tv Early Life and Career of Henry Kissinger CSPAN November 13, 2016 12:45pm-2:26pm EST
other stops on our cities tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history all weekend every weekend on c-span3. >> henry kissinger served as national sick. he advisor and secretary of state for richard nixon and gerald ford very next, harvard university history professor neil ferguson discusses the first volume of his henry kissinger biography. mr. ferguson argues that kissinger's approach to foreign policy is grounded in idealism rather than the ruthless realism he is known for. the national history center cohosted this event. it is an hour and a half. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you for coming out today. i am in the george washington
university department of history. cochairing with me today is roger lewis, the founding chair of the seminar. the seminar, now in its eighth year as a joint venture between woodrow wilson international center for scholars in the national history center of the american historical association. our aim is to foster conversations about the past and make history and essential part of the public conversation about contemporary events here in the united states and across the world. our efforts are made possible in part by the efforts of many people, including the wilson center, and the associate director of the wilson center. these are the people who handle all the logistics and work out any issues we have to make sure everything goes smoothly. present with us today is the director of the national history
center, from george washington university, dane kennedy. grateful for the support of -- who underwrites the seminar and the support of the gw history department. it is their support that makes it possible for us week after week to bring distinguished scholars to talk about their work and the wonderful setting that is the wilson center. roger lewis will introduce today's speaker. >> neil ferguson as everyone knows is a famous historian. he is the author of "paper and iron." colossus." "the war of the world." "civilization, great to
generation." kissinger, theof idealist. he is a fellow at the senior -- at the hoover institution in stamford. he is a visiting professor in beijing, and his many awards include the benjamin franklin prize for public service, the high price for lifetime forevement, and the prize economic journalism. this, he has of even given a lecture to the british studies seminar at the university of texas. i can testify that he is very quick on his feet because in the middle of the lecture, a cell phone went off. slightly embarrassing because it belonged to my wife. [laughter] putting it in a refrigerator so
that it would go away. hel did not miss a beat, started to talk about the telephone and the origins of the first world war. [laughter] [applause] neil: thank you very much indeed. great pleasure to be here. and i thought i would say a couple of things by way of preface. some of you, perhaps all of you, let's face it, are more interested in what is going to be said tonight beginning at 9 p.m. [laughter] professor ferguson than in : anything i could possibly say now. and it's true that the stakes are lower. on the other hand, let's remember that henry kissinger's name came up in the primary debate when bernie sanders launched the, as he thought, devastating barb at hillary clinton that she was a friend and admirer of henry kissinger. so i shall be hoping tonight that dr. kissinger makes an appearance in the trump-clinton debate. who knows how that will happen?
debates, presidential elections, if they are uppermost in your mind. but there is an argument for reading this book, despite the fact that it delves back into what, for some of you, is ancient history. if you want to remind yourself that there is really nothing new under the sun, read kissinger's diary of the 1964 republican convention at which barry goldwater was nominated and nelson rockefeller was howled down, if you want to reassure yourself that american politics has always been crazy, that it didn't just suddenly get crazy. i recommend that particular section of this book. i want to do three things. in the 40 or so minutes that i'm going to ask of you. the first is to explain how i came to write this biography, which i think it's always right for an author to do. the second is to try to explain to you what about the first half
of henry kissinger's life is historically significant. most works, as you know, focus on, in effect, the second half, or to be more precise, the relatively small number of years that he spent in government. the third thing i want to do is to suggest four things that i learned from writing this volume. i now refer to this volume as henry the first. [laughter] and i am in the process of still researching henry the second. and that's my way of subtly hinting that if you came here with a burning question to ask about, let's say, the bombing of cambodia, any answer that i give you will be so tentative as to be, in effect, useless, because i'm not there yet. i am in fact still gathering material for henry ii. this will be about henry i, a much less well-known, as the monarchs. you can tell from my accent, i
am british rather than american. [laughter] this might be seen as a disadvantage or it might be seen as an advantage, when it comes to writing a book about a great figure of the cold war. i, in fact, met henry kissinger first in london. it was 2003. and it was at what americans call a cocktail party. and it was a rather surprising thing to find myself standing next to this legendary figure. and i wasn't quite sure what to say. but he broke the ice by saying "i've read one of your books." [laughter] prof. ferguson: now, if you ever want to disarm an obscure academic, the words "i've read
one of your books" have a kind of magical quality, because that is what the obscure academic wants most to talk about. so we began talking about the book, which was about the first world war. he suddenly disappeared, then reappeared on the other side of the room, about where the people were sitting, standing next to the supermodel, elle mcpherson, who had just walked in. i remember thinking, i really can learn something from this man. [laughter] but in all honesty, that is a true story, i should say. but in frankness, perhaps, i had grave doubts when he subsequently wrote to me and suggested that i might consider writing his biography based on papers and letters that were in his possession or were in archives. this was, i suppose, partly because i could just imagine the review. it just seemed like tremendously reckless act to write a book that hitchens would be sure to loathe.
on the other hand, even if there were no hitchens, and of course there wasn't by the time the book was published, as hitch had died. i still reckoned it would be an enormous amount of work, given that few periods in history have so perfectly documented, as the 1970's. this was the age of the xerox. also the age of the audio recorder. one has a tremendous amount of documentation, more than will be true, i think, of this age of private servers and e-mails. it just seemed daunting and fool hardy. so i said no. and i then received my introduction to kissinger in diplomacy, in the form of a letter, which i'm going to quote to you. it went like this. i won't do the voice. "what a pity. i received your letter just as i was hunting for your telephone number to tell you of the
discovery files i thought had been lost. 145 boxes, which had been placed in a repository in connecticut, by a groundkeeper, who has since died. these contain all my files, writings, letters, sporadic diaries, together with some 20 boxes of some private correspondence, from my government service. our conversations have given me confidence after some hesitation that you would have done a definitive, if not necessarily positive evaluation. " i think it was about three weeks later that i was in connecticut, looking through those boxes. and rather like a fish that's seen the fly settle on the surface of the river, i had bitten. and it didn't take me very long that day, when i began to leaf through the documents, to realize that i had in fact to
take this on, and that i would be a fool to pass up the opportunity to work on this material and on this subject. let me try and convey to you some of the excitement i felt that day, as i began to read through kissinger's private papers. this is, remember, 10 years down the road more. i guess i've gathered i worked this out when i was writing the introduction to the book. over 8,000 documents totaling 37,645 pages from 111 archives. but i want to take you back before that long haul, to day one. one of the things that most grabbed my attention was a letter that he had written to his parents in the 1940's.
