1st Edition

From Revolution to Uncertainty The Year 1990 in Central and Eastern Europe

    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    Throughout Eastern Europe, the unexpected and irrevocable fall of communism that began in the late 1980s presented enormous challenges in the spheres of politics and society, as well as at the level of individual experience. Excitement, uncertainty, and fear predicated the shaping of a new order, the outcome of which was anything but predetermined.

    Recent studies have focused on the ambivalent impact of capitalism. Yet, at the time, parliamentary democracy had equally few traditions to return to, and membership in the European Union was a distant dream at best. Nowadays, as new threats arise, Europe’s current political crises prompt us to reconsider how liberal democracy in Eastern Europe came about in the first place.

    This book undertakes an analysis of the year 1990 in several countries throughout Europe to consider the role of uncertainty and change in shaping political nations.


    List of Contributors


    Włodzimierz Borodziej, Stanislav Holubec and Joachim von Puttkamer

    Chapter 1

    Groping in the dark: expectations and predictions, 1988–1991

    Philipp Ther

    Chapter 2

    Catalysts of the collapse and of the transition, 1989–1990

    Mary Elise Sarotte

    Chapter 3

    Poland and the collapse of the patron in 1989–90: as seen from the Polish embassy in Moscow

    Włodzimierz Borodziej

    Chapter 4

    Tea with the primate: at the roots of political conflict in Poland

    Joachim von Puttkamer

    Chapter 5

    Czechoslovakia’s year of decision: from the socialist revolution of 1989 to the ‘real’ revolution of 1990

    James Krapfl

    Chapter 6

    Talkin’ bout a revolution: on the social memory of 1989 in Hungary

    Éva Kovács

    Chapter 7

    A transition to what and whose democracy? 1990 in Bulgaria and Romania

    Bogdan C. Iacob

    Chapter 8

    When the Slovenian Spring turned into a hot summer

    Marko Zajc

    Chapter 9

    1990: building democracy in Yugoslavia and the danger of war

    Marie-Janine Calic

    Chapter 10

    Transforming industry: on the corporate origins of post-socialist nostalgia in Poland

    Joanna Wawrzyniak

    Chapter 11

    German reunification and the dynamics of migration

    Tim Schanetzky

    Chapter 12

    The party is over: the identities and biographies of Czechoslovak and East German (post) communists in the year 1990

    Stanislav Holubec

    Chapter 13

    Poland, the German question, and German unification, 1989–1991

    Włodzimierz Borodziej

    Chapter 14

    The German question and its European solution

    Wilfried Loth



    Włodzimierz Borodziej is professor of History at Warsaw University, Stanislav Holubec is a researcher at the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, and Joachim von Puttkamer is professor of Eastern European History at Jena University and co-director of the Imre Kertész Kolleg.