Want to Learn More about World War II with Our New WWII Class?

Are you a current or prospective student or a Bethel alum who’s interested in the history of the Second World War? You’re welcome to join Prof. Chris Gehrz and the students in his new course, HIS231L World War II, as they participate in some out-of-class activities this January. First, a set of three off-campus activities; second, a mini-film festival at Bethel.

Off-Campus Activities

For one of their three essays in the course, students have to write a reflection on their experience learning about World War II through an off-campus activity. You can take part in three of the options — without ever having to write a word! (Unless you’d like to contribute a guest post to this blog…)

If you’re interested in going with us for any of these events, contact Prof. Gehrz by Jan. 6th. (Also, please let him know if you need a ride or can help provide one for others.)

The WWII Round Table (Thursday, Jan. 9th)

Anyone interested in the war on the Eastern Front might want to join us at Historic Fort Snelling for this evening’s installment of the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table, featuring writer Dennis Showalter (Hitler’s Panzers) and veterans of that most terrible theater of the war. Meet us at Fort Snelling, or leave with us from the CLC Circle at 6:15pm. The round table begins at 7pm. Admission is free to students; $5 suggested donation for all others.

Minnesota History Center (Monday, Jan. 20th)

There’s no class on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but we’ll have two off-campus activities:

MN World War II Memorial
The Minnesota WWII Memorial, in front of the State Capitol – Chris Gehrz

First, we’ll tour the Minnesota History Center — focusing on two exhibits: the lauded permanent exhibit on “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation” and the traveling exhibit on the Prohibition Era that gives a different take on that generation (or its parents, at least). Meet us at the History Center just after it opens at 10am, or drive down from Bethel (leaving from the CLC Circle at 9:45am). Admission is $9 for students, $11 for most others. (Parking is $5 in the History Center lot.)

War/Veterans Memorials Tour (Monday, Jan. 20th)

You’re welcome to continue the discussion with Prof. Gehrz over lunch, then (weather permitting) we’ll segue into the second activity of the day around 12:30pm: touring a few of the many war and veterans memorials in the Twin Cities. We’ll start by heading over to the State Capitol mall, home to the state’s World War II, Korean, and Vietnam memorials (among others). Then, after a short trip west on I-94, the tour will resume with two sites in Minneapolis. Continue with us from the History Center, or meet up with us at the WWII memorial on the Capitol mall a little after 12:30. (Street parking should be free for the holiday.)

Mini-Film Festival

Then Prof. Gehrz’s teaching assistant, Jacob Manning, has organized a two-part WWII film festival on Thursday nights in mid-January. It’s an extra credit option for students, but others are welcome to join us at 7pm in CC 313 to watch and discuss:

The Thin Red Line (Thursday, Jan. 16th)

The other epic WWII movie made by a leading American director in 1998. For this first film in two decades, Terence Malick adapted James Jones’ 1962 novel, based on his own experiences at the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-1943. Starring Sean Penn, The Thin Red Line was overshadowed by Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, but mostly garnered strong reviews from critics dazzled by John Toll’s cinematography and Malick’s more philosophical exploration of war.

Patton (Thursday, Jan. 23rd)

Starring George C. Scott at the arrogant, talented American general who defeated German forces in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany. While Scott declined his Oscar award, Patton took home six other Academy awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Franklin Schaffner, a veteran of the war himself), and Best Original Screenplay (Edmund North and a young Francis Ford Coppola, who made The Godfather two years later).

Learn more about HIS231L World War II through this interview with Prof. Gehrz, or via this recent post at his personal blog.

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