tv 1968 - America in Turmoil The Cold War CSPAN May 30, 2018 9:31pm-11:04pm EDT
influence their political debate and democracy in the u.s., hosted by the institute. on c-span 2 at 9:00 a.m., madeline albright sits down with david to talk about the trump administration's foreign policy. including the current talks with north korea about a possible summit. then at 10:00, a forum on how to use intelligence to assess the cyber threats to organizations and companies. that is also on c-span 2. >> december 21, 1968. the shortest day of the year. but perhaps one of the longest in the flow of history. >> we are still a go at this time. ten, nine, we have a mission sequence style.
we hear you loud and clear. >> okay. it was very smooth and this one is smoother. >> your trajectory and guidance a go. >> thank you, michael. >> yeah, you are looking real good. >> the big level and bill anders, they were about to leave their earth and face the frontier. >> following the distance. >> go ahead. >> all right. >> you are a go, over. >> i understand. >> this was the commitment.
they were ready for the maneuver that would send them to the moon. and as the world would listen and watch, its people were overtaken by a new awareness, and an awareness that they would perhaps witness the overture to the ultimate destiny of man. the men of apollo 8 would watch the read out. they are snowballing towards the velocity, allowing them to escape earth's gravity. >> and that is a film from december of 1968. as we could conclude our nine- part series here on c-span. the american history tv. joining us here in our studios in washington, mark kramer who is the project director for the cold war studies program at
harvard university. thank you very much for being here with us. and elizabeth, she is the professor at texas a&m university, also a senior fellow at the institution. i want to talk to you about this intersection of what was happening in had 1968. we had the escalation of the vietnam war. and the heightened tensions with the cold war and the extangs into czechoslovakia. >> it was a sad year. [ laughter ] yeah, no, it was a year where it seems like all of these trans, they seem to together -- come together at once. north korea, you know, they became more opportunistic, trying to, you know, launch the kind of situation where they might be able to open up the southern front. it is a big moment, everything might change for the better.
>> now explain what happened, moving into czechoslovakia, why it was a significant milestone in 1968. >> they had always been so important because it would help start the cold war in the united states, where they will create a plan. you know, just partly around what happened originally after world war ii. so then when they seem to start a program of reform, lifting the censorship, you know, creating more of an open government. they will need to come in and shut that down. and then what happens right after that, that we see them announcing the impression of the doctrine. so by the end of the 1968, all of it had wonderful flowering of possibilities for greater dialogue and greater freedom, they had been cut off. the impressions saying we will intervene any time meaning they will threaten it momentarily.
>> what was the domino theory? >> that was the idea being developed after world war ii. and that if one country felt what others might as well and specifically in china, the concern is that south vietnam, they were overtaken by the communist in the north and that laos and cambodia would follow. but that notion, it was inspired in part by what had happened in eastern europe right after world war ii and when various governments, mostly in central and eastern europe felt the communism. but in that case it is through their direct occupation. the concern, that it might come out through those that would take over. >> and who was funding the north korean government at that time? >>
in china. and so they were competing with each other for a greater influence in north vietnam, which worked out well because they would play them off against each other and get more weapons. >> who was funding north korea during this time and explain what happened and how that was huge today. >> north korea, they were playing both sides against the middle. they had patrons in china. but at the same time, they were always doing their own thing. and so for example, they would seize the american ship. they were on a spy mission. and it is what we consider the international waters, what most of them would consider beyond
the 12-mile limit. and what happened in january of 1968, that the north koreans, they would see this american naval ship. it was lightly armed, still prepared. and they were not able to fight off the chasers, ultimately what went after the ship. so the interesting thing about that, that neither the chinese nor the soviets were aware this would happen. so like today, it was instigated by the north koreans. and they saw it as possibly an opportunity to start another war or two as they would say liberate the south, meaning the south, south of korea. >> and politically you mentioned the leaders of the soviet union as we have pictures of them much older in the 70s and the early 80s. where was he in 1968? >> i mean, he had been a a
rising star for a long time with the reunion. so he's in this process of consolidating the own power. so when he orders, for example, the invasion into czechoslovakia, he is taking the power and the guidance over the union and the direction that he wants. >> now take us back to what you think president johnson was thinking as he was looking at the broader picture of where the soviet union was and where the cold war was heading, how it was a driving force in his vietnam policy. >> well, the major build up of the u.s. forces, the -- it occurred just before 1968. it started in 1965. at the height, they reached about $525,000, which is an astounding number in a fairly small country. in 1968, which was a military victory for u.s. forces, but it was a political disaster
because they made it clear, the vietnamese communists, for either strength. particularly the secretary of defense in center. so it was a turning point of the war. until that time, there were majority support, diminishing, but still the majority support in the united states for the war. the public support from them on, it was never the majority again, increasingly it turned it against the war. and so he was consumed by that, in order to make a decision in march, not to seek reelection. also it is the beginning of deescalating. >> but they were putting together once a month films, that really highlighted what he was doing. this is from july of 1968 as president johnson is traveling to hawaii, meeting with the
south vietnamese president. >> on july 18, johnson arrived in honolulu for a series of meetings with south vietnam's president. >> and all of our meetings over the past two and a half years, you have stressed your country's policy of reconciliation and peace. essentially met last december. formal talks, they have begun. we hope they are the first step on the difficult pass to peace. and an honorable piece under which the people of your
country will determine their own future. mr. president? i pledge to help your people defeat aggression and it will stand firm against all obstacles and against any deception. we want you to take back to your countryman. i hope and that their courage and their faith will be rewarded with a piece with full freedom. >> president johnson, the south vietnamese president in 1968. let's kind of set up the stage for where the country was at because we had the assassination of robert kennedy. he was about to be nominated the following month as the democratic candidate. the republicans, they were
nominating richard nixon. and trying to bring in a peaceful end to the war in vietnam. now where was he politically, where was the military? where was his defense department in all of this? >> well johnson, he was deeply taken, not only by the assassination in june of robert kennedy, but two months earlier. they begun in the 1960s and 1968 including here in washington, d.c. that meant he wanted to focus on the domestic priorities, which is always his may jr. entrapment. but consumed from early on by the war in vietnam. that's why in his final year in office, he wanted to focus on whatever priorities you could do while trying to bring in an
end to the war. now he was initially not the favored candidate, but certainly after a while, put forth by johnson as someone who could continue his programs, into which it will be a reasonable side against nixon. it was no secret, and he was uneasy at the same time, and was deeply saddened by kennedy's assassination. >> and at the same time, while all of this was happening, the apollo program continues to grow with research being done in florida and texas at cape canaveral and the johnson space center. apollo 8 that we saw in that video just a moment ago, it launched in december of 1968. >> yeah, i think the curious thing about the cold war, it always brought out the worst and the best. all in america. and a part of that was a peaceful competition with the soviet union about faith.
