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tv   Perspectives on Pearl Harbor  CSPAN  January 3, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm EST

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castro's brother raul is a self proclaimed communist. his close associate, che guevara, has participated in an unsuccessful revolution in guatemala. in the enthusiasm of the revolution, few cubans believe that fidel castro will ever turn communist. at first, he promises free at first, he promises free elections. he knowledge is the traditional rights of citizens and the established institutions of government, but the elections never take place and the government quickly becomes an instrument of coercion. the takeover is a success. >> president franklin roosevelt called december 7, 1941, the day of the japanese surprise attack
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on pearl harbor a date that will live in infamy. the u.s. declared war on japan after the attack and became fully embroiled in world war ii. former senator john warner and retired vice admiral robert dunn recount how it changed the nation. the national museum of the u.s. navy hosted this hour-long program. >> i'm the director of the national museum and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the program. yesterday, we observed the 73rd anniversary of the attack at pearl harbor. today, we continue that observance with histories from two men who lived the experience. in all of our lives, there are some things that are inevitable that we remember. 9/11, the assassination of john
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kennedy, and for older americans, the attack on pearl harbor is one of those things you never forget where you were, what you were doing, and what happened on that day. the events of december 7, 1941 certainly changed us individually, our parents, our country. today we are going to talk with two speakers. both were young men on that fateful day. i want them to provide memories of the attack and how it changed their lives and our lives as a nation. their perspective is from washington, d.c., and illinois. our first guest is john warner who served his country throughout his adult life, beginning as a young man as a navy enlisted sailor, a marine lieutenant, secretary of the navy, and as senator from the state of virginia.
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senator warner volunteered for two periods of active duty. one was a sailor in the final days of world war ii and as a second lieutenant in the united states marine corps during the korean war. he completed his law degree at the university of virginia school of law and from 1952 through 1960, he served as the assistant united states attorney for the district of columbia. he left his law practice in 1969 when he was appointed and by the senate as the undersecretary and later as the secretary of the united states navy, a position he held for more than five years during the vietnam war. elected in 1978, senator warner served 30 years in the senate or he was viewed as one of the most influential senators for political and military informed policy issues. a native of chicago, our second
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speaker is vice admiral robert dunn. he has captivated the renaissance man of the united states navy. after a year at northwestern university in illinois, he was appointed to the naval academy from which he graduated in 1951. he was initially commissioned. his duties included service in the korean war on the escort destroyer nicholas. that was followed by flight training and the winning of his naval aviation wings in 1953. vice admiral dunn has commanded a large number of organizations with extensive time airborne in combat over vietnam. most of his flying was with jets and fighter aircraft that is also designated as a helicopter pilot as well.
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he commanded a carrier squadron, a large amphibious ship, aircraft carrier saratoga was under his control. admiral dunn left service as one of our top aviators and set policy for training, management, and personnel throughout his enterprise. he currently serves as a member of the board of a research and development company. he studied as a ramsey fellow at the smithsonian air and space museum and served as the chairman and president of the association of naval aviators. he has also served on aerospace boards and has been the past president of the naval historical foundation. admiral dunn has written extensively in professional journals and is waiting for the publication of his book on naval
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safety 1950 to 2000. our moderator tonight is dave winkler. dr. winkler obtained his phd in 1998 from american university. his phd dissertation, "the cold war at sea," was published in 2000 by the naval institute and is currently awaiting publication in chinese. he has also written a book published by the naval institute press in 2007 and is the managing editor of "the navy," an illustrated coffee table book published by the foundation. his latest book covers the naval reserve and is due out later this month. dr. winkler is also the director of programs with the naval
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historical foundation. dave is a commissioned sailor as well. he was commissioned as an ensign in 1980 through the rotc program at penn state where he earned his b.a. in political science and m.a. in international affairs at washington university. he is a retired navy commander with the navy reserves. ladies and gentlemen, welcome our panel, david winkler, john warner, bob dunn. [applause] ♪ >> in the fall of 1941, america began to challenge the growing
