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HIS 943: The Other Europe – A History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century 

Professor Steven Kreis


Department of History and Politics
Meredith College
Spring 2001

COURSE OBJECTIVE   Eastern Europe has been called "the lands between," meaning between the "West,” represented by the German and Italian speaking countries, and the real "East," the former Russian/Soviet empire. Though many different peoples inhabit the area, this course, in the interests of coherence, concentrates on some more than others. It deals especially with the Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians and the South Slavs (of the former Yugoslavia). We deal with the years since the First World War, the cataclysm that created some East European countries for the first time and gave others their modern territorial form. During this century, Eastern Europe has been at the center of two World Wars and at least three major revolutions. The people of this region experienced the birth of independent national states after World War I and the overthrow of communism in 1989, but in between they suffered through decades of oppression by regimes of both the right and the left, and witnessed the monumental nightmare of World War II, the Holocaust and the struggles of the Eastern European peoples to create stable national lives in the unfavorable conditions during the imposition of Soviet-dominated regimes after 1945.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS   Attendance and informed participation at all class meetings is required. This means that you show up to class on a regular basis and complete your assignments on time. The entire success of the course, both from my standpoint and yours, is that you get involved, get interested and get motivated to the history of a world which in many ways produced our own. Remember, education is nothing more than dialogue, and according to the master of dialogue, Socrates, good dialogue ought to improve both the instructor and the student. Above all, you will be challenged to think and discuss freely and openly.

REQUIRED TEXTS
Paul Beck, et al, History of Eastern Europe for Beginners
Joseph Held The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century
Eva Hoffman Exit Into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe
Robert Kaplan Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History

FILMS   There are four films to be shown in class that you are REQUIRED to see: (1) Łódź Ghetto, (2) Blind Chance, (3) Before the Rain and (4) Welcome to Sarajevo. The library has a video series called Eastern Europe (VT 947 Ea77), covering 1900-1939, 1939-1953 and 1953-1991 (each film is about 55 minutes long). You ought to see these films on your own at the appropriate times during the semester. You will have to watch them in the library – if this is a problem, let me know.

THE INTERNET   This course requires that you have a valid email account and that you are comfortable using email and the web. Lectures and documents are available on CD-ROM.

COURSEWORK and GRADING   Besides keeping up with your reading and completing the online lectures for each class, you will also have to complete the following: 

1.      Country Study – at the beginning of the semester you will all choose one country to investigate on your own. You will then have to prepare a report on that country which will be delivered in class at the end of the semester. (25%)

2.      Film Review – at the end of the term I am showing three films. You are to choose one film and write a review of it. (15%)

3.      Response Essays – there will be two response essays assigned during the first half of the semester. These are take-home essays and will be based on some historical problem we have uncovered. (2/20%, 40% total)

4.      Class Participation – you will all have a better time in class if you participate. Since we are a small group, this should not be a problem. Email conversations and debates will figure into this part of your grade. (20%)

STATEMENT OF HONOR   We, the Meredith Community, are committed to developing and affirming in each student a sense of personal honor and responsibility. Uncompromising honesty and forthrightness are essential elements of this commitment. The Honor System is a method by which individual honors are protected and maintained. Any dishonorable action will be regarded as a violation of this commitment, and corrective action will be taken.

If I am in violation of the Honor Code, to prevent jeopardizing the Honor System or weakening our system of self-government, I have an obligation to report myself to the proper authorities. If I am aware of a violation of the Honor System by another student, I shall call this matter to the attention of that student as a violation of responsibility to the community.

In choosing Meredith College, I am accepting the Honor System as a way of life. As a Meredith student, I am responsible for insuring that the Honor System is at all times carried out.

HONOR PLEDGE   I do solemnly pledge my honor that as long as I am a student at Meredith College, I will faithfully uphold the principles of the Honor Code and will respect and observe the procedures and requirements of the Honor System. I also pledge my support to our system of self-government, an integral part of our way of life at Meredith College. I make this pledge in view of my fellow students thus signifying our high resolve to keep our honor forever sacred and our self-government forever strong.

SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND LECTURES

ACT 1    THE OUTSIDER AS OUTSIDER
January 10 Course Introduction
January 15   No Classes 
January 17 (1) Origins of the Great War
(2) Austria-Hungary
(3) The South-Slav Problem
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 1-21, 65-81, 306-314
Beck, Eastern Europe or Beginners, pp. 1-76
CD-ROM:
Lecture 1
 January 22  (1) Interwar Eastern Europe I
(2) Poland
(3) Czechoslovakia and Hungary
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 119-127, 164-199, 231-252
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 77-93
CD-ROM: Lectures 2 and 3
January 24 (1) Interwar Eastern Europe II
(2) The Balkans
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 21-27, 81-91, 314-323
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 77-93
CD-ROM: Lecture 4
January 29  (1) The Coming of World War II
(2) Eastern Europe, October 1939 – May 1945
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 27-34, 91-97, 127-129, 199-204, 323-328
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 94-102
CD-ROM: Lectures 5 and 6
January 31 Poland and the Polish Question in WW II
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 252-256
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 94-102
CD-ROM: Lecture 7
February 5 The Holocaust and the Persecution of the Eastern European Jews
FILM: Łódź Ghetto (Part 1)
February 7 FILM: Łódź Ghetto (Part 2)
READING  
CD-ROM: Lecture 8
February 12 (1) The Stalinization of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956
(2) Political and Economic Developments
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 34-39, 97-105, 129-134, 256-262
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 103-117
CD-ROM: Lectures 9 and 10
February 14 Revolution in Hungary, 1956
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 204-222
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 103-117
CD-ROM: Lecture 11
February 19 (1) The Yugoslav-Soviet Split
(2) The Balkan States
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 328-336
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 103-117
CD-ROM: Lecture 12
February 21 (1) “Socialism With a Human Face”
(2)  Alexander Dubcek and the Prague Spring, 1968
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 134-137
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 103-117
CD-ROM: Lecture 13
February 26  (1) Central Europe, 1968-1980
(2) Solidarity, 1980
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 137-141, 222-226, 262-273
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp.  118-120
CD-ROM: Lectures 15, 16 and 17
February 28 1989: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 53-63, 105-112, 141-154, 273-276
Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp.121-133
CD-ROM: Lecture 18
March 5 Central Europe in the 1990s
READING
: Beck: Eastern Europe for Beginners, pp. 134-176
CD0-ROM: Lecture 19
March 7 Yugoslavia in the 1990s
READING: Held, Columbia History of Eastern Europe, pp. 336-342
CD-ROM: Lecture 20
March 12-14 No Classes
ACT 2 THE OUTSIDER AS INSIDER
March 19 FILM: Blind Chance (Part 1)
March 21 FILM: Blind Chance (Part 2)
March 26 REPORTS: Poland
READING: Hoffman, Exit Into History, pp. ix-xvii, 1-119
March 28 REPORTS: Czechoslovakia
READING: Hoffman, Exit Into History, pp. 120-188
April 2 REPORTS: Hungary
READING: Hoffman, Exit Into History, pp. 189-261
April 4 FILM: Before the Rain (Part 1)
April 9 FILM: Before the Rain (Part 2)
April 11 REPORTS: Romania and Bulgaria
READING
: Hoffman, Exit Into History, pp. 262-410
April 16 No Classes
April 18 FILM: Welcome to Sarajevo (Part 1)
READING: Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts, pp. ix-xxxi, 3-76
April 23 FILM: Welcome to Sarajevo (Part 2)
READING: Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts, pp. 79-189
April 25 REPORTS: Yugoslavia
READING: Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts, pp. 193-230
April 30 REPORTS: Yugoslavia
READING: Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts, pp. 233-287
May 1 Reading Day
April 2-11 Exams

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Last Revised -- May 12, 2004