it was an isolated letter. there didn't seem to be others in the box. but it was obvious that it must be one of quite a number from his time in the u.s. army. now, for those of you -- and there may be some wholly unfamiliar with the story -- it's worth remembering that before he became richard nixon's national security advisor and then secretary of state and then worked for gerald ford, kissinger had multiple lives. he was born in south germany in 1923. so he was a kid when hitler came to power. he was a refugee, from the summer of 1938, when he and his family moved to the united states. and he was then a soldier. he was drafted and became an infantryman and found himself, extraordinarily, back in germany, just over six years after he left.
in a u.s. army uniform, a g.i. the letter came from that period, and it grabbed my attention like few other documents i've ever read. because it said -- i'm going to quote from memory, and this was addressed to his parents -- to you, the world is made up of black and white. but for me, there are multiple shades of gray in between. maddening thing was that it wasn't clear what had prompted him to write such a thing to his parents. there was no real context in the letter. so who could fail to be fascinated by such an extraordinary line or two in the letter? years later, just before i finished the manuscript -- in fact, i thought i had finished -- i was in kissinger's
office in new york when he handed me a folder containing the rest of those letters. finally. i had been asking for those letters again and again and again. and he'd always run up against the barrier of "it's just too intimate." there had always been this agreement between us that i would write exactly what i found. there would be no editorial power on his side. the only constraint related to quotations from family correspondence. it was only at the very end that he decided to allow me to see, well, what in effect was most of that family correspondence. and let me quote from a letter. he wrote home, from germany, november the 15th, 1944.
"it is very late. i haven't much time. but i must write a letter, just so that i can affix to it the legend somewhere in germany... so, i have made it. out in the darkness that envelopes this town, rows and rows of shattered buildings line the roads. people wonder through the ruins. -- wonder through the ruins -- wander through the ruins. war has come to germany. so i am back where i wanted to be. i think of the cruelty and barbarism those people out there in the ruins showed when they were on top. and then i feel proud and happy to be able to enter here as a free american soldier. -- soldier." at this point, kissinger had no idea at the extent of the nazi crimes. indeed, it was only later, after the war was over, that he realized that every member of his family that had remained in germany had been killed,
including his grandmother. before he found that out, he was present at the liberation of a concentration camp, just outside hanover. and this produced one of those documents that i did see on the very first day. an extraordinary essay which he entitled "the eternal jew," a kind of two-page record for his own use or possibly for future publication. i'm going to briefly quote a passage from it. it's addressed to one of the inmates of the concentration camp, who had survived, who was still living, at the moment of liberation. kissinger wrote, " humanity stands accused in you. i, joe smith, human dignity, everybody has failed you. you should be preserved in cement, up here on the hillside, for future generations to look
upon and take stock. human dignity, objective values, have stopped at this barbed wire. as long as conscious existings as a conception -- exists as a perception in the world, you will personify it. nothing done for you will ever restore you. you are eternal in this respect. -- respect." now, some of you may have asked yourself the question, why did ferguson subtitle volume one, "the idealist"? was this a mere provocation designed to ensense the new york -- incense readers of "the new york times" and bernie sanders? [laughter] well, no. well, it was intended to do that, but that wasn't the main reason. [laughter] it dawned on me, within a very short space of time, as i read this material, that the
kissinger in the boxes, in the paper, was not the kissinger i had been led to expect at all. i had read it. -- hitchens. i had read a number of books, highly critical of him. and these books had a common thread. that henry kissinger was the personification of an unscrupulous realism, immoral. n a moral realpolitik -- an amoral realpolitik. so influenced had i been that originally i'd considered giving the subtitle to the biography "american machiavellian" but there was no machiavellian here. none at all. in fact, that scarcely surfaces anywhere in kissinger's paper. what there was was a man whose experiences as a refugee and as a soldier and then as a student at harvard had molded him in quite the opposite direction.
i want to suggest to you that in three respects, it is legitimate to describe the kissinger of volume i -- notice -- as an idealist. the first is the practical one that he drew the lesson of his own experience in the 1930's and 1940's that realism had failed, that realism had produced appeasement. in a 1957 letter, he wrote " we like to smile now at the baldwin and chamberlain in 1938 but they thought of themselves as tough realists." very true. very insightful. secondly, and i think more importantly, the study of philosophy as an undergraduate, under the direction of william elliott, had turned kissinger into a kantian idealist. some of you may know the story of his senior thesis. modestily entitled "the meaning of history" -- [laughter] which led to the still
existing harvard rule about the length of senior thesis. it's fascinating to read that and realize this was a foundation on which kissinger, the historian, subsequently built. he really evolved from philosopher of history into historian. the argument that he makes in the thesis is that whereas perpetual peace might be the ultimate goal of history, quote, "whatever one's conception about the necessity of events, at the moment of their performance, their inevitability could offer no guide to action." kissinger, of the kant phase, is a strong anti-determinist, whose attempt to reconcile necessity and contingency is really a very powerful and interesting contribution for such a young man.
the third respect in which he's an idealist in this period has to do with his rejection of the materialism that was so mainstream in the early cold war. you have to remember that harvard, in the early 1950's, was not a place where you would naturally gravitate towards the study of the congress of vienna if you weren't an ambitious young man. it was deeply uncool to immerse yourself, as he did in his doctoral thesis, in 19th century diplomatic history. this was this age of social science, economics, systems analysis. one of the reasons i began to doubt the story that kissinger was ruthlessly ambitious, always trying to figure his way up to the top of the greasy pole was this choice of dissertation topic. then i began to realize this was a conscious intellectual revolt against the materialism of the early cold war. kissinger often has said in more recent times that he doesn't
know much about economics. but that's because he rejected the proposition that the cold war was a fundamental struggle between two economic systems. kissinger says at one point, in an early piece of work, that it wouldn't matter in the cold war in the soviet system turned out to be economically superior. and we know it wasn't, but it was much less clear to contemporaries in the 1950's that that was so. kissinger wrote the inward -- " the inward intuition of freedom would reject totalitarianism, even if it were more economically realistic." -- efficient." that's a very idealistic position to adopt. it seems to be very fundamental to the young kissinger. what i was fascinated by is how consistently he stuck to these un-kissinger like positions when it came to issues of policy.
i'll give you three examples. in my experience, 90% of any audience is still skeptical at this point, because hitchens' influence has been very enduring and there's a mental influence -- image of kissinger as the arch realist that i have to somehow efface. it's july, 1958. you're glued to your television because a still somewhat obscure, named henry kissinger, has written a best-selling book, "nuclear weapons and foreign policy." and he's on abc, being interviewed by mike wallace. as you can watch online. he says an answer to a question about the third world, as it was then called. i think we should go on the spiritual offensive in the world. we should identify ourselves with the revolution. let me just allow those words to sink in. it's henry kissinger in 1958.
