Skip to main content

tv   The Contenders  CSPAN  August 8, 2016 12:04am-2:08am EDT

12:04 am
history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. like us on facebook at c-span history. contenders, our series on key political figures who ran for president and lost, but who nevertheless changed history. tonight we feature wendell wilkie who ran against franklin d. roosevelt in 1950. the program was recorded at the rushville county historical society. this is about two hours. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. [applause]
12:05 am
>> i stand before you without a single pledge or promise or understanding of any kind except for the advancement of your cause and that of democracy. [applause] >> the republicans -- wendell willkie ran for president in 1940. some images of him on the campaign trail. we are here with david willkie. i want you to introduce the
12:06 am
audiences of some of the fervor. your grandfather ran for president and try to defeat franklin delano roosevelt, who was seeking a third term. >> what an exciting time in the country. here we are just entering into the great depression, the end of the hoover administration, eight years of the roosevelt administration. president roosevelt was right at the height of its power. that opened up a tie for a dark horse candidate. >> keep in mind the state of the republican party. it was a party defeated by roosevelt in 1932. what were the republicans looking for and why was your grandfather the person they chose? >> and nobody else had run for a third term before, going back to the time of george washington. when washington stepped down, no one had even dreamed of running for a third term for the presidency. when roosevelt announced that he
12:07 am
did, it changed the whole dynamic of what was out there. certainly looking at europe, world war ii, the autopsies were -- the nazis were going over to northern europe. the republican said, "what do we do? >> yet it was a republican party that had herbert hoover was hoping the party would come back to him. you had thomas dewey of new york. this was a convention in philadelphia that went for six hours. >> and nobody had come from a business side. nobody was actually doing that except for wendell willkie. he certainly rose up and had an electric personality and magnetic energy about him that brought people to him.
12:08 am
>> you obviously never do your grandfather. he died at the age of 52. we will learn more about his life. why did he ultimately decide to run for the nomination? he did set the groundwork in 1939 for a possible predator to bed in 1940. -- a possible presidential did in 1940. >> he was always interested in politics, even from growing up in his hometown. he talked about it in his life, in his childhood with his parents, when they got to college -- it was always an integral part of its life. >> we are in russellville, indiana, one of the homes of wendell willkie. >> this is a wooden post card sent to the united states mail, sent from aberdeen, washington. all of the people in the town actually signed the back of the
12:09 am
postcard to say "we want willkie." we want wendell willkie to run for the presidential nomination for the presidency. >> what was the campaign like? you had or will keep clubs. you had boxes of buttons and banners. >> people wanted something new and different that they had not had before. this is where the willkie name started to take off. here was someone who had challenged the new deal successfully. he had been a strong proponent of individual freedom and liberty. people were drawn to the message. >> we are about a block off of main street. your mother, wendell willkie's daughter in law, lived a few blocks from here. >> if it was my grandmother's home town. my grandfather grew up in elwood.
12:10 am
when they married, this was the place they generally call home. in the family, my great great grandfather had lost his shirt during the depression. instead of giving his father in law a handout, when the willkie and bought a farm land. he asked his father-in-law if he would manage it. >> how much time did he spend in rushville. >> his wife and son would come back constantly, but during the campaign, this was the headquarters. >> indianapolis and in the center of the state. we are in rushville. where is elwood. >> the northeastern part of the state, north of rushville about an hour and a half from here, a little bit of an hour from indianapolis.
12:11 am
>> why is elwood so important for the 1940 campaign? >> the decided to accept the nomination in elwood, indiana. it is the largest political rally ever in the history of indiana. >> the historical society said the people were honking horns and cheering that the hometown boy was the republican nominee. he was improbable going into the philadelphia. >> no question. he was the dark horse. during the nomination speech, it was such a high sweltering indiana at bay. it was a carnival atmosphere with books and paraphernalia. some of it you may see here today. >> david willkie, who is the grandson of wendell willkie. we'll be checking in with you
12:12 am
over the next two hours. tonight we are coming to you from rushville, indiana. in a moment, we'll be joined by amity shlaes, the author of "the forgotten man," and james madison, prof. of history at the university of indiana. we are going to show you the scene in elwood, indiana, and the speech by wendell willkie. i'm lent to do shoe to our guests coming up in just about a minute and a half. -- i will introduce you. >> i say that we must substitute for the proxy of distributed scarcity and the philosophy of unlimited productivity. i stand for the restoration of full production and reemployment by private enterprise in america. [applause]
12:13 am
the new deal's effect on business has had the inevitable results. investor has been afraid to invest his capital. the businessman has been afraid to expand his operations. millions of men have been turned from the unemployment office. irresponsible experiments in the country as deprive the former of this market. for the first time in history, american industry has remained stationary for a full decade. i charge that the path of this administration is following will lead us to the end of the road. i say that this course will lead us to economic disintegration and dictatorship. i say that we must substitute for the philosophy of spending, the philosophy of production. you cannot buy freedom.