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german u-boat menace in the atlantic with an unofficial naval war. in asia, the u.s. exerted pressure on japan to end its four-year war with china and recent occupation of french indochina. receiving no acceptable japanese response, the u.s. on the number -- on november 26 issued an ultimatum to japanese leaders to cease hostilities and withdraw forces or face continued economic sanctions. japan's leaders decided to fight instead. admiral yamamoto, commander of the japanese fleet, had serious misgivings. because of america's industrial superiority, japan would have to win the war quickly. because of those misgivings, he insisted on opening the war with a crippling attack on the u.s. pacific fleet at pearl harbor, hawaii. a strike force of six carriers under command of the admiral moved east across the pacific toward hawaii. based on decoded japanese diplomatic traffic, the navy
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issued a warning to all commands. it was the latest in a series of alerts. the afternoon of december 6, the admiral, commander of the japanese strike force, received an intelligence report about pearl harbor. the american battleships were present, but the aircraft carriers were at sea. although disappointed at the carriers' absence, his orders were clear. he must still attack and destroy whatever battleships and combat aircraft were at pearl harbor. that night his ships turned south arriving at a point 230 miles north of oahu before dawn on december 7. after a final reconnaissance showed the americans still appeared unprepared for attack at 6:00 a.m., he gave the order to launch. the first wave of 182 aircraft swooped over the islands and attacked as the american base was just coming to life on a sunday morning. the japanese pilots immediately
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zeroed in on the line of dark gray ships anchored along battleship row. the oklahoma took three torpedo hits in quick succession and began to capsize. at the same time, the west virginia was hit by several torpedoes. the arizona was hit by two bombs, one of which struck the forward magazine causing a spectacular explosion. the arizona quickly sank killing more than 1000 crewmembers. the california also sank. the nevada was able to get underway for a short time, but it was sinking and had to be beached. the maryland and tennessee were damaged. the attackers also managed to destroy most american planes as they sat on the runways preventing any major counterattack. a second wave of japanese planes added to the success of the first. the u.s. pacific fleet, caught
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offguard in a surprise attack, was in a state of shock. america was now at war. >> yesterday, december 7, 1941 a date which will live in infamy, the united states of america was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of japan. the facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us god. [applause] >> while the devastation at pearl harbor was significant, it was far from complete. the two u.s. carriers at sea that day, soon to be joined by a third, would make life difficult for the japanese navy in the months to come. yamamoto's fears proved correct. the attack had indeed aroused
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the american public who rallied to the war effort with new determination and vowed to remember pearl harbor. >> ok, with that introductory film, again, my name is dave winkler. i'm with the historical foundation. it is a privilege to moderate this session with senator warner and vice admiral dunn. this is a great venue to have this discussion. at the washington navy yard and museum, during world war ii, this was known as the washington navy gun factory. this was the largest industrial facility in the nation's capital. they churned out guns and armament sent out to the ships in the fleet that helped bring the war to the japanese and germans. during world war ii, we would be
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sitting in the middle of a heavy industrial complex, as you can see above and around us. if you have an opportunity in the museum, there is an excellent exhibit about the homefront, which is going to be back at the back end of the museum. take time to go through that. we will be talking about a lot of those themes in our conversation. the second thing jim mentioned is we do have a book coming out which i authored on the history of the navy reserve. it is a neat coincidence because i have two individuals i profile in that book, senator warner, as secretary of the navy, he was the father of the one navy-total force policy that the navy reserve today follows. vice admiral dunn in the early 1980's was the chief of navy reserve and got the funding, a lot of it through the senate, to
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bring the navy reserve up to standards and integrate it into the full navy. both of these gentlemen are connected in that way. the final thing i want to mention about the book is the fact that a key component for me to write on the history of the naval reserve is oral interviews. admiral dunn's interview was very helpful to me. as someone who does oral history, one of the things i key on is important dates in history because we remember that. i remember where i was on 9/11. i was in kindergarten when president kennedy was assassinated. i remember that still decades later. that is where i would like to open the conversation.
