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Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceausescu and Mikhail Gorbachev, December 1989

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The seemingly cordial conversation between the Soviet and Romanian communist leaders less than two weeks before the troubles started in Timişoara provides evidence of the wide differences between them. Ceauşescu wields the formulas of orthodox socialism, while Gorbachev tries to point him toward modernization, change, flexibility, and listening to the wishes of the Romanian people. Ceauşescu... Read More »

Minutes of the Meeting of the Polish Citizens' Parliamentary Club

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Poland's first semi-free elections in early June 1989 indicated Poles' strongly anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, as evidenced by the solid defeat of Communism. Following this historic election, the newly elected pro-Solidarity parliamentary leaders formed the Citizens' Parliamentary Club, in which they debated about the future of Poland's political system. At a meeting of this... Read More »

Miscellaneous Jokes: GDR Jokes C

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George Orwell once wrote, "Every joke is a tiny revolution." In state-socialist societies that had (or have) totalitarian characteristics, individuals found clever ways to carve out areas of freedom for themselves. These may have been areas of social freedom (with family and close friends), physical freedom (at one's small garden cottage), or mental freedom (through humor). There were risks... Read More »

Motion Made by Vincent Ogé the Younger to the Assembly of Colonists, 1789

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Vincent Ogé presented the views of his fellow mulatto property owners to a meeting of the white planter delegates who had come to Paris from Saint Domingue, the largest and wealthiest French colony. Ogé came to Paris to press mulatto claims for full civil and political rights. This document shows the complexity of the racial and hence political situation in the colonies; the mulattos wanted to... Read More »

NATO celebrates German Reunification

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On 3 October 1990, the constitution of West Germany was extended to cover the five states of East Germany, reunifying Germany as a single country under one law. Congratulations were extended to the new country from around the world, including from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which could celebrate the reunification as one of its own achievements. NATO was a military alliance... Read More »

NATO Speech on the Establishment of German Unity

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With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the prospect of a powerful reunited Germany worried nations in both the Eastern and Western blocs. Soviet officials suggested in repeated messages to the US that the four allies empowered to govern Germany at the conclusion of World War II—Britain, France, the US, and the Soviet Union—meet in order to relinquish their occupation rights and to... Read More »

NATO Statement of the Future of East-West Relations

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On December 3, 1989, following the summit meeting in Malta between US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in which the leaders attested to an historic shift in US-Soviet relations, Bush traveled to Brussels to report on the meeting to a special summit of NATO leaders. The next day, Bush delivered a speech in which he discussed the issue of German reunification.... Read More »

NATO Statement on Achieving Stability in Europe

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As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. Earlier, in 1967, following a series of statements the previous year from France, West Germany, the US, and the Soviet Union calling for a... Read More »

NATO Statement on Its Role in Reshaping East-West Relations

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As the Cold War wound down, NATO’s mission underwent a gradual shift from one of insuring the security of member nations through the deterrence of military aggression to one of fostering the integration of Eastern European countries into a new world order. At the fortieth anniversary NATO summit held in Brussels at the end of May 1989, the heads of the member states issued a declaration that... Read More »

Oath as Consul for Life (4 August 1802)

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The oath that Bonaparte took on becoming consul for life gives a good idea of the image that he tried to project: protector of the gains of the Revolution and insurer of order. In retrospect, his claims about not wishing to make war ring hollow.

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