Brooks E. Kleber Memorial Readings in Military History
The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center sponsors a public readings series, the Brooks E. Kleber Memorial Readings in Military History. The series features recent works by noted authors on a variety of historical topics. The series honors the memory of Dr. Brooks E. Kleber, former U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Military History (CMH).

 
 
 
 
 
Life and Times of Bill Mauldin

Dr. Todd DePastino
Lecture Date: May 1, 2014

In his latest work, Bill Mauldin: A Life Upfront, Dr. Todd DePastino examines the life of World War II serviceman Bill Mauldin, known throughout the military and civilian worlds as the creator of cartoons depicting the everyday struggles of G.I.’s. In many ways, the enlisted cartoonist was a rogue, standing up to the Army system and even the beloved and aggressive General Patton. Despite his hard look at the Army, General Eisenhower recognized the pressure valve his art provided and issued a directive stating Mauldin’s cartoons were not to be interfered with. Among the 22 year old’s greatest creations were the characters Willie and Joe, instantly recognizable as the personifications of the average American on the frontlines during World War II. Called “A deeply felt, vivacious and wonderfully illustrated biography,” Dr. DePastino lifts the veil on the troubled life of a man who struggled to deal with almost overnight fame and the guilt that came with gaining something positive from such a destructive and devastating war.

Dr. Todd DePastino holds a Ph.D. in American History from Yale University and teaches at Waynesburg University. The winner of the 2008 Lucas-Hathaway Award for Teaching Excellence, Dr. DePastino also authored several books, including Commissioned in Battle: A Combat Infantryman in the Pacific, Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America, and The Road by Jack London. Dr. DePastino wrote his dissertation on the history of homelessness and turned it into a book, winning the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship award for his efforts. Bill Mauldin: A Life Upfront is an Eisner Award finalist and took the Sperber Prize for the best biography of a major media figure. Length: 66 Minutes

 
 
 
 
Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War

COL (Ret.) Peter Mansoor, Ph.D.
General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History, Ohio State University
Lecture Date: February 6, 2014

Greatly debated amongst military leaders, strategists, and academics, the counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 has faced criticism from all sides. In his newest book, Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War (Yale University Press), Dr. Peter Mansoor provides a behind the scenes look at the most pivotal phase of the Iraq War, the 2007-8 "surge." Through his use of newly declassified information, interviews, unpublished manuscripts, and his personal experience, Mansoor explains the development and implementation of COIN policy during America's bloody years occupying Iraq. Surge covers all perspectives of the conflict: from politicians in Washington D.C. to Soldiers on the streets of Baghdad. In his lecture, Dr. Mansoor will examine COIN policy from its inception through its execution and draw upon his own experiences as a battalion commander in Iraq to analyze the application of COIN doctrine in historical contexts and in current operations.

Dr. Peter Mansoor currently serves as the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History at Ohio State University and is a retired Colonel with the U.S. Army. During a military career spanning twenty-six years, he held distinguished positions and honors such as Valedictorian of his graduating class at West Point, a variety of command and staff positions throughout the U.S., Europe, and Middle East, and service with the Joint Staff as the special assistant to the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy. His military career culminated with his service in Iraq as the executive officer to General David Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq, during the period of the surge in 2007-2008. In addition to his most recent book, Mansoor has published Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale University Press) and GI Offensive in Europe: the Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941 - 1945 (University Press of Kansas). Length: 74 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
The School of Hard Knocks: Combat Leadership in the American Expeditionary Forces

Richard Shawn Faulkner, Ph.D.
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
Lecture Date: November 7, 2013