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before going into world war ii i would like to get a little background starting off with the senator. talk about your parents growing up in washington, d.c. did your father have prior service? what was the situation prior to world war ii for you as a young boy growing up in the city? >> i want to acknowledge to the museum and leaders here this is a extraordinary, interesting chapter in history you are developing on film, and i thank the audience for joining us. i want to make it clear as i look around, i am totally awed because i was 17 years old in the fall of 44 and enlisted in the navy and went on active duty early in 45. to the extent i have had a career, it all started with what the navy taught me in those days at age 17.
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i was but one of thousands of young men and a few women all across america that enlisted when we were 17. that foundation enabled me to build such a career as i have had. but i will acknowledge i am in the presence of this wonderful admiral. when he gets his turn, this politician stops talking. his career is the one i always dreamed i wanted to have and questioned whether i had the mettle or strength to do what he did. there is a man that personifies all of my dreams. i wanted to be a naval aviator. anyway, so much for that. my father had been in world war i as a doctor and a young captain in the army and went through all much of that war three major engagements.
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on the final day of the war, he was in the trenches helping to save the life of a person who, knowing that armistice was coming, looked over the trench and a german sniper got him. dad could not save him. i remember dad told me the story. the war came to an abrupt end in the 11th month, 11th hour, 11 day of november. dad taught me the fundamentals of military training, the value in it. he was a wonderful man. i lost him far too early in life. but he still is the icon that encouraged me to reach out and do the things i have done. you asked about pearl harbor day. i remember it as if it were yesterday because i was in old
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griffith stadium watching the redskins play the philadelphia eagles. the microphone would interrupt the game periodically and say, "admiral so-and-so call your office, general so-and-so, call your office. mr. so-and-so, call your office." it was a little annoying to us and we did not know what it was. the owner of the stadium, a fellow named griffith had the baseball team and football team. he made the decision they would not announce the tragedy america had undergone in the few hours we were there. it was probably a wise decision because we went through the football game and ended it. when we went out to the parking lot, the first edition of a special newspaper was being hocked on the streets. mind you, it was december and dark. we bought a paper. we could not understand it. it was not until we got into our automobiles that a measure of
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reality came to us. we turned on those funny little radios that only had two dials. simple as could be, but they worked well. you had this fragment of a broadcast coming through. people, i don't want to say that they were panicking, but they were terribly frightened. you did not stop for red lights. you just went in all different directions. people did not know what to do except flee as quickly as they could to their homes. had that announcement been made in the stadium, i think we would have witnessed a lot of trouble and injury of people trying to rush out of the stadium. that is what i remember. i will leave the floor now to my distinguished colleague. >> talk about growing up in chicago, a little bit about your family background and leading up to that day.
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>> i want to thank senator warmer for those auditory comments. you are most kind. he is the one that deserves that kind of praise. i served him when he was an outstanding secretary of the navy and again when he was a most effective senator from the state of virginia. thank you for that. >> thank you. >> i did grow up in chicago, born there, raised on the northwest side. nothing spectacular about it. school, boy scouts, so forth. but on sunday, december 7, i had just come back from sunday school and church. i was probably reading the funnies. dick tracy, little orphan annie. my aunt was visiting from the west coast. she was with my grandparents who were living upstairs. she came running down crying "the japs have attacked pearl harbor!"
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lest that offend anyone, that is what we called them in those days. we turned on our radio to get what information we could. there was not a lot other than the fact that there were a couple of battleships hit. nothing about anything else. it was the next day that made the impression however. i was in the eighth grade. in school that day, our teacher had brought a radio in and turned the radio on. we heard president roosevelt's speech, the one you heard part of here. we heard him call this a date which will live in infamy. that made a tremendous impression on all of us. you asked what was going on in chicago. the people in chicago, and i daresay all of the midwest and far west, were very well
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oriented towards war in the pacific. that is the war japan was fighting against china and the other things japan was doing. in fact, there was a general consensus that did not understand why there was all this hullabaloo about supporting great britain. it was japan that was the enemy, not great britain. i know it was different on the east coast. but this is the way it was on the west coast. i have to interject here. i was told ahead of time you were at a redskins game. i thought at first that was the game when the bears beat the redskins 73-0. >> i thought that too, but that was two years before. >> anyhow, back to my story. the next day, young men were lined up at recruiting stations, army and navy recruiting stations, with lines around the block. some women went out and broke the japanese china because they were so mad at japan.
