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tv   2019 Mississippi Book Festival  CSPAN  August 17, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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and audible conversations. [inaudible conversations] good afternoon and thank you for coming to our live panel, 4:00 panel, world war ii. this will last about 45 minutes.
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we will have about 15 minutes for q&a. we have any representatives in the room? think them. [applause] >> at the pleasure of introducing our moderator. not only an attorney with the jackson law firm but recently retired as general in the air national guard. thank you for your service. [applause] >> welcome everyone to this final panel of the afternoon. we want to extend a special welcome for those who may be watching this on c-span. i'm not sure how i ended up being the moderator here. the owner of the bookstore for
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whom i've purchased many books on world war ii, suggests i might be an appropriate moderator. i was born april 24, 1944 during world war ii. i was born six weeks before d-day. my father was serving overseas in the army national guard, sorry, the u.s. army. world war ii has always had a profound influence upon my family and my childhood and my entire life. in a moment i will introduce all three of the distinguished authors who constitute our panel this afternoon. i would like to recognize anyone in the audience who may be a veteran of the u.s. armed forces. if you seem served in the
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military, please stand to be recognized. [applause] let me proceed the introduction to our three panelists. after i've introduced them, i will call upon them to say a few words about his most recent book or other books and we will then have a general discussion on significant aspects of the work. i know everyone in the audience wants to hear the perspectives of our panelists and we will try to save a few minutes at the end for questions. i was told to keep the introductions brief.
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a british american one in ireland in 1950, his educated at the university where he was awarded a master of arts degree in economic and social history in 1972. he became an american citizen in 2010. mr. dobbs spent much of his career as a correspondent covering communism. he joined the washington post in 1980 and served chief of the post in eastern europe.
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he is now in maryland, the operative -- author of numerous books, about the missile crisis in 1962. his most recent book is entitled the unwanted. this book is a story of jewish families in the small german village in southwestern germany, swiss and french borders. during the 1930s, jewish families and the community saw what was coming as hitler gained increasing power. some were successful, some were not. they ended up being murdered. the book discusses also the immigration policies of the u.s. during the time it raises
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troubling questions about immigration policy and the u.s. government. our second offer is partial sitting next to me, he was born in england in 1966. he attended university college oxford where he studied politi politics, philosophy and economics. he taught history for a while but overcoming british newspapers, his articles appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines and worked as a screenwriter. including the narrator of the history channel's, last days of world war ii. he left several europe international world war ii, the author of several books on world war ii including the battle of
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the bold and the sacrifice of the extraordinarily odd number of young soldiers. his latest book is the first wave about the d-day. he focuses on the experiences of the very first american british and canadian soldiers who landed normandy june 6, 1944. her third author at the end is samuel, raised in tucson, arizona. he has a bachelors degree with northwestern university and a doctorate degree in relations from the university of oxford here is a social scholar and holds a law degree from yale. he is an advisor on international trade negotiations
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in the office of the u.s. trade representative. he's not an attorney with distinguished new york city law firm. his writings have been published in the atlantic and l.a. times. flying tigers, they waged a secret war, this book was published just last year. flying tigers is the adventurous name given to the american volunteer group. american military pilots led by the clear, the skies of china before and after pearl harbor.
