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Laurier Military History Speaker Series

The Laurier Military History Speaker Series is conducted as part of the LCMSDS’ mandate to make the latest scholarship in Canadian military history available in an accessible format to Canadians, and has been running for over two decades. The Series runs each Fall and Winter, featuring a total of six historians throughout the calendar year. Below is our latest schedule as well as information on the most upcoming event.

Our events are hosted at 232 King St. N, Waterloo, ON. Admission is free and talks begin at 7:00pm. To receive e-mail notification of each speaker in advance of the event date, please subscribe to our free newsletter by entering your e-mail address here:


2017-18 Lineup


Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 7 pm

Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster hit Dunkirk arrived in Canadian theaters this summer, depicting the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and Allied forces at Dunkirk in the spring of 1940. Terry will speak about the historical context of the battle and the consequences of the Dunkirk evacuation.


Terry Copp is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University. Terry’s recent publications include Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe (UTP, 2006) and Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy (UTP, 2003). His Paper “Towards a New Balance Sheet: 21 Army Group in Normandy” published in John Buckley (ed.) Normandy Sixty Years On (Frank Cass, 2006) extends his revisionist approach to military history to the British army in the Second World War.

The Canadian Defence Academy commissioned Guy Simonds and the Art of Command for publication in early 2007 and Combat Stress in the 20th Century: The Commonwealth Experience for 2010, coauthored with Mark Humphries.

Terry also authored No Price Too High: Canadians and the Second World War which led to the acclaimed television series No Price Too High where he was the lead military historian.


Colonel (Ret’d) Patrick M. Dennis, OMM, CD

Wednesday, 18 October 2017, 7 pm

“What stubborn-hearted virtues they disguised!” Canadian Conscripts at War – 1918  

In this the centenary of compulsory service in Canada, “Canadian conscripts at War” will provide an overview of the principal events leading up to this historic and controversial legislation, followed by a brief examination of the vital contribution made by conscripts during the Hundred Days. The subject has long been obscured by myth and by inaccurate or incomplete history. Many of these myths will be directly addressed in this presentation.

Professor Jack Granatstein once wrote: “Precisely how many conscripted men saw action remains unclear, and we have no firm sense of whether these unwilling soldiers performed well in action.” As will become evident in this presentation, we now have a much clearer idea about both of these issues.


A former Fighter Controller in the Canadian Air Force, he served abroad for over 22 years. Apart from senior staff tours, he flew with both NORAD and NATO AWACS, was Canada’s Deputy Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee and the Canadian Defence Attaché to Israel from 2001- 2004. Subsequently he lectured on “global political-military issues” at Wilfrid Laurier University (2008 – 2011) and from 2009-2013 was an instructor in Command and Management with the Canadian Forces College, Toronto.

A graduate of the United States Armed Forces Staff College (Norfolk, Virginia) and the NATO Defence College (Rome, Italy), he has an M.A. in Communication and Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.


Geoffrey Hayes

Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 7 pm

Reinventing Canada’s Junior Officer Corps: From Passchendaele to Normandy

Geoffrey Hayes’ talk will explore the changing face of Canadian military leadership between the two world wars. What changed? What remained the same? Did the First World War bring an end to heroic leadership?
Geoffrey Hayes is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University (BA/MA) and is currently an associate professor of History at the University of Waterloo. He is the author the Lincs: A History of the Lincoln and Welland RegimentWaterloo County: An Illustrated History, as well as the co-editor of Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment and Canada and the Second World War: Essays in Honour of Terry Copp.


Meghan Fitzpatrick

Wednesday, 6 December 2017, 7 pm

The Human Cost of War: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in Korea, 1950-1953

Marred by war and violence, the history of the twentieth century is one of trauma. The Korean War (1950-1953) was a ferocious and brutal conflict that produced over four million casualties. It also represents one of the largest deployments of Canadians in the past hundred years. Throughout the war, psychiatric casualties accounted for one in twenty sick or wounded Commonwealth soldiers. In doing their duty, many of these men would bear permanent scars.

Historian and author Meghan Fitzpatrick investigates the human impact of the “forgotten war.” This talk will examine how the Commonwealth cared for the psychologically wounded in theatre and assess how successful doctors were in returning servicemen to duty. Based on her recently published book, Meghan will explore the challenges that veterans of politically unpopular or neglected conflicts like Korea face in accessing compensation and care. She will also reflect upon how the Korean War experience can inform contemporary policy and underline salutary lessons for the future.


Dr. Meghan Fitzpatrick is a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in War Studies with the Royal Military College of Canada. Her recently published book with the University of British Columbia Press is entitled Invisible Scars: Mental Trauma and the Korean War (2017). She is presently working on a project exploring the history of the Canadian military’s research on psychological resilience and adaptability.


The speaker series will continue in the winter and spring of 2018. Please check back for updates.

For details on our previous speakers, please click here.


Contact Information

Matt Baker, Senior Research Associate and Centre Coordinator
[email protected]
(519) 884-0710 ext. 2080

Mailing Address
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada
N2L 3C5

Physical Address
232 King St. N. Waterloo, ON

Business Hours
Monday to Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday to Sunday: Closed


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