Works of Leading Scholars on Eastern European History - Assignment Example

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As the paper outlines, Gale Stokes, a professor at Rice University, is one of the top authorities on Eastern European history, Balkans and Nationalism. In his book “The Walls Came Tumbling Down”, Stokes explores a short, but turbulent period from 1968 until the early 1990s. …
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Download file to see previous pages Stokes contends that, when Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and his counterparts in other communist countries in the European east decided to crush down the movement and use force to do it, they signed and sealed a death warrant of the system they thought they were saving. Prague Spring lasted from January 1968 till August of the same year, when Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia and forcefully stopped reforms. Although short in duration Prague Spring echoed throughout eastern Europe and in the next two decades, there will be other movements and attempts to change the system. Stokes talks about events in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania in the late 1970s, he gives a lot of space in the book to Poland’s Solidarity Movement in the 1980s, all of which culminate in 1989. The events in Poland according to the author show the resilience of reformists. There, the workers struck again and again as an effort to force the government to negotiate with them. Solidarity was the culmination of those attempts. Stokes writes that Lech Walesa, the leader of the movement skillfully led it as he tried to keep demands outside of the ideological and political sphere. This strategy paid off as Warsaw was forced to recognize the movement and its demands. Stokes belief is that 1989 is as important in European histories, like 1848, or 1917 or 1789 were. He is surprised that the whole world missed an opportunity to see 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe coming. Stokes says that this pivotal year in history was unexpected by everyone, from Washington through Communist regimes, to even rebels themselves.
Stokes, also, explores historical figures of the era and area. He talks about Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his self-glorification, about changes occurring in Hungary when country officials decided to turn toward a market-based economy.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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