Kansas State University’s new Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies will be a national center for historical studies of public policies concerning national security, internal affairs and government institutions, said Jack Holl, institute director.
"Our studies not only will incorporate traditional topics, such as strategy and military operations, but also encompass broad interdisciplinary fields associated with military history, including foreign relations, macroeconomics, presidential leadership, science policy, agriculture development, institutional and social history as they relate to national security, international relations and military preparedness," said Holl, a professor and the chair of K-State’s department of history.
The institute, established in the College of Arts and Sciences and based in the department of history, will develop interdisciplinary programs, as well as develop partnerships, associations and programs with other military history and related organizations and institutions across the United States.
To that end, the institute already has established ties with two prestigious institutions, both in Kansas: the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
Under a collaborative agreement signed recently by K-State and the Eisenhower Foundation and Presidential Library, the institute will work with the library to encourage and advance scholarship, research and public education about Dwight D. Eisenhower’s military and presidential leadership. The institute and the presidential library will jointly sponsor symposia, conferences and speakers. The collaboration was approved by the National Archives and Records Administration, which oversees the nation’s presidential libraries.
K-State also is offering a cooperative Ph.D. history program, featuring an emphasis in military history, with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Five military officers are currently enrolled, representing the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.
"Through this unique partnership, K-State now offers one of the most comprehensive graduate programs in military history available in the United States," Holl said. "The program combines the scholarly expertise of more than 16 military history scholars and allows students to take classes in Manhattan, at Fort Leavenworth and through distance education methods."
The scholars include six K-State department of history faculty members: Jack Holl, who specializes in Eisenhower, nuclear and Cold War studies; David Graff, military history and Chinese and Japanese history; Don Mrozek, American military history; Mark Parillo, military history, especially the history of warfare in the industrial age; Michael Ramsay, 19th- and 20th-century British military history and European diplomacy since 1815; and David Stone, history of Russia and the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and South Asia.
Special program offerings and services to be offered by the institute include:
* Center for the 20th Century American Soldier, to be conducted in partnership with the Eisenhower Presidential Library. The center will interview veterans of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and other American conflicts. Also to be collected will be diaries, letters, memorabilia and other items related to America and the Cold War from 1945 to 1990. The project also will create an electronic database, the Veterans’ Historical Catalog, to inventory historical information by the National Archives and Record Administration, the presidential libraries, federal records center, regional and state archives and libraries and other public and private archives. Funding for the center will be sought from federal and private sources.
* Serving as the administrative headquarters of the Chinese Military History Society and as home of the World War II Studies Association.
* Serving as the host of H-War, the Internet discussion group for military history which links scholars, librarians, archivists, military professionals and non-academic historians from around the world. Edited by K-State history faculty members and graduate students, H-War is part of Michigan State University’s H-Net system, the largest historical organization in the world.
* Offering guest speakers and symposium series. The institute will join with the department of history and the Eisenhower Presidential Library to sponsor public education and outreach programs to bring renowned scholars and public figures to K-State and the library. Along with the department of history’s biennial Eisenhower Lecture Series, Holl said the institute will work to develop future symposia similar to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, War and Society and Eisenhower symposiums sponsored by the history department in the last four years.
Funding for institute programs is being coordinated through the KSU Foundation, which has launched a comprehensive fund drive to support the institute, particularly with some of the following long-term program plans:
* Assisting efforts to make K-State’s Hale Library a major center for research in military studies and related fields. In addition to strengthening the library’s already significant book and journal resources in military history and 20th century studies, the institute will support the acquisition of scholarly work, source collections and databases. The information would be made available electronically through links to Hale Library and the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
* Establishing two endowed chairs in military history and 20th century
studies to be funded through private sources and the state’s Faculty of
Distinction Program, and supporting distinguished adjunct faculty, visiting
scholars and postdoctoral fellows at the institute, Eisenhower Presidential
Library and the Command and General Staff College.