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tv   Book Discussion on The Sphinx  CSPAN  January 31, 2015 3:45pm-4:33pm EST

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and daryl had hannah because they are environmentalists who actually practice it and live it. and, you know i've read about ed begley's very, very spartan life his small footprint of energy output. you know he doesn't fly very often, once in a great while he may make a bicoastal trip but i respect that. you know whether i agree with it or not to me, if you have a conviction, then just live it out. >> yeah. >> and if it's authentic, we'll see it in you. if it's not then don't tell me how to live. don't be al gore and say that the oceans are about to, you know overtake the coast and then build a 20,000-foot home right there on the coast. [laughter] i mean that's just -- i'm sorry, that doesn't make sense to me. if you think that your oceanfront property is about to become washed into the sea, why the heck would you build it? >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> nicholas wapshott is next on
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booktv. he recounts president franklin d. roosevelt's involvement in the debate between interventionists and isolation is prior to america's entry into world war ii. this is about 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome back to lunch and learn, i'm david cowan president of the museum of american finance, and today we're going to hear from nicholas wapshott on his book, "the sphinx." nicholas graduated with a degree in politics and then started his career in newspapers. he rose through the ranks of the london times the world's oldest continuous newspaper to become its features editor which means he wrote profiles of everybody from playwrights to politicians and everybody in between. and then he moved over to the
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world's oldest sunday continuous sunday newspaper the london observer, to do a similar thing. returns to the times, comes over the pond here to be their north american correspondent, and then joins the new york sun as national and foreign editor as well as a columnist. so welcome say that nicholas has worked for a very wide range across the political spectrum of different editorial continuum or editorial content from different newspapers. he now is the international editor of "newsweek" where he presides over the museum's foreign and u.s. political coverage, and he's also a reuters correspondent. he's a regular guest on cnn, on msnbc, fox news abc, he's also a reuters columnist. he's been on the charlie rose show, he helped found the daily beast, and he ran the editorial side of oprah winfrey's web site. now, the book "the sphinx," we
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know is a very well-researched piece of work because it's got over 1400 footnotes in it. so we can certainly say that nicholas has done his homework. now, i'm going to let you hear from nicholas how he came about this title, but i'm going to share something from our archives so we have another riddle of the sphinx and that is something that fdr wrote six days before great crash of 1929 which occurs on october 29, 1929, six days before he is governor of the new york at the time, and he writes his broker to sell some securities. that seems pretty prescient. but then no fdr, what does he write underneath it? buy insed of sell -- instead of sell if you think best, fdr. now, i know a lot of brokers, and if they love a stock at 50, they really love it at 40 and love it even more at 30 and on top of that the broker would
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have doubled his commissions. we don't know what happened, and there is no fate attached to this riddle, but we can certainly guess that maybe the broker did, in fact, buy instead of sell. the book is "the sphinx." nicholas, all yours. >> thank you very much indeed, for such a warm welcome. and ladies and gentlemen, it's a great pleasure to be here at the museum of american finance. this is a story which can be cut in many different ways. this is a very rich turning point in the four-term presidency which is, of of course, unprecedented in utah of franklin d. roosevelt. of the two greatest problems to be solved in the 20th century, from an american point of view one was the great crash of '29 and the great depression that followed it, and the other was the threat of expansionism from dictators, nazis and fascists among them. franklin roosevelt actually managed to combine -- first of all, he presided over both and he cured both and he actually managed to cure the first one by
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encouraging the second one, if you like. but let me start off explaining to you why it's called "the sphinx." as mrs. clinton has discovered, there's a lot to be said for not declaring your intentions if you're a presidential candidate. because as soon as you say that you're going to stand for something, then orr people can also start -- other people can also start running for something. whereas if you're the preeminent person, the leader in an unstated pack of competitors then the best thing to do is to keep quiet. franklin roosevelt, in order to encourage the american nation into what he thought inevitably would be america's intervention in world war ii, he knew that he needed a third term, and he knew he needed to be reelected in november 1940. this, of course is very problematic for americans because jefferson and washington both gave great warnings about
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how america should not become involved in foreign entanglements. so he kept his own counsel, and which every now and again he was a sort of wicked, humorous person franklin roosevelt and he used to put up unlikely candidates, postmaster general or harry hopkins, people who had not even run for any elected office in their life which distracted the press for a couple of weeks and then, of course, they worked out they were just being thrown another bone. and so in the end with less than a year to go before the november 1940 elections so we're talking about about december 1939 the gridiron dinner that's the dinner which the white house correspondents throw in order to celebrate the president every year they invited franklin roosevelt to their latest dinner, and he walked into the ballroom in a grand washington, d.c. hotel and there was an eight-foot-long, suggestion-foot-high -- six-foot, high golden sphinx
