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Fall Lecture Series

Fact is Stranger than Fiction

in Military History

2019 Fall Lecture & Film Series


The USS Silversides Submarine
Proudly Presents
The 2019 Fall Lecture & Film Series
 Monday evenings  -  6:00 to 8:00 pm
USS Silversides Submarine Museum
1346 Bluff Street, Muskegon, MI 49441
The cost is $5.00 per person per lecture or
FREE with your USS Silversides Submarine Museum Membership.

Films speak to our common history.

 All Films will be shown at 1:00pm daily for 1 week prior to the lecture.

 Admission to the Films is FREE with Museum Membership and included with your Museum Admission Ticket.


September 17 through September 23     1:00pm

 Film: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film and the first science fiction film shot in CinemaScope. The film was personally produced by Walt Disney through Walt Disney Productions, and stars Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre. The film is adapted from Jules Verne's 19th-century novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It is considered an early precursor of the steampunk genre.

September 23, 2019 6:00pm


Lecture: Design and Construction of the Nautilus


Is there anyone, of any age, who has read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and not sketched their vision of the Nautilus in their imagination or down on paper?  For 150 years, the submarine created by Jules Verne has captivated readers and inspired countless interpretations.  The Design and Construction of the Nautilus takes Jules Verne’s in-text descriptions, paired with extensive research on the technology of the time in which Verne’s iconic book was written, and presents detailed construction plans, design notes, and operational theories based on modern submarine technologies.

 Presented By:  Demetri Capetanopoulos is an expert researcher with vast experience in submarine warfare and technology, military operations and protocol, and military processes.  He works as a technology consultant through a private research and development firm, has consulted with the entertainment industry at the highest level.


September 24 through September 30     1:00pm

 Film: 1918, a film about the height of United States involvement in World War I. Liberty Bonds are sold, German immigrants are suspected as traitors or saboteurs, young men everywhere succumb to the patriotism and propaganda and enlist. In a small Texas town, a man feels the pressure to enlist. But the influenza epidemic sweeping the town (and the nation) may change everyone's plans.


September 30, 2019 6:00pm

 The Deadliest Battle of WW I (Spanish American Flu)


The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic.  It infected 500 million people around the world, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of Earth's human population at the time), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

 Presented By:  Kurt Troutman is the Social Sciences department chairperson at Muskegon Community College, where he has been an instructor of history & political science since 2002. Prior to teaching in Muskegon, Kurt served as an instructor with the US Navy, 5th Fleet aboard the USS George Washington, CVN-73. He earned graduate degrees at the University of Colorado-Denver and the American Military University. He was also a US Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Lesotho, Southern Africa.



October 1 through October 7                    1:00pm


Film: Nazi POWs in America, a History Channel Documentary that recalls the period between 1942-45 when the US Military detained nearly half a million Nazi prisoners of war in 511 camps across the country.


October 7, 2019 6:00pm

 Lecture:  POW Camps in Michigan?

 During World War II, Michigan became a temporary home to six thousand German and Italian POWs. At a time of homefront labor shortages, they picked fruit in Berrien County, harvested sugar beets in the Thumb, cut pulpwood in the Upper Peninsula and maintained parks and other public spaces in Detroit. The work programs were not flawless and not all of the prisoners were cooperative, but many of the men established enduring friendships with their captors.

 Presented By:  Gregory Sumner is a Professor and Co-Chair of History at the University of Detroit Mercy.  He, teaches courses on twentieth-century American politics and culture. A fellow of the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he also was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rome (2001, 2010). He holds B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. He joined the University in 1993.


October 8 through October 14        1:00pm

 Film:  The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British-American epic war film directed by David Lean. The film uses the historical setting of the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943. The cast included William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa. In early 1943, British POWs arrive by train at a Japanese prison camp in Burma. The commandant, Colonel Saito, informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, are to work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon.



