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University Relations

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March 29, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7822.

Hall Center presents lecture on the 'GI generation' April 7 in Kansas Union

LAWRENCE -- The Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas announces "The GI Generation: Sending American Soldiers into Battle in World War II," a lecture by Ted Wilson, KU professor of history. The final lecture in the 2004-05 Humanities Lecture Series will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Kansas Union ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

His lecture will seek to deconstruct the popular image of the U.S. armed forces after Pearl Harbor that portrayed America as an unstoppable force in World War II. The roughly 3 million Army troops sent to the battlefield were mostly young, often inadequately trained draftees. Faulty assumptions about military expansion, high-tech conflict and efficient allocation of manpower combined to put many unprepared and untested troops in over their heads. Infantry soldiers would suffer three-quarters of the casualties inflicted upon American ground troops in that war.

Wilson joined the KU faculty in 1965, shortly before earning his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1966. In the 1980s, he shifted his attention away from the history of American foreign relations to do research on World War II and general military history.

He has written a number of books, including "WW2: Critical Issues" (1974, 1994, 1998), "D-Day, June 6, 1944" (1994), "Victory in Europe 1945: From World War to Cold War" (2000) and the forthcoming "Building Warriors: Selection and Training of U.S. Ground Combat Troops in World War II."

Founded in 1947, the Humanities Lecture Series is the oldest continuing series at KU. More than 150 eminent scholars from around the world have participated in the program, including author Vladimir Nabokov, painter Thomas Hart Benton and author Aldous Huxley. Recent scholars have included Edward Said, Dava Sobel, Sherman Alexie, Rita Dove and E.O. Wilson. Shortly after the program's inception, a lecture by one outstanding KU faculty member each year was added to the schedule.

For more information, please contact the Hall Center at or (785) 864-4798.


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