12:14 am
you must make freedom. >> from elwood, indiana, in august of 1940 to the west county's historical society here in indiana. this is one of the postage stamps from 1992 -- a 75 cent stamp celebrating the centennial of wendell willkie's bert. amity shlaes is with the george washington institute in dallas tx. -- the george w. bush institute in dallas, texas. you have been a professor of history at indiana university. let me begin with that speech he gave in elwood indiana -- elwood, india. it's as the groundwork for why he was challenging franklin delano roosevelt. >> he ran against roosevelt and the new deal and against the tide of policies and politics represented by the new deal. we will have a good opportunity to talk about those in detail. it was a fairly standard
12:15 am
political speech, but not a fairly standard political rally. it was a massive rally. 150,000-200,000 people in the small indiana town in august at a time when as hoosiers say, you can hear the corn grow. he spoke with eloquence, yet the atmosphere was such the speech was a bit flat in terms of the audience, in terms of the reception. that was not the best part for the campaign. we now know looking back that it was rather indicative of the campaign itself -- some of the difficulties that the amateur had. >> one note about the speech, it was heard on radio by millions of americans.
12:16 am
>> this was the time for radio. people sat by the radio and listened intently. >> you have written extensively about the new deal. this is now eight years after franklin roosevelt promised a new deal for the american people, yet unemployment still in the double digits, still a lot of concern about the economy. why did republicans turned to an outsider? it is probably the first time in american history that a non- military not a politician was the party nominee. >> this was a political expression. i see the speech as a enormous success of some kind. the republican party was bailing the country. it was not giving an answer to what the democrats had offered. the democrats were not delivering recovery. the recovery was choosing to stay away. willkie was an expression of the people.
12:17 am
the gop had never expected a rally like that. it was a genuine grass-roots event of a kind that is very rare in the u.s. you start way down there and get to the nomination for president. >> why him? what did he do to try to lay the groundwork that allowed the party to turn to this outsider, this businessman from indiana who spent some time in new york at the 1940 nominee? >> it is easy to underestimate willkie. the long term career politicians did just that. he did have no political experience to speak up. he had never ran for office. he never held office. he was a businessman, a lawyer, but very smart and very sophisticated. his business experience was
12:18 am
really, in a way, political experience. he was a wonderful communicator. he knew how to work with people. he knew how to make a case, how to make an argument -- the kind of skills a deployed as a presidential candidate. >> yet alice roosevelt longworth said it was a grassroots of 1000 country clubs. you are smiling. >> in the grassroots complaint -- campaign is part of the politics and politicking. it truly was a grassroots in what it intended, but willkie was not a common man. he was a wealthy corporate lawyer and businessman. he had an agricultural interest, but he was not a farmer. he said he formed by conversation, not by actually farming. he was far from the grass roots, but he tried to appeal to the grassroots. >> amity shlaes, let's talk about the 1940 convention. this had the governor of
12:19 am
minnesota delivering the speech. herbert hoover, former president, who is hoping the party would turn to him one more time. tom dewey, and, of course, robert taft, who is hoping the party returned to him. >> we get in a little trouble when we draw analogies. dewey was the prosecutor from new york who overrated himself. we often have new yorkers come out and say they are going to win, especially when they have a legal background. taft was mr. republican, people had heard of him before. taft was a name. that was not particularly new. herbert hoover was a wonderful man. he was getting in the way of the progress of the party because he kept wanting to run again. this time was probably past. what was exciting about willkie was he went to hear herbert
12:20 am
hoover and they could not believe that harbor hoover would hog the nomination. in that way, willie was a grass roots. he, himself, was not of the grass. he was chosen by people who were voting against the party. the other names were "the parti." willkie came in as somebody different, not what we expected. >> he retired and an exciting man. i think for many people, it was none of the above. it was the perfect atmosphere for an outsider who promises and looks very different from the standard of the late 1930's. >> what was the state of the democratic party, amity shlaes, and franklin roosevelt and his support in 1940, eight years after the new deal at a time when most residents would step down?
12:21 am
>> roosevelt's victory -- 46 out of 48 states in the preceding election -- was so hard to get past. even as the party was beginning to get past it, this idea of having a third term -- the war was coming closer. war in 1940 had already been declared in europe. germans had invaded poland and britain. all of a sudden, roosevelt was good at war. they knew that. they knew that when he served as secretary of the navy. he might be a good war leader. all of a sudden, people were tongue tied and did not protest against roosevelt. still, it was quite amazing. amazing. >> professor madison, the headlines in the summer of 1940
12:22 am
with one "at the republican nominee, hitler moving to france and declaring victory. the big question, is great britain next? juxtapose the politics of 1940 and the limning clouds of war in 1940-1941. >> france surrendered to the not nazis a couple of days before the philadelphia convention began. they knew they needed a wartime leader. roosevelt looked a lot better in that context than did any of of the other republicans. >> we are coming to you from the rush county historical society indiana, one of the homes of wendell willkie. he was born in elwood, indiana. our focus this week is on wendell willkie.
12:23 am
737-0001. if you live in the eastern time zones, 737-0002. there are so many images from that campaign. there are things we do not see in modern campaigns. what was that significant? what did that tell you about the support wendell willkie had with certain sectors of the public? >> of course, there was no television. they really had to get out there with the people. he spent a lot of time crossing the country on trains. retail politics in towns and cities all across america, with all the hoopla, with all the stuff to get people engaged in keep them excited about the campaign. campaign. >> was franklin roosevelt worried about wendell willkie?
12:24 am
>> i think he enjoyed it. he said, "i am not going to pretend that it is an unimportant duty for me to campaign." both of them were warriors. both of them enjoyed that process, yet he respected willkie as a contender. from the beginning, you see him dropping comments -- "that 1 i am worried about their "he was ready for the battle. >> we will hear from franklin roosevelt in just a minute. who was behind the willkie campaign? who are some names are audience might be familiar with? >> he had the good fortune to meet people in the publishing and newspaper business. people who bought bank by the barrel. the editor of forbes magazine, the book editor of the new york tribune, the editor of time life, and others. these people in the publishing world like him very much and were very strong behind-the- scenes in advocating a working for his nomination and election.
12:25 am
>> yet, he was a democrat before becoming the republican nominee. >> he had more credibility as an outsider. he supported the league of nations. he was a democrat right up to 1935. you can find documents with will -- willkie associated with democrats. matt gave him more power because he would not a party man. he became a republican out of conviction. he saw what was wrong with the democratic philosophy of governance. when you look at the beginning of his career as a businessman, he thought he was a democratic utilities man. they gradually came to be as the government was putting the private utilities and he grew angry. it was speaking truth to power. that is what he represented. he really was angry for what happened to this country -- his company.
12:26 am
he had seen his shareholders lose money and his company be hurt. that is someone observing from the political sphere. >> the unemployment rate in 1940 was what? >> the unemployment rate for 1940 was 10 or below. it was above where we are. it is a little bit muddy because you are moving towards a world war ii. the average unemployment rate was in the teens. that is the important thing to know. some people say 14, some say 15. it is the difference between terrible and awful. >> wendell willkie talking about unemployment and jobs on the campaign trail in hoboken, new jersey. we are going to listen to part of that and then a conversation, part of the recordings of president roosevelt in the oval office from october 1940 as president roosevelt discusses the challenge. >> one of the things that struck me as i was driving up the
12:27 am
streets of hoboken, why is the average store window -- why does the average store window have pictures of my opponent and his running mate on the new deal ticket? i do not know of any more appropriate place to put those pictures. [applause] [indiscernible]
12:28 am
>> franklin roosevelt and recordings from 1940. james madison, franklin roosevelt was a politician. we hear a little bit of that in this oval office reported. >> there is probably never anyone in the white house the was more of a wily politician
12:29 am
than franklin roosevelt. he had a skill and ability and success that has few if any rivals. willkie had the misfortune of running against that skillful politician. >> was wendell willkie consistent all the issues in the 1940 campaign? >> i do not think so. the campaign started to go badly for willkie. the disorganization, the chaos. in the last part of the campaign, he moved in the position on the war and a new deal that he may not happily agreed with. they were more harsh than the truth wendell willkie. >> amity shlaes. >> he was inconsistent, but we cannot downplay is a success. he won more votes in that
12:30 am
election with any republican had ever won. electorally, roosevelt was that wily fox. on the popular vote, it was much narrower. willkie got much closer to the democrats than republicans have before. to the tape we just heard of roosevelt, roosevelt really did become worried. maybe we will hear tonight another tape where he worried about whether he could use willkie's mistress as a back to him in theo be election. there is a lot of stuff going on and they are beginning to take him seriously. that was the future of the campaign. a very important girlfriend back willkie had. >> you write about are in your book. let's take a few phone calls.
12:31 am
we are in rushville, indiana. his own -- his home is literally two or three blocks from where we are now. our first caller is kurt from ohio. welcome to the conversation. >> good evening. this is a great program and i hope that a lot of people take advantage of this great service to you are giving to the american people. my question is -- i have a couple of comments -- the first one is being in the suburbs of akron, ohio, i wanted to know a little bit more about wendell willkie's role as an attorney for the goodyear tire and rubber co. where he, during that time, was
12:32 am
heavily involved in akron city democratic politics. my second comment is with wendell willkie being the dark horse candidate at that time i in 1940, do you see history kind of repeating itself 72 years later with the emergence of herman cain as the new dark horse for the republican party with no political experience and a business background, that sort of thing? he is starting to look better compared to governor romney and governor harry and all the others. >> you bring up two good points. thanks for the call. he grew up here in indiana. ohio was a key part of his career. >> he followed the economic growth. that is what happened. why did he go from indiana to ohio? because tires were there. we think of our cities now -- when he got to akron, he could not find a bedroom.
12:33 am
it was that pact during the automobile boom. it was so tight, going so fast with the automobile industry. that tells you a lot about what he was for. he was for economic growth. from there to new york with a law firm to serve a new industry, utilities, and then to have that utilities company. >> herman cain was on the fox news channel today. one of the questions was the republican party has not nominated a businessman said wendell willkie. >> i always like when people make connections between present-day politics or issues and the past. i am reluctant to do that except to say this -- it is too early to identify the dark horse because at this point in 1939, very few people had ever heard
12:34 am
of wendell willkie. many thought he was still a democrat. he did not emerge until the spring of 1940. if we are calling a format, we would have to wait until the spring of 2012 to know if we have a dark horse. >> the conventions of a 1940 were very different from the conventions of 2012. >> the outcomes were less certain than now. we seem to be more settled in a primary system. >> ron is starting us from maryville, washington, to talk about the presidential campaign of wendell willkie. >> thanks for taking my call and for having this series. it is outstanding. i want to provide three corrections or clarifications to statements that have been made. number one, the statement that roosevelt was the first president to contemplate a third term.
12:35 am
actually, woodrow wilson contemplated at as documented in his recent biography by john milton cooper. he seriously contemplated it. secondly, i am pretty sure roosevelt was the assistant secretary of the navy, not full secretary. third, willkie, i do not think, was the first non politician republican nominee. i would specify hoover as being in that category, even though he did hold the cabinet post of secretary of commerce. he was never elected politician or did he serve in the military. >> thanks for the call in place for the points. first on herbert hoover and on woodrow wilson. hoover was secretary of commerce and woodrow wilson, the point about whether he was serious
12:36 am
about a third term in 1920. >> i just read the biography of calvin coolidge. wilson and wilson's crowd talked about a lot of things, but it was clear to the party that he could not be the next president. that is a little bit of a different category. we did not say roosevelt was secretary of the navy, we said he served the secretary of the navy, but we appreciate the caller. north carolina. >> i just wanted to comment -- in the fall of 1940, when the willkie did a whistle stop tour of florida. i happened to be a western union trainee in melbourne, florida. he was on the rear platform of the train. a crowd of 50 or 60 people have the opportunity to shake hands with wendell willkie.