"we should identify ourselves with the revolution. we should say that freedom, if it is liberated, can achieve many of these things. even when we have engaged in constructive steps, we've always justified them on the basis of a communist threat, very rarely on the basis of things we wanted to do because of our intrinsic dynamism. we should have said these are the things we want to do because of the values we stand for, not because we want to beat the communists." that seemed to me to be the very antithesis of calculating realism. indeed the further i went into , the material, the more i saw kissinger establish himself as a critic of realism, a critic of real politic in american foreign policy. he was briefly and unhappily an advisor, a consultant, to the kennedy administration. this is a less well-known part of the story. those of you who are connoisseurs of washington
politics will enjoy this, because bundy stitches kissinger up well eloquently. clearly bundy did not want kissinger encroaches on his new turf, so he persuaded kissinger that he could be a part-time consultant. how well do you think that would work, just on the first principles of washington life? part-time consultant? kissinger was driven mad by the fact. he just could not get any time at all with the president. and it was, in many ways, a pity, because the issue in 1961 that loomed largest was berlin. and there's no question that henry kissinger knew more about berlin and more generally about the germany question than bundy did. on the other hand, it may be
just as well that bundy kept him at arm's length, because we now can see that kissinger was a good deal more hawkish on the berlin crisis than kennedy's closest advisors and kennedy himself. he wrote, kissinger, that is, that realism -- he rejected, i should say, he rejected the view that, i quote, realism should compel us to confirm what we are incapable of changing and that therefore the united states should, quote, accept the vision of germany as final. kissinger argued, on the contrary, that the west must stand for the unity of germany, despite the experiences of two world wars. kissinger was livid when kennedy decided that a wall was better than a war. and although it must be said that dr. kissinger disagrees with my interpretation on this point, i argue that had he been in the heat of that time, american policy would certainly have been riskier, because it would have involved a showdown over berlin as opposed to what in effect was a fudge. third, a most compelling piece of evidence. november 1963, as you know, if you recall, there was a coup in vietnam.
and the government was badly overthrown. this was a coup that, perhaps unwittingly, kennedy had okayed. it had certainly been okayed through levels of the government in washington. kissinger thought it was a ghastly mistake to intervene in that way, in the politics of saigon. he drafted a statement for nelson rockefeller, whom he was advising, which was never used. but it's worth quoting from. " no american can take pride that our government should have been associated with events leading to the assassination of two leaders with whom we were formerly allied." again, take a breath. this is henry kissinger. " i do not like our country to be thought of in terms of the cynical use of power. our strength is principle, not manipulative. our historical role has been to identify ourselves with the ideals and deepest hopes of mankind. if we lose this asset, temporary successes will be meaningless."
well, i would say i rest my case, except my case is lying there, nearly 1,000 pages of it, with a good deal more supporting evidence. but i hope at least i've made you take seriously that, at least in this early period, in the first half of his life roughly, kissinger was no realist. if i had time and wasn't losing the attention of at least one gentleman on the front row -- you all got up too early. this is the biggest problem in washington, d.c. everybody is up so early, they just are done by 4:30. [laughter] the fourth -- welcome back, sir.
[laughter] the fourth example, if i wanted to give it, would be the great battles that kissinger had over the subsequent unfolding of the vietnam war. and in particular, the escalation of the war of -- the war by lyndon johnson. it actually dated back to 1965. kissinger started visiting vietnam, really to inform himself, but he was trying to advise the then-ambassador, one of the most extraordinary documents in the entire book is the report he wrote back from his first trip to vietnam, a trip which did not involve merely sitting in saigon, as most visitors from the u.s. intended to, but involves some
pretty hair-rising flying around into war zones. this report is devastating as a critique of the way the war was being waged. kissinger concluded that there was absolutely no way the united states would achieve a victory. it would need a diplomatic settlement, 1965. so i promised you a third helping. and the helping i'm going to conclude with is the four lessons of henry i, because i think it's important for us historians to explain to people who don't really feel excited by history that it has lessons that are applicable across time. and i think these four lessons are. i've moved recently from harvard to stanford.
