East European History

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A Chronology of East European History

(Traditional Version)

 


1953

  • Stalin dies and is replaced by collective leadership in Soviet Union
  • East German workers' uprising
  • Hungary's Rakosi is challenged by Imre Nagy, a more liberal Hungarian communist who introduces New Course reforms

1955

  • Nagy is ousted again and goes into semi-retirement
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization is founded including USSR, Hungary, Romania, East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Albania. Soviet troops stationed throughout East Europe

1956

  • Laszlo Rajk, who had been unjustsly purged from Hungarian Communist Party is posthumously rehabilitated and then reburied in Budapest--occasion for mass procession
  • Hungarian revolution led by Nagy who withdraws Hungary from Warsaw Pact. It ends in bloodshed due to Soviet invasion. Nagy is arrested & executed.
  • Janos Kadar takes over and bring "gulas communism" to Hungary
  • Polish October brings liberal Gomulka to power after Poznan workers' uprising

1963

  • Romania rejects Soviet economic integration in favor of Soviet-style industrialization
  • Marx's "Notes on the Romanians" condemning Russian imperialism published in Romania

1965

  • Gheorghiu-Dej dies and Ceausescu comes to power in Romania

1966

  • Anti-abortion decree in Romania

1967

  • Ceausescu takes independent foreign policy stand in Middle East

1968

  • Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion (with the exception of Romania)
  • Brezhnev Doctrine
  • Romania denounces invasion of Czechoslovakia
  • Student protest in Poland--workers do not join. Regime uses anti-Semitic propaganda to isolate protesters

1970

  • Polish workers protest price increases just before Christmas and are violently suppressed

1971

  • Gierek replaces Gomulka in Poland

1975

  • Helsinki Accord signed

1976

  • New price increases in Poland, new protests and KOR forms bringing workers and intellectuals together

1977

  • Charter 77 signed by Prague dissidents

1978

  • Polish Cardinal Woytila of Cracow becomes Pope John Paul II

1979

  • Pope John Paul II visits Poland to great popular acclaim (1st of several visits under communism)

1980

  • Workers' protests in Gdansk, Poland result in formation of free trade union Solidarity led by Lech Walesa. Negotiations between Solidarity & government

1981

  • General Jaruzelski, Poland's president declares martial law and represses Solidarity

1984

  • Romania introduces stricter checks of women's bodies to insure they carry pregnancies to term

1985

  • Gorbachev comes to power in USSR and begins program of glasnost & perestsroika Romania attempts to pay back its foreign debt by extreme austerity measures

1989

  • Free elections in Poland bring non-communists into government
  • Imre Nagy is reburied with honors in Budapest
  • East Germans flee to the West via Hungary
  • Berlin Wall falls. Revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania take place with Soviet blessings
  • Milosevic eliminates autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina

1990

  • East and West Germany reunite
  • Poland introduces economic "shock therapy" 1990+
  • Difficult economic times in EE during transition from socialism to capitalism

1991

  • Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia secede from Yugoslavia
  • Gorbachev is ousted, the Soviet Union dissolves, and Russia comes into being under Yeltsin's leadership

1991-95

  • Wars in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. Ethnic cleansing in Croatia and Bosnia

1992

  • Germany leads the Western world in recognizing the independent Slovenia & Croatia: Yugoslav break-up is thus finalized
  • Czechoslovakia splits into Slovakia and the Czech Republic as Slovakia secedes
  • Albania is the last East European communist state to renounce communism

1995

  • Signing of the Dayton Peace Accord brings Yugoslav War to an end
  • UN Peacekeepers in Macedonia

1997

  • Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic accepted into NATO

1998

  • Serb-Albanian fighting in Kosovo. NATO threatens to intervene
 

 

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