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Gerhard Weinberg

Gerhard Weinberg

Photo courtesy of: Contemporary History Institute

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Baker Peace Conference to explore world peace after World War II

Lecture and panels to take place March 21-22

Can you imagine a world at peace? Social justice? Stable governments worldwide? Guaranteed security? Equality?

The 2013 Baker Peace Conference, with its theme "A World at Peace?: Lessons from the End of the Second World War," will investigate the possibility of pacifism through the lens of the successes and failures of World War II's settlements. The conference is set for March 21-22.

The free event, sponsored by the Ohio University Contemporary History Institute, will feature a keynote address from Gerhard Weinberg, a renowned military historian and expert on World War II and the William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, Weinberg will deliver "History's Biggest War Ever Comes to an End" in the Baker University Center Multipurpose Room 240/242.

"Dr. Weinberg has spent his entire career studying the war. He has thought deeply about the war and will certainly have something surprising and interesting to say," said Steven Miner, director of the Contemporary History Institute and member of the Baker Peace Studies Program.

On Friday, March 22, the conference will open at 10 a.m. in Walter Hall Rotunda with remarks from Miner, followed by three panel discussions examining the end of World War II in three key regions: Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the USSR, Asia and the Pacific.

"We still live with consequences of the Second World War all around us," said Miner. "The Communist government in China, NATO, the Cold War – all are creations from the end of the war. Ethnic cleansing, anti-Semitism … these are still problems we deal with today."

While the conference has pulled panelists from outside experts in past years, the committee found the Ohio University faculty included some of the leading scholars on World War II. The panels will tap into their talent, highlighting how powerful Ohio University has been on the study of the subject.

The panels include:

The End of the War in Asia, 10-noon
Panelists: John Brobst, Ohio University; Ronald Spector, George Washington University. Moderator: Donald Jordan, Ohio University.

The End of the War in Eastern Europe, 1-3 p.m.
Panelists: David Curp, Ohio University; James Felak, University of Washington; Tara Zahra, University of Chicago. Moderator: Mirna Zakic, Ohio University.

The End of the War in Western Europe, 3 p.m.
Panelists: Norman Goda, University of Florida; Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland; Steve Miner, Ohio University. Moderator: Robert Davis, School of Advanced Military Studies.

The Contemporary History Institute annually hosts the Baker Peace Conference as a means of exploring how peace can be established and maintained throughout the world. Established in 1984, the conference is funded by the John and Elizabeth Baker Peace Studies Endowment, which was established by the late Ohio University president emeritus and his wife.

Gerhard L. Weinberg is the retired William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having previously taught at the universities of Chicago, Kentucky and Michigan.

He is the author of numerous books including "A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II"; "Hitler's Foreign Policy 1933-1939: The Road to World War II"; and "Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders." 

He has chaired the Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association, the German Studies Association, the U.S. Army Historical Advisory Committee and the Historical Advisory Panel of the Interagency Working Group Implementing the Nazi War Crimes and Imperial Japanese Records Disclosure Act.

In 2009, he received the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation.