The Fall of Communism: Crash Course European History #47

The aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact had a huge impact on the countries of Eastern Europe. As the former satellite states turned away from communism and Soviet influence, some of them shifted toward democracy in an orderly way, and some descended into violence and bloodshed and ethnic recrimination. In many ways, this collapse is still playing out today. In this video you’ll learn how countries like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland and many others moved into the post-Soviet world.


-Alexievich, Svetlana. Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets. An Oral History. Bella
Shayevich, trans. New York: Random House, 2017.
-Hsu, Roland, ed. Ethnic Europe: Mobility, Identity, and Conflict in a Globalized World. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010.
-James, Harold. Making of the European Monetary Union. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012.
-Smith, Bonnie G. Europe in the Contemporary World, 1900 to the Present. 2nd ed. London:
Bloomsbury, 2020.

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  • this video is awesome! I learned so much, and reviewed a lot of information I forgot I had learned in school. Please keep making these videos, there's so much more information to discover and discuss!

    Elle Me Dit... July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • The EU is a bastion of workers rights, ever notice how European countries have better standards to the US in that regard? Also I don't really get that man from Vigo's point, he's essentially complaining that he isn't free to bankrupt himself whilst also making a species extinct at the same time, as opposed to just having to find another job.

    Haebris July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I understand this is a tough subject and this program is largely aimed at children. I still find it interesting that we are referring to paramilitary death squads and lynch mobs as "freelance troops."

    Russell Johnson July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • In Ukraine we still feel the consequences of bad privatization. Those guys who did not build those huge factories bought them for very small price and now became an oligharchs, but ordinary workers got hit hard, and government was not for it's people using it's advantage.

    Tim Pol July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • And some American's like communism

    CES Guro July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • We miss Stan, too.

    George Webster July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I expected you to mention how NATO ended the conflict in Kosovo – by bombing civilian targets in both Serbia and Montenegro, taking civilian lives and finishing off the already devastated economy by destroying infrastructure (bridges, whole city blocks and factories). I am not in any way lessening the horrors of the Kosovo conflict, but a lot of people are so quick to forget that for four months NATO bombed civilian targets on European soil. I hope non of you readers ever experience the pure terror of hearing the air raid sirens.

    klasicharka July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Why don’t you guys update your app

    RedGoat July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Politicians love blaming the EU for their own failings.

    Marek Macháček July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Jeez… these episodes must have a massive backload

    Ethan Wilcox July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Disappointing episode portraying eastern Europe in a bad light. As if almost no development has taken place. What for?

    Jatita July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Hes back!!!!! So glad ive been listening to the podcast and hoped to see him on YT again

    ben benn July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • i have a philosophy paper to write why am i watching this

    linda shrug emoji July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Here before the communist sympathizers

    littlehooch94 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • now that I school closes and I have more time to relax, i try to watch at least one Crash Course video every day just to make sure I'm not letting a day goes by without learning anything

    Oktavia Kirana July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • We miss u too stan

    Abhi Prakash July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • So far there has always been the divide between what the needs of a villager are and what the needs of a city dweller are (no matter what country you look at).
    I was there when Czechoslovakia got rid of comunism, split up, joined the EU…there is no doubt to what the enourmous benefits have been/still are of all these developments.

    Yet you got to meet/speak to the village people (pun intended) and you find some complaining about how "we" never should've get rid of communism, some complaining how "we" never should have split apart from Czechoslovak federation, others complaining how "we" never should have joined the EU or adopt the EURO.

    The bottom line is that 99% of them have no clue what is coming out of their mouth.
    And here it comes to the all times pervasive question – what good is a democracy? = it is only as good as educated are it's people (that's a fact debated eversince democracy was adopted in ancient Greek states)

    George George July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • It hasn't fallen yet, Many Marxists are still out there

    Overlord July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Just going to say the fall of communism was one of the worst things it ever happen in Eastern Europe

    blueroman55 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • haliere (na)to korunu

    George George July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Fantastic again, chaps. Thank you!

    MrBillyjjm July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I really do prefer the audio from this microphone. A lot warmer, more pleasant to listen to.

    No Pls July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Comrade Lenin would be disappointed that we were not able to build a better world

    Evo Morales July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I know that what I'm going to say is a bit petty, but in the same way you said Scandinavian countries joined the EU you could say the Iberian countries instead of Spain. Portugal joined at the same time as Spain.

    Ana Rita Coelho July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • And why are we europeans even supposed to accept americans criticizing the euro?

    supershinigami1 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I like how there's a pile of laundry in the back of the video, it gives it all a casual vibe that resonates well with someone who has been wearing pyjamas for several months now.

    Also, please stop saying "global pandemic", it's a tautology.

