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tv   Book Discussion on 1941  CSPAN  July 17, 2016 6:15pm-7:01pm EDT

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[inaudible conversations] good afternoon and welcome to the roosevelt library's reading festival we are glad to have you here today. he knows i'm channeling him and he wanted it to be a communication for people to explore his presidency and the issues that he encountered so we are glad you could be here as well for today and we are especially pleased in the 75th anniversary year and we invite you all to be part of this on june 30. if you enjoy these types of programs and others, please
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become a member. we would like that. you can go to the website at if you've been here before, you know the format. he would speak for about an hour and then we will have ten minutes of questions. then it would be happy to speak about the book. he is an independent and a historian. his book title "1941" is an advertisement for the 75th anniversary in his own book. fighting the shadow war he's also the author of the millionaires and the aristocratic fly boys thought the war and invented power.
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he's written for "vanity fair," smithsonian and the town and country. town and country. he's also spoken across the country and appeared on cnn, npr, c-span and tv. he is a graduate of princeton university and he lives in connecticut. please. [applause] it is absolutely wonderful to be here this afternoon. thank you to the archivists. i did a lot of research for the book and they make it possible to create books like these as bill mentioned i want to thank
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president delora roosevelt for putting the title of my book all around the place. it wasn't an accident, at least not his founding of the library. i don't know whether he intended it as my title of course. seriously, h his planning for ts library began well before of course he did think he was good to be retiring and leaving the presidency. he sold the war on this horizon. seeing the war isn't the same as
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acting. and action was in fact what was called for. and that's today 76 years ago. let's think back about that today. with freedom and democracy among the nations. french forces had just capitulated to the germans and not the soldiers were marching down. in all of scandinavia and western europe.
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that is thanks to the three speeches that took place this very day 75 years ago. two of the most celebrated today's in modern historofdays e is little known today. winston churchill warned that hitler would turn his full fury on the british isles. his wife made me promise i wouldn't do a winston churchill imitation. it depends the survival of christian civilization.
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if the whole world including the united states and he's making sure americans including the united states sinking into the abyss of a new dark age. he roused the people for war and despite desperately depleted war after thforafter the debacle ind france he braced them for the battle that would forever after be known as their finest hour. a little known is that in his conclusion of the speech, he warned that should, or rather he invoked the notion that sugar can fall, because there was no guarantee brick-and-mortar not fall in the face of the impending nazi onslaught, that america would one day come to liberate the old world.
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the bbc from london and the french general charles de gaulle emphasized the character. i could talk with a french accent now but i think my wife would kill me for that. france is not alone in her darkest hour launching the french national army in exile. he also looked across the atlantic for help. this war hasn't been decided by the battle of france. this is a worldwide war.
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this one little remembered. it was a national radio address to near the campus of yale university which challenged americans to respond to the unfolding catastrophe of europe. he was a private citizen at the time but widely regarded as the nation's elder statesman. he had held numerous federal posts since the theodore roosevelt administration while moving in and ou out of a carees a wall street banking attorney with a break as a 49-year-old to head the army artillery regiment on the western front of france. he was a progressive republican who served president william howard taft as the secretary of war and herbert hoover secretary
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of state. the country faced the greatest crisis of its history based upon the law and justice instead of force. it seems like a quaint notion now 75 years. with china and southeast asia partially overrun by the japanese, the world was divided almost in two pieces by the fundamentally opposed camps echoing abraham lincoln, he warned the world cannot permanently endure half slave and half free. the danger he said is clear shepperton fall and germany take its fleet.
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the nation faced an emergency which is ill prepared and still worse prevented from facing the neutrality laws. the government could and arm belligerence either friendly belligerents all war goods sold by american manufacturers. american shoulamerican ships mee forbidden from carrying purchased weaponry ammunitions to the war zones. they provided support to any nation at war. hitler attacks in europe and japan and china.
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they called for the repeal of the acts into th and the rearmie british while also they asked the u.s. supports the open to the warships for repair and resupply and congress to send weapons and aircraft to the allies and to our own ships and under convoy. with the navy attacking those convoyconvoys and inevitably the was saying we should be prepared to go to war. most significantly for his listeners, he called for the creation of a draft army for the conscription. the unitethat united states in 4 years never drafted and army in peacetime, not a single soldier had ever been conscripted except in a time of war.
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he concluded that june 18 talk by saying i believe should we find our people we should find are people ready to take their proper part. that was a tall order with hitler's troops in paris and effectively having conquered almost all of europe. the next day president roosevelt called the stems and as i said who was a republican and asked him to become the secretary of war and he told stems and when he asked i agree with everything you said in the radio address. like many people he agree agreet the president would soon move.