i can't tell you how dismissive the giants of silicon valley are, by and large, of what we do. they are with henry ford. this is bunk. they want to study the future. i spent part of the plane ride, writing a long e-mail to one of the silicon valley kings, trying to explain to him why this was quite dangerous and why ignorance of history has turned this country into the united states of amnesia. i sent him the article that some of you may have seen, that allison and i wrote in the atlantic, earlier this year, arguing that the next president, whoever it is, should appoint a council of historical advisors. after all, the economists haven't really achieved a great deal with their council over the years. but the absence of what i call applied history from the way
decisions are taken in this town is a recurrent theme of american history. it's something that kissinger commented on, in the 1960's, when he complained about the complete lack of historical perspective when he encountered -- that he encountered when he went to washington. this brings me to lesson number one. kissinger argued in an early publication that history is to state what character is to people. it's the key to understanding their motivation, their action. "all states consider themselves as expressions of historical forces." to take a specific example, imagine trying to negotiate with president putin with almost no understanding or knowledge of russian history. if all you have is game theory, don't expect to read a russian president right. so, the first simple insight from the book is that history was kissinger's advantage. the reason that over time he became a more influential figure, and ultimately a
powerful figure, lay in the fact that, unlike most people commenting on american policy issues, he brought history to the table. second lesson of henry i, in foreign policy, most choices, practically all choices, are between evils. there isn't an option b, apple pie, that you get to pick. in nuclear weapons and foreign policy," published in 1957, kissinger wrote of the cold war, "we are certain to be confronted with situations of extraordinary ambiguity, such as civil wars and domestic coups." too right. "there can be no -- once they
have occurred, we must find the will to act, in a situation which permits only a choice among evils." and he went on. "this," choosing between evils, presupposes, above all, a moral act, a willingness to run risks on partial knowledge and for a less-than-perfect application of one's principles. the insistence on absolute is a prescription for inaction." lesson number three. and to me, the most exciting of the three, of the four. the key problem in decision making is the problem of conjecture. i think it was kissinger who formulated the problem of conjecture first, in a 1963 essay, decision making in the nuclear world." now, no matter how exhausted you are, even if the alarm went off at 5:00, listen carefully to this. no matter what you do in this
town, it's relevant to your decision making process. " each political leader has the choice between making the assessment, which requires the least effort, or making an assessment which requires more effort. making an assessment that requires more effort. if he makes the assessment that requires least effort, then as time goes on in may turns out that he was wrong. then, he will have to pay a heavy price. if he asked on the basis of a guess, he will never be able to get -- prove that his effort was necessary. he makes himself a great deal of grief later on. if he asked early, you cannot know if it was necessary that he cannot know if it was necessary. if you wait, he may be lucky or unlucky." this indicates asymmetry, particularly in democratic states, a line of least resistance is to take the can down the road. european politicians specialize in this, but i think it is also what the president did about syria. to act preemptively is doubly
risky. you have to take on the cost of action, but if you are right and you divert disaster then no one is grateful. we are not grateful for averted disasters. many people think cap effectually thoroughly enough to visualize in their minds the parallel universe in which things turn out differently. kissinger had one example in mind -- one that meant a great deal to him and his family. as the democracies moved against the notches in 1936, he argued that we would not know today if hitler's had limited objectives, or if he was, in fact, and mania. we did, in fact, learned he was a maniac. the problem of conjecture is all around us. one might say it is precisely the problem that will confront american voters on november 8. misunderstood nationalists or
maniac? we do not know. we can only conjecture. today, in this town, there is one institution in particular that likes to make its decisions data dependent. those of you that are students of monetary policy know that good data is the answer for the federal reserve. kissinger is telling us that the good data cannot give you the answer. you cannot just wait for the data to come in. you must conjecture. no decision must be based on scenarios about the future that
are not data dependent. they cannot be data dependent either very nature. -- by their very nature. if you act, you can expect there to be people that deplore the action you have taken. will not receive gratitude from most -- you will not receive gratitude from most of the people who use it from a worst scenario that might befall them. the fourth and final scenario that i learned that lesson i learned from writing this book -- the fourth and final lesson that i learned from writing this book was from one of kissinger's essays that was not published. the manuscript simply vanished into the boxes that i was privileged to open.
this is another of those exciting moments that historians do not generally get enough of. here was an unpublished kissinger book about a central figure he has most commonly identified. how many times have you read in essays that he was the bismarck of the united states? well, i have the evidence. this was to be the second volume of a trilogy. the first volume was published. it is brilliant work and maybe the best thing he ever wrote. volume two was to be the book on bismarck. it was not finished. i figure was because worldly things intruded. etiquette was because he reached an intellectual impasse -- i think it was because he reached an intellectual impasse as he was writing. the book was designed to critique bismarck. the central theme is that one
cannot base policy purely on power. let me quote from a passage that was characteristically crossed out and amended. there are very few pages of his prose that are this much agonized over. "societies are incapable of the courage of cynicism. the insistence of men of athens on -- atoms on societal forces are always eroding -- because they are incapable of finding distinctions, a doctor of power of means may end up making power and end -- an end." this was meant to be and anti-bismarck book -- an anti-bismarck book come he realized that as -- book, but as he was writing it, he realized that it was only through bismarck method that the united states could withdraw itself from the non-. -- the it non--- from vietnam.
there were a great many moving parts they thought could improve the position that the united states was in and they entered the night house -- white house in 1969. -- when they entered the white house in 1969. let me leave you with a whodunit at the end of volume one. it was a mystery. the mystery is why of all people that richard nixon chose henry kissinger to be his national security advisor. it is a myth that this was because of a devious, conniving, attempt to stop the peace agreements with north vietnam. an entire book was written to this effect. it turns out not to be true. the puzzle is that kissinger was far more closely identified with nelson rockefeller than with nixon. he repeatedly criticized nixon
throughout the 1950's and 1960's. when nixon reached out to him in 1960, kissinger went to great lengths to avoid even meeting him. he claimed he had a pressing engagement in japan. if you want to avoid someone that's really want to avoid them, that is what you have to say. -- if you want to avoid someone -- really want to avoid them, that is what you have to say. they only met for the first time in december of 1967 at a cocktail party. i think it is this occasion that supplies parts of the answer to my whodunit. there is one answer to the
question of why nixon picked kissinger that i is -- that i am fond of, but it is not true. it comes from one of henry's longest-serving phd students. "henry was the only thing of nelson that nixon could afford." [laughter] you must admit, that is a good line. but no, it was not that. they met, and you know that nixon is not a socially grateful man. the young henry kissinger was not particularly a debt either. they had both arrived -- not particularly adept either. they both arrived early. a fatal mistake in new york. it was nixon that broke the ice. he said to kissinger, "i have read one of your books." [laughter]
thanks very much. [applause] we move to the part where we ask for questions from the audience. if we could just lay out a few ground rules -- please wait until you are called upon. please wait for the microphone, identify yourself, and please use the microphone. in order to get in as many questions as we can, please keep your questions brief. we have a hand up in the far back. yes? and here comes the mic. >> i am a fellow, mr. ferguson, and you have convinced me. i would like to ask you, have move fromnged how you henry the first 200 the second in terms of explanation and
narrative? from henry the idealist to henry the realist? it?was he conscious of was it your interpretation? does he think differently? and when was this shift? thanks for those questions. as i said, i will give a tentative answer about volume two. i'm hoping to illuminate my methods, which may be of interest to a group of historians. i have, in my mind, as i'm preparing to write, a structure and narrative shape, but i am not wedded to it.
indeed, i'm very careful not to allow it skew my reading. it's there as a tool. imagine it is an edifice of plato. it helps me, it guides me, but i'm always ready to jettison it or modify it. about the time the american replaced by the idealist. the second volume will contain many more documents. will reflect the reading of many more documents than volume one simply because the vast volume of stuff. thisof my goal is to see time frame from as many vantage points as possible. many books from these times will i on documents. too few look at multiple governments and use multiple
languages. to achieve a best record number of collections in the book. i think you can't really understand the policies, certainly of the 1970's, until you have seen them to russian eyes, chinese eyes, vietnamese eyes, but also french, german eyes. i have continued together material. some of you here already are in the firing line for interview requests. i will then sit down a year from now and work my way through tens of thousands of documents. i think volume two will be called "the realm of power." that was my wife's suggestion after she heard me use the phrase in my first talk about the book. she said, "that is what we should call volume two." because there, he is much more the subject and not the object.
