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tv   Historians Susan Dunn and Michael Beschloss on President Franklin...  CSPAN  August 28, 2019 9:46pm-10:41pm EDT

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the good afternoon, everyone. welcome to the 16th annual roosevelts reading festival at the presidential library and museum. i'm the director and i'm so honored to be on stage today with these distinguished historians and supporters of the library. how many of you have been here all day? raise your hand, okay thank you
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very much. give yourself a round of applause. [applause] this is one of our favorite events of the year and we feel so honored to have been here with us today. i hope that you all come back next year. i want to introduce first susan, professor at william and has written 12 books, four of whom are on roosevelt and the most recent is a blueprint for war, the 100 days that mobilized america. what's truly remarkable is the way that it zeros in on a specific timeframe and a series of decisions and actions that were made by one president and one specific circumstance. michael -- lost obviously has written nine books and is both an nbc news historian and national archive foundation, white house historical society
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in monticello, i could go on for 20 minutes. although the award-winning producer for the documentary the decisions that shook the world coming in his new book presidents of war, which bill gates ranked as one of the five to read. it looks at a range of decisions that they made to go to war under a number various circumstances. but taken together the two books give you an extraordinary insight into what it takes for a president of the united states to start a war. we are going to start with a quick question from suzanne, because this hearing that she talks about surrounding the campaign of 1940, and it's sort of the big issue that fdr is dealing with at this point. talk a little bit about the decisions he's making as he is going forward, knowing that
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running for a third term there is enormous pressure against him among the war in europe as an isolationist nature. what is he doing to educate americans about what they face? >> that is a great question. 1932, fdr gave a campaign speech in which he said o the art of presidential leadership is to persuade and educate, and i love to do latin with my students and have them learn what the words really mean. suburban latin and the verb for education is to leave it out of. i ask my students lead alt leads and they say we out of ignorance and into society and culture and science and knowledge and acts
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of participation in your communities. he did believe his job was to educate. the promise that he made in may 1940 campaign speech late october, 1940 which he said i've said this again and again they are not going to be sent into a foreign war and so some of his close advisers subjected to that unequivocal promise and he said if we are attacked it isn't a foreign war, so he really wasn't flying. he was ambivalent about entering the war. there was a document that said something about when the united states decides to enter the war and he changed it to when we are
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compelled to answer the war. this isn't necessarily inevitable that we are involved in the war, but it certainly is likely. one of the firs first messages e gave is a press conference on december 17, 1940 after the third term and it's interesting how he began a press conference. i don't have any real news to tell you today, but there is one small detail i could bring up and that is this great britain can no longer afford to find weapons and defend itself against the nazis but in fact is bombing great britain for the industrial centers, one in every single night.
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so, fdr has a press conference in which he says if your neighbor's house is on fire and he doesn't have a hose that you have a garden hose and you can connect it to your fire hydrant, you are going to lend him the hose. you are not going to say you have to give me 15 bucks and then i will give you the hose. this was his first introduction that was perhaps one of the most important programs of the entire war. the chat about democracy and then the state of the union january, 1941 which was also educating americans about what is at stake and what his vision is for the postwar world and how we have to rescue democracy and
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our enlightenment values, the judeo-christian morality, everything that we hold dear is at stake on the brink of annihilation, and he expands the vision to the post world war announcement for freedom which is a global vision. if you have in your mind by norman rockwell's famous four freedoms paintings, you will remember that those are particularly american. for instance, rockwell lived north of where i live in vermont and the freedom of speech shows a man in overalls standing up at a town meeting in arlington vermont. these were very american dot what fdr emphasized again and again is this was his vision for everywhere in the world. okay but now my final point this
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was the most important talk was the third inaugural and people didn't pay that much attention to the inaugural because it comes after the press conference and the democracy for freedoms. okay. in the third inaugural, he makes the point that very precious, profound and relevant today. it is that a nation is like a person, it has the body, the mind coming into the spirit. the body has to be closed and fed and housed. the mind has to be kept informed and alert. but there' there is something me precious than not. there is the soul of the country, the soul of the person. he said it is difficult to define but he will call it the democratic aspiration. in ongoing quest for more freedom, equal to become
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happiness. if he says if the soul is killed but the lion mind and body is sl healthy, it doesn't matter. so, today i think this is an important message for us and it helps educate americans about what was at stake. >> i agree. [applause] and i allowed to just say i agree and we can be done? >> yes, but they want more. what is the biggest controversy regarding after the speeches a lot of people felt he tried to push america into the war and somehow he knew the japanese were going to bomb pearl harbor
