.

Additional Literature: 

1. Witnesses to the origins of the cold war, ed. by T. T. Hammond.

2. In pursuit of Europe : transformations of post-communist states 1989-1994, ed. by B. Góralczyk, W. Kostecki, K. Żukrowska.

3. J. Lévesque, The Enigma of 1989 : the USSR and the liberation of Eastern Europe.

4. Democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe. Vol. 1 and 2, Institutional engineering, ed. by J. Zielonka.

5. The changing geopolitics of Eastern Europe, ed. by Andrew H. Dawson and R. Fawn.