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tv   International Conference on World War II  CSPAN  December 1, 2018 9:00am-10:09am EST

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--you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. and now we take you live to new orleans for an all-day conference on world war ii, hosted by the world war ii museum. war, the topics -- japan's 1943-1945. unheralded commanders. germany's world war ii richard reid -- defeat and lessons learned from the war. ceonterview with the emeritus nick mueller. you were watching american -- you areon c-span3 watching american history tv on c-span3. [indistinct chatter]
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>> welcome to the final day of international conference on world war ii. i hope you had a great night in the wonderful city of new orleans. i see the number of seats that are all full that everyone behaves themselves and had a great time. for those who do not know me, i pete crane. recognize ouro veterans or home for workers. if we have any veterans or home front workers and our audience today, please stand or raise your hands and be recognized.
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[applause] mr. crean: actually, i have to give you the bad news we lost another great world war ii veteran yesterday. it is with sincere regret i must inform you of the death of lieutenant junior grade and 41st president of the united states george herbert walker bush. like so many young men of his generation, george bush felt the call to serve after the attack parole december 7, 1941. he was the youngest aviator in the navy. he served in the pacific, saw combat as an avenger pilot, and in september of 1944 was shot down by flak while attacking a
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island.-held he earned the distinguished flying cross, three error metals, a presidential -- three presidentialnd a recognition. veterans, he came back to serve his country, eventually becoming the 41st resident of the united states. he was also a great friend of the international world war ii museum. he received our highest honor, the american spirit award, and instrumental in the recovery of norlin's katrina. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a moment of silence grade andnant junior 41st president of the united states george herbert walker bush.
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mr. crean: thank you. ladies and gentlemen, also recognizing our other vets, do we have any other veterans from america's other periods of conflict or piece -- peace?
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or standise your hand to be recognized. [applause] we get going, i would also like to thank our sponsors who have made this happen today. i would especially like to thank the pritzker military library their continued support for our international conference on world war ii. they are a great friend and great sponsors. i would like to thank our other sponsors, jetblue, and the n foundation.o we begin with dr. nick mueller, and one of the longtime serving advisors from the university of
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maryland's. as we know, the 75th anniversary of d-day is in june. our guest has written a book due out in march that incorporate some of the best and least known aspects of the invasion. to discuss his soon-to-be released book, "everything we please join me in welcoming him and his interviewer. [applause] >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. how are you doing this morning? i call this the a team world war ii aficionados assembled here. read to see you. it is a privileged to sit here on the stage with my colleague and friend to introduce his new very special audience here. now, the book is called "everything we have," and it is
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lookingn five chapters, at other perspectives of the book and i think what is special about this book and you will see some of the artifacts in the book and the very nice maps that have been prepared for the book, that think above all, makes the book. it has a preface by tom brokaw, another great friend of the museum, and i will start by him about the origins of lakefront ofthe new orleans, mainly at the university of new orleans, where the eisenhower center used to be directed by dr. ambrose, and for the 50th anniversary of d-day, dr. ambrose started collecting oral histories already in the 1980's. this is really a book of oral
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histories and i would like nick to briefly recount the genesis of the book and the museum out there on the lakefront. >> thank you, gunter. good morning to everybody. course, the book does have its origins in d-day, i guess at the university of new orleans, my friendship with stephen ambrose, and goes back to 1990. some of you know that story. int happened in his backyard 1990. i will not belabor it, but it was in a small gazebo in his backyard where we met every afternoon for a few drinks -- i think that day we had too many drinks, but the outcome was pretty good. collectingad been oral histories.
