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tv   Winston Churchill and U.S. Presidents  CSPAN  November 9, 2016 8:32pm-10:00pm EST

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in 1937 churchill said all the greatest things are simple and many can be expressed in a single word. freedom. justice. honor. duty. mercy. hope. thanks for all you have done to preserve the legacy of winston churchill. i trust we can trust in the future and together we can move forward into broad, sun lit up lands. thank you very much. >> thank you, michael, ladies and gentlemen, we will have a quick turnaround and go to our first panel. i invite our panelists up and i will turn over the microphone to
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professor dane kennedy of george washington university wlo will be the moderator for churchill and the president. >> more of binston churchill wednesday evening here on c-span3. starting at 8:00 eastern, a kfrksen with the former british prime minister's relationship with friends and family and his time in washington, d.c., and also his mother who was an american. that starts at 8:00 p.m. here tomorrow on c-span3. and friday is veterans day a the 11:00 a.m. eastern, president obama lays a wreeth at the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington national cemetery. you can see that on c-span. >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday
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night, a little after 7:00 eastern, kings college london visiting professor andrew roshlts discussing the role of u.s. army chief of staff george c marshall in america's world war ii victories arguing his skills transformed the u.s. army, despite opposition from president ross vilt and winston churchill. >> he had a highly ordered mind at the matter before him. a skill at delegating once he had the general incompetence and leaving only his trusted tenants and an undoubtedly hard work ethic. this man was beautiful manner was astonishingly welcome considering the pressures on him. >> and then at 10:00 on real america, the silent film created by the u.s. army signal core of the ceremony honoring the
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unknown soldier of world war i. documenting the return of the remains in france and in washington, d.c. to arlington. >> it was tremendous. the streets of washington were lined with thousands of folks who waited for the casket to be removed and brought by the honor guard down pennsylvania avenue and across the bridge into virginia. and i think what i have read is one of the largest turn outs for any parade in any city. >> sunday evening at 6:00 eastern, american art facts. >> the beautiful building and from the moment it opened, it was ood too small. to handle about a million people a year. and it ended up handling 2,a 0,000 people. >> we tour ellis island to learn about the immigrant experience where some 12 million immigrants came to america between 1892 and
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1954. and just before 9:00, wood row wilson nominated low was brandeis to the supreme court. in commemoration of the 100th anniversary, an author talks about the justice's life, career and legacy. >> what he is trying to do here is limit the court to a very specific role. one that is defined by the constitutional network in which all government operates and which limits or should limit any one branch from exercising power. >> for a complete american history tv schedule, go to coming up on american history tv from the 33rd international churchill conference, historians discuss
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former british prime minister winston churchill's relationship with the u.s. presidenttenure. this is about 90 minutes. >> it's nice to see so many interested churchillians here today and it's an honor for me to a part of a this gathering in. name is dane kennedy. i teach history at george washington university and it's a real honor to have the ncls opening up on our campus. my role here today, however, is to introduce our speakers for the morning session. i will introduce them as they come up and speak. they each have 25 minutes and then it will be time for questions and discussion afterwards. so the first speaker is nigel hamilton who will be speaking on franklin roosevelt. he is a senior fellow at the
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graduate school. he trained as a historian at cambridge university and he has researched and taught at history departments in six universities in britain and the united states. he has published 27 works of history and biography. he has included a history of the last 12 u.s. preponderates called american cesars and volume biographies on president kennedy and william clinton. and a biography of field marshall montgomery and most recently, he is finishing the final volume of his trilogy fdr at war. the first volume was listed for an international book prize and the second volume was in june as commander in chief.
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so, nigel? [ applause ] >> thank you very much, and wonderful to be here. i counted a great honor to be allowed to speak this morning. the two greatest men of the 20th krintry. winton churchill and franklin delano roosevelt. and i think we should bear in mind something which winston churchill said. to do justice to a great man,
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discriminating criticism is always necessary. i repeat that. to do justice to a great man t discriminating criticism is always necessary. gosh. however quenching is always insimt. i have addressed this on a number of occasions in recent yeerps. i live in boston but i winter in new orleans where i have often spoken at the world war ii museums and largely thanks to christopher heb, i was invited to speak in canada and on the west coast.
