Public Programs

History Talks

Over Here, Over There: The United States Service Organizations (USO) and the U.S. Army

Wednesday, September 7, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person
Soldiers in uniform laugh and smile together.

Audience response to the USO Camp Show. Library of Congress

 

Laughter, celebrities, and frivolity are the sounds and images most closely associated with the United Services Organizations (USO) and more specifically the “Camp Show.” These professional-quality variety shows featured America’s most popular comedians, vocalists, and actors including Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, and Lucille Ball in some of World War II’s most uncertain battlefields. The shows brought Soldiers a brief respite from the uncertainty that lay ahead and an outlet for stress associated with wartime service.

While the lively nature of the “Camp Shows” stand out in American memory, the USO provided both places of lively social activity and quiet contemplation to Soldiers seeking a morale boost, religious comfort, or a distraction. The USO was incorporated on February 4, 1941, to provide recreational opportunities and resources for World War II service members. The organization combined six social organizations into one formidable group that operated over 3,000 recreational clubs across the globe to provide Soldiers with lodging, food, resources, and entertainment.

Learn how the Army values of selfless service and duty were channeled by civilians to support and uplift Soldiers during one of the darkest times in American history. Identify how those values have been carried on since World War II to support Soldiers through times of war and peace.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 7 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 14 at 12 p.m. ET.

This program is offered virtual and in-person on Wednesday, September 21. In-person seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 21 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on September 21 at 12 p.m. ET.


The Art of Soldiering: Soldier Art and Culture in Vietnam

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person
artists rendering of a soldier standing in a field of grass with a helicopter in the background.

“Landing Zone” by John Wehrle, 1966. Center of Military History

 

Culture binds people together. Formed from common values, beliefs, experiences, languages and customs, culture creates a shared sense of purpose and collective identity among groups of people. It can be seen in writing, religion, entertainment, clothing, food and activities of different groups.

The U.S. Army has its own culture based on the Army values, esprit de corps and the mission. While each Soldier’s experience is unique to their service, culture binds them together. During the Vietnam War, Soldier culture was formed by the clothing Soldiers wore, the food they ate, the entertainment they consumed and their shared experiences.

Through an examination of artifacts, film, and primary sources, gain additional insight into the commitments and sacrifices of Vietnam-era Soldiers and explore how these items contributed to a Soldier culture unique to this conflict.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 5 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 12 at 12 p.m. ET.

This program is offered virtual and in-person on Wednesday, October 19. In-person seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 19 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on October 19 at 12 p.m. ET.


“The Long Painful Journey”: The U.S. Army and the Trail of Tears

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual and In-Person
Map labeled "Map showing the lands assigned to emigrant Indians west of Arkansas & Missouri" showing lands designated for Osages, Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, and Choctaws.

Map showing lands assigned to Native Tribes to be moved west of the Mississippi. Library of Congress.

 

Duty is defined as a moral or legal obligation. Soldiers have a duty to carry out the Army’s mission. Throughout the nation’s history, Soldiers have adhered to the concept of duty to protect, defend, and carry out policy on behalf of federal government. Like Soldiers, the Cherokee have their own duty to uphold their heritage tied to their ancestral homeland. In response to the threat of removal, the Cherokee used a series of legal maneuvers to preserve their homeland. When those attempts failed, the Cherokee signed the Treaty of New Echota.

The Treaty of New Echota exchanged the Cherokee Nation’s ancestral homelands east of the Mississippi River for unfamiliar land located in present-day Oklahoma. In May 1838, the U.S. Army deployed to enforce the terms of the treaty. General Winfield Scott, along with fellow U.S. Army Soldiers, were dispatched to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Their mission was to relocate the Cherokee to embarkation centers and oversee the journey to Oklahoma. The forced removal of the Cherokee was one of many conducted by the U.S. Army and was a consequence of the Indian Removal Act. These removals in the southeastern U.S. became known as the Trail of Tears.

During this History Talk, we will examine how Soldiers fulfilled their obligation to carry out the terms of the Treaty of New Echota. We will also identify how the implementation of the Indian Removal Act impacted both Soldiers and Native tribes. Finally, you will better understand how the effects of this policy can still be felt today

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on November 2 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on November 9 at 12 p.m. ET.

This program is offered virtual and in-person on Wednesday, November 16. In-person seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on November 16 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on November 16 at 12 p.m. ET.


Explore Past History Talks