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i think we have the slide up there now -- steve and i were best friends for 30 years and we didn't off a lot of things together. we were used to taking a projects, but this is really a ripley's believe it or not story in terms of how it ended up. if you think you see -- if you can see that is ibo. that is the hewlett-packard moment for this museum right there. at about the third drink of cheap sherry, steve said, i have a project for you. what i propose is to give you 1000 oral histories i have got given to me by all these veterans of d-day, because he was about to start researching writing, because he had done the research on his
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book about d-day. he said, i will give you the and eisenhower had told stephen in 1968 in gettysburg, he said -- well, he asked them first. he said, did you ever know andrew higgins? he said, no, i didn't. he died before i got there. he said, well, you missed meeting the man who won world war ii. what a comment from what a source and no one knows higgins. higgins.let's honor let's preserve these stories for future generations and to hell with them and watching them because they are never going to do anything up there for d-day or world war ii. i have asked every powerful senator i know. let's get going. broke a few times. we did not know what we were doing. i could write a book on all of the mistakes and i think that is my next project. made everyone you could
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make in starting a museum. steve thought it would be a million dollars and i told him he was an idiot. it's going to be at least $4 million. 10 years later, 25 million dollars later, we were in the downtown location in the original louisiana pavilion. -- a great day, as you can see there on the slide. steven spielberg, senators, congressmen. 200,000 people on the streets of new orleans. it was a day those of you who were there will never, ever forget. onmonths later, we opened the pacific and president bush was there. he had been three times, some even before in 1998 when we had bought this warehouse. this was an amazing day. it was our kickoff and lowered and behold,and lo this is what we have. those of you who have been
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around the camp is no there is construction going on. ,iberation pavilion, the canopy hotel democracy, all in their final stages. when you look at this and think of that gazebo, now come on. really. huh? [applause] -- [applause] sayi never missed a just to , who said you could never do anything with a history degree? [laughter] [applause] so cheap sherry, nick, huh? cheap sherry. and gunter was here in the beginning. he was part of the early feasibility studies when that wild idea came into our brains. dr. bischof: so, why the title
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of this book "everything we have"? dr. mueller: that's a good question. --men suggested it to me coleman suggested it to me. he works in my office. i will thank him in a second. you can imagine everything -- england was first thing, people moving into the harbors, troops were moving, everybody was getting close down, the big show was coming. not knowing when, but -- this momentum had been building for over a year. 5, intentionally the last 4, six months. eisenhower goes to the generals and says, boys, we are going to throw everything we have into this. another way to say it, we are in it to win it. there is no alternate plan. we are throwing everything we have. we thought that was a good title for the book. followed by, on the same slide iconic -- ike the
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's iconic order of the day. it's worth repeating the opening lines. it's familiar to everyone in this audience. soldiers, sailors, airmen, you are about to embark on a great crusade. the eyes of the world a reply. the hopes and prayers of liberty -loving people everywhere march with you. it was a crusade. that was their mission. and that story, the arc of that story continues to be played out in this museum. and since this book is about their stories, about those soldiers and sailors and airmen from their own perspectives, the thatrs and photos and maps surround their personal stories -- so, if the guys on the beaches, the guys in the ships and the landing craft and to be planes. -- and the planes. and i want to say this could not
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have happened on the ferocious deadline the publishers had as on. i want to it knowledge to people in my own office. raise your hands wherever you guys are. you helped curate the oral histories. i can't see anybody, so -- helped get them transcribed, the photos, the images of the artifacts, building the website they goes with it, managed the helped management and -- with the editing at the end of my narratives and at the media center, we have our world war ii media and education center. and our whole oral history collection department was
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involved and of course, my -- if it had not been for him, this would not have happened. i just want to say like when we and d-day,ar ii there were a lot of people who got us to this point. it takes a village, yes. recentlyof: nick, you retired, semiretired from the museum. you are still in the thick of things as ceo emeritus. what prompted you to write this book? dr. mueller: in a way, we have come full circle. it is the same thing that motivated steve and me to begin to develop this museum. those personal stories. the 75th anniversary was coming up a year ago this past summer, and i was talking to steve watson and i said, we really
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ought to do something for world war ii. down.tepping now may be a good time to focus on developing our oral histories, and he said yes. it is a tribute to the guys who were there. i mean, the long and the short of it. it is a tribute to those guys, ordinary guys, who took part in this epic battle. you have on the screen the epic nature of this battle. were not going to go into that. we tell a little bit about that. it is the big picture that shows gamble at stake here. we are looking at it from a birds eye view. these ordinary guys. ofas motivated to bring part their great stories to the view. it's also a tribute to steve , but it can also
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showcase our oral history. lost on whatot be we're trying to do. dr. bischof: steve ambrose relied on oral history to tell the story of d-day. what is unique? gen. hedelund: that's a good -- dr. mueller: that's a good question. maybe we should start with what is not unique. to add a broad stroke to the operations, the campaign, the tactics of neptune and overlord. there are plenty of great works has a greatinson ,beevor.phen ambrose steveare plenty -- , there areevor
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plenty of those. from midnight to midnight, that is the crux of the analysis. reminded me aon few weeks ago, as he is curating cornelius ryan's papers as cornelius ryan back in 1957 or 1958 saw the power industry for our spirit and out of that came "the longest day." and i do not say this to in any way make a comparison. that was the utilization of these stories. but we were focused on the transcripts of the oral histories and our collection. we have 10,000 of them now. 1500 on d-day alone. we found the best of the best. we compressed it. we took those slices of their