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my mother said, "i will do no such thing. i paid good money for that china." that was about the extent of it on that particular day. >> could i interject one thing? i was in chicago in my final training in 1945 as a radio technician. the captain said during an emergency for everyone go into the small auditorium we had off the navy pier. he said to go in and lock the doors. we did not know. a bunch of 17 and 18-year-old sailors. what was this about? he said i want to know who among you do not drink. no self respecting sailor is going to admit that. finally, they hammered out a group of us that were tolerant in our drinking habits.
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he said the rest were dismissed. the 25 of us, he said i will confide in you with a top-secret message. the president is going to announce tonight that germany is surrendering. this is in april of that year. you are going to be shore patrol. you're going into the loop and you are going to maintain order. they issued an armband, belt whistle, no side arms. a couple of other things. "sp" on your sleeve. marched us into the crowd in the loop on the which is the central part of chicago. chicago was known as the best liberty town almost in the whole united states. i remember on sundays, you would go down to the u.s.o. and get a three by five card that was say "come to lunch." church and lunch. then they would often say, we
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have a daughter 18. that card went like that. but it was the sharing american had among ourselves. the unity of this nation. never since that period has this nation been so close and dedicated and respectful of each other. but anyway to finish the story shore patrol, halfway through the night, one million people, everybody was kissing. the girls kissing the boys having a good time. there was no liquor left because the bars ran out in 20 minutes. no way to resupply them. everybody was just having a good time. the first girl i kissed i gave my hat, the second the armband and went back to the barracks. nothing happened of any incident at all. >> going back to the beginning of war in chicago, how did things change in chicago in the days afterwards? >> you take off and then i will take off.
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>> well, of course, i told you about the young men who were signing up for the army and navy. there was no air force then. a better world. >> there was an air corps of the army. >> soon, the various industries around chicago, and there were many, began gearing up for the war effort, converting to making different things. airplanes, parts for ships. to my knowledge, no ships were built there. although some were built on the illinois river. almost everybody got a job. teenagers had part-time work. women went to work. many of them in factories. something that had not happened before. everybody geared up for the war effort.
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but we read the newspapers of course and we read about how the japanese landed in the philippines and the americans were holed up on the bataan peninsula just across the bay from manila. the japanese continued their marauding down into indonesia. we were a little suspect the japanese might be landing on the west coast of the united states next. we were really fearful of that. a now humorous aspect of that is that some of my friends, my 13-year-old boy friends and i made a pact that when the japanese landed on the west coast, we would travel to the rocky mountains and become guerrillas and fight the japanese.
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so everybody was involved in the war effort. >> my recollections are how quickly this country came together and united. there were 16 million men and women in uniform. that is an awesome number in that time. washington, d.c., where my father was practicing medicine he would do his regular practice in the day and do physicals for draftees and volunteers at night. but this country was put into rationing. it is hard to believe you got one pair of shoes a year. i have forgotten in clothing. but butter, cream, milk, ice cream was almost nonexistent. all those things were rationed. you had little booklets. you got three gallons of gasoline to operate your automobile.
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i was a young fellow then. father was very rigid about work. he wanted me to work even though our family was well provided for. i organized at the supermarket. it was five blocks away. women primarily walked to the market to get -- not to drive save the gas for going to church and other stuff. i organized the boys in the neighborhood with wooden wagons to take the groceries, put them in the wagon, and pulled them back with the housewife to the house. we charged five cents a block. if you got five blocks, you got a quarter. that was big money. that was my first business. it was very profitable work. it just symbolizes how all america came together via rationing. our homes, if you had a service person, you put a star on there.
