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Contemporary (1950 CE - Present)

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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?

The page of a diary with hand writing on it
Methods

Analyzing Personal Accounts

Personal accounts, including memoirs, journals, diaries, autobiographies, and life histories, are important historical sources that help us understand the human condition. These are the stories we tell about our lives that usually portray a larger picture of a life in historical context.

The cover of Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak, featuring a headshot of a !Kung woman.
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Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak

Made up of a series of analyses and personal interviews conducted by Marjorie Shostak, Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman is an anthropological work about women of the !Kung tribe of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa told through the perspective of one individual, Nisa.

An image on the cover of Dreams of Trespass featuring three women in Moroccan dress walking away down a hall decorated with aniconic ornament.
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Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi

Written by Moroccan feminist and sociologist Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood is a semi-fictional tale about a young girl growing up in a traditional Moroccan harem in the 1940s and 1950s.

Title page of Patience and Power by Susan Schaefer Davis, with the subtitle "Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village."
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Patience and Power by Susan Davis

Patience and Power, Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village is an anthology of anecdotes, interviews, and observations by American anthropologist Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis.