The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Kasserine Pass Symposium

Top scholars take a look at how America’s setback in Tunisia produced a veteran, hardened US Army that would march on to victory.

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kasserine pass

Symposium Overview

History remembers the Battle of Kasserine Pass as devastating for the US Army, which was making its first military foray into World War II. The battle, won by the veteran German army, exposed the flawed US forces—which took the defeat as a learning opportunity.

Join us on Saturday, February 24, for The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Kasserine Pass Symposium, where the Museum's Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian, Rob Citino, PhD and three leading WWII scholars discuss how the drubbing at Kasserine Pass actually helped lay the foundation for Allied victory. Guests will also have the opportunity to engage with our acclaimed speakers over a three-course dinner that evening.

A Note from Dr. Citino

Even before the attack at Pearl Harbor hurled the United States into World War II, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had come to an understanding that the Allied war effort would focus on “Germany First,” targeting the most dangerous enemy they faced. Nevertheless, it took nearly a full year for the Allies to launch their first major joint operation against German military power: Operation Torch in November 1942.

Despite some early difficulties and setbacks, the green US Army landed successfully on the North African coast and, along with its British allies, was able to push rapidly east. The early battles against relatively weak Vichy French forces soon gave way to more difficult fighting against German units hastily airlifted into Tunisia, and the winter lull in the fighting left the Allies still well short of victory.

The arrival of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika in early 1943 brought the first great Axis counterstrike of the campaign, and the first time that the US Army faced a mechanized, combined arms German assault. The place was a previously unheard-of spot in Tunisia called Kasserine Pass.

Most analysts then and since have described the battle as a near-disaster for the untried Americans, pitting an ill-prepared army against a well-oiled war machine. And in truth, Kasserine revealed grave weaknesses of command, control, and training within the young US Army.

Nevertheless, Kasserine Pass was also a learning opportunity, an inculcator of lessons learned, and a showcase of the Army’s ability to implement new policies and procedures and to replace unfit commanders with better ones, all aspects of the battle that are often overlooked.

The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Kasserine Pass: Learning the Hard Lessons of War Symposium will take a look at these key lessons and changes, analyze how they influenced the remainder of the war, and explain the ways in which the setback in Tunisia produced a veteran, hardened US Army that would march on to victory.

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Program Schedule

February 24, 2018

9:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks in BB's Stage Door Canteen

9:15 a.m.
"The Road to, and Battle of Kasserine Pass"
– Robert M. Citino, PhD

10:00 a.m.
Break and book signing

10:30 a.m.
"Battalion Commanders at War: US Army Tactical Leadership in the Mediterranean Theater, 1942-1943"
– Steven T. Barry, PhD

11:15 a.m.
Break and book signing

11:45 a.m.
"Patton’s First Victory: How General George Patton Turned the Tide in North Africa and Defeated the Afrika Korps at El Guettar"
– Leo Barron

12:30 p.m.
Break, book signing, and lunch

1:15 p.m.
"The North African Air Campaign: US Army Air Forces from El Alamein to Salerno"
– Christopher M. Rein, PhD

2:00 p.m.
Break and book signing

2:30 p.m.
"The Learning Curve: The US Army and the Arrival in Theater, 1942-43"
A roundtable discussion featuring all of the day's speakers

3:45 p.m.
Book signing

4:00 p.m.
Post-symposium Reception

5:00 p.m.
Beyond All Boundaries Screening

6:00 p.m.
Meet the Speakers Dinner (SOLD OUT)
Engage with our world-renowned speakers at The American Sector Restaurant + Bar over a three-course menu with wine service.

Featured Speakers

Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at The National WWII Museum

Robert M. Citino, PhD

Robert M. Citino, PhD, is an award-winning military historian and scholar who has published 10 books including The Wehrmacht's Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945, The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943, Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942, and The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich, and numerous articles covering World War II and 20th-century military history. He speaks widely and contributes regularly to general readership magazines such as World War II. Dr. Citino enjoys close ties with the US military establishment, and taught one year at the US Military Academy at West Point and two years at the US Army War College.

Books by Dr. Citino are available at our Museum Store. Use promo code TRAVELVIP to save 10%!

Rob Citino
Principle Deputy for the War Plans Division

Col. Steven T. Barry, PhD

Colonel Steven T. Barry, PhD, from Hamilton, New Jersey, is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy and career Armored Cavalry officer. He serves as the Principal Deputy for the War Plans Division on the Joint Staff. In this role, he supervises the development and implementation of the Joint Strategic Campaign Plan. His key past assignments include commanding the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado; supervising personnel actions for all Armored Cavalry Colonels as the Armor Colonel Human Resource Manager in Colonels Management; serving as a squadron Executive Officer in Mosul, Iraq, for 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team Executive Officer to prepare for deployment to Afghanistan; and commanding C Company, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor during the attack to seize Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Headquarters Company, 4-64 AR in Fallujah. Barry has a master's and PhD in history from Ohio State University and served as an Assistant Professor of History at West Point. He has two publications: Battalion Commanders at War (University Press of Kansas, 2013) and The History of the Military Art, 3rd Ed. Upon completion of his Joint Staff tour, Colonel Barry will attend Senior Service College. He resides in Fairfax, Virginia.

Battalion Commanders at War is available at our Museum Store. Use promo code TRAVELVIP to save 10%.

Barry Steven
Military Instructor

Leo Barron

Leo Barron works for General Dynamics as an instructor of military intelligence officers for the US Army. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, and has served with the 101st Airborne. Barron has seen two tours of active duty in Iraq as an infantry and intelligence officer. His articles about Bastogne and other WWII-related military topics have appeared in Infantry Magazine, Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, WWII History Magazine, and World War II Magazine.

Barron is also the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed books: Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne and High Tide in the Korean War: How an Outnumbered American Regiment Defeated the Chinese at the Battle of Chipyong-ni. He also authored the book Patton’s First Victory: How General George Patton Turned the Tide in North Africa and Defeated the Afrika Korps at El Guettar. Additionally, Barron coauthored the book No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle For Bastogne with Don Cygan, which received an award from the Arizona Author’s Association for Best Nonfiction in 2013.

Patton’s First Victory is available at our Museum Store. Use promo code TRAVELVIP to save 10%.

Historian

Christopher M. Rein, PhD

Christopher M. Rein, PhD, is a Historian with the Combat Studies Institute and Army University Press in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Kansas, where his dissertation and first book, The North African Air Campaign, argued for an operational use of air power rather than strategic pursuits that have dominated the USAF for most of its history. His second book, Alabamians in Blue examines the links between environmental history and southern dissenters in northern Alabama during the Civil War, and is an extension of his master's thesis at Louisiana State University that explores combat motivation among Unionists in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. He has served as a Naval ROTC Instructor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and as an Associate Professor of History at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he taught and directed a number of courses in military and American history, including courses on the Civil War and World War II, and at the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama, where he directed the course on modern air power. He is a native of Pearl River, Louisiana, and a retired US Air Force Navigator with multiple deployments to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The North African Air Campaign is available at our Museum Store. Use promo code TRAVELVIP to save 10%.

Christopher Rein

Dinner with the Speakers

The American Sector Restaurant + Bar

$100 per person


FIRST COURSE

Traditional Caesar Salad
Herbed Croutons, Classic Caesar Dressing, Parmesan
Fresh Baked Rolls and Butter

MAIN COURSE

Petite Filet and Grilled Shrimp
Demi-Glace, Potatoes Au Gratin, Grilled Asparagus

DESSERT

Lemon Cheesecake
Candied Lemon Zest, Seasonal Berries, Raspberry Coulis

BEVERAGES

Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay
Casillero del Diablo Cabernet
Community Coffee, Iced and Hot Teas

Books By Our Speakers

The North African Air Campaign

By Christopher M. Rein

$39.95

Purchase

Patton's First Victory

By Leo Barron

$29.95

Purchase

Battalion Commanders at War

By Steven Thomas Barry

$39.95

Purchase

Death of the Wehrmacht

By Robert M. Citino

$24.95

Purchase

The Wehrmacht Retreats

By Robert M. Citino

$34.95

Purchase

The Wehrmacht's Last Stand

By Robert M. Citino

$34.95

Purchase

Terms and conditions:

Payment is due in full at the time of booking. All payments are final and nonrefundable. Any cancellations are subject to a 100% penalty. All cancellations must be submitted in writing. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. Please contact the Conference Services Department for more details. Program is subject to change without notice.

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