Armed Forces: War Talks Coming Up in NYC

By Alison Durkee

In honor of Memorial Day (yes, it’s more than just an excuse to barbecue), catch talks on wars past and future, coming soon to NYC.

Though it ended over 70 years ago, there are few American wars that remain in the public consciousness as much as World War II. Learn more about the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s role in the conflict on a June 4 tour of the facility and its history, or learn more generally about this former crucial naval landmark on the Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future tour on June 3. To get a deeper look at the atrocities soldiers were fighting against, New Yorkers can attend a variety of events on the tragedy of the Holocaust. Book launch events take place for concentration camp escapee Joseph Weisman’s memoir After the Roundup (May 22 and May 25); Peter Szabo’s memoir Finding Maria (May 24); and 1944 Diary, a newly found journal exploring German Jewish psychoanalyst and novelist Hans Keilson’s experience hiding with a Dutch resistance group (June 12). In addition, the May 23 event The Crime of Complicity will use the Holocaust to explore the legal culpability of passive bystanders.

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) Gassed, 1919, Courtesy of IWM (Imperial War Museums), London

In the centennial year of the U.S.’s entry into WWI, the New-York Historical Society will host several events in conjunction with the new exhibition World War I Beyond the Trenches. A May 30 event will explore the Great War’s effect on American art and culture, while a June 3 walking tour will give New Yorkers the chance to discover the war’s enduring legacy in Central Park. The Historical Society is also shining a lens on America’s military past through the exhibition Saving Washington (through July 30), which focuses on women’s roles in the early years of America’s history, including the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

The Nez Perce War, which was fought between the US Army and several Native American tribes in 1877, might be unknown to many Americans; learn more at a May 24 92nd Street Y event with Vanderbilt law and history professor Daniel J. Sharfstein. For a broader look at America’s military history and the tragic casualties it produced, attend the June 7 event From the Civil War to 9/11: America Confronts Mass Death. Two of the Commanders-in-Chief behind these historical wars–and their New York ties–will be the subject of the 92nd Street Y’s Kennedys and Roosevelts walking tour on May 20. September see the arrival of the next Ken Burns exploration, a 10-part documentary on the Vietnam War. He’ll speak about the project and the war’s lingering impact at a TimesTalks panel on June 15th. On June 5th, the Half King hosts the author of Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War, a portrait of the personal side of the war.

(For a further look at American government, join the New-York Historical Society for the Supreme Court and its future on May 25; there will also be explorations of health care (May 31), science (June 3), and reproductive rights (June 2).

On May 31, the 92nd street Y will also host an examination of America’s military present–and potential future–conflict with China through a conversation between author Dr. Graham Allison and Gen. David Petraeus. For a different look at America’s ongoing political relationship with Asia, join Financial Times writer and author Gideon Rachman for Easternization on May 25, an event focused on Asia’s ever-increasing influence in the global political sphere. Of course, America is far from the only place touched by military conflict. Learn more about the Six-Day War in the Middle East and its enduring legacy at a May 18 event, or get a sense of the Cold War’s global impact by learning about one German family’s experiences on either side of the Berlin Wall (May 22). To learn about the scientific side of war catch America’s favorite science writer, Mary Roach, as she speaks on her new book, GRUNT (June 12).

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