Monday, December 8, 2014

Historian Dan McMillan To Speak at January Meeting

Dan McMillan, Ph.D.
The New Jersey World War II Book Club, a Not for Profit New Jersey Corporation, is pleased to announce a lecture by historian, Dan McMillan, author of the acclaimed How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust (Basic Books, 2014). McMillan will speak on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7 p.m., at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue, next to the Millburn train station. Dr. McMillan's talk is titled: "The Holocaust and Humanity's Moral Progress: An Argument against Pessimism." The lecture is free and open to the public.

What does the Holocaust say about humankind's capacity for moral progress? What does it say about our nature? The Holocaust has inspired considerable pessimism. If the most advanced human society could perpetrate history's most monstrous crime, is our civilization morally bankrupt?

Dr. McMillan will approach these vital questions from three perspectives:  first, Dr. McMillan will analyze the many cases of the Holocaust and the complex ways that they came together to produce this catastrophe. Then he will ask: could this happen again? That is, could one of the world's established democracies, such as Germany or the United States, perpetrate another genocide? Finally, Dr. McMillan will ask why the Holocaust frightens us like no other historical event. He contends thal the Holocaust was unique among historical occurrences in the way that it onfronts us with existential questions, inspiring fear that clouds our judgment about what this tragedy tells us — and does not tell us about human nature.

Dan McMillan holds a Ph.D. in German history from Columbia University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and has worked as a prosecuting attorney and as a history professor. Dr. McMillan began his lifelong engagement with the Holocaust as a teenager growing up in Millburn. After reading Simon Wiesenthal's The Murderers Among Us, Dan needed to understand how such a catastrophe could have been possible, and this need shaped much of the course of his life: he learned German from Frau Spier at Millburn High School, studied German and History at Stanford University and at the Freie Universit├Ąt in Berlin, earned a Ph.D. in German history at Columbia, and worked constantly to understand the many causes of the Holocaust.

An acclaimed public speaker, Dr. McMillan has spoken at, among other venues, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, the University of Chicago. and the National Archives in Washington.

For more information, contact Dr. John J. McLaughlin, Director and Moderator of the Book Club. Dr. McLaughlin can be reach d at (973) 467-3313 or at NJ WW2BookCIub@aol.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Harvey Kaye Lecture Video Available

Harvey Kaye's October lecture, The Fight for the Four Freedoms, is now available for those who missed the presentation.  Thanks, as always, to our two videographers, Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, students at Millburn High School, for filming and editing the lecture.  View the video »

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breitman in the New York Times

Our May speaker, Richard Breitman was quoted yesterday in an article in the New York Times, regarding his role as a member of a government-appointed team that declassified war-crime records.

The article, "In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis," quoted Breitman as saying:
“This all stemmed from a kind of panic, a fear that the Communists were terribly powerful and we had so few assets,” he said."  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Winston Churchill Is Topic of Next Meeting

The next meting of the World War II Book Club will be on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, as usual at the Millburn Library commencing at 7 p.m.

"Churchill V sign HU 55521" by British Government - This is photograph HU 55521 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521.jpg
From the collections
of the Imperial War Museums.
Our speaker will be Richard G. Osborne. Mr. Osborne is a former classmate of John J. McLaughlin at Columbia High School, Maplewood, New Jersey. Like many high school graduates, they depart school, do not keep in touch, and often do not see each other for many years. Such is the case with Richard Osborne. Recently, John was privileged to be at an event where Richard was the guest speaker. The subject of the lecture was Winston S. Churchill. Richard gave a remarkable speech about Mr. Churchill, without notes, and without the ubiquitous teleprompter, the absence of which render most modern day politicians speechless. 

We learned that after graduation from high school, Richard served a tour in the United States Army with the A.S.A., the forerunner of the N.S.A. He earned a B.A. from Rutgers University followed by a law degree also from Rutgers. He spent 50 years as a professional manager of various privately held companies, traveled extensively and lived for a time in Greece and the U.K. All during this time he read widely in history, and became fascinated with the career of Winston Churchill, becoming as much of an expert about Churchill as many authors and historians.   