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with his face on it with a little jaunty cigarette holder and with pin snares and so on. he laughed his head off, of course, because he knew that they knew the game that he was playing. but he instantly said i'll have that for my presidential library, if you don't mind. and if you go to hyde park which has been recently revived and refurbished and well worth looking at it even if you thought you knew it, it's been changed and improved you will see in a glass case that very sphinx that i'm talking about. now, this story, i think it's one of the biographers -- [inaudible] to tell a story through individuals. and you could get no better person than franklin roosevelt and all the other people involved here. the heroes like franklin roosevelt and winston churchill are immensely good company, and the villains are really good villains. william randolph hearst, the citizen cape if you like -- "citizen kane", if you like, so
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was charles lindbergh so was a man could charles cochran who was really the inventer of hate radio. he was -- he came before all of the other people who rant and rave today. he had a vast listenership, and he was profoundly anti-fdr particularly when it came to foreign policy. there were also wicked anti-semites like henry ford who used to issue a daily newspaper praising isolationism through all of his ford distribution deal cans. so you would -- deals. so you would actually pick one up at the showroom, spiteful stuff about how the jews were running the country down. and then there were ancillary people like walt disney who was also anti-semitic, and he was a person who welcomed lenny -- [inaudible] to hollywood when all of the other hollywood moguls passed on that one. and dealing with all of these personalities it should be remembered, lest we forget that actually history is made up of personalities, and strong personalities can make an
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enormous difference. sure, there are big movements socioeconomic movements that take place behind all events. but in the case of most stories if you have someone as strong as fdr or as strong as churchill you can make a real difference. it reminds me that henry kissinger once asked lai if it had not been john f. kennedy that had been asaws naughted but nikita cruise chaf, what difference would it make to the world? he said i don't think aristotle onassis would have proposed to mrs. khrushchev. [laughter] and that's a sign that all of these things may change. i'll give you an example because it's essential to understanding in the story. because we are here at the museum of american finance i thought i'd concentrate on a single element, and that is how america took over from britain as the ruling country in the world. and it wasn't very pretty
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actually because america really became the preeminent nation in the world at the time of really world war i. and it was at that time that woodrow wilson tried to encourage america to live up to its responsibilities that went with its wealth and its extraordinary population, to take part in the governance of the world through the league of nationsment and he tried very -- nations. and he tried very hard to encourage congress to pass the treaty that would allow the league of nations to be set up. that, as you will all remember, went terribly wrong. woodrow wilson suffered a traumatic and compromising stroke which meant that for the last 18 months or so of his presidency he was hopeless. but before that and this is why we're talking about sort of dysfunctional marriages and so on with the aristotle onassis story, it reminds me that franklin roosevelt was woodrow wilson's assistant secretary of the navy.
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and he had grown up as -- remember, i don't know whether you saw the fine series of films on pbs, profiles of the roosevelt family from teddy roosevelt through to eleanor roosevelt by ken burns. astonishing. if you haven't seen it, please try and see it because it's extraordinary, it's wonderful. 21 hours, i think it is in total, if you've got a lot of time to spend. but in that you will remember that franklin roosevelt had a are large sexual appetite let's put it that way. he not only had five children of his own, but he couldn't restrain himself when he came across attractive women particularly if they were within the family. and he ran into trouble when he started having an affair with eleanor roosevelt's personal assistant, lucy mercer. and he was unwell. he was in europe visiting some naval establishments. the trunks were sent home. eleanor, being dutiful wife
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unpacked hem and there were the -- them and there were the love letters wrapped up. and that led to a confrontation between eleanor and franklin where they worked out a deal and that was to say if you really want to go as far as you can go in politics, you will need to have an unblemished private life. i could halt your career in a moment's notice if we get a divorce, so let's work it out in this way. you carry on, you never see lucy mercer again, and you allow me to live an independent life, and i will express my own views. and what's more when you become in a position of power you will take notice of them and you will try to put them into action. they seal this deal with a trip back across the atlantic in 1918. the treaty of versailles was being negotiated in paris and woodrow wilson was presiding over it. on the way out, franklin roosevelt's great mentor -- his fifth cousin teddy roosevelt, former president -- died.
