Second World War Lecture Series

Pearl Harbor - A Day of Infamy
It was a day that our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would never forget. It was a day that would live in infamy forever more - December 7, 1941. That morning Japanese warplanes appeared over the Hawaiian Islands to launch a surprise aerial bombardment of American air and naval installations. It was the event that propelled the United States into the Second World War. Battlefield expert Robert Mueller reviews the why and how the Japanese almost wiped out the American Pacific Fleet in one fell swoop. Using individual stories the men who responded to the attack, Mr Mueller presents the tactics and the consequences of the most treacherous assault ever launched upon American soil. The program ends with a review of the surviving relics and, appropriately, a visit to National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Airborne on D-Day focuses upon the men of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions who, in the early hours of 6 June 1944, performed the most hazardous of military operations - the dropping of paratroopers - into enemy territory - at night. The hour-long presentation briefly reviews the reasons for selecting Normandy as the invasion site and the critical role played by American Airborne forces in its successful outcome. We focus upon individual paratroopers, who, off target, frequently lost, and lacking heavy weapons, denied the German occupying force the ability to counterattack the American amphibious landings. The capture of the key French towns of Ste-Mère-Église and Carentan are presented.

The Men of Omaha Beach paints the picture of Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944 and provides insight into the how and where the Normandy Invasion took place. After a brief introduction to why Omaha Beach, we focus upon individuals from the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions in the initial assault waves who overcame the  German defenses and upon men of the US 2nd Ranger Battalion who captured the German gun positions at Pointe du Hoc. They are the men responsible for the success of the risky endeavor we call D-Day. Their lives before and after D-Day are briefly described. Some of these men returned home, and some didn't. Period photographs show what it was like in 1944 and contemporary photographs show what some of these battle sites look like today. The presentation ends with a visit to Normandy American Cemetery, site of the bloodiest of the fighting and now a fitting tribute to these men's sacrifices.

Naval Battles of the Pacific
In two one-hour programs author Robert Mueller describes the Naval Battles of the Pacific in which the United States fought to eliminate the supremacy of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the air protection provided by its naval aviators. Each program describes the changing strategies of the belligerents highlighted by stories of major contributors to America's eventual victory.
America on the Defensive reviews naval engagements of 1942 starting shortly after the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor through the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway to engagements near Guadalcanal as thinly spread American warships stem the enemy's advance. America Strikes Back continues with events in 1944 with the climactic engagements in the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf that sealed Japan's fate. The impact of American submarines on Japanese shipping and Japanese Kamikaze attacks upon American warships are also discussed.

Operation Market Garden
In September 1944, British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ordered a daring plan for the largest airborne drop of the war. Three Airborne Divisions (American 82nd and 101st and British 1st) parachuted behind enemy lines to capture and hold key river and canal bridges. An armored column raced across Holland to secure the crossings. The effort was defeated at the last bridge - A Bridge Too Far - at Arnhem resulting in the complete destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division. Battlefield expert Robert Mueller describes the action and the reasons for its failure.

Battle of the Bulge: The Forgotten heroes Although the Battle of the Bulge was Western Europe's largest battle of the Second World War and eventually involved over one million combatants, German plans for turning the tide of the war were defeated by small groups of American soldiers who were in the right place at the right time and frequently made the ultimate sacrifice. In this hour-long presentation, we revisit the places and remember the men who beat Hitler's last desperate gamble.

The Defense of Bastogne
The 101st Airborne Division's heroic denial of the crucial Belgian transportation hub of Bastogne to attacking German forces during the Battle of the Bulge and the charging advance of elements of General George S Patton Jr's US Third Army to break the enemy encirclement have entered legendary status in military history. Less recognized was the stubborn resistance by overwhelmed infantry and armored units at key road junctions in Belgium and Luxembourg. Without their willingness to sacrifice all in holding their ground, the defense of Bastogne would have never happen. Join battlefield expert Robert Mueller in reviewing individual contributions to defeat Hitler's 1944 Winter Offense.

The Generals: Patton, Rommel, and Montgomery
Three men stamped their images upon events during the Second World War like no others. Each led their country's armed forces to historic battlefield victories and two met inglorious ends. Join Robert Mueller as he contrasts and compares the personalities, tactics, and leadership styles of George Patton, Erwin Rommel, and Bernard Montgomery.

Spy vs Spy: Espionage in the Second World War
Total war led to total espionage as each major participant in the Second World War attempted to fathom the actions of the opposition - and in some cases even of its allies. The results ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, but there was nothing humorous about this deadly game. Like chess, each move engendered a countermove. This program reviews some most famous and some little remembered espionage efforts of the war including German saboteurs landing on America's East Coast, Japanese efforts against Pearl Harbor, Soviet penetration into the Atomic bomb's Manhattan Project, British Enigma decrypts of German radio transmissions, and other actions.

First World War Lecture Series

American Doughboys in the First World War reviews America's participation in "the war to end all wars" as we take listeners on a trip across the battlefields of Northern France to describe the events, people, and places of America's contribution to the defeat of the German kaiser. Famous engagements such as Belleau Wood, Cantigny, St-Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne are reviewed with images of what the battlefields look like today. We end by relating the enormous changes that the conflict brought to warfare, society, and populations around the world.

European Battlefields Lecture Series

Touring the Battlefields of Europe Europe, especially northern France and Belgium present an unique opportunity to view the residue of the great struggles for conquest that occurred there over the past 600 years starting with the English attempt to claim the throne of France in what became the Hundred Years War to the climactic battles of the Second World War. Across these battlefields trod some of the best known figures of European history: Kings Edward III and Henry V; Jeanne d'Arc; Waterloo's Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington; the two World Wars' greatest generals: Joffre, Foch, Haig, Pershing, Ludendorff, Rommel, Guderian, Patton, Montgomery, and Eisenhower. Place names became synonymous with tragedy and sacrifice: Somme, Passchendaele, Dunkerque, Omaha Beach, and Bastogne. Heroes became known and be-medaled or remain unknown and forgotten. The battlefields remain, most outside the reach of spreading European metropolises, many untouched and still retaining the scars of the battle or the celebratory memorials of the victors. This one-hour armchair tour brings viewers to the sites of these great struggles and describes the events and their results.