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and didn't take the appropriate, how do you feel about that and could you talk a little bit about what fdr did after pearl harbor and how that reflects on his leadership? >> he wasn't trying to push us into war by 1940, but i think that he solve the war against hitler and the imperial japanese was probably going to be necessary if we were going to protect the freedom of the western world and the problem was in the fall of the 1940s still a very isolationist country. and if you are looking at roosevelt and trying to say is this a leader of the principles, people sometimes forget in the early fall of 1940 running as wendell wilkie some of the polls show that they were tied. the reason they were tied because wilkie was saying elect
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roosevelt and we will be at war in a couple of months. he liked me and i will keep you out of the war which wasn't what he was saying in private. he just wanted to weigh in. he would have tried to outbid and say i will work even harder to keep you out of the war but instead roosevelt said in that campaign, i'm going to try to keep us out of the war but at the same time there is something worse than staying out of the war and that is living in a world dominated by authoritarian as i'm. and if you are looking at one metric of how courageous roosevelt was in the fall of 1941 peopl1940 when people wered about the war and worried about losing their son it would have been drafted. what does he do, he presides over the institution of the draft, watery, who is going to get called up first, and a
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cowardly politician would have kept himself as far away from that as possible. what did roosevelt do, he appeared himself at the drawing when mothers literally bring the audience screaming when they heard a number called that could possibly be th the more certain that the person. that's great presidential leadership. and that was in october just a couple of weeks before the election of 1940, knowing this could wind up defeating him. that is what a principled leader does. question of what's roosevelt responsible -- if you go on the radio these days, i don't think either of you would disagree the first to call you are going to get is was roosevelt responsible for pearl harbor in a way of getting america involved in the war that americans were very ambivalent about from my point
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of view absolutely not. for about 90 reasons that would require more time than we have here. at the same time, i'm a huge admirer of roosevelt. number one, he knew later on. he thought that that was going to be a way of deterring the japanese from attacking if they knew that our defense line was now in a way with all of the warships. what is also fair to say it's roosevelt do if the secretary under woodrow wilson, very close to him, and that the way america was drawn into world war i where the country was largely isolationist with the thinking of the ships in the north
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atlantic. in the summer of 1941, i used to talk to arthur slawson sure about this wasn't exactly an fdr skeptic. when roosevelt began to get the navy much mornavy much more inve north atlantic, he knew that there was a much greater possibility that an american ship would be sunk by a german submarine, and he knew that if that happened, a lot of americans would be choice likely to be in favor with the germans than they were before. >> can i add a word to what michael said? .. he said are you
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that i am paranoid susan [laughter] and didn't know the real answer then. i shouldn't have it cues him of being paranoid. one of the real answers is said in the fall of 1940, fdr's staff was more elusive probably about the likelihood of wood were even. george marshall, henry simpson secretary gore, and harold sta starr, chief of naval operations new that they had to start making some plans. for a possible war, they couldn't be report at the last minute and prepared. they had to know what their priorities would be of their own work. so admiral stark, took it upon himself on issues to draw up
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different strategies. then they would decide which was the best strategy in which was the most important priorities. he did this one night, in his home on ancient machines my students have never heard of. it's called emmanuel typewriter. [laughter] manual typewriter. anyone want to hear what is s? [laughter] and he drew up for possibilities. a was the united states, purely defensive posture. but we will give material aids. he was in the pacific and were left great britain take care of the atlantic. see was the nightmare scenario, offensive to oceans, and lending
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and pacific. that was a nightmare scenario. and d was the plan that they finally agreed upon and that was save great britain, and then at first, defeat nazi germany. because it was it was naval departments, they call that dog. that was what accepted as the priority. fdr certainly didn't engineer pearl harbor, that was the last thing they wanted was a two oceans at work. sumac the one interesting in both of your book and especially here is the relationship between president and congress. when it comes to getting american involved in the war, technically congress has the authority to declare war. your book whether it's madison or lincoln or wilson are roosevelt or truman or johnson, in each case, there is a slight
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lease set of circumstances in which the president has decided how to exercise his authority as commander-in-chief. and how to include or in some clay cases not include congress in the decision-making process. so could you talk a little bit about roosevelt's relationship with congress but also compare him with these others to some of the other stories are really quite incredible. sumac so it is happened again. anyone here, allowed to ask a question to this extremely literate audience. anything at work question mark 1942. couple of nations, year after pearl harbor, have we been in any war since 1942? [laughter] someone has not been reading the constitution for the last number of decades.