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teddy roosevelt as you may remember, was a real gung ho, action man who encouraged franklin roosevelt at every turn to put on the uniform and get involved in the fight and to do all sorts of things that teddy roosevelt had done in order to impress himself upon the american public. the end of teddy roosevelt's life left franklin roosevelt with a void. and-soon fill -- and this was soon filled because when they were coming back across the atlantic, they ended up coming to boston from france. they shared the ship with woodrow wilson and his wife, edith. and wilson had with him a copy of the league of nations, the first charter copy of the league of nations. and they pulled it out on the dining table, and the four of them rambled over it and pointed out this, that and the other. and it inspired roosevelt and changed his mind completely. he believed it was time for america to step up to the plate and take its responsibilities in
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the world seriously. he also thought that to do this the british empire -- which he disliked, he was a patrician as you know, he was comfortably well off. he enjoyed in today's money a trust fund which was worth $1.4 million a year so he didn't need to work for a living much and he devoted himself to to bringing this about. as the vice presidential candidate in 1920, he stood on having the league of nations charter put into action. of course, it got absolutely nowhere. so it was unfinished business when by 1932 he became the president, and he started the various tasks that were before him. his principal immediate task of course was try to do what he could to solve some of of the mass unemployment. we're talking about millions and millions of americans on food lines, so that was his first problem to solve. ..
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arms to britainstage. france had gone, "corruption in america: from benjamin franklin's snuff box to citizens united" was still -- still there but only "corruption in america: from benjamin franklin's snuff box to citizens united" and britain as a whole of the allied
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coalition was left to counter nazism, more than anything else and some very adept fighting by the battle of britain. there was a question how much money britain had left. it was fascinating that is why we are in this limitation in wall street, i should point it out to you. by the end of 1939, mainly $545 million diminishing at the rate of 200 million a year. since war had been declared they spent $4.5 billion building american armaments factories. they decided in a famous cabinet meeting they could last until 1943 and the money would be completely gone. it became a priority for churchill and roosevelt how to supply britain with all the arms
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it needed congress would not allow them to supply them. wouldn't allow them to lend them money. in the first world war, enormous amounts of money went to the british and battalions and hadn't paid it back and that is still stuck in the craw of congress too. america demanded like someone presiding over bankruptcy that britain prove they didn't have any money left and frederick phillips from the foreign office was sent across to washington and he opened the books, first time a sovereign nation opened the books to another nation to say we are going broke fast and roosevelt was entirely convinced he knew this was the case but it didn't stop him, britain was in
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front of him from exacting the absolute maximum amount of money possible before he would go the final wrong and invent a way of coming out of this particular dilemma for both countries. i will give you an example. what was happening was franklin roosevelt, people often put churchill and roosevelt in the same boat, they were from grand families and so on. churchill was the son of a duke. a number of books -- there was a profound difference. franklin roosevelt was well to the left of churchill, churchill was an old imperialists to believed the british empire was set up by a divine presence for them to rule half of the
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world's. you may remember not long ago when half of the world was painted pink which was the color of the british empire. franklin roosevelt, believing woodrow wilson's notion that each notion -- each nation should have its independence and finding some way in the world decided world war ii meant anything it meant the end of the british empire. that is why he was happy in a way to press his advantage. i will give you an example, a list of things that had to be handed over. british ownership of trans american railroads and rubber plantations in malaysia were handed over to the united states. roosevelt asked at one point how about selling those securities in argentina? the other companies, shell oil,
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brown and williams tobacco were all sold to american interests at a knockdown rate before america would help provide arms nothing. they even sent a destroyer to cape town for us to pick up $50 billion worth of gold. that to put it in perspective if you remember the sum of money that was used to save the west from the great recession was a hundred billion dollars, that is how much money that gold was worth, brought back from africa and it lies today in 4 blocks -- for knocks a news, it is not used at all. when they ran out, roosevelt considered whether some islands should be given away, some colonies handed over to the united states. he was thinking of bermuda, the
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british west indies, honduras and british guiana and also island south of hawaii, the phoenix group down to samoa and southwest of hawaii there were other islands but he decided not to do that because he said that will mean a lot of colonial people to look after and territory particularly in the pacific so that is not the best way to go about things. eventually britain did run out of money and it coincided with -- he would use the u.s. navy as a personal flotilla. he would call up a destroyer and go aboard for a couple weeks. that is what he did when britain ran out of money and realize there was nothing else to do except either give up, give from british the arms which would