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we are proud of our son or daughter is serving in the army, navy, army air corps, whatever the case may be. then sadly, of course, there was the gold star where the family had suffered a casualty of their loved one in the armed services. they had frequent scrap drives because we were desperate to put every bit of metal we could into armaments. i will never forget in those days, a lot of homes in our neighborhood in washington burned coal. so you would have the delivery of the coal trucks, big trucks and the ash truck. those were put into service to collect scrap metal. i will never forget a neighbor across the street. he was very quiet.
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but he had a wonderful collection of guns. he was off in the military. i saw his wife bring out his rifles and shotguns and throw them in the truck. scrap them to send them off. i don't know it may made it all the way to the scrap bin on that trip. but that was the degree to which you sacrificed everything you had in your house to contribute to the need for metal. >> was there a concern about an air attack in washington or chicago? >> not in chicago. >> it was definitely here. i remember vividly that our home, as were others, equipped with black curtains. my father being a dock your, he -- a doctor, he needed to drive for emergencies and to tend to his business. they took the headlights on his car and blackened them except for about a two-inch slit.
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that enabled him to drive. other than that, we were asked not to drive at night because you created too big of a light target for a possible strike from the air or however it would come. secondly, admiral, as you well remember, our navy was desperately trying to combat the nazi submarines which were offshore of virginia washington, d.c., maryland, and sinking a lot of ships. our beaches were strewn with wreckage from those sinking our ships. >> how do the demographics change in chicago and washington? i know we discussed in washington, a lot of women came here. >> women volunteered to take jobs. i bet the female population was triple within 18 months of pearl harbor in washington, d.c.
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because they took over the jobs men had to do to go into uniform. they did a good job at it. >> more women went into jobs that had been held by men. there was not as significant an increase as they would have been in washington in the government offices and so forth. the women were more go to nontraditional jobs in manufacturing plants, for example. >> how did you follow the progress of the war? >> my father was very rigid in my family. i had a brother three and a half years younger. we would sit with father regularly, and he would go through the papers. i remember at various times he was intolerant. he said they are fighting over the same ground fought over in
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world war i. this is idiotic, this whole war to have happened and then fighting and scrapping in the same way in the trenches and everything in world war ii. of course, world war ii was more mobilized than world war i. >> we followed it through the newspapers. the newspapers were good about that thing, and the radio to a lesser extent. we had two newspapers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. we would get both and follow the news. i began following it long before. i began following in 1940 when russia invaded finland and kept it up through the invasion of poland by germany and then russia. the european war. but i suppose most important to this conversation was in one of the western suburbs of chicago the town supplied almost all the members of the national guard division posted to the
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philippines. they were caught on battan and survived the bataan death march. we got a lot of news about that. we knew a lot more about what was going on in the pacific than we did in europe. i might point out for those of you who have not studied it, remember president roosevelt made his speech talking about the japanese attack on pearl harbor, a date which will live in infamy. sometimes people forget we did not declare war on germany that day. the war on germany was not declared until december 11 when hitler first declared war on the united states. that made for a difference in response, just those few days.
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>> was there a german population in chicago? >> absolutely a german population. before we got in the war, there used to be great parties at an amusement park we had on the north side called riverview. they would have german bands german music, german-americans dancing the polkas and the rest of it. there were very often signs about how germany was right and britain was wrong and so forth. >> before the war started. >> but as soon as the war started, all that stopped. i don't know of an incident, of course i was only 13 or 14. i don't know of an incident where the german-american population was disloyal at all. when they found out what happened, they jumped on the bandwagon. let me give you another vignette.
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on the west coast, we read about how all of the japanese were rounded up and put in special camps and nobody would trust the japanese. in the boy scout troop of which i was a member, we had a boy named frankie matsumoto. he was japanese-american. we did not pick on him or think anything about it. but apparently, his family was very sensitive to it because in about february after the war began in december, mrs. matsumoto had about eight of us over to her house to feed us a japanese dinner so that we would know that not all japanese were the kind that bombed pearl harbor, which i think is kind of a testimony to what this melting pot does and what america is. everybody joined in to fight the war.
