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On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a joint session of Congress to make the world “safe for democracy.” Four days later, the United States entered World War I, one of the deadliest wars in American history. The 2017 Presidential Lecture Series will welcome expert guest lecturers to dive inside U.S. involvement in the Great War and the ways in which the war effort touched all levels of society.
America’s Road to War
Thursday, Feb. 2 – 7 p.m. – Dole Institute
When war broke out in Europe in 1914, the U.S. stood on the sidelines as President Wilson asked his fellow citizens to remain neutral “in thought as well as in deed.” Noted scholar and Chair of War Studies in the U.S. Army War College Michael Neiberg introduces our lecture series, exploring the complex paths of politics, economics and cultural divisions that came together and brought America into the war less than three years later.
A Giant with Feet of Clay: The American Military in the Great War
Thursday, Feb. 9 – 7 p.m. – Dole Institute
The story of how the U.S. Army sought to transform itself over the course of eighteen months into a comparable or superior military force to the European armies is grounded in irony. Richard S. Faulkner, professor with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, lays out how the American Expeditionary Forces played a pivotal role in the brutal campaigns that led to Germany’s defeat on the battlefield.
Americans All: The Homefront in World War I
Thursday, Feb. 16 – 7 p.m. – Dole Institute
In America, World War I brought expanded involvement in global politics, the experience of modern warfare—and equally important domestic changes. Noted scholar from Chapman College Jennifer Keene will discuss the responses of Americans to the introduction of the draft, economic mobilization, the patriotism crusade and its effects and much more.
Boldness and Frailty: Woodrow Wilson’s Fight for the League of Nations
Thursday, Feb. 23 – 7 p.m. – Dole Institute
Acclaimed biographer of Woodrow Wilson and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, John Milton Cooper closes the series by painting a portrait of Wilson and his transformative leadership. Wilson guided the nation through World War I and sought to bring about an international system to ensure lasting peace. He arguably established a new way of thinking about international relations that, 25 years later, ushered in the United Nations.