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have been impossible because congress would not have allowed it and so his solution was to be found somewhere and he went on board the wonderfully named -- see if i can find it -- tupaloos tupaloosa tupaloosa. is that how you pronounced it? thank you very much. he took with him a bunch of panels. they used to fish by day, they drank a lot of martinees which was roosevelt's favorite drink but then flying boat delivered a letter from roosevelt which he considered one of the most important letters i ever wrote and he said he now believe the future of the two democracy invent the civilization for which they stand are bound up
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with survival and independence of the british commonwealth and the control of the pacific by the united states navy is the surest means to prevent the war from reaching the shore of the united states. a very careful letter as you can see. the more rapid and abundant flow of ammunition and ships the sooner will the credit be exhausted. the fact was the more you help us the more we can go broke so you have to find a way out of it and it so also said this. can you imagine this was a letter from a proud man, the president of the united states reconsidered a friend. one in principle, at the height of the struggle which began a test of all a saleable assets so if a victory is won with our blood, civilizations' saved and time gain for the united states to be fully armed against all
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eventuality is we should stand stripped to the bun. roosevelt read the letter, said i am going to disappear in a lot of days he brooded on it, sit at the end of the deck. he could see him doing it. finally he said i think i got it. went back to washington d.c. and gave an extraordinary press conference. this was always the case. playing with the press, what have you got to tell us? you have been on the high seas for a couple weeks. possibly one thing or if talking about, then he said this. in the mind of a very overwhelming number of americans, the best defense of the united states is success of great britain in defending
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itself and aside from our historic and current interest in democracy in the world as a whole it is equally important from a selfish point of view that we do everything to help the british empire to defend itself. the trick was this. is one of the most ingenious things politician has ever done. he said what i am trying to do is eliminate the dollar-sign. get rid of the silly foolish old dollar-sign. suppose my neighbor's home catches fire and i have a link the garden hose 400 feet away. if you can connect it with this hydrant i may help put out the fire. what do i do? my garden hose in dollars, you have to pay me $15 for it. i don't want $15. i want my garden hose back after the fire is over.
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goes through the fire all right intact without any damage, gives it back and thinks the for the use of it. there are holes in it during the fire. don't have to have much formality but i say to him i am glad to lend you that, i can't use it anymore, it is all smashed up all right he says i will replace it. i am in pretty good shape. that was the foundation of the thing which allowed the wall to continue. of course it didn't take 12 months almost before pearl harbor which pressed the matter andy and the isolationists gave up their attempt to keep america out of the war and america could take its full part during the whole of 1941. luckily was used in order to keep the nazis on the other side of the english channel and didn't do any more damage in a world apart from within their immediate ariane and not a very
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edifying story. it has not been told very much before either. you can see why. is embarrassing on both sides. pretty shaming for churchill and the british to think they had to go bust before the americans could help them. and the same for roosevelt. roosevelt thought i should be doing as a right thing but because congress wouldn't do anything i would have to do all of these miserable things first and a more general view about americana taking over. there was one person and wheeler who was one of the principal isolationists got to the heart of the argument he said this. if it is our war, he said how can we justify lending them stuff and asking them to pay us
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back if it is our war, we ought to have the courage to go over and fight it. then he said it is not our war. that was a decision between dealer and roosevelt. roosevelt knew it was america's war but it would prefer that it wasn't. largely untold story about having its pockets picked before america came in to join the war on his behalf before it took place. a very unhappy story in some respects, because the result was as soon as america entered the war it was obvious the nazis would be defeated and japan would be defeated. i will leave it there and ask for any questions you might like to ask. i can tell you have got something. >> some of the background was
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again back in verisign where america might have felt reaction but in terms of setting up the treaty, the old thing of reparations and so forth, the british and french in particular made such a mess of things and so punitive toward the germans that it made it impossible given other circumstances difficult for the germans to revive their economy and set in motion the next war. >> a brilliant book about paris, 1919, she explained very clearly how the brits in particular, the french even more because the french had the germans across their border on a regular basis, at this time they would defeat the germans forever. they wanted to turn germany into an agrarian society. this was extraordinary. and they did.