and it actually began in 1965 when they announced they were going to put a satellite up. they turned that out and immediately got going. but they would launch that first satellite, which was sputnik and the joke in washington and actually foreign capitals of the time, that sputnik, when they went over the world, they would go beep, beep, beep until it got over washington. it would go okay. so the space trace was the part of the whole thing. and the soviet said not only beating us to the first satellite, and they have beaten us to the first man in space. and then also again, they were beating us in 1968. in september they would have the first lunar orbit. and it will be the meal worm. and at that moment, they decided it was going to change the mission of apollo 8, which had been to orbit the earth. and instead they decided to put them out, orbiting the moon. and that's what their mission was. >> and we were just looking at really incredible pictures from nasa back in 1968, 50 years ago
as we look back at america in turmoil. three key players, william. >> and it was thrilling to them because they were suppose to run as much more pedestrian kind of orbit of the united states. and instead here they are at the first human beings to be in that part of space, out orbiting the moon. so it was a remarkable thing that on christmas eve, they beamed back to the world and that is just a message to everybody. again, that's the thing where the cold war, they will hit a combination of who we want to be and who we are forced to be by these terrible circumstances. in their message, you know, on christmas eve, they would say hello to everyone. >> we are dividing our phone lines just a little differently for those of you who are 50 and older, and the number to call is 202-748-8001. for those of you under the age
of 50. what does that mean to you? >> i was a very small boy at that time. major thing i remember, the pitcher for the detroit tigers won 31 games. but i do remember the kennedy assassination and certainly martin luther king's assassination vaguely because my parents were upset. but in retrospect, i had written extensively about 1968, particular lit invasion of czechoslovakia, how they proceeded it. and it is that combination of things that we have been discussing, the combination of the vietnam war, the unrest in the united states. and the promise of major change in the communist world that was brought to a crushing end. the pueblo incident with the north koreans.
but kind of the despair that was there for the end of the year and despite apollo 8 and the upbeat message that it would be. there is a real sense that american society, it was not holding together well. >> elizabeth, your perspective on why 1968 was such a consequential year in american history. >> i think it was a year of moral crisis. all of the things that had been building since 1945, 1947, they started a cold war. and it kind of all comes home. and the cold war was a profound distinction between all of the american history that proceeded it, this idea of taking responsibility for every major crisis around the world. then as i said, to be your best self, you know,discrimination in america, and it was the despair of our friends. and so you know, we have been working on all these things. and i think that 1968, it was a
combination of that. and plus that was true all around the world. [ change in captioner ] before long, there was a campaign against the war in eugene mccarthy, but particular robert kennedy and that was prior to his assassination to come out explicitly against the war, which had earlier avoided because he knew it would antagonize johnson and even though they had an uneasy relationship, they had worked together quite productively on
civil rights. so it all -- the north vietnamese were not interested in peace, they wanted to win on the bad build and they were confident they could do that in the chinese in particular were encouraging them to do that. the soviet union was a different matter. they began to raise the question of overtures the north vietnamese, but the north vietnamese were not interested in listening to that. >> and these talks were taking place in paris from 1968 and in the johnson white house. >> on march 31, president johnson had ordered a bombing halt in all areas of north vietnam except the immediate panhandle above the dmz, an area where massive numbers of infiltrators continued the war.
