Annual Hurley Military History Seminar | Department of History

Annual Hurley Military History Seminar

The 38th Annual Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar was held on 6 November 2021 under the theme of "Conventional War or Insurgency: The Strategy and Tactics of the Vietnam War." The Seminar featured two enlivening perspectives on America's 10,000-day war in Vietnam. Colonel Ramon "Tony" Nadal (US Army, ret.), reflected on his experience of the war as a decorated combat soldier in one of the war's fiercest battles. Historian Andrew Wiest, author of several books on Vietnam, considered the question of the war's strategic direction and whether or not the conflict was winnable. As a young captain, Colonel Nadal commanded a company in Lt.-Colonel Hal Moore's 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Ia Drang, which was the first major clash between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies in November 1965, and the first great test of the "airmobile" tactics that the U.S. Army hoped would prove decisive in defeating the stealthy communists, who had run circles around the French. Colonel Moore and Joseph Galloway later documented the horrors of Ia Drang in their book We Were Soldiers Once … And Young, which was the basis for the 2002 movie We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson. Andrew Wiest, author of The Boys of '67 and Vietnam's Forgotten Army, among many other works, is a Vietnam expert, who will assess the various views about the wisdom and the strategy of the war. Was it winnable? Were the strategies correct or flawed? Do join us for what will certainly be a fascinating discussion of the war from multiple perspectives: from that of the troops on the ground to the view from Saigon, Hanoi, and Washington.

The Origins of the Annual Hurley Military History Seminar

The Alfred and Johanna Hurley Military History Seminar is now well into its third decade, offering cutting-edge discussions on issues of national security and military history every fall. The seminar was conceived by UNT President and retired Air Force General Dr. Al Hurley in 1983. Its unique concept was to move fluidly between the battlefield and the academy by teaming a "scholar" with a "warrior," an expert on a particular war with a veteran of that campaign. The seminar continues in that spirit, and has added new dimensions by adding historians and national security officials to broaden the discussions. Recent seminars have featured speakers like former CENTCOM Commander General Anthony Zinni ("The General's Dilemma: Aligning Warfighting With Politics, from the American Revolution to the War in Afghanistan"), Oxford's Chichele Professor of the History of War Dr. Hew Strachan ("The British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan"), Sir Michael Howard ("War Among The Peoples"), Dr. Sean McMeekin ("The War of the Ottoman Succession: Re-Examining the First World War a Hundred Years Later"), retired Australian colonel and counter-insurgency expert Dr. David Kilcullen ("The Accidental Guerilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One"), and Dr. Victor Davis Hanson ("The Significance of Ancient Warfare for the Present and the Future.") Year in and year out, for 30-plus years and counting, the Hurley Seminar balances in-depth discussions of current wars with new interpretations of important historical questions like The Future of NATO, German combat power in World War II, the national security implications of the Kennedy assassination, and the Origins of World War I. Join us!

2022: Putin's War in Ukraine: Views from Moscow and the West

Leading Authority: General Peter B. Zwack, US Army (ret.)

Leading Authority: Dr. David Stone

2021 Subject: Vietnam: Conventional War or Insurgency: The Strategy and Tactics of the Vietnam War

Leading Authority: Colonel Ramon "Tony" Nadal (US Army, ret.)

Leading Authority: Dr. Andrew Wiest

2020 No Seminar was held due to the pandemic

2019 Subject: D-Day: Reconsidering Operation Overlord on its 75th Anniversary

Leading Authority: Dr. James Holland

Leading Authority: Dr. Peter Caddick-Adams

2018 Subject: 1918: The 'Miracle' of Allied Victory and German Defeat Reexamined

Leading Authority: Dr. Geoffrey Wawro

Leading Authority: Dr. Spencer Jones

2017 Subject: From Passchendaele to Petrograd, 1917: The Year the Germans Almost Won the First World War

Leading Authority: Dr. Nick Lloyd

Leading Authority: Dr. Sean McMeekin

2016 Subject: NATO: The Past, Present and Future of the Atlantic Alliance

Leading Authority: Dr. Alberto Coll

Leading Authority: Dr. Andrew Natsios

2015 Subject: "New World Orders: 1815 and 1945"

Leading Authority: Dr. Jeremy Black

Leading Authority: Dr. Jeffrey Engel

2014 Subject: "When Diplomacy Fails: The Outbreak of WW I and the Cataclysm of 1914. Fresh Perspectives on the 100th Anniversary of the Great War"

