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Polelle examines the origins, major events, and consquences of the Second World War. Taking in account the First World War's effect on politics, economics, culture, and the international system as a whole, the course illustrates the ideologies at play as communism, fascism, and democratic capitalism came into direct conflict. Polelle also imagines a number of "what ifs," including what whould have happened if Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union, and concludes with a consideration of the legacy of World War II.