12:37 am
that was the comment i wanted to add. >> do you remember if you saw him on the whistle stop tour? what did you take when you saw him campaign? did he leave an impression? >> i was a kid at 18-years old. i was in awe. here is a guide could be the president of the united states. i am 89 now. i was 18 then. just a kid. i was visibly impressed. it was really something. it was something very, very special. >> james, thanks for the call. these are some of the images of the crowds swarming around wendell willkie. he also used the media. a couple of points that nbc radio carried almost 30 hours of the republican convention in philadelphia. television was introduced a the 1940 convention. he was in new york, schenectady, and a few other cities.
12:38 am
the republican party put together some advertisements used in movie theaters around the country. >> politics are always changing. there are always new techniques, new possibilities, and new media. willkie was very astute. he was helped by the time the people he had around him in the campaign, or the best of the best. what he would not a farmer, but he went after the agriculture vote. >> the agricultural vote was still very important in 1940. there are a very large number of farmers in america and they are very important -- they vote. foreign policy was central to presidential elections for any president expected to have a chance of victory. they must pay attention to that. that is what we see these photographs of willkie standing
12:39 am
in front of a corn field or in front of pigs. some wags said that all the odds in rushvillegs started to pose as soon as the cameras showed up. he was quite honest. one of the nice things about willkie is he was honest, including never actually pretending he was indeed a farmer. >> the major issues in 1940 -- what were they, amity shlaes? >> there with the war. are we going in? do we have to go in? is london is to be bombed, maybe we have to go in. world war i was such a horror. war always stops economics. to the economy. those are the big ones.
12:40 am
one thing about willkie, we know the phrase "happy warrior spir." willkie was a happy warrior. he was basically not a vicious man. what the gop have learned in the 1930's was that they failed through bitterness. all the attacks on the new deal ittewere band angry. willkie represented a new way of being for the party, not just to smear roosevelt, but to take him on with facts and without too much ad hominen. i do not know if you call that media or character. i call it character. >> if you into a movie theater in 1940, you very well could have seen this advertisement put
12:41 am
together by the republican national committee for wendell willkie. >> whether you are in oregon or florida, new jersey are california, you have a right to know how well your republican candidates for breton and vice- president understand agricultural problems and their personal an interest in farming. for this purpose, this motion picture has been produced. the two most talked-about men in american life today are the central figures of this picture. wendell willkie of indiana and charles mcnary of oregon. mr. mr. willkie but it's a family of one of his formefarmer. it's a hot day and rear
12:42 am
refreshes himself before his tour begins. they does not let anything stand in his way. these are practical corn belt farmers. his interest in america's young people is genuine. in them, he sees the future of america. >> from the republican national committee -- amity shlaes, he described himself as a liberal. this is an important point to understand. liberals in the 1940 as a very different terms. >> when he said liberal, he meant the liberalism of the individual -- your individual rights. not the liberalism of the group. not the progressive block. he saw an opposition there. that is quite different from liberalism.
12:43 am
that is what he was seeking to define, especially in the middle of the 1930's. >> richard is joining us from wellington, florida. >> you mentioned the important role of the publication, houses in new york. i visited the elite special collections and went to the will keep files. i was very struck by the role and campaign of people like john whitney, william harding jackson, the managing director of the whitney co., and of william mcilvaine in the chicago area. i would like to know if you would talk a little bit about their role in the campaign and, more broadly, the level of
12:44 am
support from melbourne and b. whitney companies in new york that stem from mr. willkie's time in new york in 1949 and maybe before that. thank you so much. so much. >> he actually passed away in 1944. >> wendell willkie was a corporate man. he worked a commonwealth and southern, which was a company put together to wire the south korean the united states. -- to wire the southern united states. it would not be surprising if you heard names like that associated, but not all establishment publicans with money worked for willkie. many worked for the other names we heard. it was not as shift -- some of them came around when they thought he would become the candidate.
12:45 am
people jumping in at various points. >> the sale of the tva and the impact it had on when the willkie and his view of government. >> it really starts in the 1920's. the rest of the country is beginning to wonder how we like up the south. the company was put together to supply the answer. there is a bit of governance orchestration because there were different loss in the state. they thought they could do it. they went on the stock exchange. it was when the dow jones first started. that with the internet of the time. another view coming from the government was the government should supply the power. we light up the south -- the tennessee valley authority. willkie found himself as head of
12:46 am
commonwealth and suburb. one of the heads of the tva said the with light up the south? they were meeting at the cosmos club. the gentleman lawyer from indiana -- there they were at the cosmos club trying to make friendly like two lawyers. willkie said my company will do some and your company will do some. he did not get it. the government was. to take over at all. that was the battle waged to the whole period. much of commonwealth and southern was sold to the government. willkie was declared the victor and the shareholders got money from the government.