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fdr is sort of at the center of this because he had to deal with the result of woodrow wilson. he took us into world war i without really explaining it to americans. either before or during the war. then at the end of the war, suddenly, essentially announced we want to do a piece organization and wilson went to europe the next six or seven months, voted down the league of nations. sever the 20s and 19 and 30s, this is not irrational that wilson took us into this work for reasons that we still don't understand. we lost a hundred and 6000 americans in a very short american period of time. for nothing. we are determined that that never will happen again. so in that spirit can't, congress and the 1930s, was telling fdr, and others that were might be necessary, absolutely not, we don't want
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another world war i. so great was this feeling that in 1937, there was a proposal called the ludlow amendment which was named for the congressman from vermont that if the president ever wanted to go to war that would have to be a national referendum for something like 30 days and you would have to have a campaign. the likelihood of that rep raymond ever being in favor of almost any war was pre- high. so this was what fdr was dealing with. pearl harbor was also for the most part with some monumental exceptions in my view of the japanese and i am skeptical a little bit about the roosevelt policy on the holocaust especially later in the war. but with large exceptions, i think roosevelt was almost a model war president. explain week after week in those firefight jets to the americans, fighting this war for the freedoms. explaining we may have some
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setbacks, i want you all to get out your maps and those of you have enlisted to be in radio and i'm going to tell you what we intend here. the model of an educator. roosevelt was such a brilliant war president and the combination of world war ii, was both successful and so great for the united states that for most of the time since then, congress has been very happy to succeed to basically let the president have the war power which the founders had hoped to give to congress. 1950s, shuman didn't bother to ask congress for a war declaration, police action was later called. before lbj was went to congress to ask for something called the gulf of tonkin resolution which turned out to be based on the fact that never taken place, and so for nine years, johnson and nixon waged war based on a
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nonexistent incident and ever since then, congress is very unwilling to vote for declaration of war and yet congress hamza sense in as taken is indoors. we may see that happen again during the next year, i hope not. sumac may i ask michael a quick question question mark sumac michael when you speak about fdr is a wonderful wartime leader, would you also say that it was collectively in his administration #. >> no i really wouldn't. i think he appointed great cabinet members. but there was no doubt who is running that administration. there certainly was no doubt in his mind, and i think one reason aside from the fact that we have brilliant choices, in many cases and cabinet members, and work with some key members of congress. i think if you have the same cabinet in the same members of congress and god forbid, remove
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fdr, as much as i love this building, if henry wallace's president 1942, i think at least to me and tell me if i'm getting what you're saying wrong, collective leadership means to me that if you take out the central leader, things are what unfold roughly the same way. i think in this case you really needed fdr and he wasn't dispensable. >> is that what you were thinking of. sumac of his theme to a great extent george marshall. >> i would say marshall was a splendid leader. result had great taste understanding marshall. in permitting him and knowing that he named princeton's army chief of staff rather than as architect of the invasion of europe in 19.4. please take marshall anybody munger henry wallace, different outcome for my.of view.