He is a founding member of the Churchill Center and a member of the Churchillian N.E. Chapter. Richard maintains a private library of over 3,000 books. By any definition, Mr. Osborne is truly a historian, and we are honored to have him as our guest.  Richard is traveling from Boston to give us this lecture. We look forward to a wonderful evening. Please mark the date.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Boyer Video Available

Barbara Boyer at New Jersey World Word II Book Club, Millburn, NJ
Barbara Boyer
The video recording of Barbara Boyer's September lecture is now available on Youtube, thanks to Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, Sophomores at Millburn High School, who filmed and edited the lecture.  
Proceed to the video »

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Professor Kay to Speak at Next Meeting

Harvey J. Kaye the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will speak about his book, The Fight For The Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great.   Professor Kay is an award winning author of numerous books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Harvey Kaye to Present at October Meeting


Cover image for Harvey Kaye's The Fight for the Four Freedoms

The next meeting of the World War II Book Club will be Tuesday October 21, 2014, as usual at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue Millburn, NJ. The lecture will commence at 7 p.m.

Our speaker will be Harvey J. Kaye, the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Professor Kaye is an award winning author of numerous books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.  He is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast and a repeat guest on radio and television programs such as To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Thom Hartmann show, and Bill Moyers Journal.

Harvey Kaye will talk about his award winning book, The Fight For The Four Freedoms-What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great. Steve Lomazow and John McLaughlin heard him speak at the FDR Library June 21, 2014. Describing the lecture as "spellbinding" may seem an exaggeration, but not in this case and Steve and John immediately booked Kaye to present for the Book Club. Harvey asked them what he should talk about and they both said, "...just repeat what you said today, and don't change anything!"

Praise for the book has been forthcoming from many sources: Bill Moyers said he "...tells a spirited story...", and we agree. His book will be offered for sale and signature at the bargain price of $20.

Dues Reminder

Dues are now one price, $35 for the season, and this includes the entire family. For those who have not yet paid for this season, please pay by check made payable to the NJ World War II Book Club and mail to John McLaughlin at 10 Farmstead Road, Short Hills, New Jersey 07078.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Barbara Boyer to Speak at September Meeting

Barbara Boyer's topic for the September 16 meeting is the little known but  profoundly disturbing book by Peter Williams and David Wallace, Unit 731: Japan's Secret Biological Warfare in World War II.

During World War II Japanese scientists, with full knowledge and approval of their superiors,  secretly carried on a series of cruel and painful  medical experiments on prisoners of war, such as  injecting them with deadly bacteria, subjecting them to oxygen deprivation, submersing them in freezing water,  operating on them without anesthesia and much more, all in an effort to determine the outside limits of human endurance.   Thousands died from these callous experiments, yet the persons responsible were never punished after the war. Barbara will tell of of the secret agreement made between those responsible for these inhuman acts of torture and the Allies, and the reasons for the suppression of this story of man's inhumanity to man, and its legacy.

Ms. Boyer is currently a teacher at South Plainfield High School. A summa cum laude graduate of Rider University,  she holds a Master's Degree in Spanish Linguistics from Penn State and a second Masters Degree from Kean University.  Barbara has a keen interest in Asian history and in the summer of 2012 she traveled to China on a scholarship to study Chinese history, specifically focusing on China and Japan during World War II.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Breitman Video Available

Richard Breitman on FDR and the Jews
Richard Breitman 
The video recording of Richard Breitman's May lecture is now available on Youtube, thanks to Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, Sophomores at Millburn High School, who filmed and edited the lecture.  
Proceed to the video »

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Next Meeting of the Book Club is on a Monday

The next lecture will be Monday, June 23, 7 p.m. at the Millburn Library.

Please note that the meeting is on MONDAY, instead of our usual Tuesday meeting, due to a scheduling conflict.

Be sure not to miss this lecture by Susan Butler, who will discuss her award winning book, My Dear Mr. Stalin - the first and only complete collection of correspondence between President Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin.  The book will be available for purchase and signing.

This lecture will be the last of this season and the Book Club will reconvene on Tuesday, September 15, when Barbara Boyer will discuss Unit 731, the book about the infamous medical unit of the Japanese.  During World War II, Unit 731 performed countless medical experiments on prisoners of war and as well as many civilians.

Please remember to come early, as the Glen Avenue bridge is still under repair and traffic in the area can be very heavy, particularly during the early evening hours.

Request for Contributions

In order for the Book Club to be able to attract top notch speakers, it must be able to cover the basic expenses of travel, hotel and meals, incurred by our speakers.  In the past, a number of members have made generous contributions to do just that.  Please reach out to Dr. John McLaughlin if you are able to make an additional contribution to the Book Club so that we can continue to attract the top notch speakers we have enjoyed in the past.

