Memory Wars: World War II at 75

The National WWII Museum will be hosting a first of its kind international conference to address shifting landscapes of popular memories of this world-altering conflict. Memory Wars: World War II at 75 will take place September 9–11, 2021 at the new Higgins Hotel & Conference Center.

Madlyn and Paul Hilliard Conference Center at The Higgins Hotel

September 9–11, 2021

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Symposium Overview

The National WWII Museum will be hosting a first of its kind international conference to address shifting landscapes of popular memories of this world-altering conflict. Memory Wars: World War II at 75 will take place September 9–11, 2021 at the new Higgins Hotel & Conference Center.

With the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II fast approaching, The National WWII Museum is hosting a global conference in New Orleans on September 9–11, 2021. Memory Wars: World War II at 75 is a presentation of the Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, held at the institution’s new Higgins Hotel & Conference Center.

Memory Wars will explore World War II’s place in public memory through a global prism, examining how museums, filmmakers, media, memorials, and historians (both academic and public) help shape memories of the conflict.

Sample Program Schedule
(Subject To Change)

Thursday, September 9, 2021

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Opening Reception

Session One*
6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks

  • Stephen Watson, President & CEO, The National WWII Museum

6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
“War Without Mercy? Remembering the Pacific War” A Conversation with Carol Gluck, PhD, Columbia University

From Pearl Harbor to the atomic bomb and beyond, this conversation will discuss the ways in which the United States and Japan view the Pacific war.

  • Interviewer: Robert M. Citino, PhD, Senior Historian, The National WWII Museum
  • Carol Gluck, PhD, Professor, Columbia University

Audience Q&A

Friday, September 10, 2021

Session Two*
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

“Was It Really such a Good War?” The Myth and Reality of America’s War

Was World War II really a “good war”? In this roundtable session, historians will debate America’s various contested memories of World War II, from the still-popular view of the “good war” to other alternative memories presented at home and abroad. How was the notion of the “good war” shaped during the war and afterwards?

  • Chair: Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, President & CEO Emeritus, The National WWII Museum
  • Tom Brokaw, Author of The Greatest Generation
  • Michael C.C. Adams, PhD, Author, The Best War Ever: America and World War II

Audience Q&A

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Session Three*
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
“How Important are Museums?” Narrative and National Memory of the War

Museums can be places for education, reflection, and memory. This session will explore how museums construct their exhibits around narratives of World War II.

  • Chair: Patrick Gallagher, President, Gallagher & Associates
  • Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, President & CEO Emeritus, The National WWII Museum
  • Stéphane Grimaldi, Director-General, Mémorial de Caen
  • Brendan Nelson, Director Emeritus, Australian War Memorial

Audience Q&A

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session Four*
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
“Representations of World War II in Popular Culture”

From popular films to sports, literature, and art, World War II left its enduring mark on American popular culture. In this conversation, cultural historian Randy Roberts discusses how the war remained present in daily life long after the fighting ended.

  • Chair: Brigadier General (Ret.) Ty Seidule, PhD, Professor Emeritus of History, United States Military Academy at West Point
  • Randy Roberts, PhD, 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished Professor of History, Purdue University

Audience Q&A

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Session Five*
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
“Life and Death between Hitler and Stalin”

World War II ravaged the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the latter then suffered Soviet occupation for the next 50 years. This panel will compare and contrast the complex, often irreconcilable ways in which Eastern Europe and Russia remember the war.

  • Chair: Alexandra Richie, DPhil, Professor, Collegium Civitas
  • Omer Bartov, PhD, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History, Brown University
  • Pawel Sawicki, Press Officer and Guide, Auschwitz- Birkenau Memorial and Museum

Audience Q&A

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Session Six*
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
“Never Again? The Holocaust in Public Memory and Discourse”

This session will discuss how the Holocaust is remembered today, by whom and for whom. How will its lasting relevance be maintained in public memory?

  • Chair: Daniel Greene, President and Librarian, Newberry Library
  • Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • David Silberklang, PhD, Senior Historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research and Editor-in-Chief of Yad Vashem Studies
  • Ronald Leopold, Executive Director, Anne Frank House
  • Dariusz Stola, PhD, Director, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Audience Q&A

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Break and Book Signing

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Museum Open House for Registrants

Film Screening: Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Featuring: Vince Zampella, Head of Respawn Entertainment and Peter Hirschmann, Game Director, Respawn Entertainment

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Session Seven*
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

“These Honored Dead”: How Should We Remember Our Fallen?

