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Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT) Lectures in Eastern Europe Historical Context of Central and Eastern.

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Presentation on theme: "Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT) Lectures in Eastern Europe Historical Context of Central and Eastern."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT) Lectures in Eastern Europe Historical Context of Central and Eastern Europe

2 Key events leading to the installation of socialist-communism in Eastern Europe Russian Revolution of Tsars, Karl Marx, Vladimir I. Lenin/Leon Trotsky/Josef Stalin, creation of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Yalta Conference after World War II (1945) -- The West and the USSR decide the fate of Eastern Europe

3 Central Features of Socialist Societies -- Central planning of economy and politics -- Full employment -- Universal education, health and other social services

4 How did Eastern Europe become „communist?” -- Under guise of democracy: using existing democratic institutions and legal systems -- Eliminating opposituion by bribing, exiling, or killing non/anti-communists -- Support from the USSR (force, training of police/military), including Soviet troops on home country’s soil

5 „From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.” -- Winston Churchill March

6 Methods and resources used in the Communist take-over of Eastern Europe were used to control and maintain the socialist system: -- One official ideology -- One party political system -- Centrally planned economy, frequently with input from the USSR -- State absorbtion of civil society and all aspects of social life -- Monopoly of communication -- Monopoly of the means of violence -- Well-financed secret police/domestic intelligence services, using terroristic tactics and coercion practices -- Extensive network of informants -- Suppression of dissent

7 THE COLD WAR Anti-Communist versus Anti-American Propaganda versus

8 How did people adapt to life under the Communist Party? -- Black market -- Bribes -- Conformity -- Open dissent/underground dissent -- Openly ingratiating themselves to the regime and trying to obtain positions of authority and favoritism within the massive bureaucratic structures -- Emigration (fleeing)

9 A Romanian citizen is walking on the streets, cursing the communist regime and the poverty that ravages the nation... Romanian citizen: "We have no food, we have no warm water, we have nothing!„ Of course, as it happens in Romania, a group of policemen quickly arrest him and bring him into and interrogation room. They beat him up, they make him sit on a chair and fire with fake bullets towards him just to scare him with the noise. After he's terrified enough, they let him go, thinking that he is too scared to do it again...After leaving, the guy starts talking by himself again, as he's walking home.. Romanian citizen: "We have no bullets, we have nothing!"

10 A Polish citizen is trying to protest against the communist regime, therefore he throws leaflets, papers around on the Red Square in Moscow. Secret Police agents arrest him and question him, then they observe that there was nothing on the papers, they were all plain white. The Secret Police agents ask him why the papers are white, then the prisoner replies: "It's obvious anyway, why should I write it down?" A CIA secret agent is sent to the Communist Republic Of Romania to assassinate ruthless dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, the most cruel self- obsessed dictator of communist Europe. The agent goes to a public meeting and tries to aim, but... he cannot shoot the dictator. He tries again, again and again, but he cannot do it... When he returns to the CIA headquarters in Washington, he is asked by his chief what happened. CIA agent: "Whenever I managed to crawl forward to find myself a good position, tried to aim, but then the whole crowd looked at me and started shouting: SHOOT HIM, SHOOT HIM, SHOOT HIM!"

11 Key Events in the Communist Era in Eastern Europe -- Death of Stalin 1953 Eastern Bloc Uprisings -- East Germany strikes Hungarian Revolution Czechoslovakia „Prague Spring” Romania Miners’ strike Poland 1970 and 1980 How were Eastern Bloc uprisings suppressed? -- Soviet-backed military intervention -- Roll-back of reforms


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