12:47 am
the question was was it really a victory or was it the annihilation of the public sector in the marketplace of the future -- utilities? they took a big check all route to show his friends. i am not sure it was a private sit -- it was a victory for the private-sector or the shareholders. >> ruth is starting us from new york city. we welcome you to the conversation as we look at the life, career, in the 1940 campaign of wendell willkie. you sot you -- thank much for taking my call. it seems if every election society -- every election cycle, politicians and pundits will cite wendell willkie. why does he still resonate through today's political environment? >> i would say it is the freshness, the newness that is inevitable. it is the dark horse standard we have been talking about. this is someone who is so
12:48 am
different from vandenberg, taft, and the others. so viable, so energetic. he seemed so honest. one of my favorites stories about him is at a time even then when religion was important. candidates were expected to be churchgoers. "when asked said, "i generally sleep in on sunday mornings." that was and honesty many people found it refreshing on sunday mornings -- found in 1940. >> in 1968, ap's said, "could it be another year of wendell willkie? " republicans were dissatisfied with the potential nomination of richard nixon. >> every few cycles the republican party is the ostracized party. it tends -- when it gets tired of itself, someone comes from outside. the republican party is more
12:49 am
affiliated with business and enterprise. enterprising people tend to turn out to these republicans because they are from the private sector. that will always be a factor. who is the 1968 republican they were thinking of? the never came. we are still waiting for wendell willkie. he pushed roosevelt over into the war, to put it simply. willkie fought the war at to happen because what was going on in europe was wrong and we had to help fight the bad nazis. he was on the right side on that. that is refreshing. when someone comes in and speaks the truth about an important and difficult issue. i think that is what people remember. he forced roosevelt to do what roosevelt knew what was right to
12:50 am
do, which was go into the war. he may roosevelt be a better roosevelt. roosevelt be a better roosevelt. >> more from wendell willkie as he talks about liberalism and, also, the roosevelt new deal. this another from the republican national committee, a series of films. >> the doctrinaires of the opposition have attempted to picture me as an opponent of liberalism, but i was a liberal but for many of those men heard the word and i fought for the reforms of theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson before another roosevelt stopped it and distorted the word liberal. american liberalism does not consist merely of reforming things. it consists primarily of making things. we must substitute for the philosophy of distributed scarcity, the velocity of unlimited productivity.
12:51 am
i stand for the restoration of full production and reemployment in american private enterprise. present administration has spent $60 billion. the new deal stands for doing what has to be done by spending as much money as possible. i propose to do it by spending as little money as possible. this is one issue in this campaign that i intend to make crystal clear before the conclusion of the campaign so that everybody in this country may understand the tremendous waste of their resources and money that has taken place in the last 7.5 years. >> amity shlaes, as you hear the words of wendell willkie, your thoughts? >> that liberalism which he described, which he differentiates from progressivism, modern liberalism, goes all the way back to the germany of his family.
12:52 am
his family left europe in 1848 or soon after as social democrats or liberals to get away from prussiana. it is all about the individual and freedom coming straight through and down. some of us would call willkie the last liberal because he was the last big classical liberal in u.s. politics like that. ronald reagan did not call himself a liberal. maybe someone called him a libertarian. the word changes meaning. the second was the economic specification of what he was saying. from the point of view of the firms, productivity is really important, we not only make the widgets, but we make them better. that will increase the standard of living for everyone instead of redistributing, which is the
12:53 am
ultimate. that is a very clear and sophisticated economic argument. it is not about just helping the middle class. it is more complex than that. more complex than what we hear from politicians in this campaign. >> amity shlaes is a columnist with bloomberg. jim addison teaches history at indiana university. our next caller is ted from morristown, new jersey. >> did he feel that he got an inappropriate level of support in the general election from this nomination rivals, taft and hoover, and their people or was he to recently arrived and the party to engage the leaders the way a veteran republican politician would have? >> you are shaking your head no. >> i do not pay the got the support -- i do not think he got the support he wanted. james watson said on hearing of the nomination, "it is all right if she wants to join the church,
12:54 am
but she would not be expected to sing a solo on the first day." they never ever trusted him. they never got behind him. >> if you go back to the speech in elwood, indiana, he said, " you republicans." how did that resonate with the republican base? >> i think some of them noticed there were called "you" rather than "us." >> our next caller is from savannah, georgia. doingnk you very much for this program on wendell willkie. i believe he was far ahead of his time on many issues. first of all, civil rights. he was a great advocate of civil rights. if the country had followed his lead, we would have avoided a lot of the strife and dissension we had in later decades.
