Democratic Transition and Post-Communist Realities in Central Europe

In an age where the United States as the world’s sole superpower is stressing the need to broaden the community of liberal democracies and to harness not only military might but also new tools such as "transformational diplomacy," the question of how transition can be down well is a vital one.

Europe is a concept that has changed through the ages. Central Europe’s place in the broader European community is now assured thanks to the glorious events of 1989/90, but this was not always the case. This course will begin by looking at how ‘Europe’ as an idea and its institutions evolved after World War Two; how the security of the region was altered by the Cold War; and how finally, Central Europe negotiated the road to European integration after decades of Communist oppression. Issues such as transitional justice and lustration (political vetting) will be covered in such a way as to illuminate their relevance to the challenge of transition in other nations (such as Afghanistan and Iraq).

The course will provide a brief background on the differences between the Communist regimes of the region, how each one fell, and how, in the intervening 18 years they have succeeded to a lesser or greater extent to rid themselves of the damage done by 40 years of dictatorship. We will look at the process of accession to the European Union and NATO and how each of these organizations has been changed through expansion.

The ultimate goal of the course it to shed light on the difficulties and dilemmas of moving political, economic and social structures from dictatorship to democracy and free-market economy.

Special Note


This course will be taught by Dr. Sebestyen V. Gorka

Principal Professor


To be Announced