2014 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium

World War I and Theodore Roosevelt

September 25-27, 2014

Theodore and Edith RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt’s greatest regret as a statesman was that no major crisis occurred during his presidency to test his leadership capacities. His ardent calls for military preparedness and for early entry into the Great War echoed in his own family, and reverberated throughout the nation and the world. This symposium considered the roots of the crisis, Roosevelt’s response, his family’s participation, and views of the war from North Dakota and from Europe.

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"In a certain sense, no man can absolutely make an opportunity. . . Nevertheless, when the chance does come, only the great man can see it instantly and use it aright. In the second place, it must always be remembered that the power of using the chance aright comes only to the man who has faithfully and for long years made ready himself and his weapons for the possible need."

Essay in McClure's Magazine, October 1899


(subject to change)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

6:00 p.m. 

Registration - May Hall 

7:00 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions

7:30 p.m.

Keynote Address: Geoffrey Wawro - “A Mad Catastrophe: An Introduction to the Great War"

Friday, September 26, 2014

8:00 a.m.

Registration/Breakfast - May Hall

9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m.

J. Lee Thompson - “Roosevelt, Wilson, and the War to End All Wars"

9:45 a.m.

Q & A with J. Lee Thompson

10:00 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

R. Joshua Reyes - "An Abiding Duty: The Roosevelt Family and the Great War"

10:45 a.m.

Q & A with R. Joshua Reyes

11:00 a.m.

Panel: Geoffrey Wawro, J. Lee Thompson, R. Joshua Reyes, Clay Jenkinson (moderator)

11:45 a.m.


1:00 p.m.

Kimberly Porter - "World War I and the Prairie: TR's War Against Isolationism"

1:30 p.m.

Q & A with Kimberly Porter

1:45 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

Hans Krabbendam - "A War Against the Earth? An Examination of TR's Militarism and Conservation"

2:30 p.m.

Q & A with Hans Krabbendam

3:00 p.m.

Multimedia Presentation by Theodore Roosevelt Center staff

4:45 p.m.

Social - DSU President's Residence

5:30 p.m.

Dinner - DSU President's Residence

7:00 p.m.

"The Great War Chautauqua" - an evening of WWI music, dance, readings, and a live debate between Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Field trip to Medora, ND

7:30 a.m.

Registration for Field Trip/Breakfast - Student Center

8:15 a.m.

Buses leave

9 a.m.

Clay Jenkinson - "The True Last Romantic: Kermit Roosevelt and the Great War"

10 a.m.

Panel with guest scholars - A wide-ranging discussion and synthesis of symposium themes

11:30 a.m.

Lunch and field trip to Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch

4 p.m.

Closing Reception - North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame

Speakers Include:


Title: "A Mad Catastrophe: An Introduction to the Great War"

Biography:  Geoffrey Wawro is Professor of History at the University of North Texas and Director of the UNT Military History Center. He received his BA from Brown and his PhD from Yale. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna for two years. He is the author of five books: A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire; Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East; The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-71; Warfare and Society in Europe, 1792-1914, and The Austro-Prussian War: Austria's War with Prussia and Italy in 1866.

Wawro is the co-editor of The Cambridge Military Histories, a series of monographs from Cambridge University Press.  He also serves on the History Book Club Review Board.  From 2000 to 2009, Wawro hosted several programs on the The History Channel, including Hardcover History, History's Business and History versus Hollywood.  He lives in Dallas, Texas.



Title: "Roosevelt, Wilson, and the War to End All Wars"

Biography:  J. Lee Thompson is a professor of history at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He is the author of numerous books including Never Call Retreat: Theodore Roosevelt and the Great War; Theodore Roosevelt Abroad: Nature, Empire and the Journey of an American President; and Politicians, the Press and Propaganda: Lord Northcliffe and the Great War, 1914-1919.

Thompson served as president of the Western Conference on British Studies, 2004-2006.  He has been a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, annually since 2006. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.




Title: "An Abiding Duty: The Roosevelt Family and the Great War"

Biography:  Joshua Reyes is a Park Ranger at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, the Roosevelt family home in Oyster Bay, New York. Reyes holds a Master's Degree in History from Long Island University and has worked for the National Park Service for twelve years. Besides Sagamore Hill NHS, he has also worked at Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine and Booker T. Washington National Monument.



Title: "World War I and the Prairie: TR's War Against Isolationism"

Biography:  Kimberly Porter is a professor of history at the University of North Dakota, where she teaches courses in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, as well as the New Era and the New Deal. Porter also teaches the History of North Dakota course. Porter's research interests include rural/agricultural history and oral history. She serves as member of the Oral History Forum d’histoire orale, an international academic journal for oral history.



Title: "A War Against the Environment? An Examination of TR's Militarism and Conservation"

Biography: Hans Krabbendam is the assistant director of the Roosevelt Study Center in the Netherlands. He co-edited America's Transatlantic Turn: Theodore Roosevelt and the "Discovery" of Europe. His research interests include the crossroads of immigration history, religious history, and Dutch-American relations.

Geoffrey Wawro delivers his keynote address, "A Mad Catastrophe: An Introduction to the Great War," on September 25, 2014.

Hans Kabbendam gives his lecture, "A War Against the Earth? An Examination of TR's Militarism and Conservation," on September 26, 2014

Kimberly Porter presents on "World War I and the Prairie: TR's War Against Isolationsim," on September 26, 2014.

A Multimedia Presentation by Theodore Roosevelt Center staff.

J. Lee Thompson gives his lecture "Roosevelt, Wilson, and the War to End all Wars," on September 26, 2014.

R. Joshua Reyes gives his lecture, "An Abiding Duty: The Roosevelt Family and the Great War," on September 26, 2014.

The group panel at the 2014 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium.


 Keri Youngstrand greets symposium participants.


 Dr. Paul Vickery as Woodrow Wilson discusses World War I with Dickinson area high school students.

TR student leaders

 Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program students participate in the symposium.


 Dr. Geoffrey Wawro signs copies of his book.

Valerie Naylor

 Valerie Naylor speaks before the trip to the Elkhorn Ranch.

Group panel

  The symposium's final panel. 

buses load

Participants load buses for the trip out to the Elkhorn Ranch.

Clay describes the Elkhorn

Clay Jenkinson describes the significance of the Elkhorn Ranch.

Dakota scenery

A beautiful North Dakota day.

People walk to the Elkhorn

The walk out to the Elkhorn.

Group photo

The full group at the Elkhorn Ranch.

Park Rangers

Park rangers assist on the trip.

Plunging into the river

Visitors experience a bit of the strenuous life by taking a dip in the Little Missouri.

Little Missouri River

The Little Missouri River.