A History of Eastern Europe

Course No. 8364
Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
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Course No. 8364
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What Will You Learn?

  • Examine the impact of the Mongol invasion, retreat, and how that impacted the origins of many Eastern European peoples.
  • Understand how imperial ideology grew into highly volatile nationalism in a number of Eastern European countries.
  • Peer into the worldviews of Hitler and Stalin before their pact and how they led to redrawing the map of Eastern Europe.
  • Look at the underpinnings of the Nazis' plans, as well as the terrible toll they took on Eastern Europe.

Course Overview

Eastern Europe has long been thought of as the “Other Europe,” a marginalized region rife with political upheaval, shifting national borders, an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity, and relative isolation from the centers of power in the West. Yet in recent years, Eastern European nations have begun integrating with Western Europe—joining NATO and the European Union—as the region has gained a new measure of self-determination in the wake of communist collapse.

Nonetheless, Eastern Europe still maintains an aura of “otherness” and mystery, due to its relatively tumultuous timeline and complex cultural tapestry. Indeed, history haunts this region, so to truly understand Eastern Europe today, it is necessary to examine its past in the broader context of world history, asking such questions as:

  • Who are the diverse ethnic groups that make up the region, and how have they cooperated and clashed?
  • How and why have national borders shifted so frequently?
  • What is the region’s relationship to Western Europe?
  • How has the region been isolated from—and connected with—the West?

You’ll find the answers to these questions and more in A History of Eastern Europe. Taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, an award-winning professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 insightful lectures offer a sweeping 1,000-year history of Eastern Europe with a particular focus on the region’s modern history. You’ll observe waves of migration and invasion, watch empires rise and fall, witness wars and their deadly consequences—and come away with a comprehensive knowledge of one of the world’s most fascinating places.

This course goes far beyond issues of military and political history. Professor Liulevicius delves deeply into the cultures of this region—the 20 nations that stretch from the Baltic to the Black Seas. You’ll meet the everyday citizens—including artists and writers—who shaped the politics of Eastern Europe, from poets-turned-politicians to proletarian workers who led dissident uprisings. Breathtaking in scope and crucially relevant to today’s world, A History of Eastern Europe is a powerful survey of a diverse region and its people.

Discover the Historical Context for Today’s Eastern Europe

The story of Eastern Europe is very much in flux today. In 2014, Russia invaded Crimea during a time of chaotic unrest in the Ukraine. Slide back to the 1990s, and the Balkan states erupted into a brutal civil war that rewrote the national boundaries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and others. Slide back another few years, and you witness the 70-year-old USSR disintegrate, leaving in its wake a hodgepodge of nations with crumbled economies and uncertain national identities.

These events are products of more than recent history—or even modern history. To truly understand the ongoing news in Eastern Europe, it’s necessary to step back a thousand years to find the foundations of today’s world.

  • See how the waves of invasions by Mongols, the Ottoman Turks, and others left their mark on Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages.
  • Trace the origins of the Slavic peoples, the Magyars, Germanic tribes, the Roma, and other ethnicities who make up the region.
  • Discover how events such as the Crusades and the Black Death led to a large influx of Jews to modern-day Poland.
  • Witness the battles, political strife, and nationalism that gave rise to nations such as Poland-Lithuania and empires in Russia, Prussia, and Germany.

Studying this history helps explain Eastern Europe’s wide mix of languages, religions, and cultures. In this course, you will see how these cultures clashed internally—and how a vast array of external enemies and empires have tried repeatedly to carve out territories or spheres of influence within the region. Professor Liulevicius brings to life the local people’s struggles—through cooperation among coalitions as well as through armed conflicts—for survival and self-rule.

Gain a New Perspective on Europe’s East vs. West Divide

Eastern Europe has long been a marginalized region—considered the home of “barbarians” by the Greeks, far-flung backwater provinces to the Romans, fair prey for the Mongols—a vast land for civilized empires to “enlighten.” But in the 20th and 21st centuries, the divide between East and West grew more pronounced as the world globalized and the United States and Soviet superpowers jockeyed for spheres of influence—epitomized by the imposition of the Iron Curtain across Europe and the rise of the Berlin Wall.

