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tv   The General vs. the President  CSPAN  December 26, 2016 6:45pm-8:01pm EST

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legally, socially and anomaly over the course of the 20th century. >> that's a look at some of this year's notable books according to publishers weekly. book tv has covered many authors and you can watch the programs on her website, >> welcome to the truman library. i'm the director of the library and it's a great pleasure to welcome you here. it's wonderful to have a robust crowd. we have a lot of members who are here with us and also a lot of people who are are looking at rainy day books and were happy to have all of you here. we hope you will frequent other programs. were pleased to welcome her now presidential historian to the truman library who goes by bill. a very distinguished historian has written books about several presidents, reagan, ftr, teddy roosevelt and truman, the book
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will talk about tonight. very well received his writing, he has been shortlisted his finalist and a very distinguished author. he comes to us from the university of texas at austin were he teaches he's also taught at vanderbilt and texas a&m. he did his graduate work in texas and in oregon and mathematics and history. an interesting combination. born in oregon, went to college in california. i was intrigued by the fact that he sold cutlery across the american west. [applause] everybody has those jobs in college, that's unique. that's very interesting. [inaudible] we're going to have a bit of an
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informal discussion and look forward to questions as well. i have read the book, the general and the president and i think you'll find a very balanced and very interesting take on both the truman and macarthur very interesting topic for us here and as time goes on these things get reinterpreted and i think this is a very solid piece that will be around for a long time. it explains a very important moment in our nations history history and the inner workings of american foreign policy. it's a very solid contribution. i wanted to start by asking a little bit about the way you open the book talking about truman and his desire to rebuild europe and he talks about what you do is you welcome them back
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into the family of nations. he had learned his lesson from world war i. macarthur had a similar outlook in asia living in japan and rebuilding that. i thought it was interesting the way set it up. may be explained from my perspective these guys start out on a similar page with a similar philosophy, an american way of approaching the world and they end up in different places. >> i will say this that for my first exposure to the story came from -- in my first visit to the truman library. i was writing about american foreign policy in the the early cold war and i countered truman. macarthur was a smaller story that because he really entered in the korean war. but truman revolutionized, not by himself america's approach to the world.
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for 150 years since the united states abandon its alliance with france in the late 18th century the united states took this position on the advice of george washington and thomas jefferson to avoid alliances with other countries. the united states would go it alone. this is is what led the united states during the 20s and 30s to turn his back on europe after having engaged europe in world war i. it left the door open to the rise of nazi germany. truman learned a lesson. set up pretty much everybody in truman's generation. the lesson was, the world cannot be left to its own devices. the united the united states needs to continue to participate. that led -- the united states was going to stay in europe and it needed to ensure that europe would be strong once again. american leaders and the
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taxpayers did not want to be on the hook for supporting germany, for supporting other countries forever. the idea was that seed money from the united states would revive these great countries. the united states would help guide them on the path to democracy and prosperity. so it truman and george marshall were doing in europe douglas macarthur was doing in japan. there is no marshall plan for japan, but there was this single minded effort to reshape this country that had been america's enemy just very recently and to make it into a country to be america's ally and friend. >> i wanted to check it is this micah cutting in and out?
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>> that was a great little segment but i want to make sure that we hear it. should we hook that up a bump that up a little bit? >> is a both. >> don't move. laughmac. [laughter] and this is not easy for me. normally i'd be standing up and jumping around, even sitting in a chair. >> you do the at the sense in your book maybe this is a sense that there's so much focus on europe for the truman administration and you see macarthur is this long void in the wilderness who is sort of speaking about asia for truman protecting europe seem to be the priority, for macarthur he just had that focus, why do you think --
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>> his emphasis on europe was something he inherited during world war ii. so the united states as of 1941 found itself in a two theater war. there is a war in a war in europe and a war in the pacific. roosevelt's administration made a fundamental decision that the united states would focus on winning the war in europe first. the belief was that the european heartland was the center of global power. so he could be defeated really easily so this is the thinking during world war ii two. it translated really easily, meanwhile macarthur who had been commander of allied forces in the southwest pacific tended to focus on the pacific. it was not just his position
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during world war ii, he inherited this pacific and asian -- because his father had been american military governor of the philippines early in the 20th century. as a young young man macarthur accompanied his father on a tour of asia. macarthur himself had been set out from the united states after been the u.s. army chief of staff to the philippines. they were still an american colony. he was going to oversee the military transition of the philippines. so macarthur became a field marshal, so his entire career has been centered on asia. macarthur had a habit, and among theater commanders to think of their theater is the whole war. during world war ii macarthur continually look at the roosevelt administration, george
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marshall, we need to focus on the pacific. this is where the war could be won or lost. roosevelt how to turn him out. but macarthur never changed his mind. during the cold war he would say the rebuilding of japan with china and then after the korean war broke out the conflict in korea this is where the cold war will be won or lost. >> is very interesting, i wonder if you took a minute to talk a little bit about the strength of your book is when you talk about the personality of these two people. and you see it in a balanced way so you don't see one of these guys is a hero and you have two very strong personalities coming together. one of the quotes you had is to know mac is to love him or hate him, you can't just hate him.
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there seems to be this classic -- can you talk about how this affects the story? >> one of the things that attracted me to the story was that there are these two distinctive personalities but they're very different type. macarthur is this character is larger-than-life and he sits on top of a mountain or throne, he became de facto japan, he was aloof, aloof, he was one who people gave him advice but he never gave his hand to anybody else. he was a lone figure. and that was his personality style that was his administrative and governing style. and i should add, he was born to greatness at a certain way, his father had been a civil war hero
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and it was expected that he would go into the military, who is first in his class at west point. so so he was the star of his generation and the american military. truman was nobody's star, truman was this political hack from kansas city who managed to get elected to the senate and then almost by accident became vice president when roosevelt needed a mutiny in the democratic party in the 44 convention where the democrats you could see roosevelt probably wasn't long for this world on they could bear that wallace would become president. so they just waive the finger and said okay, this guy. truman has to be talked into being vice president. and then three months later he becomes president of the united states.
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he was flabbergasted by this. with truman the personality grows and grows into the presidency. as a student of truman the prison asked reality grows on you after a while. truman was not someone who pressed you on first meeting. macarthur did the truman kind of sneaks up on you. so we have the star, the celebrity celebrity and then we have the underdog, truman and sosa classic clash of personality. there's also a clash of political philosophy. >> let's take a second to see if there are if we have questions from the audience. does anybody have a question to ask? [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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>> i appreciate that, because it does point out this junction between the popular perception of macarthur among the american people, they thought he was this great here, this person who won the war in the pacific, but your con on track comment substantiate something that i have observed, i have not met or heard of someone who served under macarthur all hated his guts, they called him dugout dog because in the philippines he never came out of his dugout. he abandoned his troops in the philippines. they were left to suffer while he went off to australia and got a medal of honor for -- the philippines. so it's a very striking statement about the aura that macarthur was able to project. people around him idolized him and then there was a broader public who know of only through the press releases that he gave.
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he was good at managing the press, but the people who actually had to follow his order into it he said, they didn't have much use for him. thank you for that comment. >> it's interesting to think about the things that really happened in the things that might've happened and it seems to me that truman, at least the past has been blamed for a lot of what macarthur did or cost i macarthur gets credit for a lot of things that might've happened. it's so difficult to go back and say we know how those dominoes would've fallen had he gotten elected. >> . .
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macarthur took the position okay the war had begun and as he famously said in war there is no room for -- german new that actually ran nuclear war is a possibility there is a substitute for victory and that his survival so macarthur led to his grave saying if i could have gone after china, if i could have gone all out against china we would have world war iii and he was able to say, and the soviet union would not have dared to enter the war again. this was the position he took
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with truman and this is the position he took publicly. he was able to get away with saying that because the if part was never followed through. i happen to think he was wrong. true and certainly thought he was wrong but in any event he could say if we have done this and know what to prove them wrong and macarthur had suspiciously high esteem for his own views that he really had to prove him wrong for him to even agitating the thought. >> let's take another question. right here. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> patton was the one who said the united states ought to go ahead and attack the soviet union. it was that mindset that mcarthur shared and this was the mindset of you can call it sort of the battlefield general although macarthur was not strictly speaking a battlefield general but he did at the attitude of this was widely shared by americans because world war ii became the model for americans for how world -- war out to be fought. back in american history the all-out war that ended with unconditional surrender of the enemy that was the anomaly. that's not the way things used a happen but after world war ii because this was the signature war for an entire generation of americans it was the mantra. we were attacked we went all out and it was relatively short and we went all out and that was
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that. it's also what macarthur was dealing with in korea because americans became very frustrated at americans inability to win this war against the clearly inferior enemy so that was essential to the rift between truman and macarthur and the second part of that is the buck stopping with harry truman. there's no question about that. the responsibility in the responsibility. macarthur could behave irresponsibly precisely because the burden was not on him to preserve american interests around the world and to consider the peace of the world as a whole. he had the theater commanders notion that this theater was it in sherman had to deal with the whole world. >> in no speaking of truman being in that role when of the
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things we celebrate about truman essentially today that we appreciate about truman in hindsight was he was a man whom it had to make a lot of tough decisions. he ends up in this odd role and yet in your book we see truman kind of waffles on the question. he waffles on korea and even in this report of macarthur do you think there's anything about the subject matter about korea or about macarthur that would cause us to question our celebration of harry truman? >> i would say celebrating harry truman is certainly farther then i go in the book. i don't think i gave him anymore and he was extempore rising in korea at the way he was in
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europe when he became president in 1945 he didn't have the marshall plan. he was able to work his way through it so when dealing with korea and in dealing with macarthur the first thing to keep in mind is that the outbreak of fighting in korea to truman by surprise, took macarthur by surprise, everybody by surprise and the second thing was it took the communist side by surprise but the united states so swiftly went to south korea because the united states had declared that korea was not part of america's national security zone. korea was not strategically important to the united states and when americans, with united states pulled its troops out of korea in 1949 there was no idea that the united states was becoming -- the united states troops are coming back in what happened between the pullout in
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coming back in with economists wanted chinese civil civil war and this changed everything because now communism is on the march and furthermore it's worth bearing in mind that the north atlantic trita was barely a year old when the korean war broke out and the north atlantic treaty changed everything for united states because for the first time since the 18th century the united states was committed to peacetime alliance in the united states if somebody attacked one of our nato allies we will go to the defense of that ally. america's credibility was on the line and america's credibility was on the line in korea so the united states needed to respond to this additional communist aggression and initially this was going to be a defensive maneuver and by the soviet delegate not being present at the security council at the time the war broke out than that it
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was possible the united states under the aegis of the nice nation so the u.n. operation in the authorization that south korea will be liberated. didn't say them away -- invade northern korea but when macarthur engineered this brilliant and run and nearly captured the entire north korean army at that point chairman and macarthur got greedy and they decided you you know what's why stop? why stop at the 30th parallel? we can clear the continent out of all of korea. it turned out it was a bad decision because there was a little bit harder to complete the capture of the north korean forces than macarthur and truman have thought and it brought americans up close to the border with china. this is where there were some
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serious misinterpretation. the chinese thought, what they said that south korean troops, but in supporter with china no big deal but at the american troops come close to the border with china that will be a big deal in china will have to intervene. because there were strong voices in united states mostly among the republicans who said the united states ought to reopen the chinese civil war and there are people like arthur that actually did and the american commander in korea so macarthur is sending american church right against china's border. the chinese had warned if american troops to close we are going to into the world. macarthur didn't believe him. harry truman flew all the way to the wake island to meet with macarthur who didn't have the good grace to fly to washington to greet the president said he would even come halfway or to
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san francisco or even to hawaii. he said i'm sorry wake island is as far as i can go for truman was willing to humor macarthur because macarthur was telling him the war is almost over. truman had strong suspicion of macarthur's willingness to obey orders. it's important to bear in mind that in the minds of many americans douglas macarthur clearly outranked harry truman. it's true, chairman was president of the united states and constitutionally commander-in-chief but harry truman had risen to the rank of military captain. in a matter for macarthur is saying -- the chinese will never dare to enter the war and if we do -- if they do we will annihilate them. china does enter the war and if anybody's getting annihilated its not china, it's american forces so when macarthur proceeds to say i think we ought
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to go all out against china and if we do they will never dare enter the war at that point they realize his credibility is not so good. >> sir would you be willing at great risk to compare donald trump's personality to -- [laughter] >> no. >> the first thing i would say i was very sorry to hear that douglas macarthur was his favorite general and i can understand the seal of macarthur to a lot of people especially when the united states is fighting another limited wars. the war against isis is in some ways like a war in korea. it states clearly has military force to defeat ice is just as it clearly has a military force to defeat north korea but there are reasons that the united states is has not brought all that's military forces to bear
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against isis but it does lead to frustration on the part of lots of people. we are this great military power and we spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year and we can't beat this ragtag ancient terrace in the middle of the desert so for truman to say we need more generals like macarthur is natural except that when trump says, and when trump said when he went on to say he wouldn't have generals give interviews that's when i said he does not know mccarthy because macarthur gave interview after interview and that's the whole problem. that's the reason he got fired but harry truman tickets he gave some interviews where he said, and actually there some kind of misimpression that surrounds truman's decision. it wasn't as though truman, i mean truman did have a temper, there's no question about that
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but he didn't fire macarthur because he was mad at macarthur. they didn't hire macarthur for insubordination because he technically didn't violate any rules. he fired macarthur because macarthur was elaborately creating confusion as to what america's policy towards the communist power was in when the president of the united states would say we are trying to keep this war in korea contained in limited and then the commander for american forces was saying we need to expand the war against china then the world got confused and truman decided you know i don't want the world confused and that's something that's also really important to keep in mind and that is that kerry truman was very sensitive to the possibility of nuclear war. more sensitive than anybody else because harry truman held and still holds that unique
