i don't know where mrs. jones is. she's definitely gone home since then. >> host: in the caribbean. >> guest: no, no, no. she was a steely-haired irish-american woman, and she was, she ran the puppy program. >> host: okay. >> guest: so there was one of the few programs, rehabilitative programs was a program for training service dogs. >> host: right. >> guest: and she had been involved in that program since it started. but she was not, she certainly had a work ethic, you know, just as prodigious as pop's, but she had far more tenuous ties to the outside world. she was even more committed to the life of the institution as it were and, you know, had some serious, i think, mental health challenges. >> host: yeah, right. >> guest: and so a person like mrs. jones is someone who i really feared for. >> host: yes. >> guest: visorally was scared for her, and that's a terrible, horrible thing.
>> guest: two environments of violence. to really scary stuff. and that may give me a terrible thing in my stone. that prison might be a safer place for some folks. >> host: it's a good book and thank you very much for talking to me about it it. >> guest: thank you. >> what were hitler's ambitions in world war ii? author of over 30 books, john lukacs takes on his unanswered questions in his new book, "the legacy of the second world war." this is about an hour. >> is truly very nice of you to come on an april afternoon, where, yeah, i i live used to be rural.
it is now more and more suburban. but as most of you know, it's not work to be done in april. especially on a saturday afternoon. it's very nice of you to come. now, i usually find it not very easy to talk about books that i have written, does i am a cathartic writer. i wrote it and it is out of my system. and when i have to talk, doesn't happen too often, but books i have written, or just published, i fear that i am repeating myself. i have just written it. this fortunately is not true about this book, because books
have their publishing histories. this book i finished more than three years ago, and maybe even three and a half years ago. and then my publisher decided to publish another more timely book, and they postpone publication which was all right with me. it was just published this year. now let me tell you some things about this book. i did, as i just told you, i did write it, finished writing it more than three years ago, but i rewrote the first chapter. and that is the only change to what i had written three years ago. now this is called a legacy of the first world -- or the second world war.
it is not a book, not a history of the second world war, but it is about the second world war. and it has six or seven chapters i think, and some of these -- well, one of the purposes of this book was to tell some things about the great war, not only details, sometimes details, some of the perspectives that are not common, and perhaps even new, not necessarily new because of my perspective, but evidences that have been overlooked, or insufficiently emphasized.
so in this sense, some portion of this book could be called revisionist. by revisionist, i mean that my approach, my analysis of certain things that happened are, to a considerable consent, contrary to what is the acceptable view, and calling the acceptable you by the professional historians. i don't make a big production out of this, but because i have been convinced for decades that in more than one way all history is revisionist. history is the constant revisiting, rethinking, and sometimes rewriting the past.
because we only know the past or the present. as a matter of fact, the past is the only thing we know. we often see it differently. sometimes because new evidences prop up that make up until -- it necessary or at least proper to revise some accepted ideas, and even accepted descriptions. but that is not all. since we see the past constantly differently, there is often time and good reason to revise the existing view, because of our perspective. you see, in this respect this is one of the great differences.
there are others, hope there are not too many lawyers here, between history and the law. you see, the historian views with multiple jeopardy. you see, and law a crime or an accusation, a case can only be adjusted, declared once. in history, we inevitably, constantly rethink the past, and so forth, you know. i don't want to repeat on the base of new evidences, but not necessarily on the base of new evidences because we see it differently. and this is perfectly all right.