As the Great War raged across Europe, America faced a wide range of challenges, including developing and training junior and non-commissioned offers (NCOs). Advances in warfare technology and training techniques evolved at an astounding rate, forcing the U.S. Army to maintain equivalence with, or even surpass, the professionalism in the armies of her allies and enemies. The U.S. rapidly adapted the Army's training methods to create the leaders the growing Army needed. In his book, The School of Hard Knocks: Combat Leadership in the American Expeditionary Forces (Texas A&M University Press), Dr. Richard Shawn Faulkner highlights the flaws and successes of the U.S. Army in preparing junior officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) for their positions on the front lines. With increased responsibility and a lack of necessary training, many Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants did not understand the skills required to excel at their deadly profession. Not until they experienced combat did these leaders emerge with the skill sets necessary to lead men into battle. Dr. Faulkner's lecture will review the flaws of officer training efforts during World War I and will closely examine the leaders, and the men they commanded, as we hope to glean important lessons about military leadership today.
Dr. Faulkner is an Associate Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Previously, he taught American History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Prior to earning his Ph.D. in American History from Kansas State University, Dr. Faulkner served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. While with the Army, he served twenty-three years as an armor officer during which he commanded a tank company during Operation Desert Storm. Length: 63 Minutes

 
 
 
 
American Militarism and Anti-Militarism in Popular Media

Dr. Lisa Mundey
University of St. Thomas
Lecture Date: Aug. 1, 2013

Scholars have characterized the early decades of the Cold War as an era of rising militarism in the United States, but most Americans continued to identify themselves as fundamentally anti-militaristic. Much of the popular culture in the decades following World War II reflected and reinforced a more nuanced anti-militarist perception of America. This study explores military images in television, film and comic books from 1945 to 1970 to understand how popular culture made it possible for the public to embrace more militaristic national security policies yet continue to perceive themselves as deeply anti-militaristic.

Lisa Mundey received her doctoral degree from Kansas State University and is currently an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. She is interested in modern American military history, particularly during the Cold War, and in the military's relationship with the American people. In addition to her book, American Militarism and Anti-Militarism in Popular Media, she has published "Citizen-Soldiers or Warriors: Language for a Democracy," in Semiotics 2008, and "The Civilianization of a Nuclear Weapon Effects Test: Operation ARGUS" is forthcoming in the Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. She has served on the editorial advisory board for ABC-Clio's The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: A Social, Political, and Military History . As a historian with the U.S. Army's Center for Military History, she has researched the U.S. Army's recent history in Afghanistan.(2010). Length: 53 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorship

Major Edward Cox
US Pacific Command
Lecture Date: May 2, 2013

To those who have heard of him, Fox Conner's name is synonymous with mentorship. He is the "grey eminence" within the Army whose influence helped to shape the careers of George Patton, George Marshall, and, most notably, President Eisenhower. What little is known about Conner comes primarily through stories about his relationship with Eisenhower, but little is known about Fox Conner himself. After a career that spanned four decades, this master strategist ordered all of his papers and journals burned. Because of this, most of what is known about Conner is oblique, as a passing reference in the memoirs of other great men. This book combines existing scholarship with long-forgotten references and unpublished original sources to achieve a more comprehensive picture of this dedicated public servant. The portrait that emerges provides a four-step model for developing strategic leaders that still holds true today. First and foremost, Conner was a master of his craft. Secondly, he recognized and recruited talented subordinates. Then he encouraged and challenged these proteges to develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Finally he wasn't afraid to break the rules of the organization to do it. Here, for the first time ever, is the story of Major General Fox Conner. Grey Eminence received a Silver Medal for Best Non-fiction Biography of 2011 by the Military Writers Society of America.

Major Edward Cox holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and master's degrees in public administration and international relations from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. From 2008 to 2011, he was an assistant professor of American Politics, Public Policy and Strategy in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy. He taught courses in American politics, American foreign policy, and civil-military relations. Cox is a Foreign Area Officer, currently assigned as International Engagements Officer, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. Length: 49 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

Dr. Lien-Hang Nguyen
Associate Professor of History, University of Kentucky
Lecture Date: Feb. 7, 2013

While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of U.S. involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam. Hanoi's War renders transparent the internal workings of America's most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more wide ranging than it had been previously. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of war-making and peace-making not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.

