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tv   Teaching World War II in Schools  CSPAN  August 15, 2015 1:00pm-3:46pm EDT

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able to enjoy for themselves in income that is guaranteed for life. it is an income provided not by charity or belief, but by federal, old age, and survivors insurance. insurance that is bought and paid for. >> coming up next, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in europe day, the pioneer institute in boston hosted a three-hour forum on teaching world war ii in schools. keynote speakers and historians david kennedy and rick atkinson discuss how world war ii has shaped the world we live in today. a panel of educators, a historian, and a holocaust survivor speak on the value and importance of teaching world war ii history in schools and they offer ideas for improving the way the subject is presented. >> good morning.
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could everybody please take a seat? it really is a good morning, this is one of the first days of the year when spring is something other than a rumor. welcome to one of all. my name is tom birmingham in i -- and i am pioneer institute senior fellow in education. this is the third forum that i i have posted over the last two months since joining pioneer. given the lineup this morning, i believe you are in for a real treat. as is usual, we can expect a robust and free exchange of ideas varied opinions when we have the presentation on teaching world war ii in public schools. we would also like to express a very warm welcome to c-span , which is joining us this morning. the timing could hardly be
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better given that this week marks the 70th anniversary of victory in europe today. -- day. several guest speakers are heading to europe to celebrate. but first, let me thank our event's cosponsors. the massachusetts historical society, the program of education policy and governance at harvard's kennedy school of governance, the crawford review, we the people, the citizens of the constitution, the national association of scholars, and the new england churchillians. now, i would also like to announce some real exciting news related to our ongoing work to support u.s. history in our schools. the pioneer institute's second
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annual frederick douglass prize in u.s. history encourages massachusetts public and private high school students to explore the stories behind the state's many historical landmarks and museum exhibits. for this year's contest we received over 70 essays from across the state, from public, charter, parochial, and private high schools. students chose from historic sites and had to develop essay an essay drawing on primary and secondary sources that explain the historical impact and significance of their subject matter. the first place prize is $5,000. place is $2000, third place is $1000. honorable mention is $500 each.
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also, the first place prize winner's school receives $1000. the judges selected four honorable mentions. -- of university park campus school, courtney cassidy of st. mary's high school, mary erickson of norwood high school, and yusuf sezer of grafton high school. i would ask you all to acknowledgment. >> [applause] mr. birmingham: we are pleased to have the top three prizewinners with us this morning. when i call your name i would like you to receive your certificate of appreciation and excellence along with your check. >> [laughter] thirdrmingham: and the place winner is abigail long
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from bishop feehan high school for her essay on the maria mitchell house in nantucket. abigail? >> [applause] mr. birmingham: the second place winner is matthew tormey of pembroke high school for his essay on boston's goudey gum company and the silver age of baseball cards. >> [applause] mr. birmingham: congratulations. and our first place winner is julia ruderman of minuteman career and technical high school in lexington for her essay on the old schwamb mill in arlington. julia? >> [applause] mr. birmingham: congratulations to you.
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let's give all of our top winners a hearty round of applause. [applause] well done and congratulations to you all. in addition to sponsoring the writing contest, in recent years pioneer has hosted u.s. history events. with these events, we hope by highlighting the major arrows of -- phases of u.s. history, policymakers will better appreciate the need for future generations to understand heritage. sadly, in massachusetts and across the country, this is not happening now. for instance, on the civics portion of the 2010 test, the nation's report card, only 7% of
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eighth graders to correctly identify the three branches of government -- who correctly identify the three branches of government. unlike in english and math and science, in which we are internationally competitive, when it comes to u.s. history and civics, massachusetts students are no longer the exception, but just the rule. for example, in 28 years of a civics contest, our students have never finished in the top 10 states. students are routinely outperformed by counterparts from california, oregon, indiana, virginia, and even alabama. this is one reason why we favor restoring the u.s. history mcat
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as a requirement for graduation from massachusetts high schools. this is what the education reform act originally required but the patrick administration jettisoned the requirements in 2009. to a significant degree, studying war is studying human nature in conflict with itself. war has always existed and will likely exist as long as humans do. which is why better understanding war is to better understand ourselves. 2500 years ago, the athenians wrote the history of the peloponnesian war. if his time, it was a greek city states that were tearing themselves to pieces, and in his words, he reminds us about the
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awful nature of war which is as true today as it was two millennia ago. practically the whole of the hellenistic world was convulsed by war. in the various cities these revolutions were the cause of many calamities as always will happen while human nature is what it is. in times of peace and prosperity cities and individuals alike follow higher standards because they are not forced into a situation where they have to do what they do not want to do. but war is a stern teacher. in depriving them of the power of easily satisfying dearly ,- satisfying their daily want it brings their minds down to the level of the actual circumstances. these stark words about the dark side of humanity don't mean that we cannot learn profound lessons
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from this stern teacher well considering to what lincoln called the better angels of our nature. just like the era of world war ii and the holocaust produced some of the worst horrors humanity has ever witnessed, so too did the time of global conflict produce some of history's most heroic moments. for example, president roosevelt optimistic leadership, prime minister churchill's charismatic resistance, the dramatic conquest of berlin, and the quiet, inspiring, and courageous words of a teenage girl, and -- anne. there are so many elements of world war ii that no one event can cover them all, but by enlisting 2 pulitzer prize-winning historians, a
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biographer, a world war ii museum director, a holocaust survivor, and several educators, we're hoping we can open a larger policy discussion of the need to get an understanding of u.s. history and world war ii back into our schools and into the lives and minds of our students. without more, i would like to introduce our first keynote speaker, david kennedy, who is the donald history professor emeritus at stanford university. professor kennedy received the dean's award for distinguished teaching in 1988. it was awarded the pulitzer prize in history in 2000. professor kennedy's "over here," explored america's political, economic, and domestic life during old war one.
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his book, "earth control in america," -- "birth control in america," was -- i now present you professor david kennedy. >> [applause] david kennedy: thank you, tom. thanks to all of you for being here and thanks to the pioneer institute for organizing the discussion of world war ii. i would like to begin on a personal note that will strike you at first as completely unrelated to the subject but i will try to demonstrate that it has some relationship. i do a lot of bicycle riding in california, where i live, and a couple of years ago on a foggy saturday morning i found myself in the parking lot of a hotel in carmel, california getting ready ride roughly 100 miles down the
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big sur coast. i knew virtually nobody in the group of 100 people so we are milling around. you have to imagine the scene in your mind's eye, a bunch of middle-aged people in spandex. and one of these gentlemen, a fellow writer came up and introduced himself to me and said my name is jack, i am a lawyer in san francisco. how about you? i said my name is david kennedy and i teach history at stanford university. he said, oh, you historians, i know all about you guys. all you do is you make up these what-if scenarios. what if this had happened, what if this had not happened? well, as you might imagine, i thought that was a pretty severely reductionist description of my life's work, but before i could muster anything even remotely resembling an answer, i have one for you, mr. smarty-pants
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professor, he said, what if on november 22, 1963 it had been not john f. kennedy but making a -- but nikita khrushchev would fall into the b -- fallen to the bullet? howard subsequent history be different? i had never thought about that question before. as al qaeda, but something he said, i will tell you good i should have seen it coming. he said, i will tell you one thing we can say with absolute certainty about the subsequent course of history if it had been khrushchev and not kennedy, aristotle onassis would not have remarried. [laughter] david kennedy: now, it is very gratifying to me to see that many people in the room get the joke. there are people sitting down here who are staring at me blankly. this among other things illustrates that humor is generational in character.
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if you do not have a picture of mrs. khrushchev in your head you do not get it. well, this is point of this is that i think jack, the guy this thing on the, the regional -- the original version of the story goes back to a conversation between the australian premier and mao zedong but that is different. if you reflect on it for a moment, he had a serious point. that history is not a bench aside, a laboratory science. cannot add or subtract this element, see how the reaction goes forward or not. so we do, whether explicitly or implicitly, often indulge in these thinking exercises about what if something had gone differently how might be course of events have taken shape differently. here is a serious version of the question that jack pulled on me.
