Winston Churchill called the Battle of the Bulge “the greatest American battle of the war.” It was a battle in the Ardennes region of Belgium that was Adolf Hitler’s last major offensive in World War II; a battle whose outcome would later prove the Allies victorious.
Eric Morgan is an Air Force veteran whose grandfather, a U.S. Army veteran, was in the Battle of the Bulge. Morgan recalls his grandfather not speaking much about the experience, but it still sparked his curiosity about the history of the war and America’s place in it.
“His involvement in the war greatly influenced my interest,” Morgan said. “I found out a lot about what my grandfather had done, his history, after he was gone, which was a shame. He received a bronze star and accomplished great things during his military career.”
Arizona State University launched the Master of Arts in World War II studies through ASU Online in 2019, the first and only online degree program of its kind. And in the fall of 2020, the first group of students graduated with their degree. One of those students was Morgan, who said graduating was a huge sense of accomplishment and a big moment for both faculty and students alike. It was something that had never been done before.
Morgan, a professional airline pilot, said he was looking for a lifelong learning experience in something that resonated with him and he'd enjoy learning about.
“I’m a pilot and every major innovation in aviation that we use today stems from the war,” he said. “Once I started the coursework, it expanded beyond that. Most history is very America-centric, where here, the program broadens your horizons about how the war affected the global economy and why things are the way they are today.”