The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to createMaking the History of 1989.
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MSN 1E7
Fairfax, VA 22030
Principal Investigator T. Mills Kelly
Project Editor, Tom Rushford
Project Manager, Katherine Gustin
Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center
German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, IA.
National Security Archive
University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Special Collections
Wende Museum, Culver City, CA
Few images from the second half of the twentieth century endure as vividly as the jubilant crowds atop the Berlin Wall in 1989, seemingly tearing down the Cold War with their hammers, hands, and hopes. Just as memorable was the sight of hundreds of thousands of people filling Wenceslaus Square in Prague, chanting “Truth Will Prevail” as the communist regime crumbled before their eyes. These joyful images compete in popular memory with equally powerful but horrific scenes: the Romanian President, Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife executed on live television on Christmas morning, or emaciated Bosnians peering out from behind prison camp wire following the outbreak of civil war in Yugoslavia. As rapid as it was unexpected, the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the period of transition that followed brought the twentieth century and the Cold War to a close in way few expected. Those who lived through those days will never forget the sense of seeing “history in the making.”
Making the History of 1989 materials were developed because teachers and their students have little access to vivid historical documents in English that convey the epochal events of 1989. Project materials utilize recent advances in our understanding of how historical learning takes place, including complex interaction with sources, recursive reading, and skills used by historians.
Making the History of 1989 has three key features: a substantial collection of high quality primary sources; a set of multimedia interviews that make visible the processes by which historians transform events and sources into historical narratives; and lesson plans and document based questions provide historical context, tools, and strategies for teaching the history of 1989 with primary sources in ways that make “history making” visible and vivid.