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stories of that day and put them right in their footsteps on the plane. unique that was the most aspect. my own narrative part of the set theunter, is to stage for the entire book, to set the introductory context for each of the actions in the individual chapters so the reader will have an understanding of how these personal stories fit into their d-day experience. the second thing that i think is unique is this is not just the transcripts of these stories. we have the pictures of when -- 18, 19, 20, the photographs that surround their stories, artifacts that were part of the stories that people went on omaha or utah beach and were airborne. thele get immersed in story, but the personal story is
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the core of it. but they are going to get into what it was like for these small units and actions. the third thing that is unique, and we are excited about this, but there is going to the -- there is already starting to build a website. people will read the book and go theye museum website if want to see the individual anldier or sailor or airme on-screen with the b roll showing the background live footage, giving their entire account. we might have an hour and a half and i am only using 10 minutes worth of transcript for d-day. things, i think, will make this very special and they are all involved in very critical actions on that day and to get it from their perspective, i think that d-daybois already up --
9:22 am, i think, is what it is. way, theof: by the book starts with -- [speaking german] "they;re coming." coming."re where you begin? begineller: well, you going ashore with the paratroopers. my account takes you right up to the moment that those guys are going out the door. the first guys in. they set you up and then they are out there. then the battleships are next and the mom bargain on the shoreline and then we go to the higgins landing craft on utah
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and the guys, just as they step off, that is where you pick up the personal stories. that is how we get it going. then we let the stories of the guys in the planes and on the ground and on the ships carry the story. so, in the: historical profession, the history of emotion is a big thing these days and if you read these oral histories carefully, there are a lot of emotions, too . tell us about the fear and chaos of the original hours of d-day and the emotions involved. well, we will always be reminded that is a big part of the story, and i think it is not news to anybody in this audience and you have heard some of our talks yesterday that get into that. it's not just the emotional
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aspects. we are not just trying to get at that or i am not. but the emotional stories, the fear is palpable. great power to understand what was happening on and their descriptions of the chaos, the descriptions of their own fear and worry and anxieties, the shock when their --dies were killed to them next to them. the images of soldiers dead and .ying on the beaches you are right in the middle of the combat. they even talk about the smell of death and of course, the smell of cordite. that's the only thing missing from this book. there is no smell of cordite,
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but almost every one of those guys mentions that when they are talking about their stories, but the drama and the emotional tension is very palpable and i think everything we have gives insight into the human dimensional all the -- human dimension of the battle. the fear of death that was on their minds. thoughts of their loved ones. their last letters home. , there are also emotions of confidence, courage under fire in the heat of battle, and ofhink we gain, at the end the day, we gain a sense of the values of these young men carried into battle. it's pretty compelling, those
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who survived. it is all there in first-person and living color for the imagination of your mind. so you have the oral histories on the first 24 hours of d-day. i think they present quite a lot stories, howular those battles were fought and they present us with fresh memories, individual memories of what happened there. and you give us some examples of that? dr. mueller: sure. let me jump from stu eisenhower, the paratroopers. i am going to jump into another question here. this is not a new photograph. went to meet with the paratroopers because he was -- ike first went to meet with the paratroopers because he was worried about the enormous casualties they anticipated. wallacethe gun that
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had. he is there to cheer the troops up. they are in high spirits. this is the commander in the hours before they boarded the planes. was were ready and ike there to cheer them on. i think they are knew this was going to be a fight to the freedom and democracy versus fascism was not something that was unknown to them. they knew what they were fighting for and they knew they were going into an epic battle. but anyhow, let me go back to your question of how do we get into these granular stories? baumgart and is someone who has spoken at these conferences. he just passed. hellish held beach, i think as
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rick atkinson referred to it -- got out that higgins landing craft. there you see him as a young man. most of us here know him in his late 80's and 90's. he was at our grand opening. he has a riveting story. some of you probably read his book. he talks about the guys goingin going in there, being killed on the left and the right. he tells you their names and their hometowns. he says, i tell you their names because i to not want them to be forgotten. that is a reason for this museum , book it's a terrific account of going ashore on omaha beach and he was a modd three times on
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beach. that was -- on omaha beach. that was the end of the war for hal baumgartner. you someoneo show you have not heard some a to the, george morgan. here's a picture. now you're going to hear what you can find on our website. ♪ >> it's awful. the noise. the noise was terrible. i equate it to a thunderstorm and a crack of lightning cracks right above yourthunder and th's like continuously, hour after hour after hour. what happened at omaha, that was
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a real snafu. over there, it was an cdu, able combat demolition units. these teams were to take care of the obstacles on the beach. a lot of the gis were hiding behind the stuff that was supposed to blow up so even if we had our explosives we could not blow it up because these guys were hiding. they did not want to go any further because of what was happening. i didn't know whether i was going to see the sunset that day . i was so scared. pissed mike pence.
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pants.sed miky just terrible. >> that's an example of the links to the website that will draw the reader even more deeply into this immersive and powerful story. he was with that naval combat demolition unit that does not get enough credit or mentioned that had clear obstacles. it is powerful. >> the book is largely about the first of the four hours of the d-day assault. had thehapter i
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privilege to read the page proofs of the book you go beyond the first 20 four hours. what made you extend the story? >> the story drives you beyond .he day to complete the story is a famous -- is a
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second mission the coastal road goes beyond the point. overerman placements maisie that could have reinforced omaha beach as the americas were coming short.
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that was sort of the basic challenge and rudder was supposed to get there with three companies of second battalion had 6:30 in the morning. right away. they went off course about a mile and a half in the wrong direction had to come along the shore getting peppered by small arms fire and artillery from the shore. they got their 10 after 7:00. the other three companies were companies a,ling b, c and the headquarter company of the fifth rangers with captain john ron, the other part of the story as part of the point a hawk. by the time they got there the bombardment of the point had 6:25completed already by because the rangers are supposed 6:30. the landing zone at
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7:10 there was no surprise germans were out there waiting for them. they managed, despite the fire and machine guns, they scaled the clip in about 10 minutes and lamellewas want -- and was one of the first ones on top . found out the big guns were gone. immediately was at ranger initiative, grabbed one of the squad in the company's and they headed inland. the second mission was to get to that coastal road and block it and set up a perimeter. he set it up. went down to one of the lanes near the coastal road. andhen he found the guns spike them quickly. the germans were about 100 yards away talking in a farmhouse. i talked to our french guys and i will introduce them, no one is really quite sure why those guns weren't already firing. aimed at utah
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, jack kuhn and lamelle had spiked guns with grenades. they destroyed the traverse mechanisms that enable you to cite them. mission accomplished so that is the end of the story. but not yet. they set up this perimeter and , where thesee coastal road is you will see the perimeter. that is where they had to haul that spot and for the next two nights ferocious fighting. german attacks through everything they had at these companies. you had to keep the story going
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a bit. lamella will get you right up to that point. i thoughtt new to me it was important to tell that part of the story. the other companies had been diverted to omaha beach. rudder was late in getting to the point. orders were to divert to omaha. division, the 29th reinforce overland. provide reinforcements from omaha beach. i think that is the other part of that story so you have to do both together. , about 15mention months ago sylvan took me to the headroom. guns, right those where they were nobody goes back there, hard to find some private property.
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when you see them, look from that section and they were pointed at utah beach. they could have been firing away for two hours by the time lamelle spike to them. >> in the george morgan oral history there was this real fear of death that was clearly on his mind. either other artifacts in the book that speak to that? .> anticipation of it not always in the form of something of an oral history. someone who survived. we have one by second lieutenant gordon ostlund, writing a letter to his wife, chickie. we have that letter. copy of the letter in the book. i think it's going to be on
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screen in a moment. 3.wrote her a letter on june about midnight, three days before the invasion at that time he probably thought it was going to be happening on the fifth. the letter speaks to the best of the american spirit, the values of these young guys. he's trying to prepare his wife for what might be terrible news. at the same time, he exudes a quiet confidence and courage that is very typical of the many letters people wrote to their loved ones at that time. i'm going to read you this one section of the letter you see on the screen. he says it's almost midnight on june 3. day.t you to remember that
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i'm going to get my first real test as an officer very short letter and i don't know how i'll react to it. at present i'm very calm and not the least bit nervous. when you get this letter, you will be old news and you will know what the score is. i'm with a wonderful bunch of men and they are all in the best .pirits and morale he had a premonition. ostlund did not make it on d-day. chickie soon new the score. the story of sacrifice lives on in this heartfelt letter and in this book. >> we have timed this so there would be time for questions.