as a result of this decision a much awaited meeting began in paris on may 15. during september eight ambassador, the president's chief negotiator reported that after four months and 21 formal sessions, there's still had been no substantive discussions. the north vietnamese negotiators held to their demands that all bombing must stop. the president in close counsel with his top military and worn affair advisors repeatedly asked for assurances that hanoi would reciprocate with some form of military de-escalation should the bombing he stopped. no such assurance was forthcoming. >> that was from the johnson
white house. but elizabeth cobbs, you had richard nixon who had his own plan to get out of vietnam, or did he?>> nixon always promised to get out of vietnam, and we know now that the evidence is there, the archival evidence that nixon made an effort to halt and to foil johnson's peace efforts as part of his campaign and in many ways some people feel this is worse than anything he did in watergate because he wanted to put a monkey wrench in the efforts in late october because of the concern that maybe johnson was getting close and they could trade this bombing halt from movement by the north vietnamese. the north vietnamese were determined, but it is easy to play those things in black and white and it johnson's program had been able to proceed without the south vietnamese being told don't compromise,
because you're going to get a better deal under nixon, then something else might have happened and that is a terrible tragedy both for the u.s. and for vietnam.>> and the war would not formally come to an end for another seven years.>> it went on and on. >> 1968, america in turmoil. as we wrap up this nine part series, mark kramer from harvard university and elizabeth cobbs from the hoover institution and the texas a&m university. stewart is joining us for mechanicsville virginia. >> happy mother's day to everyone. i was born -- i graduated high school in 1968. i asked my father if he would sign for me so i could join the core -- and he told me in language to
remove my head from another part of my anatomy. i turned 18 in july and i went down and side to join, but i failed the physical. i had blown out in the plane for all and at any rate the army took me and the cold war for the guys that did serve the guys that came back, if you had short hair you were shunned. i had one friend come to the airport in california and somebody asked him and said how many babies did you kill? but he said if you don't get out of my face, you will be the first.>> from your standpoint, why was that sentiment so prevalent in the late 1960s and early 1970s? >> i do not know. if you had a short haircut,
good luck trying to get a date. it was very difficult back in those years. i don't know why it was, but, like i said, we were a small percentage that served in the armed forces and most people were in college. i have one friend, one friend was there 45 days and he was in 27 firefights. he was only 19 years old. i mean, think about that. >> rough times. and thank you for the mother's day wishes. i think that there was that moment where who you were as an
american was something that people are questioning. it was kind of a moral crisis and there were people that looked in the mirror and said i don't like what i see when i see america today. and then it became this test, was your hair long and did you have a beard and at one point someone at the peace corps made a member shave his beard because they thought he looked like fidel castro. will become very attuned to the fashions with seem to speak volumes and say things about who we were identifying with. so they were terrible times. and for the young men who served, some of them, credible circumstances and terrible events. >> we will go to gainesville, florida. >> yes, good morning. i just want to ask mark kramer,
i am a two tour vietnam vet and i'm 71 years old. i grew up in gainesville, florida, and we lost 41 soldiers from my county in the vietnam war. my question, as i've come back and read a lot about the sierra -- era. i took a trip back to vietnam in 1998 and we flew into hanoi and i was going there mainly to review some of the areas where i had served. and what struck me was the way the vietnamese people, the eagerness of them wanting to engage me in conversation and the young people wanting to get my email address. it was amazing the reception that i got and no one talked about the vietnam war.
and then just recently a few months ago we had a u.s. navy carrier in danang years. i believe in a sense that we, as veterans that served over there, we were young and we happened to be the age of being drafted -- i was in rotc, i think we just happen to be the soldiers of that time, but we did accomplish something in the sense that the last domino, maybe it fell, but house and cambodia, those countries did not but do you see that maybe we who served did have some change in the sense -- the ending of the cold war.>> thank you. thank you for your service to
the country. i certainly appreciate. the outcome of the war cannot be judged by what happened in april 1975 with the fall of saigon. has to be looked at, as you put it, in the larger context. what would've happened if the south had fallen much sooner and it it had been overwhelmed at a time when neighboring countries potentially could of fallen as well. the war achieved a good deal. there was no question, for example, that the south, which had a corrupt political system, nonetheless was much more pluralistic than the totalitarian north, it did advance and that was largely because of the influence of u.s. troops. but i think overall, for whatever reason you can point to , domestic backlash or other
things, you do have to look at vietnam ultimately as a failure for the united states even as potentially as it could've worked out more successfully. but there's no question that i agree with you that there were important things -- among other things it deterred other guerrilla forces from contemplating launching that kind of assault that the north vietnamese had in vietnam. again, ultimately a failure, but certain successes along the way >> a key element of the war was a nuclear stockpile. labbee tell people what we were facing in 1968. we had more than 29,000 warhead , the soviet union had just over 9000 and great britain had 317, france, 36, and france 25.
and you can see the decline in the nuclear stockpile, but significant to the u.s. and russia. can you explain? >> the nuclear arms race had been going on 1949 when the soviets dropped their first bomb. the oddity of it was that this was part of mutual assured destruction. if you can get enough bombs and everyone is afraid to pull the trigger, it created a kind of stability in the world. but it was mad. from the beginning there were talks about how to create a situation where you could begin to draw back down, and so one of the big accomplishments of that period was the signing of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
that was an effort to bring back this kind of escalation that had been going on for such a long time. and, by the way, it was not just the big countries, it was ireland which put forward the first proposal at the un general assembly in 1961. so everybody was a acted by that. -- affected by that. we began to get a little bit of a hold on after 1968.>> and you wrote a piece for the washington post -- who is the enemy during this period? >> it was the soviet lock, but there were numerous enemies. the united states saw the soviet union as its chief enemy, but there were smaller ones like north vietnam and north korea and certainly the people's republic of china.
in fact, in the 1960s the prc had replaced the soviet union for a while as being seen as the most on the outs of the united states. but the soviet union was the overriding enemy to the u.s. from 1945 until late 40s and then until the end of the cold war. >> are next, is from michigan. go ahead and thank you for waiting. >> i was 19 years old in 1960. after i saw walter cronkite i was against the war. i turned down my deferment and i volunteered to go to vietnam and they wanted to send be -- i had to go to vietnam. i saw the civil rights workers and i wanted to have a gun and
bombs if i was going to work against this government. while i was in transit, i read the autobiography of chi minh. i learned that my father who fought the japanese, he helped my father survived that were. i had a debt to pay to the vietnamese people for helping my father stay live. i got every antiwar paper and i got the black panther party papers and i pass them out to gis. the biggest piece march was in july. i reported incidents. the reporting of that and the spreading of the words through g.i. antiwar papers, and that is what stop the war. that is where abram said i had to get this army out of vietnam.
we were going to take over the military and that was my goal. i had no affiliations and i was just a working-class kid from chicago. i saw the 68 convention and i didn't want to fight with the cops. i succeeded. we stopped the war. we stopped the draft. the gis and the people in the streets, god bless them. kent state happened when i was in vietnam and i was outraged. nixon was coming. i don't want to tell you what i would've done it nixon came within my sites. every g.i. i passed the paper to condo and refused it. i had them sign petitions >> we can sense your motion in your voice. >> it has not stopped. i have two sons. he is on a path -- i have instilled in him the
same notion. he loves his country, i love my country. we did not want to see our country destroyed. >> there is a big difference -- first of all, i think your son should be proud that you did serve in the military. with that said, there is a big difference between nowadays and the time that you were there in 1968 in that -- it was against the grain of u.s. philosophy during most of its existence in the u.s. so the ship to military -- particularly after the korean war was a big change and it was always an easiness about that in american society. so 1968 when young men were being pre-scripted into the
u.s., it helped to spur the domestic opposition and it was one of the major factors in the growing unrest on u.s. campuses that american society was coming apart with civil unrest and violence in the street and large-scale protests, and the movement among veterans as well as serving soldiers in vietnam against the war. so all of that came together. that is why the united states over the last 45 years now has had an all volunteer force. and that makes it very different today. >> the combination of the cold war, the political turmoil in the u.s., and the race for space. that is the focus as we conclude this nine part series. we also have a twitter feed. and the question is did the
u.s. when the space race? to participate you can follow us on twitter. how would you answer that? did we win? >> i think we did. when kennedy made a speech he said were not going into space because it is easy, it is a challenge we intend to win. and the u.s. did. but that was the whole point of the cold war. it was not like it was just the challenge of who gets to be king of the hill. it was what is the world going to be like and will the world be an association of peaceful states or not? so the other thing is, yes, we went, and we got a man on the moon, but ultimately, we share a space station with them. so the larger goal that both countries had of a more secure world, where people do not have to send their children out to
be slaughtered, to protect the sovereignty of the nation was something that most debt -- both countries were striving for.>> and this mission from apollo 8 set the groundwork for neil armstrong in july 1969 to be the first man to walk on the moon.>> and think of the difference. in january 1967, not long before that, apollo 1 had exploded. think of the bravery of the men that did that and went into those capsules knowing that that could happen to them. and the next year we had someone in lunar orbit >> did the u.s. when the space race? nearly 26,000 people have weighed in. >> good morning. having been born in the late 50s , i just remember growing up in
my childhood seemed to be traumatic. my father was in -- he consumed information, and the information was in our household and all the turmoil of the time was just seared into my mind -- i was five years old when president kennedy was killed and the trauma, which i don't need to go to all the matters that the country was dealing with, but further i served under reagan in the cold war and it is hard to explain to veterans and young guys in uniform now how the country was locked in this battle for control of the globe . i know that your guests don't want to get into current politics, but that is why it boggles my mind how the current commander-in-chief enjoys the support of the military, many of which are old enough to
remember the cold war and his -- this gentleman who is part of the kgb at that time, during my time in office, there would've been talk amongst us of a firing squad. >> first of all, thank you for your service to the country in the 1980s. the major thing i would say is that times have changed now and there are things that are feasible now that would've been inconceivable during the time that the cold war was underway. 1968 there was progress in the communist lock. it came to an end with czechoslovakia. the north koreans had ceased to the uss pueblo, and the cold war was very vividly underway at
that point. nowadays there are major problems with numerous countries, iran, north korea, russia, but there is a different order compared to what was out there in 1968 and during other years of the cold war.>> and the caller brought up what it was like on the home front. we had the escalation of the cold war and the rising concerns of vietnam. the defense department from that era was taking a look at how children should prepare for the possibility of a nuclear attack. >> at the request of the office of civil defense globalization, the united states army chemical corps has developed a mask for civilian use. this mask protects the where against biological and chemical attacks by purifying the air
inhaled. filter pad in the mask absorb toxic gases and screen out radioactive dust and particles carried in the air. particles which are called microbial organisms. the mask is comfortable and features good visibility and ease of breathing and from it conversation with others. >> that advises students to hide under their desks.>> there was this apocalypse picks -- apocalyptic sense in this caller. and that is what is hard to convey to people today. i remember growing up thinking that there's going to be world war iii. and so many people had the feeling that that would happen. what is so different today and i think we so easily lose sight of this, is that the war
between the nations has to kind -- declined every decade since the 1940s. so the attempt to create a more harmonious world environment has actually worked and that caller was saying -- he was living the 24 hour news cycle at that time and sometimes there is this impression that things are more apocalyptic than they really are. but that is why history is so important to understand what has happened. as i said, we actually cooperate with -- >> elizabeth cobbs is the author of how many books? and mark kramer who is joining us in washington. is the program director at harvard. david is next in los angeles.