this is one of the differences between history and the law. you see, when we think of evidence, we think of law. but there are great differences. you see, the purpose of law, at least in civilized countries, it's not so much to establish justice in a fixed way. it is the purpose of law must be the elimination of injustices. and the purpose of history is not, it cannot be to fix the truth definitely, no matter how small the detail, no matter how -- about how small a detail, but
to eliminate untruths. and believe me, in the indoor was temple of the cathedral of history, including works that professional historians have written, there are plenty of untruths current. and to eliminate them, at least in large to liquidate them, to dismiss them, is something very important. now, the second world war, now and it 65 years ago, and it left a curiously large legacy. and by legacy i don't mean its consequences. consequences have been a norm is about. this usually happens with every
big war. it has all kinds of consequences, some of them very long range, and some of them, and this is the truth, this is sewn into our individual lives, unintended consequences. but now i'm speaking about not so much about a consequences, but the constant rethinking of that war. it is different from the first world war. the first world war in a way left perhaps even a greater change in history than the second. but all the revisionism in the first world war pretty much concentrated on the, sometimes alleged, sometimes real, injustices of the peace
treaties. they are -- there as enormous literature. it is still growing of the first world war, who was principally responsible for the first world war. germans or the french or the russians, or the serbians or the austrians, general staffs, ministers, emperors and so forth. this is not so with the second world war. one thing i'm going to come back to this, which is undeniable, but the second world war, it broke out in 1939. there was one man who was responsible for this, and this was hitler. the second world war was hitler's war.
all the others who have contributed to the breakout of second world war, september 1939, russians, british, french, polish, the worst you can say about them, that their faults were false of omission, not commission. this is not first world war. i told you a moment ago, their entire libraries and they are still growing, discussing who was principally responsible for the first world war. this is the difference between the history and the evolution of history first and second world war. another difference is, and i'm going to come back to this, that there is a considerable number of people, in all countries, who
openly or somewhat in a hidden fashion say the second world war was a mistake. it should not have been fought. for example, the western democracies should not have fought hitler. there is a considerable number, amount of people in all kinds of countries who still think this. this is again something that did not happen about the first world war. you see, even the germans who had reason to challenge the accepted view that germany was principally responsible for the first world war, which is not quite that way, don't argue -- their argument is not that the war was a mistake.
now, you must understand that the first world war -- the second world war was one man's war. it was hitler's -- hitler was the only one who wanted war in september 1939. this again is a complex thing, because he was not a simple person. this is not because he enjoyed a war that much. he thought and actually wrongly, by 1939 that time is working against germany, and if a war has to -- if germany has to translate its ambitions into territory, into eliminating an independent poland, and so forth, this is the time to do it. this is again a very complex thing, because i have a chapter
about this in this war which should not -- in this book, which should not be exaggerated because it is only one of several chapters. and it is entitled some questions about hitler. and hitler deserves, if that is the proper noun, a great number of questions because he was a very complex, and i must say, a very intelligent human being. i mean, by intelligent i don't want to praise him, but he certainly was not a madman. he certainly wasn't a fanatic. if we think that and say that, we do two things that are very bad. first, we have solved them of all responsibility. if the man is mad he is not responsible. second or has equally important,
we have brushed the hitler problem under the rug. it's not quite as simple as that. and here is an evident example. i mean, here i'm just going to say something that you all know. i mean, this is really an amazing thing. here was hitler, the ruler of germany, one of the most educated people perhaps in the world, 80 million germans against them were a range the french empire and then the british empire, and then the russian empire, and the united states, a total of 300, 400, 500 million people against 80. and it took them six years to defeat him. and it's not only took them six years to defeat him, but neither one of them, nor two of them,
would have sufficed to conquer germany. it needed all three of them. i mean, even the french aside, the british, the russian. the british and the russians together could not defeat him. stalin on one occasion admitted this. the british and the russian empire could not defeat him. the british and the americans could have stopped him, but without the russians they could not have conquered him. in this respect, the pacific war, which incidentally was much more popular among the american people in a war against germany, is an exception. because in the pacific, the power of the united states was sufficient to defeat japan.
but again, the two things are connected. the amazing thing is that, for once, popular sentiment, public opinion, notwithstanding, the american war against germany, the american involvement in europe, was less popular among the american people than the war in the pacific against japan. and yet, both president roosevelt and the american military planners, relatively early, even before the war, and this is one chapter of the book of american military planning is. you see, when you write a book and you learn something. i would have -- i knew a fair amount about this period, and
about american history of that period. but i thought that the germany first strategy, germany is the principal enemy. germany has to be defeated first. and the defeat of japan would come soon afterwards, consequently. that this was, franklin roosevelt's idea. and that he convinced american military planners staff officers, secret war planners to go along with him. i learned, there's a chapter about this in this book, that this was not so, that the american military and staff planners thought the same thing. they did not have to be convinced by franklin roosevelt. and that was the right strategy, in spite of its relative unpopularity among the american people. jeremy had to be defeated first.