Lien-Hang T. Nguyen is an associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from Yale University, and has held fellowships from Stanford, Harvard and Yale universities. Her book, Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace, was recently published by the University of North Carolina Press. Length: 69 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
The Good Soldiers

David Finkel
Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist, Washington Post
and COL Ralph Kauzlarich
Student, US Army War College
Lecture Date: May 3, 2012

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. It became known as "the surge." Among those called to carry it out were the young, optimistic army infantry soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, the battalion nicknamed the "Rangers." About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them. Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home — forever changed. The chronicle of their tour is gripping, devastating, and deeply illuminating for anyone with an interest in human conflict. With The Good Soldiers, David Finkel has produced an eternal story — not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time. In this lecture, Finkel will describe his experiences as an embedded journalist with the battalion, and will be joined by the unit's former commander, COL Ralph Kauzlarich. Length: 78 Minutes

 

 

 
 
 
 
Of Duty Well and Faithfully Done: A History of the Regular Army in the Civil War

Dr. Charles R. Shrader and LTC (Ret) Clayton Newell
Independent Scholars
Lecture Date: Feb, 2, 2012

On the eve of the Civil War, the Regular Army of the United States was small, dispersed, untrained for large-scale operations, and woefully unprepared to suppress the rebellion of the secessionist states. Although the Regular Army expanded significantly during the war, reaching a peak of nearly 45,000 officers and men by the beginning of 1864, it was necessary to form an enormous army of state volunteers that overshadowed the Regulars and bore most of the combat burden.
Nevertheless, the Regular Army played several critically important roles, notably providing leaders and exemplars for the Volunteers, bolstering Union forces in both attack and defense, and managing the administration and logistics of the entire Union Army. In this first comprehensive study of the Regular Army in the Civil War, Newell and Shrader focus primarily on the organizational history of the Regular Army and how it changed as an institution during the war, to emerge afterward as a reorganized and permanently expanded force. Clayton R.
Newell and Charles R. Shrader both finished their military careers as chief of the Historical Services Division at the U.S. Army Center of Military History and are now independent scholars and historical consultants. Newell is the author or editor of several books, including The Framework of Operational Warfare and Lee vs. McClellan: The First Campaign. Shrader has also written or edited a number of books, including Amicicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire in Modern War, and The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1991-1994. Length: 80 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
War in the Ruins: The American Army's Final Battle Against Nazi German

Dr. Edward G. Longacre
Independent Scholar
Lecture Date: Nov. 3, 2011

The 100th Infantry ("Century”) Division spent the last six months of WW II in southern France and western Germany as part of the U. S. Seventh Army; thus it shared the historical neglect accorded to those Allied units that failed to serve farther north under Bradley, Patton, and Montgomery. Formed in September 1942 at Fort Jackson, SC, and later transferred to Fort Bragg, NC, the division--consisting of the 397th, 398th, and 399th Infantry Regiments, four field artillery battalions, and a host of support units--lost thousands of recruits as replacements for units that had suffered heavily in Europe and the Pacific. Backfills included U. S. Army Air Forces trainees, Special Services troops, and washed-out members of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), high-IQ youngsters who had been studying engineering, military medicine, and foreign languages. The rather motley composition of the command, a supplemental training program necessitated by the personnel turnover, and the division's frequent participation in combat simulations to impress visiting dignitaries and businessmen gave the Century a reputation as a "show" or "permanent training" division. After finally moving to France in October 1944, however, the division proved itself in battle quickly and decisively. In November it penetrated a defensive line in the High Vosges Mountains that had been the unattained objective of attackers since the first century BC. In December it helped capture works along the vaunted Maginot Line, and the following month was the only element of Seventh Army to hold its position during Operation North Wind, Hitler's follow-up to the counteroffensive that precipitated the Battle of the Bulge. In March 1945 the Century overwhelmed the remaining Maginot forts and captured the citadel of Bitche, another position assaulted by many armies over the centuries but never carried. Crossing the Rhine River, in nine days of house-to-house fighting the self-proclaimed "Sons of Bitche" cleared rubble-filled Heilbronn, Germany, whose defenders--a Waffen-SS division, several Panzer units, a mix of regular troops, and Volkssturm that included 12-year-old Hitler Youth, 70-year-old grandfathers, and female snipers--waged a horrific last stand one month before war's end. Length: 62 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Carrying the War to the Enemy, American Operational Art to 1945

