In January and February, the LBJ Presidential Library is hosting a six-part virtual lecture series titled "The American Presidency: Decisions for War and Peace" in partnership with Humanities Texas and The University of Texas at Austin Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Each of the lectures focuses on how American presidents make decisions about war and peace through conversations with historians of American politics, diplomacy, and military affairs. The lectures cover a wide berth of American history, from Abraham Lincoln and the end of the Civil War to George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

The lectures take place via Zoom on Thursdays from 4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m. CT through February 16, and each session includes a moderated discussion led by LBJ Library Director Mark Lawrence followed by a Q&A with the audience. Continue below for details about the upcoming programs, and register online through the LBJ Library website.

The End of the Cold War

William Inboden, The University of Texas at Austin
Thursday, February 2, 4:00 p.m. CT

William Inboden is the executive director and William Powers Jr. Chair at the Clements Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as an associate professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs, distinguished scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and editor-in-chief of the Texas National Security Review. Previously, he served as senior director for strategic planning on the NSC at the White House. Inboden also worked at the Department of State as a member of the policy planning staff and a special advisor in the Office of International Religious Freedom and as a Congressional staff member in both the U.S. House and Senate. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the CIA Historical Advisory Panel and State Department Historical Advisory Council. Inboden's recent book, The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan in the White House and the World, published November 2022, is an in-depth account of how Reagan's foreign policy won the Cold War and laid the foundations for the twenty-first century.

The End of the American War in Vietnam

Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Columbia University
Thursday, February 9, 4:00 p.m. CT

Lien-Hang T. Nguyen is the Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia and director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. She is the cofounder of Columbia's Vietnamese studies program and teaches courses on modern Vietnamese history, the Wars for Indochina, and U.S.-East Asian relations. She is the author of Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace and the general editor of the forthcoming three-volume Cambridge History of the Vietnam War. She is currently writing a comprehensive history of the 1968 Tet Offensive. She also serves on the board of trustees of Fulbright University Vietnam.

The Road to War in Iraq

Melvyn P. Leffler, University of Virginia
Thursday, February 16, 4:00 p.m. CT

Melvyn P. Leffler is the Edward Stettinius Emeritus Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books on the Cold War, including For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (2007), which won the George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association, and A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (1993), which won the Bancroft, Hoover, and Ferrell Prizes. In 2010, he and Odd Arne Westad coedited the three volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. Leffler was the Harmsworth Professor at Oxford from 2002–2003 and previously served as president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. Princeton University Press published a collection of his essays and articles in 2017, called Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015. His new book, Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2023.