tv Book Discussion on The Sphinx CSPAN January 10, 2015 11:00pm-11:48pm EST
problem with jury starting out with more diverse opinions and they get more and more extreme. so you have been able to amass an incredible amount of information and techniques into what i consider one of the great problems of groups and meetings and i'm curious how you did this. i just have to ask you this in closing as a fellow writer so you can ever loosely look at my point of view. you do this at the same time and apparently were writing the three other books in the past year. let me get these numbers. three books in the last year. you have written 20 books to date in your career plus another 15 that you have co-authored and then another 500 scholarly articles along with careers in government and teaching classes. i don't mean to embarrass you i just want to ask you how do you do that? ..
nicholas wapshott is here with his book "the sphinx" he graduated from the degree of politics at university of new york and started his career ended newspapers. he rose to the ranks of the "london times" to become the features editor that need to roll profiles from playwrights to politicians then moved over to the london observer to do a similar thing. and then is the north american correspondent for the times the is the national and foreign editor as well as a columnist so nicklaus has worked for a wide range across the political spectrum with that editorial content. now is the international editor of "newsweek" where he presides over the for
example, little coverage and also a reuters correspondent a regular guest on cnn, msnbc, abc, fox news and reuters columnist columnist, charlie rose and helped to found the ddb stand -- "the daily beast" it did so well researched piece of work because it has over 1400 footnote's so we can say that nicklaus has done his homework. i will let you hear from him how he came about the title but we have another riddle of the sphinx that fdr wrote six days before the great crash of 1929 which jokers on october 29, 19296 days before. he is governor of new york if he writes the broker to
sell securities but then what does your right underneath it? by instead of sell if you think best. i know stock at 50 their love and have 40 or even more at 30 and on top of that he would double his commissions but we don't know what happened but we can guess but he did buy instead of sell. now it is all yours. >> the key for the warm welcome and it is the pleasure to be here at the museum of american finance. it is a story that could be cut in many different ways it is a trading point of the for term presidency of franklin d. roosevelt of the two greatest problems to be
solved in the 20th century one was the great crash the other was the great depression that followed an the other was the threat of expansion is some from the dictators. of franklin roosevelt presided over both the city managed to cure the first by encouraging vesicant -- the second. but i will explain why it is called "the sphinx" as mrs. clinton has discovered not declaring your intentions if you are a presidential candidate pete says as soon issues he will stand for something that people can start running but if you are preeminent and the leader without competitors than the best thing to do is keep quiet.
so frankly roosevelts in order to encourage the american nation what he thought inevitably would be american intervention of world war ii he knew he needed to be reelected 1940. this is very problematic for americans because jefferson and washington gave great warning how america should not be with foreign entanglements. and then with other likely candidates the anyone their guns or any elected office but then they had just been thrown another bound. so in the end with less than one year to go and we talk about december 1939, the
gridiron dinner that the way house correspondents throw every year they invited franklin roosevelt and he walked into the ballroom and there was the eighth foil along come the six fled high papier-mache golden sphinx with his face on a. he laughed isn't because he knew they knew the game he was playing at that and he said i will have the former presidential library that has been revived in a refurbished and worth looking at it it has been changed and improved it is a glass case that very sphinx that i am talking about. now this story to tell it through individual said you could get no better
president than roosevelt were the heroes like franklin roosevelt or churchill the villain is really good like william randolph hearst mrs. a cinquain if you like of american newspapers so was joe kennedy and charles lindbergh and a man called the father charles to is the inventor of hate radio. yet avast listenership and he was against fdr with foreign policy also wicked anti-semites like henry ford who would issue a daily newspaper praising isolationism draw his distribution deals you could pick one up in the show room and spiteful stuff how the jews were running the country down then people
like walt disney was anti-semitic and he welcomed people to hollywood and all the other moguls would pass. to the with these personalities it should be remembered that history is made up of personalities and strong personalities to make an enormous difference there are socio-economic movements that take place but in the case of most stories you can make a real difference and to the nike dash christoph -- chris jeff and tell i thought about it to say i don't think that aristotle onassis would have proposed.