This session will explore how various countries—the United States, the UK/Commonwealth, and Germany— memorialize World War II in cemeteries, historic sites, and museums.

  • Chair: Kate Clarke Lemay, PhD, Historian, National Portrait Gallery
  • Major General (Ret.) William M. Matz Jr., Secretary, American Battle Monuments Commission
  • Jörg Echternkamp, PhD, Research Director, Military History Research Office, Potsdam
  • George Hay, Official Historian, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, President, Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge

Audience Q&A

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Session Eight*
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

E Pluribus? Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Memory from World War II to the Present”

How do various communities within the United States remember World War II? This session discusses the complex legacies of the conflict for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans; all of whom developed their own narratives of the conflict.

  • Chair: John Morrow Jr, PhD, Franklin Professor of History, University of Georgia
  • Christine Sato-Yamazaki, Executive Director, National Veterans Network
  • Beth Bailey, PhD, Foundation Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas
  • Anthea Hartig, PhD, Elizabeth MacMillan Director, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Audience Q&A

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session Nine*
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

“War and Memory in China”

The world’s most populous nation’s experiences of the “long war” from 1931-1949 have often been overlooked in the west. In this conversation, Rana Mitter explains how China experienced this terrible conflict and remembered it afterwards.

  • Chair: Jeremi Suri, PhD, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs, Professor of Public Affairs and History, University of Texas at Austin
  • Rana Mitter, PhD, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, St. Cross College – University of Oxford

Audience Q&A

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Session Ten*
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

“Living in the Shadow of Auschwitz: How Do Germans Remember?”

Since the end of World War II, how have Germans chosen to remember the horrors of that conflict? This session will discuss how Germans remember, or forget, World War II, and how the war is portrayed in their museums and memorials.

  • Chair: Marc Pachter, Historian, Smithsonian Institution
  • Gavriel Rosenfeld, PhD, Professor of History, Fairfield University
  • Günter J. Bischof, PhD, University Research & Marshall Plan Professor of History, Director, Center Austria, University of New Orleans
  • Alon Confino, PhD, Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies and Professor of History and Judaic Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Susan Neiman, PhD, Director, Einstein Forum

Audience Q&A

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Session Eleven*
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

“How Video Games Shape our View of World War II”

With the advance of video games in the 21st century, this rountable session will discuss how World War II is portrayed in games, while also providing a new media for history.

  • Chair: Jason Steinhauer, Director of the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University
  • Robert Whitaker, PhD, Assistant Professor, Louisiana Tech,
  • Peter Hirschman, Game Director, Respawn Entertainment
  • Nick Moran, “The Chieftain,” Historian,

Audience Q&A

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Break and Reception

Session Twelve*
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Closing Keynote and Reception
“Did Hollywood Really Go to War? Myth and Meaning in WWII Film”

This conversation with Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, Dr. Nicholas J. Cull, and a special guest looks at the role that movies have played in generating, shaping, and altering popular memory of World War II.

  • Chair: Ben Mankiewicz, Host, Turner Classic Movies
  • Nicholas J. Cull, PhD, Professor, University of Southern California and Past President, the International Association for Media and History
  • Special Guest, TBD

Audience Q&A

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Half-Day WWII Leadership Forum
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Leadership Discussion

The morning following the conclusion of the conference convenes an exclusive gathering of conference speakers, sponsors and exhibitors—all leaders in the field of WWII history and/or memory—to explore public memory in today’s global age. Participants will discuss current and future trends, issues, threats, and opportunities in remembering this conflict around the world. All conference speakers will be invited to stay over for this half-day program, and all sponsors and exhibitors are given exclusive access to engage with these thought leaders.

  • Co-Chair: Dr. Jim Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association
  • Co-Chair: Dr. Alexander Richie, DPhil, Professor Collegium Civitas

*Program subject to change.


Book now and save $50!  Early bird pricing valid through January 15, 2021.  Discount applied at checkout.

Conference Only Pass

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Conference & 3-night Hotel Package (Double Occupancy)

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Conference & 3-night Hotel Package (Single Occupancy)

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Additional Hotel Nights (per room/per night)

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To register, call 1-877-813-3329 x 257 or email


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