A History of Eastern Europe

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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 The Other Europe: Deep Roots of Diversity
Begin your course with a geographic overview of Eastern Europe, a region that begins at the Baltic Sea in the north and spans 20 countries to the Black Sea in…
Episode 2 Formative Migrations: Mongols to Germans
Examine the many waves of people who settled Eastern Europe during the ancient and medieval worlds. Ethnic groups including Germanic tribes, Slavic peoples, the Vikings, the Mongols, and many more…
Episode 3 Clashing Golden Ages, 1389–1772
Continue your study of Eastern Europe's development with a look at several decisive battles, including the Battle of Kosovo and the Battle of Tannenberg. You'll see how these battles were…
Episode 4 The Great Crime of Empires: Poland Divided
The combined nation of Poland and Lithuania was a powerful force in the 18th century--and its dissolution is one of the great crimes of the modern era. Civil strife provided…
Episode 5 The Origins of Nationalism, 1815–1863
Glide into the age of Romanticism, when poets surpassed politicians in setting national agendas. In this lecture, after considering the distinction between civil and ethnic nationalism, you'll study a number…
Episode 6 The Age of Empires, 1863–1914
After poetic romanticism failed to produce a new world order, conservative politicians co-opted nationalism in support of empire building. Review the stirrings of nationalism within the Russian, German, and Austrian…
Episode 7 Jewish Life in the Shtetl
The story of the shtetl--small Jewish towns once found throughout Eastern Europe--has been significantly lost to history due to the crimes of the 20th century. Here, Professor Liulevicius reconstructs what…
Episode 8 World War I: Destruction and Rebirth
Examine the First World War from the very different vantage of Eastern Europe. Whereas the West's view of the Great War is one of indecision and stalemate, the war in…
Episode 9 From Democrats to Dictators, 1918–1939
After the guns fell silent in Western Europe, border wars and the fight for self-determination continued in the East. Take a look at the major events after World War I,…
Episode 10 Caught between Hitler and Stalin
The Nazi-Soviet Pact is one of the most perplexing occurrences in modern history. Examine this uneasy alliance and how it accommodated Hitler's and Stalin's plans for expansion in the 1930s…
Episode 11 World War II: The Unfamiliar Eastern Front
Continue your study of World War II from the Eastern European perspective. Here, you'll see how Hitler caught Stalin off guard with a surprise attack, causing the Soviet Union to…
Episode 12 The Holocaust and the Nazi Racial Empire
The sheer number of casualties in the Holocaust defies the imagination. In this lecture, Professor Liulevicius guides you through this troubling history. You'll learn about German goals and actions, Nazi…
Episode 13 Postwar Flight and Expulsion
After the war, the West saw a measure of stability, whereas Eastern Europe was chaotic as displaced populations and refugees shifted among new political territories in the wake of the…
Episode 14 Behind the Iron Curtain, 1945–1953
In this lecture, Professor Liulevicius sets the stage for the next 40 years of Eastern European history. Go behind the Iron Curtain to examine how Stalin exerted control--and how countries…
Episode 15 Forest Brothers: Baltic Partisan Warfare
Find out about a fascinating conflict largely unknown today. The Baltic Forest War raged in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for many years after World War II. Learn about the guerrilla…
Episode 16 Life in Totalitarian Captivity, 1953–1980
Go inside daily life in Eastern Europe during the peak of the Cold War. After reviewing the dire economy, Professor Liulevicius delves into the apparatus of state control. Find out…
Episode 17 Power of the Powerless: Revolts and Unrest
As the Cold War continued, Soviet forces tightened their grip on Eastern European countries, yet dissident voices emerged. In East Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, witness the revolt of proletarian…
Episode 18 Solidarity in Poland: Walesa’s Union
The beginnings of the end of Eastern European communism came with the firing of a shipyard worker in Gdansk, which led to a workers uprising and the founding of the…
Episode 19 Toppling Idols: The Communist Collapse
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union are two of the most iconic moments in modern history. Trace the events leading up to these…
Episode 20 The Turn: The Post-Soviet 1990s
Take an archaeological tour of Eastern Europe in the wake of the communist collapse. After considering the region's tattered economy, you'll look at some of the secrets that emerged with…
Episode 21 Yugoslav Wars: Milosevic and Balkan Strife
In the 1990s, Yugoslavia erupted into a brutal civil war between many different ethnic groups, including Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims. Unpack the many sides of this conflict, from its…
Episode 22 The New Europe: Joining NATO and the EU
Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, NATO continued to exist, and began admitting newly liberated Eastern European countries into the organization. Reflect on Eastern Europe's place in the western…
Episode 23 The Unfolding Ukraine-Russia Crisis
Survey the recent crisis in Ukraine and see how the origins of this conflict stem from the last hundred years of the region's history, which is rife with skirmishes and…
Episode 24 Eastern Europe at the Crossroads
In this final lecture, you'll revisit the four key themes running through this course and consider whether they still remain true of Eastern Europe today. Look at the region's economy,…