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what if the united states had lost world war ii? how would be course of subsequent history have been different? that is a strong form of the question, and more historically responsible version. what if the united states had emerged victorious but had gone to war on a different timetable on different strategic principles and with a different source composition? how will the outcome have differently shaped the world we have lived in ever since? and i do think the shadow of world war ii casts itself to the present century. we are going to illuminate america's grand strategy in the war. as a premise that underlies these remarks, the premise is that world war ii was a germanic we transformative event in history of the society and indeed of the world. that is the premise. the proposition i want to urge
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upon you this morning is that the transformations did not just happen in the case of the united states. they were the result of dramati -- some deliberately taken decisions. and thirdly, the events of the war, the result of the grand strategy, created the platform or the scaffolding or the infrastructure on which subsequent history has quite measurably built. ok, so how transformative was world war ii? when i think about this, i go back to a sentence i read in a speech of winston churchhill's, on the occasion of his reflecting on the announcement which was only 24 hours old or less, that japan intended to surrender. the war ended in may of 1945,
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the japanese now in august of 1945 were about to surrender as well. and churchill took to the floor of parliament and gave one of his more sustained -- assisting speeches. there is one sentence that jumped off of the page at me for a number of reasons, not least of all, he rendered to the united states in a fashion that has long since gone out of use in american english, but apparently is still common in british english. he rendered the united states as a plural noun. he said, "the united states stand at this moment at the summit of the world." mid august, 1945. "united states stand up this -- at this moment at the summit of the world." that was a very true, accurate statement at that moment and it has remained true to a substantial degree ever since. from a historian's point of view what is so arresting aside from
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the grammar is that from the vantage point of five years earlier in 1940, that statement was just wildly improbable. so something happened between 1940 and 1945 to make the statement that would have been improbable in 1940 accurate in 1945 and of course what happened is world war ii and that is the subject. let's cast our minds back briefly to 1940. 1940 is the 11th year of the great depression. we believe that as late as 1940, 45% of all white households and 95% of all african-american households, applying the metrics of poverty developed a generation later, 45% of white households and 95% of african-american households lived below the poverty line in 1940. one hoover administration and to
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administrations had as of failed to find the 1940 exit from the greatest economic crisis in history. just five years over the horizon of this future, this country was about to launch itself into a sustained, generation long period of economic growth that gave us the affluent society we have had ever since. and if we turn to the international arena and ask what other contrasts between 1940 and 1945, the differences are if anything even more dramatic than they are in the domestic sphere. as of 1940, the united states was a country that had refused to join the league of nations even though it was the brainchild of an american president in 1918 at the conclusion of world war i. it was a country that for the first time had imposed a cap on -- imposed a new merkel -- a immigration, an
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country that insisted on the repayment of u.s. treasury loans to allied governments after world war i, an insistence that badly disrupted international capital flows and some would argue contributed not trivially to the crisis we know as the great depression. the country that had passed the highest protective tariff in its history in 1930, a country that had passed no fewer than five neutrality statutes in the 1930's, guaranteed supposedly to keep the united states out of any future conflicts. on every metric, this country was experiencing the most deeply isolationist moment in its long history. in the years before 1940. if you had walked down the streets of any major american city, boston, let's say, and you heard a street corner speaker saying something like "my fellow citizens, i am here in this year
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1940 to tell you about this economically stricken country and deeply isolationist country will five years from now stand on the threshold of economic growth and where they shared prosperity such that we have never seen before and our isolationist country will not only simply join the league of nations, it will form a new international organization called the united nations, domiciled in the city of new york. we will take the lead in creating new international institutions like the monetary fund and so on and so forth and we will either grow -- and we will lead the globe into a period of growth." so much so, by the end of the century, a new world -- word will be coined, it will be called globalization."
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anybody who made that speech or some version of it in 1940 would have been certified as completely detached from reality but we know, looking back with the stern that lantern of historical insight that that is exactly what happened. so, what happened to make that reality plausible and possible and realized in this interval between 1940 and 1945? the answer is world war ii. so how did this happen? my students at stanford, when i can get them to speak candidly about their attitudes about studying history, have more than once told me, you know, professor kennedy, the problem with the study of history is just one damn thing after another. >> [laughter] david kennedy: and if you take nothing else away from the discussion this morning i hope it will be the thought that in this case, the result that we got in 1945, it is not the story
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of one damn thing after another, it is a story of very deliberately taken decisions. grand strategic decisions that got us the result. we are coming to the point where the united states enters the war you backso let me take to that moment now and share with you some observations made by major historical players in that crucible moment just after the attack on pearl harbor, december 7, 1941. the first of the remarks comes from adolf hitler, who when he heard the news of the pearl harbor attack, and heritage over the news service wires, he said, "now it is impossible for us to lose the war because we now have an ally who has never been engquist in 3000 years." -- never been bank wished in
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3000 years -- vanquished in 3000 years." that being japan. and winston churchill gets the same news and the same way. we do not know what he said but we do know what he wrote in his memoirs. the volume called the grand alliance. he tries to make the reader understand what was the state of mind when he heard the pearl harbor news. and this is what he wrote. i would give you the whole thing, but this is the passage that is the most interesting. he said, so, the united states was in the war up to the neck, so we had one -- won after all. i went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and the thankful.
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again, this is a reminder to me, at least, that your we have to -- two principal actors hearing the same these are pretty important news about the same moment and making different appraisals of what will be the strategic variables. hitler thinks it will save the and to chill thinks it will save england. we know who was right. as late as december, 1941, it was at least conceivable if you were a serious strategic thinker to make a different conclusion because it was not known widely exactly what kind of war the united states was going to fight and where it would place the -- it's principal military emphasis and on what timetable it would be able to muster a sufficient fort to make -- force to make a difference.
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two other remarks that help us understand. in mid- december, 1941, 10 days after the attack, the german foreign minister prepared a long memorandum for hitler in which he tried to offer his strategic assessment of what it meant that the united states was in the war. he said the following. he said, "we have just one year to cut russia off from her military supplies. if we do not succeed, then the -- at the munitions potential of the americans joins up with the manpower potential of the russians, the war will enter a phase in which we will only be able to win it with difficulty." that turns out to be a much shrewder assessment then hitler had blurted out the day that he heard of the pearl harbor attack. one last remark and here i will
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break the timeframe of december, 1941 for what i hope you will agree is a legitimate reason. the last remark came from the pen of admiral yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the japanese imperial navy. this is from a document he wrote in september of 1940, 15 months before the pearl harbor attack, in a memorandum to his prime minister, the last civilian prime minister of japan. this is what he told his prime minister in september of 1940. he said, if i'm told to fight -- japanese-american relations were going sour at this moment, so he said -- if i'm told the fight, regardless of the consequences, i shall run wild for the first six months or a year, but i have utterly no-confidence for a second or third year. i hope, therefore, mr. prime minister, that you will endeavor
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to avoid a japanese-american war." n extraordinary document coming -- an extraordinary document coming from the pen of the person tasked with starting the war at pearl harbor and the senior strategist at midway. yamamoto knew something. they knew that the first principle of warfare was laid down by sun tzu. the first principle of warfare was know your enemy. and they knew something about the united states. that if it had time, to fully mobilize, down to the depths, is -- this behemoth industrial economy that it possessed, it would crush any adversary. or combination of adversaries. in the minutes that remain i will tell you a parable which i will give a title, a tale of three cities. if we understand what happened
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in these three cities, we will understand the contours of this both three cities are all on rivers as it happens. the first is france, on the sein e, the is in america on the second potomac and the third has had its name changed, vulgenrod, but it was known at the time at stalingrad. this unfolds from august of 1942 to february of 1943. in those cities, things happened that if we understand the nature we will have a grip on american grand strategy.
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chapter one, france, august 17, 1942. not one of these days etched into our memory like december 7 , or 9/11 but an important date nonetheless because on that date a squadron of one dozen b-17 bombers in the united states army air corps took off from base in england and flew across the english channel and dropped the bomb load on a railroad marshaling yard or switching yard in the city stop why is -- city. why is this important? it was the first all-american air raid on nazi occupied europe. americans had flown with britain state, but this was the first 100% american raid on august of 1942. a very successful raid, no damage to aircraft or crew. by all of the usual measurements
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, it was a very successful expedition. that is not exactly why it is important. it is important because it marked the beginning -- let me put it this way. it marked to the implementation of a decision made a decade earlier that in the event of a future war, god forbid but in the event of a future war the united states would place its principle bet on creating and using a new weapon system called strategic bombing. strategic bombing was a doctrine developed by an italian tourist -- theorist after world war i and the idea was that there was a new invention whereby you could deliver your payload to the enemy homeland. you could disrupt the economy and infrastructure so it could
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not sustain force in the field and you could also so terrorize, the word he used, the civilian population that they would sue for peace. the united states decided in the early 1930's to make this bet, that in the case of a future war this would be a way that could thatway of wedging war could engineer and leverage advantages and we could spare american lives and held the promise of ending the war quickly by striking at the heart of the enemy's economy. as it happens, in a wonderfully delicious turn of the wheel of history, something i did not know when i was writing about this, the pilot of the lead aircraft on that raid was a man
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by the name of paul tibbets, you will recognize as the name of the pilot who dropped the bomb , exactly to the day, three years later. he opens the war in germany, and closes the war, essentially in , japan. in this one man's world war ii career, we have the arc of this matter.t dates, 1942, d-day is almost two full years into the future. the great, dramatic battle of months before the
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end of the war. the way the united states carried of the battle was only in the last days of the war on the ground. for three years it was from the air. beginning in 1942. chapter two, washington, d.c., october 5, 1942. just a few weeks after the raid. a meeting in the office of a wartime bureaucrat by the name of donald nelson who have been the ceo of sears roebuck before the war and was now the head of the war production board. his job was to shift the economy to a wartime basis and to mobilize the country's resources to wage the war. he was working on the basis of a great blueprint called the victory program. capital v, capital p. with the help of high-octane economists, donald nelson had
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reached the conclusion but if he could not meet the goals of the victory program in terms of -- conclusion that he could not meet the goals of the victory program without disrupting the civilian economy. to a degree that he was not ready to do. he argued for scaling back the mobilization effort so as to preserve the vitality of the civilian economy. there was a showdown meeting in his office on this date. the white house was represented by vice president henry wallace, and two very important decisions were taken. one was to delay the event that we know as d-day, the cross channel invasion, by a year. the original date had been 1943.