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>> i remember a german family on our block. they have four boys. all of them enlisted and went off to war. they were very prideful of having a german heritage. nevertheless as you say, they were with us from the beginning. >> you mentioned how the war ended for you at great lakes. >> actually, yeah. i was just finishing up an assignment at great lakes when the japanese surrendered. our generation, i think you were a year later, but our generation were lining up. >> actually, you could have been my father. [laughter] >> our generation of 17 and 18-year-olds, all of them were going through training. i will tell one other story that is rather interesting. then we were simply given orders as replacements to ships beyond our shores, wherever they were
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most at that time in the pacific as germany surrendered. i will never forget my first night in the navy. we had been on a steam train which i got on in union station. it chugged up to chicago. we got in at some odd hour. got on a smaller train and arrived at great lakes naval train station at 3:00 in the morning. we were taken off the train. my mother packed a little box for me. she said, "son, before you reach your final destination, i want you to open it and it will be obvious what you are to do." i stuck it under my seat on the train. rolling into great lakes in 15 minutes, i picked up the box. here was a sweet note from my mother. "son, you must arrive in clean underwear."
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holy mackerel. here i am with the other guys on the train half-asleep and i have to change. i opened up the window and threw it out. arrived at 3:00 in the morning we were marched off the train. i say marched. we were herded off the train into a big room like this. the chief petty officer got up on the stand and said, "attention!" i had been in the boy scouts and basically knew what to do. the rest of them, very few knew what attention was. then he said all of you that can't read and write, raise your hand. i'm saying to myself, what? quietly, about 25% of those people raised their hands. they could not read and write. than the old chief said, you smart so-and-so's, stay here and help those guys fill out the forms. so anyway, i was privileged to
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do it. but that was my first lesson in how you are dependent on your fellow service person for your existence in the military, whether in a fox hole or a ship, wherever it is. you partner with that individual. you look out for each other. i happily did that. but those men, once they got into boot camp, they were expedited through a shorter boot camp and sent straight out to the fleet where there are many jobs aboard ships where they could put them to work. they fought as hard as we did. along the way, the navy tried to give them an opportunity to educate themselves. but that was the demographics of america in the early months of 1945 read because you had the 1945, battle of the bulge in europe, a terrific surprise and took a lot of casualties.
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iwo jima was going on, guadalcanal, terrific naval battles. we were engaged in both fronts in the early part of 1945 when germany fell away. >> when the war ends, we heard senator warner's account. what were your memories of the end of the war? >> i was in high school when the war ended. the first thing that happened was v.e. day in may of 1945. >> i was shore patrol. >> i was probably one of the high school kids that went down and made catcalls at you. >> no, you did not. could not have been nicer. >> the bomb went off during our summer vacation. of course, there was joy.
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ration books were thrown away. people filled up their cars with gasoline again for the first time in a long while. i don't remember anything -- as a matter of fact, come to think about it, i was a director at a camp in michigan. the news was slow getting there. >> i simply want to say when the bomb went off, it caught us by surprise as no one really knew about the possession of this weapon. it is often debated, was it the right thing or the wrong thing to do? that debate has taken place and will continue as long as civilization as to whether or not it was the right decision. but facts are clear now that
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roosevelt, you recall, died unexpectedly. he had just been elected to a fourth term and his vice president was harry truman. truman had been in world war i as an army soldier, a captain in the infantry. he had some personal experience. but roosevelt, for reasons blurred in history, almost paid no attention to truman. i think they have lunch together twice or something like that. suddenly, roosevelt dies. george marshall, chief of staff, went to find truman and say, "you are it now." he sat down with truman and told truman about the atom bomb. he said this is something we've got to address, and you should know about it right now. truman had to start on a quick learning curve. statistics show that had the
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level of combat we experienced with japan, in okinawa, we had 60 or 70 ships sunk by the kamikaze, the casualties would've been close to a million allied forces' casualties. the japanese probably would have suffered twice that number of casualties as a consequence of our predominant airpower and naval power that we were going to bring to bear in that battle. it was going to be a terrific battle. weigh those facts as you think about it. >> you bring up the death of roosevelt. that is one of the key points of history where everybody remembers where they were if they were alive. do you recall that day? >> i know.