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they fought under contracts with the chinese government led by shanghai sites. i would like to ask each of our panelists to say something about your recent book and perhaps some of the challenges you fac faced. >> thank you very much, it's wonderful to be here. my book is about europe immigration policy under resident roosevelt during the years leading up to the holocaust and world war ii. it's a controversial subject, there are a lot of books attacking him and others defending him. i wanted to integrate the story
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of what was happening in washington with the struggle that was going on in those years. stories of a specific group of people with whom we could identify, people trying to reach the u.s. from nazi germany whose lives were in danger and who were trying in order to survive, they need you to obtain what the american journalist called a piece of paper with a stamp. whether you lived or died, frequently dependent on whether you could obtain this document. the way i look at one single community in the southwest of germany, look at the jewish family, particularly after the
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horrifying fought against the jews in november 1938, they understand their only option is to get out of germany as quickly as possible. they all apply for american thesis and i describe the challenges they faced in getting the recessed, some succeed and some don't. those who don't, most of them end up being deported in 1942. i'm trying to connect this bureaucratic story into this human story. when i was a journalist in the soviet union, i was struck by the fact that the political debate in washington had very little to do with what is actually happening on the ground. i tried to connect the political story to the human story which
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is visible to me. it was if we let them into the country, they pose threats to u.s. national security. they could try to infiltrate colonists, nazi agents into the u.s. another book i wrote about in world war ii, about nazi agents who landed sent here by submarines in 1943. they landed in florida and another group landed in long island. they were camps by the germans to infiltrate the u.s. it wasn't just a political rhetoric. the question is, when i try to examine the book is what is the
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right balance between humanitarianism and national security policy. i think if you read my book, he ran ideas on that. but it's enough for now. thank you. >> we just saw the 75th anniversary of d-day of more than two months ago. he wrote about d-day in the first wave, telling us the story of paratroopers, commanders, rangers and other shoulders who led the invasion of normandy. >> it's great to be here. it was 57 degrees on d-day, that was cold. great to be with you. i'm a hero worshiper, i don't care.
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i spent 25 years celebrating and spending a lot of time and mostly working with those who liberated that. for the 17th anniversary, i was making a living from world war ii and i thought it was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the guys i always worshiped most. i took 12 of my commanders and six american or british, to canadian. and i added one infringement. a french commander was in the first wave. my idea what i would take 12 junior combat commanders -- can you hear me? i was with these amazing
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commanders who had the highest stakes to die, if they didn't succeed, they would fail. twenty-eight-year-old came in from maryland -- oh, this one. go ahead. anyway. it's about d-day. thank you. [laughter] >> he's written about the flying tigers, american pilots who end their sharp nose aircraft off the japanese in the early days of war. they were highly publicized. in 1951, i was a 7-year-old boy living in fort knox kentucky.
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i first saw television stations. saturday morning, there was a flying tigers and i ordered my own tigers secret decoder ring from them sponsoring the program and i remember as a boy seeing the movie, the flying tigers. tell us a bit about your book. >> thank you. it's wonderful to be here in jackson and to see so many friends here. my book, it's about this beginning of world war ii. before pro harbor, the president secretly authorized spending these planes in fighting against the japanese. i tell that story through the
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lens of the women who were part of that unit. young guys who sign up for this unit, a sense of adventure, they find themselves in training and promote space in burma when pearl harbor happens and they are stuck on the wrong side of the world and they quickly become the first american pilots to fight back the chinese after the devastating attack and pearl harbor and they quickly become one of the most iconic images in american history of americans at war. hollywood recognized a good story. they rush out in 1941, the john wayne movie based on the story and they quickly became some of the most famous americans of world war ii. what i wanted to do in this book
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which came out with some of my graduate work was the true story of this unit so i got to meet the last survivor who's still living in georgia. his name is frank and got to meet the families of many of the pilots where the flying tigers three units. their assembly primary documents, letters, diaries, reports, old newspaper clippings in particular the true story of what it was like to be one of the tigers in burma, china, in the early days of world war ii. the book is dedicated to my grandfather's who i believe are watching on c-span right now. my grandfather was a doctor during the war my grandfather was a navigator on the g25 in the pacific growing up, i would get to go to see a lot of the
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planes that were in the museum in tucson where i grew up. i want to acknowledge with that generation had done. this is a really important moment in history wherever he went. it truly was a global war. there is a lot of heroism and important stories that are still worth remembering these many years later. >> thank you. world war ii was the most cataclysmic event of the 20th century and perhaps of all time. the world was unrelenting in his destruction of property. no one knows how many people died in world war ii. the rest estimates range from between 55 million people and 60 million people. including many civilians.
