Political History of 20th Century Europe
Produced by Rick Garcia, Granada Hills High School, 1997
- This unit is meant to be an introduction to either a Twentieth Century European History
class or the beginning of that part of a World History class that deals with twentieth
- With their knowledge of U.S. History, the students will be able to see that the major
events of Europe in this century went hand in hand with the major events of the United
States. In other words, the path of America was part of a Global path. We are not alone.
- The map assignments are also meant to be an exercise in Cause and Effect. The students
are to be able to see how the major events like World War I or the end of the Cold War
left its aftermath on the political borders of Europe. The other factors such as the rise
of fascism, the failure of communism, and the lethal ethnic/religious rivalries will be
filled in with greater detail during the course of the semester.
- I deliberately went from maps that represent thousands of miles to a short story that
involves the short ride of a bus to give the feel of a satellite video shot: from birds
eye view [the maps] to a close up snapshot of one tiny point of that area [the short
Maps of Europe--Objectives:
- Students will identify the major changes in the political borders of Europe throughout
the 20th Century.
- Students will understand the causes for those changes and the ramifications of those
- Students are to receive an introductory overview of the social and political history
twentieth century Europe by doing this map assignment.
- Students will develop a sense of cooperative learning [as cooperative learning will be
used in the class throughout the year].
- Students are to become familiar with using the index, maps, boldface subsection titles,
and the table of contents of the textbook.
- Students will be placed into groups of four. But as this will be the first Group
Activity of the semester, the teacher will model how students are to quitely assemble
their desks and themselves for this and all future group activities.
- Once in their groups, four maps and a list of countries will be given to each group.
There will be a map for each of the following years: 1914, 1934, 1954, and 1994. [Attached
is an example of one of those maps.]
- Students are to neatly print the names of the various European countries [see attached
list of European countries] within the appropriate borders of each map. All 4 maps are due
at the end of the period from each group.
- Reassemble the students in their groups of four.
- Return the maps from the previous day to the appropriate group as well as crayons and/or
- [a]Students are to color in the various countries and bodies of water. However, the
following countries MUST use certain colors on all maps they are in: Russia/USSR [Red],
France [Pink], Germany/West Germany [Black], Switzerland [Yellow], Spain [Purple].
[b]All Communist countries are to be outlined in RED [no matter what color was used to
color in that country].
- All maps are to be done and turned in by the end of the period.
- When a group is finished with all 4 maps, the group is to write a DEBRIEFING STATEMENT.
The Debriefing Statement is to include 4 developments they noticed when making the maps of
the 4 eras.
- All maps and the Debriefing Statement are due at the end of the period. They are to be
stapled together with the names of each student in the group on all maps and the
- Reassemble into groups and pass back maps/Debriefing Statements.
- Conduct informal Q & A with the class regarding their Debriefing Statements to get
them refocused on the previous day's work.
- Pass out worksheets [see attached copy of worksheet] to every student.
- Students are to collaborate with their 'group-mates' to answer the questions on the
Worksheet. They are to use their maps and textbooks to answer the questions.
- The teacher is to model the answering of one of the questions by showing students how
the index, table of contents, and BOLDFACE subsection titles can be used to track down an
- The assignment is due at the end of the period. Each student is to turn in his own
Communism: In Theory/In Practice--Objectives:
- Students will know the basic tenets of communist theory.
- Students will be able to identify key terms of communist theory.
- Students will understand the use of literature/art to criticize a government and/or a
society, as well as using literature/art to provide a grassroots feel for the life of the
common person in that society.
- Students are to start their 'Terms' notebook. Throughout the semester, students will be
writing down key terms and their definition from the chalkboard as a kind of warm up
exercise. These definitions will not be dictionary definitions but the teacher's
simplified explanations of a word or phrase. Today's terms will be the following: Karl
Marx, Proletariat, Bourgeoise, Class Struggle [haves and have nots], Exploitation, Utopia,
and the Communist Manifesto. [example of term definition: Proletariat--the working class;
people who do hard work in factories as non-skilled or semi-skilled labores for low pay.]
- At the end of the Warm Up, the teacher is to lead the class in a discussion about what
they do/acquire to help them feel 'happy,' content or fulfilled; and what they hope to
do/acquire/accomplish in the future to lead a 'happy' or fulfilling life.
- At the end of the discussion, each student is to receive a photocopy of a textbook's
summary of the main ideas behind Communism [See attached copy]. We will read this
together, discussing key points along the way, and contrasting Marx's ideas with the
student's ideas about 'happiness' and what makes for a fulfilling life.
- Pass out "Theory of Communism" worksheet to each student [see attached]. They
are to use their new terms and the handout the class read in class to answer the
questions. To be finished for Homework.
- Correct "Theory of Communism" homework assignment at the beginning of class.
This will serve as a review and warm-up session.
- After correcting the homework, have students open up their textbook to the current map
of Europe. Have them find the country of Romania. Have them say what kind of society
Romania probably had based on their map exercises.
- They should be able to remember or guess that it became a communist country after World
War II due to the Soviet Union. And they should also know, or guess, that by 1994 it
became a 'free' country after the fall of communism in Russia. Inform the students that we
will be reading a very short story by a Romanian writer to get a feel for what life was
like in a communist country.
- Pass out copies of the Romanian short story, "A Common Path," by Gabriela
Adamesteanu to each student. [I didn't feel a need to attach a copy of it as it was in our
ISOP notebook of reading material].
- This story will be read out loud in class, stopping here and there to discuss or point
out symbolism, irony, etc. At the conclusion of this story, teacher will lead a class
discussion on how life for this woman and her family in Communist Romania compares with
what Marx said a communist society would be like.
- Pass out work sheet [see attached] for students to do. The questions are meant to show
the contradiction between the ideal communist society and what the people were stuck with
in Romania. They are to finish it for homework.
Published: Thursday, April 28, 2005
To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser.