tv American Artifacts CSPAN June 11, 2016 10:00am-10:36am EDT
we are in a special gallery for us here because our museum was originally founded in the 1990's as the national d-day museum. our congressional charter is to tell the american experience. in this gallery we get to the where the united states and her allies had to win this particular day. june 6, 1944. behind me is our film narrated by tom brokaw. it gives visitors the overarching story of the day at normandy. next to me on the left is a very special exhibit. this was dedicated to -- ernie
pyle actually walked the beaches of normandy where the american forces landed. he saw the -- of war left over by troops. what we have in this case is actual arctic -- actual artifacts and sand from utah and omaha beaches. he talks about shoe polish, showing hand grenades, toothbrushes, razors. columnsignals out in his grading papers. -- writing papers. the other thing they had an awful lot of for cigarettes.
he made the comment that a line of cigarettes up and down the beach marked the high water of this sacrifice their at normandy. it is a moment for our audiences after the film to pause and reflect about what was going on in the world d-day, june 6, 1944. it was the date that hitler could have driven our forces back into the waters of the english channel. he failed and from that point forward, we were on our way to the road to berlin and ending the third reich. >> a few miles down the beach -- keith huxen: on this wall, we have the civilian, military, and political leadership reaction to the normandy landings starting with ann frank, of course. a young jewish girl hiding in an attic in holland where she
writes in her diary, could it be true that forces have landed and we would be liberated. dwight eisenhower weighs in, the supreme commander, saying we have landed and the hour of liberation is approaching. but winston churchill, the prime minister of great britain, adds the sobering note that although we had a successful landing, in fact, we had a very long way to go. we are better than 700 miles away from berlin itself. as you can see by this map here, we have managed to achieve a toehold on the peninsula in france. we are along the beaches, that we are also facing a very hard, serious fight trying to move through northern france before we can start to get traction on defeating nazi germany.
we are now in the race across france galleries in which we tell the story of the allied advance across northern france up to operation cobra in july of 1945. we were bottled up in the hedgerows. behind me, you can see how these wooded hedgerows across the fields of france held up our military advancement. these hedgerows were so thick, there for thousands of years, that you could have a german soldier on one side of the hedgerows three feet away, and the two wouldn't know that they were there. tanks, in fact, could not go through these hedgerows until we built clippers on to the front of the tanks, american ingenuity, that allowed us to start busting towards the
liberation of france. the liberation of paris is the second chapter in the race across france. then at the end of the gallery, we tell the story of operation market garden. our daring attempt to try and end the war before christmas of 1944 through a parachute drop that comes up one bridge too short in holland. to my right over here as we move through the gallery, we have some artifacts, very interesting. a young french woman in normandy was a member of the french resistance. she was spying on the germans. so, here we have a german typewriter that she used to write notes to send information to the allies as well as a crystal radio receiver next to it. which she used to send out illegal messages or i should say rather listen to the bbc,
illegal radio broadcast, in legal under the nazi regime. we have an interesting piece in here as well. you may notice this pink and red liberation sash. there was given to an american lieutenant in september of 1944. it symbolizes the outpouring of joy that the french people had as the allies began to move through their country and liberate them from nazi rule. but down here on the end is a special artifact that we have. it is the medal of honor that was awarded to walter ehlers. he was a friend of this museum. he passed away by a year ago. he was the last, at the time, medal of honor recipient from the normandy landing. he received his medal of honor
for actions that took place about three days after the initial landings. and then besides the medal of honor is a photograph of his mother that he carried in his backpack. he came from a very religious family in kansas. he promised his mother he would not drink or curse or smoke while he was over here. he is going to be moving through france a day after he had been involved in a terrible incident when one of his comrades was shot and to protect him, walt is going to go and try and rescue him. the germans shot at him and the bullet went through the portrait of his mother that he was carrying in his backpack. and despite this, he was able to fight off the germans and basically carry his comrade to
safety. so, for those actions, he was given the medal of honor. however, i need to mention that walt had a brother who also landed at normandy on june 6, 1944. while he was performing, heroic actions, his brother never made it to the beach at normandy. his brother was killed when his boat coming into the beaches was hit by a shell fire. walt did not know that at the time. he found this out some days later. and so, this was of course, a terrible experience for him. very bittersweet. over here in this case, we have items that are dedicated to the average g.i.'s experience in france and the european theater. some of this is material that i think the public would expect to
see such as gun cleaning kits, oils, and so on. when you think about it, there's all kinds of other things that you need. such as a sewing kit. things such as prayer books, razors, old spice, matches, cigarettes, all are in here. what do you do for entertainment? we have things that are simple as tickets for hot coffee, free hot coffee at the officer's club. you can see as well in this case something that's a little interesting. item number 26 is a can opener. unlike most can openers most people have probably seen, this is something specifically designed for the field. you can see in the case, of course, cooking equipment that troops would use as they moved through advancing against the nazis.