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edmonton, british columbia, sonoma, california and san francisco. i have always been very impressed with not only the inviting interest in history and leadership the nicest moments in travel in canada, in canada when i gave the prize to a winning high school debating team. i think that could have warmed churchill's heart as a
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parliamentarian who loved discussion and debate. but dane said, i am writing the final volume of my fdr trilogy so i'm particularly pleased to be able to talk today in this -- as michael bishop said, rather awful presidential election campaign. and the most wonderful things about him m the messons of his life to look at. so in this short period, we have
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50i78 going to address just two specific topics of the relationship between franklin roosevelt and winston churchill. because our panel is here to talk about the three presidents that winston churchill had close relationships with. franklin roosevelt, president truman and dwight eisenhower. because we missed out on john f kennedy, my particular hero. and i think it thought best in this brief moment that we have together to address just two aspects of that churchill/fdr relationship. or friendship, should i put it. the first is the actual nature of that friendship between fdr and churchill. a relationship which, as you know, ended rather badly.
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when winston declined to attend the funeral of his great friend. here in the united states. and the second thing i thought we might address in our brief time together, was what was really going on between the two men in what david reynolds, professor david reynolds, who is head of came bridge university in england, has called the missing weeks of october 1943. when the grand alliance came dangerously close to breaking apart and could only be rescued by its great lied leaders at th
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summit. now, about the nature of the fdr/churchill relationship, very briefly, there are two wonderful books about that relationship, really. the first is a book by john meachem, pub listed in 2993, and sir martin gilbert's book "churchill in america" published in 2005. i new sir martin bill gert. admired him greatly. he last saw each other actually in high court. attending the great holocaust
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trooifl of david irving. i think we should probably use as our load star in understanding and appreciating the friendship and the relationship of fdr and churchill. using using one of the sentences in marltin gilbert's book, where he writes no world leaders had such a long constructive, intimate, frustrating, disputatious and affectionate relationship as winston churchill and franklin roosevelt. now, that relationship began in london almost a century ago on
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july 29th, 1918 at a banquet for the ministers of war embrazen call when according to sir martin's account, quoting fdr, quoting, churchill acted like a stinker. quote, one of the few men in public life, as fdr complained, who was rude to me. they claimed not even to be able to recall the episode. the other book recognized the relationship as vying lovers, vying for each other's
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attention. but one lover, as in all sexual relationships is the suitor. the on, the sought after. how great in august of 1941 when they finally met for a second time aboard their warships. you have to forgive my impersonations. it will indicate what is quoted material. i have wooed president roosevelt as a man might woo a maid, churchill once remarked, according to sir martin. in another quote, no lover ever studied every women of his misstress as i did, those of
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president roosevelt. though the wooing failed off newfoundland as i have written, it has certainly paid off after hitler declared war on the united states four days after pearl harbor later that year. a reward that went behind the basis for steel, atlantic charter itself. namely a military coalition between the two countries to defeat the powers. by the end of 1942 winston could say, after his president's torch invasion of morocco and algeria, he had been and the president active and ardent left.
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it's what happened after the torch invasion that was the next challenge for me in relating which was the title i gave my second volume. commander and chief. and methodic to crush access forces in north africa taking over a quarter of a million prisoners from west and east. the allies as i related in commander and chief then had to decide how best to obtain hitler's unconditional surrender. which president roosevelt had demanded in january 1947 and in
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essence that boiled down to a strategic choice. a soft underbelly mediterranean military strategy or a second front cross channel invasion of france the subtitle of commander and chief is fdr's battle with churchill 1943 as the two men clashed over that main question, which strategy should we adopt? the second volume ends with the american-british invasion of southern italy in the fall of
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1943. but my dilema in wiriting volum 3 is that although winston churchill had agreed at quebec in august of 1943 that priority would be given to the d-day invasion, the cross channel invasion, an invasion to be placed under an american supreme comma commander, everything went wrong in the fall of that year. >> the invasion of southern italy proved a disappointment. churchill's attempt to seize the islands, was a disaster. as the year approached churchill
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warned the president that the allies had had come to an impasse. one that could have dire consequences for the alliance unless the president changed course and postponed the plan for overlord to be mounted in the spring of 1945. to remound the invasion, the failed invasion of the islands. opened sea lanes and reinforced with paratroops. why in the fall of 1943, why did
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winston do it? that's my question as i work on the opening section of my final warning. why having agreed at quebec only months before to follow the president's strategy for winning the war against hitler did winston deliberately risk the very alliance that he had wooed the president to create at a critical moment of the war when even hitler acknowledged that it would be the deciding battle of world war ii. churchill had backed off his objections already twice that year. first here in washington in may and once again in hyde park in august before signing up to the
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president's strategy in quebec in august. as i have related in commander and chief. so we have to ask what would have been the course. sir winston. what would have been the course of the war. what would have been the course of the western alliance. what would have been the relationship between the western allies and the russians if churchill had simply and loyalty
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kept his still considerable british and imperial forces air, naval, land forces to that quebec commitment so that together with a russian offensive from the east in the spring of 1944 they could crush them just as they had done in north africa. what would have been the case as he had been. would this not have strengthened the alliance. politically as well as militarily making it all stronger in negotiating the war's end game with russia and
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post war security system determined to set up and would hopefully be more effective of the league of nations. i don't know at this point. i value your opinions. churchill muddied the waters by leaving out several weeks in his account. volume five is the second world war. as professor reynolds has written in his wonderful book that i'm sure many of you know on churchill's memoirs in command of history. his fifth volume was a willfully inaccurate account. full of distortion conceiving behavior and strategic manipulation that the former
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prime minister deliberately papered over in his deceitful record. an account that was "of the most blatant pieces of extortion in his six volumes of memoirs. this was by a distinguished professor of history. what are we to make of them? in some respects of course the story is even worse than professor reynolds was able to detail in his book. not only did he send a false report on the military situation in italy to be given directly to starling in order to prepare the russians for yet another postponement of overlord. this time to 1945.
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a piece that the secretary of war called dirty baseball. but winston even threatened to re-sign as prime minister. if he didn't get his way over more of the soft underbelly. in fact he declared that the americans if they didn't like his alternative strategy should switch their system and just leave a number of men in england in case hitler did stied to invade the u. k. and i truly
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value your insights. what strikes me as someone who is old enough with sir winston and lady churchill who has written extensively in world war ii. and is now trying to make sense of fdr's military and strategic role in the most violent of wars in human history. what strikes me is that churchill's revolt or resurrection or rebellion or whatever you want to call it in the late fall of 1943 goes much
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deeper than even a spat or military opinion and then the battle between the two men was and the inevitable collision of two empires. the one rising the other falling. >> general sir allen brook in his diary initially called churchill's refusal to follow the president's strategy madness but he too went along with the prime minister and the british war cannon. if it was madness in other words it was not only churchill's madness. it became a kind of british and british imperial madness. >> i suppose if we can say of
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echos that they can go backwards as well as forward we think of brexit. as he sailed by warship to try and resolve the crisis that winston churchill had created president roosevelt thus had to play a very, very careful hand. aboard the uss iowa, the latest american battleship at that time he asked his chief of staff to produce for him a statistical comparison between the united states and british war effort in troops, airplanes, ships, et cetera. the overlord invasion in 1944 he recognized was critical to the defeat of the third rite.
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the war could well be lost or fail to be won against hitler if churchill refused to participate in it and had his way. yet as president, franklin roosevelt could not afford to lose patience with winston. it was reflecting his governments fears not only of world war i style causalities but fear of american dominance in the war. arriving by plane in cairo next to the pyramids in late november 1943 and somehow get churchill back on board. the germans would not surrender
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and without the british overlord could not be mounted. that was the crisis the western allies faced in the final months with we nor mouse consequences. fortunately some days later the crisis was resolved. and the president forced to use stalin. and the spring of 1944. it was successful. and churchill's fears and barely three weeks after the president's death. let me finish by saying that
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climactic 1943 struggle between the customs of britain and america was never fully resolved. it went too deep. was too much a mirror to the growing disparity between the two powers the united states and great britain. it may in it's way help us to understand better winston churchill's refusal to attend fdr's funeral in april 1945 shortly before he himself were voted out of office. a recognition that for all his pride and british history and
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imperial greatness that that chapter between the royal cousins was coming to an end. and a whole new world. whether he liked it or not was approached in which britain's once imperial voice was quite. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> our next speaker was a distinguished professor at ohio university. he specializes in 20 lth century history and author of a number of books beyond the new deal harry truman. man of the people. a life of harry truman.