Professor Liulevicius offers you a different perspective on the last hundred years of history, beginning with the end of World War I. Whereas Western Europe viewed the Great War as a total catastrophe marked by years of stalemate and a shaky peace, Eastern Europeans viewed the war as a fiery baptism of national independence. Likewise, when the guns fell silent and stability returned to the West after World War II, a series of bloody conflicts continued in the East. And of course, the Iron Curtain that partitioned East and West for half a century has left deep marks on the Eastern Europe of today.

This course presents the grand sweep of all this history and clues you in on the context necessary to understand today’s world. Professor Liulevicius also gives you specific, unique insights that are fascinating in their own right—and seldom mentioned in the history books. Among other historical details, you will:

  • Go inside the Jewish shtetls, most of which were destroyed during World War II.
  • Gain insight into the Nazi-Soviet Pact, including the motivating worldviews of Hitler and Stalin.
  • Learn about the waves of ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe after World War II, and the resulting orphans known as “wolf children.”
  • Study the little-known Baltic Forest War, which, incredibly, continued until the late 1970s.
  • Experience daily life behind the Iron Curtain, from mass surveillance and the police state to the broken economies and worker uprisings.
  • Meet leaders such as the Yugoslavian President Josip Tito, the Polish dissident worker Anna Walentynowicz, the Czech writer-turned-president Václav Havel, and many other people who shaped the course of history.

You’ll also witness the stunning collapse of communism across Eastern Europe, sparked by mass protests and fueled by governmental ineptitude. The widespread chaos created great suffering, reshaping the region’s economies, politics, ideologies, and geographical boundaries.

Study the Cultural History of the Region

George Orwell once said, “Every joke is a tiny revolution.” Created and shared under circumstances of high pressure and risk, Eastern European jokes and satirical—or nationalistic—works of art are full of humorous and passionate expressions of resistance, defiance, despair, and the will to survive. Professor Liulevicius bridges the personal and the political in this course, analyzing the meaning and impact of widespread dark humor and introducing you to poets, writers, artists, and other cultural figures who all made an impact on Eastern European history. In fact, studying the history gives you a whole new context for understanding authors such as:

  • Franz Kafka
  • Czesław Miłosz
  • Milan Kundera
  • Václav Havel
  • Herta Müller
  • And many others

In addition, he introduces you to some authors who are relatively obscure in the West, such as Jaroslav Hašek (author of The Good Soldier Švejk, one of the funniest and most profound antiwar novels in existence), and Zlata Filipovic (a 12-year-old whose diary from the Bosnian War has been compared to the Diary of Anne Frank).

Professor Liulevicius is an ideal guide for this course, having focused on Germany and Eastern Europe during his entire academic career. From a period of study in Moscow and Leningrad in 1989, to dissertation research in Freiburg, Germany, and Vilnius, Lithuania, in the early 1990s, to his term as president of the international Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (A.A.B.S.) for 2010–12, he has spent decades pursuing and disseminating knowledge of this fascinating region. His insights into the clashes and unexpected alliances of empires, peoples, and philosophies will clarify the complex twists and turns of the narrative of Eastern European history.