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i will ask my last question. a more general question, soldiers who go into battle usually don't know he overall layer of things, the enormity of battle. has story made d-day into story.c story -- an epic did soldiers have an idea what they were fighting for? out inink that comes many oral histories. they think about what they were fighting for. examples of one jewish guy who said i was an angry jew and i got angrier when i was fighting the germans. there's also reflections after the moment. everybody had a sense they were involved in an epic moment. one of them was someone i mentioned earlier.
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i hope they are watching tonight , this morning since we are on c-span. captain john ron, captured with the fifth ranger battalion. one of that group that had to get diverted when they did not get the signal. went in at omaha beach. i had the pleasure of interviewing for about the third time. oldest john is the living officer right now who was on omaha beach. i spoke to him about his sentiments on this particular interview. asked them what he felt about it as he looked back. big we have a film clip of that moment -- i think we have a film clip of that moment. [video clip] >> as i think i told you, from what i've seen, we met with
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nothing but military success. we did in fact relieve the second battalion and we did get through maisie and captured the artillery about -- artillery batteries. sometimes you can count a fourth but it does not really matter. militarily it was a great success. it certainly was the giant step toward unseating hitler's. side, whichon my ended up with the capture of saint little by the 29th division, it all depended upon the fact the fifth ranger battalion landed intact. we were a major fighting force. nobody was able to stop us. we brushed them out of the way.
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we had help from the tanks, don't kid yourself. stille lots of help, but the main thing was ranger battalion, well-trained, intact, we brushed right by the enemy opposition. >> the book is everything we have. i hope we wanted your appetite sufficiently that you will sign up to get an early copy. it is a special edition from the institute for the study of foreign democracy museum and we would like to thank nick for putting it together and talking with us about it this morning. [applause] also like tovery recognize four of our french
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guides from normandy. christoph goslin, sylvan cap, they are here on my right, pierre nathanson. guides for allp of our tours in normandy. also of assistance to me in walking those battlefields. we will call on them if you have some questions. they're all here for every conference because they're still learning with us. >> if you have questions. , please raise your hand in tom and myself will come to you. we will start toward your right. understanding a coxswain on the higgins boat's -- i have not seen
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any oral histories of them. i'm just wondering they had to make several runs to go back-and-forth. is there any oral history of their participation? sometimes the coast guard does not get the credit for their wartime services, which were actually marry. quite -- which were extraordinary. you probably know marvin, a good friend of ours in the 90's as we were trying to get this museum going. he is an 18-year-old, went on utah beach. here he was 18 years old. 19, 20. you can it was really tough on him be sure you get me into the right place on this beach. promptly one of the soldiers got up that was going in, seasick, leaned over the side, through up. the throw up ended up in his face. the lieutenant said you want a
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bucket of cold water and he threw it on his face and cleaned it all off he asked you want another when he said yeah that was a wake-up call and everybody in the boat left. kind of loosened people up. marvin perez was a good friend to stephen ambrose. he was with us past the grand and went around the country talking about is story. all of the higgins boats, most of them were commissioned here in new orleans by the coast guard. going all coast guardsmen in here. correct and that up going to the pacific on iwo jima as well. we are not going to forget the coxswain's on this book. they are there.
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>> the question is to your far left. >> on building on top of his question. that get thing , the marines d-day i heard played a minor part in d-day itself. >> we don't cover any of those stories. some of the marines all .ant to talk about germany will get over there. we don't have any of them in the book but they are certainly worth mentioning and these guys talk about them. >> it's my understanding there are about 30 marines attached to headquarters. almost all of their recommendations i ignored. [laughter]
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>> the next question is to your far left with tom. >> dr. mueller it seems everything i read about d-day invasion is a small piece left out. my dad was a paratrooper during world war ii but he did not dropped since he'd already been there since april and there was a considered -- a considerable amount of people that dropped in before d-day to prepare getting ready for d-day. wondering if you knew of anyone told that story. >> we know about those. we don't tell those stories because we stuck to our limitation of 24 hours and that was the focus. we have frick guidelines on word count and pages from the publisher. we had to leave a lot of. elegant was a reason for another book -- that would give us a reason for another book.
