It was on this date 84 years ago, June 8th 1933, that Johnston County native William Edward Dodd, was appointed ambassador to Germany amid rising tensions in Europe.
Born in 1869 near Clayton, Dodd studied history at what is now Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, earning a master’s degree in 1897. Shorty thereafter, he sailed for Germany and entered the University of Leipzig to pursue a Ph.D. in history.
Dodd returned to America in 1899 and taught history at Randolph-Macon College and the University of Chicago where he became a nationally-renowned expert on the history of the Old South before taking up his diplomatic assignment.
Dodd’s tenure as ambassador to Germany coincided with the rise of the Nazi Party. Having run afoul of the State Department in 1937 for writing materials critical of the Nazi-controlled government, Dodd was recalled the following year. He returned to his farm in Virginia, where he died of pneumonia in 1940.
During the Nuremburg Trials in April 1946, Dodd’s detailed diary was used as evidence against Hjalmar Schacht, Adolph Hilter’s Minister of Economics & the president of Reichsbank. Contributed by Carter Rabil