The End of the Cold War and the Demise of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe

General Information
Teacher: 
Judas Everett
20-23.04.2020
ECTS: 
2
Number of Hours: 
15
Preliminary requirements: 

At least a basic understanding of international relations and 20th-century history.

Course Description: 

Monday – 20.04.2020

15.30 – 17.00 (room 12) 17.00 – 18.30 (room 12)

Tuesday – 21.04.2020

16.15 – 17.45 (room 234) 17.45 – 18.30 (room 234)

Wednesday – 22.04.2020

9.45 – 11.15 (room 13) 11.30 – 13.00 (room 13)

Thursday – 23.04.2020

15.30 – 17.00 (room 235) 17.00 – 18.30 (room 235)

At the height of the Cold War, the communist regimes of Eastern Europe seemed to have taken an unbreakable stranglehold on political power. Even on the eve of the 1989 revolutions of Eastern Europe, most experts expected these regimes to continue to survive. The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the processes and events which led to the demise of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War.

Timetable of the lectures

Day 1 ( )

The Cold War

General Introductions

Overview of the Cold War

The Rise of Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War

Competing claims on the causes of the end of the Cold War

Day 2 ( )

The Demise of Communist Regimes

Nationalism and Sovereignty: The end of Communism in the USSR

The Roundtable: The end of Communism in Poland

The Reburial: The end of Communism in Hungary

Extremes: The Violence of Romania and the Peace of Czechoslovakia

Day 3 ( )

Presentations and Discussion

Time to finish presentations and address concerns/questions

Students’ presentations and questions/discussion

Roundtable discussion on the end of the Cold War and the demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe

Aims of the course: 

This course has several aims. The principal of which is to provide a general overview of the main historical facts, events and processes which taken together ultimately led to the demise of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Beyond this fundamental aim is the aim to understand the debates of the time of transition: how should economic and political systems be created or transitioned to something new? Such debates are still popular in political science, but the fact that this period saw so many similar states dealing with the same questions at the same time presents considerable opportunity for analysis.

Knowledge of the history as well as the historical debates and conundrums surrounding the demise of communist regimes and transitions in Eastern Europe is essential for higher thinking on the topic. Students will be able to analysis of historical events and policy directions, as well as their effects. Furthermore, they will be able to provide critical assessment of the decisions made by actors of the time, combined with the logic underpinning said decisions, is an important aim for this module.

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • ●  critically assess central approaches to the study of international politics

  • ●  evaluate competing approaches to the possibility of reforming world politics

  • ●  critically apply different approaches to the ethics of war, human rights and humanitarian

    intervention, and global social justice

    You will also develop a number of transferable skills such as essay writing, identifying useful library sources, time management skills, team collaboration and independent study. Developing an awareness of ethical issues which arise in public life is an important module objective.

Teaching methods: 

The course is at first primarily based on lectures, before moving to presentations by students and group discussions. Providing the foundation of factual knowledge is important in order later build upon in the discussions and presentation, questions and engagement is encouraged throughout and

Evaluation & Completion: 
  1. Every student is required to actively participate in the lectures

  2. Students are required to create short presentations (15-20 minutes) on a topic related to

    the end of communism or the demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Topics may be broad and related to academic debates or focus on a specific country, event or even person. Specific guidance will be given during the course, but it is advisable to describe the aims of the project, detail data sources, describe research problems encountered and place their research project within the broader landscape.

  3. The final discussion also requires every student to actively participate and can be seen as a chance to engage with peers and showcase knowledge gained throughout the workshop.

Basic Literature: 

Applebaum, Anne. ​Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956​. First Anchor Books ed. New York: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc, 2013.

Lewis, Paul G. ​Central Europe since 1945​. The Postwar World. London ; New York: Longman, 1994.

Lévesque, Jacques. ​The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe​. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Garton Ash, Timothy. ​The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague​. 1st Vintage books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.

Plokhy, Serhii. ​The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union​. New York: Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2014.

Zubok, Vladislav Martinovič. ​A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev​. Paperback edition. The New Cold War History. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Berglund, Sten, ed. ​The Handbook of Political Change in Eastern Europe​. Third edition. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Pub, 2013.

Additional Literature: 

Havrylyshyn, Oleh. ​Divergent Paths in Post-Communist Transformation: Capitalism for All or Capitalism for the Few?​ Studies in Economic Transition. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Nunberg, Barbara*Barbone. ‘The State after Communism : Administrative Transitions in Central and Eastern Europe’. The World Bank, 31 January 1999. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/178251468776411689/The-state-after-communism- administrative-transitions-in-Central-and-Eastern-Europe​.

Melegh, Attila. ​On the East-West Slope: Globalization, Nationalism, Racism and Discourses on CentralandEasternEurope.​ 1sted.Budapest:CentralEuropeanUniversityPress,2006.

Jeffries, Ian. ​Eastern Europe at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: A Guide to the Economies in Transition.​ Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition 19. London: Routledge, 2002.

Antohi, Sorin, Balázs Trencsényi, and Péter Apor, eds. ​Narratives Unbound: Historical Studies inPost-CommunistEasternEurope.​ PastsIncorporated5.Budapest:CEUPress,2007.

Brown, James F. ​Hopes and Shadows: Eastern Europe after Communism​. Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1994.

Bideleux, Robert, and Ian Jeffries. ​A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change​. 2. ed. London: Routledge, 2007.

Beschloss, Michael R, Strobe Talbott, and Brown and Company Little. ​At the Highest Levels: The inside Story of the End of the Cold War​. Boston [etc.: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company, 1994.

Zubok, Vladislav Martinovič. ​A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev​. Paperback edition. The New Cold War History. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Service, Robert. ​The End of the Cold War 1985-1991​. First edition. New York: PublicAffairs, 2015.

Gaddis, John Lewis. ​The Cold War: A New History​. New York: Penguin Press, 2005. Minagawa, Yuka. ‘The Social Consequences of Postcommunist Structural Change: An Analysis

of Suicide Trends in Eastern Europe’. ​Social Forces​ 91, no. 3 (2013): 1035–56.
Bisley, Nick. ​The End of the Cold War and the Causes of Soviet Collapse.​ Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.​ http://qut.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=343740​.

Leffler, Melvyn P., and Odd Arne Westad, eds. ​Origins​. First paperback edition. The Cambridge History of the Cold War, edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad; volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Leffler, Melvyn P., and Odd Arne Westad, eds. ​Crises and Détente.​ First paperback edition. The Cambridge History of the Cold War, edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad; volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Leffler, Melvyn P., and Odd Arne Westad, eds. ​Endings​. First paperback edition. The Cambridge History of the Cold War, edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad; volume 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Prados, John. ​How the Cold War Ended: Debating and Doing History.​ 1st ed. Issues in the History of American Foreign Relations. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books, 2011.

Sebestyen, Victor. ​Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire​. 1st Vintage books ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010.

McDermott, Kevin, Matthew Stibbe, and British Academy, eds. ​The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe: From Communism to Pluralism.​ Manchester ; New York : New York: Manchester University Press ; distributed in the United States exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Tucker, Aviezer. ​The Philosophy and Politics of Czech Dissidence from Patočka to Havel.​ Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

Judt, Tony. ​Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945.​ New York: Penguin Press, 2005.
Müller, Jan-Werner, ed. ​Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the

Past​. Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Remnick, David. ​Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire​. 1. Vintage Books ed. New

York: Vintage Books, 1994.

Hunter, Allen, ed. ​Rethinking the Cold War.​ Critical Perspectives on the Past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

Gaddis, John Lewis. ​The Cold War: A New History​. New York: Penguin Press, 2005.