Browse Primary Sources

Infant Mortality: Eastern Europe: 1970-1989

One of the most important indicators of a societies transition to what economists often call “modern industrial society” is a decline in infant mortality rates. As you might imagine, declines in infant mortality rates are also very important to individual citizens, because it means that their children are much more likely to live to adulthood.

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Fertility and Abortion in Czechoslovakia, 1950-2005

This graph shows two trends in the Czech population (first in Czechoslovakia and after 1993 in the Czech Republic)—changes in fertility rates (births per women aged 15-49) and the abortion rate in this same population. This fairly simple graph offers a number of insights into the experiences of Czech women both during and after Communism.

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Macroeconomic Indicators in Czechoslovakia 1970-1990

One of the many ways historians, economists, and other social scientists measure the health of a state’s economy is by examining changes in macroeconomic indicators over time.

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GDP in Yugoslavia: 1980-1989

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Yugoslavia: 1980 vs. 1989
(All figures in 1972 US Dollars)

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The Trabant

For many in the West the Trabant automobile was one of the symbols of the economic differences between Eastern and Western Europe. When the Hungarian government opened its borders in the late summer of 1989, tens of thousands of East German citizens streamed westward, many of them driving or riding in “Trabis” as they were known.

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East Germany Protest

Protests erupt in East Germany, which leads to the fall of Honecker's regime and the eventual collapse of the GDR.

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The Berlin Wall 1989

Crowds gather on the Wall, Berlin.

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Crowd in Prague 1989

Protesters rally in the streets to celebrate the election of the new President of a democratic Czechoslovakia, Vlaclav Havel.

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Romania and Its Neighbors

One of the more challenging parts of teaching Romania is the relative unfamiliarity of many Americans with the geography of the places in Eastern Europe, especially the Balkans. Having some grounding in 'where' things are happening leads to better understanding of why and how things are happening.

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