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for the survival of democracy. franklin roosevelt. crisis in the 1930s and most recently man of destiny and fdr and the making of the american century. he will be speaking about true man and churchill. >> thank you very much. we'll talk today about harry and winston. let's begin with noting it's it. churchill, the seat of his uncle, duke of marlboro.
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churchill's father was lord randolph of churchill. harry true man was born ten years after churchill. in a small framed house. his father was a farmer and livestock speculator. in 1890s the truman's relocated to the town of independence missouri just outside of kansas city. in large measure to points higher vied-- provide a better education. young harry was a strong student at independence public high school.
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his family could not afford to send it even to a public university. instead he worked as a railroad time keeper. with no very clear plan for advancement whatever opportunities might have seemed cancelled when his father called him back to the country to help in the management of a farm that was owned bihar ri's grandmot r grandmother. drawn to the military experience he was turned down by an army recruiter because of his eyesight that required thick corrective glasses.
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active in his lodge and making frequent trip backs to independence to see a young lady nailed bess wallace he had known since his primary school days. it it changed his life more dramatically than winston churchill's life. with the american entry into the war in 1917, true man's national guard unit, part of the 35th division was called to active duty. you became the commander of an
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artillery battery. and he was promoted to captain. participated in the final allied defensive of the war. he demonstrated perhaps most importantly to himself that he could be an effective and popular leader of men. after the war his troops chipped in to buy him a tribute. a silver loving cup with an inscription of their respect and affection. harry true man returned to the united states in 1919 determined to leave farming behind he married bess wallace and in partnership with one of his army comrades he opened a shop in
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downtown kansas city. a wonderful term the shop basically specialized in men's shirts and ties. also spent a lot of time and endeavors in the hope of establishing himself as a civic leader. with a temporary flush of post war prosperity the plan seemed reasonable enough. and the economic post war boom would collapsed and followed by a sharp recession and it's financially pretty heavily leveraged. his partner opted for
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bankruptcy. true man wanted to avoid that at all costs. as it turned out. as it turned out he spent -- excuse me -- and spent nearly two decades making periodic payments to creditors. his home with bess wallace became instead their own house an upstairs bedroom in her mother's mansion in independence. politics, quickly there after became true man's primary profession. in 1922 he ran for a two year position as eastern district
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judge of the three person county court as it was called in missouri in those days. actually a county commission with some limited judicial authority. his major organizational support came from a local machine faction popularly known for reasons that are obscure as the goats. and was aligned with kansas city's power political machine run by boston. truman's victory was the beginning of a career in rough and tumble local politics. that evolved among other people.
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he ran two years later for the post as presiding judge of the court. he ran and was reelected. in that position he built a modern road system for jackson county. just remember the automobile age was maturing and flourishing in america and developed it. and coupling the public interest i athat controlled for rug
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building materials. he won a hard fought primary and this is 1934 and was easily elected as a senate democrat. he took his new office very seriously and displayed an attitude of humility and willingness to learn but established himself quickly as an important senator.