In Eastern Europe, culture and politics are inextricably linked with centuries of tumultuous change, and this in-depth course will explore the intersection of these factors to give you a comprehensive understanding of the region and its status in the world today. A History of Eastern Europe is a marvelous overview of the story of an essential and often overlooked area of the globe, and will fill in many critical gaps in the social and political history of the world.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 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 the south. Here, Professor Liulevicius introduces you to the key themes of this course: Eastern Europe’s remarkable diversity, it shifting borders, and its separateness from—and connections with—the West. x
  • 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 created a diversity of language and culture. Meanwhile, the mix of Christians, Jews, and Muslims led to the region’s first political strife—and laid the groundwork for the modern era. x
  • 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 transformed into legends—and were also key turning points for the region’s political landscape. Witness the creation of a united Poland-Lithuania, as well as the rise of modern empires in Prussia, Austria, and Russia. x
  • 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 the pretext for neighboring empires to swoop in and annex the nation. Consider the results of this partition and the political problem that would plague the region for the next century. x
  • 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 of 19th-century revolutions that swept across the region—and reflect how defeat in these revolutions paved the way for empires. x
  • 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 empires. Then turn to emerging political ideologies that laid the foundation for the world wars of the 20th century. x
  • 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 we know about the vibrant life in these communities and how it connects to modern Jewish culture. x
  • 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 the East was one of movement—and perhaps even a cause for celebration as the old empires were destroyed, giving room for the creation of new states such as an independent Poland, among others. x
  • 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, including the little-known Soviet-Polish war, forcible population exchanges throughout the region, and the rise of dictators. x
  • 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 and 1940s. See how borders were redrawn yet again as Germany and the Soviet Union invaded neighboring countries. x
  • 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 join the Allies. Nevertheless, Stalin had his own plans to expand the Soviet sphere of influence. Meanwhile, in the Balkans, communist partisans had other ideas. x
  • 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 collaborators who helped produce the Holocaust, and resistance from within the Jewish community and in the world at large. x
  • 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 Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Witness the travails of some of these populations, including ethnic Germans, refugees from Soviet rule, and Jews who couldn’t return to their former communities. x
  • 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 such as Yugoslavia were able to resist. In the years after World War II, the battle lines were drawn for the emerging Cold War. x
  • 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 fighters who hid in the forests and attacked Soviet security forces—and then examine the Soviet tactics to stop them. x
  • 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 how secret police forces such as the East German Stasi and the Romanian Securitate oppressed ordinary citizens through surveillance and a culture of fear. x
  • 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 workers and see how writers used secret publications and the power of the pen to protest totalitarianism. x
  • 18
    Solidarity in PolandWalesas 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 Solidarity political movement. Dive into these exciting events, from rebellion to state crackdown, and meet some of the key players who altered the course of history. x
  • 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 moments, from the newly free elections in Poland to the botched press release in East Germany that led to the opening of borders. x
  • 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 the fall of the USSR and the release of Stasi files. Then consider the shift of identity that took place thanks to redrawn borders and new national entities. x
  • 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 origins to ethnic cleansing and genocide to the country’s breakup into separate countries. Examine the world’s response to this crisis. x
  • 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 world and what joining NATO and the European Union means for the region. You’ll also explore Russia’s role in the post-Soviet world. x
  • 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 shifting borders. After providing the historical context, Professor Liulevicius explains the ins and outs of the current crisis, including ethnic divisions within Ukraine and Russia’s attitude toward former Soviet territory. x
  • 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, politics, ethnicities, and relationships to Western Europe to consider the current state of Eastern Europe and what the future may hold. x

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Your professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

About Your Professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford...
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Reviews