[laughter] and that is the sign that all of these things may change will give you an example because it is essential to understanding the story. to concentrate on a single element how america took over from britain as a ruling country in the world. because america became the preeminent nation in the world. it for america to live up to its responsibilities because of its wealth and extraordinary population to take part in the governance of the league of nations and for congress to pass the treaty and it went terribly wrong as wilson suffered a
compromise saying strokes of the last 18 months of his presidency he was hopeful -- helpless but talking about dysfunctional marriages it reminds me at the woodrow wilson's assistant secretary of the navy with the profiles as the roosevelt family if you have been seated please do because it is wonderful. and you will remember that franklin roosevelt had a very large sexual appetites and could not restrain
themselves and he ran into huge trouble when he started to have an affair with eleanor roosevelt personal assistant and he was visiting eight establishments and there were though love letters wrapped up and that led to a confrontation where they worked out ahead deal to say if you really want these are as you can judy the unblemished private life i could halt your career in a moment's notice if we get divorced. you carry on, you never see lucy again and we will live an independent life and i will express my own views and then he will take notice of them and put them into action.
with the trip back across the midlantic in to woodrow wilson was presiding over it but on the way out his fifth cousin teddy roosevelt former president died. of you may remember he was a gung-ho action man who encouraged franklin in every turn to put on a uniform to get involved in the a fight to -- in the fight. is left for it franklin roosevelt with a gore aide but they share the ship was wilson and his wife edith and he had with him a copy
of the league of nations the first charter copy to inspire roosevelt and he believed it was time to step he enjoyed it in today's money a trust fund worth 1.$4 billion per year so he did not need to work and he devoted himself with the vice presidential candidate in 1920 he stood on having the of the give nations put into action to get nowhere.
of course, he tried to do what he could. talking about millions of americans is on the food lines the number of foreign countries were taking advantage the end of this levy and italy invaded ethiopia and has started to take a land grab there. and moving into austria but then starting to move away that is part of justice about kia and then he invaded poland. and he knew sooner or later
america would have to become involved as a tyrannical and poisonous ideology. and so he set himself up as a task to do that. but throughout the thirties will whole succession of a neutrality acts the very same people who would stop wilson and that meant you could not supply arms to britain and france then later they did amended so you could sell arms but you had to collect it we will not give you the ship to take away. their cave a time when britain was by a great deal of armaments finally when roosevelt was elected
kelly's staff of the production went to britain and by then france was gone of that allied coalition was left to counter with some adept fighting. there was a question how much money britain has left by the end of 1939 instead of only $949 million with 200 million per year. and then to spend 4.5 billion dollars on the
armaments and they decided to favor this cabinet meeting the to go through 1943 before the money was gone so then they would work out how to supply britain with all the alarms that it needed him by law would not allow them to supply that. or to lend them money. with the british in the french and the italians and that is still stuck again their crop of the congress. the mayor ted did the most extraordinary thing like someone presiding over bankruptcy that he would prove they had no money left and phillips from the
foreign office was sent across and he opened the books the first time a sovereign nation had to open the books to another nation. roosevelt was convinced but it did not stop him from exacting the absolute maximum possible before he went get the final run of this country. i will give you an example. the of franklin roosevelt roosevelt, of people would put it churchill and roosevelt in the same boat
as the son of the duke there is a number that said that is why they got on but there was a profound difference as an old imperialists and the british empire of a divine presence you may remember not long ago when half of the world was painted pink of the british empire. but roosevelt believe the willses notion that each should have its own independence and should find its own way in the world if rolled or to mention anything it was the end of the british empire so that is why he was happy to press his advantage. i will give you an example here, the list that was handed over south american
railroads and rubber plantations in malaysia. roosevelt said how about bob argentina? these are big companies, shell oil oil, tobacco there were all sold to american interests at a knockdown great before america would provide arms for nothing. even sent a destroyer for $50 billion worth of gold just to put into perspective with the sum of money of 800 billion that is how much that was worth is in fort
knox but when it ran out roosevelt considered maybe an island should be handed over to the united states and was thinking bermudez, honduras or the west indies titty thought their islands to the south of hawaii. and then southwest. bay he decided not to do that tonight have colonial people to look after with the territory so that is not the best way. but eventually britain - - britain did run out of money and roosevelt was never
happier than when he was nazi he would call up a destroyer and that is what he did when britain granddad of money in there was nothing else to do other than give up which would be impossible because congress would not allow it, then to be found somewhere. see if i can find the name. i'm not sure how to pronounce it. heat to a gm paddle's they would fish by a day and they drank a lot of martinis.
but then of boat delivered a letter from roosevelt what he considered the most important letters. and said i now believe the future of the free democracy with that civilization are bounden survival and independence of the british commonwealth by the united states navy is the surest means to reach the shores of the united states. but the more rapid that they're able to send it to us the more you help us the more we will go broke see you have to find a way out of it. so if you can imagine to the
president of the united states he said i thank you agree it would be wrong and principal at the height of the struggle so after victory civilization saved to be fully armed we should stand a stripped to the bone. roosevelt read the letter and reread it and said i will disappear for a couple of days he would brood on it to read d'andrea read. and finally said i think i have got it and he gave an extraordinary press conference. this is always the case he would toyed with the press.
but then he said this no doubt in the mind of overwhelming americans the defense and the united states is the success of great britain and therefore with current interest it is equally important from a selfish point of view to do everything we should to help the british empire defend itself. the trick with this, he said what i try to do is get rid of the silly foolish dollar then supposed a neighbor's home catches fire if you can
take my garden hose to connected to the hydrant i may help him but what do i do? but my hose cost me $50 you have to pay $15. i don't want that i want my hose back after the fire is over. he goes through without the image and gives it back. and then it is smashed up. i said i was glad to send it to you i cannot use it anymore and he said i will replace it. now have a nice garden hose back and i am in good shape so that was the foundation of what allowed the board to continue. with pearl harbor then the isolationist gave up in that
america could take the full power. but it was used to keep some of not seize on the other side of the english channel. and as i say, it has not been told before either. you can see why it is embarrassing of all sides. it is shaving to think they had to go bust before the americans would help them and roosevelt fought and said we should do the right thing but congress would not do anything so with the more general view to take over from britannica for:in one
of the principal isolationist, at the heart of the argument when he said it is our war how can a justify to lead them stuffs and pay us back? it is our war we should have the courage to go over and fight it but did he said it is not our war. that was a difference of position in the roosevelt knew it was but we preferred that it wasn't. but that is how this largely untold story of how they had it picked before it took place because the result was it is obvious the nazis
would be defeated so i will leave it there and ask for any questions you would like to ask. >> and wonder if you could say some of the background where america might have felt a reaction but to set up the treaty and reparations of the british and french in particular was so punitive that it made it possible to revive their economy. >> host: version for the next war. >> you are absolutely right and with their brilliant book she explains very
clearly the french even more were determined that this time they would defeat the germans for ever. this was extraordinary they head eagerness reparations and the germans didn't because that time they threw out the kaiser and it was mostly social democrats and they were taken by surprise with the list of things they would have to pay in perpetuity. and john maynard keynes wrote economic quinces of peace to save you do this bill will have another war with in one generation and he was right but the seeds
were sown. with america could have taken leadership of the world wilson tried to do that in franklin roosevelt did it when he had a chance and he learned to many lessons as wilson said we want a victor at hand to roosevelt said no. this is unconditional surrender. even two weeks before we will not listen to germans tucci you -- to do with deal then we can set up the postwar institutions and to that mitt face like the imf the currency regulation in
the united nations of the of all that was just set up from the conference on separate cisco -- san francisco. but it is a rich story altogether because everything comes together in a small period where roosevelt has to reduce the deal. >> he wasn't only anti-empire but to be the primary ally in hint that meant pressing britain as far as he could. >> by the time france had fallen to show that church killed though that's as he was perfectly capable tried
to imply that they had a place at the table but it was roosevelts war and strategy to go for europe before japan to the al the principal indicators and also a trusted marshall and eisenhower to apply it to. but marshall was an extraordinary man who worked out a flange shoot a bias europe so would not fall to communism and was stunned with a stimulus monday that kept everybody happy. great question. >> we live in a day and age that their relationships between the president or the other party or congress so how did he deal with them personally? was still friendly with the isolationist or how was it
with the titans of industry? were their personal relationships are very difficult? to mickey was of very affable man and liked to be friendly with everybody. he was not as good at manipulating congress like lyndon johnson. to block the neutrality legislation. so with airplane parts to canada to be reassembled there ingenious ways it will work around that they find
themselves for the congress of executive action and they are better at getting away with it and to maintain good relations and to at hyde park fell whole thing was bizarre and kennedy had a strange love-hate relationship can you imagine been poured joe biden to raise money? so it was a waste of money but with joe kennedy he really wanted to be the president to say i am so rich i could read my own campaign said he could wait
until roosevelt decided not to run by putting pressure from the democratic party but joe kennedy's whole career he caught him in the trap he dated foreign policy experience to sale would be the ambassador in london. he says why should they give the final card in his hand? that is what he did. kennedy would even come back to spend weeks on end in his compound in florida ploting against roosevelt. to say don't you know, this? get back to london. it is one of the great delights with that
extraordinary pride character. even people like frankfurter said they did not quite know what he was talking about he was that sort of character there were right dash as long as they were in front of them but then there is a story out joe kennedy calls from london we go because franklin roosevelt said yes. do tell me how is the family? [laughter] is a real comedy. to have so much likely stress to go to these times with such a light air they
all get into a bunker eventually but he was out and about with grandchildren all in the white house it was going gangbusters then his mother was also interfering in his life it was actually teddy roosevelt that he had yet to government -- the temperament to even more than that. >> and as far as long-term to increase the of military at the time the highest percent of gdp.
to put a lot of stress on citizens with that piece balance for if you are of a citizen if we have a raw deal but going back a few generations? >> absolutely. it is of very good idea. i of american and british it has 65 million people relatively small nations and it is great that trading and banking and you could make a lot of money on that but to run the world? places like india that are getting very set up that would be way beyond the
competence of britain made winston churchill himself he thought it was worth holding on to the empire but it is true. america was the greatest nation in the world and with this wealth and affluence maybe you would like to run the place? that is that the enormous cost with all of the caribbean or vietnam war said to iraq wars and afghanistan. horribly expensive nothing to show for it. to be the top dog give life and you can see why. , one of the great achievements of roosevelt's
is it could never be used again. so then they say let me stress before i go further to say i am not an isolationist or the other euphemisms but to help people abroad for foreign aid. that the military should be cut drastically in interest the fiscal continents but that is what it means if you remove half of the military there are cases that have been there since 1945 in all of the defeated nations and they are there in order to teacher. id people say china ought to
step up to the plate to with the famine of the ebola crisis, ask yourself to be really want china with a sheriff sticky into that part of the world? there is not much to discuss now but that is what american foreign policy is to have to gore is simultaneously and we are a war where radiation it right now. - - weary nation right now and we were prepared to do something. through 1940 the ambiguity what americans feel if they should keep their nose out of it.
>> i have the impression of a kid deal of roosevelt first you terms as it was devoted to issues about the initiative of the dollar and gold to be freed from gold reserves. did that come under his view of this issue and what would be inappropriate pavement for that? >> for sure because he was no economist at all pacesetting let's try everything there was no great plan. but john maynard keynes went to see him when he cave
mouth he said i hoped he would be more common day and he is. and not sure he even looked after his financial affairs it was his wife or his mother. it was pretty basic in to talk about that free keynesian position and moldova was the instant overnight sensation to say how can reapply this? a didn't know what was going on but then it meant you could cure the great depression bible or which is exactly that keynes said a
wonder if the amount of money needed may be on the scale of the amount of money you want to do to wage war. and that politicians would never volunteer in he was right. but also their repeal like franklin roosevelt if given the chance to do that but in the end he came off gold but the bread woods agreements established a firm relationship between currency with wiggle room. because it was all measured