Image of the website header reading "The Story of Africa: African History from the Dawn of Time"

The Story of Africa

Each segment provides a selection of quotes from primary sources that illuminate specific issues. There are many gems to mine. They range from original lyrical quotations that capture the arresting images of initiation rituals and political power.
Portrait of Ho Chi Minh later in life.

The Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975

Included on the site is a curriculum guide - a 180-page PDF that can be viewed on the site or downloaded. The that includes four distinct units divided chronologically (1945-1975) and further divided into eight clusters.

Third Conversation between M.S. Gorbachev and FRG Chancellor H. Kohl


On June 12, 1989, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began a four-day visit to West Germany, just two weeks after a similar visit to West Germany by United States President George H. W. Bush. Gorbachev had by the summer of 1989 become a popular figure and expectations were running high in West German society over the summit. From the Soviet Union's perspective, West Germany represented... Read More »

Transcript of the closed "trial" of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, December, 1989


Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu fled from Bucharest by helicopter on December 22, but the pilot soon landed, claiming that they would be fired upon. The couple then hijacked a car but they were recognized, chased and caught by local police in Tirgoviste. Ion Iliescu announced on national television the next day that the Ceausescus had been arrested, and he said, “The time will come for their just... Read More »

Transcript of the SED Politburo Session held on 5 September 1989 East Germany


Hungary began dismantling the barbed wire along its border with Austria in May, 1989. Over the summer months, thousands of East Germans risked their lives crossing over the Hungarian-Austrian border before heading north to West Germany. East Germany pressured Hungary to close its border with Austria, but on September 10, 1989 the Hungarian government announced that it was officially opening... Read More »

Turkmen Party's Niazov Discusses Ethnic Issues


In this interview, published just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Communist leader in Turkmenistan, S. A. Niyazov, offered a stiff defense of the existing structure of the Soviet Union. Implicitly contrasting the "calm" that prevailed in his republic with the turmoil spreading from Eastern Europe through the Baltic republics and Ukraine into the rest of the Soviet Union, Niyazov's... Read More »

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Two Field Interviews


British colonialism in what became Kenya began officially in 1895 and lasted until 1963, but the Maasai themselves were not effectively under British rule until just before the First World War. These excerpts come from longer interviews conducted in Narok District in Kenya in 1973 and 1983 in the years following the end of British colonial rule. In these interviews, elders were asked about a... Read More »

U.S. Hopes for the Future of Hungary


In the summer of 1989, President George Bush made an official visit to several East European countries, each in the midst of democratic demonstrations and public pressure on their Communist regimes. These visits provided President Bush an opportunity to lend support for the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, for example, a question-and-answer session with local journalists... Read More »

U.S. Reaction to Armenian Earthquake


On 7 December 1988, an earthquake with a 6.9 magnitude struck the Soviet Republic of Armenia. With powerful aftershocks continuing for months following, Armenia struggled to recover. By United Nations' estimates, more than 25,000 people were killed, 15,000 more injured, and the physical damage equaled $14.2 billion (U.S.). In order to respond to the disaster Soviet authorities allowed... Read More »

U.S. Reaction to the Chernobyl Explosion


On April 26, 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine led to the radioactive contamination of the surrounding countryside and to radioactive fallout throughout Eastern and Western Europe. In a test of the new Soviet policy of glasnost' (openness), Soviet authorities acknowledged the disaster, though only after Western countries had traced the radiation source to... Read More »