Friday, May 16, 2014

FDR and the Jews Author to Speak at Next Meeting

The next lecture will be Tuesday May 20, 2014, as usual, 7 p.m.,  Millburn Library. Be sure not to miss this lecture by Richard Breitman who will discuss his award winning book, FDR and the Jews. The book will be available for purchase and signing for $20.

We expect an overflow crowd so please come early, and remember that the Glen Avenue Bridge is still not repaired. Consequently, traffic in the area is very heavy during the early evening hours.

Request for Contributions
In the past, a number of members have made generous contributions to help defray the expenses of travel, hotel, meals and other expenses of our speakers. For this we are grateful. We are not able to attract top notch speakers without the ability to cover expenses. We would be grateful if any our members would make an additional contribution for this purpose.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

May Meeting Features Richard Breitman

The next meeting of The World War II Book Club will feature a lecture bRichard Breitman, noted author, historian, and currently Distinguished Professor in History at American University.

Mr. Breitman, co-author of FDR and the Jews, will discuss his highly acclaimed book on Tuesday May 20, 2014 at 7PM, as usual at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue.

President Roosevelt's response, or lack of response,  to the Nazis treatment of the Jews has been a subject of sharp debate, disagreement,  and criticism by historians, Jewish organizations, and commentators  commencing in the late 1930's during Hitler's rise to power, and the issue continues to generate immense interest. The most dramatic accusations against FDR, his unwillingness to admit to American soil the Jewish refugees aboard the SS St. Louis in 1939 and to order the bombing of gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz are carefully examined and evaluated. Was FDR's seeming reluctance to take the initiative and initiate measures to ameliorate the persecution of the Jews a pragmatic, political decision to placate domestic opposition, or a sound strategic military determination grounded on the belief that the rescue of the Jews, even if practical, was ultimately subordinate to the overriding priorities of total war and unconditional surrender of the enemy? Mr. Breitman carefully evaluates FDR's  difficult decisions and presents the case in a scholarly and evenhanded manner while presenting arguments on both sides of the issue.

Richard Breitman received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is author or co-author of ten books and many articles in German history, U.S. history, and the Holocaust.  He is best known for The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (Knopf 1991) and Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (Hill and Wang, 1998).  He served as director of historical research for the Nazi War Criminal Records and Imperial Japanese Records Interagency Working Group, which helped to bring about declassification of more than eight million pages of U.S. government records under a 1998 law.  He is editor of the scholarly journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.  FDR and the Jews, co-authored with Allan J. Lichtman, won a National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History.

For additional information contact Dr. John J. McLaughlin, Director and Moderator of the Book Club. Dr. McLaughlin can be reached at tel: 973-467-3313 or e-mail NJWW2BookClub@aol.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

David L. Roll Video Now Available

Youtube Logo
A video of David L. Roll's presentation of  The Hopkins Touch, from the March 18, 2014 meeting is now available for viewing on YouTube.  Click here to view the video »

Mark Your Calendar - Future Programs

  • May 20: Richard Breitman - FDR and The Jews
  • June 23 (Monday): Susan Butler - My Dear Mr. Stalin
  • September 16: Barbara Boyer - Unit 731
  • October 21: Bruce Tucker - Operation Storm: The Secret Japanese Submarine

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dr. John McLaughlin Discusses China at WWII History Round Table

Dr. John McLaughlin was invited to participate in a panel discussion of China in World War II at the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table in Minneapolis on March 27. The other members of the panel were Wayne G. "Whitey" Johnson, author of Whitey - Farm Kid to Flying Tiger, and one of the last two survivors of the famous Flying Tigers of the China Burma India Theater; Curt Hort, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and later prisoner of the Japanese in China; and Dr. John J. McLaughlin who spoke about General Wedemeyer in China.  Alan K. Lathrop, Professor Emeritus of the University of Minnesota moderated the panel discussion and lectured about China in World War II.

