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Big Era Nine: Closeup Unit 9.2.7

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Revolutions in 1989-1990: The Collapse of the Soviet Union And Its Consequences

Why This Unit?

The series of revolutions that led to changes all across Europe started in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. These movements affected not only the Soviet Union itself but also the states that it controlled in Eastern Europe. In the aftermath of these revolutions, many European leaders worked together for greater cooperation, though others contended over unresolved ethnic, national, and religious issues. Although there had been movements and calls for change in the decades since 1945 in individual countries, none were as profound as the collective movements of 1989 that placed the nature of democracy, the role of the nation-state, and ethnic struggles at the forefront of discussion and debate. These revolutions-most of which were generally peaceful-led to a different world in the 1990s, one that was no longer divided by Cold War politics. And it was a world that appeared to embrace capitalist values.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Identify the interests of Russian reformers and their attempts to change the Soviet Union.

2. Assess the effect these issues had the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

3. Understand the geography of pre- and post-1989 Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

4. Analyze the factors that led to the unification of Germany in a peaceful manner.

5. Analyze the reasons for ethnic conflict in Yugoslavia and the dissolution of this multiethnic state.

6. Assess the ability of alliances that cross class, national, and ethnic boundaries to achieve positive change.

Time and Materials

This unit should take five class periods.

Materials required: overhead projector, laptop with speakers, Infocus machine, screen.

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

2

Unit objectives

2

Time and materials

3

Author

3

The historical context

3

This unit in the Big Era timeline

4

Lesson 1: The Role of Gorbachev in Economic and Political Changes in the Soviet Union

5

Lesson 2: Geographic and Political Underpinnings of the New States of the Former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia

13

Lesson 3: The Case of Germany: Peaceful Revolution

19

Lesson 4: The Case of Yugoslavia: The Emergence of New Nation States

27

Lesson 5: Making Sense of the Revolutions of 1989: Role Play

32

This unit and the Three Essential Questions

34

This unit and the Seven Key Themes

34

Resources
35

Correlations to National and State Standards

35

Conceptual links to other lessons

36

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

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