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again i love this building is named for him. [laughter] henry wallace's family. >> we have a specific issue about this, marshall was brilliant on the chief of staff, admiral they had native but, the beginning of the, they wanted to legally invade france. and churchill wanted to abate in dade north africa. in spite of all of his late military leader say no, we need to attack germany immediately, fdr sided with churchill. he rolled all his military leaders in it so i think it really shows that he was making the decisions. he was listening to all of the arguments being made but he was really making all of the decision. this goes to his leadership. you do a wonderful job of making other people understand all these forces that was work at work all on him and those hundred days leading up to the speech that you mentioned earlier.
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it was about his character that allowed him to understand what needed to be done to move american that it needed be moved question mark. >> i'm not sure how to address the question of character. except perhaps for his courage and self confidence. in other aspects of these hundred days, is a product of lindley, and that is mobilization of the entire industrial knife of the country. the economy, everything is placed on a wartime basis. one of my favorite little stories is one of the government officials in the small city of york, pennsylvania, who said in early 41, that his task had been to find jobs for men.
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now the task is to find men for jobs. there is a huge industrial renaissance. the economy is placed on a wartime basis. companies are no longer making adding machines american cleaners, they are making shrapnel and weapons in tanks and scout first. that economic wartime basis at the same time, the true engine, partly in district and the types of industry, the economic local loyalists who must meet our demands 1936 are now his partners. he needs them. >> she did this particularly well in her book. >> is also the question of labor. labor movement was extremely
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powerful, unlike today and partially. and the unions were very powerful and there were a lot of true strikes, that was a problem when her trying to gear up the economy and industrial economy for defense. an office. i learned a little bit about history about one of the things i didn't know was that most of the strikes were what they called jurisdictional strikes between the cio and the afl. and the workers went on strike, because the afl union didn't want to be associated with the cio union. they weren't really about pay, salaries, vacations et cetera. slaver had it also be educated and persuaded to do its part. and there was a song, how did it go, something about how did that
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labor makes the army go. it was actually true. >> incredible pressure once war starts, the president feels the response ability for sending young men into battle. he takes a terrible toll on the men who are making these decisions, whether madison or lincoln or roosevelt or johnson and nixon, you see what happens to nixon towards the end. towards the end of world war ii, fdr is a sick man, certainly by 1944 did talk about how you feel is in his health impacted his leadership. particularly as you get close to the yalta conference and you if it essentially determine the fate of the world work. >> i studied it really closely and susan and i have talked about this over the years. the fact that roosevelt in as
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sick as he was, and he sure was sick, he had advancing cardiovascular disease and also develop other problems even to this day not know fully about. this is someone who managed to carry out his job, the main thing in a way that was pretty much equivalent of a healthy person. you see the scenes for instance in 1944, in early 45, he finds a letter and doesn't remember signing it. i assume that not as much blood was getting to his brain. this is what he was dealing with. there was an instance after world war ii that fdr, the sick person, that his illness was responsible for whatever it was done at the altar that did not benefit the united states. it went word for word by the ultra conference, you can argue
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rather flat, whether every decision was that he made was right. it's very hard to make an argument that any of this was based on the fact he wasn't feeling well or he wasn't the person he had been. >> i think that's particularly true when you look at what he said afterwards which was i did the best i could,. >> he said he didn't like the result of ultra and i can say it was good it was the best i could do. he was absolutely right. with the control up to berlin there was only so much fdr could've done and all set, and the other thing i could add on here, is that book i just written is about eight or nine presidents in the decisions they made to go to work and how they lend their wartime leadership. medicine through johnson every
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single one of them had either emotional or physical severe problems or both. we will never know if roosevelt might not have suffered the sharp physical decline that he did that he not had the burdens a president during wartime. i sure think that had a big effect on what happened. sumac absolutely. broken asked one more question. then we'll get to our audience questions. because our friends from cspan are here, we have a microphone set up over here. come on over here and go to the microphone so we can get your voice on the recording. so susan what is the status of roosevelt's ranking and history of americans and [laughter] no pressure here whatsoever. i'll be with you in a minute. why do you think that.
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[inaudible conversation] >> i asked my students to write the presidents. i go with their answer, george washington abraham lincoln fdr. we could do it the opposite way and cr lincoln washington, personally i might say fdr washington lincoln. but that mean disagreeing with my students. t-mac what you think that question mark. >> yes fdr saved civilization. that would be the most important. i was mentioning to winston churchill's man daughter who is here today. my favorite quote among many is something that alexander hamilton said in 1789, he said we think in english. by that he meant, not just the language although the language is very precious in fact the richest in the world.