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there were approximately million deaths in the soviet union alo alone, two thirds of them being soviet civilians. there were approximately 15 million chinese killed, approximately 6 million killed. many murdered by the nazis because they were jews. deaths totaled approximately 2 million. germany lost 4 million. japan lost 1 billion. italy's catalysts were about 300,000. after the u.s. entered the war in 1941, approximately 405,000 americans died. the work forever changed
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american society and made the u.s. the most powerful nation in the world and the work brought the u.s. as the leading player. the effects of world war ii are still being felt today, more than 5000 books have been published on world war ii. i'd like to ask our panelists to discuss the current state of world war ii historiography. there's been a lot of secret archive governments open in recent years and the information is not available if that was not available 15 -- 20 years ago.
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>> researching world war ii, the oral history was the most important because after all, the people who participated in d-d d-day, their fear fewer and fewer survivors of the holocaust. by contrast, there's still a huge amount, one can discover new things. when you go to the archives and dig in the archives, they give us a better understanding of what actually happened. i think getting to a more balanced view of the events of the war, i was a reporter for a long time in the soviet union, a lot of folks that were written about, my friends from the washington post wrote three books about the liberation, the
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american role in the second world war. i think we are beginning to explore the role of the countries in the soviet union. there wanting to integrate the last few years, a huge amount of materials has come from the archives of the soviet bloc. they're trying to integrate their stories with the stories of, that would be familiar with in the west. i think there's a lot more to be done on that. i think there's more to be understood about the sacrifices of russia and america. in historiography, there are phases.
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as a phase where they have questioning the accounts. then there's a phase of trying to draw on all the evidence. i think that's what we are in. >> come close to the microphone. thankfully, several institutions including the one you work for now have done an amazing job for the last 20 -- 30 years. knowing that i think officially the year is 2023 when the u.s. government accepts all world war ii veterans exist. we are at the end of this generation which is a book tit title. i worked for the museum, have
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done a fantastic job of putting down history. the participants there, i will have to move on. it's my great pleasure is talking to the people actually there. a book called the liberator about the american officer was the first guy to command americans back out. that was the first concentration camp in nazi germany. he is introduced into great lengths. i spent four and half hours, there were amazing things in there. it's yet to be explored in terms of the history we have.
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then there's a wave of female spy on world war ii because in britain, it's being declassified now. he will see soon a wave of books about escape and evasion. it's one of the coolest ones of world war ii. this is amazing, over 2000 americans, it did what was called a homerun in world war ii. they came in 1943, 44 and 45, they had a drink and they went on a bombing mission connect state shutdown. they went through at least 50 or more people in the french resistance.
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they went into spain and took them back by the british americans. that was called a homerun. all of those intelligence reports, they came back and were interrogated for often weeks. they were highly suspected, we the british and americans thought they had been turned. if you spent a year on the run in europe, they could have been arrested and sent back. they interrogated them when they came back. they were classified until the mid- 2000. you could only read those in the last ten years. the reason was because in the cold war in 1945, the cold war had already begun.