12:55 am
during the war, he was a great advocate of ending colonialism. he wanted to prevent the european countries from reestablishing their empires in the third world, particularly france and indochina. we would have aborted the tragedy of vietnam and the war. finally, i wanted to mention, who is a great believer in the idea that the way to fight unemployment was to encourage investment and growth. that would be the only way we would get jobs in this country. that is still relevant to what we are debating about today. >> thank you, charles. >> one thing that really resonates from one world when we look at it today, his book sold
12:56 am
tremendously well about this time -- when he went to the middle east, he said the colonials here are two dominant. when we withdraw, there will be a vacuum. there'll be nothing for the people to return to. we need to help them build democracy. he had a more cynical, cavalier attitude towards the middle east. when you hear the protesters in the middle east today, you go back to the errors we made in the 1940's and 1950's, squandering opportunity. his description of tehran and the number of babies who died because the water was not clean and the tyranny of their regime gets back to what we see today in many places of the middle east. he was like an analyst of the arab spring years ago. it is striking.
12:57 am
>> john from maryville, indiana. >> within six months of the election of 1940, willkie was totally unpopular with the republicans merely because he had adopted roosevelt's foreign- policy. he was pro-war. the republican party ostracized him completely, no matter how well he did in the previous election. when he toured europe, he went over to asia. republicans hated that. he called his campaign on farm policy statements as "campaign oratory" before a congressional hearing in 1941. he ran again in 1944 for the nomination, but he had so embittered the republicans by
12:58 am
becoming roosevelt's, almost four policy agent, that he had a chance against dewey. the really was pro-roosevelt with regard to foreign policy. for the purposes of the campaign, he took an opposite position, but after the election, he came around and really endorsed roosevelt's pour policy, indoorwent over to england to store on behalf of roosevelt. in 1944, roosevelt and willkie had met. i think roosevelt wanted his endorsement. before the election he died, so he never endorsed dewey or roosevelt. >> you bring up a number of key points. we are going to talk about this book, "one world," and his post campaign visit to new york. you also brought up the 1940
12:59 am
fall campaign. let's touch on that. if we could. in the next hour, will focus on the second part of your phone call. he went in with such great promise. he did not have a lot of support from the republican establishment. basically, what happened? how did this unfold? >> roosevelt did have liabilities going into the campaign. he won in a landslide in 1936. the congressional elections in 1938 produced, i think, 81 new republican house members voting against roosevelt, voting against the new deal. the results of the court packing plan. then there was, as we talked about, this notion that the big two terms were enough.
1:00 am
they thought about his arrogance, his power, and the big government he had created. roosevelt had liabilities in 1940. willkie, a republican, might have been able to beat him.
1:01 am
willkie. >> wendell willkie, born 48 years ago, emerges in response
1:02 am
to the greatest demonstration of support and our country has ever known. his grandparents, like the ancestors of many americans, fred project fled europe to find liberty in this country. here in elwood, his parents practiced law. wendell willkie was born in a modest home like many americans. he went to public high school just like many americans. his hard-working parents moved to this elwood
1:03 am
1:04 am
1:05 am
1:06 am
1:07 am
conversation we had a few weeks
1:08 am
ago dick lugar on wendell willkie and his brand of republican politics. >> people of america, i accept the result of the election with complete good will. i know that they will continue to work as i shall for the unity of our people in the building of a national defense, in aid to britain, and for the elimination from the america of antagonisms of every kind to the and that the free may of life -- way of life may survive and spread throughout the world. >> after that, he really became an ambassador for the united states. he had a friendship with franklin roosevelt. he certainly seemed to prosper from that. he was not a bad loser. he was a winner in terms of our country and his outlook. his ability, really, to influence public use in other
1:09 am
countries about the united states or correspondingly alliet
1:10 am
1:11 am
1:12 am
1:13 am
1:14 am
1:15 am
1:16 am
1:17 am
and not antagonists. >> in 1941, wendell willkie travels to london. how unusual is it for a democratic president to select his republican opponent? >> he carried a letter of introduction from roosevelt to churchill. at a time when it has already been badly battered by the germans, he sees canterbury cathedral. he gets a real sense of what this war really is for england and what the british people are doing to stand against hitler alone. he brings that message back. he brings it back to the senate and he makes a very fat -- very
1:18 am
powerful case for helping england. >> here is wendell willkie before congress. >> if we are to aid britain effectively, we should provide her with 5-10 destroyers a month. we should be able to do this directly and swiftly rather than through the rigmarole of dubious legal interpretation. i am as much opposed as any man in america to undue concentration of power in the chief executive. and may i say that i did my best to remove that power from the president -- from the present executive. personally, i would have preferred to see congress, whether through this bill or.