>> good morning, and happy mother's day. i would like to tie my name with the assassinations as well as the cold war in the military industrial complex. as far as the cold war is concerned, in its beginning after you mentioned to the marshall plan, here in the united states we were at our peak of apartheid. the only difference with south africa and the u.s. was that our mandela was assassinated. there was someone that said that the united states had amnesia in the way that we do history. it is like that period was
america's zenith into its apartheid. >> thank you for your call. >> let me take issue with that. the united states has been a deeply racist society, not only with a lengthy history with slavery, but then 100 years with rachel segregation and institutionalized racism. i think lyndon johnson, who in 1968 decided not to run for reelection, but he deserves immense credit for his instrumental role in getting us the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, which i would actually agree with you. until that time you could argue that the united states had a kind of apartheid system, but it came to an end legally at that point. there continue to be problems with racism and their continue to be to this day.
but you should not underestimate the crucial role that lyndon johnson played. there might've been no other president you could've done that , because he had the credibility as a southerner and he had the hugely positive relationship with various key figures in the u.s. senate. >> i think the key difference -- and in many ways i agree, the height of segregation throughout the 20th century was terrible. but the critical difference between the u.s. and south africa is that the united states had a law -- and original way of looking at itself, which was that all men who were created equal. those words establish a direction that was very hard for the country to reach and i think that is what allowed people not only -- and then the
laws that lyndon johnson, with the groundswell that had been created with people like martin luther king was able to bring to fruition. so the ways that people acted were just as vicious and violent and cruel, but that law is what was like our guiding star and thank goodness people like lyndon johnson and martin luther king helped us get there.>> different countries and different time periods and different players. but under the category of learning, what the soviet union and the chinese government propped up and support north vietnam, are the lessons to what we are seeing in north korea today with russia and china? >> i think absolutely. there is always this thing with the united states plays the bad cop in countries like china the good cop. and it seems to me very important for us to be putting
more of the onus on other countries because they are the one have a order with them. the chinese, of course, are quite fearful that it things go bad in north korea, they will have all those north korean to take care of. so whatever can be done to push those countries and call their bluff, otherwise, the united states is left to carry the burden.>> i would agree, but the thing that is very different now and that works in the u.s. favor is that basically russia, china, and the u.s. have a lot of overlapping agreements about north korea. that was not the case with north vietnam. the interest of the soviet union and china, particularly china, were starkly at odds with those of the united states. so in this case in some ways it is an easier issue to try to deal with that there is greater room for negotiations that been
helped by the russians and the chinese. >> by the way, if you're interested in this nine part series, it is available as a podcast and you can check it out on her website or wherever you get your podcast. vicki is joining us from twin falls, idaho.>> hello. this period of time that you're talking about, i lived that. i was born in 1951. in a little while ago a lady said that war has been on the decline. american soldiers have been dying for my whole life in someplace in the world somewhere. all the time. in the building of this international socialist system, i feel like i was deceived my whole life. because while we were told that
we have a capitalist country here, we do not. we have a centrally planned economy. and this international socialist system that they are building, globalization they call it, they plan on ruling the world in what you could call tech fascism. >> i -- the united states is the aftermath of the second world war said about fostering an international economic system that promoted open trade, open free trade, and it was immensely an official for the world. it led to huge increases in local incomes and it was certainly beneficial for the united states. that is why i regret that over the last year so there been
attacks on that system, but still the system of globalization should not be described as an international socialism. quite the opposite. it was the spreading of capital institution throughout the world china, in integrating themselves international system, they discarded some of the elements of socialistic economies. it has increasingly taken on elements of capitalism. so it is the opposite, i think, of what you had described.>> i think that i would respectfully disagree with that as well. although i absolutely empathize with this worry that for decades upon decades american soldiers have been dying in various places. and the interesting thing of doubt that is that the number has declined. so as bad as that is, that 24
hour news cycle reminds us of the terrible things that are happening tends to overlook the trend and that has been a positive by globalization are the reasons that be for world war ii the idea was that the only way country could get ahead , countries like the soviet union, they had to take over other countries and absorb their resources to become more wealthy. and we have a world system where you can get ahead by trading peaceably with your neighbors and that system that mark just pointed out, the vietnamese, the south koreans, and also the chinese communists have come to embrace because they see it actually works better. not that we won, but the chinese came to this on their own largely because the united states always held to the idea that if we could provide a better model for the world, if we could be our best, that others would want to emulate
that over time. and for the most part they have.>> brian, and for waiting. >> i hate to quibble about something, but apollo one did not explode. it had an oxygen fire. it might've been better for the three astronauts if it had exploded. it is hard to believe that nasa would that they could keep 15 pounds per square inch in that capsule and i have a problem if there was even a spark, and that is what killed those three astronauts. >> i'm sure you're right about that. it was a terrible thing, and as you said, the use of pure oxygen, and i had flammable materials inside the capsule and the door could not open from the inside to the outside. there were all these mistakes
that were then later corrected, but it was very sad event at the time. >> and this illustrates the impact of the cold war because the cold war is driving the space race much faster than a probably should've gone because it led to the cutting of corners on some basic concerns. and ultimately, the number of the apollo one type accidents were very small and so it worked out okay, but looking back on it, you have to be somewhat disconcerted to see how the cold war set off the space race and led to the curing out of certain missions probably before they should've been. i'm happy with the way it worked out overall despite the loss of the apollo 1 astronauts, but it is the lesson -- both the united states and the soviet union it caused them