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fast forward another year, jun june 181941, by this point germany had consolidated its hold either further on europe including over the previous two months conquering yugoslavia and greece. he was moving through north africa and attend the vital canal. hitler hailed from the arctic circle in the north to the southern shores of the mediterranean. from the north sea english channel in france all the way to the border of the soviet union. it is more than 3 million troops on the border for the for an invasion thaforeigninvasion thae six days later. so what was going on here?
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at that moment, switzerland. it showed about 75% of americans thought that the fall of great britain would pose a serious danger to the united states. they found almost 85% said that nonetheless, no americans should fight a foreign war. they agreed no american troops in europe. in the heat of the 1940 presidential campaign.
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to go fight a foreign war unless we were attacked. as you know, he made the united states which passed the arsenal of democracy and we began sending the aid to the btis but he would go under the protection of the u.s. navy. is effectively lots of those tanks and airplanes and bombs and guns and bullets and aviation fuel and scrap metal were dependent on to continue the fight went to the bottom of the ocean.
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a year after the fall of europe we are the arsenal of democracy. we were not the army of democracy. it was to save or spend. so, why was the u.s. so isolationist? why weren't we coming to the aid of the british and chinese and crushed nations of the world when the world was filtering out the war and atrocity and others of nazi germany and the other conquered land why did we remain the arsenal and not the army of democracy. the isolationists came from across the political spec from
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it came from the communist party up to the nazi invasion of the union on the 22nd 1941 when they did a u-turn and said it's time to come to the aid and defeat hitler. there were also active sympathizers in the united states, quite a lot of them. one of them is philip johnson who would later be the most influential architect in the world and was already a major pacemaker. he went into poland galati army in 1939 as a reporter for his pro- nazi social justice publication. he went alongside the german propaganda ministry with the radio correspondent and then he
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came back to the united states basically talking about what he had seen in his view and johnson's case advocating isolation and sympathy for the nazis and he warned about the inevitability of the war with hitler. those were some of the elected elements americans were exposed to, but these included ted roosevelt junior, the son of president theodore roosevelt. the rough rider president franklin roosevelt's fifth cousin. he was a hero from world war i of the american legion and later he would be on d-day the
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roosevelt hated the hyde park roosevelt and there was a family battle. it's as franklin roosevelt was pushing towards the intervention in the war. others include president herbert hoover. thanks to the goods and purchase of u.s. government purchases the good times were rolling in the united states for the first time since the great depression so you can also understand from an economic perspective, people
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didn't want to go to the war, they wanted to find a card they could purchase. they finally had enough food to eat but there were other reasons. there were the memories the wiping out of a generation of young european men in the trenches of the western front of world war i. the history's largest colonial empire. now, through this all come fdr was not idle unlike president wilson whom he served with during world war i. president roosevelt pursued what he recognized as unnatural
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actions. he was sending the american navy ever deeper into the atlantic ocean towards europe. finding the foreign ships and event announcing on clear channel. it's for the british to come up and the american ships would drop away and enabling the british to attack. he was also in secret sending american flyers. we had american naval air man going over the aircraft.
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it was with the aircraft fighter and abroad in what resulted to the bismarck. now, he was unafraid of using the subterfuge constitutionally dubious means to get aid the chinese and british. they also have the majorit had f the american opinion behind th them. a group of students formed the committee for america first. the organization's platform called for no intervention, no arm to the foreign nations and that we should build up america's home defenses.
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he would be the president of yale during the vietnam war and then later the ambassador to london. a future supreme court justice founder of the peace corps sergeant shriver the future president gerald ford at harvard for some of the ambassador kennedy was in charge there and john kennedy sent a hundred dollar donation telling the america first committee that what you are doing is so vital. so in addition the american newspapers were by and large to intervention in particular but also "the chicago tribune" which was a massive loudspeaker in the upper midwest. the new york daily news to close
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with intervention. when a deviation hero charles lindbergh became the america first chief spokesman for membership boomed and went to 800,000 members. the largest antiwar organization in american history. they have what we are seeing is a trump quality to them. we have people that have higher reactionaries and in many ways bigoted outlooks including anti-semitic views. they returned the protest and
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clashes with pro- intervention supporters. we spent hours going through the diaries and there are these elegant little black books, leather bound which she made meticulous notes about the activities in the thoughts and views and i've read a number of biographies and studies. the push for the u.s. to push for the british. was the major force pushing into the war and he warned in his
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diary pushing the nation too far would result in a violent reaction that was worse here than it was in germany. he would say things like a ventilator broke down at the rally. but above all, he criticized what he saw as the influence of jews in the media and advertising. there is evidence in "the new york times" in hollywood they had an significant ownershi insf the media at the time. with the fdr opponent in the
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1940 election. from 1940 throughout 1941, it became a duel between fdr and lindbergh for the hearts and minds of the american people. what the white house cover to go after lindbergh, they would stick fdr on him and they get a wiretahad awiretap trying to fin demand he called him in so many words a traitor. his cabinet members were far more butchery -- the tree all at. there was another shadow war going on at the time. a cloak and dagger war from great britain, germany and japan and the united states.