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we all know what happened in the june 1944. second decision was to scale back the size of the armed force to be mobilized from the conception of 215 divisions to just 90 divisions. leaving 125 divisions worth of manpower to work at home. the military called the second of those decisions the 90 division gamble. why did they think it was a gamble? not the least because of the 215 division plan have been based on the premise that the soviet union would collapse militarily or politically seek an exit from , the war. which takes us through the third chapter, stalingrad, february, 1943. the surrender of the german army to the red army, the soviet
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forces, and the great pivot of the war when the soviet union begins fighting an offensive war, pushing germany back into the streets of berlin by the spring of 1945. the soviet victory at stalingrad, if there is one a battle that is the pivotal battle of world war ii, that would be stalingrad because the victory gave reasonably good assurance to churchill and roosevelt, the western planners, that the soviets were not going to go down in military defeat and were not going to seek a political exit from the war. there was a reasonable assumption that they would stay and be an effective fighting force. that soviet victory at stalingrad underwrote the viability of the earlier decisions to fight principally from the air and delay d-day for
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a year and scale back the projected force from 215 to 90 divisions. if we asked the question, who it seems likeii, a straightforward question. i always ask my students this. one answer is the united states won the war. you might ask, what does it mean, who won world war ii? if we mean who paid the greatest price in blood, treasure, and disruption to its society, it is not the united states. it is far and away the soviet union. but if by who won the war we mean who reaped the most advantage from the conclusion of the war than the advantage is clearly the united states. let me conclude with one last grizzly note. i am going to read you some
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numbers here about death and world war ii which makes this point in a slightly different way. these are hard to hear, these numbers but they make an important point. i should say by backdrop that we believe the world war ii is the first war, certainly the first modern war, in which civilians casualties outnumbered military casualties. keep that in mind for a moment. the united kingdom, our great ally in the war, 350,000 dead, about 100,000 civilians. china, 10 million dead, 6 million civilians. poland, 8 million dead, 6 million civilians and the great majority were jews. japan, one of our principal adversaries, 3 million dead, one million civilians s most japanes
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civilians killed not in the atomic attacks but in the firebombing raids. union, 24 million dead, of whom 16 million were civilians. united states, 405,390 military , not a trivial number, but you put it in the scale of the other numbers, and see the big picture, and on the civilian , the deaths archer readable statesaction in the 48 -- the civilian death toll a charitable to any reaction is exactly six people. oddly enough, they die together
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in the most improbable place of a four state mountainside in falls, aear klamath very remote place -- a highly improbable place for any ccur.ary deaths to ou the dead were a 26-year-old woman and a five schoolchildren who were with her on a sunday school picnic outing. her husband, reverend mitchell, had just dropped his wife and children off while he parked the vehicle. they heard an explosion and as he ran to the sound he found his wife and the five children laid spokes of a bicycle wheel around something that had exploded. what they had found was a japanese firebomb. it is a little moment episode of
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the war but the japanese launched about 10,000 of these things from a place outside of tokyo. they were an absolutely primitive device, they consisted of a balloon made out of mulberry paper, listed together with potato paste -- pasted together with potato paste and filled with helium. underneath the balloons was a little gondola with a three pound firebomb. some of them also contained an interpersonal weapon. the idea was that the japanese meteorologist discovered the jet stream before anybody else knew it existed, so the idea was to put it into the jet stream that goes west to east and they would float across the pacific and drop into the western united states and ignite forest fires on such a scale that the americans would be forced to redirect efforts to extinguishing the fires.
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in its own pathetic way, and it is pathetic when you think about it, this was japan's effort to wages for the bombing campaign against the united states. to deliver the blow against not the marines at iwo jima but the american heartland. let me conjure for you a scene. i am taking poetic license because i cannot prove in the documents that it happened but it is plausible. if you can imagine that you are in one of the turrets of a b-29 bomber on your way to conduct a raid and you see these balloons drifting towards north america you might have wondered what the devil is that. what you would have been seeing is the evidence of japan's own strategic bombing campaign
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against the united states. in that scene, it seems to me, is the distillation, if you can imagine that, of what yamamoto have said in 1940. that is the united states is provoked to war and it has sufficient time to mobilize, all of its material, technological , scientific, financial resources, it will bring to bear weapons systems that will crush us. as you can imagine the b-29 bombers, four engined bombers, droning towards japanese cities. we leveled 67 japanese cities night after night, and going the other direction is as primitive japanese firebomb balloon with no internal propulsion drifting towards north america. a highly ineffective firebombing campaign. that sums up the essence of the
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united states's advantages in world war ii, the advantages that it exploited shrewdly. it produced what economists would call the least cost pathway to victory. the united states, for all of the heroism and valor that forces displayed, we in essence reaped victory through materials. i started with churchill and the remark about the united states, that me conclude by giving you the next two sentences in that speech. "the united states stand at this moment of the summit of the world," he said, and he went on to say, "i rejoice that it should be so. " so.let her use her vast power
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not just for herself before the well-being of all people in all lands and a new era will open in the history of man." whether or not that happened is a subject for another day but that is how churchill hoped it would unfold. thanks. [applause] tom birmingham: thank you professor kennedy for that incisive and fascinating presentation. the next keynote speaker is rick atkinson who was a best-selling author and historian and the winner of the pulitzer prize in history and journalism. formerly a "washington post" reporter and editor and foreign correspondent, he is the author of the liberation trilogy, an account of the american role in world war ii. the volumes include "an army at dawn," and "the guns at last
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light." his other books include "the long gray line," "the story of the persian gulf war," and "a chronicle of combat." is currently working on a trilogy about the american revolution. rick atkinson, if you could come to the podium. [applause] rick atkinson: thank you, tom, thank you to the pioneer institute, and thank you for inviting me here. david kennedy is a professor and a writer and a scholar i have admired for many decades and a tough act to follow.
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i would also like to thank any teachers who happened to be in the room this morning. i think for every historian who has had some degree of success there is somewhere in his or her thank.teacher to in my case it was a guy that taught medieval history at alexandria, virginia. i have to say that from mr. cohen, i learned that the past is never dead, it is not even past. this is a season for anniversaries. 70 years ago today german commanders surrendered forces in holland, northwest germany, and denmark. 70 years ago today, in austria, sulzberger surrendered and so did innsbruck. american troops and patents
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patton'sy -- in army were clearing a corridor into czechoslovakia. 70 years ago today the japanese launched an unsuccessful counter offensive on okinawa. four days from now on may 8 will celebrate the anniversary of germany's unconditional surrender and the end of the war in europe. four months from now will mark the anniversary of japan's surrender and the end of the , most destructive war in human history. this is as good of a time as any to reflect on what the war means and president kennedy got a software great start. -- got us off to a great start. john updike called world war ii the 20th century's greatest myth.
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he calls it a vast imagination of a time when good and evil intended for the planet. whose angles are infinite and whose figures never ceased to amaze us. the war lasted 2471 days and left 60 million dead. that is 27,600 dead every day for six years. dead per hour. if you were a german boy, thoughts were one in three that by 1945, you would be dead. 60 million dead in six years means a death every three seconds. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. that is world war ii. george c marshall, the u.s. army chief of staff, quoted a great
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and terrible at that, new words would be needed to discredit, "superpoweride," echo old words assumed new holocaust.ds like stalingrad, anzio, normandy. as well as in improbable settings rarely associated with the second world war, places like the aleutians and madagascar and syria and darwin, australia. and now we can add oregon. the united states had been among the last of the large powers to be drawn into the flames but very quickly the war encumbered all of america. when the war began in earnest in 1939 with the german invasion of poland, united states army,
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-- the united states army, still at peace, was a puny weakling. ranked behind, it the perennial military powerhouse, romania. the u.s. army by 1939 comprised of 1095 soldiers. it would grow to 8.3 million by 1945, a 44 fold increase. virtually every family had someone they loved in harms way. virtually every american had an emotional investment in the military. virtually everyone had skin in the game.
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fighting a world war obviously requires manpower, lots of manpower. despite the decision to reduce the number of projected to asons from 215 90, professor kennedy told us. by 1944, 11,000 young men will were being drafted into the army and navy every day, at a rate of 4 million a year. one in three gis had only a great school education. only one in 10 had a semester in college. a private earned $50 a month although if he earned the medal of honor and lived to describe the experience, he got an extra two dollars a month in his paycheck. the typical soldier was five foot eight. he weighed a hundred 44 pounds. thewar had been -- depression had been difficult on the nation's health.
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the desperate need for bodies in uniform, especially infantrymen, to go to places like normandy, led to the drafting of what were known as physically imperfect men. i know many women think the phrase is redundant. [laughter] rick atkinson: standards have -- had been lowered to accept defects that once would have kept young man out of military uniform earlier in the war. early in the war draftees had to have 12 of their natural 32 natural teeth. by 1944, how many teeth did you have to have? 0. that is because the army and the navy drafted one third of the dentists in the united states and collectively they extracted filled 68 teeth, they more, all to allow them
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to masticate army rations. that sounds obscene but it was the standard. by 1944, a man could be drafted with 20-40 in one eye. and you could be drafted if you were blind in one eye. you could be drafted if you were deaf in one ear. if you were missing both external ears. you could be drafted if you were missing a some or with three fingers on each hand including the trigger finger. venereal disease had kept many uniform early in the war. soon drafting 12 million men with stds. how could they do that? penicillin. the extraordinary discovery in
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the 20's was followed by a massive effort to take a substance that had been made by the gram and make it by the kilogram and eventually the ton. mental and personality standards had also been loosened. in april of 1944 the war department declared that iraqis -- draftees only needed only have a reasonable chance of adjusting to military life although psychiatric adjusters were advised to watch for 2000 -- two dozen personality deviations including silly laughter, sulkiness, resentfullness, and other traits that would seem to disqualify every teenager in the united states. [laughter] rick atkinson: why this? because of the need for soldiers
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and riflemen. we were running out. the british did run out. the war remained a brutal and voracious to the very end. in april of 1945, the last full month in europe, 11,000 americans were killed in action in germany. that is almost as many as had been killed in june 1944, the month of the nor normandy invasion. it was awful to the last gunshot. world war is a clash of systems. which system can generate the combat power to prevail? whether it is in the form of 12,000 airplanes aloft, the 10-1 advantage in artillery ammunition, the mass production of penicillin, the ability to design and build and deliver an
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atomic bomb. which system can produce and educate the men? and they were mostly men which is why the war took so long. which system can produce the men capable of organizing the shipping, the rail and truck transportation, the logistic demands of global war? the war cost taxpayers $296 billion. that is $4 trillion in today's currency. to help underwrite a military budget that increased 8000%, president roosevelt increased the number of taxpayers from 4 million to 42 million. for the european theater alone, american industry produced 18 million tons of war material. churchill called it a prodigy of organization.