to do certain things that they would not have done otherwise. >> good morning to everyone. i was born in 1950 and i was just graduating high school in 1968. i skipped my prom so that i could go to washington and demonstrate against the war. it was such a year. it was like everything happened so fast you couldn't recover from when event before the next event happened. and it was like your constantly thinking what happens next? and that nuclear threat that we were raised with kindergarten, get under your desk or run home so that you can see your parents one last time. they said don't trust anyone over 30. we didn't think we were to get to 30. and it all happened so quickly
and then it kind of disappeared as quickly. and after the 70s and the war was finally over, it was a different time and place again. one of the reasons why people were so against the war with the you could get drafted at 18, but you couldn't vote, so these forces were so beyond your control that you would be buffeted by these things. and later i learned that communism, while it was a dirty word in the u.s., it was economic system more than it was a political system and we were taught to be so frightened of it. and it was just a very hard time for everyone. and i think it is a very hard time for everyone now. >> thank you. elizabeth.>> communist --
communism was meant to be an economic system because it was associated with totalitarianism. and every country which came under communist rule. and that was -- i can completely relate what you're saying because in many ways we thought why should we care about someone else's economic system? but there was such brutality and the way that the soviet union rolled over its neighbors , so i think one thing we forget is that some of those things seem to happen all at once i think a lot of policymakers at that time, they had lived through six weeks or eight weeks in which nazi germany had conquered all of western europe, so the idea of a dominoes seems silly to us now , like why would anyone care, but some of those threats were real. but then the solutions were not as clear and i think we did
make some important mistakes trying to solve the problem, but there was a real issue. >> and since you brought this up, apollo one, the three astronauts who lost their lives, this is from time magazine in 1967 and those astronauts who died, but later it led to the apollo 8 mission and then neil armstrong successfully landed on the in july 1969. dave is joining us from michigan. >> good morning. concerning this cold war, mr. gorbachev sat across the table from george wh bush and united the germanys and gave the warsaw pact nations their independence and the soviet union was split up and all bush had to do was to stay out of
his business. but we americans, the miss kravitz's of the world violated that immediately with bill clinton in seville. -- coasta vo we cannot mind our own damn business. >> in the aftermath of the cold war from the late 80s on there was a steady decline in the number of people killed in the number of people -- international conflicts going on and there were still civil wars, but still it has declined quite markedly and that certainly includes americans, despite the tragic number of lost their lives in afghanistan,
it still was a tiny fraction of those who lost their lives in vietnam. so it is true that the u.s. has had a propensity over the last 70 odd years of being a kind of -- there is also a very significant counter sentiment and it is hard for u.s. presidents when called on by the countries or when pushed by domestic sources to reframe them somehow taking a leading role in the world.>> i think madeleine albright said once that your damned if you do and damned if you don't. there is the expectation that others have that we will step in as the world's policeman and the umpire. we tried umpire all of these conflicts. and i think what we are lacking
still is the kind of leadership that look the aunt to the next 70 years. we've been doing this officially since 1947. but is always this odd thing that it is expected but not legitimate. it is not legitimated by national law or american lot, and yet people expected and demanded and is a -- it is a conundrum. how do we get others to take more responsibility without being bad partners ourselves, because we have created this wonderful structure of world security and we need to appreciate that and sustain that , but when way of sustaining that is by developing good partners and making sure that we are not carrying this burden that is ricocheting from one issue to the next.>> another film from the lbj library. we are granted see dwight
eisenhower. he left in 1961. did he have influence in the 1960s as a former president?>> yes and no. i think that eisenhower -- some of our viewers have indicated that the military-industrial complex. one of the things he did was to warn against the creation of the military-industrial complex. he was seen as kind of a wise statesman and that affect. >> certainly present kennedy consulted with eisenhower during the cuban missile crisis and kennedy had run against the vice president under eisenhower, richard nixon, and was critical of the eisenhower administration, including unfounded allegations of a missile gap. so i would not say it was a very warm relationship between
kennedy and eisenhower, and that continued. there was always going to be consultations when important issues came up, including vietnam, but eisenhower remained a more revered figure in society and not so much of an influential political figure. >> this is going to make reference to czechoslovakia. >> i was there about a year and a half ago and i found myself stumbling, and i kept wanting to say czechoslovakia. that is what has happened. so i was in the czech republic. >> how were the soviet troops received in czechoslovakia? >> with shock and dismay. the idea that you don't have control over your own country was a terrible thing. was seen in hungary in 1956 the
people hunkered down and survived, and that was the case in eastern europe. >> but there was a big difference, in 1956 the hungarian revolutionaries used violence against soviet forces who came in and there about 750 soviet troops killed and there about 2500 hungarians killed. in 1968 there was no violence resistance. they were dismayed and shocked to find that eastern european forces had come in, but they knew that it would be mercilessly crashed. there were about 100 people killed in the invasion, but there wasn't anything like 1956.>> so in 1968 the johnson white house in this film it includes former president
dwight eisenhower. >> at walter reed army hospital former president eisenhower suffered his seventh heart attack and went on the critical list in august. but the general had never taken kindly to defeat. and when president and mrs. johnson visited him, they found that he had rallied and was in good spirits. as allied commander in world war ii, one of the countries general eisenhower helped to liberate was czechoslovakia. he pushed nazi germany from its boundaries. but just 23 years later the central european republic was again ravaged by the forces of aggression. on august 20, armies of the soviet union, poland, hungary,
bulgaria, and east germany invaded czechoslovakia. they took control the country in a few hours. the soviets embassy lights burned late that evening in washington. even as russian tanks went into prod, -- prod, they presented moscow's official reason for the invasion. the memorandum said that the soviets block forces -- to safeguard -- it sounded hollow indeed. >> from the summer of 1968 and that courtesy of the johnson library in the johnson white house, back to your phone calls. we are looking back 50 years. >> good morning. always unusual for me to think