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and faced a hard challenge for renomination for the missouri governor. he campaigned tirelessly. narrowly won the primary and was easily elected to a second senate term. by the time he began that second term 1941 the united states was proceeding toward involvement in world war ii. true man strongly supported fra franklin roosevelt's moves in that direction. still he also thought seriously about active duty as a trainer of artillery men even took his case to staff george marshall. we took him with a smile after
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asking him how old he was, 56. senator you're too old. you can do us much more good in congress. so he got the establishment of the senate committee to investigate waste and inefficiency in the war effect. the truman committee as it soon became known walked a fine line. carefully avoiding criticism of roosevelt and civilian and military bureaucrats. when truman south to investigate huge sums being allocated for unspecified work specifically in washington and oak ridge tennessee and los alimos, new
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mexico. he backed off after being assured by the secretary of war that the money was being set on a super secret project that would win the war. and no doubt as you all guessed by this point that was the atomic bomb project. but even true man was not told exactly what it was. simply took his word for it. one of his letters, he does write to someone apparently for the development of some kind of a super weapon. along with the much praised hard work of his investigating committee, truman brought an easy compass fireworks for friendship that made him the most popular member. by 1944, roosevelt was in shaky
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health. his vice president henry a. wallace was widely unpopular on capitol hill and especially unpopular among strong democratic regulars. truman was a logical candidate for vice president and roosevelt himself was in no mood to inkvist on wallace. however he felt about the prospect of the vice president let politics take it's course. there are indications he understood roosevelt might not survive a fourth term as did many people that saw him face to face in the last months of 1944. on april 12th, 1945, less than three months in his vice
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presidentcy and were informed of roosevelt's death. winston churchill formed a close in at times contentious relationship with roosevelt. now faced the challenge of advancing american interest with a new president with one nation on which britain was dependent. he was anxious to establish the personal bond with truman. opted against going to the united states for fdr's funeral. truman at his own end had been excluded from foreign relations. on his early weeks as president he had briefing books and
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documents. what followed instead was a lengthy correspondence in which churchill expressed concern and indignation over the rolling soviets version of poland's independence. this was a first step established in a relationship with the new president and likely confirmed truman's own suspicions of stalin and the ussr. their first face to face meeting was less than fortunate. churchill came poorly prepared and provided erratic leadership midway through the meeting he returned to london to receive the post war election results and found himself devoted out of
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office. as the cold war emerged over the next year he could shed the role of defeated politician for that of diplomatic prophet. at the beginning of 1946 truman received an invitation forwarded to him by truman to deliver an add stress at westminster college in fulton missouri. the president offered to accompany and introduce it. >> truman provided the transportation which he of course inherited from roosevelt. during the the 18 hour journey the two men forged a
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relationship. churchill at least as the truman side told it does not seem to have an an expert. stories have him looking at his face cards and say i think i'll risk a shilling on a couple. on another occasion he reputedly asked what does the sequence count. he seems to have been a big loser even after his american hosts bury winning hands in order to invoid -- avoid embarrassing him. he was a winner. the greatest dignitary ever to
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visit a small school. and rhetorical short of the emerging cold war. surveying the world scene, he accused the soviet union of bringing an iron curtain down and all but denounced the dissent grags of the alliance. it generated a backlash from some observers. who have not given up on the u.s. soviet relationship. most notably if walter. but also threw out a perspective and process of adoption by america's most formidable diplomats. most importantly it spoke to and
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reinforced true man's own instincts. and in britain we might add and provided back in from the viewpoint and instincts of labor foreign secretary. the cold war would have emerged without the declaration of course but it gave it both clarity and immediacy and set the stage to throw a lifeline to greece and turkey as both nations faced soviet pressure. and the phrase of the cold war. his final meeting with churchill was in 1951 when the prime minister lead a diplomatic
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delegation to washington. truman described it as a welcomed reunion with an old friend. on january 5th, i must confess sir i held you in very low regard then. i loathed your taking the place of franklin roosevelt. i misjudged you badly.
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since then, you more than any other man saved western civilization. one recalled a big trademark truman grant. churchill perhaps privately reflected that he in a sometimes difficult partnership with franklin roosevelt saved western civilization a few years earlier. his estimate of truman was valid and made with the authority of a world historical figure whose own achievements were at leas l [ applause ] >> our third speaker is william
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hitchcock. he has written widely on transatlantic relations in the year of the second world war and the cold war including the struggle for europe. the turbulent history of a divided continent 1945 to the present and his latest book, the bitter road to freedom, a new history of the liberation of europe examines the human experience of liberation in europe in 1944-45. it was a finalist for the pulitzer prize. he will be speaking about churchill and dwight d. eisenhower. >> well, good morning. lovely to see you and thank you for asking me to come to this conference with such an extraordinary group of analysts
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and astonishing the influential guests and participants. my name is will hitchcock. i speak at the university of virginia. i'll be speaking about churchill and eisenhower. i just spent six years finishing a book on the age of eisenhower. on december 2017. imagine if you will a twice rehe elected enormously popular fiscally conservative, socially humane anti-war republican. time is right to like ike i think. he knew churchill better.
