tv Book Discussion on 1932 CSPAN December 13, 2015 5:21pm-6:54pm EST
>> thank you, audience, for being here. thank you for being part of this conversation. i want to thank deepa for brian -- bringing us together to be part of the dialogue. use this book as a conversation starter and a tool for being a disrupter, for bag bridge-builder. thank you so much. deepa will be signing books right over here, so final thank you to deepa. [applause] nod [inaudible conversations]
>> good evening. and welcome to the mid manhattan branch of the new york public library. thank you for joining us this evening. tonight's program is a talk based on the author's recent book "1932" the rise of hit her and fdr. two tales of politics, betrayal, and unlikely destiny. in 1932, two depression battered
nations confronted their destiny, going to the polls to choose new leaders. america's presidential choices were gregarious athis tocrat franklin roosevelt, or tarnished wonder boy, herbert hoover. germany suffered two rounds of bloody elections, and two presidential contests. reactionary, paul von pin den berg against rising radical hate monger, adolph hitler. as unstoppable politics and economic forces advanced upon weakened, disoriented societies, a merciless worldwide great depression brought opportunity for a transformation. perhaps hopeful.
perhaps deadly. through fdrs new deal and hitler's third reich. destiny unrolls, but reviewing history may reveal whether the outcomes of the two moms movement -- movements were inevitable. i have the usual requests please silence your cell phones, pagers and any other noisy devices that might interrupt the program. secondly, please do not a take any pictures or make any recordings this evening unless you have received prior per permission from the new york public library administration, and we thank you for your courtesy and consideration in that. tonight's program is being filmed by c-span so would you please hold your questions until the end of the presentation.
our speaker tonight is david pietrusza, author of several award-winning books, including "1920: the year of six presidents"," rothstein," "1948 harry truman's improbable victory" and," 960" lbj vs. jfk vs. nixon, the epic campaign that formed three presidencies. he has appeared on good morning america, morning joe, the voice of america, the history channel, espn, npr, and c-span. so, would you please welcome tonight's speaker, david
pietrusza. [applause] >> thank you. and thank you all for coming tonight. so glad to see such a nice crowd here. always have two excuses why a crowd doesn't show up. it's the weather, it's like either the weather is too nice or too bad. so the weather must have been right in the middle for all of you to find your way here tonight. last month i was up in hyde park at the fdr presidential library, and i had discovered when i got there that i had forgotten all my notes, left them on the kitchen counter at home. every spoke they said, don't ever bring your notes again. or maybe they said don't ever come again. i'm not sure. i'm still sorting that out in any case, since then i've gone completely noteless and just sort of winged it, and it's far more exciting for myself and
jackie mason might say in reverse, don't know if it's going to be exciting for you, but for me it's invigorating. this is why i was asked downstairs before the program started bay lady the elevator, how did you come to write this snook i had written three previous books on presidential history and the 1920s, 1948, 1960, so we have been on this path before, and so you keep on it. plus, you have to sort of couple up with a twist at some point. we had these juxtapositions of jfk versus lbj versus knickson, the six presidents involved in the 1920 election in one way or another. and here we have this immense juxtaposition of historic figures, on a world scale, in
1932, where franklin roosevelt and adolph hitler run presidential campaigns and then they take power in early 1933, and of course, they die. they die within a couple weeks of each other in early 1945, and then between they're this thing called world war ii. so we have a certain synergy going on there, and we take a look at the parallel and the subtitle of the book has some meaning. i think a lot of subtitles now are like the flank which changed everything forever. but here we deal with three things. we deal with politics, we deal with betrayal, and we deal with unlikely debt -- destiny. and we'll deal with unlikely destiny here tonight. hitler is unlikely by any
standards, any standard at all, aside from public -- [inaudible] -- but he is essentially a high school dropout derrek need entrance twice to art school. then he goes and essentially is living in a homeless shelter. at one point he is homeless on the streets of vienna. a bohemian of sorts, an aitinerant artist, and world war i, in the mental ward of a military hospital. and exhibits so little -- thing about it. there's a million german casual-to-world war i and the rises -- shoot through the top rank of corporal. then he leads a coup, which fails. a disaster. he is accused of personal
>> >> but it is unlikely because people are not sure if he has the right stuff. i am not just talking about republicans. people wonder if he is a lightweight or the intellectual capacity to lead america in this time of great crisis in the great depression to go full bore into 1932. walter regard him as a fellow with no particular qualification to be president and no great reason and the finance your
of the democratic party calls in the annual boy scout. may be like thurston howell the third rising to the top in 1932. also not sure where he stands on the issue. with his political honesty. he never will do that. that administration is remarkably free of that. but where does he stand on the issues? one of the big issues of 1932 is prohibition. for the accounts of the 1932
republican and democratic convention. in the midst of the financial and a world crisis , which time is devoted to prohibition? and to be decidedly coy on the issue and to be very late to the game until early that year not quite sure where it stands for that. did we see in their current times when governor of the
same party. we have seen that before with john lindsay and rockefeller to deal with tammany hall the great democratic machine and cricket as can be starting off as a reformer in the senate and resulted his head handed to him. then he realizes that isn't quite tammany hall lead alone city hall. but there are three big
investigations one after another and what will he do about it? the socialist leader people like that say do something. they know tammany will control the democratic national convention to do as little as he can end only when he absolutely has to. but it cannot be too favorable because people around the rest of the country do not like him so there is the third issue that is shifty. as a member of the wilson administration. to be wilsonian it to favor
the league of nations. and franklin roosevelt did. and william randolph hearst gets on the radio out of los angeles to blast everybody. one guy after another. and the chief political advisor says what do we do about this? add a prestigious and bin you upstate in which to see the league of nations as an issue that will not be a major issue.
he is anti-democratic there is plans for reparations in germany. but by this time a dollar -- adolf hitler is gaining steam. there are parallels between franklin roosevelt and hitler. he had been elected for this to the new york than it is real close. you better count the votes correctly. if it is that close franklin roosevelt is elected.
the second-biggest party in germany. and that capacity for creating mischief back in 1932 the national list no longer likes hindenburg but he is all that is holding the republic together. even though he doesn't like republics. and the socialist in the social democrats that is the center-left party they support him. and what happens is the germans vote it is a four-man race essentially.
hindenburg, adolf hitler who has become a german citizen by the fact he has received a minor government appointment with the rules of the republic german citizenship. there are the nationalists. and the not see -- nazis think they will do well as the instructions were given don't get too drunk to celebrate we have work to do the next morning but in fact, it is not close at all. in the four-man race misses it by be eyelash.
but hitler immediately announces a running again to do the election to the german people. because adolf hitler would get crushed. and that will show him. it has been said they were a combination of the super modern. he only has to ruth three weeks to run and he can draw big crowds at mass rallies. how many can he do in a short period of time? not too many.
good radio is state-sponsored at this time and when they do put them on the air by two of the henchman so they will do in a different way. but he will fly to all the campaign stops. just seven years after lindbergh. ended hicksites the german people. and then he will have power over germany. but hitler comes a lot closer than anyone thought.
and has done it by taking votes from the nationalist and the economists and people wonder if they can ever stop this nazi ties that the ballot box is getting worse by the month. in america fdr is blast -- blast -- blessed to be the nominee against herbert hoover. the you can't beat somebody with nobody then those who want to be rivals but it is one of the lessons of 1932 to watch out for them and
the game players and those who'd take a chance in rows about really wants power also. to have a working semblance of a modern campaign. just like richie from maryland. with limited government in traditional democrats. but he talks was supporter and says i can be better known if i gave more speeches but i don't have any more ideas. each is limited.
there is a governor who is say what job. and who can take a guy named of self was seriously? from governor of ohio and when hearst gives the speech in california he trashes everyone. in to be speaker of laos. and gardner could never given any thought so he enters the race. to be clobbered by a herbert hoover don't worry about being governor.
you don't know where you stand over roosevelt. people knew where they stood. and to get all those from california roosevelt still has delegates so why is he in trouble? because the democrats have a couple of rules. line is the two-thirds rule and he is short of that. and than franklin roosevelt when they want to do something else. in the same thing that happened in arkansas.
