What: “The National Security Implications of the Kennedy Assassination” —The 31st Annual Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar at the University of North Texas. Featuring historians and authors Thurston Clarke and David E. Kaiser as guest speakers.
When: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 2 (Saturday)
Where: UNT’s Gateway Center, located at 801 North Texas Blvd.
Cost: $50 for general public and $40 for UNT students; includes lunch. Registration limited to 180 participants and available through Oct. 23 (Wednesday) at this website.
DENTON (UNT), Texas — During the 100 days before he was assassinated in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy struggled with the questions of U.S. commitments to Vietnam and the growing Civil Rights movement. He successfully convinced the Senate to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty — which remains in place to this day — and also faced personal tragedy with the death of his 2-day-old son.
Attendees of this year’s Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar at the University of North Texas will learn more about the Kennedy assassination as well as its serious national security implications. The seminar, sponsored annually by UNT’s Military History Center, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 (Saturday) at UNT’s Gateway Center, which is located at 801 North Texas Blvd.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination, the seminar will feature Thurston Clarke, author of the recently published “JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and Emergence of a Great President,” and David E. Kaiser, author of “The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” as guest speakers.
Registration fees for the seminar are $50 for the general public and $40 for UNT students. The fees include lunch and a book signing from the authors. Registration is available through Oct. 23 (Wednesday) and is limited to 180.
Geoffrey Wawro, director of the Military History Center, said the Military History Seminar is the only one of the many events commemorating the assassination that will “focus on the strategic, national security implications of an assassination that left so many vexing, unanswered questions.”
These questions, Wawro, said, include Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico; a possible connection between the assassination and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro; a possible Mafia connection; the Warren Commission’s rush to close the case; and how the international environment in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia shaped Kennedy’s last days and Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s response to the assassination.
In “The Road to Dallas,” Kaiser shows how the events of Nov. 22, 1963, cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the U.S. government’s campaign against organized crime, which accelerated under Kennedy’s attorney general, Robert Kennedy; and the quest of both the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations to eliminate Castro. Kaiser writes how Cuban exiles, right-wing businessmen and anti-Communists established ties with anyone deemed capable of taking out Castro, which included the Mafia. He also argues that the conspiracy to kill Kennedy took shape in response to Robert Kennedy’s relentless attacks on organized crime.
Kaiser was a professor in the Naval War College’s Department of Strategy and Policy from 1990 to 2012. He has also taught at Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. He writes the blog History Unfolding.
Clarke’s “JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and Emergence of a Great President” was published in August. The book reexamines the last months of the president’s life to show a man in the midst of great change.
Clarke is the author of 10 other works of fiction and nonfiction, including “Pearl Harbor Ghosts,” which was the basis of a CBS documentary, and the bestseller “Lost Hero,” a biography of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who led a successful mission in Nazi-occupied Hungary to save the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews. “Lost Hero” was made into an award-winning NBC miniseries.
A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Clarke has published articles in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post and many other publications.