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in terms of vocabulary. he encapsulated in that sentence everything that ties the united states of its values to great britain, our enlightenment values, our magna carta, democracy, due process, individual rights, this was what was at stake. in world war ii. without that there is nothing. the soul is gone. so i would put fdr first then george washington, thank you george i was very glad he was president and not john adams or jefferson. he was fantastic. lincoln, believe it or not in high school, i was absent the week they did civil war soil not [laughter] >> how did that turn out? >> rank fdr as a wartime
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presidency of a smaller group to compare with here. how do you rank him as a war president? the short answer is number two after lincoln. >> two things are really important i feel. one is we are really lucky that he was assistant secretary of the navy under wilson not because he was the greatest assistant in history which you may or may not have been but he watched wilson so closely that he saw all of the mistakes that wilson was making. just in case he did not notice those mistakes, he had this mistake sort of continuously narrated to him by his distant cousin theodore roosevelt who hated wilson, and roosevelt saw jr and he was still alive during world war i who i was guarantee you he was whispering into fdr's here in case you are president,
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don't do it the way woodrow was doing it. and roosevelt got the message. one of the messages was if you are ever a war president, make sure that every single american nose with the mission of the war is. they didn't in 1917 in 1918. they sure did in the 1940s. so in january of 1941, franklin roosevelt was newly reelected to a third term, it gives his state of the union, and what is he talking about? the four freedoms which should be something that we see all around the world. that essentially became american warring great in case anyone had any mess apprehension during the next four years, they would know that we are fighting for. the other thing is, i was saying earlier i had guts. not only in the fall of 1940, late 1930s when americans were terrified by any sign that their
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president was secretly plotting to bring about a war which people already were accusing roosevelt of as early of as 1937, he was in a position of having to ask congress for a big program for which would inflame those fears. he knew the alternative was, if we did not rearm and we did have to get involved in a war against hitler, and the japanese in 1940, or 41, or 1942, we would lose. so if you had a more timid politician as president, we could very easily have lost world war ii and we would be living in much uglier world than any of us would not be here. that was what was at stake. >> i agree, teddy's voice was in his ear during the whole time. >> let's take some questions. >> hi i saw you both here i
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think in 2015. i want to thank you mr. bash wash, i read presidents of war, it's a great read. i think you really nailed the chapter on fdr but i had no idea that william mckinley was so interesting. [laughter] >> i did neither thank you so much. [laughter] >> first comment on this ranking of greatness and presidents, i disagree with what we need to rank them. washington lincoln roosevelt, they were each great in their own way. to compare them and say one was greater than the other, i think sort of misses the. and of course, they influenced each other. lincoln was profoundly influence by washington and roosevelt by lakin and washington. so american history is sort of a continuing grade we have our ups and downs and we are sort of a downslope now [laughter] fake news, what are we going to do
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about it. roosevelt was terrific in seven different ways. he had amazing judgment, he sought things that nobody else did in part because he was fluent in german. he read in a 1933, he wrote in the english translation, this is an inaccurate translation. that made a huge difference. he understood the minutes that hitler posted everyone before almost anyone. here's my question. [laughter] standard question [laughter] if you could ask franklin roosevelt, one question, this is for both of you, what would you ask and what you think his answer would be? >> franklin, could i have a martini [laughter] and how do you mix them? [laughter] >> i would ask if history help
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you be a better president i know what the answer would be. sometimes we are really lucky just before world war ii franklin roosevelt happened to be reading carl sandberg's biography of abraham lincoln in writing about the war years and was the lesson of lincoln. it is that if americans are asked to fight a war, they have to understand what the reason is, and that will make them better warriors and also cause them to support the president. just the idea that you would want an fdr mind. the vice president, franklin roosevelt finally chose harry truman, used to say he could never understand how you could ever have a president of the united states who did not read history. [laughter]
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>> just to underscore what you're saying, i think people don't really realize that fdr was a lifetime military scholar. he could talk and testify to the fact that there are 73 books on it. on john jones alone. he knew in his vision was incredible because he had the expansive world war i and he understood everything. he read about churchill and he knew how to deal with the man. more than that, his vision for the future and the united nations and the incredible energy he took towards the united nations in establishing a world peace organization. would whirl rosenfeld is this true legacy. thank you. >> i agree in one of the nice stories actually that fdr not only importantly thought of
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these organizations that alluded woodrow wilson and got it and got america to be in it. but very seriously thought that a great location for the united nation after world war ii would be hyde park. the idea talked about privately about building an airstrip that you could have foreign leaders come in and fly in here, and actually there was a search committee that was looking for land near here, i think there was even a boy summer camp that had gone bust that they were looking at the land. i think it was slightly too small. and even had in mind, that if it filled up, he had in mind the identity of a certain person who we thought would make a great secretary-general of the united nations. after world war ii which would be himself. [laughter] i think he would've been a good one. the only permission.