October 8 through October 14        1:00pm


Film:  The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British-American epic war film directed by David Lean. The film uses the historical setting of the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943. The cast included William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa. In early 1943, British POWs arrive by train at a Japanese prison camp in Burma. The commandant, Colonel Saito, informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, are to work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon.


October 14, 2019 6:00pm

 Lecture:  In the Hands of the Japanese

During World War II, nearly 50,000 U.S. soldiers and civilians became prisoners of wars. Nearly half were forced to work as slave laborers. About 40 percent of American POWs died in Japanese captivity (by contrast only 1 percent died in Nazi camps).  Allied prisoners endured the Bataan Death March, prison camps throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific, slave-labor construction of the Siam-Burma railroad, transport by "hellships" back to Japan, and enslavement in Japan. One reason why POWs were treated so poorly was because of the Japanese belief that surrender was dishonorable.


 Presented By:  Fred L. Johnson III is Associate Professor of History at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Prior to his career in higher education, Dr. Johnson served as a Communications-Electronics and Infantry Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.  Dr. Johnson earned his Masters and doctorate degrees at Kent State  University in Kent, Ohio.



October 15 through October 21   1:00pm

 Film:  Bridge of Spies is a historical drama directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. Set during the Cold War, the film tells the story of lawyer James B. Donovan, who is entrusted with negotiating the release of Francis Gary Powers—a U.S. Air Force pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960—in exchange for Rudolf Abel, a convicted Soviet KGB spy held under the custody of the United States.


October 21, 2019 6:00pm

 Lecture:  The City of Berlin During the Cold War. 

West Berlin was a political enclave during the years of the Cold War. It was controlled by the Western Allies and was entirely surrounded by the Soviet-controlled East Berlin and East Germany. In 1948, the Soviets tried to force the Western Allies out of Berlin by imposing a land blockade on the western sectors—the Berlin Blockade. The West responded by using its air corridors for supplying their part of the city with food and other goods through the Berlin Airlift. In 1952, the East German government began sealing its borders, further isolating West Berlin. As a direct result, electrical grids were separated, phone lines were cut and all the roads leading away from the city were blocked.


Presented By:  Lieutenant Colonel (US Army Retired) Ron Janowski is a 1976 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a 2013 Master of Military History from Norwich University.  He served twenty-two years active duty in the Field Artillery in the United States, Germany, and Canada.  He is a 1998 graduate of the Army War College. 



October 22 through October 28   1:00pm

 Film:  Six Days In June  For Israel, the 1967 war was a military success. But it also redrew the map of the Middle East and mired the region in a never-ending cycle of occupation, terrorism and reprisal. The Six Day War forever changed the politics of the Middle East. Shot on location in Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Moscow and Washington, this powerful film takes us through the weeks that preceded the war, its six days of fighting and its aftermath that still lingers today.

October 28, 2019 6:00pm


Lecture:  A Survivor Speaks About the USS Liberty

 The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats on 8 June 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air & sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two marines, and one civilian), wounded 171 crew members, and severely damaged the ship.

Presented By:  Jack Beattie (retired Navy Chief Petty Officer) a crewmember of the USS Liberty when attacked by Israel. At the time, Beattie was a 19-year-old E3 fireman in the engineering department machine shop, responsible for taking care of auxiliary equipment, - small boats, refrigeration, and parts that needed to be manufactured or repaired aboard ship. He had been out to sea for about a month, shipping out from Norfolk, Va., and arrived at the west coast of Africa, where the Liberty was to monitor messages and communications from Cubans and Russians who were active there.


October 29 through November 4           1:00pm

 Film: The Birth of a Nation , directed by D.W. Griffith in 1915, is about two families finding friendship, though fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War. The film shows the development of the war in their lives through the assassination of President Lincoln and the birth of the Klu Klux Klan. Due to the film’s racists overtones towards African Americans and the glorification of the KKK, the film was banned in several major cities, such as Chicago and Los Angles.

