The transcript of the Mitterrand – Gorbachev meeting of July 1989 illustrates the international awareness of the extensive control and repression of citizens in Ceauşescu’s Romania. Unlike his predecessors, Gorbachev was not in control of the Eastern block countries, nor the defender of communist orthodoxy; on the contrary, he had loosened state control over the economy and society, and….
One of the most significant differences between the functioning of the East European Communist economies and the mixed-market economies of the West was the way in which prices for goods and services were determined. In a mixed-market economy, prices are determined by a combination of government regulation (especially taxes) and consumer demand. In the Communist states, central government….
These brief excerpts from a longer report by the environmental organization Greenpeace highlight the ecological collapse that was taking place all across Eastern Europe by the early 1980s. As extreme as the Polish case sounds, it was unfortunately typical rather than exceptional. All across the region, life expectancies were dropping rapidly, especially for men who were exposed to industrial….
Protesters rally in the streets to celebrate the election of the new President of a democratic Czechoslovakia, Vlaclav Havel.….
Protests erupt in East Germany, which leads to the fall of Honecker's regime and the eventual collapse of the GDR.….
Dobrica Ćosić is a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and is considered by many to be its most influential member. While Ćosić has been credited with writing the Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which appeared in unfinished fashion in the Serbian public in 1986, he in fact was not responsible for its writing.
Ćosić's long life has meant a….
For many in the West the Trabant automobile was one of the symbols of the economic differences between Eastern and Western Europe. When the Hungarian government opened its borders in the late summer of 1989, tens of thousands of East German citizens streamed westward, many of them driving or riding in “Trabis” as they were known. While Westerners scoffed at the cars, both because of the….
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Yugoslavia: 1980 vs. 1989
(All figures in 1972 US Dollars)
This table shows two developments in the former Yugoslavia. The first is the decline in the Yugoslav economy during the 1980s. Much of the world experienced an economic recession in the early 1980s, but in Western Europe, North America, and especially Asia (including Communist….
One of the many ways historians, economists, and other social scientists measure the health of a state’s economy is by examining changes in macroeconomic indicators over time. This chart shows changes in four of those measures—the gross domestic product (GDP), the rate of personal consumption, the gross rate of investment by the state in the economy, and the wages of workers—in….
This graph shows two trends in the Czech population (first in Czechoslovakia and after 1993 in the Czech Republic)—changes in fertility rates (births per women aged 15-49) and the abortion rate in this same population. This fairly simple graph offers a number of insights into the experiences of Czech women both during and after Communism. For instance, we see births per woman declining from a….
One of the most important indicators of a societies transition to what economists often call “modern industrial society” is a decline in infant mortality rates. As you might imagine, declines in infant mortality rates are also very important to individual citizens, because it means that their children are much more likely to live to adulthood. This rate reflects the number of children who….
The recession of the early 1980s caused significant disruptions in the economies of all European states, whether Communist (above the double line) or non-Communist. The data in this table show how even in West Germany, from 1980 to 1985 gross national product per capita decline across Europe. However, by 1986 the recession in Western Europe had largely ended, much of Eastern Europe was much….
Modern map of Romania. Timişoara (Temesvar in Hungarian) has become more homogeneous during the 20th century, but remained a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional city, closer in distance and perhaps culture to the Serbian (Yugoslav) and Hungarian capitals than to….
The Map showing the political and administrative areas of Romania. While the borders have remained stable since 1945, some of the neighboring states have changed after the fall of communism in the….
The original map came from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Timişoara (Temesvar in Hungarian) in Western Romania was long under Habsburg rule. Like much of Austria-Hungary, the city has been ethnically and religiously diverse. The Banat’s political ties to Romania date only to….
The nations formed following the break up of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is no longer on this map. It has been replaced by several new independent states—Moldova and Ukraine among them. The former Yugoslavia has also fragmented into several….
While the world watched the events in Berlin, another Soviet ally in East-Central Europe suddenly collapsed: On November 9-10, after three-and-a-half decades in power, Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov was unceremoniously dumped. This poster - a map of the Bulgarian gulag - was circulated by the opposition Union of Democratic Forces during the spring 1990 election….
A poster distributed by the Polish opposition party Solidarity, urging Poles to vote with them against the Communists in the election on June 4, 1989. Solidarity won the election in a landslide inaugurating the first non-communist government in East Central Europe in more than four….