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Mikhail Gorbachev’s Resignation Speech

This is a transcript of Gorbachev’s resignation speech. This speech signified the complete end of the Soviet Union. According to the speech, what reasons does Gorbachev give for his resignation? What is the overall tone of this document? Why do you think Gorbachev uses this tone?

Inset of Ukraine from larger map of 1918 Europe
Teaching

Long Teaching Module: Border Changes of the Soviet Union

Border changes have been a central part of 20th century European history. This lesson will examine a few key maps and documents that explore the creation, expansion, and dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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The Alma-Ata Declaration

This document is a translation of the Belovezh Accords, the agreement which essentially declared that the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Those who signed it agreed to form a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Which states were signatories of the Belovezh Accords?

Image of text in Ukrainian of Declaration. Transcription and translation provided with source.
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Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine

This source is one example of a former Soviet republic declaring its independence from the Soviet Union. Who created this document? What reasons does the document creator give for wanting to secede from the Soviet Union?

Map of Europe with countries shaded based on year they joined NATO.
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History of NATO Expansion Map

This map shows the expansion of NATO over time. Have students identify the most recently states to join NATO. Which states have joined NATO after the collapse of communism? Which of these newer NATO states had been Soviet satellite states as opposed to full republics of the Soviet Union?

Map of Europe with countries shaded based on membership in NATO, the Warsaw Pact or nonaligned.
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Cold War Europe Military Alliances Map

This map illustrates which states in Europe belonged to NATO or the Warsaw Pact military alliance. The white states were neutral. This map illustrates the infamous Iron Curtain and the split between West and East. Which of these states belonged to the Warsaw Pact?

Inset of Ukraine from larger map of 1918 Europe
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Map of Europe, 1918

This map illustrates European borders prior to the start of WWI in 1914 with black lines and new states formed by the First World War in red. As the map illustrates, a number of states became independent from Tsarist Russia. What new states were these?

Inset of Prester John from larger world map. Shows a man sitting in front of a tent.
Teaching

Short Teaching Module: Examining Early Genoese Voyages through Maps

The medieval Genoese ranged from China to the Atlantic, and their experience in navigation, the sugar industry, and the slave trade were the elemental foundation of Iberian colonial expansion.

Map with network lines radiating from fixed points
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Nautical Chart, 1385

This nautical chart is signed by Majorcan cartographer Guglielmo Soler and dated to 1385, and ranges from the Black Sea to the Atlantic. Less beautiful than the Catalan map, it was also more practical for navigators to use.

Inset of Prester John from larger world map. Shows a man sitting in front of a tent.
Source

Catalan Map of the World, c.1450

Dated to the mid-fifteenth century, this Catalan world map is over a meter in diameter on a sheet of vellum (high-quality parchment made of calfskin). Unlike many other surviving charts, this was not meant for practical navigation, though it was based on such nautical charts.