Political Science | Political Tyranny
Y210 | 26401 | Bielasiak

Time and time again, history has witnessed the rise of political
leaders who have turned into tyrants.  Hitler, Stalin, Mao, by their
ideas and actions, have defined much of the past century. Less
renowned leaders, in all corners of the world, continue to preach
hate towards other people, and to define politics as the struggle
between good and evil.  What enables these leaders to harness the
forces of conflict?  What is their power to mobilize entire
communities, even nations, to wage war and perpetrate mass murder?

To answers these and similar questions we examine the lives and the
deeds of the most important tyrants of the 20th century.  We will
study not only Hitler and Stalin, but also some of their more recent
imitators, the “little Hitlers” and “little Stalins” of North Korea,
Iraq, Yugoslavia and other tyrannies.  We will look at their lives
and the conditions that allowed them to attain power, the political
ideas advocated by the tyrannical leaders, and at the consequences
of tyranny – the politics of hate and violence.

Seminar requirements include active participation in class
discussions and completion of in-class assignments, a short paper
comparing two of the tyrannies, a midterm and a final exam.