Dr. Michael R. Matheny
U.S. Army War College
Lecture Date: May 12, 2011

Military commanders turn tactics into strategic victory by means of "operational art," the knowledge and creative imagination commanders and staff employ in designing, synchronizing, and conducting battles and major operations to achieve strategic goals. Until now, historians of military theory have generally agreed that modern operational art developed between the first and second world wars in Germany and the Soviet Union, whose armies were supposedly the innovators and greatest practitioners of operational art. Some have even claimed that U.S. forces struggled in World War II because their commanders had no systematic understanding of operational art. Michael R. Matheny believes previous studies have not appreciated the evolution of U.S. military thinking at the operational level. Although they may rightly point to the U.S. Army's failure to modernize or develop a sophisticated combined arms doctrine during the interwar years, they focus too much on technology or tactical doctrine. In his revealing account, Matheny shows that it was at the operational level, particularly in mounting joint and combined operations, that senior American commanders excelled—and laid a foundation for their country's victory in World War II. Matheny draws on archival materials from military educational institutions, planning documents, and operational records of World War II campaigns. Examining in detail the development of American operational art as land, sea, and air power matured in the twentieth century, he shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, U.S. war colleges educated and trained commanders during the interwar years specifically for the operational art they employed in World War II. After 1945, in the face of nuclear warfare, the American military largely abandoned operational art. But since the Vietnam War, U.S. commanders have found operational art increasingly important as they pursue modern global and expeditionary warfare requiring coordination among multiple service branches and the forces of allied countries. Length: 67 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Dr. Conrad Crane interview with Dr. Lewis Sorley

Interview Date: Feb. 3, 2011

Many histories of the Vietnam War suffer from a one-sided perspective due to lack of access to Vietnamese source materials. Dr. Lewis Sorley corrects that problem with his edited volume of interviews with some of the senior South Vietnamese generals. Conducted in the 1970s, these interviews received limited publication and then languished in obscurity. Dr. Sorley re-discovered them and has annotated them to provide additional context. This interview, conducted by the U.S. Army Military History Institute's Dr. Conrad Crane, reveals some of Sorley's journey of discovery of these documents leading to eventual publication. It provides insights into the historian's craft, as well as additional information not contained in the accompanying lecture. Length: 49 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
The Vietnam War: An Assessment by South Vietnam's Generals

Dr. Lewis Sorley
Independent Scholar
Lecture Date: Feb. 3, 2011

In the five years or so after the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army Center of Military History sponsored a project in which half a dozen senior former South Vietnamese generals wrote lengthy monographs on various aspects of the war as seen from their perspective. There were seventeen such monographs in all, some by individual authors, others by two or more of the group collaborating. Among the authors were General Cao Van Vien, former Chief of the Joint General Staff; Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong, former 1st ARVN Division and I Corps commander; and Lieutenant General Dong Van Khuyen, the top logistician. Topics included tactics, logistics, advisors, pacification, leadership, intelligence, and all the major battles (Tet 1968, Cambodian Incursion, Lam Son 719, Easter 1972). In the aggregate this was very valuable material, but the CMH publication of it left something to be desired and distribution was limited.Dr. Lewis Sorley has annotated a compendium of excerpts from the monographs to produce a valuable contribution to the now under-represented South Vietnamese retrospective view of the war and as such will be useful both to scholars of the war and to those who served in it or have an interest in its history. Length: 66 Minutes

 

 

 
 
 
 