-- and much more the object. -- much less the subject in a much more the object. the working hypothesis i have is that in the moment he enters his new role in the white house, he is not a powerful figure. nixon is the decision maker. the united states is in one hell of a mess. not least because of vietnam. between the sheer scale of the mess and the relative weakness of his position, he begins to compromise. very early on. to an extent that i think is overlooked. the strategy on the outset is nixon's strategy. it is only gradually that it becomes nixon-ger. people have backdated this process. in 69, it's not there. i think the narrative trick is that when the idealist enters the realm of power full-time,
it was only part-time with kennedy, full-time then the , process of amending, qualifying, comprising must begin. that is the best answer i can give you. >> we have a gentleman in the middle. three people in. >> joe bosco, formally of the depends -- defense department and former student of henry kissinger. a small anecdote which confirms the insight you offered us regarding his reluctance to take preemptive action. during the berlin crisis, we were in the lecture hall and there was much agitation among the students. and much concern in the headlines, on the radio and tv. kissinger went on with his scheduled lecture. it is only at the end of the class a student raised his hand and said, "dr. kissinger, what what is going to -- what is ?" ng to happen in berlin
he calmly said, "we will proceed with diplomacy, and things will go on. there will be no war and no crisis." mr. ferguson: very interesting. i would like to know the exact date he said that. [laughter] mr. ferguson: that is very welcome. in writing "henry the first," i realized i did not have quite enough students to testify about his role as it professor. i only had a small sample. they were conflicting in their accounts. some praised him as a lecturer, and others were more critical of his relative distance from the undergraduates. he did very much what that generation of harvard professors did, which was to vanish regularly to washington and new york and then up your just in -- and appear just in the nick of time for a lecture before vanishing again.
but, thank you very much for that. >> the gentleman on the end right there. first. >> how would you describe this -- how unusual is this transition? most people do not go through life holding one picture -- it is much more common for people to go from hard to bring that -- heart to brains. what you are talking about, is that very unusual? that'sguson: i think right. but we are, when we come to read and write history, we are prisoners are's -- prisoners of literature. literature portrays us as having set characters and conditions. i do not think history is a bunch literature of all. there is always a pressure to iron out those corks and inconsistencies. the historical process is more
in common with a game which is unpredictable than a novel which ultimately follows a finite number of narrative arcs. part of what i am trying to do in writing this book is to make clear, as i did in an earlier book that human beings are not , characters from fiction. real human beings go through significant evolutions and are often capable of believing and acting in a contradictory ways. -- in contradictory ways. the challenge when writing a is to strike that balance between showing how messy life is an something that is readable. the expectations of the reader are that it should all make sense. it goes right back to the question in the beginning. how do you make sense of the transition from idealism -- i'm
going to hesitate about using the word realism, because it's possibly not the right word, but how do you describe the evolution? you're right, it's light. every conservative is a liberal that got mugged by reality at some point. usually after opening that first paycheck. i think, in this case, it is a more complex evolution. because kissinger was so clearly aware of the flaws of the doctrine of power -- the means becoming the doctrine of power as an end. in illuminating point that -- an illuminating point that he makes is that the statesman is ultimately a tragic figure. this brings in the element of literature and drama back into our work as historians. kissinger says that the problem of content -- problem of conjecture leads to tragedy. whoever sees the problem and ask preemptively is doomed to be on
thanks and therefore have a -- -- to be un-thanked and therefore have a tragic future. they do not use the word in the 19th century, but that is exactly what happened. i think you are right to ask the question. i think it is important for historians to recognize that it is quite hard to tell the story of someone that moves quite a long way away from their early philosophical principles. >> the gentleman here in the second row. >> jim dixon, "shenandoah valley proofreader."
it was september 30 of last year that the book came out. neil, i would like to ask two questions. simple questions. would you comment on what dr. kissinger thinks of your book? and being 66 years old, how much longer until number two comes out? [laughter] mr. ferguson: thank you, jim. may take the opportunity to thank you, because you are one of the people that stepped up to read the proofs. you know, we i think we all need , eagle eyed readers before publication. when a reader approaches you and says they enjoyed the book and found a series of mistakes, you sit up and take notice. [laughter] once jim had done this to -- i think two or three
possibly two -- i put him in charge of reading the proofs for my kissinger books. so, kissinger's relationship with me was bound to be flawed from the outset. -- fraught from the outset. walter isaacson, who wrote an earlier and more journalistic work, predicted that by the end we would not be speaking. that there would be a complete rift, whatever i wrote. and i think there were moments when the relationship came close to breaking down. because that commitment to tell the unvarnished truth is bound to be problematic for the subject of a biography.
we all have our own version of the past. we all have things that we have buried that we do not want to see exhumed. i think for dr. kissinger, it was often hard to be confronted by things he had written or done that he had forgotten about and were not particularly flattering to see on the page. after i finished it, there was a period of very long silence. i had been through this once before writing another history. this family gave me access to the archives and they had no editorial control. in that period, i sent out draft chapters as i wrote them so they would not be a ashley shock --
of one unfinished manuscript. anyone that has access to documents should, i think, take that approach. there are horror stories as historians have discovered where the manuscript arrives and it is a shock and it gets disappeared. ithought in both cases that would let the draft chapters be read so that there was no huge shock. but even so, and it was huge strategy, because suddenly you discover that there is stuff you cannot just find out from the archives. it is very important to remember
that if you are an archival. i can meet. he was in paris that summer. do you thinkwhat that henry was really doing in paris in the summer of 1967? and then i realized i had missed something crucial. namely, that she was there and that he was having an affair with her. that ultimately, years later, culminated in their marriage. an affair that he i have toiled kept completely secret from his children. i think letting him see the draft chapters was a good idea. it jogged his memories and it got me things i would not have otherwise received. even so, after he had the finished version there was this long, painful silence. and it took him a while to come
around to the view that there are revelations of a personal nature that i had put in because i thought they were revealing of the young man, but i guess my letters to teenage girls, for example, would make me cringe. if i saw them in print. there was a long, agonized silence, but he came to realize that they were a necessary part of the enterprise in order to make it appear that the elder -- clear that the 93-year-old elder statesman was once a writing loveee, letters. >> how long will you have to wait? mr. ferguson: one more year of research, two years of writing. do not hold me to that. [laughter] mr. ferguson: that's about as fast as it can be done. you look in great shape.
