World War II History Roundtable brings in historians & first-hand accounts to teach students about this influential era

Studying and preserving factual history is essential to understanding ourselves and the world into which we were born. Committed to that work is the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Roundtable, which offers presentations to preserve “the factual history of World War II” and this influential era through “the input of historians, first-hand accounts from individuals, and travel.”

Dr. Deutsch, born in Milwaukee, was professor emeritus and former chair of the history department at the University of Minnesota. According to his obituary, his academic interest in the Third Reich and World War II was “enhanced by a year spent in Europe as a social science research fellow in 1935-36.”

During that time he began cultivating the acquaintance of German officers and politicians who had participated in World War I. This experience shaped his role in World War II as well. 

After serving in 1942-43 on the Board of Economic Warfare, Harold was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services. He served as chief of its research and analysis branch in Paris and Germany during 1944 and 1945. In 1945 he was a member of the State Department’s Special Interrogation Mission, collecting information on the Third Reich from high-level participants and establishing the comprehensive network of contacts and friendships that made him a world authority on the human dynamics of Nazi Germany. His definitive studies of the military opposition, The Conspiracy against Hitler in the Twilight War (1968) and Hitler and His Generals: The Hidden Crisis, January-June 1938 (1974), were among the major academic products of this stage of his career.

The roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of every month from September through May at the Minnesota History Center, with each program starting at 7:00 p.m. Programs include lectures by knowledgeable historians and oral history of individuals who lived through this history. The roundtable also engages specifically in student outreach efforts, using a similar format of presentations by historians and first-hand accounts. Video of the presentations are available for future use of participants, students, and others interested in the study of World War II history.

Join the World War II History Roundtable on May 9 to learn about the European Air War!

May 9: Jonna Doolittle (James Doolittle’s granddaughter) will discuss the European Air War based on her book, Calculated Risk, and Doolittle’s contributions to the successes of the Eighth Air Force, with experiences of veterans.


Given that Minnesota’s proposed K-12 social studies standards focus little on the actual events of World War II, this is a great opportunity for students to learn from experts and those with direct personal observations or experiences.