and begging the california people. and his name is joe kennedy. he is on the phone to william randolph hearst. with a mistress in the industry just like william randolph hearst. bin he says no. give it to roosevelt. a guy named newton baker. secretary of war under woodrow wilson. but he really dislikes baker. can't we just throw it to albert ricci?
no. you have the top of the ticket or garner for vice president. what how are you will have. okay. roosevelt gets the nomination. here is another custom. let you do not tender the notice of your nomination immediately. several weeks later a big shot comes up to your hometown and says surprise. you won the nomination than the nominee gives a speech. what does he do? he gets in an air plenum
breaks tradition flying to chicago with the dnc and this is a big deal because one of fpr sons get sick of the plane and it takes seven hours. that is how primitive it is. with two stops. this excites people that roosevelt says we will have a new deal in america. he is off and running. in germany has a lot of elections in 1932. and they are just getting started. that the nazi in july of that year move from 107
larry of that. and as a representative of the republic but we complain that there is the lot of reasons to complain about that. of what happens totally in his party. so with the coalition is to get things done. everybody to get along with anyone the 51 parties. the socialist state the communist the communist take
the socialist the nationalist hate the nazi. the middle-class parties had evaporated since the depression so you cannot form a parliamentary authority anymore. and then hindenburg will name that. so the constitution of the republic says you can do two things. there is article 48. that is like executive orders. they canby overridden but
there is article 25 that says they can call for new elections. so if you want to overturn the executive order? you have a dictatorship going on. with one chancellor after another. now back to america. one thing that will help roosevelt to neil that down you have a rise against demonstrations or other planets with philadelphia and cleveland and people
protesting against foreclosures then you get the bonus march people coming into washington with a bonus for world war i service they go home and later in -- adjourned to say we may stay until 1945. they will never go home. is like of really big occupy wall street. zoo, the park was really small but this is maybe 20,000 people not leaving washington. and the occupied government buildings that are about to be torn down to create jobs for people.
november 1932 there still the biggest party but there's finally the rise is going down and as the saying goes maybe hitler has this -- germany has a betrayal thing going on where that is a fellow named kurt who had broke one chancellor after another and then he becomes chancellor and doesn't want to become chancellor but peter is preachers dealing in the shadows because in germany he needs schemers and that is him to the end to the degree. one of the guys that he dumped as become great friends and he has an idea. he is going to get his revenge and he's going to do it by making adolf hitler chancellor
of germany pretty risky stuff but he says this isn't that risky because who is issuing a, who has really got the power? not chancellor. notice i haven't mentioned the chancellor's name until this point. if hindenburg. so, you can make hitler chancellor and we will create a new office of the vice chancellor which would go to who would have the ear of an also do not seize it gets only two of the eight cabinet vote in the post so what could go wrong?
you know the end of that story. dictatorship is also in the air in america be leaving or not. also working for mcarthur is a young officer named dwight eisenhower not exactly a five-year ban extremist, he's a moderate in history as the note and a very middle-of-the-road kind of guy. people call me the dictator because i think that is what is necessary in this country. there is a film called gabriel over the white house and then they chose to congress what's noteworthy about it, it talks of a president in the united states becoming a dictator is in chile at another studio puts out a film called mussolini's speech which is essentially an infomercial and that is a
million dollars coming you tried making money, not easy. and people like smith been violently opposed to franklin roosevelt are even saying you've got to take charge of this depression and to his credit, franklin roosevelt does not do that. he is he's different than adolf hitler. the united states is a far different country than germany. during the campaign in and american journalist dorothy thompson went to the hotel in berlin and interviewed adolf hitler and was expecting a pretty wicked sort of guy that came away very impressed and wrote little man, little man you will never be chancellor of germany. but after hitler takes power she
sees one of those that she has coming through the arch with a their porch lights lit and their arms out and the search light piercing the sky and she says wow. postwar germany has ended in prewar germany has begun and so had prewar america. and that's how i ended my book. thank you all for listening. [applause] >> as i had to cover a lot of things in a lot of and a lot of countries and continents, i left out some things so if you have any questions, let me know and the gentle man from c-span will hand you the microphone and give it a shot.
>> dick mussolini used the same church as hitler used? >> did they use the same term, and the answer is no. there were a lot going down at that point in history. there is a silver shirt movement going on in america and the bonus marchers actually adopt the fascists in spain are the blue shirts. next question. >> [inaudible] the question is about william
randolph hearst and joseph kennedy has gloria swanson at the time area question over there. we are going to move the questions around. >> some people took it as a dictatorial and there was a movie called the president vanishes which also had dictatorial trickery in the way they defeated the others. what effect does it have if any lacks the
>> over the white house and how popular it was. the other picture goes beyond the scope of my book. gabriel over the white house was quite popular and there was also the film historian william has spoken that there was a genre which were vigilante films. think of something even more death wish where it wasn't just some guy on the subway by planning people off. but he has some really over-the-top scenes. and the machine gun and the
joint. just really crazy stuff. next question. >> a wonderful presentation. >> thank you. >> blocked if any did world war i in the defeat of the germans in world war i psychologically how much of an effect did that have on success later? >> the fact that the germany in world war i, absolutely immense. one thing i don't get into except in the book really in a footnote is hitler and his investment holding of the hospital.
everyone pays attention like any rightist does. but no one does and some high-ranking serving the party of the bureaucracy. it's like a light switch is on with him and there is no other explanation of how this guy goes from zero to 60 in one second and it affects the entire german nation and it is a critical mass.
>> what was the basic problem with jews besides isn't there a rumor that his mother or great-grandmother was? >> the question is where does all the anti-semitism come from and the question whether he has jewish ancestry and it is hard to place where it starts. not many people knew him early on and were talking and the results are contradictory and the start of his own hometown where it starts in bm deana.
he talks about it seems to come out from his antipathy to the social democrats. he says look, there is a jewish name but it's something that is in the air in austria. there is also a very high jewish population probably more than maybe not in russia it's like seven, eight, 9%, pretty high in berlin is 1%, it's not very
high. they had found some evidence of that. but the question is not whether hitler was jewish or not the question is do they think that he was jewish. there's a lot of people marrying relatives. they scream at the blood relatives at this time. we can only guess. hitler comes from an older father, much younger mother and an older stepbrother like roosevelt or half brother and
it's a natural thing in terms of pure eugenics they were more into it and he was much more than this racial breeding sort of thing. it's all part and parcel but he is also a foreigner in germany. he's also of the austrian german people. even though the father of the government was a monarchy has fathered is a german nationalist there is a chance that he was
it's not long that after the crash would that happened did it get but it gets worse in germany than it was here? >> how did it start and does it get worse and all that? it starts out worse. it starts out worse because germany had a defeat and the war occupied by france and the hyperinflation in the middle of the decade but in 1929 they start out he started with 3 million so they start out with crummy circumstances independent of his six or 7 million on employed in 1932 and 33. the communists that have a certain stability in terms of membership that hold their people. and then they hold their membership. there's a big journey of
constant almost all of the members are unemployed as a there is a big economic problem. i'm going to cut things off now because of c-span to hold hold programs within an hour for folks there. we don't want to wear out our welcome with that, so thank you thank you very much. [applause] okay. >> what enabled hitler to rise under the authority of the president within a year?
>> first off there is where somebody probably do not seize set fire, burned it down on the dutch communist which gives them the excuse to throw to the communists of and then give them pretty much actually a working majority and the catholics on board now so they finally got a majority and then the past which basically says everything we do is legal. >> not good. >> the third thing is the night where hitler is running a balancing act with his party. you've got these extreme nationalist and socialist and then you have the left-wing who
was thrown out of the party to make a deal with schleicher in december of 32. so you have these guys but you've also got people who were okay the biggest party when do we become part of a coalition we don't care if hitler is chancellor we want some jobs and pay churn edge and others basically said we want to beat everyone up. okay. so hitler gets rid of some of those. he tells a lot of people that know him early on.
to change that. so hitler has both offices and they pass another law because they have the votes that says now it is fewer and by the time they also have the army on board and they are pledging personal allegiance to him which had never occurred in the german army. >> was he a part of the military? >> he has a really interesting -- mr. c-span, i promised him that dot write their key was a
minor aristocrat and was the military -- a. in the western hemisphere because according to world war i he had actually met macarthur in mexico and then he was sent to washington and he does some interesting things in world war i so he was involved in have you ever heard of the black tom explosion? black tom island on the coast of germany and its skyhigh. it just shutters the statue of liberty and they'd try to blow up the canal in canada and eventually he is expelled from the united states of america.
he was a member of the catholic party. so they let him run for some provincial thing. it's like obama skipped the united states senator and became present from the state senator, okay. so he's gets out early but he wasn't a military guy. he was a very minor political guy with a very lightweight reputation. it's amazing he survives. there is a risk in canada for him when he's made a chancellor of germany. in america they say the state department said this is incredible to me to chancellor.
they would refuse entrance into the country. so when hitler was starting to accumulate power. they give a speech during the not seize a new one really telling it like it is. this is a dangerous group of people here. what have we done. his speechwriter is killed and they say that he was made ambassador to austria and turkey and he was tried and equipped with c. was one lucky son of a
when you spend a year and a half with hitler like i did and roosevelt. you start to puzzle these questions you didn't even think about before and one of them was first off how do i explain hitler. then how do we explain to the german people returning to this guy why. and roosevelt wanted so bad and so the guys who were like okay jeb bush is standing on the stage now.
i ran for office ones and people want you to knock on their door. they want to know if you want it or not and whether they are going to vote for you and i think they knew he wanted and he was serious of what he wanted to do. i came across a news reel after words giving a talk it looks like he is in a field and is talking about how all these different parties are ruining germany and how he's going to get rid of all of them and that is the good news and bad news. so people are sick of this gridlock but sometimes a
gridlock is better than a headlock. so that's part of it. and another thing is the appeal to the not seize which i don't think people think about a lot is how class ridden and divided the society was. it's divided geographically. it's divided -- it's one of the few countries divided religiously in western europe. you've got the catholics in the south and the catholics never -- hitler is down there but the catholics don't vote for him much. people in the north, the protestants vote for him so you've got that divide and you've been -- and you have mobility versus everybody else is even in a factory you get to the different workmen.
people were sick of that and wanted some sort of unified thing which would destroy all these class distinctions but they didn't want to destroy them in a marxist way. this was their way to bring people together and he raced these differences but not in a marxist way but also you get a lot of people who don't like to give eco- democracy. you have a majority of the people at the end of 1932 voting not just for the dictatorship voting for totalitarians. the combined vote is a majority
of the people voting to end democracy. then you add in the nationalists >> they have nothing to do with this republic and he is going to end it and a lot of them do a sign-on letter onto. they would say they were like the steak. they were brown on the outside but red on the inside. anyone else? okay. >> were they aware of the movement here in the united
states? >> i think to some extent. but the plan sort of comes and goes pretty quick by 1925. >> it comes and goes and p. is within about five years. it's the founded in 1915. by 1920, it's still fairly small it was about 40,000 but then they get a lot of scandals. and by 1929 they are pretty much washed up. [inaudible] >> no, there was a march -- the question is did they allow the
clan to march in new york city. there is. they do march and new york city in the 1920s. there is a parade and cleans in the late 20s and it is a minor issue with the mayor walker complaining the boulevard in staten island. he had three papers in new york city, the journal, the mural back then. but they are aware also of harry ford. he had to pretend that protocol, what he had written he had to you are born independent and he put together or someone wrote for him a particle about jews
and this was published in a paperback called the international jew and it sold a lot and eventually he was sued for libel by jewish individuals and then have to apologize and shut it down. but he would have been more of interest to the nazis and the clan. compared to what the not seize had going it was kind of small potatoes. you have been referencing parallels between this period and what's going on today in the u.s. and globally.
