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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Crisis, Realignment, and the Dawn of the Post-Cold War World, 1975-1991


Ethnic Groups in the World
The map at the beginning of this essay shows how multiethnic or multinational the world's countries are today.

CNN Cold War: Interactive Maps
This site features several excellent interactive maps exploring issues and events from the Cold War such as the United States's interference in Latin America and Soviet adventurism in Afghanistan.

Collapse of the Soviet Union
This map puts the events surrounding the collapse of communism in Europe in a geographical context.

Russia and the Former Soviet Republics Maps
This site provides links to numerous maps that illustrate what became of the former Soviet Union.

Maps of Europe
This site offers more contemporary maps of Europe since the collapse of the Soviet bloc and Yugoslavia.

South America: 1945-1999
This multimedia map explores the political changes in Latin America during this time.

PBS Frontline: Maps of the Persian Gulf War
This site provides several maps of this brief military engagement in 1991.

Map: Urban Growth in the Third Quarter of the Twentieth Century and Map: Urban Growth in the Fourth Quarter of the Twentieth Century  These maps show the regions where urbanization has been most intense during the last half of the twentieth century.

Maps examining Life Expectancy in the Twentieth Century

Maps examining Infant Mortality in the Twentieth Century

Map examining World Population Distribution throughout the Twentieth Century

Maps examining Population Growth in the Twentieth Century

U.S. Immigration: Origins of Immigrants 1970-1990
This map shows the influx of Asian and Latin American immigrants to the United States during the latter part of the twentieth century.


CNN: Cold War
This comprehensive site offers hundreds of images of leaders and events during the Cold War and its end.

Coup d'Etat of 1989
This site provides numerous images of the events surrounding the collapse of communism in Romania.

Evolution of the Keiretsu and their different forms
This essay includes several charts and graphs which illustrate the most powerful of these business combinations in contemporary Japan.

The East Asia Keiretsu
Several charts at this site show the interconnections among multiple firms in East Asia.

Photos from the Iranian Revolution
These images primarily depict the early days of the revolution.

Photos from the Iran-Iraq War
These images are from an Iranian source.

Tiananmen, April-June 1989
This comprehensive site provides hundreds of images of the protest and massacre in Beijing, China.

Time 100: The Unknown Rebel
This examination of the Tiananmen Square massacre contains a video clip of the events surrounding the tragedy.

Index of Persian Gulf War Photos
This site is in ftp format.

World Resources Institute: Global Trends
Many of the topical links at this site contain useful images that examine population growth, food supply, and environmental stresses in today's world.

Forbes International: The 100 Largest U.S. Multinational Firms in 1999
This site provides a convenient chart detailing the size of American multinational corporations.  There are also links to lists of foreign multinational firms in the United States.

Select a country and view images of this fast-food chain's presence there.

Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?
This article from Scientific American contains numerous images that explore this problem.

John H. Mauchley and the Development of the ENIAC Computer
This essay contains numerous images of early computer technology from the World War II era.

IBM History
View images and watch video clips of the evolution of computers after World War II at this corporate site.

Activity One:

Between 1989 and 1991, Communist regimes collapsed in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, and the Cold War, which had dominated world history since the late 1940s, ended.  The breakup of the Soviet bloc was swift and relatively peaceful.  Change came from within rather than being the result of defeat at the hands of the United States and its allies, as had been the case with fascist Germany and military-dominated Japan during the mid-twentieth century.

Nevertheless, the causes of the collapse of communism in eastern Europe were complex and overlapped.  To analyze the situation, go to CNN Cold War: The Wall Comes Down, 1989.  Feel free to view any of the multimedia presentations at this site, but pay special attention to the sections "Online Spotlight: Unsung Heroes" and "Time: Freedom: November 20, 1989."  Also see End of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, Romanian History: Collapse of Communism, and ONE MORE REASON FOR COMMUNISM'S COLLAPSE: TELEVISION IN POLAND, 1951-1989.

After reviewing these sites, make a list of all of the reasons for communism's collapse in these nations.  Keep the following considerations in mind:  What role did the political establishment or, more specifically, certain leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev play in the collapse?  How did nationalism or religion motivate people to oppose the communist regimes?  What kinds of organizations emerged to express nationalist or religious sentiments?  What role did technology play in the demise of communism?  What do you consider the most important contributing factor or factors in the collapse of these communist regimes?  Be sure to use examples to defend your answer.