93, come on. >> roger? >> i speak as a former kissinger student. in harvard, he ran -- at policy, he ran a defense seminar. it wasn't really a seminar at all. there were so many people that came. they had to move it out of the hall. we, as students, had this picture of him as very vicious -- ambitious. every week there would be to start generals, admirals showing up at seminar. at the time, as we were called, that we recalled, -- as we recalled there was a sort of , power struggle going on of who would control the center for international affairs at harvard. the opponent was someone that we regarded as having a great deal of honesty and integrity. our sympathy was on that side. i am wondering if you could
direct my memory or tell me what was really going on? mr. ferguson: you're right that there was a battle going on that involved kissinger. there are all sorts of stories to illustrate their refusal to speak to one another. i suppose the surprising thing to me was that the battle began almost immediately. i do not think it was entirely related to differences of policy. they did have differences over policy, but it seems to have started from the outset. i think they were temperamentally incompatible. it was one of those cases in which there are a great many in the story when his injured -- kissinger, the opinionated figure, roughed up the more established figure in the wrong way.
you can correct me if i am wrong, but i think it is fair to say -- he had done an impressive job at harvard of allowing a very large proportion of students and faculty to come from predominantly jewish immigrant communities. i mean going back into the 20's, , there have been debates over quotas. that has all been swept aside in the late 1940's and 50's. but i think it would've been amazing if there was not some tension between the new harvard and the old. it was such a rapid change. certainly, henry kissinger's account of how he was treated as an undergraduate suggests that he did not feel much of action -- much affection for the representatives of the old guard.
the relationship guard. with elliott is interesting. perhaps you have thoughts on that. i spent a lot of time trying to work out why elliott became his mentor. why did he go to government? why did he not go to carl friedrich? why did he go to elliott? elliott seems, at this distance, at least, and absurd and bombastic figure. i try my best in the book to explain these puzzles about the academic career, but i do come back to the famous observation that the reason academic life is so poisonous is because the stakes are so low. [laughter] that seems to have a lot of truth in it, and it has been my experience. something to be wary of -- this is true of oxford and cambridge as much harvard or yell, -- yale. the more he consorted with people that are not professors,
the more painted -- hated he becomes. this is a guaranteed law of academic life. you can be as nice as you are, but are academics will still hate you behind your back. i think henry was a classic and that aspect. -- in that aspect. >> i would like to follow-up up with a different kind of question. it takes its point of departure from the subtitle of "the idealist." i will guess that many readers -- especially young readers, will not necessarily come to the same conclusion that henry kissinger was an idealist in any form or fashion. you offered a series of quotes today that you amplify in the book with henry kissinger
talking about the united states eating to go on a spiritual offensive. -- going on a spiritual offensive. there seems to be, at least in , a very kinde book of at the seminar table quality to those claims. kissinger seems to be very unconcerned or unaware of what is going on and what was being -- in what was called the third world. the nationalist revolution. europe is his main center of attention except for when he goes to vietnam, yet he does not seem to grapple with, or at least in my reading of the book, nationalism. seems to have very little sympathy. the revolt of the world of color against imperialism. this does not quite register. so the word "spiritual
offensive" almost rings hollow. what values would he put forward other than the abstract notion , of democracy? which to the entire continent of africa, it does not really sound right, given the u.s. role these -- vis athese of the vis the european empire. if you could talk about that issue there -- i come away from the book not quite convinced of the idealism you are putting forward here. he seems very consensual or -- conventional, or at least abounded figure for his time. -- a bounded figure for his time. mr. ferguson: one of the greatest dangers of any historian is to lapse into anachronistic thinking. we are asked to apply the criteria of 2016 in judging the people whose active lives were
in the 1960's and 1970's. i think it's dangerous to say -- why wasn't he more involved in black power? it would have been extraordinary for a man of kissinger's background to be involved in the civil rights movement at that time. relatively tiny numbers of academics became involved at that time. i found photographs of martin luther king paying a visit to the harvard yard when i think it was you were studying in the 1960's. this does not surface in kissinger's papers that this is happening at all. then, i think we need to be, as scholars, mindful of what was of paramount concern of someone working in a specific field -- u.s. foreign-policy with a background in european
diplomatic history. that was kissinger's role. and in my experience, most academics stick to their speciality. they are not expected to comment on everything under the sun. in fact, henry kissinger was unusual because he was prepared to talk about the third world on a tv rather than confined -- confine himself to his specialty. so, i am struck by his range. in the 1950's, he is talking about the third world in that interview that i cited. he talks at considerable length. he references a number of countries and play. it is not just vietnam that attracts his attention. moreover, i think we need to be very careful to remind ourselves of the ruthless way in which the soviets were seeking to expand their influence in what was then
called the third world. far too many people write books about the diplomacy of the 19 60's or 1970's without the soviets. you would not be aware of the extraordinary things that the soviets and other agencies were up to in the third world. i do not think we should blame statesman of the cold war for prioritizing the soviet threat. i think it was unusual for kissinger to say, "are the negative."oach is to the quote that that is from is actually from the context of being about latin america. in his eyes, it was not enough for us to simply resist against soviet influence.
we will never fully appealed to -- we will never make a credible appeal to the people of these countries. i do not think it is fair to quite look at an academic of that time in the way that you describe. kissinger was seen as unusual even by his close friend. being to the right at harvard is an uncomfortable place, even then. if one puts kissinger in the 1960's setting, this is the key moment that i think reveals the idealist.
kissinger goes to the 1964 republican convention and is utterly appalled by what he sees. utterly appalled by the goldwater supporters. theletely clear about racial signaling that is coming from the goldwater acceptance speech and he thinks it is like fascism. and he writes in his diary "this , is terrifying." "it's what i saw as a boy in germany." i think you have to remember what you care about. if you grew up in not see germany, -- in nazi germnay, and you return many years later to find most of your family dead , your priority is the german question. the totalitarian threat. that is what you care about. you definitely attach lower priority to the things that we may care about today.
