The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe: From Communism to Pluralism

Overview

This important book reassesses a defining historical, political and ideological moment in contemporary history: the 1989 revolutions in central and eastern Europe. Bringing together established and younger British, European and north American experts from a variety of disciplines, including history, political science, international relations and cultural studies, the volume examines the rapid dismantling of the communist regimes in the late 1980s and the transition to pluralism ...

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Overview

This important book reassesses a defining historical, political and ideological moment in contemporary history: the 1989 revolutions in central and eastern Europe. Bringing together established and younger British, European and north American experts from a variety of disciplines, including history, political science, international relations and cultural studies, the volume examines the rapid dismantling of the communist regimes in the late 1980s and the transition to pluralism in the 1990s.

Incorporating archival sources and the most recent research and written in an accessible style, the chapters address such key themes as the broader historical significance of the 1989 events in relation to previous revolutionary upheavals in Europe in 1789, 1848 and 1917; the complex interaction between external and internal factors in the origins and outcomes of the revolutions; the impact of the 'Gorbachev phenomenon', the west and the end of the Cold War; and the political and socio-economic determinants of the revolutionary processes in Poland, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. A distinctive feature of the volume is its exploration of the competing academic, cultural and ideological perceptions of the year 1989 as revolutionary triumphalism gave way to post-communist uncertainties. The authors critically evaluate the attempts to 'reconstruct the past' as new, more explicitly right-wing political agendas emerged in the ex-communist countries in the late 1990s and beyond.

Concluding that the contentious term 'revolution' is indeed apt for the momentous developments in eastern Europe in 1989, this book will be essential reading for undergraduates, postgraduates and specialists alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"this volume is rich in both theoretical insights and empirical detail" — (Anna Grzymala-Busse, Slavonic and East European Review Volume 92, no.2 April 2014)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780719085277
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin McDermott is Senior Lecturer in Political History at Sheffield Hallam University

Matthew Stibbe is Professor of Modern European History at Sheffield Hallam University

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Table of Contents

Timeline - Eastern Europe, 1945-91

Leaders of East European and Soviet communist parties, 1945-91

East European communist parties and their post-communist successors

1.The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe: origins, processes, outcomes - Kevin McDermott and Matthew Stibbe

I. The historical longue durée

2. Echoes and precedents: 1989 in historical perspective - Robin Okey

II. The Gorbachev factor

3. The multifaceted external Soviet role in processes towards unanticipated revolutions - Mary Buckley

4. 'When your neighbour changes his wallpaper': the 'Gorbachev factor' and the collapse of the German Democratic Republic- Peter Grieder

III. The East European revolutions: internal and external perspectives

5. The demise of communism in Poland: a staged evolution or failed revolution? - Tom Junes

6. The international context of Hungarian transition, 1989: the view from Budapest - Lászl? Borhi

7. Creating security from below: peace movements in East and West Germany in the 1980s - Holger Nehring

8. The demise of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, 1987-89: a socio-economic perspective - Michal Pullmann

9. Discourse and power: the FSN and the mythologisation of the Romanian revolution - Kevin Adamson and Sergiu Florean

10. A revolution in two stages: the curiosity of the Bulgarian case - Elena Simeonova

IV. Then and now: continuity and change in the academic and cultural perceptions of the communist era and its aftermath

11. A hopeless case of optimism? Jürgen Kuczynski and the end of the GDR - Matthew Stibbe

12. Meanings of 1989: right-wing discourses in post-communist Poland - Artur Lipinski

13. From the 'thirst for change' and 'hunger for truth' to a 'revolution that hardly happened': public protests and reconstructions of the past in Bulgaria in the 1990s - Nikolai Vukov

14 Afterword: the discursive constitution of revolution and revolution envy - James Krapfl

Select bibliography

Index

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