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we knew we had this network of guys all over europe that helped found. if the work became in, they would immediately use that. all that was classified. you have over 2000 americans who couldn't talk about. many of those who escaped, never talk to their family or anybody because it was a secret. there was stuff like that the weight we are constantly discovering. amazing stories are coming out and will continue to come out. >> thank you. i think 75 years after world war ii, we are nearing a point where people are willing to engage in different types of narratives about the war so the flying
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tigers which i'm writing about were extremely popular going all the way back to 1941 and the first writers to address them straight up worship, things were claims they shutdown was probably inflated and not really engaging in broader history in the computer. i think now we are at a time when people are willing to evaluate a more transnational and global scope of the work. i talk a lot about the chinese that they are working with and the british who were there because, was a british colony, we're starting to see more of a global scope of the work and also i think there's much more interest in different types of narratives of americans participating in the work. there has been much earlier books on the flying tigers but they never touched on one of my favorite characters from my book, a woman by the name of
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emma foster, a nurse from pennsylvania who joined the unit and studied abroad and learned some chinese. she was interested to join this unit and she had a remarkable story in the unit falling in love with one of the pilots they traded letters back and forth when they were separated during conflict. the letters were in the basement of an archive at yale university and that was one of the first archival breakthroughs that i had and no one had ever looked at them with the purpose of telling the story of the flying tigers. then they got to know different families, some of them still have a trail of combat reports. i think there's a great amount of that still out there and hopefully it's being centralized
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into museums so historians many years from now until these stories. i think the museum that he works at, the holocaust museum is one of the most important places in the world for preserving stories. if i could have a quick digression, my fiancé's grandmother was a survivor and survived through the war, carry a ring at one of her friends had given her and it's at the holocaust museum. those kinds of things need to be preserved for many years to come. it's important work museums are doing. >> thank you. as i was growing up, i learned the dangers, let me ask you a broad question, what lessons have we learned and what lessons
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are we still learning coming out of the war? >> i think one of the important lessons from world war ii, something i've been thinking about recently is the importance of alliances if this is something touched on earlier, we think of world war ii, if you read his book on d-day, and canadians and british and french commander who worked there, i'm writing about american alliance with china which is not something we typically think of during world war ii. china has been called the forgotten ally of the war so roosevelt carefully was navigating alliances all over the world to defeat japan and germany and italy, navigating
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alliances with the soviet union, china and a whole host of other countries and he would do that through a series of summit and having ambassadors working on these diplomatic relations so i think right now you hear a lot about, i want to get political but slightly political, america first right now. rhetoric was from the 1930s isolationist movement before world war ii thought and want america to get involved in what they thought european war was the first committee. that is opposed to how we won the war, which was through establishing a series of alliances that allowed us to form a coalition that would go on to win the war. we need to think carefully about the points of alliances and
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institutions built in the world war ii which are worth preserving today. >> some of the beliefs the foundation is the alliance between europe and north america, think they established that without any question. i think it's the most important things we have, any damage to that is a profound damage to my son and other generations. i would say they mainly died and made it to 1795 and they had a western democracy, 75 years of peace. never has that happened before.
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seventy-five years is a long time when you look at the killing that happened and start the complement. you were allied with an evil nazi -ism. quarters of the dying and fighting was still on the eastern front. they were beaten by the red ar army. if you went there in 1945, the active berkeley. if you were a woman, you would be raped wherever you are. eight to 18, women were raped. they were barbarians but they were our allies. we tend to forget that. you can vote in france and poland and west germany because of allied sacrifice.
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in particular, toward the end of the work, american sacrifice in europe, d-day and june 1944 in march and by december 1944, 70% killing and dying by americans in europe to liberate western europe. they entered the war after pearl harbor. they ended up finishing the job in western europe. if you hadn't been there, we wouldn't have had the protection or democracy or civilization. without that great sacrifice, the contribution toward the end of the war, it would not be a democracy in western europe. it would have been completely
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different. the absolute would have been communists. >> i agree with everything you said. on the one hand, the importance of the question alliance, we shouldn't forget as you mentioned, the eastern alliance. i think we are beginning to get more sophisticated understanding of the politics of the second world war. the practice that in order to defeat hitler, the u.s. and united kingdom allied themselves with the dictator who was evil and murdered as many people as hitler did. i wrote a book in 1945 that describes the war in the beginning of the cold war. very quickly we went from being allied to the soviet union to being the enemy of the soviet
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unions. in subsequent years, we tended to suppress the fact that most of the killing was taken place on the eastern front. there was more ambiguity at the heart of western strategy in the second world war. we beat the nazis because we align ourselves with the communists. somehow we have to grapple with that central ambiguity of the war when we think about setting wars. >> in the 1930s, the u.s. was a nation, the american first movement about half the nation was relations, you stay out of the war. the other half of the nation