the defeat of japan is going to come soon afterwards, consequently. but you see, as i told you, germany, they thought the very end, the germans fought seven or eight days even after berlin fell and hitler killed himself. i mean, this was an enormous thing. i repeat to you, 80 million people with resources, industrial resources, that were much smaller than that of the russian and the american and british empires combined. and it took six years. but what i'm always interested is not only what happens in the military or industrial field, but what people think. just think of something that has impressed me for a long time,
and actually that i do not mention in this book. when germany was defeated, hitler killed himself. germany surrendered and nine -- in may 1945. about 10 or 20,000 germans committed suicide. and they were these people who kill themselves were not necessarily nazis. many of them were party members and so forth. and even not necessarily, those unfortunate germans who were ravaged by the russians who came as a barbaric mass into germany. win in 1989 the soviet union collapsed and a communist regimes collapse in poland, czechoslovakia, hungary, romania, i don't know of a
single person who committed suicide. this tells you something, not only of the strength of the germans militarily, but of their convictions. you see, the second world war was a worldwide struggle, approximately, not precisely, but mainly between three forces. there were the western democracies in scandinavia and so forth, parliamentary, and coordinated by the english-speaking countries and some western european countries. there was communism, which until the end of the second world war was in coronated only in russia or governor communist country and the world besides the soviet union. and there was a german national
socialism, which in a way was the strongest of the three. now, in every country, even in china on mongolia and so forth, these three forces existed. some of them were stronger than the others. look at china, for example. in china, there was chang kai-shek, national china who was supported by the british and americans. there were the chinese communists supported by russia. and there were pro-japanese chinese who also had a government of their own almost to the end of the war. so these three forces existed. all right, but this is not just a thing of the past. the second world war, a lot of the political divisions in the
world today, almost 70 years after the second world war, go back to the second world war. you see, it was not until the 1960s that in america books began to appear with the good war, the greatest generation. well, they all have reasons of their own and they are not altogether wrong. but in a sense, there is no such thing as a good war. accept that a war sometimes you have to be flawed and at least i believed that the second world war had to be fought. but it is not a good war, and it is not a war that had to be fought in the eyes and the minds
of millions of people around the world, even today, you know, even today. and these are generations who no longer live the war, lived through the war, who no longer have the memories of the war. you see, by and large in europe and far, in europe, the number of people believed that the second world war was a mistake, and the germans should not have been fought. amount, and we know this from between 10 and 20% of the
the vote. says the german occupation bad. pro-nazi party. last sunday got 16% in the elections. so the interesting thing is, of these three forces, western parliamentary democracy, a german national, communism, communism has practically disappeared. western parliamentary democracy is old troubles, but there it is. but there, this is a legacy of the war. they are, as i told you, tens -- in austria, for example, a party which has campaigned on
different levels, but one of them being that the second world war and the german occupation of austria was not so bad. its leader openly called winston churchill a war criminal. six years ago, 28% of the national vote. i don't think the great danger of these people will ever get to power, but this is interesting. this is something very significant. that this exists. now, it does not or hardly exists within our country. you know. no, but in this country, too, there is a considerable number
of people, mostly republicans, who, soon after the second world war, begin to feel, and sometimes say, that the second world war was a mistake. that we should have never far germany. that the great danger of congress and russia, and, of course, it looked that way. but the entire american conservative movement, and this was something new in american history, because as late as 1950, no american would dare to call himself a conservative. by 1980, more americans identified themselves as conservatives than they identified themselves as liberals. this is a very interesting thing. and this country being what it is is a good thing, combines a
great deal for people. you know, i'm not saying that a majority of conservatives, especially now, identify with this, but, you know, we have very important public figures. for example, a very intelligent man, patrick buchanan, who has written a book after book saying the second world war was a mistake. we should not have thought germany. and in a way, all through the cold war, you know, i mean, so-called conservatives who could not be called nazi sympathizers like william buckley. his claim was, and he wrote this and wrote several times, that -- i'm almost goading him -- quoting him verbally -- that in 1917 with the russian revoluti revolution, history changed
gears. well, i think it's not a good metaphor because history is not like a machine to change gears. but essentially from 1917 onwards, the world was consumed by two forces, democracy and freedom, and communism. if you accept this view, then it is logical that the second world war was an odd episode. it doesn't really fit. it's not important. and this is a very grave misreading of history, and yet it is a misreading which really nearly brought american conservatives to power and even the republican party as such. i repeat to you, this does not mean that the majority of the american conservatives, or the
majority of republicans, sympathize with hitler, you know. but this oversimplified view of history that, since 1917, and it's almost 100 years ago, the history of the world has been dominated by two forces, democracy and communism, is quite wrong. and that itself to some extent is the legacy of the second world war. and so in conclusion, i spoke too long, the second war, you see, this book is not a history of the second world war, but it is the legacy of the second world war. and the legacy of the second longer-lasting and still more evident that the legacy of the first world war.
