This seminar deals in the broadest possible context with two critical issues that dominated the 20th century: the rise of fascism out of the carnage of World War I and the Bolshevik revolution to which the war and Czarist Russia’s involvement in it helped contribute. As the semester unfolds, drawing on a variety of historical and documentary films, and literature (memoirs, novels), we will take a comparative look at singular personalities like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler and examine the role played by such key figures in historical events of this magnitude. Towards the end of the semester, we will glance briefly at the situation created in Western and Eastern Europe by the defeat of fascism and contemplate the origins and evolution of the cold war. We will conclude the seminar with a consideration of the dissolution and democratization of Eastern European countries, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and, against the tragic background of the past, the general prognosis for democracy in the future.