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>> would you consider johnson and nixon did not get the lessons of roosevelt and lincoln and also in vietnam and nation national, why was there a war in vietnam and would you consider now the gulf of tonkin, question mark sumac i think that's a very great danger. one reason why and i think there are totally wrong but many americans are suspicious of fdr and pearl harbor and susan and i would like to say that's an example of paranoid street. in american intellectual history. it's happened so much in her history. james polk took us and a totally fake war against mexico based on the incident that he had provoked on the mexican border. he provoked mexicans to attack americans. then he went to congress and said we been attacked and in
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response, we need a major war against mexico all the way down to mexico city. a year and a half. in 1890, 1998, we were talking about william mckinley, i agree, one of the ways he was fascinating was in 1980. nineteen he asked for a war against spain in response largely for an attack on american ship in havana harbor and the ship was called the main, absolutely. and it was sunk by not the spanish unfortunately, it turns out to be by a boiler accident. you can't go to war against boiler so he went to war against spain. the.is you have things like this and there is a historical thread here, because all of the way up to lbj as you are saying in the gulf of tonkin which incident never occurred. i think in this case, it should make us extremely suspicious of
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modern presidents who are telling us there has been an incident which would cause us to go into a major war and it may be something that we should, but the president better proved it and congress had better sign off. this from my.of view. >> would you consider kennedy to be one of the great presidents and unlike what happened in more recent presidents acting in the? >> yes, i think that's one of kennedy's great accomplishments. very many other people who might've been president in october of 1962, would've said, i've told the soviet that putting offensive misses missiles in cuba would be an act of war. they've noted it. i can't politically sustain deposition where i could keep myself from going to war against the soviets, and that happened we now know 60 to 70 million
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people would have been incinerated in a nuclear war as well as much of the northern hemisphere. that's how much it meant to have a president who sought peace as much as anything. it was courageous, to stand up to the joint chief of staff. who wanted to go to war. that is why sometimes this seems an antique question in 2019, but for much of american people, history people and sometimes said, it doesn't matter who is president of the united states? well put the question to the audience? does it matter question mark [laughter] and fdr and kennedy are very great examples of that. >> why don't the british regular prime ministers? [laughter] sumac will they do. >> will i think the prime minister responsible may be wind up to be at the bottom of the list. [laughter] for greatness. >> churchill has two different
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rankings for his two different terms. >> history books state that hitler made to really seriously bad mistakes during world war ii. first, the invading russia, the second was clearing war against the united states a number of days after pearl harbor. they say he was not obligated to do that. my first question. [inaudible conversation] >> he is not exactly an honorable [laughter] sumac first question, was it a lame-duck after pearl harbor after united states states declared war on germany. it was not a slamdunk, good been months if not forever before the united states did declare war against germany. >> someone just asked me that and i had no idea. >> i would say what if the germans had not declared war.
