Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1994 Karen Birdsall. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Robert Weinberg


Birdsall examines the changes in the ways Stalin is portrayed in Soviet history textbooks during the Perestroika era. The analysis relies primarily on seven tenth and eleventh-grade textbooks published from 1981 to 1992, which Birdsall supplements with post-Soviet academic materials and personal interviews. Birdsall argues that the portrayal of Stalin in the texts evolved from a minimization of his role to an emphasis on his betrayal of Communist ideals to a more critical examination of the entire Soviet era.


Recipient of the Paul H. Beik Prize in History, awarded in 1994.