Prof. Irina Livezeanu 3M24 Forbes Quad
Spring 1998 Tu., Th. 1:00-2:15CL
313 Office hours: Tu, Th 2:15-2:30 (in class)
FQ 3M24 4-4:30or by appointment

Phone 648-7451 - East European History





This course is an introduction to the history and culture of Eastern Europe. It is structured around lectures, discussions, readings, and videos that bear on Eastern European society, history, and culture. Unlike most history courses, which begin at some point in the past and move forward in time, this one will start with the more familiar present and move back toward more and more distant and less familiar pasts.



 To familiarize students with the broad outline and structure of Eastern Europe’s modern and contemporary history and culture, and with their historical roots. To familiarize students with a sample of historically relevant Eastern European literature, film, and primary sources.


Procedures and expectations:

1. As part of this course you will have to view a number of films and be able to discuss them orally and in written form in historical context. Some films will be screened during class time, but for others there will be optional screenings. If you cannot attend these screenings, you will have the option of viewing them in Hillman, or renting them on your own, if available, to watch at home.


2. Your task for each unit of the course will be to take good lecture notes, read the assigned pages, primary documents, and literature, view the films (on video) paying close attention and taking notes, and participating in class discussion. For some units there will be short essay assignments. Work should be turned in on time.


3. Students are expected to participate fully in every aspect of the course, including films and discussions. Attendance is mandatory and it does affect your performance and grade. Honest effort, class participation, and courtesy are expected and will affect your grade. If you miss class because of illness get in touch with someone in the class and get notes, handouts, and assignments. For this purpose, please exchange phone numbers and email addresses with at least 2 people in the class--now:


Class contacts:

4. Good grammar and style are an important tool for writing assignments. I am assuming that you have mastered English grammar and the rules of composition. The Writing Center is a Pitt resource that you must use if you need assistance with writing skills. Poor writing will affect your grade.

5. Grades will be calculated on the basis of attendance, exams, short assignments, quizzes, and discussions approximately as follows:



The exams and quizzes may contain maps. Please study map hand-outs and those in the textbook.


You have a choice of taking either an in-class final exam or writing a final paper. Paper topics will be announced later. Papers will be due April 14.


Policy on Plagiarism:

Presenting somebody else’s words or ideas as your own constitutes plagiarism and it is against university rules. If you use someone else’s ideas or exact words you must acknowledge your source. When copying copy accurately and use quotation marks and footnotes. But you must also document and footnote paraphrased material or just an idea you got from someone else. (Consult KateTurabian or Strunk and White for the specifics of proper citation.) Plagiarism rules also apply to Internet material. You should be aware that it is generally very easy for professors to detect plagiarized material in student papers. Plagiarism in writing assignments will automatically result in a 0 grade and possible further action.



Films will be shown at regular intervals, to be announced in class. All films will run on Mondays, in room of the Cathedral of Learning. Screening times will be between 5pm and 8pm.




At Copycat after February 1 Coursepack

+ = Stokes
# = Required video
* = Class topic
rec = recommended


Course Plan

  • Introduction
*Definitions & Framework
Eastern Europe East Central Europe, and the Balkans: What do you know about it? What’s going on there now? (3 articles on a chosen topic)
NY Times & Christian Science Monitor 
    * Postcommunist Nightmare?
  • The End of Communism
Rusinow guest lecture
*Votruba guest lecture
Longworth Introduction, + Silajdzic, "Human Rights"
View # The Road to Nowhere: Yugoslavia
Garton Ash, "The Year of Truth"
+Gorbachev, "A Common European Home"
+Havel, "New Year’s Day Speech, 1990"
  • Communism & Its Discontents
*From Marxist Reform to Antipolitics
*From Tito to Milosevic
*Communism and the Thaw in EE
Legters 183-192
View # Man of Marble V2319
Wazyk, Poem for Adults (460-3)
rec: Man of Iron V1774, Camera Buff V2309 Report on the Party & the Guests V1716
  • World War II & Stalinism
*WW II & the Holocaust
* The Iron Curtain Descends
+Stokes 31-2, 44-77
Longworth ch 2 (26)
Korbonski 120-139, 187-192
Donia & Fine, "WW II" 136-156
View # Night & Fog, # Ashes and Diamonds V684
rec: Come and See V1034,
Europa, Europa V2004, Korczak V2691
  • Independent Eastern Europe: the Interwar Years
*WW I & Its Consequences
*Multinational States & Democracy
*The Bolshevik Threat
*The Surge in anti-Semitism
*Between Hitler and Stalin
Longworth ch 3 (30)
Roth, "The Bust of the Emperor"
Minorities Protection Treaties
Codreanu, Dmowski
View # An Unforgettable Summer V3177
rec: The Shop on Main Street V 682
  • Nationalism & the Road to WW I
* The South Slav Question
Longworth, ch 4 (31)
View # Colonel Redl V681




Map Assignments

1. Review the map at this site, print it out, and fill in the names and capitals of all East European states (the countries east of Germany and west of Russia). For your own information, you might want to include major rivers and mountain ranges, and the names of the seas or oceans which touch Eastern Europe. The map section of the library is past Circulation and Reserve, near the Media Resources offices.