1:19 am
1:20 am
1:21 am
1:22 am
1:23 am
1:24 am
as a kid, i was up there with instruction on the queue -- cue to rise up and begin the chant of, "we want willkie." television had just come on the scene. from a national standpoint, and particularly for the delegates, to hear this raucous crowd from the gallery stampeding a
1:25 am
convention, it put them in the mid, although it did take a number of ballots -- in the mood, although it did take a number of ballots to ultimately nominee wendell willkie. it was fun. i have never forgotten the experience. >> we should also point out a 26-year-old young the wendell we generated in the 1940 convention? >> i think we're done with that ording
1:26 am
1:27 am
1:28 am
1:29 am
with president roosevelt on the relationship, and the fear the wendell willkie was having with rita van doren. ffair that wendell willkie was having with rita van doren.
1:30 am
1:31 am
why wendell willkie's relationship with madam chiang has not been discussed. >> you have brought it up, so we will talk about it. >> leave that to the international hoosier scholar and. know that at one point in the evening, when the whoopi and the woman left by themselves and -- wendell willkie and the woman left by themselves and were gone
1:32 am
often to places that were also a little bit tricky, close to the battlefield. he rolled around in an american jeep in russia. with the russian general, he said what are you all defending here, sir, and the russian general said we are not defending, we are attacking. he was trying to send an expression of hope and support from the u.s. to these countries
1:33 am
at the time. china was a big country in play at the time. the book he wrote, same home whe
1:34 am
1:35 am
1:36 am
1:37 am
wendell willkie came back and talked about his one world tour. >> but i want you to remember that we can only have one president at one time and one foreign policy at one time. it does folks could -- good to say i am not the president of the united states, that he acts through hypocrisy. no man in charge of the united states at this critical moment could act from such motives as that. they expose the expansion of our
1:38 am
nation, of our army, of the bill. they oppose the passage of the selective service act. if the policies which they advocate had been adopted, the united states today would be facing a victorious defeat frann
1:39 am
1:40 am
1:41 am
roosevelt. and i could not do it. he apologized to the nation for not doing so. i just wanted to make a comment that i was an actualbeing unduly
1:42 am
1:43 am
1:44 am
1:45 am
1:46 am
1:47 am
1:48 am
1:49 am
1:50 am
modest about his grandfather's position on civil rights. he was well ahead of everyone in this country with the exception
1:51 am
perhaps of eleanor roosevelt. it comes out of some of the same things better in one world about democracy, anti-colonialism. he was strongly opposed. he insisted that colonialism had to disappear in the name of democracy. he insisted that equality around the world could only be achieved if there
1:52 am
1:53 am
1:54 am
accept a wendell willkie and his brand of politics. we asked that question of dick lugar, republican from indiana? >> i doubt that wendell willkie could win today because he was a
1:55 am
moderate. he was a person who was looking out for the good of the whole country. there was not the same sharp partisan fever attached to his candidacy or to his rhetoric. he had a very sound business attitude, and that is why he was successful. he understood the american free enterprise system and job
1:56 am
1:57 am
1:58 am
1:59 am
2:00 am
>> he died -- he is buried just a few miles from where we're located. >> a beautiful cemetery that is described as being looking out over the prairie, although we are not quite prairie here. he has a stone granite book lay open and talking about his life and his view of what the world should be, equality, that in the critical years
2:01 am
2:02 am
2:03 am
2:04 am
2:05 am
2:06 am
2:07 am
ahead.

12 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on