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Author: A. James McAdams
Table of readings for the course, "The Rise and Fall of World Communism" in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.


DayTopicReadings and related resources
Leadership versus Institutions
2 Discussion
  • Stephen F. Cohen, Rethinking the Soviet Experience, ch. 2.
  • “Z” (Martin Malia), “To the Stalin Mausoleum,” Daedalus, 119, 1 (1990): only sections I, II, XI, and XII.
The Founders: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ Communist Manifesto
4 The (First) Rise and Fall of Communism:  Western Europe
  • Eduard Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899), Preface.
  • Rosa Luxemburg,  “Reform or Revolution” (1900), Introduction.
5 Discussion


6 The World Revolution’s Unexpected Setting:  Backward Russia
  • Robert Tucker, The Marxian revolutionary idea, “Marxism and Modernization”
  • William Rosenberg and Marilyn Young, Transforming Russia and China, pp. 3-34.
  • Image: St Petersburg:  Palace Square
  • Image: St. Petersburg: Peterhof
7 Lenin asks and answers the Question: “What is to be Done?”
  • Vladimir I. Lenin, What is to be Done? (1901-1902):  Excerpts in the Course Reader.
  • Vladimir I. Lenin, State and Revolution (1917).   (excerpts)
  • Rosenberg and Young, Transforming Russia and China, pp. 35-71.
  • Background reading about Lenin: The History Guide.
  • Video: Sergei Eisenstein’s depiction of the Revolution: Oktober
8 Discussion
9 The Battles over the Russian Path to World Revolution
10 Making Revolution from Above versus Struggling from Below?
11 Discussion
12 Enemies of the People
13 FILM:  “Interrogation“
14 The Stalinist Model spreads to East-Central Europe
  • Wolfgang Leonhard, Child of the Revolution, “The Comintern School.”
15 Discussion
16 The Path of Armed Struggle
17 The Path of the Populist Revolutionary
18 No discussion session
19 Khrushchev Attempts to Rejuvenate Leninism
  • “Z” (Martin Malia), “To the Stalin Mausoleum,” section VIII.
  • Nikita Khrushchev: "Speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU", February 25, 1956.
  • William Rosenberg and Marilyn Young, Transforming Russia and China, pp. 244-74.
20 Crisis in Eastern Europe:  Hungary and Poland
21 Discussion
22 Re-revolutionizing Communism in China
23 Debate
24 Discussion
25 Sealing the European Divide
26 Czechoslovakia
27 Discussion
28 Strategies of Stabilization
29 An emerging Culture of Dissident in the Soviet Bloc
30 Discussion
31 The End of the Cultural Revolution and the Makings of a “New China"
32 FILM: “Journey to Russia”
33 Discussion
34 Two Challenges to Communism in Poland
35 Gorbachev’s Revolution of Reform
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, Report to the Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the CPSU, January 28, 1987.
  • Video: Trabant Crash Test
  • “Z” (Martin Malia), “To the Stalin Museum,” Daedalus, 119, 1 (1990):  section IX.
  • “Stories and Totalitarianism,” in Vaclav Havel, Open Letters, pp. 328-50.
36 No discussion session
37 Violence Amidst Reform in China
38 Gorbachev was not alone
  • “Z” (Martin Malia), “To the Stalin Museum,” Daedalus, 119, 1 (1990):  section X.
  • “Meeting Gorbachev,” in Vaclav Havel, Open Letters, 351-354.
  • Image: Hungarian Border
39 Those who refuse to learn are punished by history
40 Discussion
41 Yet others learn what we don’t want them to learn and somehow survive
42 Concluding Reflections
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