>> i try to steer clear of that. one of the things people ask me or acquisition editors will ask me is what is the theme of your book and i try to stay clear because if you are owing to try to fit all of your facts into reinforcing that i let things flow the way they do and if people see parallels, there are parallels between executive orders. be careful you may like the guy that gives the executive orders to orders today but maybe there will be somebody else tomorrow and you will like them less or maybe you won't like either. but that's a possibility. >> [inaudible] >> i hope so. and a lot of people when they comment on my books they will
say he really plays it straight and i'm really honored when people say that. there was one review on amazon and this guy the author was really in the tank for this one guy, i won't say which. i burst out laughing because he caused me to change parties when i was a kid. i was being accused of being in the tank for him but i also think that sometimes it can be a litmus test if you read what i'm writing.
i try to be an equal opportunity offender. so somebody was just reading -- somebody had called and said he is reading the book and enjoying it and said i never had much of an opinion of hoover. he looks really terrible in your book. so hoover when he's wrong he gets it. when fdr is shifting, he gets it. i try to call it as i see it. one person i found this is interesting. i've done four of these presidential books and somebody shows up in a significant role.
who is that person? it's eleanor roosevelt of course. it's fdr when he's running for vice president in 48 and she is not wild about harry and her two sons really don't like him. in 1960, she's not too crazy about jack kennedy either. kennedy will grow on her butt up to that point, she loves madly. i think that she comes off fairly well. but i was surprised that she did not. she was acting very strangely and was very conflicted about franklin run for the presidency and the betrayal part of the
book she still feels betrayed by franklin with the social secretary. she's emotionally very damaged. and even before the marriage to franklin she comes from a really kind of gothic child. she is a poor little rich girl where her father was an alcoholic and her mother was beautiful and i think her beauty was sort of a reproach | eleanor and her father was an absentee drug addict and a drunk and die is falling out of the window of his mistresses house and who does she love? the father but not the mother and then she sent away to europe.
first she's with her parents and grandparents and her grandmother is like eleanor, you can't read, can you. this is when she is nine and the education is so bad she catches up very quickly in europe. she is she's hurt by bad and franklin and she's not crazy at all about him becoming president. in 1928 she says to "the new york post," a different post what do i care if franklin has been elected? i don't care. maybe people get misquoted by the post. but if she did, she wrote the
same thing in a private letter in her actions in 1932 are she's not part of the campaign, she's missing at key points in the book and even threatening to runoff. so at that point i'm almost sympathetic to franklin she doesn't want to ride down the train she wants to ride separately and finally franklin says no, you are riding on the train. this is the inauguration. she goes off just before the inauguration where she used to
sit because that's where she went when she found out. so she is very damaged goods and acting not with it. she barely shows up to vote on election day. she goes back to teach school the night before in the car it is icy and franklin is worried that the upper east side franklin wrote in the morning with the secretary. they are waiting and waiting
back when there were newspapers people read you would always see the picture in the afternoon addition showing up early in the morning. then when they get back to new york city for the townhouse, she goes off and sees her friends in greenwich village. she was an incredibly angry person. i never saw them alone.
to say they had some sort of a combination. they didn't get the majority of the vote and he won because the liberal vote was divided up for a lot of parties. [inaudible] >> the question is does hitler against the majority of the vote or is the vote all split up and they are getting the bulk of the extreme right-wing and should they get along more with hitler then they do in 1929 with a new reparations program and the
nationalist turnout in hindenburg in the referendum and they need some muscle on the street so they recruit the nazis but they break very quickly and they do not approach until early 33 there's bad blood between them but he does get a lot more votes so even though it is 30%. what is trumpeting, 30%? it's a tremendous vote. 37% when i got there early for the other parties.
out of this very quickly and she is a guy that puts things together for hitler economically but eventually, he ends up in 1944 in a concentration camp. he is a committed david côte credit. he is too catholic to be a full-fledged not see that he is a game player and manipulator in his own right but he is more of a continental conservative. >> i'm not sure if they were charged on four counts i don't know if they were charged with raging aggressive war, crimes against humanity and a couple
others. he could have been charged with that except it wasn't a war. he was the ambassador to austria when them nazis marched in to get him out of the way but also he was opposed to the anti-clerical guy. you could send him to austria and he would be too nervous, so it's probably something like that. you want to throw me out? i am asking the library lady.