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that ranged from military vehicles to footwear. u.s. munitions by 1945, the united states had built two thirds of all ships afloat worldwide, and the united states was making half of all manufactured goods worldwide. how, almost 70 years after the shooting stopped, do we assess the consequence? the legacy of world war ii is as profound as the sacrifices that built the legacy. first, of course, the allied victory strangled the sinister ambitions of germany, japan, and italy. it brought to an end the british and french empires. it politically fractured a continent and individual
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countries such as korea, vietnam, and germany. it led to the creation of the united nations and nato. in yield of five total -- it yielded a bipolar world that lasted for over a century. it was a war that was fundamentally about liberty, but it spawned independence movements and colonial wars that led to the creation of modern india, pakistan, ghana, israel, and other states in a fermentation that continues to this day. we americans emerged from world war ii with extraordinary advantages that ensure prosperity for decades and a thriving industrial base, a population relatively unscarred by war, cheap energy, two thirds of the world's gold supply, great optimism. as the major power in western europe, mediterranean, and the
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pacific, assisting atomic -- possessing atomic weapons and the army and navy and air force of unequal might. it was described as the end of european supremacy. the war largely dispelled american isolationism even as it encouraged american exceptionalism as well as a penchant for military solutions and a self regard that led to some to label the epic "the american century." remember what john adams told us? power always thinks it has a great soul. the war was a potent catalyst for social change across the republic. new technologies -- jets, computers, ballistic missiles, the mass production of houses --
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spurred vibrant industries that in turn encourage the migration of black workers from south to north and of all people to the emerging west. the g.i. bill put millions of soldiers into college classrooms, spurring unprecedented social mobility. world war ii is perhaps the greatest agent of social change in this country during the 20th century. our national evolution on four issues of racial and gender equality are very much shaped by the war. the u.s. military was segregated during world war ii, true enough, and exclusionary. a long story by the u.s. army war college on the role of black americans in combat during world war i, a study that was written in the 1920's and sent to the army chief of staff, concluded that "the negro is by nature
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subservient and believes himself to be the interior of the white man. cannot control himself in the face of danger to the extent that the white man can. he has not the initiative and resources of the white man. the negro is a rank coward in the dark. as a fighter he has been inferior even when led by white officers. the negro officer is a failure as a combat officer in world war i." close quote. when world war ii began there were fewer than 3000 blacks in the army. by early 1944 the number had increased to three quarters of a million and the disparity between the avowed principles for which the nation fought and
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stark, hypocritical reality of american life gave legitimacy to the civil rights movement. many african-americans endorsed what they called the double v. restrictions gradually eased. a group of fighter pilots known as the tuskegee airmen demonstrated the inanity of the restrictions including vat black pilots lacked the reflexes to be good fighter pilots. -- black pilots lacked the reflexes to be good fighter pilots. they helped demonstrate the moral bankruptcy and international depravity of attitudes like those events in the war college study. -- evinced in that army war
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college study. today, the army is about 20% black. their morning -- there are more than 80 african-american general officers in the military today. it is also true that the army in world war ii was an overwhelmingly male institution, exclusively male in senior leadership roles. there were about 1300 generals in the u.s. army in 1944. not one of them was a woman. the first female army officer was not promoted to general until 1970. the extraordinary demand for military manpower meant that women were drawn in to the national workplace and exceptional numbers. some 19 million working outside the home. it is very hard to put that genie back in the bottle. incidentally, in today's military, about 16% of officers and 7% of general officers are women.
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among theii is greatest stories of the 20th century. ought to be taught and learned as a story with character and plot. conflict. when we contemplate was lost to us culturally, as that world war ii generation slowly slips into the shadows -- there are about one million left alive of the 16 million who served in uniform. lost, perhaps was their ability to bear witness, to tell the story firsthand. to a test with authenticity and authority why they fought, suffered, and died. 15 million american veterans and left us. of the 16 million wants in uniform, and for all the stories told and retold, countless others will now go untold. no one bears witness to the most elemental emotions of war, including fear and despair, like those who were there.
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infantry in the 36th vision, which had been the texas national guard, once confessed i was scared for 23 months. i saw the best troops in the world cut down and replaced three or four times. no one can convey the vivid immediacy of combat better than the eyewitness, like the crewmen describing an antiaircraft fire barrage over romania. shout, aike a mighty malediction hurling up at us through four miles of twisting wind. they were everywhere, the dark flowers of flak were everywhere. so is the primary storytellers die off, it is important for , tor survivors, for us sustain the story, to keep it a vivid narrative that lives and breathes, rather than something desiccated, rapidly receding
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into the past with ever diminishing power just or us. cost besides $296 billion? 13 u.s. divisions in europe suffered at least 100% casualties. five more suffered at least 200% casualties. from all theaters of american service casualties included 1700 left blinded, 11,000 with at least partial paralysis, and 18,000 amputations. aggregate numbers of eliminate how unspeakably inhuman the war was. teasing out the deaths one at a time affirms our humanity. as we look at these big arrows on the map and contemplate the greatest self-inflicted
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catastrophe in u.s. history, 60 million dead, it is proper to bear in mind the miraculous single area of death. each of those deaths was as unique as a fingerprint or snowflake. patricia o'malley was one-year-old would her father, major richard james o'malley, battalion commander in the 12th infantry regiment was killed by a sniper in normandy. after seeing his headstone for the first time in the cemetery above omaha beach, patricia o'malley wrote -- i cried for the joy of being there. and the sadness in my father's death. i cried for all the times i needed a father and never had one. i cried for all the words that wanted to say in wanted to hear, but had not. i cried and cried. the australian war correspondence oswald white bore witness both in the pacific and
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with patents third army. he wrote the living have the cause of the dead interest. we, the living, 320 million strong in america today, have the cause of the dead interest. about 400,000 americans died during the war, as professor kennedy said, including 291,000 killed in action. kin of alle next of american troops who had been buried overseas -- nearly all who had died in europe and the pacific, the mediterranean, and whose bodies had been recovered filled outxt of kin quartermaster form 345. it was a one-time option offered by the u.s. government, whether to have their sons -- they were mostly sons, brought home for permanent reburial, or buried overseas in one of a dozen american battle monuments
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commission cemeteries. almost 40% chose to leave their boys overseas, 60% brought them home. regardless of where they relatively buried, it cost $564 and $.50 to reopen each grave. something only a rich victorious country can afford. and every grave was opened by hand, and the remains of every dead soldier dusted with an embalming compound, from aldehyde, aluminum chloride, wood powder, clay, and plaster of paris. metalere then placed in a casket with this envelope. labor strikes in the united states had caused a shortage of casket steel. repatriation was further delayed by a dearth of licensed and inlmer's, in warehouses
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cardiff and elsewhere, the debt accumulated. finally, the ss joseph e connolly, the first of 21 go ships from europe and the pacific sale from antwerp with more than 5000 soldiers in her hold. 1947, the 20 7, connolly birthed in new york. were winched from the hold to buy two in specially and a greatyings, diaspora began as these dead and those that follow traveled mostly by rail across the republic for burial in their hometown cemeteries and in national cemeteries. was henry awaiting right, a widower who lived on a farm in southwestern missouri. by one, his dead sons arrived at the local train station. , gill onfrank h wright
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christmas eve, 1944 in the battle of the bulge. ,hen private harold be right who had died of his wounds in a german prison camp. on february 3, 1945. and finally, private elton the right, killed in germany on april 25, just two weeks before the end of the war in europe. gray and stooped, the elder right watched as the caskets were carried in to the rustic bedroom where each of those boers -- each of those boys had been born. neighbors kept vigil overnight, carving the floor with roses. in the morning, they poured the onto the hilltop cemetery for burial side by side by side. that is how the dead came home. belongings, one of the things they carried? long before the dead came home, those things have been coming back. i do large warehouse in kansas
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effectse u.s. army bureau had begun with a modest quartermaster enterprise with a half-dozen employees in february 1942. that expanded to more than 1000 workers, and by august 1945, they were handling 60,000 shamans a month, each laden with the effects of american dead from six continents. hour after hour, day after day, shipping containers were unloaded from rail freight cars onto receiving docs and then hoisted my elevator to the depots 10th floor. here the containers traveled by assembling conveyor belt from station to station down to the seventh floor as they progress inspectors pawed through the crates to extract ammunition, pornography, amorous letters from a girlfriend you didn't want a
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grieving whatever -- grieving widow to see. dentists removed corrosion and blood from helmets and laundresses remove bloodstains. an inventory was pinned to each container before was stacked in a storage bin. typists in an adjacent room were hammering out correspondence to the next of kin -- up to 70,000 letters a month. the just of these letters was "dear sir or madam, we have your dead son's stuff. do you want it back?" over the years they found amazing things, tapestries, enemy swords, germany machine
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guns, walrus tusks, a shrunken head, a tobacco s full of diamonds -- sack full of diamonds. in the diaries was a small note from a sergeant from aurora, illinois, shot in the right leg or hip. the had dragged himself into a grass shanty and over the several days he had taken to die he had scribbled a final letter home to his family. it began "my dear, sweet, father, mother, and his sister. i lay in those terrible place wondering about why god has forsaken me but why he is making me suffer."
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the first duty for all of us is to remember. our recent poet laureate ends a poem with these lines. "the ghost of history rolls over, pins me beneath a heavy arm." it is vital that we feel the heavy arm. thank you so much for having me with you this morning. thank you. [applause] tom birmingham: thank you for that stronger contextualization and personalization of world war ii. thank you very much. rick and david have agreed to take a few minutes of questions.