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we do have a chapter that includes some reactions of a german soldier. we go a little out of our framework for that last chapter. a nurse back in england receiving the wounded, the dead and dying coming back. by and large we had to stick to the timeframe. those 24 hours give or take a little bit. >> gentleman in the middle section near the front. for preserving these oral histories which are treasures as well as the letters from these men. i remember reading wonderful dispatches from earning kyl that he had written after d-day and one that struck me was about some young german pows. he was standing with them and they were looking out across the
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water seeing thousands of ships and these men were in shock. did you have any oral histories from any german soldiers? >> we have one in the last chapter. it is not that particular perspective but we do have one and there are a lot of stories like that really couple. and important to seeing like bernie powell walking on the beach is and seeing the refuse of the dead cigarette packs, the diaries strewn about the sand on the edge of the water, we have that story in our exhibits, that piece from earning powell -- from attorney -- from earning powell -- just could not get
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everything into the book. i'm glad you brought that up. it's an important part of the perspective. the bigger book we could have brought more of that into the story because those are really special moments. actually collected d-day earlyistory is in the 1990's for steve ambrose. -- a good friend of stephen ambrose he gave us the addresses of these men. we have a very good collection german division history's but we did not cover the entire beaches. >> the next question is to your far left. >> this may have nothing to do with anything but i will ask my
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question. prior to d-day, there was an -- one of the major snafus of world war ii. i suspect it is not in your book but do you have any oral histories of what took place on that day? >> we do in our collection. those who survived it we refer to it in the introduction to the utah beach chapter. it was admiral moon june 5 and fleet for thethe armada rows attacking utah beach he was in charge of the slaps and sands. something that wade heavily on his mind. the biggest test of all, they worried that incident would have
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revealed that the invasion not only was impending but maybe where the attack would come. fortunately the germans did not find out. certainly has failure to notice those boats that attack during the training exercise, unwittingly, was weighing heavily on his mind as he was leaving his part of the fleet that forced going into utah beach on the channel that night on june 5. very palpable moment. in themind as he goes night before. we touch on it only by reflecting backward because we are trying to keep our focus very tight on the landings themselves. question is in the center section toward your right.
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>> thank you. my uncle was in the 101st airborne. three 27th glider infantry. had a unique story. they went ashore with the fourth infantry division by ship because the story went there were plenty of gliders but not enough told planes. i was wondering if there was any history or if the museum about the 327 actually not going in by glider for going in with the infantry. >> in the utah beach section i don't know that we covered that specifically. we are aware some of the fighter guys went ashore. it's an important story not covered in the book unfortunately. i'm not sure we have it in our exhibits. i think it is something that would lend itself to one of our talks one of these days.
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at this conference. i think it is something we ought to put the spotlight on. >> dr. mueller we do have the glider exhibit in our original aday galleries and we do have photo of the troops coming in by one of the landing craft. a rather famous photo in one of the sensor patches covered up for wartime. they are screaming eagles. whoave a question from jim is watching on facebook. are any of the band of brothers in your book? >> yes. we have a great story by dick winters. they were having a conversation. this is one of the places we deviated from the first 24 hours because ambrose talking to inters with the company went
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to carrington on the might of june. that chapter is really steve in winterssation with dick about how the guys walk through the swabs along the road to come into the least defended area and they are pointing to the map as they talk showing how they got there. got in position to the least defended area a decisive crossroads where the germans could reinforce utah beach. it is important. winters in a conversation back and forth with and he talks about these guys who came in through the swamp area in the least
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defended area of carrington and he had all the guys lined up on the side of the causeway going through the small. .hen they had a ready to attack winters is running around trying to get these guys to move. there were going to get under fire immediately. kicking them in me ass, as he toward carytown. up andper got blown thought he was -- we thought tipper was dead. both his legs were well mangled by mortars. there.per story is in some of the guys from easy butany are in that story
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we chose carrington to deviate from the script because we thought it was special to have this back and forth interview between stephen ambrose d andick winters about how he planned to take the town of carytown which occupied a vital crossroads. they had to block -- they had to take that town and keep the germans from being able to reinforce utah beach so it was a critical action. they moved overnight to get into position and it was -- it is a good story. one of those times where we deviated >> the can he next question. about halfway back. >> it's hard not to shed tears ver some of those letters.
