Makayla Hipke
Dole Institute of Politics

Dole Institute releases early spring 2017 programs

Wed, 01/11/2017

LAWRENCE – The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced its early spring 2017 programming schedule, including the popular annual Presidential Lecture Series and the monthly Fort Leavenworth Series.

Early programming will be highlighted by the 2017 Presidential Lecture Series, which will examine America’s role in World War I. The series, titled “The U.S. and the Great War: 100 Years Later,” will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of U.S. entry into the war. KU Professor Emeritus Ted Wilson will facilitate the series of four lectures, which will welcome expert speakers covering different facets of the war. The programs will take place Thursday evenings throughout February.

“We are looking forward to beginning the semester with these excellent historical programs,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “Ted Wilson is a longtime supporter of the Dole Institute and has helped us arrange an outstanding Presidential Lecture Series. We are also looking forward to continuing our relationship with Fort Leavenworth in 2017.”

February will also kick off “History for the Military Mind,” the 2017 series of Fort Leavenworth lectures featuring military historians and experts. Held on the first Thursday of each month beginning Feb. 2, topics covered in the spring semester will include the birth of combined arms during World War I, the rise and decline of Napoleon, withdrawal from Vietnam, the Tet Offensive and more.

Additional programming for the months of March, April and May will be announced at a later date.

All events are free, open to the public and located at the Dole Institute unless otherwise noted. More details on the full slate of spring programming can be found below.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located in KU’s West District and also houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacy of U.S. Senator Bob Dole.

More information on all programs, as well as ongoing additions to the schedule, can be found on the Dole Institute’s website,

2017 Presidential Lecture Series
The U.S. and the Great War: 100 Years Later
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”
Feb. 2, 7 p.m.
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.” Michael Neiberg, noted scholar and chair of war studies in the Army, 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”
Feb. 9, 7 p.m.
The story of how the U.S. Army sought to transform itself over the course of 18 months into a comparable or superior military force to the European armies is grounded in irony. Richard 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”
Feb. 16, 7 p.m.
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”​
Feb. 23, 7 p.m.
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.


Fort Leavenworth Series

“The Chinese Way of War”
Feb. 2, 3 p.m.
The popular Fort Leavenworth series kicks off 2017 with an examination of Chinese military thought from ancient times to present. Gary Bjorge will draw thought on the topic through the lens of the Huai Hai Campaign, the largest campaign fought by Chinese Communist forces during the Chinese Civil War (1946-49).

“The Western Way of War”
March 2, 3 p.m.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, both China and Japan reformed their militaries based on western models with help from several western militaries, including the U.S. Joseph G.D. Babb explores the role of foreign advisers as well as influence of the western way of war on China and Japan.

“The Tet Offensive”
April 6, 3 p.m.
Join Marine Corps veteran Wilburn “Bud” Meador Jr. for the story of a fight — small in tactical significance, but perhaps the most strategically important struggle of the Vietnam War. A watch stander at the U.S. Embassy and all USAID posts in Saigon in 1967, Meador examines the attack on the Embassy by the Viet Cong and the actions of U.S. leaders and their chains of command.

“Withdrawal from Vietnam”
May 4, 3 p.m.
President Richard Nixon took office in January 1969 after promising to end the war in Vietnam. The process to turn the war over to South Vietnamese troops took four years, and the war began again after U.S. withdrawal in March 1973 and lasted until April 1975. Explore the U.S. withdrawal and Vietnamization program here with decorated veteran and Vietnam expert James Wilbanks.

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