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   Course Title    History of Southern and Western Slavs After World War II.
Lecturer    Rustem Tukhvatullin
Institution    Bashkir State Universityy
Country    Russia

I. The course is aimed at studying and showing the common regularities of the historical development of Slavic countries and specific peculiarities of the history of individual Slavic countries after World War II.

Objectives covered by the given course are the following:

  1. studying causes of the revolutionary changes in the countries after World War II and causes of the communist victory;

  2. considering and critically estimating alternative programs of socio-economic and political development;

  3. realizing the causes for the adoption of the soviet model and the ways of employing the soviet experience of society transformation;

  4. appreciating the experience of national problems salvation in the countries;

  5. explaining the causes of the crises of the 1950-1980ís and learning how they were solved;

  6. comprehending the reasons for the socialist crisis;

  7. evaluating the course and difficulties of the reforms in contemporary economics, politics and social life.


II. History of Southern and Western Slavic peoples is a part of European history. Studying the history of the Southern and Western Slavs is a study of the history of Central and South-Eastern Europe. The discipline "History of Southern and Western Slavs" is an important part of a qualified specialist training at the history department of a university. This discipline is closely connected with such courses as "the History of Western Europe and America in modern times" and "the History of Western Europe and America in the most recent times" being taught at the faculty for 3rd and 4th year students.

There are many common features in the history of those peoples. Only at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of 20th century independent Slavic countries were formed. Between two World Wars dictatorial regimes were established in several countries. All of them had become the objects of German expansion.

After the end of the World War II Slavic countries as well as other countries of the region became an arena of struggle between two main world powers. Socialist regimes were established here and anti-capitalist reforms were carried out. At the end of the 1980ís in those countries radical transformations took place which resulted in a different model of development.


III. Methods.

We consider several methods while studying this course.

1) A method of group discussion. It provides a deep study of information so that students acquire different points of view on a chosen problem. This method could help to understand reasons behind historical events and phenomena, and ensure the active involvement of students in the process of learning.

2) A comparative historical method. It could be used to reveal common and specific features in historical phenomena, to recognize different historical stages of a given phenomenon or the evolution of two coexisting phenomena. This method allows one to bring to light and to compare stages of an evolution, and to determine its developmental tendencies. This method is used while delivering lectures and conducting seminars, for example, while determining the reasons behind the communistsí victory after the World War II and the crises of the 1950-1980ís. It is also quite fruitful to compare the soviet experience of society transformation in Slavic countries.

3) Genetic method. This method is used to investigate social processes and phenomena. It is founded on analyses of their origin and development. The genetic method presupposes reducing the diversity of phenomena to fundamental elements and deriving the studied phenomena from them. So this method could be applied to analyze the revolutions of the 1940ís and national contradictions in some countries.

On the whole, there are three groups of methods usually employed while teaching historical disciplines.

First Ė methods of verbal exposition Ė a story, a report, a description

Second, using visual facilities Ė maps, plans, schemes and so on.

Third, methods of work with written and printed historical sources.

Students would obtain historical knowledge in each case. For example, the first and third groups are widely used in teaching lectures, holding discussions and conducting seminars.


IV. Course content

1. The revolutions of the 1940ís in Slavic countries

The arrangement of political forces after the end of World War II. Major programs of postwar development. Influence of external forces on domestic political situation. "Peoplesí democracy". Reasons of rising the Left political influence and their victory. Influence of the cold war on the situation in Eastern and Central Europe. Cominformbureau. Reasons for the adoption and victory of the soviet development model.

2. Bulgaria, 1944-1948

The struggle between revolutionary and liberal forces. Government of the Fatherland (Patriotic) front. G. Dimitrov. Political, economic and social reforms of 1944-1948. Referendum. Nationalization and planning. Agrarian reform. Peace treaty of 1947. The 1947 Constitution. Political processes. N. Petkov. Victory of the communists.

3. The Building of socialism in Bulgaria. The Crisis of socialism.

Establishment of the Bulgarian Communist Party political monopoly. Political repressions. Forced building of socialism. Industrialization. Co-operation of agriculture. Cultural transformations. Struggle for power in the leadership of the BCP. "Era of T.Zhivkov". Domestic policy of the T.Zhivkoví regime. Economic reform in the early 1960ís and its results. Growth of difficulties in the 1970-1980ís. The National problem. "Perestroika" in Bulgaria. Opposition to the T.Zhivkoví regime. The 1989 November events. Peculiarities of the transformation process. Formation of the Union of Democratic Forces. The 1990 Parliament elections. Zh.Zhelev. Political struggle in the 1990ís. Economic reforms. New foreign policy.