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he certainly spent more time with churchill over the course of a crucial 13 year period from ike's arrival in london in mid 1942 to lead allied forces in europe to winston churchill's retirement in april 1955. they were joined in a common cause against hitler and then against the soviet union. formed a close bond and deep affection to one another. though they disagreed often and had very different ideas and strategies in the war and in the cold war. they consistently saw in one another. the characteristics of greatness. in 1945 just after the war, churchill praised eisenhower's capacity for making great nations march together more truly united than they have ever been before. i won't do an impression. i just can't do it. i'm not as skilled as my colleague.
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but ike wrote to a friend in 1954 a wonderful sentence for all of us to savor. winston churchill comes nearest to fulfilling the requirements of greatness in any individual that i have met in my lifetime. now this is from a man that worked very closely with franklin roosevelt and george marshall and many other distinguished people so i think that's a wonderful tribute but what makes the relationship so useful to the historian is it maps on to the broader shifts in the balance occurring across their partnership. britain was still the senior partner in the war. with more engaged against the enemy than americans have yet thrown into the cause. during the war of course that power balance shifted and by 1944 the united states had become the senior partner and by the time churchill and eisenhower came together again in 1953 as leaders of their
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respective nations the power balance had shifted completely. britain had gone through a profound crisis triggered by the cost of the war. it had begun to lose key pieces of its empire. by contrast in 1953 the united states was an extraordinary colossas around the world. during the korean war it rearmed massively and increased defense spending and in january 1953 the united states could launch over a thousand long range bombers each capable of carrying atomic bombs a distance of 6,000 miles. just days before he took office the united states detonated the first hydrogen bomb. at that time the largest explosive device ever created by
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mankind. so there could be no doubt. no doubt at all. when eisenhower became president at the start of the year of 1953 which nation and which leader dominated the special relationship. in truth it's remarkable that they became such close friends at all. just remind you of their extraordinary and quite striking contrasts between the two personal stories of these men. just let me point out a few of the most obvious ones. they were very different. ike was born in a shack on a railway siding in a hot dusty
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town in texas. eisenhower's father david was a failed shopkeeper that spent most of his life toying in a nosey and hard job in a dairy in a town in kansas. he was raised by a nani and sent away to school and lived in a world of extraordinary privilege. eisenhower lived aat home until he was 20. he shared not just a bedroom but a bed with one of his brothers for his entire childhood. he was educated at abilene high school. he sold home grown vegetables from a cart in the summer to raise a few extra pennies for his heart stricken family ike refers to his father that late in life became a jevoah's witness as the lord high executioner. not the warmest memories and
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when his father died eisenhower mourned for exactly 30 minutes. he said he closed the door of his office and thought about his dad for 30 minutes and then went on to continue to running the war. winston liked to smoke and drink. ike quit smoking cold turkey in 1949 and in later life his diet consisted of vegetable soup, yogurt and dry toast because he had intestinal problems but the most important difference is that eisenhower was a man that disdained politics for his adult life. thoughts politics was a dirty business where as winston churchill thought of politics as a patriotic duty and dig anifie profession and great deal of fun. i would suggest they pale in comparison to the similarities and there are important ones.
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just consider both of these young men pursued military careers in their youth as a way of getting away from home and seeing the world and leaving the boredom of school behind. they were both intelligence but they just didn't like being in school a great deal. as young officers both men served overseas. churchill in india, egypt and south africa. eisenhower panama, the philippines. they knew the world. they had seen it. they had a curiosity about it. both men were athletic. ike an all star football player and baseball player, church hill a renowned polo player. a lot of students think eisenhower must have been the oldest man that ever lived. he was probably 500 years old when he was elected president. but we forget when eisenhower was in his prime he was thought of as one of the charismatic and physically imposing and powerful men. he had great personal charisma and a great force of character and personality and that had
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something to do with his great interest in sports when he was a young man. >> both men married up and much more sophisticated and worthy and of course clementine was a lucky catch for winston and came from wealth and distinction. both suffered the tragic loss of a young child. marigold churchill died not yet 3 years old and in that same year eisenhower lost his first son. he died of scarlet fever at the age of 3. but more than circumstantial similarities found these two men together. eisenhower and churchill shared a common commitment to the idea of individual human freedom.