about -- i never could understand. america bomb to the rest of the world. and it doesn't make any sense that we try to european eyes everything.>> i completely understand what you're saying and i know that that is the common belief and there's a lot of evidence for that, it will be 10 to not remember or not really know is the extent to which other countries have asked for our protection. if you look at what is happened and you say, gosh, why did they kick us out. we have bases all around the world. why do we still have them? we had them because those countries want us there and most of the places where
american soldier server brought our south korea, they are in japan, in britain, and germany and italy and if the united states was an empire, they could ask us to leave and the crazy thing is we are not an empire because we would leave. it -- in fact, france kick this out in 1967 and the same is true of the philippines. so because we live here we are very aware of our own motivations, but if you travel abroad and you work abroad what you realize is that a lot of people want us there. they are also very critical of us. they don't want to be dependent. >> a key player that keeps coming up is dean rusk. >> he had started out as secretary of state under president kennedy and he was one of the few holdovers who
stayed throughout the johnson administration. secretary of defense mcnamara was under kennedy, but very few of them stayed until the end and that included mcnamara who left. dean rusk was someone who was very capable and a southerner like johnson, and he had a very close relationship with johnson. and that meant that dean rusk was certainly committed to the vietnam war and wanted to help johnson in that effort, but he was also increasingly conscious, i think, that rings were not working out very well. that did not diminish his support for the war, but it did mean that he began to look for
other issues and he accomplished quite a bit, for example, with policies in western europe, which as elizabeth, and that required -- that required a great deal of finesse and diplomacy to try to mend those bridges and try to keep nato from falling apart. dean rusk was one of the major figures in trying to work that out. so even though vietnam didn't work out well for him, he did have some other significant accomplishments. >> and north vietnam, chi minh. what motivated him? what drove him? but vietnam has this long history, 2000 years of worrying about its independence. it was conquered by china for 1000 years and there were other times when china try to combat. vietnam is a country, not a war. and they were really passionate
about reuniting that whole country. and, of course, he felt that the way to do that was through a communist system. but that longer term trend has been there throughout their history. so definitely communist and, of course, that is what 1968 was about that the world revolution was spreading everywhere, from the plo to other factions in other countries. and so chi minh that on that. >> barry, your next.>> an earlier caller mentioned that he thought that the military people that are in power presently would remember how bad vietnam was in some of our experiences.
but i remember i served in germany from 1960 to 1963 and i became quite only -- i became quite friendly with an officer. and a few days before i was discharged into the cold war in germany, he said to me -- any try to talk me to stay in, he said that vietnam is much, but it is the only war that we got. i use the term lifer, because 12 years later they went -- i went back in and i love the army. but sometimes people forget that eisenhower would've retired as a lieutenant colonel. and everyone in the military as the air force likes to say pieces our profession.
but secretly they needed a chance for advancement and it is understandable. and we now have what washington advised us to avoid, which is a standing military. we have created a military on the list inside and the officer side and i don't think it bodes well for the country in many ways. i recall that was beneficial to see the southern boys who claimed they will never integrate ole miss have to take orders from a black nco from harlan. >> the u.s. is the world's largest neutral nation and then made a very deliberate decision that was debated in congress openly in the -- in 1947 as to
whether or not to take on this bigger role of helping to promote world peace and it was to our advantage and it was to the advantage of everybody that it happened. but what has happened since is the sort of logic has remained unquestioned and it is always good to plan for what comes next. and i think you are right, we have this industrial complex that is problematic for the united states and that has let us down road that not always good to be going down.'s i think you make a very important point. >> one of the major things that president johnson did was the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.>> initially that was mostly between the united
states and the soviet union, but increasingly, as elizabeth month and earlier, there were much smaller countries ireland and india, but still, a less consequential actor in the global scene. and they had been pushing this for a long time. so the treaty was ultimately away trying to deal with the german question short of an outright settlement of the second world war because the status of germany was not resolved until 1990. but there were important agreements achieved in the early 70s, but one major step toward all of that was the nonproliferation treaty and that is why was crucial for both the united states and the soviet union to ensure that west germany would be a part of that. and the germans were hesitant
about it, but ultimately they certainly agreed to sign on and the nonproliferation treaty was an attempt to contain the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons to spread to other countries. and the treaty ultimately limited that spread, but it has certainly provided an international political framework to make it easier for countries to do that. at the time that the treaty was signed, there were already five nuclear powers and nowadays, depending on how you count, if you want to count a country like south africa, even though they give up their nuclear weapons, there is been very little spread of nuclear weapons it's that time. and the non-proliferation treaty has the framework that even if there are larger security concerns that are not contained
that threat. >> and that signing ceremony. >> on the morning of july 1 in parallel ceremonies in washington, london, and moscow, representatives of 57 nations put their signatures to one of the most significant and meaningful documents of the 20th century. a nuclear nonproliferation agreement. this treaty is not the work of anyone count this treaty is not the work of any one country, but is in fact a product of all nations which shared our concerns over the danger of nuclear proliferation.
this agreement has not been easy were basic security and the economical interests of nations are deeply involved. our collective and termination has today been crowned with success. >> today we are here to add another stone to the edifice which will one day will ensure lasting peace to mankind through complete and general disarmament. >> let me just add that we just saw lbj that clip and i think mark was right to point out that because what happened vietnam we tend to remember lbj in that way, but this was a person who did so many other things. he advanced nuclear nonproliferation, and major accomplishments that changed our world. >> charlie is joining us from new york. >> good morning.