Leading Authority: Dr. Sean McMeekin

Leading Authority: Dr. Geoffrey Wawro

2013 Subject: "The National Security Implications of the Kennedy Assassination"

Leading Authority: Dr. David Kaiser

Leading Authority: Thurston Clarke

2012 Subject: "Death of the Wehrmacht - The Rise of American Combat Power and the Destruction of Hitler's Army"

Leading Authority: Dr. Robert Citino
("Encircled: the German Army and the Problem of the Multifront War")

Veteran's Perspective: Lieutenant-Colonel James "Maggie" Megellas US Army (retired)
("All the Way to Berlin")

2011 Subject: "Dilemmas of American Power 1776 to 2011"

Leading Authority: General Anthony Zinni
("The Generals' Dilemma: Aligning Warfighting With Politics, from the American Revolution to the War in Afghanistan.")

Leading Authority: Francis "Bing" West
("The Public's Dilemma: Who Will Fight for Us?")

Veteran's Perspective: Lieutenant-Colonel Phillip Frietze, United States Marine Corps
("U.S. Marine Engineers in the Helmand Province: The Big Red 7.")

2010 Subject: "Graveyard of Empires or New Dawn in the Middle East? Fresh Perspectives on the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan"

Leading Authority: Dr. Hew Strachan
("The British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.")

Leading Authority: Dr. Seth Jones
("Afghanistan's Local War.")

Veteran's Perspective: Captain David Musick, US Army
("Combined Operations in Iraq in 2005 - 2008.")

2009 Subject: "From the Fertile Crescent to the Hindu Kush: Front Line Perspectives on America's 'Long War'"

Leading Authority: Mr. Rajiv Chandrasekaran
("Counterinsurgency and State-Building in Iraq and Afghanistan: A View from the Front Lines.")

Veteran's Perspective: Dr. David Kilcullen
("The Accidental Guerilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One.")

Veteran's Perspective: Captain William Nance
("Success of the Ink Spot: Area Security Operations in Southwest Mosul.")

2008 Subject: "Western Coalition Warfare: Past, Present, and Future"

Leading Authority: Dr. Jeremy Black
("Anglo-American Coalition Warfare: Past, Present and Future.")

Veteran's Perspective: General John Shaud, USAF (Ret.)
("An American Officer at SHAFE.")

2007 Subject: "The Future of Warfare"

Leading Authority: Dr. Victor Davis Hanson
("The Significance of Ancient Warfare for the Present and the Future.")

A Veteran's Perspective, Dr. Thomas A. Keaney
("The Future of Warfare: Politics and Technology.")

2006 Subject: "Strategy and War in the 21st Century"

Leading Authority: Sir Michael Howard
("War Among the Peoples.")

Veteran's Perspective: Vice Admiral Charles W. Moore
("Emirs, Admirals & Desert Sailors.")

2005 Subject: "The Iraq War"

Leading Authority: Dr. Geoffrey Wawro
("The War in Iraq. Causes, Conduct and the Weight of History.")

Veteran's Perspective: Captain Stanton Deland
("The Battle of Falluja: The Perspective of a Marine Veteran.")

2004 Subject: "The Recent History of U.S. Civil-Military Relations"

Leading Authority: Dr. Richard H. Kohn
("The Dangers of Militarization in a Perpetual War on Terrorism")

Veteran's Perspective: Lt. General Bradley C. Hosmer, USAF (Ret.)
("The Professional Military and Political War: What are the Risks?" )

2003 Subject: "Precursors to Current Conflicts"

Leading Authority: Dr. Brian M. Linn
(" The U.S. War in the Phillippines, 1890-1902")

Veteran's Perspective: Lt. Gen. Dave R. Palmer, USA (Ret.)
(" Winning the Peace: The Role of a Nation's Army")

2002 Subject: "Terrorism"

Leading Authority: Dr. Norman Itzkowitz
("The Psychology of Terrorists and Terrorism")

Veteran's Perspective: Lt. Gen. Maxwell C. (Clay) Bailey, USAF (Ret.)
("Counter Terrorism: Unconventional Warfare in Afghanistan")

