This is an excellent series by PBS on the history and failures of socialism. It's up on YouTube in segments, but I wanted to make it more convenient to watch in the original full 1 hour segments. I'm assuming that since it's all over YouTube that PBS has no objections to it being online. If they do and contact me, I'll pull this down. In the meantime, please watch this series when you have some time, and thanks to PBS!
Here's a link to their page on this series, which includes some teaching resources.
Hour 1 - The Rise
It was one of the most powerful political ideas in history, a new faith for a skeptical age. It promised a world of harmony and abundance - if only property were shared by all and distributed equally. The idea was called "socialism," and it spread farther and faster than any religion in history. Then, in almost the blink of an eye, it all collapsed.
What happened? In this series, we trace the rise and fall of an idea that changed the world - an idea that promised a heaven right here on earth.
Hour 2 - Revolutions
When Vladimir Lenin seized power in Russia in 1917, he created the world's first socialist state. But other socialists said that Lenin's dictatorship wasn't true socialism at all. Over the next sixty years, people who called themselves socialists-often disagreeing violently with each other-would rise to power in scores of countries all over the globe … until they ruled more than 60 percent of humanity.
Hour 3 - The Collapse
By the late 1970s roughly sixty percent of the world's population found itself under socialist governments of one kind or another. Communists ruled China, Russia, Eastern Europe and much of Asia. Third World socialist governments controlled thirty nations in the Middle East and Africa. Social Democratic parties held majorities in much of Western Europe. Even with all its problems, socialism was still in power. Then, unexpectedly, the pendulum began to swing.