in late 1970s i was assigned to the second armored cavalry regiment. our mission was we guard the border between east and west germany and czechoslovakia. and a couple of hundred feet into czechoslovakia there was an apple tree and i was there picking apples, i was walking back and i heard movement behind me and it was a patrol and they smiled and they waved. in the morning we would give them hot coffee and they would give us hot soup and we got along very well with the soldiers of the czech army. >> one of the results of the invasion of czechoslovakia was that the army, which had been a very capable one up until that time was not allowed to resist and that led to a
demoralization in the army and subsequently there was a major purge in the army as well because they've been affected by the reformist sentiment and so all those people were removed and the army over the next 20 years or so was pretty ineffective. >> and these are some images from that period in 1968. are they still visible today in the czech republic?>> i think the czech republic looks completely different today. is a beautiful, pastoral place with music on every street corner. but if you talk to people of a certain age, they will remind you of how terrible it was. and there such a different feeling in western europe from eastern europe in terms of how they saw the u.s. role in the cold war. we tend to be very self-critical
of our role in the cold war and the eastern europeans have a very different attitude. they felt left behind and they also felt that the united states is one of the few countries that continuously was expressing a desire for them to become free. >> another key player is mao tse tung. >> mao was a cultural revolution in 1966 and that was a very harsh time for china. there'd been millions who died of starvation of famines caused by his policies in the late 50s and the early 60s. but would happen in the cultural revolution in some ways was even more -- there were few people who died there were still vast numbers and it was in the most grisly way, often through ritual torture and humiliation of people needlessly -- university campuses were occupied by people
who are professors and they took them out to the open and they would be degraded and often beaten violently and sometimes kill. so was an extremely violent and chaotic event in china and mao is very much at the center of that. he was aging at this point and he was in his late 70s and he seemed to look on the cultural revolution as a way to rejuvenate that revolutionary spirit that he had instituted in china when he came to power with the communists in 1949.>> elizabeth, this building behind us, did 1968 change congress? >> the riots came to washington dc, itself. and what you had with this extraordinary turmoil within
the capital and, of course, president nixon was elected in 1968. is a very tumultuous time. >> similarly, in the case of washington, d.c., there was violence on the streets and there were protests against the vietnam war, but also there were protests here in the aftermath of luther king's death . the people who lived through that, one of the callers mentioned that there was a rapid chain of events and it seems that one thing would ease and then suddenly a new crisis would develop.>> but the great difference is that we are sitting here talking about it. i was in china and two weeks ago and the great leap forward famine is described as a time when china was just trying to repay russia back for its help to china and that is will the food went. and somebody said they had
never seen that picture of that man standing in front of the tank in tiananmen square. what you still have in so many of those countries is a system that is so authoritarian that you cannot have the protests that we had here that were traumatic in washington, d.c., 1968, but we came back from them and we did not run down our people to stop their protests. >> richard is joining us from missouri. >> good morning. i am 80 years old so i know about the cold war. in 1960 i was going to be drafted so i joined the national guard and nobody wanted to be in the guard, so i had to a meeting every monday night. and in 1966 i got out and
everybody wanted to get in the guard. so i happen to be in the construction business and we built ammunition boxes. but also in 1968 i had truck drivers going through memphis when martin luther king was assassinated. those were trying times. but the thing about johnson, anybody over 65 ought to like him because that is when he signed medicare and. >> a real dichotomy between the foreign approach and the domestic -- >> i remember the vietnam war and i protested against it myself.
and so i had this idea of johnson about how many kids did you kill today? but once you walk in there and you start to realize everything off that this man did, the barrel he was over in a way when he came to one policy, we forget that there were five vietnam war presidents. truman, eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, nixon, and this cold war logic, the sense that we had at all costs to maintain the pushback against the spread of communism really trapped people and what is fascinating about johnson is that he brought us medicare and he created social security system that allows people to have a living support. so very complex man. >> the year began and escalated
with political violence and it ended with this photograph in december 1968. this is planet earth from space and i want to share with you as we conclude this program the words of frank gorman, jim lavelle, and anders, they were aboard the apollo 8 mission on christmas eve. >> god created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face -- and the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters and god said let there be light and there was light. and god saw the light and it was good and god divided the light from the darkness. >> it made you realize what you
have back there on earth. the earth from here -- >> give us the vision the faith to trust the goodness and give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts and show us what each one of us can do -- >> that apollo mission in 19 six eight, mark kramer.>> the apollo program had begun a tragic note and by the end of 1968 it was pretty clear that it was going to lead in the near future to the landing of astronauts on the moon, as it did in july 1969. so apollo was a fitting way to bring out the contradictions and conflict 1968 because it
had this contradictions itself. so that major achievement of 1968, the nonproliferation of -- treaty, and the subsequent steps taken by the secretary of state, dean rusk, were conflicted by the grim situation in the vietnam war and with north korea.>> and elizabeth, frank gorman reading a lot of telegrams. but the one that stood out the most was from an american citizen congratulations to the crew of apollo 8. you saves 1968. >> i think that the cold war pushed america to examine itself and to try to define what was or, not just what was against, and apollo 8 -- what they said
was here's a perspective on our world. here is our earth and i think the last words were merry christmas to the good earth. and the sense that we are all in this fragile little planet together and we need to work together.>> and that concludes our nine part series. we want to thank elizabeth cobbs and mark kramer from harvard. to you and all the guests that participated in the series, we thank you. >> madeleine albright sits down with washington post columnist
david ignatius to talk about the trump administration's one policy, including the current talks with north korea about a possible summit. then, at 10 pm, of form and how to use intelligence to assess cyber threats to organizations and companies. that is also on c-span two. in 1- 3 was -- daily. in 1979, cspan-3 was created as a public service television company and through today we continue to bring you coverage of congress, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, dc and around the country, cspan-3 is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider chicago illinois