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it was still cold in great lakes . we had just finished recruit training in may. >> you recall? >> it is hazy. it is not nearly as clear as the day kennedy was killed. we knew about it. but i don't recall a lot. >> all right. did the war influence both you gentlemen to come into the navy? >> it was the thing to do with our generation in schools. remember, america was immobilized in the sense that you did not travel. you stayed in your own village and town because there was little travel afforded my generation because of the need for the war trains and supply trains, so you lived in your community. when the older boys had gone off
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to war and came back home on leave, some wounded, and they looked at you and said, when are you going to go? we were going to go as fast as we could and we went. it was a total war mentality. we never thought a second about it. we were trying to get in as fast as we could wherever we were at that time. >> admiral? >> i was in high school and did not graduate until after the war was over. there was no question in the minds of my parents that i would finish high school before i joined either of the armed services. but i was always oriented toward the navy from a young age, i had wanted to join the navy and go to the naval academy. as a youngster looking through an encyclopedia we had called "the book of knowledge," i came
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across a volume where there was a sailor holding some chickens up ready to put into a pot. since i always liked to eat, i read the accompanying story. the story was about great lakes and talked about how people went to great lakes to become sailors and others went to the naval academy in annapolis to become officers. i followed up on that and read another book called "annapolis today." i decided that was what i wanted to do. that was my focus all the way through. i was fortunate. i know a lot of young people don't get a focus until later in life. but i had one right from the get-go, and it kept me going. >> the navy did focus me right from the get-go, too. both of us are deeply indebted to the opportunities in training. i came back, as millions did
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discharged and was given the g.i. bill. it was magnificent. they paid tuition to whatever school you were admitted to. i think $50 a month maintenance for that. it educated generations of americans who before the war would never have access to any advanced training beyond their local schools. >> let me add on to that, when i graduated from high school, i did so in january of 1946. we had midterm graduations. i had been accepted at northwestern. i worked for a while and went to northwestern starting in april of 1946. when i got there, there were all these old guys there. these were veterans on the g.i. bill. they were really old, 22 and 23 years old.
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i was 17. it really got to me because they were dedicated to their studies. i was interested in pretty girls roaming the campus, but they were focused on studying. i realized what trouble i was in when we were in conversation one day and one of them said, how many kids do you have? i'm 17, i don't have kids. they had gone to school, married, with kids. it was an entirely different outlook. they were dedicated students. >> the g.i. bill, after 30 years in the senate, the last two or three years, i wanted to try and improve the level of training and broaden it for the g.i. bill. i was unsuccessful to persuade the administration at that time. there came a critical time in my last year the senate and threeuck hagel, jim webb, frank lautenberg, we got
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together and put that last g.i. bill out today and we broke new ground that if the service person did not use it, they could give the opportunity to their spouse and children. >> it was very good. >> that give me i say with a great sense of humility, that gave me a great sense of satisfaction. i finally paid back to this nation and other generations all the wonderful opportunities given to me by our country. >> i will ask about any thoughts about service and sacrifice. about the veterans of world war ii and since? >> later in life, you get time to study history.
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the magnificent achievements of george washington and that fragmented military organization he fought to hold together, that has been replicated by generation after generation. my concern today is too few people have a full appreciation of the sacrifices of those who go in uniform today. less than 1% of our population. i hope you, like i, have profound respect for them and their families. i will turn it over to you to wrap it up. >> i cannot do more than second those comments. during world war ii, everybody was at war. some more uniforms, some worked in industry, some grew crops. everybody was at war. it was total war.
