The focus of this seminar will be the decline and fall of communism in three countries which experienced revolutionary change in 1989. It is not to soon to begin examining these events as historians. We will be interested in the following questions: what was the communist system? Why did people oppose it (or support it)? what is a revolution, and was there one in 1989? what are the roles of various factors in that revolution?
Part One of this course will concern the nature of communism. In the second part, we will compare four explanations of the fall of communism: an economic explanation, a political one, a foreign-policy one (Gorbachev), and a social/intellectual one. We will conclude with a look at the moral consequences of communism.