(Kansas City, Missouri) - Among America's "greatest generation" was a succession of U.S. presidents who were informed and defined by World War II. Harry Truman, who oversaw the end of the war, credited his combat experience in World War I for his success in the Oval Office. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush all served in World War II.
University of Kansas historian Theodore A. Wilson examines the impact of their experiences on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. He notes, too, that the connection between wartime service and the presidency is severed today and asks: If it is within the crucible of combat that great leaders are made, will 21st-century commanders-in-chief have the "right stuff?"
His presentation—part of the series War Stories: World War II Remembered co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute—begins at 6:30 p.m.
Wilson, an emeritus professor of history at KU, has been a member of the university's faculty since 1965. A recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, he has held visiting appointments at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Britain's University of Leicester University, and Ireland's University College Dublin, and served as a senior research fellow at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. Among his books is America and World War II: Critical Issues.
The War Stories: World War II Remembered series is made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.