in the race across france, after operation cobra, united states and allied forces are going to liberate paris in august of 1944. this was a high point for a lot of people who thought that the end of the war might be drawing near. maybe we would be able to get all the way to berlin by christmas time. however in this case over here, we have a little artifact that reminds us that things get lost along the way. dog tag of john mack. john mack, an african-american man, was from centreville, louisiana. not too far from us near in new orleans. he was a member of the red ball express. the red ball express basically was a convoy of supply trucks. if you have got a moving army, you need to be able to keep up with them food and gasoline. john mack lost his dog tags on the beaches of normandy when he came ashore as part of the red
ball express. over 70 years later, just a couple of years ago, his dog tags were rediscovered by a farmer in france who then sent them to the secretary of state's office here in louisiana. and he presented us with the dog tags. so, in a sense, john mack and his dog tags came home 70 years later. here in the case as well, you can see the red ball express' badge they wore on their uniforms. we are now moving into a bunker. a bunker that is supposed to be a german bunker. basically, after the failure of market garden in september of 1944 where we famously came up one bridge too far, too short, from being able to invade in northern germany, people still
hoped that the war might be over by christmas if not a little later. some of these people included omar bradley and dwight eisenhower. unfortunately, this was a terrible misjudgment. as we got closer to the german border, basically, resistance stiffened. in this german bunker, we learn the story of the battle of forest. a brutal, nasty affair that held us up and should have let us know that things were not going swimmingly. >> [indiscernible] keith huxen: on top of the bunker, concrete here, you can see a fabrication of church steeples and buildings. what the germans used to do
from the bunkers was actually use chalk and markers to write out the distances of these various landmarks in the landscape around them. this is how they would zero in and use their artillery and weapons to fire on advancing forces. over here in the bunker, we have a map used by the third armored division. so, this particular map was the property of lieutenant belton cooper, who went on to write a memoir about what it was like to fight in tanks. his memoir was entitled "death traps." and so, you get an idea of the terrain and the fast moving advancement that the allied forces were making through tanks - with tanks and through the war up until this point. as i mentioned, we were slowing up on the german boarder at this point, and things were about to get a lot worse. in december of 1944, adolf hitler is going to launch a last
ditch effort to try and win the war for nazi germany. his strategy was to launch an offensive against the american and british forces on the western front. this map depicts that attack. hitler thought what he could do would be to divide the british forces to the north from the american forces to the south. you can see the goal of this offensive by the dotted red line and the port all the way to the north. if hitler could break up into the english channel, he thought that the americans and the british would be forced to come to a political solution, a political agreement to end the war. in this battle, the largest that
has ever been fought by the united states army in its history, better than 600,000 americans were engaged. you can see our lines famously bulged, but they did not break. however, george patton is when to come up and save bastogne from the south after they had been surrendered. this is what americans recognize from the film "patton" where the commanding officer was asked by the germans to surrender and he famously said to them, one word, "nuts." so, in this case here, you get a sense of how logistics are so important in war. particularly with things like gasoline.