The Lucky Bastards Club: Letters from a B-17 Pilot and His Family

Dr. Sandra O'Connell
Independent Scholar
Lecture Date: Nov. 4 , 2010
 

WWII in the words of B-17 pilot Ralph Lee Minker, his parents and sisters, captured in an extraordinary collection of over 800 letters written between February 1943 and September, 1945. Spread over the landscape of the war years, the Minker family letters tell a unique story of courage in the air and resolve on the homefront. Length: 56 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

Matt Gallagher
Independent Scholar
Lecture Date: Aug. 5, 2010

When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher first arrived in Iraq in 2007, it was all too surreal. In the midst of a shift in U.S. policy from lethal operations to counterinsurgency, he encountered a world where nothing was as it appeared. Friends were enemies, reconciliation was war, roads were bombs, and silence was deadly. But it was all too real, and there was nothing left to do except learn to "embrace the suck" -- and write about it. Matt Gallagher started a blog that quickly became a popular hit. Read by thousands of soldiers who found in it their war, the real war, the blog covered everything from grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs to the daily experiences of the Gravediggers - the code name for members of Gallagher's platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, questions were raised in the halls of Congress, and a few eyebrows were raised at the Pentagon. Length: 61 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign, 1915

Dr. Richard Dinardo
Professor for National Security Affairs
U.S. Marine Corps Command and General Staff College
Lecture Date: May 6, 2010

For too long the eastern front in World War I has remained, in Winston Churchill’s estimation, “the unknown war.” This book examines one of the critical campaigns of the war on the eastern front. With Austria-Hungary threatened by a possible Russian advance through the Carpathian Mountains into Hungary, Germany came to her ally’s rescue. The German Chief of the General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, decided to commit a new army in an offensive to counter this threat. Headed by August von Mackensen and his chief of staff Hans von Seeckt, the German Eleventh Army, assisted by the Austro-Hungarian Third and Fourth Armies, shattered the Russian defenses between Gorlice and Tarnow. Advancing through the hole created, Mackensen’s forces outflanked the Russian forces in the Carpathians, compelling their retreat. The offensive was steadily extended until both the fortress of Przemysl and the capital of Austrian Galicia, Lemberg, were back in the hands of the Central Powers. Turning north, “Mackensen’s Phalanx,” in concert with other German and Austro-Hungarian forces, was able to overrun Russian Poland by the end of August 1915. Dinardo argues that the Germans were able to accomplish this by a combination of normal infantry tactics combined with the judicious use of heavy artillery, aided by aerial reconnaissance and improved means of communication. DiNardo also suggests that the campaign marked the emergence of August von Mackensen as one of Germany’s most able field commanders. Breakthrough is the first full English language study of one of the most remarkable campaigns of World War I.
Richard L. DiNardo has a B.A. in History in 1979 from Bernard Baruch College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY); and a M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY. DiNardo taught German History and Russian History at Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey. He was also a Visiting Professor at the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from 1994-1996. DiNardo assumed his present position with the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in January 1998. His first book was Mechanised Juggernaut or Military Anachronism?: Horses and the German Army in World War II, and he published Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse, in 2005. He is also the author of Germany’s Panzer Arm. DiNardo co-edited The Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815, and James Longstreet: The Man, the Soldier, the Controversy, and has published numerous scholarly articles. This lecture is based on his latest book, Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign 1915, due out in June, 2010. Length: 67 Minutes

 

 

 
 
 
 