A History of Eastern Europe is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 114.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good enough I am from Romania originally and while enjoying the course I am disappointed of the very little coverage about Romania and the fact that territory with Romanian majority in Transylvania is called as belonging to Hungary and in Bucovina , Basarabia as belonging to Russia ; I felt that he has more sympathy for Poland and Baltic states ; Honestly I would like more details and fair allocation of time about Romanian issues.
Date published: 2018-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good title I learned a great deal from this course. While we focus of Western Europe as being the catalyst for ushering in the modern era we tend to overlook the events which took place in Eastern Europe. The cultural and intellectual achievements of Eastern Europe helped in many ways to shape the course of Western European history. Great empires rose and fell in Eastern Europe. This course explains the greatness and often tragic events of these Eastern Europe empires.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Orientation to the complex histories! Amazing presentations of the vast territories and difficult histories usually unknown to novice of these Eastern Europe like me. I knew fragmentally about Budapest 1956 and Praha 1968 etc and by this lectures I learned these people suffered so much, but now they have hope of having better lives. Difficult subjects well presented. Truly amazing!
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant As a third generation American with Eastern European roots, a life-long student of Russian history married to a women raised in Leningrad with all that implies I was eager to confirm what I believed was my deep understanding of the region.We own an apartment in St. Petersburg and travel frequently and extensively in Eastern and Central Europe. Dr. Liulevicius confirmed facts I knew but added so much more nuance and context to my disjointed self education. He really brought all by experiences together in a cohesive understanding of the areas interdependence. And, he is a wonderful speaker. It is a pleasure to listen to his lectures. He introduces humor relevant to the time and events of that course lecture. Of the many fine courses I have from the Great Courses series I consider the History of Eastern Europe among the best.
Date published: 2018-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Overview This course provides a pretty complete overview of Eastern European history. If you just want a general understanding of the narrative, then this is the course for you.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course! The professor is from the Chicago area like I am and many here should also be aware that there are more people in Chicago who are Polish than there are in Warsaw. I have many Polish neighbors and can feel more attached to them with this very interesting input that brings more understanding. He organized things well and admitted that the course could not cover everything, since Russia would need to have a course of its own. Get the video version. More maps are there that aren't in the course guide.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Video not needed The most frustrating thing about buying the video is watching it. The instructor reads the lecture while pacing between three cameras in order to give the video more motion. Motion isn't needed, graphics are. The maps are helpful but nothing you couldn't get elsewhere. Just sit and Google while listening. It is aggravating to have the guy stop and walk over to the next camera for no good reason. The lecture is pretty good even though it's tough to cover all the important material in the length he's given. There are lots of gems of information and I got a very good idea of why the history of Eastern Europe is so different than that of Western Europe.
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course! Major challenge to cover such a broad expansive period of a major part of the world. Professor Liulevicius did a superb job! I'm looking forward to new course educate me in these tumultuous modern times in Eastern Europe.
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative course, Balkans 101 for me. My maternal grandparents was from "Serbia" (only it wasn't then...) I wanted to learn a little more before I plan a trip there to see their towns on the Croatian border. I didn't buy the Ottoman one because I don't want to hear how wonderful those murdering butchers were. I put intermediate below but I have read a lot about the Danube Swabiens (Danauschwabens) and Vojvodina.
Date published: 2018-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unveiling the Other Europe I have often wondered why, in the United States, we rarely discuss Eastern Europe. The Great Courses has again distinguished itself by providing cutting edge topics that are very difficult to find in most college curricula. The scope of Liulevicius’ course is enormous and provides a needed counterpoint to standard campus fare. The content was so stunning, I purchased 2 books Liulevicius recommended that were written by those who played out this history. Considerations: L1 – Get out a map and carefully memorize where you are going. L2-4: The incessant attacks by imperialistic Islamic Ottomans are seen in contrast to what we see in other courses. Liulevicius tells us that Eastern Europeans put it this way: “One people’s Golden Age might be another(’s)…darkest time of misery”. The immigrations of Slav slaves, Bulgars, Magyars, the Germans who terrified of Rome, the Black Sea Cossacks, etc. are a vast canvas that change our perspective. L2 – “Today, from a safe distance, academics praise Mongols as an early force for globalization” yet the Hungarian word “tartaryarash” means “something as a total ruin”. L4 - 6: Empires and nationalism including the disastrous results of Napoleon’s cynical use of the Polish military to attack slaves in Haiti. There is so much unexpected insight here on multi-cultural topics including the German-Polish cross-cultural “Kindertausch” to force peace among peoples, the decline of Islamic imperialism after 600 years of coerced religious control, the counterintuitive introduction of Marx and Engels to Eastern Europe - despite their contempt for the “idiocy of rural life”, they were able to gain