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they both embraced the idea and fighting for a great cause is a far better fate than submitted to barbarism. eisenhower captured this shared set of believes in his address of 1945 when he was honored by the city of london. ike declared to preserve his freedom of worship his equality before the law his liberty to speak and act as he sees fit the londoner will fight and so will the citizen of abilene. now these humane and liberal, 18th central liberal characteristics were their mutual admiration.
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they had this to fall back upon. because in 1955 to 1955 the u. s.-u.k. relationship was at a low end and eisenhower and churchill found themselves on opposite sides of policy disagreements. sometimes sharply worded disagreements. i'd like to mention three of those disagreements and we'll go into a discussion. those three points of disagreement and i'll tell you what they are so you can follow me as i go along. the russians, the bomb, and vietnam. they had very different views on each of those three topics. the russians first, march 5, 1953, stalin died. good. well done. tick. for sometime nobody knew not even in the kremlin.
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the men around stalin were so terrified about being seen and they never talked about it. they had been caught discussing stalin. in the spring of '53, who is going to follow. eventually a curious collective leadership emerged and the principle leader was a man. winston churchill believed this moment of fluidity offered a great opportunity. let's reach out to the russians and grasp the hand that makes a real effort to workout a new relationship with the russians in this period of fluidity. they would be called to account if no attempt were made to turnover a new leaf. it would be a pity if a sudden
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frost nipped spring in the bud. churchill longed for a great meeting. a great meeting similar to the days of the war hero where under a cloud of smoke a few great men could share affairs with the stroke of a pen. eisenhower reviewed all such efforts to set up a hastey meeting with a great suspicion. why? recall the context. he was elected in late 195 2 at a time when the era was still glowing white hot. americans had anticommunist anxieties. richard nixon known for his success in pursuing other communists. his secretary of state was very severe and flexible anticommunist so politically speaking there was no desire in
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washington to make friends with the russians in 1953. eisenhower threw cold water on churchill's repeated requests for a summit meeting with russians. to be perceived as being too eager would be a sign of weakness. now churchill didn't give up. if only he could meet him personally and use him to manipulate him and get him to agree to a summit meeting. well, churchill worked hard to pull this off and the two leaders planned to meet in bermuda but it was interrupted by the stroke in june of 1953 but by december of 1953 the two men got together in bermuda r. a setting and the sun and churchill did he recalled to manipulate eisenhower into getting something done. it was here that we begin to see the beginnings of the second conflict. the second point of crisis. the second argument.
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what to do about nuclear weapons. how should we use or not use the bomb. that eisenhower was gone. eisenhower very much in an antirussian mood at the opening session for a real effort to strike a deal with the real leaders of the soviet union and delivered a tirade in front of all the diplomats. the french are there as well.
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and there was a new loop in soviet policy. russia was a woman of the streets and it was certainly the same horror underneath. and in front of british and french delegations pretty shocking stuff. and pain looks all around. the united states plan to rely on nuclear weapons as a means to deter them from doing anything bad in the world. they quote atomic weapons are now becoming to be regarded as the proper part of conventional armorment. and if north koreans or the chinese did anything bad in
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china or anywhere else, why the united states plan to use nuclear weapons against them. well this triggered an outpouring very mournment sentiments from the prime minist minister. he began to speak. he said the use of atomic weapons would lead to the destruction of all we hold dear. ourselves, our families, our pressures and even if some of us temporarily survive in some deep cellar there will be nothing to do but take a pill to end it all. not a good conference. his announcement to use nuclear weapons in the case of war was news that out strips anything else so again here are two old friends that know each other
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intimately very well. really admire and indeed deeply love each other but are on completely opposite sides of this question. how do you use nuclear weapons in the cold r war. how do you use them? to deter or threaten or even to bomb the other side? they were on opposite side of that at the bait and then the third area of debate, that i would point to is on indo china. you'll recall that the french were fighting their last sad tragic battle in vietnam at the ill fated. eisenhower was anxious about this. if france lost the battle and with drew from vietnam all together that the communist chinese would come pouring in from the north to take over all of ind china. in the spring of 1954 eisenhower began to put together a plan for a grand coalition of allies from all across the world that would
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draw a red line and they would say we will oppose any chinese intervention in vietnam at any time and stand together shoulder to shoulder and say not one red foot more to the chinese. did he really want to go to war? not clear. historians debate. he wanted to look like he was prepared to go to war if the chinese should come in and take over from the french. he wrote a powerful letter pleading for support in this letter. april 4, 1954. he wrote to his old company. in april 1954 as world historical importance. akined to the early days of the war against it.