Related videos

The Other Europe: Deep Roots of Diversity
Begin your course with a geographic overview of Eastern Europe, a region that begins at the Baltic Sea in the north and spans 20 countries to the Black Sea in the south. Here, Professor Liulevicius introduces you to the key themes of this course: Eastern Europe's remarkable diversity, it shifting…
Arab Invasion of North Africa - 639
The seventh-century Arab invasion of North Africa brought profound and permanent change to the entire region. Follow the Arab armies of the newly created Islamic empire in their conquest of the territories of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco, and take account of the lasting Arabization and Islamization that resulted.
Muslim Empires - Land, Language, Religion
Consider the geographical region we call the Greater Middle East, and explore the range of nations and cultures that define it. Preview some of the remarkable historical turning points you'll witness, encompassing conquests, political alliances, invasions, and the rise of Islam, as well as social, intellectual, and economic flowering of…
Clashing Golden Ages, 1389–1772
Continue your study of Eastern Europe's development with a look at several decisive battles, including the Battle of Kosovo and the Battle of Tannenberg. You'll see how these battles were transformed into legends--and were also key turning points for the region's political landscape. Witness the creation of a united Poland-Lithuania,…
Mongols Sack Baghdad - 1258
This lecture narrates the calamity that befell the world's largest, most prosperous, and most celebrated city. First trace the rise of the Mongols, a fierce and most destructive ancient empire. Then follow their conquest of the Abbasids of Baghdad, culminating in the horrific siege that effectively ended the Islamic Golden…
The New Great Game - The Decline of the West & the Struggle for Middle Eastern Oil
After centuries of Western domination, the waterways of the Middle East are now being contested in unprecedented ways. Pirates are roaming sea lanes. Local powers are threatening chokepoints. And the people are rising up to bring their authoritarian rulers down. With no simple solutions for maintaining control of oil flows,…
From Democrats to Dictators, 1918–1939
After the guns fell silent in Western Europe, border wars and the fight for self-determination continued in the East. Take a look at the major events after World War I, including the little-known Soviet-Polish war, forcible population exchanges throughout the region, and the rise of dictators.
Blood and Oil
Except for the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaigns, the extensive combat operations in the Middle East during World War I have been largely overlooked in documentary programs. Given the historical significance of the Ottoman Empire's demise in 1918, and the ongoing importance of Middle Eastern oil reserves to Western economies, a close study…
Ottoman Empire Rises - 1299
The dazzling empire of the Ottomans was the longest-lasting empire in Middle Eastern history. Learn about the dream of Osman, the Ottomans' founder, which impelled him to establish what became a transcontinental superpower. Grasp what allowed the Ottomans to thrive and to spread across Anatolia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.
The Turn: The Post-Soviet 1990s
Take an archaeological tour of Eastern Europe in the wake of the communist collapse. After considering the region's tattered economy, you'll look at some of the secrets that emerged with the fall of the USSR and the release of Stasi files. Then consider the shift of identity that took place…
The Last Caliphate Falls - 1924
Investigate the epochal turning point of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Islamic caliphate--Islam's supreme religious authority--after 1300 years. Witness the remapping of the Middle East by the imperial powers of Britain and France, the impact of these changes on the region, and the emergent…
Arab Invasion of Andalusia - 711
Study the events surrounding the incursion of Berber-Arab armies into the Iberian peninsula in 711, leading to Muslim domination of the region that would last 800 years. Witness the fateful Battle of Guadalete and the Arabs' advance north, and consider both the immediate legacy of the invasion and its overall…