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all of these people are so sure that after engineering this attack on the ship that pearl harbor, fdr knew that this was a way of getting us involved in a war against hitler, that's an away, one of the biggest pieces of evidence that argument is ridiculous because what if hitler had net then not declared war on us, it would've been harder for fdr to do it. in making a very good. >> i also some somewhere else, when it bombed pearl harbor, americans didn't know hundred percent sure who is doing all of the bombing. they were thinking there were some german planes thereto. the white house asked, the people in hawaii, if that was true. it turned out to be totally bogus. it seemed like they were desperate to try and find any which way, to vacate the germans into the situation so they could declare war. but it would been quite a while before i had.
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>> and susan was saying earlier the last thing fdr would've wanted at that.is a world war that was taught only against the japanese. >> but hitler did. >> thank you. speak. >> sometimes god looks after the united states, and sometimes he doesn't [laughter] i have two questions. one do you have any idea why roosevelt dropped wallace question one in question to us, do you think fdr would've used without warning the japanese. >> on the bomb question, my co-author jane wrote quite a bit about that. he in fact was a combat historian in the pacific and he was a golden major battles in the pacific. oakland now, and he knew firsthand how tired the soldiers were.
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there was no one else to draft. an invasion of japan was impossible. she believed in and since i am jim's acolyte, i agree with jim that the bomb was necessary. >> but it's been pointed out that the japanese was suing for peace. they were pursuing peace. they were on the last leg. there's no question there was evidence that they had been pursuing peace. >> i don't believe history is written that way. there is no question about anything. >> i think fdr would've brought them bomb without a moments hesitation. on japan. >> i don't think so. [laughter] i don't think so [laughter] we can review this. come back and argue it out [laughter].
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>> again, what difference it makes to have a brilliant person is president of the united states. in the summer of 1944, fdr knew that if he happened to get a fourth term, there was a serious chance that he might buy an office, we now know that he had a pretty good idea of how sick he was or at least he might resign. as he talked to a number of members of his family and circle about doing after the war was over. therefore, it was all the more important who would be the new president presiding over the first year of the united states in a western world of peace. he admired and wallace but he knew that wallace was not supported by much of the democratic party which for a lot of reasons, the reason that he was a republican and he worried about how justifiably skeptical
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and he wallace would be about the postwar soviets. so he chose harry truman. often times, it has been writt written, that roosevelt just made it through the capillary choice of obscure senator from missouri. there is one account of the meeting that roosevelt and truman had after the democratic convention of 1944. they met on the south mounds of the white house, on the andrew jackson magnolia and had lunch. truman was shocked at how jittery fdr was and how old he looked at how wasted he looked even to have seen him at close range for some time. according to what truman said to one person in the circle, he said fdr told me after every great war, america needs a time of rest, and i chose you because there's a good chance you might become president. i want someone who is slightly
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right of center who could consolidate the changes that we have made. i think this is not an accidental choice by fdr. he had this very much in mind to someone who would serve the nation well if truman would become president. even fdr knew hugh there was a big chance he would. >> wallace also had some mystical behaviors and patterns and guru, there was a lot of baggage there for president. >> the roof is now going to cave in. [laughter] because were sitting in this building. >> he was a brilliant man but would not necessarily make a great president. i think her time is up on think michael and susan [applause]. >> there will be coming out in the lobby. both books are terrific, michael
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took a bit longer. >> please remember the exhibit is open now, until january 6, i hope you come and look at it and thank you all for his part. thank you all for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversation] here's a look at our live coverage thursday. on c-span at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the american political science association takes a look at the supreme court's most recent term and what to expect when the next term begins in october. that's followed later in the day by discussion on the trump administration and the state of american democracy. on c-span two in the morning, the us china business council presents the results of a recent survey. concerning the business climate in china, and the impact of trade tensions with the us. then at 3:00 p.m. eastern, the
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center force strategic and international studies, outlines a new report on irregular migration. including refugees and migrants smuggling. watch book tv for live coverage of the national book festival saturday, starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern, our coverage includes author interviews with justice ruth bader ginsburg on her book my own words. david dreyer, his book is the heartbeat of wounded knee. sharon robinson talks about her book titled of the brain. read atkinson author of the british are coming, and thomas malone, founding director of the mit center for collective intelligence. discusses his book super mines. the national book festival, life saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. i'm book tv on c-span two. >> now activist and former nba player thomas talks about the influence of professional athletes on political and social change.

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