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so we will entertain those questions. if you would not mind coming up to the table here? ok, behind you. >> first of all, i would like to thank both presenters for upholding the standards of their profession as historians by not using powerpoint. thank you very much. [laughter] >> my question is for professor kennedy. you mentioned the unofficial areas of the war, the prime beneficiary -- beneficiaries of the war, the prime beneficiary being the united states. but there is a downside and i can think of at least two issues. one of them being what president eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial complex. the other is lesser-known but as
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important to pioneer and that is what started in january of 1945, educational reform known as life adjustment education. and this was very -- it was the beginning of dumbing down, and it affects us to this day. i am wondering if you can put into better perspective of the downsides from world war ii we are suffering through today? david kennedy: let me start by saying that i am unfamiliar with the second item. maybe rick knows more about it. i'm going to take a pass on that one unless you would like to elucidate and give us a stronger cue. life adjustment? >> let me give it to you very quickly. life adjustment was based on the idea that only 20% of the school kids were going to college and another 20% going to trade
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school and the other 60% having to go through life adjustment which means being adjusted to not having ambitions in life that you might want to have. and one of the primary damages that was done to this was done to women because they were all out -- hauled out of the defense buildings and factories and sent into the kitchen and that spun off the 1950's. of suburban -- 1950's. related of suburban life -- period of suburban life. david kennedy: thank you for that, i still have no more acquaintance than what you said but let's go to the other side of the educational ledger, something that rick atkinson mentioned, the g.i. bill. about 8 million men to advantage of that and not all of them went
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to college, a lot of them went to vocational institutions and learned a trade. there is a very famous study of the source of the economic growth in the united states between 1945 and 1970 with began a landmark study for students of -- which became a landmark study for students of the economic growth. the single greatest that he identified was the upgrading of the collective skill level of the american workforce and he attributed good piece of that to the g.i. bill. this is a direct, wartime legacy that very immediately informed the performance of the economy after the war. let me return to something that rick said" a deeper point on it, maybe -- and for a deeper point on it, maybe. -- and put a deeper point on it, maybe. there is a passage in the early pages where he is trying to make
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the reader understand the mood of postwar america and he describes it as the moment of collective inebriation in american history. [laughter] david kennedy: that is not far off of the mark. the postwar era was a time of giddy self congratulations. having fought the good war in, we thought, an upright when. the society reaped the benefits for a generation not just in the g.i. bill but also it is no accident that the civil rights movement achieves the successes that it did in the postwar. late -- postwar period. we finally take care of a big piece of the agenda which has been delayed for a century since the emancipation of the civil war.
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>> this is for both panelists. i have never seen a good answer to the question. did the allied bombing campaign in europe yield more than it costs? rick atkinson: didn't yield more that cost, did you say -- did it yield more than it costs, did you say? you can put a dollar figure on it. the hazard of being a crew man in a b-17 or av for was extraordinarily high -- b-4 was extraordinarily high. there was no job more dangerous than being a crew man on the heavy bomber missions. but the consequence was to hammer the third right and it's -- reich and its dependencies
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that made it very difficult for them to wage the expansionary war they hoped to be waging. my feeling is that if you understand what the aspirations were in having an air campaign over the force the germans had in normandy which began to erode and eviscerate the german war machine and you see what the consequences were by 1945, you cannot really have any doubt that the campaign was effective. now, we smashed 60 german cities to smithereens. almost 7 million dead germans. end of the civilians that were killed, a member of those, hundreds of thousands, were killed in the bombing campaign
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-- and of the civilians, a number of those, hundreds of thousands, were killed in the bombing campaign. my estimation is that it was worth it. david kennedy: i agree with that answer. let me just add that the question that you asked was on the minds of people at the time and the advocates of strategic airpower caused something to be formed called the strategic bombing survey which was a scientific and systematic attempt to answer the question. after months if not years of study my psychologist and economists -- by psychologists and economists, trying to answer the question of, what was the effect, the good that come up with a conclusive answer. it remained an elusive thing.
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one of the pieces of data that came out is relevant today. i am doing this from memory so i might not get the numbers precisely right. it turned out that on average in the air campaign in europe, to be certain of the destruction of one target of something -- took something on the order of 170 airplanes dropping 648 tons of bombs because the bombing techniques were so inaccurate and we could not deliver the ordinance with precision. it was kind of a crude method of warfare which is part of the reason why civilian casualties were as high despite things like the bomb site. we could not deliver with the precision that smart bomb technology allows us to. -- to do.
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>> thank you. what do you think about the united states bringing former nazis like intelligence officers who in many cases had been shot, bringing them into the country and allowing them safety and to run important programs? some were anti-communists some had technology but they were no nazis -- known matches. rick atkinson: warner on brown for example was brought here because we recognized that the germans were working on a missile program that would be useful after the war. von braun wrote a memoir called "i am for the stars was called and the comedian more salt said the subtitle -- mort sal said the subtitle should have been "but sometimes i hit london." [laughter] rick atkinson: the expediency of postwar thinking in bringing warner -- warner von brown and people with expertise and so on led to a kind of early weapons race, the russians gathering up
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whatever they could find in their portions of occupied germany and the united states aggressively pulling out all of the manpower and brainpower that we could find to bring back to the united states in order to not only debrief them on how far they had gone in respective programs during the war but also potentially to contribute to our efforts postwar. what do i think about it? i think von braun and others who have been prosecuted, personally, but i recognize that in the spirit of the times there was no appetite for that.
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and in general i am happy that we got them in the russians did not. i think that -- and the russians did not. i think if you would knowledge the realities of both sides, the soviets and the americans competing in one way or another for the kind of competition we will see through the 1950's and beyond, then that program -- it was a very elaborate and specifically designed and well thought out program of scooping up people and material and bringing it back, makes perfect sense. david kennedy: it is absolutely right that the werner von braun has roots in world war ii but it also stitches into a subsequent chapter called the cold war. i would say the cold war is the proper context to understand eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex.
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world war ii demonstrates the war winning advantage that a mobilized economy has in that warfare. let's not forget the country demobilized in a hurry after world war ii and when it was proposed in a famous document that we go back onto a partially fully mobilized military footing in the context of the cold war that was thought to be politically impossible until the korean war broke out and it was in that context that eisenhower delivers the warning. history goes on and not every single thing that happens after 1945 can be attributed to the war itself. cold war is the context of warner von brown. tom birmingham: i think we have time for one more. >> stalin and roosevelt and churchill were an uneasy alliance during the war.
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among the three, who was the best negotiator and who achieved most of his diplomatic objectives by the end of the war? rick atkinson: they were all three pretty titanic personalities. the record strongly underlies the conclusion that it was roosevelt that achieved more of his objectives and morsi early than any -- more securely than any of the other victory. churchhill won the war but the british empire has never been the same since. and central europe and stalin achieved a lot of things in eastern and central europe and consolidated his hold but fell short of the grandest ambitions in the leninist-stalinist tradition.
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roosevelt kept his country secure, secured western europe, began the process of the decolonization of asia and africa within less than a generation. all of these long-standing u.s. foreign-policy objectives even before franklin roosevelt. he would be my nominee. rick atkinson: it depends on part on whether you are looking at the ambitions of the three through the whole war. whether you are looking at yalta and pottsdam. if you anticipate that roosevelt in december 1941 is looking to minimize american costs in blood particularly and hoping that he can get the russians to do most of the dying for us, then he is hugely successful.
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he is hoping he can get the russians to do the killing for us and that is economically successful. -- titanic least successful. there are more american soldiers that died in stalingrad than american marines in the whole war. the russians killed more germans by a factor of nine then american and british soldiers together killed. if you are roosevelt and are hoping that that is the outcome of this alliance with the devil, and stalin certainly is a devil, then that is a enormously successful chip. if you are stalin looking at the postwar era in yalta and trying to secure your borders for their east -- farther west -- farther east, farther west than they had
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been, if you're looking at the things that stalin secured at yalta, you would believe he came out of the war with what he was hoping for and churchill was hoping to survive. the is hoping not only for the british empire to survive -- and he will be disappointed -- but he is hoping for the spirit of western democracy to survive. he is also hoping for a tory government to survive and he will be disappointed. david kennedy: you were me of something best all and said it more than once in the run-up to the tehran -- stalin said it in the run-up to the tehran conference. it is his description of the core of american grand strategy. "it appears the americans have decided to fight the war with american money and american machines and russian men." a cynical way to put it all but inaccurate description of what the situation was -- an accurate description of what the situation was.
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tom birmingham: thank you, david and rick. [applause] tom birmingham: for those thoughts and the presentation. we now are going to move on to the panel discussion. the moderator of the panel is ken randel. he is the founder and director of the museum of world war ii boston. this is one of the best-kept secrets in the boston cultural landscape, a condition i hope will be over. i got to visit and what a treat it was. the museum has the most comprehensive collection of world war ii materials, containing 10,000 artifacts, 3500 posters, and 7500 reference points.
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he began his collection in 1955, and for several decades was the only one pursuing artifacts. he is an internationally recognized dealer and his clients include the library of congress, the national archives, bill gates, queen elizabeth, rn -- arm and hammer, the kennedy family, and several presidents. not a shabby collection. he has been cited in magazines and newspapers worldwide and was awarded the u.s. justice department's distinguished service award. mr. rendell as authored several books including his most recent volume "politics, war, and
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personality." ken? [applause] ken rendell: i would like to ask analysts to come up. israel arbeiter, a holocaust survivor. kerry dunne, director of history at the public school system. paul reid, a successful author of "the last lion." and susan wilkins, who teaches history and science, social sciences in the newton public school system.
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the mission of the museum of world war ii is to utilize our unique collection as an access point to engage students in thinking about the central questions and themes of the period. and to help them to understand the relevancy of their own lives. the museum is not just a memorial. it is not static. we want students and visitors to experience the exhibits, not just to look at them. the subtitle of the museum is the costs and consequences of war. war is personal, war is complex. and despite the hopes of good people, war is always with us. the museum is the only one in the world that treats world war ii as a global event, something i find quite amazing.
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every country is represented in the museum by comprehensive collections of artifacts and documents representing the human story and the social, political, and military context. one of our founding trustees who wrote the mission statement wrote that the museum exhibits and mosaic of life in every area -- a mosaic of life in every area. there are 7000 artifacts on display and 50,000 pieces in the archives. the imperial war museum in london describes it as the most comprehensive display original world war ii artifacts anywhere. the bredth and intimacy of the collection is the home front, drama and despair, lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach.
