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20th Century Ideologies

PHIL 334

20th Century Ideologies

  • Course ID:PHIL 334
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Philosophy
  • Teachers:Michael Hude

Description and Objectives

This course is primarily a study of the conflict between Soviet communism and Nazi fascism during the 20th Century.  Secondarily, it will examine the further spread of communism into China and Southeast Asia.  In addition to recounting the military history of the Soviet-German war, students will read about the assault on civilians that took place between Nazis and European Jewry, as well as between Nazis and Russian peasants and partisans.  Further discussion of Stalin’s own purging of his country and Mao Zedong’s Great Chinese Famine will also take place.

Through consideration of the history of these two destructive ideologies, students will gain insight into the dangers of totalitarian thinking with the hope that they will fight off its descendant motion into our current culture.

The primary goals of this course:

  • Acquire knowledge of fascism and communism and their dangers
  • Study in-depth the genocides of the 20th Century
  • Sharpen writing skills
  • Improve dialectic skills


  • Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941-1945 by John Mosier. ISBN 141657350X
  • Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning.  ISBN 0062303023

Course Requirements

Students should expect daily readings assignments, weekly writing assignments, and occasional examinations.

  • The final grade each quarter will be based on a point system.  The points will consist of the following:
    • Exams (typically at least 100 points each)
    • Quizzes (if necessary and of varying point values, between 10-50 points each)
    • Writing Assignments (typically 100 points each)
    • Participation (points awarded at teacher’s discretion, determined by the effectiveness of the participation)
  • Exams will require knowledge of objective facts, but they will mainly evaluate the student’s ability to think and to synthesize material critically.  There will be a comprehensive final examination.
  • Essays and reading will make up a majority of the work in the course.
  • If quizzes are necessary, they will take place and may be announced or unannounced.

Class participation is required whether it takes the form of effective insights or the asking of probing questions.  Comportment, attention to detail, and sustained improvement over time in the student’s work will also factor into class participation.  The teacher will keep an account of how well students are participating, and students can approach the teacher at any time to ask about how well they are performing in this respect.  At the end of each grading period, class participation may play a substantial role in improving, maintaining, or decreasing the student’s grade for the quarter.

Successful Students

  • The successful student must maintain daily reading and writing schedules and avoid waiting for deadlines to complete work.  Reading and writing, which is spaced out over a proper amount of time, allows for adequate mental digestion, more effective intellectual nourishment, and more advanced writing instruction.
  • Successful students will consult with the instructor frequently to discuss the texts, as well as rough drafts. I am available outside of class and will make myself available for extra help whenever an appointment is needed.  I encourage parents to contact me with any questions or concerns either by email or phone.
  • At the conclusion of the course, the successful student will have a solid grasp on some of the dangers of totalitarian regimes.  He will also be able to speak and write his thoughts more clearly.  The successful student will leave the course after making strides in those virtues especially concerned with political mindfulness.