i am speaking in the thinking of people, not in its actual consequences. the often maddening but also very amazing factor, element in history that of unintended consequences is that history is unpredictable, history does not repeat itself. and the second world war will never be repeated. but some of its legacies are people. and now, to conclude, i am a somewhat odd historic who believes very strongly that by and large history is made, not by my treo forces, but what
people think and believe. and so the thoughts and the sentiments and believes of people are a supremely important. in this case, reflecting back to the second world war, even at 60 or 70 years later. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i would be remiss if i didn't also point out and are assembled today, another world-class historian is sitting. and that is doctor alan kelso. and anyone who knows anything about abraham lincoln knows the name alan kelso. i just happened to overhear that doctor kelso has a new book on gettysburg coming out with the
cannot publishing house. so i am hopeful that i will be able to possibly persuade him to come here when the book comes out and give a talk about it. about two years ago, we had dr. gelzow and dr. lukacs together signing books about abraham lincoln. and dr. lukacs' case, and churchill. and it was very interesting discussion, because dr. gelzow, the renowned lincoln specialist, talked about churchill. and dr. lukacs talked about lincoln. we will now entertain questions from the audience. so please, if you have a question, raise your hand. >> i have a common. i agree with mostly everything you said, including, strangely enough, that hitler was intelligent. but i can't disagree that he wasn't a fanatic. being jewish, he certainly --
being a jewish person i think that hitler was absolutely fanatic in his hatred of the meaning, not meaning, of the word fanatic, and this is -- i'm glad you brought this out, because here is the difference between two languages. and in a way, two forms of national reckoning. obviously, the word fanatic comes from the latin, actually comes from agree, you know.
but when we, either in english, in english-speaking countries, say a fanatic, this is also -- almost without exception a bad name. it is a bad adjective. when you look at hitler's speeches, he very often says we have the fanatic welcome the fanatic power, the fanatic strength. you see, because probably this has somewhat changed now, but in the first -- in the 20th century, nor does this really related directly to your question, the word fanatic in german doesn't sound as bad as in english.