4. Yugoslavia, 1945-1948.

Results of the antifascist liberation war of the Yugoslavian peoples. Role and position of the Communist party of the Yugoslavian Election to the Constituent Assembly. J. Broz Tito. Formation of the Federative Peopleís Republic of Yugoslavia. The 1946 Constitution. Socio-economic reforms. Forced reproduction of the soviet model. The soviet-yugoslavian relationsí aggravation and break off.

5. Self-management socialism in Yugoslavia

Elaboration and realization of the self-management socialism model. J. Broz Tito, B. Kidrich, E.Kardelj. The 1950 law. Introduction of workerís self-management. Public self-management. Political repressions. Constitutional law of 1953. The Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Non-alignment. The Basic law. Economic reforms of 1964-1965. Decentralization of government. Problem of market development mechanisms. National problem. Struggle in the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia. Events in Croatia (1971). The 1974 Constitution. Growth of the republicís role. Crisis development of post-Tito Yugoslavia. Collective rotational system. Kosovo conflict. Attempts to reform state. Disintegration tendencies.

6. Disintegration of Yugoslavia. Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

Liberalization of the political system of the SFRY at the end of the 1980ís. Growth of nationalism. XIV congress of the UCY and disintegration of the party. Peculiarities of the multiparty system. The election of 1990 and nationalistsí victory. Referendums in Croatia and Slovenia. The stateís disintegration. Wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Formation of the Union Republic of Yugoslavia. International organizationsí role in the conflicts. The Dayton agreements. Elimination of Serb autonomies in Croatia. Kosovo conflict and the NATO war against Yugoslavia.

7. Poland, 1944-1948

Two centers of resistance. Krayova Rada Narodova. The Polish Committee of National Liberation. Warsaw Uprising, aims of Delegatura and emigrant government. Realization of the PCNL Manifesto. Yalta decisions on Poland problems. Provisional government of the National Unity. S.Mikolajczyk. Political struggle connected with the postwar development problems. The role of the Soviet factor in political life. Socio-economic transformations. Referendum of 1946. The 1947 elections. Causes and reasons for the Polish Workersí Partyí victory. Cominformbureau. Rejection of the polish socialism model. Formation of the Polish United Working Party.

8. Poland, 1950-1980ís

Economic development of Poland in the 1950ís. Forced building of socialism. The 1952 Constitution. Industrialization and co-operation. Political trials and repressions. Polandís international position. Crisis of 1956. Poznan unrest. V.Gomulka and attempts at modernization. New agrarian policy. Political and cultural life liberalization. Economic difficulties in the 1960ís. Protests of students and intellectuals. Foreign policy. Workersí unrest in 1970-1971. E.Gerek. Achievements and difficulties of the modernization policy. Opposition formation. The Committee for the defense of Workers. Role of the Catholic Church in domestic life. The crisis of 1980-1981. Solidarity struggle for power. Self-limiting revolution. L. Walesa. Martial law. V.Jaruzelski. Reforms of the 1980ís. Economic situation. Decisions of the 1989 Round Table.

9. Poland, 1990ís

The 1989 parliamentary election. The government of T.Mazowiecki. "Shock therapy". The presidential election of 1990. Changes in the party system. Petty Constitutionalim. Peculiarities of the political struggle. The presidential elections of 1995. A. Kwasniewski. Government of the left forces. New foreign policy of Poland. Successes and difficulties of reforms. The 1997 parliamentary elections. Post-Solidarity governments.

10. Czechoslovakia, 1945-1948

Political situation after the war. Program of national-democratic transformations. National problem. Peculiarities of the state and political system. National front. Nationalization. Agrarian reform. Parliamentary election of 1946. Political struggle for choosing ways for development. The K.Gottwald government. Marshall plan. The February 1948 events. The communist party victory. Reorganization of the political system. The 1948 Constitution.

11. Czechoslovakia, 1950-1980ís

Building socialism. Completion of nationalization. Agrarian reform. Industrialization of Slovakia. Disproportions in the economy. Political trials at the beginning of the 1950ís. Writersí congress of 1956. The 1960 Constitution. Economic difficulties of the 1960ís. Struggle for social and political liberalization. Movement for reform. O.Sic. A.Dubchek. Prague spring. "Action program" of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Proclamation "2000 words". Position of the USSR. August events of 1968. Moscow protocol. G.Gusak. Constitutional law of 1968. Normalization regime. Successes and failures of economic development. Dissidents. Charter-77. Perestroika in the USSR and policy of the CPC. The November 1989 events. V.Havel. Formation of Civic Forum. Public against Violence.