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probably brought into the war. president roosevelt walking a tight rope. helped the u.s. to become arsenal of democracy and use the selective service act and a lot of things were done by the u.s. government to help britain and its allies fighting the nazis. after the japanese attacked pearl harbor, they went away overnight, they were a united nation. would you comment upon that? >> that's a great question. it's a focus on a lot of my book. he was very focused on taking measures short of war. there was a need to keep america out of the war. they made very vocal statements condemning japanese and german
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aggression including the quarantine speech in 1937 where he talks about quarantine against aggressors but by and large, there was not public support for america getting what they saw as another european conflict. there's a lot of opposition on capitol hill from public area. they didn't want to see america get involved in this european or asian conflict between japan and china in brown's about was taking measures where he could to aid the allies. i'm writing about is this program to assist china and they were inundated by japan in 1937 in particularly the secretary of treasury had this interest in china and insured they could get loans or large purchases and
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then took this step, which is really extraordinary of authorizing american planes and american pilots who were released from their service in the u.s. military to go over and fight against the japanese and morgan, in his diary had these incredibly meetings where they were sending over planes and pilots to china to fight against the japanese has really a nation where you would have on deniability because and you have these guys were shot down, you would be able to say these weren't official american forces. they were pretty extraordinary steps taken to do that. to rhetorically prepare the war, the democracy was a very important speech he gave before pearl harbor talking about the
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allies. >> fdr saw how public opinion turned against woodrow wilson at the end of the war. somehow wilson didn't manage to deliver his speech. >> move closer to the mike. >> he didn't manage to have the lasting peace he promised. roosevelt central ideas when he went was to set up an international institution, particularly the united nations that would make good on some of the first world war. it was very important to him in
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these negotiations. it was important to stalin but for roosevelt, it was absolutely essential that the international institutions would be put up. they took the american people and other things that the war had the tech sizes. >> i'm sure the british people for impeachment. churchill glued franklin to roosevelt, would you talk about that? >> from the first day he enter entered, i can't do a very good imitation. he was better about family. i can ruffle my hair and -- [laughter]
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i think it was black in 1940, was a black? anyway, you could see the pictures of him ruffling his hair. 1940, he entered, i fingers the 14th of may, 1940, never in modern british history did it look so fat. news from europe was disastrous. most all of europe by the end of june, 1940 was under the nazi. we were alone. i read a book about the americans who flew into the battle of britain in the summer of 1940. they like to be naked a lot.
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and his son and one day in may 1940, u.s. shaving and his son was talking to him and he was completely naked. he threw his razor into the sink and his son was there and he said, i've got it. it wasn't a drink, it was an idea. he said to his son, what have you got? he said, how are we going to win the war? is said how? he said we are going to drag the u.s. the very first day churchill was in power as prime minister, he did everything, there was nothing he wouldn't do to bring them into the war. if we didn't do that, it was done. we have no chance, no hope.
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everything was about that. he was celebrating plural harbor. everything the british could do, they did between. >> would you talk about the relationship between the leader of the flying tigers and the other who was educated in the u.s.? >> was an honor to tell about this in the book. it's one of the most fascinating commanders from world war ii. he was an army air force son pilot, he grew up in the back of indiana, louisiana. he came from the blue angels, they were stationed over in the
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maxwell army base in alabama and they would travel the country doing these acrobatic performances that were some of the most well-known acrobatic acts in the country which is a very big deal at the time. at the air sure in 1935, the chinese military said how would you like to fly for us in china i was an extraordinary on trough and at first, he declined it. he had a wife and seven kids. in the next couple of years, he saw his career was getting pretty stalled and he was concerned about ending up flying at desk. he accepted the invitation and went to china in 1937, never having left the country before and ended up becoming an advisor to shanghai, the commander of the national and his wife was an extraordinary educated in the
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u.s. in english. she saw chinese physicians starting in japanese as being tied up with getting roosevelt the support. they were thinking about how they will get out from under this massive japanese invasion and the chinese air force was really destroyed in the early. china was pushed back, a very small corner up against the himalayas and what they call three china. they were given the extraordinary task in 1941 going back to washington d.c. and trying to lobby the administration with a couple of
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chinese officials to set up this group which was known as the volunteer group and became famous as the flying tigers. he is an extraordinary one who grows to great prominence during the war and was on the cover of life and time magazine. his personal stories were remarkable, getting to see his diaries. he came to feel more at home in china than he did in the u.s. he went back to his wife and saw that wasn't the life he wanted so he returned to china, marrying a chinese woman. he spent the rest of his life working for shanghai through the 1950s when he passed away. >> thank you. we are just about to get to question time.