now, this touches up on a very important thing. i think, and i have a chapter in this book about hitler, that there were two elements in hitler's hatred, we can call it that, of the, that are complementary but not exactly the same. one of them was his principle dislike and contempt of jews and so forth. this is a very interesting thing, that actually develops relatively late in his youth. you see, some very important books and researchers the past 20 years and often approve that
there's those special site of hitler's extreme anti-semitism when he lived in vienna. now, you see he lied about this. he wrote in "mein kampf" that his recognition of what jews are, and jews danger, developed in indiana where he lived in considerable, not great poverty, considerable poverty between the ages of 18 and 22. it seems now, though it's almost -- doesn't only seem, it is incontrovertible, that his radical ideas of jews and others, came to him after the war at the age of 30 in munich, not in vienna. it is then that -- you see,
heather was a big talker, but we have no evidence that he talked a great deal in public -- in public, not at all, and till the 30 year of his life in munich. then he discovers that he is a talented and powerful speaker. and, together with this, he discovers that his anti-semitism for jews has echoes among the german people and the bavarian people. and so -- well, what i mean is there is a duality there that overlaps. his personal, let's go to anti-semitism, i don't even like the word anti-semitism. i think a better word would be judeophobia. that his personal judeophobia and his knowledge how this judeophobia can develop a good
appeal, a powerful appeal to the audience come together. i don't think they overlap, but they cannot be -- they should so this is just one of the many elements of the complexity of this man. >> do you think it would be fair to say that many of the voices arguing against world war ii are best understood as hecklers and not historical critics? >> i did not quite hear the second part of your question. >> do you think those voices that were opposed, and are still opposed to world war ii, our best understood as hecklers rather than serious historical critics? >> well, no. there's no such war as a good
war. and, for example, in this country in american first movement, isolationist movement, there are all kinds of people, including honest pacifists who really believed that america's entry in the first world war was a mistake and it should not be repeated. you see, and i don't know whether this answers your question. >> i was suggesting that there might have been a multiple numbers of voters producing this and not just legitimate opposition to world war ii. >> yes. this was so.1w0s1s this was so, especially in thisw country just about until pearl harbor. you see, people in the united states who not only were1wq isolationists, who thought, were convinced that american helpqw
given to britain in 1940 and 41w were not always narrowminded people or shortsighted people. away, and i would say the majority of people today all over the world who think that the cycle world war was a mistake, are people who have, who deplored the outcome of the war and deplored the defeat of germany national socialism. >> first of all, i have to say that you're the only writer i know of who can speak without notes contemporaneously and, with perfectly formed, not only senses, but paragraph. so thank you for that. >> would you tell this to my wife? >> yes, i will, i think she is here.
[laughter] >> and whether senses that a road outcome it was the purpose of history is not to fix the truth but to eliminate on troops. i think i got that correctly. >> yes. >> so my question is does that apply to you or is it to to say that over time the untruth we can hope that they will all be eliminated, or there are only a few left? how does that work? >> never all. you know, there are legends and myths of history that live on. and some of them bail as time goes on. you know, become weaker and all that. but it is not given to human beings to eliminate not only all, but even most untruth. it is not possible in our personal lives. it is not possible in the lives of nations.
but this is the task of this. you see, history does not deal with justice. history attempts to deal with truth. but truth is a very complicated thing. truth is a much deeper and much more complicated thing than just his. and juicy, you can in a way do i a lot of distraction by pursuing injustices. now, when it comes to our life, not only history, the perfect truth is not given to us as kierkegaard said. the perfect truth is given to god alone. what's given to us is the pursuit of truth. and truth ought to be pursued
when this is possible and when ya? >> didn't churchill say that i intend to be treated kindly by history, because i intend to write it? >> that -- let me tell you a little bit about this. i know -- at the risk of presumption, i know a fair talk about a comparison of churchill and hitler. people think that hitler was a great talker, you know, talk to. and this is actually not true. rather it is true on a certain level. hitler had an uncanny ability to
and he did is constantly. so, for example, we have hitler's tables conversation stirred the world where he talks to people, his closest associates about this and this. again, this is evidence, this is written down, that should be taken very carefully because his purpose was to influence people. at the same time we have two or three hitler statements that i discovered when he says i am a very secretive man. nobody will really know what i am thinking. nobody will know what i am maybe a few on certain occasions, but i keep my thoughts to myself. now, compared to this, churchill was a very open person. this.
as this is an exaggeration as well as the general said, that winston had 10 good ideas every night -- 10 ideas every night, of which one may be good. easy, churchill was a great world. he was a great lover of language. and scottish poems by the ream, you know, and so forth. that he thought were funny. misstatement, well, history will be written because i'm going to write it, he didn't -- this sounded good, but he did not mean that is as it sounds.