>> we have a hand up right here in the front. on the aisle. >> my name is dimitri. i do not have an affiliation. very interesting. thank you for your other books. i have two, quick questions. the first one to give backs off -- the first one piggybacks off of the other. how does dr. kissinger see himself as a young person? i'm sure he has never referred to himself as naive, but does he see himself as naive and idealistic? the second question is about the united nations. how does he see the united nations as a young person? does he have high hopes? how does it change? thank you. mr. ferguson: i think it is fair to say that his view now of the book is that it is an accurate account of his young life. there are no major interpretation that he refutes. on the united nations, it is
interesting that from very early on he is a skeptic about collective security. this is, of course, partly based on the failure of the league as it was commonly thought of. but it is also because kissinger restored,"g "a world comes to the view that collective security can never produce real alliances, and that alliances are the essential building blocks in the balance of power. "world restored" book is fascinating to read because it , contains a very elaborate and profound account of the balance of power. a phrase that gets bandied about far too casually in our time kissinger makes a couple of , important points in the book. one is that it is not spontaneously occurring. that you have to have an active balancer to achieve equilibrium.
in any order, european or global. the second point is the very itself needsance legitimacy. a revolutionary power can erode that by simply challenging the order. these are the key ideas in the book that are still there in the visionary book, "world order." i think that presupposes that collective security cannot really deliver. you live in a world of combinations of powers and alliances. not in a world where the entire body of nations will come kissinger is always very hostile to that notion that there is a legal solution to the problem of international conflict. in that aspect, he is not a will sony and ideal. given that we are in the wilson center. kissinger's later writing was critical of wilson.
but there is not that much of an explicit critique in the first part of that life. it's interesting how little he writes about the 1920's and 30's. the prospect of his life unfinished was a trilogy that would go from the 1800s to 1914. very little of the early work is engaged with the project wilson had so believed in, nor was it second coronation in the form of the u.n. therefore does not supply a subtitle. >> wonderful presentation. you mentioned the polarities of idealism and realism. other polarities of
theory and practice? >> i think kissinger would not necessarilyung man seen the theory and practice as so distinct from one another. ,is complaint was practitioners people taking decisions in washington did not bother with history. on insight that he has early were lawyers and lawyers by training take each crisis as a separate case and deal with foreign policy is a series of cases. systemer's policy was a and you have to understand its properties.
the role he saw himself playing was the man is the theory and history who would come to this town full of lawyers and set , i think he was of being capable effective in the situation room because the theory and history gave him an edge to sizing up a situation. i heard said by diplomat who worked with him in 1973 that no one reacted more quickly to the news of the yom kippur war than kissinger. theirne else was flailing arms but kissinger had in seconds understood what the implications were and how to play it.
it allowed quite quickly to size is part of situation an evolving international order. >> your description of kissinger's 1965 memo on vietnam reminds me of the vietnam booker in roger hilson's to move a nation. came out of the cia. if you are familiar with it, could you compare and contrast them? profoundly negative of the regime.
>> thank you very much for the reference. all i can do is give you more flesh on the bone of what i said. mind ispoint to bear in that kissinger never quite stopped seeing the world as a counterintelligence agent, which was the role he played in a later phase of world war ii. when he was sent to korea as a officer, he wrote a very professional critique of how the toy was performing relative world war ii and when he got to vietnam, he did it in much the same way. differenty, the government agencies and south vietnam lacks a coherent
strategy and are essentially working against one another in key respects. a critique of the interagency mess in part, but it thelso a critique of disconnect between the senior officers and the people at the frontline. thatf the things he did seems impressive to a coward like me was to go to frontline positions and talk to quite junior people and spend a lot of time with cia people in saigon and elsewhere around the country. it was there testimony that persuaded him that it was all going wrong. with a huge skepticism about what senior military commanders are saying. he keeps coming
back to his yes, but who is in control at night? tell me what it is like here at night. the sense of the granularity of ir because he had served and think that is what makes the report so striking. ands very well researched he did do his due diligence on how the operation is going and spoke to a great many south vietnamese leaders across the toctrum from government opposition buddhist catholics and ends up painting this picture of a war that is already irretrievable. then he has the problem that no one wants to read the report saying that in washington and the ambassador doesn't want anything to do with it, so, he has to write a tone down version. the original is devastating.
>> [inaudible] so some's no microphone people can hear you. we have a few more questions. hillsman describes various americans coming back to washington from visits to the economic reporting to kennedy and kennedy's comment is did you people go to the same country? >> yes. i think it is striking that kissinger realizes very quickly that most evil at or near the frontline have only just arrived because the american habit of rotating people at a high that it doesurers not build up. local don't build up lawyers are partnerships, everyone there for six months is bound to fail and it is amazing
to read this stuff and realize that this all happened again. thatinly not in ways influence what happened in iran. an eminent figure in the bush administration, i can say this contradiction, saying it was utterly shattering to see how much iraq resembled the anomaly he read kissinger's critique of the vietnam operation. >> right here. >> i'm a retired foreign service officer. what did you find about kissinger's relationship with fritz cramer? ways the mostsome important relationship of them all aside from the relationship to nancy. cramer, as i describe it in the ink is the mephistopheles
kissinger's life. this was quite conscious on cramer's part. he spotted kissinger's talent when they were private in the u.s. army. heard cramer speak and approached him afterwards and they hit it off and the relationship was very intent in those subsequent months of war. they were together in the battle of the bolt and were very close to the frontline and came under heavy artillery bombardment. kissinger wrote about that in it turned out to be a composite of kissinger and his experience. he would write something from a joint vantage point and i think thatleitmotif in the book the relationship with cramer is
in some ways the barometer of the idealism because cramer is the man who invented himself as the embodiment of prussian conservative values, having come from a jewish background which he had done his utmost to conceal. sets kissingero on the trail and it is cramer says to kissinger that you can't go back to city college, you have to go to harvard. cramer is the inspiration for a huge amount of what kissinger subsequently does and retains his influence over him. two andons between the the letters he writes to kissinger are crucial to the story because over time, they become more critical. already in volume one, cramer is warning kissinger about the
compromises he may be tempted to make in his association with acceptance, was his from the job from nixon. a pivotal moment will be the breach: cramer breaks with him. ofis a hugely important part the story and it is important because for a lot of time, they continue to correspond in german. most of the time, kissinger is reluctant to use german. when he is invited to speak in would say my german vocabulary is much more about soccer than nuclear weapons. but, with the -- with cramer, it is in german until very later on. those lessons are handwritten and difficult to read and some of the most painful parts of the research were planning -- were plowing through those, but they are important and revealing.
the frontgentleman in row anxious to speak. >> i teach a course on the history of nuclear policy for the air force, primarily from documents and primary searches. i think i may have gotten ahead because i was fascinated by your comments. but to the degree dr. kissinger decried the lack of historical perspective, do -- to what degree does anything you read reflect his attitude toward the senior officers with him he dealt in that perspective? you have to start with service academies for the most part were taught history, except two decades ago, american history was dropped out of the core curriculum of the u.s. academy. what was his perspective on those senior officers?