up here, we have a german gas tank where you can see the ss markings on the side. germans were running out of gasoline. we, however, not only have to deal with moving mechanical vehicles, tanks and trucks around, but also more importantly, probably, men, troops. and you can see in this case as well, tankers boots. these were worn by major corbyn during the battle of the bulge. in the end, we are going to prevail. as i mentioned, our lines bulged but they do not break. however, it comes at a tremendous cost in blood. over 19,000 americans are killed in this fighting that goes on for six weeks. and so, one last item i thought i would point out in this case
here is a souvenir nazi flag that was captured by members of the 101st airborne division. some of the airborne members signed their names to it. you can see in particular sam jewel on here from kennett, missouri, and other members. where they managed to hold out, patton is going to be able to come in and provide them relief. and we are going to push the germans back towards germany. we're now headed into the heart of the battle of the bulge gallery here at the national world war ii museum. you can see around me, we have all and environment once again that is very hostile to our forces. will 30 degrees below is the will weather. snow all over in this forest.
one of the things that made fighting in the forest rather dangerous was that the germans would shoot artillery into the trees. not aiming for american troops which they knew were under the trees, but to create shrapnel. the tree branches would shatter and come down. if you were unfortunate enough to not be close enough to the tree, you would probably be killed by pieces of woods, splinters flying around. in the battle of the bulge as we present this story in various video screens, we tell the stages of the battle. >> [indiscernible] coming in from belgium. the surprise german attack has broken through the american lines. [indiscernible] thousands more have been taken prisoner.
keith huxen: one of the thing we show is americans being captured. we haven't mentioned p.o.w.'s. i wanted to point this out. here is the prison of war i.d. tag of benjamin cohen. he was with the 423rd infantry regimen. he is going to be captured early on in the battle of the bulge. one thing i will mention of general interest, it was better to be a prisoner of war of the nazis than it was of the japanese. better than 40% of american p.o.w.'s of the japanese perished in these camps. the germans were concerned that the allies would give the treatment to their own p.o.w.'s tended to respect the rules of the geneva convention which the japanese refused to sign. i wanted to point that out, that not everything in war is necessarily victorious. sometimes you wind up on not just the losing side but in the enemy's hand.
so, overhear here one other thing i wanted to point out was the famous prayer card that general george patton asked his chaplain to come up with to basically guarantee good weather during the battle of the bulge. and basically, when the chaplain made the prayer, the weather cleared up, patton credited this with having an influence on the battle. in truth, the chaplain had written the prayer sometime before the battle. this prayer card was delivered to all of the troops and it became part of the legend of the battle of the bulge. here in our battle of the bulge gallery, we do have a german sedan. this was one of the cars used by
the german officers to go back and forth and transport themselves back and forth to the front. here you can see all of the camouflage that they used in these type of winter conditions with branches and things like that to try and blend into the landscape when they might be sprayed by aircraft or run into some other dangerous situation. >> [indiscernible] keith huxen: we're now entering our last gallery, into the german heartland. as you can see by this map, by early 1945 after the battle of the bulge, united states and her allies, french forces and british forces, flanking american forces in the west as
well as forces from the soviet union, basically crushing germany in the east. the war is in its end game stages as we are converging on berlin. now, in this gallery, we have basically the story of how berlin falls even though american troops never actually quite make it to berlin itself. however, people could see the handwriting on the wall by april 25th. in this gallery up here, we have a hat worn by one of the soviet troops when those troops met with the americans in april 25, 1945. this hat was given to a lieutenant by the name of george taulbee. from that point forward, berlin was surrounded.
the soviets are going to go ahead and crush hitler and the forces in berlin over the next week or so. by may 2, the battle of berlin is over. in this gallery, what we want to remind people of, even as we move into germany and are getting closer and closer to our goal of victory, the violence continues to escalate and it has real human costs. we tell the story of curtis ritter. he was a private in the american army. here, you can see a letter he wrote to his wife ellen in 1944. he was killed in late 1944 on the way into germany. you can see in the case that the hometown newspaper is going to bring news of his death to his hometown and public.
you can see condolence letters, about half a dozen of them, that are going to be written to his family from various sympathizers, neighbors, friends, and family members who knew curtis ritter. down here in the corner, we have is coveted combat infantry badge with the blue background and the rifle on it. a badge that was an honor. it was given only to those who faced the enemy in direct combat. in this conclusion gallery to the road to berlin, what we want to show the public is the immense devastation that went on as we move towards berlin. you can see our representations.