says, what i'm writing is what i remember what i know, but is not history, he says. history will belong to later contribution to it. you see, this is in the wake the opposite what he says that the history of the work will be written the way i write it. churchill would say many funny things, because he knew they sounded funny. there is a difference, you know. hitler, and this is a great sense of humor. which is that he took things and
the only few evidences we have of hitler's laughing are really very early period of his career, when one of his great supporters was gearing. göring was, as you know a very fat man. once in a while having drunk a lot of beer, a nazi would pull out a chair and gearing would fall on the floor. you know, and hitler would say this is wonderful. [inaudible] >> no, he did not have a sense of humor, which is a great mistake. but his entire attitude to everything, even towards the jews is complicated. i mean, this is not -- let me give you two examples.
not very well known by historians, and they ought to be. hitler speaks about the jews, speaks about the depredation, but he does not speak of their murder. you see, he never uses that language, even in private conversation. and in 1943, heimlich himmler, who was in charge of these horrible gas cans and so forth, brought about, had a statistic exactly how many jews had been eliminated by the time. he brought it to hitler. he brought the statistician of the ss to hitler. the report was typed on hitler's special typewriter. he had a special typewriter, because at the age of the late '40s, this happens to many of us, his eyes began to lose their
power. he needed glasses. he never wanted to be photographed wearing glasses, although we have a few photographs wearing glasses. and people i think almost made for him a special typewriter, with large letters. so he could read it easily. that statistic of february or march 1943, how many jews had been killed, eliminated, was presented to him. he didn't want to see it. he said, i'm not interested in this. you know. and this was a weakness of his. he didn't want to look at unpleasant things. for example, he never wanted to cities destroyed by the bombing.
and then there is a sense of his toward the end of the war, which is very telling. collaborators, you know, the jews are really not a race. jewish race. the jews are a spiritual raise. this again goes contrary to the general belief that hitler was a racist. hitler was an extreme nationally that a racist. this is not to defend him. as i told you, not a simple character. the man started a world war. i mean, it's not an exaggeration called the second world war is hitler's war. and that to keep the germans together until the very end is not something to sneeze at.
>> i see another question. >> i just appreciated the section -- >> a little louder please. >> i appreciated the sections you wrote about yalta, and i just have a question. is there a point at which you could kind of elaborate on the idea of the different interpretations of that declaration about a liberated europe, how it was regarded one way by stalin and another way by roosevelt? and kind of a long with that, why did eisenhower make his agreement about where america would stop at the elbe, nor does rather than go on into berlin churchill? >> oh, well, let me tell you one thing, and i'm going a little bit off a limb.
people are not so simple. if you look at a person like eisenhower who certainly deserves some credit, you know, can you say that he came from kansas, abilene, all that, that eisenhower, for example, was a simpler person and ulysses s. grant? you know, no, he wasn't. in the way ulysses s. grant is as simple as eisner. eisenhower had, to some extent, a bureaucratic background and so forth. and in march 1945, the united states was allied with the soviet union. and the alliance with the soviet union in the minds of many people, including mac arthur, was even more important than the alliance with britain. for many reasons. and eisenhower acted
accordingly. at the time, you know. and did not agree with churchill. churchill didn't have the power at the time to carry through any of. but you must understand, this is 1945. this is the same eisenhower who, seven years later, picks up president and says to churchill, you want to do with the russians, you cannot do with the russians, the russians are enemies of mankind. and you see the same eisenhower, who in 1945, saw churchill as somewhat of being two and a russian in 1952, saw churchill as somebody perhaps not sufficiently. this was the same man.
so you see, i'm never going to write anything else about the second world war, but as you see, it's not an easy subject. yes? >> i don't think enough has been written about the war in eastern europe, the losses the russians to compare to the united states. minuscule casualties compared to millions of russians killed by stalin i guess in the '30s and 40s. told comprehensively? >> how the russians resisted germans? well, it's another miracle. you see, here was the czar in
the first world war it was no longer an autocrat. russia was willing to a label system. it had a parliament not quite like the british and french. nonetheless, it was allied with britain and france. and so forth. and the russians collapse because the russian people didn't want to fight. here there is russia ruled by a cruel dictator whose people have murdered or imprisoned millions of russians, and the russians thought. who knows? you see, as i told you, our life is full of unintended consequences. and the russians were invaded, and they fought much better than in the first