LAWRENCE — A renowned World War II and military historian will visit the University of Kansas to discuss the Asia Pacific War and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Ronald Spector, professor of history and international affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, will open a two-day conference organized by the KU Center for Military, War, and Society Studies with a public lecture, "The Asia Pacific War: Forgotten, Remembered and Imagined," at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union.
Spector's lecture is open to the public. Dec. 7 will mark the 75th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, which ultimately led to the United States entering World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters.
"At this time of national conversation on the role of the United States in the world, especially in Asia and the Pacific, Professor Spector's public lecture on the significance of the Pearl Harbor attack and the Pacific War could not be more timely," said center director Beth Bailey, a KU Foundation Distinguished Professor of History.
Spector is the author of many major books, including "Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan," "In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia" and "At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century." He has won numerous awards, including the Distinguished Book Award of the Society of Military History and the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize for Naval History.
Bailey came to KU in 2015 as a faculty member to start Center for Military, War, and Society Studies under the KU Institute for Policy & Social Research. The center facilitates essential conversations about and with the U.S. military and fosters research that examines the military not only as an instrument of national defense but also as a central institution of American society.
Bailey said by bringing Spector and other scholars on the Pacific world to campus, the center hopes to create lively conversations about the significance of the Pearl Harbor attacks and help examine both national and transnational responses.
A reception will follow Spector's lecture.