From Monarchy to the European Union: East and East-Central Europe in the Twentieth Century

Course Description: This course investigates the “long” twentieth century history of East and East-Central Europe with special emphasis given to Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Tomáš Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia, once described Europe as a “laboratory atop a vast graveyard.” Albeit Masaryk described the entire continent after the First World War, his depiction—dark as it is—certainly summarizes the collective historical experience of Eastern Europe. In this laboratory, the people of the region experimented with liberalism, nationalism, fascism, communism, and democracy. The following questions will guide our survey of this fascinating region: What/where is Eastern Europe? Is there something peculiar about its political, economic and cultural development? What forces shaped the region? To what degree did the Eastern Europeans have control over their own history?

Course Information: Mondays, 1:00-3:00 p.m., starting Sept. 18, 2017. Terrence Murphy Hall Room 260 (Thornton Auditorium), University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus

Course Instructor: Dr. Zsolt Nagy (PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an assistant professor of Modern European history at the University of St. Thomas. His book, Great Expectations and Interwar Realities: Hungarian Cultural Diplomacy, 1918-1941, was recently published by Central European University Press. His teaching and research areas include early modern and modern European history, Eastern European history, transnational studies, cultural diplomacy and international relations, nationalism and nation building, film and radio studies, and the history of tourism.

Fee for the series:  $90.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card on our secure page, click on this link:

To print out a form to complete and then mail in with a check or cash payment, click on this link: ‌Printable Registration Form Fall 2017

Link to campus mapMinneapolis Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus:

Sept. 18

Introduction and a Short History of the Habsburg Monarchy

What/Where/When is East and East-Central Europe? Who are the Habsburgs? How did they build their empire? Who lived there?

Sept. 25

Modernity and Nationalism

What is modernity? What is nationalism? Why do they matter? Is there something peculiar about the region and its experiences?

Oct. 2

From fin-de-siècles Austria-Hungary to the End of the Empire

The Golden Years of the Dual Monarchy? The First World War: whose fault is it anyway? Impact of the Bolshevik Revolution? Postwar Reconstruction and the end of the empire: was it inevitable?

Oct. 9

East and East Central Europe from 1918 to 1945


Oct. 16

"The Eastern Block" and the Cold War

Yalta and beyond: was there a choice there to become "Red?" USSR: the big brother? 1956/1968: all for nothing? Normalcy beyond the Wall? What did everyday socialism look like?

Oct. 23 

1989: Hopes, Illusions, and Realities (and a meager attempt to make sense of it all)

Why in 1989 that communism ended? How did it happen? What did happen since? Return to Europe? And today?


From Monarchy to E.U. Week 1 PowerPoint Slides

From Monarchy to E.U. Week 2 PowerPoint Slides 

From Monarchy to EU Week 3 PowerPoint Slides

WW I joke link:

From Monarchy to EU Week 4 PowerPoint Slides

From Monarchy to EU Week 5 PowerPoint Slides