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on any level, the educational experience to meet students where they are and encourage them to view the human experience of broader than any one individual or one time in history. the original objects in the collections can be touched and handled in students and educators are to feel the immediacy -- urged to feel the immediacy. there are many themes to which students can relate. conformity in nazi, germany and the pressure to fit in the crowd. the difficulty of recognizing evil when it is marketed with nationalistic benefit. the complexity of human nature and loneliness of leadership.
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the strength of comradeship and friendship. the power of propaganda developed during the rise of nazism. the power of nationalism. i have always believed that students can learn one of the most important lessons in life by realizing how leaders focused on what they could do and not what they could not do. george patton had a very severe learning problem, probably dyslexia, in an age where nobody recognized dyslexia. winston church hill severe problems with depression. eisenhower came from a better or immigrant family -- dirt poor immigrant family in kansas. roosevelt ran the war from a wheelchair. these are not lost on the students at the museum, each of whom is required to fill out a questionnaire before they leave. one of them wrote "my time at
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the museum really humbled my own struggles in my own life." the museum has given grants to the river institute to create programs that can be sent to teachers in advance. and then they can use the different varieties of the program in the museum and afterwards. one of the programs, the initial one, was called america enters the war. they included the rounding up of japanese-americans in all of the complex aspects of the subject and the rise of nazism which is a complex subject and we present in a way where students and visitors can focus on different aspects of the rise and success of nazism. marshall carter who is currently the president of the academy and
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is leaving to be our director of education, marshall is here someplace. our other major development in terms of education is that in september 1 of the most brilliant minds in museum education will be leaving a european museum to become our director. we look forward to a book that she wrote on the subject. she concluded "history is about who we, humanity, were then and who we are now. without knowing something about the former, our understanding of the present, of what we might be capable of individually or as a society, is so much weaker. in learning history, we are not learning how to predict the future. neither are we learning lessons from it that can be directly
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applied to the choices and dilemmas that confront us today. in encountering real people, as veterans are eyewitnesses to events, we are encouraging young people to understand history as the accumulation of the conduct, choices, and of the luck of many people. we are arming ourselves with a greater depth of understanding about how individual people, communities, and states behave in times of enormous stress and adversity. and in contemplating how we would react we are equipping ourselves with greater emotional intelligence and resilience to stand up to difficult times. these seem good reasons to teach the lessons and to treat history and the people whose testimony forms some part of that history with respect.
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that articulation of her observations over a 20 year. -- year period are what the mission is all about. i am going to turn to the panel, each of whom is going to give their ideas on what they are doing. and then we will get on to general questions. i think we will start alphabetically with israel arbeiter. israel arbeiter: thank you very much, ken.
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i want to thank very much the pioneer institute for inviting me here. is a great honor for me to stay here and spend the morning and speak with you about the point of the day and about my individual life study as a holocaust survivor. my name is israel arbeiter. 70 years ago, i was a prisoner in auschwitz. four months ago, i was invited by the president of the united states to serve on the presidential delegation for the 70th anniversary of the camp liberation. i went and stood in front of the same gate that i entered as a teenager. i was born in a city with a thriving jewish community.
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my father was a tailor. my mother was a housewife cared for my brothers and me. when hitler came to power, my family did not believe the german people would follow him. in 1939, germany occupied poland and forced all of the jews to wear yellow stars. the evicted all of the jews out of their homes, sent us to forced labor camps. at the age of 14, i became a slave laborer, condemned to death for the only crime i had committed because i was born jewish. we were mistreated and beaten regularly.
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when i contacted people, i was sent to an infirmary. on my second night there were 87 people in that infirmary that were sick. on the second night all 87 patients were to be taken outside to be shot because if you were sick, if you were unable to work, you had no right to live. you were executed. there were 87 like i mentioned, 87 people in that infirmary. out of the 87, that night, 86 were shot by the camp commandant, the chief of the gestapo.
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only one escaped, came out alive. i will give you a little quiz. [laughter] israel arbeiter: who do that one person was that escaped? yes, it was me. i escaped by jumping out of a window. in october, 1942 all of the jews were gathered for selection. two of my brothers and i were directed to one line. my parents and my younger brother to another. i had never been separated from my parents. but my father understood what was happening and suddenly went to the other line. the last thing he said to me was go back over there and you will survive and remember to carry on with jewish life and jewish tradition.
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my father and my brother and my mother and my seven-year-old brother joseph were sent to the death camp at terblinka where they were gassed and incinerated on the same day. that was and still is the darkest day of my life because i have never seen my parents since then. from the moment that we were separated i knew that if i was i would do all in my power to fulfill my father's wishes. i spent the next two and a half years before being shipped to auschwitz.
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we were subject to killing and forced marches, beaten and terrorized integrated in every way possible. yet some of us managed to survive. by april of 1945 i knew that the work had run out. we were on a death march which would end in salt mines where we would be executed. instead, on my 20th birthday, the guards fled and the french army appeared. after five and a half years i was finally free. you cannot really understand what it means to be free until your freedom is taken away from you. it is oxygen to the human soul. so we all must learn to love our freedom, pay for it and protect it.
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this is why for 70 years i have devoted my life to teaching about the holocaust. i have spoken to schoolchildren and before congressional committees. even to audiences in germany and poland. to ensure that people understand. here in boston we have created a beautiful holocaust memorial. we have a contest and establish the museum including a small one that uses my name and it is now located in waltham. i am proud of what we have been able to achieve. yet i need to tell you that i am also worried. in our world there are people and movements that care nothing for human life and have no respect for freedom.
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even 10 years ago i did not imagine the things that are happening today would be possible. so i put my hope in the beautiful young people who listen and want to learn about our experience so that they can protect our future. i am now 90 years old. i think about my life. i feel that i have done my best to keep my promise to my father. i also did my best to pass onto my children and grandchildren a hatred for intolerance. in this i did not succeed but i hope and pray that for the world of peace for everybody. and so i say to each of you here, today, that this is your
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moment. it is up to you now to continue to struggle for freedom. it is up to you to secure our children and grandchildren's future. it is up to you to meet the moment. we also must remember those who restored our lives, the liberators the americans, british and french and other young men joined armies and went to war. defeated the nazis and liberated us from certain death. it is only sad that they did not come in little sooner. the horrible suffering of that we survived in the concentration camps cannot be forgotten. the memory of the holocaust should be on human conscience for all time, the suffering and
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death. we pray and hope that peace and understanding will continue to grow out of the terrible destruction that we witnessed during the holocaust. we pray and hope for a world blessed with peace, understanding, and goodwill for all mankind. thank you. [applause] israel arbeiter: thank you.
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ken rendell: thank you. it cannot get any better than that. [laughter] israel arbeiter: no wonder i got such a nice ovation. i was reading ken's. [laughter] ken rendell: neither one of us can read without glasses. so we need the same typeface. i thought that looked like mine. our next speaker is carried on, director of history -- kerry dunne, director of the social studies for boston schools. [applause] kerry dunne: thank you, ken and izzy. what a memorable and touching few moments to share together.
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i will keep my remarks brief. i was delighted and flattered to be invited to be a part of the panel today for several reasons. one hit close to home. my grandfather passed away several years ago. he was a forensic chemist. it was an emerging field when he entered the practice and he ran the crime lab. he was one of the founders. he served in the pacific front during the battle of okinawa and was called back into the reserve during the berlin airlift. i was fortunate to have my grandfather in my life and even more fortunate that i was a student of history and do enough to conduct oral histories -- knew enough to conduct oral histories of his memories.
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i use them with my own students and they are some of my fondest moments as a teacher. they range from the amusing. right after pearl harbor he walked out of classes at tufts to volunteer. he was a skinny guy so he had to eat four pounds of bananas to make the minimum weight threshold. he walked down to the store, to make the minimum weight threshold. he walked down to the store, bought bananas, weighed in again and enlisted. he remembers being so hot. it was literally impossible to sleep in the pacific. he and his fellow sailors and deck would sleep on the and tie ropes to their ankles, they had a fear of being thrown overboard.
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to the shocking. in okinawa, he was part of a group of american troops that encountered comfort women from china and korea by japanese troops and had unearthed that history. later on, he sought to preserve that history. another troubling chapter of this war. it was mentioned by professor kennedy and mr. atkinson that it might only be one million left of our servicemen. it is essential that we get the stories of people like my grandfather while they are still with us. many more who were children during that time or women on the home front or lived abroad. there is still time and it is essential for us to preserve that history.
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i would like to end with a note in response to tom's remarks. he brought up the fight for u.s. history. that's very relevant. we are in a bigger fight to preserve the study of history and social studies at all in our schools. we live in an era where unfortunately appreciation for history, the values of americans being informed and active citizenry, for academics are under threat in our country from many angles. the federal department of education, with the end of the teaching american history grant, has all but defunded the
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teaching of history and social science. our own state has a law mandating the teaching of civics that is not enforced, not even monitored. this is a tough time. we need all of us to put history and social studies on the front burner. to preserve the stories of our past and build a brighter future for our students. thank you. [applause] >> paul reed is the author of the well acclaimed biography of winston churchill. [applause] paul reid: it is an honor to be asked up here.
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i am a native bostonian and have not been back in town much over the last 20 years. it is great to be home. i was appalled to hear about the change in massachusetts school curriculum, civics is no longer required or no longer tested or both. i'm not a teacher. i would not be here today if not for the teachers i had back in winchester, massachusetts. 25 or so years ago. [laughter] my sixth grade teacher was captain george foreman, fought in world war ii. my dentist, larry quigley, was captain larry quigley, a marine. my old man, sam reid, went to the naval academy. my uncle henry robinson enlisted in the marines at 17 and was 18 when he was fighting on iwo jima.
