World War Two changed the world more than any other conflict in the 19th or 20th centuries. The bid by Nazi Germany and authoritarian Japan to create radically racist imperial spheres brought the old global empires of Western Europe to their knees. In its genocide and brutal occupation policies the Nazi regime imposed a colonial-style rule in Europe itself, the trauma of which Europe is still dealing with today. Through its military expansion Japan created the space for national movements to flourish in India and Southeast Asia, movements that eventually turned decolonization into a reality. The war firmly entrenched communist economic regimes in Eastern Europe, while it moved Western Europe far to the left socially and economically and it catapulted the United States and the Soviet Union into positions of world power. Finally, war forced Europeans, Americans, and Asians to rethink the meaning of democracy, individual rights, and the place of the nation-state in a modern world. This class will trace the origins, course, and legacy of the Second World War, viewing it as a contest among empires and countries aspiring to create empires. Although military topics will be covered, this is primarily a political, economic, and international history of the Second World War. We will pay particular attention to several thematic questions.