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korea, a little less so. but still it was a cross-section , of the population of the united states that went to war in korea. that changed between korea and vietnam, where only a few of the less privileged went and fought the war. now in today's wars, it is even worse. i think 1% of the population is involved. this is a problem for our nation. either we should fight wars with everybody participating or we should not fight the war. >> in the tax structure or whatever it is, you have got to do a little sacrifice at home for those few comparatively to other wars. but i saw the dramatic change because i joined the marines because i always wanted to be a marine officer. i got that opportunity and joined in 1949, right after a , few years after my navy duty. i went to korea.
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surprising that when came back home, i will never forget it. i was rather proud. i had not been a hero. i had been a communiqué officer. i visited the division. i had a good understanding of the rigors many men, particularly the infantry that were undergoing pressures. but we came up with a sense of pride. i remember at the center that processed us out they said don't wear your uniform with such ribbons you may have obtained. it is better you go in old civilian clothes. i could not believe it, but the country was beginning to turn against the whole war. the korean war was called the forgotten war because nobody really got involved. america was full steam in recovery post world war ii. there were quite a few, i mean
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several millions that were involved in a conflict. but when they got back home, they were not treated with the same level of warmth and respect the world war ii generation had. even worse in vietnam. you saw that firsthand from your own work. now it has gone full cycle and i thank the good lord the country really respects those in uniform, the whole country. >> i think this is a good place. i want to thank senator warner and vice admiral dunn. let's give them a round of applause. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you're watching american history tv.
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48 hours of program he on american history every weekend on and 3. follow us on twitter at c-span history of our schedule, upcoming programs, and to keep up with the latest history news. >> each week, "reel america" brings you archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. 70 years ago, the german army launched operation watch on the rhine, better known as the battle of the bulge in a plan to surprise the allies and capture the belgian port of antwerp. in 1965 episode of the u.s. army's "the big picture," narrated by actor paul newman. it chronicles the story of the 84th infantry division and includes american and german veterans reflecting on their experience about 20 years later.
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>> after we got all of the italians settled down in their foxholes for the night, i dug out it. -- after we got all of the battalion settled them their foxholes for the night, i dug out a peer of boots and crawled into my hole for the night. my purpose was achieved because all the men felt that the old man had gotten himself down and gone to bed. it was certainly no trouble and not in great danger. they relaxed and were able to get a good nights rest. >> these are the men that served in the 84th infantry division, a division that distinguished itself in world war ii. this story could be the story of any infantry division, where the stories of uncommon endurance and sacrifice became commonplace.
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>> there are many things imprinted on my mind that will always make me remember the kind of stuff our american soldiers are made of freedom one incident in particular occurred in the ardennes during the battle of the bulge. we were advancing towards belgium and a mortar shell came in and wounded several men around me. one man was almost an arm's reach of me and i could see he was hit badly. the back of his head was practically blown off. he was in a state of shock. i tried to comfort the man propped his head up until the medics could reach him. all this time, and i will never forget this, the man was trying to apologize to me for being hit
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and almost crying because he would not get to carry on with the battalion and continue the fight. >> the marsh houghton line situated as it was received the full weight of the attack. chance had placed the fate of the offensive in the hands of an american infantry division. for the men of the 84th, there was no question of what had to be done. here it next on "the big picture." >> here are some of the featured programs you will find this weekend. tonight at 8:00, apollo 16 astronaut charlie duke the youngest man to walk on the moon. sunday at 8:00, president and c.e.o. of the national council of the largest hispanic civil rights and advocacy group in the united states.
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tonight at 10:00 chuck todd on president obama's performance in office. on sunday, our conversation with have us smiley -- tavis smiley. on c-span3 tonight opening-day remarks by tip o'neill, newt gingrich, dennis hastert, and nancy pelosi. sunday night at 8:00, we will hear from former senate majority leaders. find our complete schedule at what us know what you think about the programs you are watching -- let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. call, e-mail, or send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter.


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