ground with a promise of secular salvation, etc. The parable about Jews fleeing on a train to Russia from Germany meeting Jews fleeing on the same train in the opposite direction is telling. L7-17 There is so much here that few of us know much about. The US educational system and media seem to label everything evil as “Nazi”, glossing over nearly identical butchery in the opposite political totalitarian pole. L10 “Caught between Hitler and Stalin” highlights this absurdity. Such denial is easy to demonstrate: simply ask the person you are talking to if they have heard of the Jewish ghettos and the Holocaust. Then ask them about the abandoned shtetl and the Holodomor (L9). Liulevicius implies this academic amnesia occurs because: 1. Hitler kicked out Marxists professors of the Frankfurt school who then became faculty at Harvard, et al and 2. Because we were allies with Russia (who sacrificed millions of soldiers during the world wars), war propaganda was directed against the German far right and the Russian far left was given a pass. L16 is particularly revealing for some of what we see taking place since 2008 on campus and elsewhere: “Everything has to look democratic, but everything has to be controlled by us”; “the power of the regime based on the correctness of the party”; “the cult of the personality”; the violent US campus riots by outside groups imitating “Jugendweihe” and ZOMO tactics (L18); the “constant and total manipulation of society”; and internal crackdowns against out-of-favor religious and political groups under the ironic name of “normalization”. Truly, Eastern Europe has lived through a time when “wrong became right” and as such this course holds lessons for the turmoil we see today. L18-20 Unsung heroes: the iron-will of Anna Walentynowicz, Pope John Paul’s “Be not afraid” message, & Vaclav Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless” essay. A recent WSJ editorial: “Communism’s Bloody Century” backs up the need for a more reasonable approach to university study of leftist totalitarianism and supports why everyone needs Liulevicius’ course: “Communism’s tools of destruction have included mass deportations, forced labor camps and police-state terror - a model established by Lenin and…Joseph Stalin…Communism has killed huge numbers…intentionally, even more have died…as a result of its cruel projects of social engineering.” I highly recommend Liulevicius 6 other courses. Each has its own solid merits. BONUS nerd trivia: An eclectic way to enhance this course is through the hobby of historical board gaming. Examples: L6: The board game “Hapsburg Eclipse” regards the complexities of the Austria-Hungary-German/Serbia-Russia conflict; L8: “Ottoman Sunset” duplicates the decline of the Ottoman Empire; and L17: “Days of Ire: Budapest 1956.” immortalizes students against Russian tanks. L15 - The Forest Brothers is a topic begging for a board game.
Date published: 2018-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still another great course from Prof. Liulevicius This was my third course with Prof. Liulevicius. As with the previous two (Spies and WWI), it was an informative and enjoyable experience. His knowledge of and interest in the topic is very evident. His lectures are clear and easy to follow. As with the other courses, he begins each lecture with an interesting vignette to draw one into the topic. Sometimes, it's a funny anecdote. Sometimes, it's a different perspective on a well-known event. He brings it back up later in the course, and often wraps up by referring back to it. I became interested in this course due to the role of Eastern Europe in WWI. This area played an important role in the great conflicts of the 20th century, especially in both World Wars and in the Cold War. It is also an area that has been reshaped repeatedly during the 20th century and before. This is partly why I had only a vague idea of what and where Eastern Europe is. I knew that it's somewhere east of Germany and west of Russia, but which countries are included and exactly how they relate to each other was often confusing. This made me want to better understand it. This course helped me more fully understand what and where Eastern Europe was and is, and its role in European history. This means that it meets my first criterion for a good course: I did learn a lot. It also gets a good grade on the second criterion: did it make me want to learn more about the topic. It did that. I'm now listening to the course on the Ottoman Empire. As with Prof. Liulevicius's other courses I would strongly recommend it for anyone who has an interest in understanding 20th and 21st European history more fully.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great review of relevant history Prof. Liulevicius is my favorite lecturer, and so I knew approximately what quality to expect from this course. But from the selection of the lecture topics to the delivery of the lectures he exceeds his usual standards. I knew something of Polish and Yugoslav history, but I wanted to get a more complete overview of the region in order to understand the present. The deficiencies in this course are caused totally by being limited to only 24 lectures--I would recommend at least 36 lectures to adequately cover this topic. But Liulevicius does a very good job of choosing the important historical turning points of the 19th and 20th centuries and as you finish the first quarter of the course with its historical background before WWI, you will be well prepared to tackle the main events of the 20th century.
Date published: 2018-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging This professor is very engaging and knows a great deal about Eastern European history. Lectures are interesting regardless of how much you already know about the subject.
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great information about lesser known countries I knew a great deal about Eastern Europe since I had done research on Bohemia and the Czech Republic for some writing I was doing, and also because my maternal grandparents came from Poland and Ukraine. I found that this series filled in the gaps and gave a broader picture of what happened historically in Eastern Europe that is much less known to Western Europeans and in the US. Professor Liulevicious is a dynamic and interesting presenter who also made suggestions about how to find further information.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well organized and thorough. Very helpful for a school program I am planning in April of 2019.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating I’ve never understood the Balkins and now I know why. It seems to be the middle of a very long rubber sheet pulled and tugged by changing powers on its East, West and within over history of long ago and even today. The nature of these changes are the near totality of all the political and cultural forces at play in the world without a common platform. A true chess match with players and tactics constantly changing with each move and with many “checks” but no long term “mates”. Great course!