Activity Two:

The end of the Cold War forced many people in the world, particularly Westerners, to reevaluate major issues and themes characterizing world history at the end of the twentieth century.  The 1990s were a decade during which many governments and international institutions focused on the issue of globalization.  Since the 1960s, there had been an explosion in the growth of multinational corporations.  To explore this development further, go to Forbes.com: The 100 Largest U.S. Multinationals in 1999 and The 100 Largest Foreign Investments in the United States; then compare and contrast these lists.  From this data, next categorize the kinds of businesses that tend to invest in overseas ventures.  Are they manufacturing, telecommunications, or resource-extracting firms?  How much revenue do they generate?

For a closer look, first visit General Motors: International Index.  Click on the name of at least one nation in each region listed there to see what the company's activities are in this part of the world and when they began.  For another example, go to McDonalds.com  and click on "Select a Country" at the bottom of the page.  Then choose one country from each continent to investigate McDonald's overseas activities.  These are just two companies that are engaged in globalization, the process in which service industries and manufacturing enterprises operate on a truly global scale.

Why do you think these companies have globalized?  What factors have made this development possible?  Think of all the changes in travel and communication that have occurred since World War II.  For more information about this development, see The Challenges of Globalization.  According to this site, what role did governments play in fostering globalization after World War II?

Globalization presents many opportunities and challenges for the world in the twenty-first century.  For an overview of these possibilities, see International Monetary Fund: Globalization, Threat or Opportunity? and read this entire essay.  Discounting this author's opinion, explain why you think different people respond to globalization both positively and negatively.  What benefits does it bring and to whom?  What negative consequences does globalization foster, and who are the prime victims in such situations?

Finally, read the brief article at LOUIS UCHITELLE, "World Economy Is as Interconnected Today as in 1913," New York Times, April 30, 1998.  This author tries to place the current debate on globalization in a historical context.  Can you think of any other historical periods that could offer further insight into the process that is occurring today?  Have there been other periods during which changes in communication, transportation, and finance encouraged the dramatic restructuring of the world economy?  For clues, review web Activity One for Chapter 20, The Atlantic System and Africa 1550-1800, and web activities two and three for Chapter 21, Southwest Asia and the Indian Ocean, 1500-1750.  What lessons do the historical episodes recounted in these chapters offer to the current debate over globalization?  What does the past teach us about our present?

Activity Three:

No technology has transformed the post-Cold War world as much as the computer has.  To understand its development and innovation, go to John W. Mauchly and the Development of the ENIAC Computer; then scroll down to the "Table of Contents" and view each site hyperlinked there.  What technological innovations of the first half of the twentieth century made electronic computers possible?  What role did the United States government play in the electronic computer's development?  What were these early computers used for?  To pursue this subject further, go to A Brief History of Computing Technology.  Begin reading this essay at Section 3.3, "The Second Generation," and continue until you have read the section about present-day technology.

For another view of the development of computers since World War II, see The Story of IBM: The Era of Innovations.  Continue to the end of this entire essay by clicking "Next Era" at the bottom right-hand corner of each page.  To view visual images of computers over time, go to IBM History: Highlights and click on the images of the various computers shown on this page.  After reviewing these sites, answer the following questions: How did computers change after World War II, and what technological breakthroughs encouraged these changes?  What use was made of computers from the 1950s through the 1970s?  How did this usage change during the 1980s and 1990s?  What were the connections between the evolution of computer technology and globalization?  Do you believe that the computer will continue to change world history during the twenty-first century?  Explain how. For one prediction, see Scientific American: The Future of Computing.

Activity Four:

One issue that dominates the post-Cold War world is the fate of developing countries in Latin American, Africa, and Asia.  The essay International Monetary Fund: Globalization, Threat or Opportunity that you read in Activity Two introduced you to some of the problems associated with globalization in the developing world.  To learn more about these issues, see The Third World Debt Crisis and UNDP China: Sustainable Human Development.  According to the information at these sites, what other problems are typical for these nations as they try to achieve sustainable economic growth and maintain justice?  Do you believe that globalization can help to ameliorate these problems, or is globalization itself the problem?  Defend your answer.