    Frаnк July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Thank you John Green for making these videos, even in these trying times. I really enjoy listening to you and your observations about history around the world.

    idontwanttoshowmyname July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Definitely still glad we get to learn more through Crash Course so we don’t stop education

    Camilo Iribarren July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I'd like to take up the gauntlet for those economists naming the European Currency Unit at 7:00. The abbreviation ECU is a callback to the écu, an ancient French coin. That itself is derived from the Latin scutum (shield), which is also the root for the Italian scudo and the Spanish and (most recently) Portuguese escudo. So they've created a very boring term for a fiendishly clever acronym, a little easter egg for economic history buffs! I'm sorry John, but I think they got this one right.

    Ernest van Ophuizen July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • The original idea of the ECU acronym was that it was supposed to be pronounced "écu", like the medieval french gold coin.

    Doc Eon July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • What a shame, a history channel and shows wrong maps – 05:56 – Crimea is in different than Ukraine color. What kind of a map are you using? Russian one? But why? Crimea is Ukraine and whole civilise world recognizes this, be civilize too please

    Andrew Tischenko July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I quit my 9-5 with the help of this site here, e z h i g h p a y .c o m

    MH Saon July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • sad Soviet noises

    me rathore July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • The people that got rich during the collapse of socialism here in Slovakia still rule this place. Our democracy is just a joke we all serve the elite.

    spiloFTW July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • After joining EU only thing that increased is spending. Factories are gone, farms vanished, only debt is staying.

    sjoormen1 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • This is taking to long this is what the 20th video of the twenty first centurty? Of 47 makes a man think we should still have a eurocentric view but at you should least agree after WW2 the europians are not as important as they once were

    arian rezaie July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Having been there (California & Hawaii) as this happened, It struck me as Grownups regarding the kids "Schools out for Summer"…. song. There is a certain segment of the population that is in love with the idea of Social Control, whether they materially benefit or not. I fear this guy is one of them. Environmentalism is the current favourite stalking horse of these chaps.

    Tom Frazier July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • PS. First economy in the World – China, communists too.

    Sergei Iurtaev July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Communism, like ideology of science & justice, already fall. But not fail, in most of European countries Communist Party's are still exist: Spain, Chech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark etc In Russia, former USSR repuplic ( 86 federal states ) it's most old party in Parliament & one of the popular one. Social – Democratic parties ( leftish too ) are existing in many countries. 66(6) all over the World, for now. And, from me, I'm very proud that European democracy are more flexible and wide open.

    Sergei Iurtaev July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • The conflict between wanting to be represented by a small localised government or a larger macro government isn't even just a simple choice between two opposing ideologies. It can be very dependent on the particulars of the governments in question.
    For example, a slight majority of people in Scotland now support independence from the UK as they do not feel the British government is dealing with local Scottish issues properly. However most of those same people also want Scotland to rejoin the EU post independence as they see the benefits of being part of a larger organisation that can solve cross-border issues. (Similarly, most Scots who want to leave the EU typically also oppose independence as they are 'patriotic' to Britain.)

    TheMogul23 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • I expected a separate episode for the war in former Yugoslavia. It is important for everyone to be aware of that especially in times like these.

    Nehal Mahmud Khan July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • You have no idea how left-wing this video is. You can not see your own bias. State ownership of the means of production fails. Every time. Free markets make the poor better off. Every time. Switzerland is right in the Middle of Europe. It is not mentioned. Why? Because it shows the success of free markets. You don't contrast the poverty of the East side of the Iron Curtain, with the rising income and life expectencies when these nations adopt free markets. Where is the miracle of Estonia? Where is the poverty of Italy, Spain and Greece, the most socialistic of the EU? You root for the EU, even though it makes the poor in Europe worse off. A good teacher presents both sides. You only come from the left wing perspective.

    freesk8 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • 4:30 – seems a lot like what's happening today in the US regarding BLM movment.

    rusu989 July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • This was actually a fair look back at the EU, good and bad

    Anon July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Rodrigo may say those things but I doubt he understands science based policy just like the fisherman here in Nova Scotia, they are forever complaining about government limiting their catch but fail to see how that benefits them long term. Sure all those people who depended on the fishery are out of work but truthfully there shouldn't have been so many workers dependent on a depleting resource. Taking too much means too many employees. It's not sustainable, it's better to have less over a longer time period then lots right now. For the record I work on a fishing boat.

    Jeffery Mitchell July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • 12:50 Easy, all. Each level gets to set minimum standards, the levels below it gets to set a higher standard if they want to but not a lower one. We should do the same thing with tax, set minimum taxes countries in the EU must take out and that countries can't lower their taxes below. To keep downward competition under control.

    Fredrik Dunge July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • 12:20 Until they decided to go back on allowing Scotland to "control matter pertaining to Scotland" last year. But by all means drag up every problem anyone have with the EU but not a single bad word about England. Seriously is this entire series written by the British propaganda agency? Because you always seem to skip over anything bad Britain does.

    Fredrik Dunge July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • So now you decide to represent both side of the argument?! You haven't done that for most of this series but now you feel the need to bring up every petty little problem nationalists have with the EU? I feel you vastly under represent the massive good the European union have done for Europe.

    Fredrik Dunge July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply
  • Greece advocating for Turkey, who could ever imagine this now ?

    George July 24, 2020 5:49 am Reply

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