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they impose the enormous reparation and the germans were indignant because at this time they had thrown out the kaiser and for a democratic country and mostly social democrats too, pretty soft and taken by surprise to be given a list of things they have to pay every year in perpetuity affectively. it should be said -- it was part of the british treasury a book that made him world famous, economic consequences of peace, if we do this we will have another war with degeneration and he was right as he was right about so many other things that you are absolutely right. the seeds were sown right back in world war i. i am thinking there are two junctions when america could have taken the leadership of the world. woodrow wilson flied to do it earlier than american public opinion would allow him to do it and franklin roosevelt did it when he had a perfect chance and he learned many lessons from
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woodrow wilson's failure, woodrow wilson said we want to have a victory without victors. we want peace without victories and franklin roosevelt said there will be no treaty. we don't get into that again. this is going to be unconditional surrender, no attempt the and two week before the end of the war we will not be listening to germans wanted to deal. there will be no one to deal with and we can set up the postwar institutions as we like without any treaty and that meant setting up things like the imf, the currency regulator which kept everything on track, the united nations above all which was the league of nations in a different form which was set up after the conference at san francisco. there was nothing for the senate to debate and so you are absolutely right. this is a fascinating and very rich story altogether because
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everything comes together in a small period when roosevelt has to do the deal. >> the only thing i would add is the sense that he wasn't simply being anti empire. he also wanted the united states drawn into the primary ally and not just negotiate with the other ally and britain, which meant in part going as far as he could. >> by the time france had fallen, if america came into the war it would be the preeminent allied because it was going to pay the bills and churchill knew that pretty well and did a lot of bluster, tried to imply -- tried to reserve a place at the table. it was roosevelt's war and his strategy to go for europe before
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japan. marshall is an extraordinary man who worked out a plan to revise europe so it wouldn't fall to communism in the postwar period but that was done with good keynesian stimulus money which kept everybody happy. great question. >> we live in a day when people say there is an icy relationship between the president and the other party or congress and i am wondering how did fdr deal with this. was the friendly with the isolationists in congress? did he have a personal relationship was it very i see with titans of industry? did he have personal relationships as well or was it very difficult? >> franklin roosevelt was a very affable man who liked to be friendly with everybody. wasn't quite as good at manipulating congress like lyndon johnson but he was very friendly and had people in all
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of time. defect was the isolationists just would not budge. nothing he could do to persuade some so he assumed he would have to live without them and try to find ways around their blocking neutrality legislation and they were pretty ingenious. bernard baroque came up with the cash and carry business. before that you could not supply anybody who was involved in war but they also came up with you could sell airplane parts to canada to be reassembled and they were flown to britain. there are many we's, ingenious ways the administration to work around when presidents find themselves in congress won't let them do anything. executive action is called and some people are better at getting away with it than the current president. when it came to the isolationists, he always maintained good relations with
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them. he was a power to william randolph hearst and the horse -- yahoo! whole thing was buzz off. joe kennedy had a strange love/a relationship, one of the great tracks about not announcing and there for getting rid of everybody else can you imagine joe biden in a moment trying to raise some money? what is the debt that? is a waste of money but in the case of joe kennedy, he wanted to be the president and thought i am the only person who can and i am so ridge i can run my own campaign and don't need help from anybody sell he was hoping but it was such an extent joe kennedy's whole career was a result of roosevelt, he caught him in a trap roosevelt needed
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foreign policy experience and said i would like to be the american ambassador in london. roosevelt fought why should i give the final card in his hand? on the other hand if he gets to london, that is what he did. left him swinging. kennedy would even come back and spend weeks on end in his compound in florida plotting against roosevelt and roosevelt would call him up and say don't you know there is a war on? mr. chamberlain is asking about you. get back to london. it is almost amazing charm. one of the great delights about roosevelt, you meet every day this extraordinary broad character. was distinct to everybody, even people like frankfurter never knew quite what he was talking about. if he said one thing did he mean it? probably not. he was that sort of character.