2. As you complete the map above, pay attention to the official names of countries. Use the clickable map available at this site, which can be located by scrolling through the left-hand frame.

You may also use the following maps for your assignment


3. Choose one map from this page and print it. Attach it to an essay discussing the relevance of the area depicted in the 20th century, the 19th century and the 15th century.


4. Choose one country from this map and trace its borders as they change through history on a modern political map.
5. Choose one country from this map and trace its borders as they change through history on a modern political map


Web Assignments: Visual


These are photos from the Truman Library and the UN. Choose 3 pictures relevant to Eastern Europe's experiences during and after WWII, discuss how the event or people shown influenced the outcome of WWII.


Evaluate the messages sent about American identity in these posters and relate them to the East European experience during WWII. - WWII Posters


Web Assignments: Reading

Read Chapter 1 and Chapter 8 of the published proceedings Nato Enlargement: The National Debate over Ratification, edited by Simon Serfaty and Stephen Cambone, October 7, 1997, paying close attention to the role of Eastern Europe in the discussion.

Chapter 1, "The Logic of Dual Enlargement"

Chapter 8, "The Politics of NATO Enlargement in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia"

Optional reading: Chapter 4, "Germany and NATO Enlargement"

Respond to the essay available at the site listed here, do you agree with the author's primary thesis that "Multiethnicity is the solution, not the problem"? Is this statement true of the former Yugoslavia? Is it applicable to Poland and Romania between the two world wars? How can you apply your understanding of the Ausgleich of 1867 to the premise of this essay? Compare it to the essay which follows. Do you agree, disagree?

Lesson #4: Multiethnicity is the Solution, not the Problem four


Lesson #5: The Nation-State is the Problem, not the Solution five

How are the "lessons of Versailles" still being grappled with today? Is the Versailles Treaty something we should consider, along with the limited successes and documented failures of the League of Nations, as East European countries seek admission to NATO and the EU?

Lesson #6: Versailles + Four six

Do you agree or disagree with this essay? How do Dmowski's writings and the policies toward Jews in Eastern and Central Europe between the wars support or contradict this claim?

Lesson #7: The Jews were the First Victims of the Nation-state seven

Is this true? Discuss this essay in the context of the 1956 revolutions.

Lesson #8: The US has always deferred to its allies in Central Europe eight

Go to this site to see how professional historians and experts on Eastern and Central Europe feels about the questions you have addressed. Feel free to investigate their responses in detail.

Please read and discuss in context of the 1848 Revolutions and the 1867 Ausgleich.

Hungarian Declaration of Independence, April 14 1849


Kossuth's letter to the people of the U.S., Broussa, Asia Minor, March 27 1850



Web Assignments: Primary Documents


 You may want to refer to this site in reviewing recent policy and policy implementation in the former Yugoslavia.  

Dayton Accords on Bosnia, 1995

Using the documents included in these sites, films you have viewed, and the readings you have completed for this course, compare the American depiction of the war to the East European experience as you understand it. - Truman Library materials

Why might you be interested in using primary documents or resources? Here's a short project to try at home.
You, too can use the National Archives. Use this site to search the holdings which the National Archives have already catalogued online. Knowing what sort of documents are available to you can help you determine the validity and future relevance of a project you begin in this very course!

 Do you read German or Hungarian? Check out this site for documents on WWI.

Austro-Hungarian Documents on the Outbreak of War, 1 July 1914 - 27 August 1914

Other Austrian Documents from the 20th Century.



Web Resources

Institutions and Organizations

The United Nations --

The National Archives --

The European Union --


News and press organs

Central Europe Online --

OMRI Net -- Open Media Research Institute --

Radio Free Europe -- Radio Liberty --

The New York Times --

The Christian Science Monitor --

The Washington Post --

Country-specific sites

Historical sites

Humanities Net --

General History Site --

Other historical maps 

Other maps