basically, the allies razed about 60 german cities on the way into berlin, and the germans refused to give up. hitler committed suicide in a bunker in berlin. on may 7, nazi germany formally surrendered to the allies. in this case, we have silverware and a teapot with adolf hitler's initials on them that were captured by american troops in munich, where hitler had begun his political career. found in nazi headquarters buildings, nazi administration buildings, in munich. basically, with the elimination of adolf hitler, we then have the opportunity to try and sum up what this war in europe
meant. we do so with a film that tells what the entire cost of hitler's nazi germany meant to the world. in terms of death, it was something that had never been seen before. in terms of destruction, culture, entire communities, the holocaust of the jews as well as others, political prisoners, so on. many others perished in hitler's concentration camp systems. we try and give people a sense of what the allied troops were fighting for. what it meant to extinguish that from the world. at the end of the road to berlin after we try and summarize the cost of the war for our public, we have an ending quote by general dwight d. eisenhower.
this came from a letter that the supreme commander of the allied forces wrote in april of 1943 to his son john. he tried to put in his words the meaning of a conflict that he was so central in trying to prosecute. he said, no other war in history has so definitely lined up the forces of arbitrary oppression and dictatorship against those of human rights and individual liberty. to eisenhower, this is what the war was about. this was his great achievement as general and military leader. later on, it made him the president of the united states and leader of the free world. >> they cannot believe their eyes. patton halts the tour, unable to witness anymore. [indiscernible] the g.i. replied we are fighting the idea that you are a master
race. >> this program was part two of a two-part visit to the road to berlin visit. you can see part one and all other american history tv programs online at we will be watched by our friends and people across the country, and i would hope, as i said before, that the senate may change. not as an institution, but maybe a kind of more efficient body to
cause -- because of televised proceedings. >> the proceedings of the united states senate are being broadcast to the nation on television for the first time. not that we have operated in secret until now. millions of americans have sat in the galleries and observed senate debates during their visit to washington. but today, they can witness the proceedings in their own homes. >> in effect, the senate has been a stage. the senators have been acting on that stage. the audience is in the gallery, and by our actions today we have not fundamentally altered that situation. we have enlarged the galleries. we have pushed out the walls to include all of the american people who wish to watch. >> commemorating 30 years of
c-span coverage of the senate on c-span2. america" "reel brings you archival films. leaving up to the july 1 anniversary of the smithsonian, showing aica" will be series of nasa films. up next -- food for space travelers. got hungry, glenn he simply popped open the visor on his helmet and popped a tablet. this and the occasional feeding of a be food from the container was more than he needed for four and half hours in orbit. the purpose was to find out if a man could even eat in a weightless condition.
it was considerably more sophisticated than the round paper bag and thermos diet common during world war ii. since 1961, food scientists have been hard at work developing space food's and measuring their effect on man. and yet, as we continue to launch longer and longer missions into space, entirely new considerations must be dealt with. our space food scientist -- how space food scientist are doing this is our story today on science reporter. expect is what you might during spaceflight. first, the effect of g forces you would get on lift off artery entry. >> the acceleration and deceleration? >> exactly. here is an impact test that you
would get on a hard landing, for instance. here we see vibration. this occurs, especially on lift consider --may very vary considerably with the booster. here we see the combat -- the combination of noise. instance, the escape our will function. here is a's daddy of -- a study of the alternate atmosphere. this will always be present. 100% oxygen at five psi, for example. or even mixtures of gases we are studying. this is an example of disorientation that one gets with tumbling that you will probably well remember in gp
five. when the power is off, the spacecraft tends to tumble. >> they get dizzy, i suppose. >> you probably do not notice dizziness, but you are altering the apparatus, particularly when you combine it with weightlessness. this is critical. certainly one of continuing duration. >> i could see how those would help you lose your appetite for a few hours. >> i do not think that they will affect your new transcript are -- but the weightlessness, the continued exposure to radiation or bursts of radiation
might singly or in combination nutritional requirements. >> watch the entire film at 4 p.m. eastern. america," only on american history tv on c-span3. ofthe first vice president the united states, john adams, once said about his position it was the most insignificant office ever conceived. next, joel goldstein talks about the history of the vice presidency and argues the office has grown in importance, especially for the last six men who have held the position. from the gerald r. ford presidential library, this is one hour. good evening. -- >> good evening. event isg of tonight's