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>> the first wave on d-day and how many waves in the pacific, americans alone were in six agents. for before d-day and two days ago, thank goodness for all those guys that work in all of those. >> i want to remind our audience, a few weeks after d-day, an american fleet in the pacific ended marines to begin the liberation of the evidence. we were in multiple invasions around the world. >> it boiled down to one thing. they were in the pacific and europe. that's where eisenhower was.
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he made all of these crafts. >> you have any final thoughts? >> i think there are so many more stories to be told. you think the subject is exhausted but then every year there are books that break new ground. it's amazing that the second fourth floor of the comparable wars in the country. i'm specialist in the cold war i have to admit it doesn't have the same fascination as the second world war seems to be. >> final thoughts? >> i think there's a wonderful story and so many americans fr from, the kind of ingenuity and
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industrial might be contributed to the war, it was so important and there are so many stories of what americans contribute to the war effort. >> if you have questions, please go to the microphone. >> is there a different accuracy and degree of detail? >> i do know if you look at the d-day intelligence maps, it's extremely impressive, very detailed. we benefited in photography, you
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look at some of the maps there, they have scaled three-dimensional. it's a very accurate map. 900 americans killed there, eight sectors in each rifle squad. each platoon they knew exactly where they were going and had very detailed maps. i can't tell you about specifics but they were very good. >> in your opinion, the war in the atlantic, would you feel like the work might not have progressed as it had if they weren't cut off in the supply lines?
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>> if you look at the north atlantic in 1942, had they succeeded, all of the american operations in europe, it would have gone down. there wasn't a d-day then. very physical time, the feet showed our ingenuity and corporation that was an allied effort. americans on the eastern seaboard and the british, we both cooperated very carefully on that. they were decoding ultra, again far from the battlefield that showed we could put it into the best use. for years, that's almost as long
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as trump has been in power. he won two wars, to, 4000 miles from there. in 1941, there is a federal law that is limited to u.s. army to 125,000. a miracle. amazing. >> i think you were both, the enemy understood why we want. why suddenly rule this? the u.s. and uk new where they were and they were able to sink them. without the cracking of the german code and the tests, that wouldn't have happened. >> final question from robert.
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in 1959, they were roommates. he is now an extinguished attorney here. >> we have a local military history club meeting monthly. on the technological side, since the flying tigers operation, did they have some technological disadvantage getting up to date equipment and having a more modern state-of-the-art planes and supplies to work within china? >> the flying tigers that were officially set up, called the american volunteer group and for pete 40s were sent over
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inboxes and they were on the wrong side of japan when pearl harbor happened so they were left with the supplies they had with them. so talking to the last surviving one loose with the unit, it was remarkable what they were able to do to keep the planes flying when they didn't have many supplies but the entire supply operation in the theater of client and having to get all of these supplies into forces in china by flying over the himalayas is a remarkable story. one of the more amazing feats in america accomplished during that war. >> we have time for one more question. this has been a memorable and most informative session. join me in thanking our panel.
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[applause] we stand adjourned. inoperable conversations. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> that wraps up our coverage of the fifth annual mississippi book festival. you can watch all the panels and discussions and programs you've seen today online at c-span
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[inaudible conversations] you are watching book tv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. book tv, television for serious readers. the c-span tour is on the road, exploring the american story. >> itself lines into this way in which it changes. it's one of the best, if not the fastest micro pilot and in the country. >> we take you to montana, situated in the southern part of the state, it's 90 miles from yellowstone national park.


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