Browse Teaching
Explore commonly taught topics along with related primary sources, discussion questions, teaching strategies, and annotated bibliographies.

Long Teaching Module: The Romanian Revolution of 1989

The December 1989 revolution in Romania has been the subject of scholarly discussions, passionate debates, conspiracy theories, and political struggles. In 2004, for instance, an Institute for the study of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989 (IRRD) was founded in Bucharest, headed by then President Ion Iliescu whose term in office was soon to expire.

... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: 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.

... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: 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.

This short teaching module includes an essay containing context, discussion questions, and a guide to incorporating the three primary sources.

... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: 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.

... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: 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.

... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: 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.

... Read More »

Activity: 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.

... Read More »

Long Teaching Module: Solidarity Comes to Power in Poland, 1989

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.

... Read More »

Long Teaching Module: Everyday Life in Eastern Europe in the 1980s

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.

... Read More »

Long Teaching Module: Economies in Transition in Eastern Europe, 1970-1990

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.

... Read More »

Pages