MCC News

Popular World War II Class Returns

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The USS SilversidesMuskegon Community College’s highly popular World War II course, which last year attracted hundreds of community members to its weekly classes in the USS Silversides Submarine Museum,  returns on Jan. 13 with an expanded list of key eyewitnesses and noted WWII historical authors.

This year’s unique array of local, regional, national and international guests includes:

  • James Campbell, author of The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Battle for New Guinea;
  • Warren Musch, Marine Combat Intelligence Officer 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment of the 5th Marine Division at the battle of Iwo Jima;
  • Dr. David Stahel, a lecturer in European history at the Australia’s University of New South Wales and author of Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941;
  • Martin Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor; and
  • Dr. Katharina Von Kellenbach, Professor of Religious Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and author of The Mark of Cain: Guilt and Denial of the Post-War Lives of Nazi Perpetrators.  

History 297: World War II, co-taught by MCC faculty members Kurt Troutman and George Maniates, will also be offered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and available worldwide. Last year’s class spanned 15 seminars and collectively attracted more than 2,500 attendees.  The MOOC will go live on February 1 and can be viewed globally on the internet. This will be MCC’s first foray into delivering a MOOC.

Registration for the Winter 2014 course began on Nov. 8 and will continue until early January.

What makes MCC’s WW II course distinctive, explained Troutman, is its experiential learning components, including primary source conversations with WW II veterans, examination of period era artifacts, interpretative analysis of the Muskegon-based USS Silversides Submarine and USS LST 393, and talks by visiting guest scholars.

“World War II is one of the defining events of our country and the entire world,” said Maniates. “Sixteen million American veterans served in WWII. Roughly one million of them are still us, but the average age of the surviving veteran is 92 years old. So the history community and public feel a sense of urgency to learn and capture the stories of the Greatest Generation.”

"The enrolled students ranged in age from 17 to 60 years,”noted Troutman in describing the composition of last year’s attendees.  “Traditional-aged students interested in discovering WW II for the first time were joined by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking to place their service in perspective, and by area high school teachers studying WW II for self-enrichment and new information to share with their students. Beyond the enrolled students were multi-generational families who came to the talks to share the valor and sorrow from the war that touched all Americans regardless of service.”

To satiate this heightened public interest in WWII, MCC has increased its partnership with local museums and historians. In addition to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, this year’s collaborators include the USS LST 393 Museum, the Muskegon Lakeshore Museum and the Muskegon County Veteran’s Remembrance Project.

Troutman and Maniates will be joined by current and former MCC faculty members - Dr. Dan Colison, Dr. Daniel Yates, Kathy Tosa, Nicholas Budimir and William Jacobks – with each offering his or her expertise to the subject matter.

To earn credit, MCC students must enroll in History 297. All other MCC students can attend as guests at any time by paying the $5 donation to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum.

Community members are welcome to join the seminar by either (1) purchasing an annual membership through the USS Silversides Submarine Museum entitling them to attend all museum public events including the 2014 WW II Lecture series; or 2) paying a $5 admission fee, payable to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, to attend any one lecture.

Anyone may enroll in the course through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) option and participate in the lectures through the MCC online platform. However, participants will be limited to a virtual experience and no the in-person presentations.

For more information on the course or enrolling in the MOOC program, contact Maniates at (231) 777-0364 or Troutman at (231) 777-0639, or visit