Behind the Iron Curtain

Ref: C2337928

Aspects of life in the “Warsaw Pact” countries, from the end of the Second World War until 1989. How particular characteristics, cultures and even different political systems combined to undermine the Soviet Union’s protective barrier against the West.

Course aim

To show how the USSR attempted to impose its will on countries in Eastern Europe – Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – from the Second World War until 1989.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the practical difficulties in imposing an ideology from above and from outside on countries with different ethnic, cultural, political, historical and societal experiences.
  • Know why the arts often provided a focus for control and for dissent in Eastern Europe.
  • Identify three major sources of tension in Eastern European countries that undermined the communist ideological framework.
  • Understand why two Soviet leaders. Stalin and Gorbachëv, were so important individually for the viability of the Soviet Bloc
  • Be familiar with the causes of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Behind the Iron Curtain

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing