Browse Teaching

Consumerism in Poland

Throughout Eastern Europe, the decade of the 1980s was a time of significant change, including the everyday lives of average citizens. This case study looks at visual representations of consumer culture in Poland in an effort to examine the larger role that consumer goods played in the daily lives of those who lived in Eastern Europe.

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Memory in East Germany

This case study examines how a group of East German dissidents re-appropriated the memory of Rosa Luxemburg and turned her writing against the Communist Party during an annual parade in January 1988.

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Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate

In June 1987, President Reagan delivered an important speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin. This case study looks at how to use the speech as a means to examine US foreign policy and the end of the Cold War.

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Women in Romania

Using oral histories, this case study explores various aspects of women’s daily lives in Communist Romania and women’s attitudes toward the changes wrought by the transformation to a pluralist system and to a market economy after the collapse of the regime in December 1989.

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Soviet Health Posters

This case study examines two posters that address the increasingly embarrassing and difficult health crisis of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout this period, the poster remained the most typical form of propaganda and thus are an important element in teaching the Soviet experience.

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Simulating the Velvet Revolution

This case study simulates the process of the extraordinarily quick (and often peaceful) overthrow of various communist regimes is Eastern Europe in 1989. The simulation provides a powerful experiential study of how dissent can quickly cascade through a group, leading to fast, dramatic change.

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Solidarity Comes to Power

In retrospect, it seems predictable that the first opposition group in the Soviet bloc to succeed in unseating a communist regime would be Poland’s Solidarity movement.

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Everyday Life in Eastern Europe

Explaining the causes of an event as large, complicated, and significant as the revolutions of 1989 and the end of Communist single-party rule and the Cold War is no small task.

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Economies in Transition

It is well known that the East European Communist governments were unable to provide their citizens with a standard of living comparable to that of the West. This fact is often held up by scholars as an important underlying cause of the widespread discontent with Communism that swept through the region in the late 1980s.

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Post-Soviet population table

Nationalities in the USSR

The Soviet Union was a multi-national empire from the revolution of 1917 through the final demise of Communism in 1991. Multi-national in this context meant that all Soviet citizens were defined by nationality, which was a category associated with birth, but also with native language, regional boundaries, and cultural traditions.

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