East European History

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  TOPIC FOUR --

WORLD WAR II AND STALINIZATION

Warsaw Ghetto gate.

READINGS:

Longworth, chapter 3

Stokes

  • Churchill, "The Percentages Agreement," pp. 31-32
  • Berman, "The Case for Stalinism," pp. 44-50
  • Milosz, "Ketman," pp. 51-56
  • The Tito-Stalin Correspondence, pp. 58-65
  • The Purge Trials, pp. 66
  • The Trial of Laszlo Rajk, pp. 67-70
  • The Slansky Trial, pp. 71-77

Korbonski, 120-139

Korbonski, 187-192

Blonski, The Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto

Donia & Fine, "WW II" 136-156

 

OUTLINE:

A.World War II

B. The Holocaust

C.The Iron Curtain Descends

Boy selling the Star of David in the Warsaw Ghetto.
 

Josif Tito, leader of the Partisans and future leader of Communist Yugoslavia.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. Compare Jakub Berman to the character of Szczuka in Ashes and Diamonds in terms of their ideals, ideology, character and what they believed was possible. If you were to impersonate Berman, how would you explain the purges (Slanski, for instance?)

2. What is Milosz's concept of Ketman? Does it help to explain how people both conformed to and differed from official ideology under conditions of Stalinist communism? In what way would Ketman apply to some of the situations in the East European films we have seen?

3. From reading Blonski, Milosz's poems and Korbonski, how did/do Poles deal with the perpetrators of the Holocaust on their soil? Cite 2 examples of attitudes.

4. What arguments can you come up with, based on readings, Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds, to explain the imposition of Stalinism in Eastern Europe. What argument does Longworth make? Does Churchill have some fault in the matter? What did the Soviets do or didn't do to take over Poland? Are the beliefs and practices of Berman and of "ketman" somehow responsible?

 

 FILMS AND ASSIGNMENTS:

Films:

Required:
 
Recommended:
  • Korczak
  • Europa, Europa
  • Schindler's List
 
Assignments:
Man lying dead in a street of the Warsaw Ghetto, probably of starvation

 
The Big Three atYalta (from left to right), Churchill, Truman and Stalin.

INTERESTING WEB SITES:

Polish Jews in WWII

Museum of Tolerance

Holocaust Cybrary

Documents relating to Holocaust in Romania

Winston Churchill - Iron Curtain Speech March 5, 1946

 

 

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