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whoever was in front of him, as long as they were in front of him but as soon as they left the door a wonderful story about how joe kennedy called from london at one stage and we know this because lyndon johnson was in the oval office and franklin roosevelt saying yes, tell me, how is the family and everything? and linda johnson -- it isyndon johnson -- it is the real, day. to live through these times with such a light air. they all get into a bunker eventually but franklin roosevelt was always out and about. he had a family living with him, doctors living with him, two grandchildren all in the white house. the whole thing was going gangbusters. until late in his life, and his mother also interfering with his life.
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he took it all, very happy and smiling, extraordinary, actually teddy roosevelt he didn't have very good intellect, had a perfect temperament to be president of franklin roosevelt, even more than that. any more questions? here is a fellow. >> thanks for the presentation. one of your points was you felt britain had its pockets picked before the war but the thought struck me as far as the long-term repercussions of the u.s. increasing its military. at the time it was the highest percentage of gdp and remained a bit higher in britain putting a lot of stress on citizens as far as maintaining that so if you are a citizen of britney were thinking you got a raw deal but looking back two generations,
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the burden is more on the u.s.'s shoulders. >> absolutely. for america to become a world policeman instead of britain is a good idea. i am american and british, britain got 60, 65 million people, relatively small nation with no natural resources great at trading and banking, the wall street business, very good at that and makes good money at that but to run the world particularly when you had to do it a place like india. and to maintain it. be on the competence of britain. and winston churchill himself, it was worth holding on to the whole of the empire. we were what you wish for, franklin roosevelt, america was the greatest nation in the
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world. and and all of the korean war and vietnam war the two iraq worse, horribly expensive. nothing to show for it. it was heartbreaking to be the top dog in life. you can see why too. one of the great achievements of franklin roosevelt was the way it could never be used again. it is so poisonous, gets to that point of view. let me stress before i go any further i am not an isolationist. and go on to say why they are 9 interventionist where many of the euphemisms. and helping people abroad
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foreign aid, they think the military should be cut drastically in the interest of fiscal conscience keeping the deficit down but what it would mean if you remove half of america's military. since 1945 in places like japan, korea, germany, all of these defeated nations and they are there for purpose to they turn the world and when people say maybe china ought to step up to the plate a bit more often, particularly when there are famines or the ebola crisis, would we really want china, the sheriff's deputy stepping in to it's part of the world when it
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wants to, there is not much discussed. that is what american foreign policy is. we had two wars simultaneously for more than a decade. we are a war-weary nation right now. at the same time when it comes to isis, all the opinion polls bounce right back and we were prepared to do something. in 1939-1940 there is an ambiguity about what americans feel about whether they should keep their nose out of it. >> we have room for another question or two. >> a good deal of roosevelt's attention during the first two terms or at least the first one was devoted to issues about gold, the relationship between
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the dollar and gold. whether the dollar should be freed from gold reserves. to what extent did that color his view of this issue? of sending material, and what would be appropriate payment for that? >> difficult to be certain for sure because he was no economist at all. i don't think he understood what he was fiddling around with during the new deal, let's try everything and whatever works let's keep doing that. there was no great plan. when he came out he said i hoped he would be more of an economist than he is. you was very straightforward. they were all looked over by brokers and his wife or his mother. he is not a man who would walk
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around with loose cash on him. it was pretty basic and also talking about a pre keynesian position. we don't get a general theory until 1956 and it was instant overnight sensation, young economist rushed to d.c. and how could we apply this in the new deal? that was way beyond his ken. he didn't know what was going on. he didn't know they arrived or were playing series that meant you could cure the great depression by war, which is exactly what john maynard keynes had said. it was rather chilling when he said it but he said i wonder if the amount of money needed to cure something is as profound as the great depression might be in the scale of the amount of money would have to spend in order to wage war. ..
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and it wasn't the gold standard but effectively was because it was all measured against an absolute quantity of something. but i think that as we can see from what i've been quoting about taking the dollar sign out another lend already lease. roosevelt had a certain amount of disdain for money, and moneyed people and a disdain formanned people and their concerns and the gold bugs would have left hmm completely cold. that an intellectual leap beyond
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his understanding. what's more he would have very little sympathy for people who only measured everything with money. he measured it by money other things, a lot to do with his personal morality about standing up to evil standing up to profoundly awkward people, which he was quite capable of doing, as we saw in the end. he did the descent thing and america triumphed in the war and it's been america's world ever since. for which i must say i'm grateful. i guess my understanding understanding of wagner would be better if spoke german. anymore? [applause] >> the sphinx, on sale now. thank you very much.


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