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i would like to thank you for what you've helped create. this is a lasting memorial for the world. this is a variation of a question that i had asked you yesterday. based upon the oral histories, do you believe that the troops would have gotten off omaha beach without the presence and fforts of the rangers? -- a t's -- you know, tough question to answer because we're getting into speculation of what could have happened. they were certainly pinned down there for a while. the best story comes really from john and as i said before i hope you're listening and if
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i can -- if i get anything wrong you can call and talk to the audience yourself. but the captain went in with the headquarters of the fifth rangers. and you know the story, the guys were paralyzed and here comes what john sees as a crazy guy wandering down the beach and he goes to see who it is and it's general koda. they recognize ron. your father is ron, too. i'm the same one, sir. he says well you've got to get these guys off the beach. rangers lead the way. so ron -- they were in the process of putting a torpedo and busting through the wires, and were among the first. this is the group that came over remember, so they were one of the first guys up the bluff. on was part of that group that
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went through the wire. the toward blew it up. but that was a moment. t took the leadership of koda, motivating ron. saying let's -- the rangers lead the way. let's go. ?o with a would have happened you know, you can never tell. we almost didn't. as you know bradley almost p pulled the troops back. that was have been a disaster. it was getting close to the late morning on d-day when that happened. but they went through and then they went up the bluffs. later, captain their ime, to triage insulating fire on the beaches.
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and if i didn't say this, and john's watching he's going to get on me for not getting it right. but they couldn't redirect their fire. big guns and the fortifyications. so the guys coming up in between them. so the weak spot in the german defense system. and then they get up to the top of the bluffs and he was then make n a patrol to try to contact with the first with division which had come in over to the left of them. on a patrol. then he came back in. then ron of course ended up the other end of the story is that john connects and takes his group the rangers on the night of the sixth and seventh they start moving and get over to elieve them.
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on the morning of june 8. hose two nights, i mean, patrick is here and wrote the book dog company. just i've got to shout out to him. he gets that story of the fighting that went on and thehand to hand combat. along for two nights. so that battle wasn't over and ron was coming to relieve him and he came in at omaha. the long answer to your question, but somebody had to break through and they go up and they made it up the bluff. then ron on the 7th with a lot of german fire along the coastal road, tells a gripping story of how he ended up leading the group to come to the relief of the rangers that were holding on, on that perimeter, along the coastal
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oad there. then connected up. they were down to using german weapons and german ammunition. they were running out of everything. because no relief had come in rom the sea to them, the rangers that went up that morning, a little late on d-day. so that kind of tells the rest of the story. i think it went on longer, i don't know if i answered all of your question. >> ladies and gentlemen, we are to end our time. let me just remind you the website is d day permit me to make a final announcement. tomorrow morning sunday if somebody or some of you are still around, we will have a small workshop at the world war ii museum with very fine historians on something that
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margaret mentioned in her talk on thursday. mainly that we study too long the wreckage of empires. .nd this will be a workshop so if you're around, the good news it's free of charge. come by the museum. sunday morning. thank you very much. >> before we end i would like to say a few remarks. thank you to you for helping in the foundation of this institution with with your colleagues, nick, steven. and -- [applause] at risk of future rhett bution, behind every great man is an a even great woman. i would like beth to stand up and be recognized for helping in the creation of this museum as well.
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>> thank you. ladies and gentlemen, not only are you the first to hear about the book and see some of the key audio visual components but you now have the opportunity to be some of the first to preorder the book. so both nick and gunter will be at the book-signing station and our retail team has preorder sheets available. though it doesn't come out until march you can get your copy now. as we did so well yesterday i'm going to be a harsh task master and keep us right on time. so we will start promptly at 9:30. thank you.
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>> live coverage from new orleans on the international conference on world war ii. here on american history tv on c-span 3. we'll be right back live in about 30 minutes with a panelist discussion on the japanese involvement from 194r to 1945. up next, reel america with the filmed by u.s. marine cameramen focuses on the marine's assaults on the small japanese occupied island. in includes graphic language and scenes of death that some may find disturbing. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] ♪


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