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Baird participates in WWII veterans tribute

11/09/2005

Jay W. Baird, professor of history at Miami University, was a keynote speaker Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, at the eighth, and last, World War II Veterans Committee annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Baird, author of To Die For Germany: Heroes in the Nazi Pantheon, spoke on “The Fuhrer and the German People.”

Other speakers during the two-day conference ranged from historians and authors to combatants such as Ed Shames, platoon leader in the E Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry that parachuted into France on D-Day and became known as “The Band of Brothers.” Others participating included Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay and Celia Sandys, author and granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill.

Baird, the former president of the German Studies Association, will soon publish a book that explores the aesthetics of fascism with emphasis on poetry and novels. Hitler’s War Poets, Literature and Politics in the Third Reich is due to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Baird, who is retiring at the end of this semester after more than 38 years in Miami’s history department, has won numerous honors in his long career, including being a three-time winner of a student-elected Outstanding Teaching Award. He also has been the recipient of Miami’s Benjamin Harrison Medallion for significant achievement in national and international education.

He attributed his invitation to the veterans conference to the influence of his longtime colleague John Dolibois, a former Miami vice president and ambassador to Luxembourg who is the last surviving interrogator of top-ranking Nazi’s prior to the Nuremberg trials. Dolibois was also scheduled to speak at the conference, but had to cancel for personal reasons.

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