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they were to pick up the u.s. opinion and they were also spying on each other and attempting in particular the british monitor. it's a close off the trade is the possibility that the british were even involved in the murder of the nazi sympathizer that u.s. senator in an airplane crash in the unexplained causes. it was set up in rockefeller center in midtown manhattan called the british passport control office. they had about 3,000 agents. they said william stephenson
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here as an operative with his agents ian fleming used this experience as modeled for james brown. he also said tha set up a schooy operations just over the border with new york state. they identified the german agents in the united states. they also forged documents which tried to implement germany planning for an invasion of the western hemisphere. he refused to share to show it
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to anybody and apparently it was obvious that it was a forgery to invite j. edgar hoover. he would consider the hero of the period and that is harry hopkins who moved back to the white house in may of 1940 with the invasion of france he was the guest who never left he became a hand in glove then he y called the deputy president. politics in the wheelchair kept fdr stuck in washington and hyde
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park. he sent harry hopkins as his adversary to meet with churchill to see if he was a man he could depend upon as an ally. he came back saying we have to do everything we possibly can to keep the british isles afloat and he ended up being the administrator overseeing the release of his bedroom. he is potentially worse than fascism. he would extend to the soviets and make what many felt would be a fault of the soviet union until ultimately the pathway too
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the distraction of hitler. fdr was unwilling to buck the isolationists. he was unable to fire the first shot. he wanted to lure him into firing the first shot until the american people would push him into the war.
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it's the climax at the log end of my book the u.s. was attacked at pearl harbor. we joined the grand alliance has defeated tyranny around the world. with that, thank you. [applause] i welcome your questions at the microphone so the listeners at home can hear. >> clearly his legacy is a very next one. he is -- his name is on the
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streets and schools and a major u.s. airport and obviously he is honored in many ways the spirit of st. louis. he wrote the plot against america and america first was actually planning it was determined political in 1942. they would say in the shout out lindbergh for president. now there was no evidence that i've seen that's lindbergh had any intention of actually running for office. but it's very murky and
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ambivalent legacy that he has and there's no question about that. he was a complex man and a brilliant and brave one, but from the standpoint of what took place in world war ii in the period i side with henry stimson who said in pearl harbor to ask for his commission back henry stimson said anybody that broke out against the interest of this country. he was forced against his will to work stateside with the development of aircraft and then he did on his own go to the
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pacific and slide the fighting machines but these were as a freebooter. i've read ones. we talk about the big peace movement across the college campuses. have you any truth to that on the college campuses much during the 1930s? >> the question of how in the organized efforts what support they received possibly from the german embassy the german embassy and its consulates were actively supporting various
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organizations and i would say that in fact the communist party was far more influential on college campuses and in the antiwar movement in the period. i haven't come across this sort of direct one-to-one evidence that says there was specific infiltrators from nazi germany but there's no question that many of these organizations have support from the german embassy. they have to be very careful because americans, we have to understand although americans were highly isolationists paper also sympathetic to what was happening particularly to the
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british as the reports began to come back thanks to edward and borough -- edwin murdo. as the reports were coming back about the bombing of london and the horrors of nazi's were visiting so there was always a danger if they were supporting any specific organizations that organization would get in trouble. on the him other hand they had german embassy personnel writing the speech is for them. so that aspect is quite clear. >> there is evidence of certain
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activities but they didn't have to be very careful they didn't want to be discovered. >> with the others they violated the law and the neutrality act with the lease and other actions. what but i don't recall readingi would like to do to respond is there any legal challenge mounting the actions to block them from occurring? >> that's a good question. i'm not aware of any direct challenge but i may simply not be aware. fdr was passed by congress, so that was passed and went throu through. as far as some of his other
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actions as he began to actually send the navy further and further out we occupied iceland and a sovereign nation in july, 1941. he had american forces patrolling within a few hundred miles of great britain deep in the combat zone, and some of the ships were sunk. he also got an opinion from his lawyers saying he had the right to actually convoy ships without congressional approval. now, only very late did he have to send convoys out. i will be in the hall to sign
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books and happy to talk with you further. [applause]
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we will take some questions "after words" if you have some. i always feel like i should interview you. i name is del over and i am the author of a good month for murder. i've always been intrigued by police work in homicides and how they do their job. with my dad i would read hardy boy mysteries and i would steal crime novels for my dad. there was a time i thought i wanted to be a detective myself and i changed course


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