The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create Making the History of 1989.

Contact Information
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MSN 1E7
Fairfax, VA 22030

Principal Investigator T. Mills Kelly

Project Editor, Tom Rushford

Project Manager, Katherine Gustin


Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center
German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.
National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, IA.
National Security Archive
University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Special Collections
Wende Museum, Culver City, CA


Few images from the second half of the twentieth century endure as vividly as the jubilant crowds atop the Berlin Wall in 1989, seemingly tearing down the Cold War with their hammers, hands, and hopes. Just as memorable was the sight of hundreds of thousands of people filling Wenceslaus Square in Prague, chanting “Truth Will Prevail” as the communist regime crumbled before their eyes. These joyful images compete in popular memory with equally powerful but horrific scenes: the Romanian President, Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife executed on live television on Christmas morning, or emaciated Bosnians peering out from behind prison camp wire following the outbreak of civil war in Yugoslavia. As rapid as it was unexpected, the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the period of transition that followed brought the twentieth century and the Cold War to a close in way few expected. Those who lived through those days will never forget the sense of seeing “history in the making.”

Making the History of 1989 materials were developed because teachers and their students have little access to vivid historical documents in English that convey the epochal events of 1989. Project materials utilize recent advances in our understanding of how historical learning takes place, including complex interaction with sources, recursive reading, and skills used by historians.

Making the History of 1989 has three key features: a substantial collection of high quality primary sources; a set of multimedia interviews that make visible the processes by which historians transform events and sources into historical narratives; and lesson plans and document based questions provide historical context, tools, and strategies for teaching the history of 1989 with primary sources in ways that make “history making” visible and vivid.

Project Team

T. Mills Kelly (Executive Producer and Principal Investigator)

Kelly Schrum (Project Co-Director)

Matthew P. Romaniello (Associate Director)

Jon Berndt Olsen (Editor)

Tom Rushford (Editor)

Jeremy Boggs (Creative Lead)

Maureen Connors (Graduate Research Assistant)

Misha Mazzini Griffith (Graduate Research Assistant)

Katherine Gustin (Project Manager)

Kristopher Kelly (Web Developer)

Kristin May (Research Assistant)

Anastasia Mikheeva (Graduate Research Assistant)

Liz Moore (Project Associate)

Emily Perdue (Research Assistant)

Laura Veprek (Web Designer)

Misha Vinokur (Media Editor)

Pin Wang (Programmer)

Gwen White (Project Manager)


Bradley Abrams

Maria Bucur

Padraic Kenney

Gale Stokes

Vladimir Tismaneanu

Introductory Essay Author

Elizabeth Clark

Teaching Module Authors

James Bjork

Tom Ewing

Cathleen Giustino

T. Mills Kelly (see above).

Irina Livezeanu

Brian Porter-Szucs

Lesson Plan/DBQ Authors

Jennifer Dikes

Laura Thompson

Tom Rushford

Cynthia Szwajkowski

Elizabeth Ten Dyke

Case Study Authors

Hugh Agnew

Melissa Bokovoy

David Doellinger

Maura Hametz

Kevin Deegan-Kraus

Jill Massino

Basia Nowak

Jon Berndt Olsen

Matt Romaniello

Tricia Starks

Elizabeth Ten Dyke

Jennifer Walton

Editorial Assistance

Alan Gevinson

Joel Tannenbaum

Deanna Wooley