Vietnam, The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945 - 1975

Dr. John Prados
Historian, National Security Archive

Lecture Date: Feb. 4, 2010

The Vietnam war continues to be the focus of intense controversy. While most people—liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, historians, pundits, and citizens alike—agree that the United States did not win the war, a vocal minority argue the opposite or debate why victory never came, attributing the quagmire to everything from domestic politics to the press. The military never lost a battle; how then did it not win the war?
Stepping back from this overheated fray and drawing upon several decades of research John Prados takes a fresh look at both the war and the debates about it to produce a reassessment of one of our nation's most tragic episodes. He weaves together multiple perspectives across an epic-sized canvas where domestic politics, ideologies, nations, and militaries all collide.
Prados patiently pieces back together the events and moments, from the end of World War II until our dispiriting departure from Vietnam in 1975, that reveal a war that now appears to have been truly unwinnable—due to opportunities lost, missed, ignored, or refused. He shows how—from the Truman through the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations—American leaders consistently ignored or misunderstood the realities in Southeast Asia and passed up every opportunity to avoid war in the first place or avoid becoming ever more mired in it after it began. Highlighting especially Ike's seminal and long-lasting influence on our Vietnam policy, Prados demonstrates how and why our range of choices narrowed with each passing year, while our decision-making continued to be distorted by Cold War politics and fundamental misperceptions about the culture, psychology, goals, and abilities of both our enemies and our allies in Vietnam.
John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. His numerous books include “Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975” (2009) on which this lecture is based; The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War, The Hidden History of the Vietnam War, and most recently Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA . Length: 69 Minutes

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The American Presence in Korea, Then and Now

William W. Stueck, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia
Lecture Date: Oct. 29, 2009

U.S. armed forces have been present in Korea since the armistice of July 1953, but consideration of the reduction and even withdrawal of those forces to a token level has been almost constantly under consideration in Washington. Why is this so? Why has further reduction not occurred? What does treatment of the issue in the past suggest about the future U.S. force presence in Korea? William Stueck received his PhD in History from Brown University. He teaches at the University of Georgia, where he is currently Distinguished Research Professor of History. In 1995 he was a senior research scholar at Hanguk University of foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea. Length: 77 Minutes

 

 

 
 
 
 
Pentagon 9/11

Dr. Sarandis Papadopoulos
Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command
Lecture Date: Aug. 27, 2009 


The 9/11 attack on the Pentagon is the second-worst terrorist strike in U.S. history. The authors of Pentagon 9/11 drew upon over 1,300 oral history interviews, as well as a plethora of published and unpublished sources, to craft the first book detailing the impact of this disastrous event. Highlighting the devastating the airliner crash, the efforts of building occupants to save one another, the emergency response of firefighters, police and medical staffs, and the building operations personnel, the book concludes with a description of the work of the Pentagon Family Assistance Center. Dr. Papadopoulos, a principal co-author of this work, will present the main themes of the book illustrated with pictures derived from its research, and employ some of the more vivid segments to illustrate what transpired at that momentous time. Length: 60 Minutes

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group
Alexander Jefferson
WWII Veteran
Lecture Date: May 4, 2006
 