>> he hadn't much to do with senior officers in his war service or even as a reserve officer. he was a relatively lowly figure. when he accepted the invitation from the council of foreign relations to act as the first minute keeper and then offer of the book that became nuclear weapons, when he went to cfr, he came into contact with senior military figures for the first time. favorites had his he would take considerable knowledge from. nuclear weapons and foreign as you mustazing, know, from a man whose specialty was the congress of vienna. what it is is a book that selects from different committee
members and expert witnesses what fits into an argument that kissinger himself built. the doctrine of limited nuclear war was contested at the time but it was a very big deal in the u.s. military because if the weapons could only be used once in the case of armageddon, that was frustrating. if you had all kinds of different nuclear weapons from tiny to medium-size to huge, there was a lot more money to ask for. i think he gets sucked into this world perhaps unwittingly. it's a next ordinary book because he subsequently breaks with it. not many academics so soon after the publications say it's actually kind of raw and that is what he did. i have come to see the vision there that you needed a range of
different capabilities. you cannot have all or nothing. it became the basis of nato strategy right down to the end of the cold war. it is nuclearf weapons and kissinger should've never gotten cold feet but he did because the book came under a fierce onslaught of reviews. many people in this room have spent their lives studying american foreign-policy and i have not. there is a terrible need for humility when you do that. you are going to learn from people who always know more than you and that is the focus i took in writing the book and he relied heavily on a couple of people whose names i am forgetting because it is -- but it is carefully documented in the book and you probably know much more about it than i do.
unfortunately, have to draw this session to a close. i have a feeling we could probably go on to many more hours with questions and conversation, but you can find a copy of the book outside for purchase. out. it out on your way we will be on holiday for the next two mondays but we will resume the seminar on october 17 when catherine turck speaks on the quality, gender and rights in the modern american work lace. --nk you to our participated our participants, and thank you to niall ferguson. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> interested in american
history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. you can does that schedule or watch a recent program. c-span.org/history. on "they night " the president of audi talks about autonomous cars and hype that they are nearly ready in his production when they will be on the market. >> if you read the headlines ine easy what uber is doing pittsburgh ncv proclamations automotive executives are making and in the automotive business, we are used to a lot of hype and i think when it comes to everyday matters, a little marketing hype is ok. when it comes to matters such as this, i think it is a little disingenuous because words are flippantly thrown around. when someone says autonomous or autopilot, when someone says self driving, what the consumer
thinks is i come out of my home, i hit a button and that car will take me anywhere at any time under any condition and we all know that is not the case. >> watch "the communicators" monday night on c-span2. and 1954, about 12 million immigrants seeking a new life in america were taken to ellis island for processing, questioning and health screening. today, millions of americans take ferryboats to visit ellis island and the statue of liberty. artifacts" we visit ellis island to learn about the immigrant experience. >> this would have been a place where immigrants would have just gotten off the vote -- gotten off the boat and would have lined up to go out the door and begin the process. let a had was all that was
important to them. for many who are bringing their entire families at the same time, they had to sell everything they owned, the farmland, the cattle, all the supplies, the farm itself, just to afford all of the fares for everyone coming here. the room we are entering is the baggage room. here is the place where immigrants got there first sight of ellis island. this room looks very different depending on the moment you came. immigrants who came in this tore had to go immediately our left, their right to wear a medical examination would take place. eventually, they would end up in the staircase, which is right up in the middle of this ceiling that took you write into the middle of the great hall.
most people simply call it the great hall. it is a majestic piece of architecture. stairs toding up the the second floor. doctors will meet you here and give you an inspection that is just about as fast a medical inspection you are ever going to get. there were sometimes called the six second specialist. they were highly skilled members of the public service who can spot even the smallest sign of anywhere from 50 to 60 ailments ant normally affect immigrant. of theop is a replica inspectors desks at the end of hall. here is the spot where you go through the last part of your processing. of answersere a list to questions that immigrants gave.
for the vast majority of people, this is going to be a pretty easy process. they will answer the questions and remember all the answers. they won't look too suspicious because if you look to suspicious in answering, that alone could be a reason for detention. 80% of the people who come through this building will leave to start their lives after an experience in three or four hours. 20% are detained. another 10% for some discrepancies in their interrogation here. told, 98% of the people who came through this building were able to get out and start their lives in america. between 12 million and 13 million people will translate into about 45% of the american population today is again tell you honestly that one of their
ancestors came through this building, when through this process, and began their families american story. for so many people, it is the reason they come here because they have heard so much about it . it has been in their family folklore and they come back to see the moment or the place where grandma or great-grandfather came and passed the medical processing and began their families american story. that is what ellis island is about, the story of americans looking for something better, really the american dream, which we all cherish greatly. watch the entire program on the ellis island immigrant experience at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern on sunday. american history tv, only on c-span3.
becauseknox was chosen it was america's most impenetrable location. it was the gold bullion depository and had been open several years prior. there had been lots of gold already transferred there. the secretary of treasury is for thesertion documents. >> tonight, the decision to move america's most important historical documents to fort knox on december 26, ninth teen 41. >> he has to make a decision what documents are going to be there. the original engrossed declaration, definitely. the articles of confederation, pre-constitution, the gettysburg address, considered critical. he makes this decision very methodically on what is going to go to fort knox. these are considered the most eligible documents in the
country. the magna carta is the document he has been asked to do it -- to preserve. >> when philadelphia's museum of the american revolution opens in april of 2017, 1 of their central artifacts will be george washington's headquarters tent which served as his sleeping quarters and office for most of the war. next, a textile conservator, structural engineer, and the museum's vice president of collections and exhibitions discuss the history of the tent, how it survived, and techniques being used to conserve and eventually display the fragile artifacts. the museum of the american revolution hosted this 90 minute event. >> good evening, everyone.