The Round Table has been in existence for about 20 years and is "committed to preserving the factual history of World War II." The latest panel discussion with Dr. McLaughlin was videotaped and will be available on You Tube shortly.  As soon as it is available, a link will be provided from this website.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

America at War 1941-45 Next Meeting Topic

The next lecture will be Tuesday April 15, 2014 as usual, at 7 p.m. at the Millburn Library. Our lecturer will be Dr. James P. Kane, B.S. in Education, M.A., P.D., Ed.D. Dr. Kane is a former teacher, prep school headmaster, principal and, for twenty five years, a Superintendent of Schools. He presently is a professor of history at William Paterson University. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fordham University, a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctor of education from New York University. Dr. Kane is a graduate of the Officers Candidate School, United States Marine Corps, at Quantico, Virginia, and holds the rank of Captain, USMCR.

The subject of Dr. Kane's lecture will be America at War 1941-1945. He has given this lecture often to enthusiastic audiences and we are fortunate to have him lecture to our organization. The lecture will include unusual and rarely seen slides of Pearl Harbor, life on the Home Front, the war in the Pacific, the landings at Normandy, the the Battle of the Bulge, and the flag raising at Iwo Jima.

Mark Your Calendar - Future Programs

  • May 20: Richard Breitman - FDR and The Jews
  • September 16: Barbara Boyer - Unit 731
  • October 21: Bruce Tucker - Operation Storm: The Secret Japanese Submarine

Thursday, February 27, 2014

David Roll at Next Meeting

The next meeting of the NJ World War II Book Club will be on Tuesday March 18, 2014 at 7 PM, as usual at the Millburn Library 200 Glen Avenue Millburn, NJ.

Our speaker will be David L. Roll who will talk about his just released and highly acclaimed book The Hopkins Touch. In The Hopkins Touch, David Roll shows how Harry Hopkins, an Iowa-born social worker who had been an integral part of the New Deal's implementation, became the linchpin in FDR's, and America's relationships with Churchill and Stalin, and spoke with an authority second only to the president's.

 In 1940, gaunt, nearly spectral, and malnourished following an operation to remove part of his stomach, the newly widowed Hopkins accepted the president's invitation to move into the White House. Hopkins thereafter remained Roosevelt's closest advisor, speechwriter, sounding board, and friend nearly to the end.

 Between 1940 and 1945, with incomparable skill and indefatigable determination, Hopkins organized the Lend-Lease program and steered the president to prepare the public for war with Germany. He became FDR's problem-solver and fixer, helping to smooth over crises. Beloved by some, such as Churchill, who believed that Hopkins "always went to the root of the matter" and trusted by most, including the paranoid Stalin, there were nevertheless those who resented the influence of "the White House Rasputin."

 To be with us David is traveling from Washington, D.C. and will be introduced by Dr. Steven Lomazow, one of our members, who is a Trustee of the Board of the FDR Library and who arranged for this event.

Monday, January 27, 2014

February 18 Meeting Cancelled

Due to the weather, tonight's meeting is cancelled and will be rescheduled.

The next meeting of the NJ World War II Book Club will be on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 7 PM, as usual  at the Millburn Library.

Our speaker will be Barbara Boyer. Barbara is currently a teacher at South Plainfield High School. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Rider University. She holds a Master's Degree in Spanish Linguistics from Penn State and a second Masters Degree from Kean University.

Barbara has a keen interest in Asian history and in the summer of 2012 she traveled to China on a scholarship to study Chinese history. The focus was on China and Japan during World War II. Barbara will present a lecture on the little known but  profoundly disturbing  book by Peter Williams and David Wallace,  Unit 731 Japan's Secret Biological Warfare in World War II.

During World War II Japanese scientists, with full knowledge and approval of their superiors,   secretly carried on a series of cruel and painful  medical experiments on prisoners of war, such as  injecting them with deadly bacteria, subjecting them to oxygen deprivation, submersing them in freezing water,  operating on them without anesthesia and much more, all in an effort to determine the outside limits of human endurance.   Thousands died from these callous experiments, yet the persons responsible were never punished after the war. Barbara will tell of of the secret agreement made between those responsible for these inhuman acts of torture and the Allies, and the reasons for the suppression of this story of man's inhumanity to man, and its legacy.

This lecture was originally scheduled for June 13, 2013 but was cancelled due to a severe weather forcast.


           

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tonight's Meeting Cancelled

The scheduled meeting of the World War II Book Club this evening January 21, 2014 is cancelled due to the severe snow storm warning. Richard Osborne's lecture about the life and times of Prime Minister Winston Churchill will be rescheduled.