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these are the people i grew up with and heard stories. history came to me as a tiny kid. and i loved history. that love was nurtured in my home by my parents, by my teachers. in fact, i mentioned a few of those folks in the author's note to "the last lion" and thanked them. a couple of them are still alive and helped proofread the book. about speaking here and it's already
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been said but i will say it again. we have to inculcate in students a love for history, a curiosity. you guys, the teachers, have to bring it alive and make it come alive. looking back to the classrooms i was in, there were discussions, we were challenged, we had books to read beyond textbooks. i'm sure "the diary of anne frank" is still assigned across the country. i would love to see books like tim o'brien's "the things we carried" assigned, "sophie's choice," professor eugene sledge was a u.s. marine, his memoir cannot be topped.
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on the english side of the classroom, you've got to have teachers getting children to love to read and in the history classrooms you have to put them to work reading. i could not have imagined growing up, my pile of books next to my bed at the youngest age was biographies of churchill and hitler and history. there is an older historian on the west coast named james humes and he was a young man 70 years ago or so when he met churchill. he asked what should i carry with me? churchill said, study history, study history, study history.
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that was coming from a man who made his living writing history. again, it is sad, the state of education history in massachusetts is what it is now. it is pretty much nationwide. i think about 15 years ago on washington's birthday i did a feature story. i was at a newspaper at the time and i read about a new jersey businessman who was willing to have framed the old gilbert portraits of george washington that i had in every school i attended as a kid. these to public schools in new jersey, free, because they had been moved over the decades. he had about four takers out of
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all the schools in new jersey. i remember doing the story and calling my friend william manchester, who's a historian, and he was appalled. his concern was for the next generation, how can they be good citizens? how can they be informed? cliché,iché -- the old if you do not know your history, you are going to repeat it, it's so true. i'm so proud and thankful that you invited me here and i can hear johnompany and favoritewas one of my stories. the job is going to be done by
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us in our homes with our kids and grandchildren and in the schools. and the results will obtain, or they won't -- and if they want, i am glad i will not be here 30 or 40 years from now. thank you very much. [applause] ken rendell: i have to add one book to what paul just said. his co-author wrote "goodbye darkness." if you are willing to -- if you are looking to understand world war ii service. he was a very educated guy who joined the marines. he wrote a memoir about trying to get away from the nightmares as to what happened. our next speaker is in the newton school systems, susan wilkins. [applause] susan wilkins: thank you. that is how my students should
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greet me every day. [laughter] thank you so much to the pioneer institute for inviting me. i'm sure if we could contact my students i'm sure they would say thank you for pulling me away from school. i teach at newton north. i think i here to lend am perspective as to the challenges classroom teachers face in dealing with an important and vast topic. at newton students learn about , world war ii in sophomore and junior year history classes p at sophomore focuses on the european context, junior year is u.s. history. greater attention is given to the pacific theater and homefront changes. in dealing with complex historical topics like world war ii, i think the challenges for classroom history teachers are twofold. first, we face the perennial breadth versus
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depth. we teach survey courses. i think it is very important that we teach survey courses. for the vast majority of american high school students, their junior year history course will be the last history course they take -- ever. it is important that we cover the scope of u.s. history in its entirety. that, of course, means we have to limit how much time we can devote to any topic. we need to construct an accurate and clear narrative for students and then pick a few historical moments to explore in greater depth. i suspect that is where we might have some discussion as to what those moments should be. but secondly, in addition to teaching the history itself, we also want to teach students to think like historians and to do the work of historians. this involved having students work with primary and secondary
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sources, to engage an analytical research and writing, as well as understand that history is often complex and nuanced -- more gray than black and white. and that debate exists and that not all interpretations are equally valid. with that said, and in response to mr. birmingham's early statistics about the state of history in the commonwealth, i think in newton we do a very good job. both of conveying the narrative and of challenging students to grapple with the more complex issues and debates surrounding this topic. thank you. [applause]
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ken rendell: thank you. we are going to get on to some questions and general discussion among the panel. susan just covered some of them from her perspective at new north. the first question, the subject of world war ii is as complex as the war itself. what are the lessons and knowledge you believe students should learn from this era? kerry dunne: there are two large takeaways i would want. we went students to form their own opinions and their own judgments, but i would certainly hope that the dangers of isolationism would be apparent to a student of world war ii. i would hope that teachers would be mindful of that and model that by making sure their own students are informed about the conflicts occurring around the world today and the threats occurring around our complicated world today. there are excellent resources out there. "the new york times upfront" is a terrific newsmagazine for students.
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creating the parallel between why it was important for the united states and its leaders of the pre-world war ii and world war ii era to be informed and active members of a world society and why you as a student need to be an active and informed member of our country's society and our broader world society is an important lesson. i also think -- and this is something that our partner in the boston public schools facing history and ourselves has been effective in delivering this message. the understanding that the persecution of minority groups often creates a political climate that leads to totalitarianism, fascism, nazism. we have deep threats around the persecution of minority groups in europe, the middle east and elsewhere. i am wearing my forget-me-not
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badge in remembrance of the hundredth anniversary of the armenian genocide. this is a recurring theme in world history. it is one that our students need to be mindful of today. those would the enduring lessons i would like to see our students depart from a study of world war ii with. it is one that our teachers of history can help impart. ken rendell: please just jump in. susan wilkins: first of all, in the 10th grade course, the narrative in my classes, what explains the rise of hitler and the rise of the nazis in weimar germany. this is a very complex issue. students do not have much knowledge about this at all.
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i want students to understand this happened in part because of internal problems within the weimar republic and the experiment democracy in germany and what hitler and the nazi party did to attract voters to their party. 10th grade is also where we teach the holocaust. here i want students to understand both the history of anti-semitism and how it changed under the nazi regime. there's a wonderful five-minute youtube clip by a rabbi who talks about the evolution of anti-semitism and the innovation of racial anti-semitism under the nazi regime. i also find that 10th grade students have trouble understanding why the jews did not get out. why didn't they leave and go somewhere safer? this is something i grappled with trying to educate them about. and we sort of look at a
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timeline of nazi anti-semitic acts. i turn it back on them, when do you think it, too much has happened and you feel you would need to get out? where do you think you would go? finally, we look at the escalation, beginning in 1939. sort of the industrial-technological nature of the nazi extermination plan. i would say in the 11th grade u.s. history class, again, the focus is a little different. here i want my students to understand the war lays to rest the ongoing debate in u.s. history between isolationism and interventionism. that began with washington's farewell address. world war ii really ends that debate. this is the year we give attention to pearl harbor, the
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u.s. role in the european theater, the u.s. and the pacific is looked at him quite a bit of detail. culminating with the decision to drop the atomic bomb. ken rendell: thank you. it is very -- i'm going to jump in. you are teaching anti-semitism from the beginning here in the museum, we begin with hitler's first anti-- anti semitic rant on the treaty of versailles, we have to drive the jews out of germany. it begins in print on small ways. on notices of meetings at the beer halls, no jews allowed. next year, the nazi party program comes out and it is just two lines, the jews cannot be citizens of germany.
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that is it. and we have signs. jews cannot sit on park benches. it keeps escalating. jews are not allowed in this town. you have a 20 year period where people adjusted to anti-semitism. the next year when it is more restrictive, you are accepting it up to that point. in 1939, hitler gives the annihilation of the jews speech. we have the manuscript of that. 1919-1939 is the rise of anti-semitism. we begin the holocaust with the annihilation speech. then we get into concentration camps. we parallel with what you are doing. izzy? israel arbeiter: are we going to have lunch? [laughter]
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ken rendell: izzy speaks at our museum frequently. we can invite all of you to a full-scale talk. he's one of the great speakers we have at our museum. israel arbeiter: thank you. i used to speak in schools, that was my favorite place. i got a lot of invitations for speaking engagements in synagogues and churches and military installations. but i always picked the schools. the young people, especially the junior and in the high schools, junior and senior class -- they are going to be the future leaders of the world. and through them, we've got to instill and teach and explain to them what happened during world war ii.
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i myself was a youngster, i was 14 years old when world war ii broke out. i spent most of the time in concentration camps. including auschwitz, if i were to go on that subject talking about auschwitz, we would have to have lunch and dinner here. the main subject that i try to speak to students in schools is what happened to a peaceful country, to a country of intelligent people in the heart of europe in the 20th century -- not in africa, in the jungles of asia, but in the heart of europe. a small of group of nazi criminals could convince a
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nation of probably 80 million people to become murderers, to become torturers, to commit such crimes that it is unbelievable. let me say this. if anybody walks out from here and says i do not believe what izzy was saying because it is impossible to believe that we -- what we went through under the nazis. ken rendell: would you speak for a minute? izzy speaks in german schools. i'm very interested in what reaction you get in speaking to a school in germany. it seems to me that germany really has confronted its past. japan -- we have a problem in this country with not teaching history. japan teaches a very different version of history.
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germany seems to be doing a very thorough job. i know that you have a lot of experience speaking in these schools. israel arbeiter: i've been invited the last seven years to come to speak in germany's schools. the audience, the high school students especially -- it is called the gymnasium before they got a college. they are very interested in the history of what their parents, their grandparents did during the war. i know -- i notice in the audience when i ask them the same questions, i can see tears pouring from the eyes of the students. in disbelief that their nice parents committed such atrocities. i have testified at the trials in one city of a nazi that
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committed atrocities at a concentration camp. i was testifying against him. during the intermission, i was trying to get from the hall where the process took place to the men's room. a young man approached me. he said mr. arbeiter, excuse me, can i speak to you. i said, of course you can. he said i am there every day during the trial to listen. i'm a holocaust student. i learn a lot about the holocaust. and i believe everything that you are saying, what happened to you. one mistake you are making -- the man that is sitting there is not the one that committed those atrocities.
