International School History - European Schools - S7 4 hour option

S7 4hr History Last update - 17 May 2023 Official European School History S6 Syllabus: English, French, German
Compulsory Core - Europe 6  Europe from dictatorship to democracy (1974 - 1995)- syllabus
Key Questions and syllabus references. Lessons Additional materials and external links
What is authoritarianism and democracy?

What is the difference between democratic transition and democratic consolidation?

What are the factors that help explain the ‘how and why’ of democratic transition?


The Transition to Democracy - Theories and models. Worksheet 1.

Revision diagram to be completed.

What are the different types of authoritarian regime? Infosheet


How and why was there a transition to democracy in southern European states from 1974?

Key words: Democracy, Communism, Dictatorship, Coup d’état, Constitution, Monarchism, Civil Rights, Rule of Law, Liberalisation, Social democracy.

Possible Reference Points:  

Turkey invades Cyprus (1974) Parliamentary democracy established in Greece (1974) Carnation Revolution (1974)  Death of Franco (1975)

Southern Europe 1970s: The Transition to Democracy: Portugal, Greece and Spain Worksheet 2

Revision diagram to be completed, also available as downloadable Word Document.

A brief but flawed comparative essay by an undergraduate student comparing Spain and Portugal.

Applying democratisation theory to southern Europe in the 1970s and the Balkans after 1989 - Academic paper.

The Spanish ambassador to China provides a very clear explanation of the Spanish transition. Guardian 2016 on how Spain is coming to terms with its civil war past.

Matt Barrett's excellent History of Greece explains the rule of the junta and the transition.
The brilliant Wikipedia provides very clear summaries of the three transitions: Greece, Portugal and Spain.
My hypertext version of the IB History of Europe Course Companion on Spain here.


How and why did the communist regimes of central and eastern Europe collapse in 1989?

Possible Reference Points:  Charter 77 (1977) Martial Law in Poland (1981)

Worksheet 3 - Czechoslovakia and Poland 1970-81. Central and Eastern Europe - The Transition to Democracy - Part 1.
Prezi presentation Czechoslovakia and Poland 1970-81.

Videos on Charter 77 and Solidarity.

Walsh 412-15.GCSE Modern World History This is an excellent explanation of the significance of Solidarity.  


Video - Cold War episode 19 Freeze  and accompanying website. This includes a transcript of the episode. T

Importance of Catholic Church in Poland?  Look at this interactive map of religious belief in 2015.

Importance of Solidarity by Ben Walsh

See the dedicated section of ISH for an extended multimedia  version of the material in the lesson worksheet worksheet.


Possible Reference Points: Collapse of Communism (1989) Lithuanian independence (1990), Latvian and Estonian independence (1991)


Worksheet 4 - 1989 Central and Eastern Europe - The Transition to Democracy - Part 2
People's Century Video - People Power examines the events of 1989. Website for the series.

Revision table to be completed and also available as downloadable Word Document.

Walsh 410-21. Ben Walsh. GCSE Modern World History

What happens when an historian is also an eyewitness? Garton Ash on 1989


A short video explanations of Glasnost and Perestroika.

Short video on the end of the Berlin Wall.

A short video about the Velvet Revolution and how it was reported in the USA at the time. More on the Velvet Revolution for Czech and Slovak students.

News report video collection from 1990 that shows how events were reported in the USA at the time.

How successfully did the newly democratic states meet the challenges of transition?

Possible Reference Points:

Greece joins  EEC (1981)  Spain and Portugal join EEC (1986), Yugoslav Civil War begins (1991), Velvet Divorce (1993), Dayton Accords (1995), International Criminal Tribunal former Yugoslavia (from 1993), Historical Memory Law – Spain (2007).


Worksheet 5 and revision table to be completed or as downloadable Word Document.
Prezi presentation on the consolidation of democracy
BBC - On the ongoing controversy of the Spanish amnesty law.

Wikipedia on the 'pact of forgetting'.  

Historian David Rieff challenges the view that remembering the past is always a good thing - 2016 article.

Excellent animation on Balkanisation.



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