November 4, 2019 6:00pm

Lecture:  Eugenics and the Final Solution:  Did the Nazis Invent the Ideal Racial Purification

Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially based social policies that placed the biological improvement of the Aryan race at the center of Nazi ideology. Those targeted for destruction under these policies were identified as "unworthy of life" including prisoners, "degenerates", dissidents, people with congenital, cognitive and physical disabilities (including people who were "feeble-minded", epileptic, schizophrenic, manic-depressive, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, deaf, blind, homosexual, idle, insane, and the weak, for elimination from the chain of heredity.

Presented By:  Evin Rodkey a full-time faculty member at Muskegon Community College, holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has conducted research in the Dominican Republic, working with people deported there from the U.S. examining survival strategies and transnational connections with the U.S. economy. President of the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges, he has published and presented widely , taught a broad range of courses, and led student trips both in the U.S. and internationally.


November 11, 2019

 Exhibit Opening:  Those Who Cared For Those Who Served

 Please join us as we open the USS Silversides Submarine Museums newest Exhibit — “Those Who Cared For Those Who Served.”

Military service can be a stressful time for all involved. The USS Silversides will honor those Corpsman, Chaplains and the Medical Services in all branches of the military who provided support to those served.  This is a group which often goes unrecognized.  It is our pleasure to highlight those who cared for those who served.


USS Silversides Submarine Museum Crew


Peggy Maniates, Irvin Brown, Amber Dowdy, Jack Fisher, Teresa Folkmier, Cheryl Gallas, Thomas Johnson, Don Kitchen, Jane Ladley, Bob Mattice, Kyra Pikowitz, and Tony Wypa.


Mike Baauw, Fred Bertsch, James Cleveland, Steve Demos, Mark Fazakerley, John Hughes, Holly Hughes, Mark Kelley, Frank Marczak, Garry McKeen, Don Morell, Darla Parrish, Dean Recknagel, Eric Ringelberg, Bill Seyferth, and Roger Whitman


Adam Cameron, Richard Dembinski, Dennis Dufford, Tom Feldt, Mitch Gingras, Juwana Jackson, Jeffrey Kovit, Harold Lofton, Frank Lydell, Tom Lydell, Mike Menner, Phillip Polyak, Bruce Robey, Lisa Rodkey, Karen Strait, Richard Strait, Susan Strum, Michael Sutton, Wayne Thuma, Haley Towne, Tom Trenter, Tom Valdez, David Wagner, and Arlene Wickland

Upcoming Events

 Flag Retirement Ceremony: Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 11:00 am.  Flags to be retired may be dropped off at the Museum during normal operating hours.

 Tribute Flags:  Memorialize your Veteran for the Holiday Season with a tribute flag flown in their Honor from Veterans Day until New Years Day.  More information coming soon!

 Spring of 2020 Lecture Series: The Vietnam Conflict. This 10 week series will be offered alongside the Museum newest exhibit on the same subject.  Each week we will have authors, historians and Veterans providing us with an overview of the Conflict.

 The Vietnam Conflict Exhibit Spring and Summer of 2020—local veterans stories and an overview of the conflict

 Lost Boat Ceremony—Sunday, May 24, 2020

 The Summer Film Series 2020—stay tuned!

 Fall of 2020 Lecture Series:  The Problems with Peace; 1945 to 1950.  This remarkable Series will discuss the 75th anniversary of the End of WWII, the Beginning of the Cold War and the 70th Anniversary of the beginning of the Korean Conflict.



Thank you for participating in the

Fall 2019 Lecture and Film Series.

If you enjoyed the program, please consider

supporting our upcoming programs by:

  1. Program Sponsorship
  2. Exhibit Sponsorship
  3. Buy-A-Brick Program Purchase
  4. Donations of money, books, military memorabilia
  5. Volunteer
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  7. Invite your friends and neighbors to join us