2001 Subject: "Perspectives on the Russian Military in World War II and the Cold War"

Leading Authority: Col. David M. Glantz, USA (Ret.)
("Fact and Fancy: The Great Patriotic (Soviet-German) War, 1941-1945")

Veteran's Perspective: Lt. Gen. Charles Hamm, USAF (Ret.)
("Cold War Duty in Moscow")

2000 Subject: "World War II"

Leading Authority: Dr. Williamson "Wick" Murray
("Generalship, Leadership, and the Conduct of Operations in Europe, Lessons in World War II")

Veteran's Perspective: Mr. John H. "Lucky" Luckadoo
("Life with the Bloody Hundredth Bomb Group")

1999 Subject: "The War in Vietnam"

Leading Authority: Dr. George Herring
("The Reluctant Warrior: LBJ as Commander-in-Chief")

Veteran's Perspective: Brig. Gen. David Winn, USAF (Ret.)
("Smart People; Dumb War?")

1998 Subject: "The U.S. Fights in Asia: The Korean War"

Leading Authority: Dr. Allan Millett
("Korea, the Forgotten War: Understanding is Better than Remembering")

Veteran's Perspective: Colonel Henry F. Gole
("The Combat Climate in Korea: A Reflection by a Once Young Soldier")

1997 Subject: "Military Leadership in Total and Cold Wars"

Leading Authority: Dr. Carlo D'Este
("General George Patton's Leadership in Total War-Who was George S. Patton?")

Veteran's Perspective: General Russell Dougherty
("A General's Perspective: Leadership in the Cold War")

1996 Subject: "Political-Military Relations: In World War II and Cold War"

Leading Authority: Dr. Mark Stoler

Veteran's Perspective: General John Chain
("Cold War Perspectives")

1995 Subject: "The Decision to Use the A-Bomb"

Leading Authority: Dr. Robert Divine

Veteran's Perspective: Mr. David Braden
("B-29 Operations Against Japan")

1994 Subject: "Japanese Combat Tradition"

Leading Authority: Dr. Alvin Coox

Veteran's Perspective: Mr. Roy Appleton
("Five Pacific Landings with the Marines")

1993 Subject: "Role of Intelligence in 20th Century History"

Leading Authority: Dr. Carl Boyd

Veteran's Perspective: Admiral Bobby Inman
("Post World War II Intelligence")

1992 Subject: "1942 in the Pacific"

Leading Authority: Dr. Robert Love

Veteran's Perspective: General Robert Galer
("Marine Air Operations in the Pacific")

1991 Subject: "German Planning of Barbarossa Campaign"

Leading Authority: Dr. Gerhard Weinberg

Veteran's Perspective: Colonel Carl Reddel
("Perspectives on Soviet Society")

1990 Subject: "The German Offensive 1940"

Leading Authority: Dr. Dennis Showalter

Veteran's Perspective: Air Vice-Marshall R.A. Mason
("The Battle of Britain")

1989 Subject: "Hitler and the United States"

Leading Authority: Dr. Gerhard Weinberg

Veteran's Perspective: Maj. General A.R. "Bud" Bolling
("The Battle of the Bulge")

1988 Subject: "Eisenhower as Supreme Commander"

Leading Authority: Dr. Stephen Ambrose (Dr. Al Hurley-substitute)

Veteran's Perspective: Maj. General H.S. Hansell, Jr.
("Planning the Air War in Europe")

1987 Subject: "The Lessons of the Korean War"

Leading Authority: Dr. Burton I. Kaufman

Veteran's Perspective: Brig. General Ed Simmons
("The Marines in Korea")

1986 Subject: "George Marshall"

Leading Authority: Dr. Forrest Pogue

Veteran's Perspective: General William Y. Smith
("View of the Soldier-Statesman")

1985 Subject: "Operations in the Pacific"

Leading Authority: Professor Ron Spector

Veteran's Perspective: General T.R. Milton
("World War II Bombing Operations")

1984 Subject: "General Douglas McArthur"

Leading Authority: Dr. Clayton James

Veteran's Perspective: General Bryce Poe
("Reconnaissance Operations in Korea")

1983 Subject: "General George Patton"

Leading Authority: Professor Martin Blumenson

Veteran's Perspective: Lt. General A.P. Clark
("The POW Experience in Europe")