Office: Department of History
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Dr. Larry Breeze's first view of Europe came in 1944 over the rail of a troop ship heading to England. His first trip to the continent was "up close and personal" as he and other members of the78th Division toured France, Belgium, and Germany. The 78th saw service along the Siegfried Line, the Roer and Rhine rivers, the Cologne plain, the Remagen bridgehead, and the Ruhr pocket. When Breeze came home he had a new appreciation for both Europe and history.
Before the war, Breeze hoped to become a civil engineer and almost had that opportunity when the army sent him to the University of New Hampshire. However, according to Breeze, the army needed infantrymen more than engineers and new orders were cut. Following the war he tried to return to New Hampshire but housing shortages and state policies giving preference to New Hampshire residents made return impossible. He applied to the University of Missouri, but the acceptance letter was lost in the mail. Desperate, he decided to "walk on" at Missouri Valley College. That lost letter and a devoted teacher of European history changed Breeze's life goal. After receiving his B.S. in Education, he went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in European history from the University of Missouri.
Prior to his tenure at Southeast, Breeze was an Instructor at the University of Missouri (1951-52), an Assistant Professor at Jacksonville Junior College (1952-56), and an Associate Professor/Professor of History at Jacksonville University (1956-66).
With a specialty in European history, Dr. Breeze taught his fair share of Western Civilization courses at a time when every student was required to take 5 hours in American history and 6 hours in other Social Science courses. He also taught a variety of upper-level and graduate courses dealing with modern Britain and 20th Century Europe. His most popular courses were the special topic courses he introduced on Northern Ireland and Fascism.
Dr. Breeze served as the Advisor to Phi Alpha Theta for many years and was a member of the University’s Graduate Council during the formative years of the graduate program.
Dr. Breeze was a frequent reviewer of books written about European history. His book reviews were published in Journal of Southern History, Victorian Studies, and Florida Historical Quarterly. He served as editorial consultant for the Forum Press in 1977, for the section on the mid-Victorian period in their textbook The English Heritage by J. H. Plumb and others. An article, The Inskips, was published in Methodist History (July, 1975). Dr. Breeze presented papers and/or served as discussant and/or chair at sessions of the Missouri Conference on History and of the Mid-America Conference on History. He also directed theses in the Department of History and served as outside reader for the Departments of English, Physical Education, and Art. Dr. Breeze is listed in The Directory of American Scholars. Following retirement, Dr. Breeze continued to write and research. His book, The British Experience With Water Pollution, 1865-1876 was published in 1993. His research was the focus of his 1996 presentation at the Dugger Lecture.
Besides research, retirement for Dr. Breeze and his wife, Alice, has included a great deal of travel on this continent and in Europe. Breeze returned to Europe in 1964 and again in 1984 when he spent a semester teaching in the Missouri-London Program. In 1988, Breeze and his son, Dan, took an extensive battle field tour revisiting some of the sites he had seen in WWII. In 2000, Breeze and his wife returned to Europe for another lengthy stay. In 2009, Dr. Breeze published an account of his experiences during WWII in From Farm to Front: An Innocent Goes to War.
Dr. Larry Breeze's secret to a long and productive retirement is to think young and keep your mind active. It seems to be working.