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Course! Prof. Liulevicius is one of my favorite TTC lecturers, and he shines in this course on the history of Eastern Europe. He structures the course with just the right mix of remote and recent history, and he does a marvelous job of conveying a "feel" for the history, politics, and culture of this area of the world and the tremendous changes that have visited the peoples of Eastern Europe over the centuries. Prof. Liulevicius does a particularly effective job of making sense of the region's recent history and providing valuable historical context for many of today's headlines emanating from Eastern Europe. I found myself eager to listen to each lecture, and I finished the course very quickly. I recommend the video version because of the professor's frequent use of maps, and because the political divisions reflected on those maps have seemingly been in constant change. My highest recommendation!
Date published: 2017-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My knowledge of Eastern Europe This is an outstanding course. Anybody who thinks they know about European history should really get this course and listen to it.
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History of Eastern Europe Professor was excellent- knowledgable, enthusiastic,engaging and entertaining. I would purchase anything he taught
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Well organized and presented in a totally captivating manner.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important for understanding Easter Europe today I feel like I'm giving too many 5-star ratings these days. But over the many years I've been purchasing TGC the overall quality seems to be improving. I continue to be miffed by some low ratings. The course description clearly shows it is a12 hour course with about 75% covering the last 100 years. It is impossible to cover everything in a short course. Not having much education in Eastern European history I found this course extremely useful in understanding the current political situation in Eastern Europe. Most useful in understanding this region is the amount of migration of various ethnic groups over the centuries, the resulting conflicts, the different political systems, and rearrangement of borders. As a bonus, of sorts, you get exposed to a lot of interesting historical sites you may want to visit if you travel there !
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and interesting This course was excellent in every way. I took it as a refresher of history I studied more than 50 years ago, and I found it an excellent way to renew my knowledge of Eastern Europe, where my paternal ancestors (German from Russia) originated.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant use of detail This was at least my fourth course, and the most recently produced, from the same teacher. He's gotten better each time. I read a great deal of history, but my grasp of Eastern Europe was poor. I found this course to be consistently engaging. The use of detailed stories was brilliant. Probably the best of the great many Great Courses I've gone through.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from always fascinating I found every lecture to be fascinating and engrossing. I would welcome more lectures by this professor
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific course! This course was so interesting, and a great introduction to eastern European history. I didn't learn much about eastern Europe in school history courses, so this helped fill a big gap for me. Professor Liulevicius was a really good speaker and lecturer, and he was very good at analyzing movements and trends to make historical patterns clear. I really liked his recommendations of books and films that illustrate culture or provide a close-up view of historical events. The audio version of this course worked well, though it would have been helpful to have maps to look at.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dreadful maps, but otherwise excellent. Horrible maps: the sea is colored yellowish-green, rather than the conventional blue. It's very difficult to get oriented and to distinguish, at a glance, water from land masses.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting History I enjoyed learning more about Eastern Europe. I have Hungarian heritage so I was glad to find out more about this.
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Professor! I purchased the course because, while like most Americans I had some knowledge of Western European history, my knowledge of Eastern European history was lacking. The course not only greatly expanding my knowledge of Eastern Europe, it was taught the most engaging professor I've encountered in the Great Courses. Dynamic, personable, erudite and humorous, a terrific classroom personality. I hope he teaches further for the Great Courses!
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding This is one of my favorite classes and favorite professors. Dr. Liulevicius is extremely knowledgeable and it is a plus that he correctly pronounces foreign names, locations and phrases. He has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and delivers information in a fashion that never lags and is always interesting.
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A tale of hope despite tragedy This course surveys the mainly painful history of eastern Europe, through a series of well described precipitating events and key personalities, and levened with relevant contemporaneous jokes, right up to the present day. The professor's facility with multiple languages allows him to effortlessly pronounce key terms and names.
Date published: 2017-04-29
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