Unprecedented military defeat in Vietnam, a toppled president, charismatic leaders assassinated, the worst riots in U.S. history — all that, and 1968 had barely begun. This 2-part class covers the most tumultuous year in recent history, in which passionate hopes and searing tragedies alternated on almost a daily basis. Examine seismic shifts beyond our shores, from the May student-worker protests that drove the French republic to the brink of collapse and De Gaulle into hiding, to the Prague Spring that brought hope for reforming the Communist bloc. Watch as a Democratic convention is torn apart by protests and violence, just days after Soviet tanks crush Czechs’ freedom. See how a segregationist candidate shattered the New Deal coalition, and still a bold about-face by a pro-war Democrat led to a photo finish with Richard Nixon. The course mixes great speeches and classic images with little-known accounts of the behind-the-scenes decisions that led to some of the most shocking events in our time. Always up for discussion is whether a shift in a single leader’s judgment, a few votes, or a single bullet, might have changed the course of history.