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he is a good man, he's my father. he is a good husband. i said it is very possible that he's a good man and a good father. but during the war, he was a mean person, he was a murderer, he was killing innocent people. children, babies. this is the man that is sitting there. the young people in the audience want to know. they ask such important questions because they want to know. there is a big difference between the elder generation and the young people. the elder generation says we talked about it, it happened a long time ago, why don't we stop? let's move on. the young people, and now more of them in germany, the young people want to know. they want to learn. they want to know what happened in germany.
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they want to know answers to the questions that we are asking. how can a civilized nation like that become murderers? commit unbelievable atrocities. and this is what we also speak in the schools here. because the young people here want to know. like i said, they are going to be the future leaders. they will know, from what they learned from us. if they do not learn from us, they will not know what happened. from us, they learn. they can carry it on. again, there is a great interest, a great demand for holocaust survivors. i know there is a representative here. i've spoken on many occasions for facing history to students and schools. we did make, two years ago i
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made a documentary, a movie in poland and germany. it is called "i promised to my father." it was from the question i said before. when my father sent me over to the other line after the selection. they were sent to the death camp in treblinka and murdered there. my father said, if you survive, remember to carry on the jewish life and jewish traditions. this was with me every day during my life during the concentration camps. i have been doing it for the past 65 years since i arrived in the united states. ken rendell: in terms of people asking how could this happen, we try to show that in the museum with pageantry, the music, all
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of the things that people did get caught up in. it was marketing a war. the common denominator in all of hitler's speeches was anti-semitism. the loss of nationalism, the humiliation of world war i and versailles. the economy. these are the problems affecting people every day. the punchline in every killer speech is it is because of the jews. people getting caught up in that pageantry -- colors, designs, propaganda. it was an incredible feat of marketing a war. i want to change our focus for a little. many textbooks, and i saw this with my daughter in school, stress social movements over leadership. the russians learned disastrously that by not having any specific leaders in the military, they were getting decimated by germany.
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one leader argued for putting back officers and leaders and the russians came together. churchill, for example, i understand it is not taught in british schools now. paul, you are in a perfect position to comment. our interpretation is that it is leaders and people. it is both. you cannot have one without the other. what do you run into with this? paul reid: i'm an unapologetic great man theory of history historian. and so, to not teach churchill or stalin or roosevelt or lincoln or george washington -- not only not teach, but not put them into the context -- that is what i think the history student who leaves the classroom, not
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with the chronological facts and the dates and the number of chapters in a certain book. goes home thinking, thinking, thinking. the first line of defense there is going to be is the teacher. if the teacher has textbooks that are horribly politically incorrect or revised, it is not going to happen. i heard izzy say and other folks today, these students are our next generation of leaders. no, and i'm not being cynical. if they are not imputed with a love and a respect of history, the next generation of sheep. from a classroom somewhere, there may be a leader.
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if they are not aware of churchill, the case you were mentioning, in great britain, then how can they take away a feeling of how heroic the stance of the english people was during 1940-1941? again, if the great men and women are not being taught, there is something wrong. i would add one thing. that is, professor kennedy was talking about history and what ifs, that is always fun to do. but there is a sense of teaching kids contingencies, in the dictionary sense of the word, events that could happen and do or might not happen and do not. we want to put history into
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order, chronological and this happened and this happened and this happened. but it is a mess. it's a kaleidoscopic mess. as it's being born, if you will, history. the sense of contingencies, it is not a what if, it actually happened, what now were the repercussions, the fallout? again, i have not been in a classroom in a long time. i would like to think of the visual aids and museum visit and artifacts, especially for the great schoolchildren, they can just work magic. finally, i have at home every "time" magazine published during
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world war ii. they belong to build manchester's mother, she got them in oklahoma city. six years times 52 weeks. it is one of the reasons the book took me nine years. i could not stop reading those "time" magazines. half of the reports were wrong. that was part of the story appeared i was like a kid in a candy store with those magazines and other sources and artifacts and meeting folks like you, izz y. one of my best friends is a 96-year-old retired army general. as a major under patton and led a brigade of tanks in the battle of the bulge. a great man. i know that not every student is going to grow up and want to be a historian. but if they just love it and grasp the relationships and the contingencies and the importance
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of it -- if not, we will raise a generation of sheeps. thanks. ken rendell: good way to put it. susan wilkins: in our classrooms, getting at the issue of leadership, i think we want students to understand these leaders are not born great leaders. they have to make difficult choices along the way. having students understand why certain choices are made when they are made is an important intellectual exercise. we often use the appropriately named choices program and out of the watson institute of brown university. it will take some of these very controversial and important moments in history and really ask students to do some research and try to understand why the decisions that were made were
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made. one example that comes to mind is the appeasement policy before the outbreak of the war. students today look back on that and saying what were they thinking? why would you ever appease a person like hitler? i think it is very important to stop students and say look, we are talking about very intelligent people who were making these decisions. so that is a very good question -- why appeasement? instead of brushing it off and saying they just did not know what they were thinking, really delve into it and say why did they choose appeasement? their were sort of rational reasons for the decision at that time. in addition to highlighting the role of the great luminaries, i think it is also important to try and put students back into that time period and have them think through the issues that these leaders had to think through at that time. ken rendell: just commenting on
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that, i think appeasement was based on the fact that good people could not imagine that there could ever be another war like world war i. it was called the great war. the losses were staggering in england and france. they just cannot conceive that germany would ever do it again. it was very hard for good people to understand evil. i want to ask a question that relates to everyone. it is kind of combining several of the questions that we had. we find this to be a fine line. we have our own policy about exposing students to evil. if you overwhelm people, they shut off and they are not going to look and you cannot get to them. we are trying to hook people.
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hook them into the experiences. how do kids in your schools today dealing with the evil of the holocaust, deal with the question of the united states working with stalin, and a person as evil as hitler to his own country? but it was necessary, and we do it today. people look at all the alliances we have with dictatorships and places with no human rights. how are kids reacting to evil? kerry, do you want to -- kerry dunne: it is a tough question. it is one where i think a skilled teacher is essential to be able to make the judgment calls about what is appropriate for which age group and what they can handle. we have had a lot of teachers who have had success using "the diary of anne frank" with middle school students. they might hold back on disturbing images with that population and wait until high school to introduce that. i think that is a reasonable judgment call. but the evil piece, it is hard.
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especially when you are looking ofstudents who may be our the ethnic or religious background that was victimized during world war ii or another troubling event of history. i think there needs to be a place for them to debrief and talk about their emotions around this. the wrong answer would be to not teach it. the wrong answer would be to not address these chapters in our history. ken rendell: any other comments? then we are going to go to questions from the audience. susan wilkins: teaching the holocaust is a difficult topic. not that students can't understand history but for them , to empathize. is unfathomable. 6 million if there were only more mr. arbeiters who could speak every year to our classes,
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that would go a long way. i've tried in the past to use sources like showing "the pianist," which i think is an excellent account of the escalation against jews by the nazi regime. i found it was overpowering for my students. that was a case where it was too much. the united states holocaust museum has excellent online sources. one of the sites i have had, elements of their site i've had success with is the individual placards -- stories of individuals who experienced the holocaust and some survived and most did not. that puts more of a singular human face to this crime and tragedy. i find that a struggle. -- ar as the stolen peace
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piece, that, i think, is something i think is not difficult for students to understand. an alliance of necessity. they will already have learned about the soviet regime and the rise of totalitarianism in the soviet union. we follow it by showing that this was not an alliance that lasted. in fact, the u.s. allies with western democratic nations. i do not think is troubling to students. rendell: i hope we have time for a couple questions. yes? >> i would like to start by acknowledging -- if anyone is interesting in finding out where our holocaust and other witnesses to history are speaking or any of that, any of
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our extensive collection of videotapes and resources, i would refer you to for my question what can we do , as ordinary business people to support the teaching of this history? kerry dunne: i will answer that first. teaching about the holocaust and world war ii is complex and hard. it is an area where teachers could use support. supporting organizations like facing history and the holocaust museum do such a good job of providing training and resources for teachers. it is a good place for the business community to start. i also think the business community has a powerful voice. i would like to see them use more about the importance of teaching history at all. it would have some impact on our legislative and political leaders in making sure that happens. ken rendell: we have time for one more question.
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yes, sir? >> a question for mr. arbeiter. i have been doing research trying to find examples of the highest degree of courage during world war ii. set by anybody. i did not find it on the battlefield. i did not find it among the national leaders. it was among ordinary citizens in nazi-occupied countries who took in jewish children are jewish families. the same thing with anne frank. under extraordinary conditions of courage and the likelihood that they would be found. and either hurt themselves or their families would be punished. in the jewish kids would be killed. somehow they did this. they found examples all over the countries that were nazi- occupied. my question to a holocaust survivor, why do you think these people did that?
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took that risk and showed that courage? israel arbeiter: that question can be answered in two parts. that some, it is true people in some countries saved jews, they did hide them at the risk of their own lives and their family's. the penalty by the germans for catching anybody saving or hiding jews was very severe. it was either send you to a concentration camp or the death penalty. but the question is, if it was morally important to save another life, when you save a life, you save the whole world. if it was morally important to save some lives of their neighbors, of their friends, why
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was there so few that did? on the other hand were the bad people, which did hide jews as long as they could get paid. they even invited jews to hide in their homes or whatever, for being paid. for whatever jewelry or whatever they could get. when the jews, the people they were hiding, did not have any more, they turned them over to the germans. in some cases, they took away from them what they possessed and turned them over to the germans. you had two parts. it depends on which country. the worst that was was poland. it is quite a long story.
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ken rendell: i think sometimes the moral alternative to not helping is worse than the possibility of what happened if you did. it is certainly something i've heard from people. i want to thank pioneer for doing all this. all of us look at the newspapers every day and the world has gone to hell. pioneer is really doing something against partisanship and in examining all kinds of subjects. and i think we owe a great debt to pioneer institute for what they do to help society. thank you all. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] lady helen taft made several notable changes to the white house. replacingbvious was


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