12. The Czech Republic and Slovakia in the 1990ís

Parliamentary elections of 1990. Economic transformation. Privatization. National problemsí aggravating. Reorganization of the federation. Transformation of social and political life. Disintegration of the federative state. Economic and social reforms, political development, foreign policy of the Czech republic and Slovakia.

The course is scheduled 12 weeks: one lecture per week.

Seminar theme: The revolution of the 1940ís in Slavic countries: common and peculiar features.

Problems for discussion:

  1. Domestic situation in the countries and programs of postwar development

  2. Reforms of 1945-1948. Political struggle between major forces

  3. Reasons behind the communistsí victory.


  1. each student should prepare a book or article review;

  2. oral or written test.


V. Readings

A. Mandatory

  1. Adibekov G.M. Cominform and postwar Europe. 1947-1956. Moscow, 1994.

  2. Berend I.T. Decades of crisis. Central and Eastern Europe before World War II. Berkeley, 1998.

  3. Bragin Y. Yugoslavian disintegration. Reasons for the tragedy// Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn. 1995. ? 4-5.

  4. Building socialism in the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe. History. Moscow, 1990.

  5. Central Ė Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th Century. Vol.I. Real socialism making. Moscow, 2000.

  6. Eastern Europe. Politics, culture, and society since 1939. Bloomington, 1998.

  7. Girenko Y.S. Stalin-Tito. Moscow, 1991.

  8. Kuznechevski V.D. Yugoslavian socialism model evolution. Moscow, 1990.

  9. Market transformations in Eastern Europe// Mirovaya economika i mezhdunarodniya otnosheniya. 1996.? 4-5.

  10. National problem in East Europe. The past and the future. Moscow, 1995.

  11. Resistance movements in Central and South-Eastern European countries, 1941-1945. Moscow, 1995.

  12. Short history of Bulgaria. Moscow, 1987.

  13. Short history of Czechoslovakia. Moscow, 1988.

  14. Short history of Poland. Moscow, 1993.

  15. Ten Years after the Democratic Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe// Novaya i Noveishaya Istoriya. 2001. ? 2.

  16. The 50-60ís political crises and conflicts in East European countries. Moscow, 1993.

  17. The Twentieth century history of Central and South-Eastern European countries. Moscow, 1997.

  18. Volokitina T.V., Murashko G.P., Noskova A.F. Peoplesí democracy: A myth or reality? Socio-political processes in Eastern Europe, 1944-1948. Moscow, 1993.

B. Recommended.

  1. Brauntal Y. Antiauthoritarian movements in the Central and South-Eastern Europe countries in the 1950-1960ís// Sovietskoye slavyanovedeniye. 1990. ? 3.

  2. Central-East Europe and Russia: transformation problems// Novaya i Noveishaya Istoriya. 1998. ? 3.

  3. Conflicts in the postwar development of East-European countries. Moscow, 1997.

  4. East Europe in Russiaís archives documents 1944-1953. In 2 vols. Novosibirsk. 1997-1998.

  5. Grishin Y.Y. The 1948 political upheaval in Poland. Kazan. 1994.

  6. Luks L. Church and state in communist Poland// Slavyanovedeniye. 1996. ? 2.

  7. Parsadanova V.S. The Soviet-Polish relations, 1945-1950. Moscow, 1990.

  8. Post-totalitarian East Europe: problems of development (the roundtable materials)// Slavyanovedeniye. 1994. ? 6.

  9. Reader on history of Southern and Western Slavs. Vol.3. Minsk, 1991.

  10. Sic O. Spring revival Ė illusions and reality. Moscow, 1991.

  11. The Central and Eastern Europe statesí constitutions. Moscow, 1997.

  12. The Popular and National fronts in the antifascist struggle for liberation and in the 1940ís revolutions. Moscow. 1985.

  13. The USSR - Poland. Mechanisms of submission. Documents collection. Reader. Moscow, 1995.

  14. Volkov V.K. Revolutionary transformations in the Central and South-Eastern European countries// Voprosy Istoriy. 1990. ? 6.

  15. Yugoslavia on fire: documents, facts, commentaries (1990-1992). Contemporary Yugoslavia in documents. Vol. 1. Moscow, 1992.

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