Alexander Jefferson was one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down defending a country that considered them to be second-class citizens. A Detroit native, Jefferson enlisted in 1942, trained at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, became a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined one of the most decorated fighting units in the War, flying P51s with their legendary--and feared--"red tails." Based in Italy, Jefferson flew bomber escort missions over southern Europe before being shot down in France in 1944. Captured, he spent the rest of the war in Luftwaffe prison camps in Sagan and Moosberg, Germany. An unvarnished look at life behind barbed wire--and what it meant to be an African-American pilot in enemy hands. It is also a look at race and democracy in America through the eyes of a patriot who fought to protect the promise of freedom.Length: 80 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War 1874 - 1945
Carlo D'Este
Independent Scholar
Lecture Date: May 7, 2009
Before he became a politician Winston Churchill was first a soldier who had a lifelong obsession with all things military that not only shaped the man and war leader he later became but played a major role in the Allied victory in World War II. From Cuba to the Northwest Frontier, the Sudan, South Africa and World War I, Churchill's extraordinary military experiences were the training ground for the great role he was destined to play as Britain's war leader during the Second World War. Carlo D'Este examines Winston Churchill through the prism of his military service as both a soldier and a warlord: a descendant of Marlborough who, despite never having risen above the rank of lieutenant colonel, came eventually at age sixty-five to direct Britain's military campaigns as prime minister and defeated Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito for the democracies. Warlord is the definitive chronicle of Churchill's crucial role as one of the world's most renowned military leaders, from his early adventures on the North-West Frontier of colonial India and the Boer War through his extraordinary service in both World Wars. D'Este paints a masterful, unsparing portrait of one of history's most fascinating and influential leaders during what was arguably the most crucial event in human history.Length: 70 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne , 1918
Edward G. Lengel
Associate Editor, Papers of George Washington
Lecture Date: Feb. 5, 2009
On September 26, 1918, more than one million American soldiers prepared to assault the German-held Meuse-Argonne region of France. Their commander, General John J. Pershing, believed in the superiority of American "guts" over barbed wire, machine guns, massed artillery, and poison gas. In thirty-six hours, he said, the Doughboys would crack the German defenses and open the road to Berlin. Six weeks later, after savage fighting across swamps, forests, towns, and rugged hills, the battle finally ended with the signing of the armistice that concluded the First World War. The Meuse-Argonne had fallen, at the cost of more than 120,000 American casualties, including 26,000 dead. In the bloodiest battle the country had ever seen, an entire generation of young Americans had been transformed forever. To Conquer Hell is gripping in its accounts of combat, studded with portraits of remarkable soldiers like Pershing, Harry Truman, George Patton, and Alvin York, and authoritative in presenting the big picture. It is military history of the first rank and, incredibly, the first in-depth account of this fascinating and important battle.Length: 79 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
The Politics of Soldier Voting
Christopher S. DeRosa
Assistant Professor of History, Monmouth University
Lecture Date: Oct. 30, 2008
In the months before the 2008 elections, advocates for overseas military voters claimed that the obtaining a ballot was such a cumbersome process as to effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of soldiers. In some ways, despite a revolution in electronic communications, it might seem that little has changed for the voting soldier since the wartime elections of 1944, when a sponsor of a military voting bill claimed, "They just can't vote. A fellow down in Florida can hardly vote as an absentee voter," much less from overseas.Length: 46 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Borrowed Soldiers: A Story of the Anglo-American Relationship in the First World War
Dr. Mitchell Yockelson
National Archives and Records Administration
Lecture Date: May 1, 2008
 
The combined British Expeditionary Force and American II Corps successfully pierced the Hindenberg Line during the Hundred Days Campaign of World War I, an offensive that hastened the war's end. Yet despite the importance of this effort, the training and operation of II Corps have received scant attention from historians. Mitchell A. Yockelson delivers a comprehensive study of the first time American and British soldiers fought together as a coalition force-more than twenty years before D-Day. He follows the two divisions that comprised II Corps, the 27th and 30th, from the training camps of South Carolina to the bloody battlefields of Europe. Despite cultural differences, General Pershing's misgivings, and the contrast between American eagerness and British exhaustion, the untested Yanks benefited from the experience of battle-toughened Tommies. Their combined forces contributed much to the Allied victory. Length: 74 Minutes

 

 

 
 
 
 
The Regulars: The American Army: 1898-1941
Dr. Edward M. "Mac" Coffman
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin
Lecture Date: Nov. 1, 2007
Though now a global power, the early United States regular Army found itself in much different circumstances. Dr. Mac Coffman, himself a former infantry officer and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, examines how the regular Army has experienced significant change over the course of a century and continues to adapt to new challenges.
Length: 46 Minutes

 

 
 
 
 
Allies in War: Britain and America Against the Axis Powers, 1940- 1945
Dr. Mark A. Stoler
Professor, Department of History ,University of Vermont
Lecture Date: June 7, 2007
 
Even the best of friends have arguments and nothing was truer of the United States and Britain during their joint effort to defeat the Axis powers during World War II. Though the countries maintained a united front, both diplomatically and militarily, the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt was not always as congenial as it appeared. Dr. Mark Stoler examines the diplomatic and military history of these two countries during the second great World War. Length: 75 Minutes