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i'm not quite sure it reached that level but that's eisenhowers move and he ended his plea for help for british support in this united effort by invoking the dark days of 1948. and not acting in unity and in time eisenhower wrote. may it not be thought that our nations learned something from that lesson. to lecture winston churchill. and before the united states entered the second world war on the appropriate lessons of history. in my view and a shocking case. it's the real threat to the stability in asia. he had begun to see america as the problem. he goes to london and banks with churchill and help us and join with us but the cabinet feared they might trigger a war in asia
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and if they did it would likely become a nuclear word the chinese or the russians. something the british were dead set against. so in ahill refused to support eisenhower's plan into china. any intervention would trigger a war. much wider wag. for church hihill partition vietnam. some historians believe this act saved off military intervention by the united states in vietnam in 1954. well, these three disputes between eisenhower and church hill did not, by any means lesson, reflect the respect between the two leaders, but they do reflect, ladies and gentlemen, the deeper
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differences between the two nations at mid century. britain was struggling to adapt to a different world. they met at crossroads in early 19 # 50s. when america's anticommunist sentiment was at its most intent. winston gently tried to constrain and buffer american hub rouse, with little success. united states would have to learn for itself, painful lessons of imperial over stretch. and those lessons would not register for many years after both ike and church hill had passed from the scene. thank you.
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>> we now have almost 15 minutes for questions and comments. so the floor is open for anyone who wants to speak. yes, sir. >> can a case be made that president roosevelt auz an antiimpurlist. and that by staying out of the war, britain would be weakened and in post world, the british empire would be weakened because of that. or am i being too sen cal. >> should i take this. >> sure.
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>> evil design to british, imperial. >> precisely. >> and sen cal you. >> i think the most wonderful thing about the relationship, was how much roosevelt fight, initially, in 1980.
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he was 100%. >> put simply, the united states, quickly isolation and you shall remember, as i tried to explain, when president wasn't -- winston was hoping he was committed to the united states, even then. too enter into the war. it's quite clear to a story
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looking at episode. the united states was even in no position to help anyone it was still 17th most powerful, the 17th powerful, much powerful nation the world admitted. and, therefore, the president's view was, even at that point, there was nothing the united states could actually do to change the situation beyond moral help and, of course, agreements they made. so i don't. i think it's a question of timing and i don't think that you'll know the president is on record, particularly in the speaking to his son, elliott, as being very very about -- not about the british empire per se,
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which he admired and respected. but the fact that the british were doing so little to prepare these countries for independence and that they had taken the decisions over trustee ships, be, basically, as assumptions of soverei sovereignty. and finally, we should remember that at -- while they were meeting in august of 1941, off here, at that have moment, congress was asked to extend the american selective service and it only passed by one.
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>> the british empire were not going to survive the war in the shape it had gone into it. so war, itself, was going to leave britain much too weak to maintain an empire. i think he saw, in general, this was a good thing. as far as actively taking steps to under mine the empire. i think there would be taking things a bit far. >> yes, sir.
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psychiatrist here has is really not up to dealing ignoring a churchhill. so my question is: what's your assessment as to whether this is a most appropriate assessment of fdr, essential kablt and the subsequent development of the cold war. >> the question is was fdr -- >> well, he was not in good to be sure. bags at thousand tpz maw -- although it was made under conditions to be as relaxing impossible to him. certainly, no good for results. on the other hand, it is put in
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anything that would have made a difference whether roosevelt was in good health or not. the fact is in the shape of post war europe by the time that the alter conference was a musician of armed forces that was already well established. i believe roosevelt certainly expected the russians to have some sort of position in eastern europe. that they've been a splended health, so it's hard to see what difference there being


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