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distinction of being the only person in all of history ever to order the use of atomic weapons during wartime. now chairman claimed in his memoirs and post-war and if you study thought very seriously about using the bomb against japan but when he gave the decision afterwards he didn't give a second thought. i'm not sure i believe that and if i believe it i'm not sure i like it because that's a huge decision. i would like to think that if harry truman spent a few sleepless light -- the sleepless nights over it i will tell you this he was sensitive to the possibility that as world war ii ended with the use of nuclear weapons world war iii would begin with the use of nuclear weapons. one other chronological coincidence here was that just months before the war in korea began the soviet union tested its first atom bomb so from 1945
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through let's say the berlin blockade and the berlin crisis the united states could contemplate using a nuclear weapon and not have to worry about nuclear repercussions against united states for truman understood that the war in korea when it's in the united states would be on the receiving end of the soviet nuclear weapon. >> another question. anybody have their hand about there? yes, sir. >> it seems the korean war and chairman are a knott were there other instances prior to the
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korean war were where you have these examples of limited war and we are seeing them of course today. >> sure. i would say pretty much every war the united states fought before world war ii was a limited force of the war of 1812 ended in a failing. the united states, there were some people and i say to set the u.s. ought to take all of mexico and the united states did not take all of mexico. in fact the unconditional surrender aspect of world war ii was a little bit overdrawn. the political decision was to utterly destroy the nazi regime and the reason for this was that world war i had another war that ended in a limited fashion. it ended with a cease-fire and the german government still remains. it was quickly overthrown in a revolution but it wasn't
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preceded by the allied forces. the reason for unconditional policy toward germany was to prevent what happened in the 1920s and 1930s when adolf hitler said we didn't lose that war, we were betrayed and what he said was we were betrayed by the and that was one of the reasons we were willing to pick on the of that decision was we were going to bite german to the bitter end and destroy but another reason was that was the glue that held the grand alliance together. the british, the americans and soviets could create only one thing and that was the need to destroy nazism in germany. i would add the one the pacific did not and in unconditional surrender. that there was a conditional surrender the condition was the japan got to keep -- and i was a huge deal in something that was sufficiently wary of four. they also realize that japan was comparatively small potatoes compared to germany. there would have been a whole
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lot of anger and upset in the united states if world war ii, the war in europe had ended in the american said you know what let's just leave hitler in power. that never would have flown but that's essentially what happened in japan. the emperor, because americans during the war had been led to believe that the emperor was behind all of this. there is a question as to how much responsibility they actually have but the reason for this was the american leadership and macarthur contributed to this although it wasn't his decision entirely, recognize that after the war ended it would be really handy to have the emperor of their because the emperor will help me govern japan. so this idea that america fights this war all out and then it stops, that was the anomaly. it really applied primarily to the war in europe and so a limited conflict the united states had these are really
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standard in war but it's very rare that one side gets utterly defeated and rubbing salt in the wound of carnage or something like that. that doesn't happen most of the time. >> i'm going to have to borrow your microphone. i wanted to talk a little bit about the aftermath of the relieving of macarthur and what that meant. you make a very eloquent statement toward the end that truman asic we deals his own fate and there was good reason for him to do that but it's interesting to me that macarthur and up discrediting himself in a way described in not understanding and i wanted to read a quote after he comes back to heroes will he addresses congress and he testifies before the committee and then the committee starts talking to other people in the administration. and got a very different picture
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of why things have happened. they were much more sympathetic to truman put an interesting concept was that it was never remain public to the testimony remain sealed. these people who heard the testimonies, they didn't -- in public. they no longer looked at him as a credible alternative to truman on military strategy or policy. they easily from the general and they never said why and macarthur never found out. i think that's intriguing. >> any talk about how that is different from how it might happen today? >> i would be happy to an it's one of the things that let you back to the story. i first encountered the truman and macarthur story and exit at a asked the question don't feel obliged to answer the don't want to.
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question, how many of you remember if you were alive when these events happened so maybe you remember hearing that macarthur got fire. the reason i asked the question is that i was born in 1953 so i learned about it in school. i first came a cross it when i was in fact doing some research at the truman library so i knew generally about the story but there was some part of the story that didn't quite add up and make sense. just had to do with the fact that macarthur gets fired and most of the american people blame harry truman for being female or in with the communists. a carpet comes home to a hero's welcome. he gives a command performance before a joint session of congress and he gives a speech and this is that the dog of the age of television. in fact these days you can go on youtube and you can punch up macarthur's speech in congress
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it is a fantastic speech. i don't think i've ever seen a political speech that is more effective. he got people to cheer when he wanted them to cheer and cry when he wanted to cry. in his last fight, old soldiers never die, they just fade away. oh my god. if in fact congress has been the republican nominating convention he would got the nomination right there produces a speech that william jennings bryan speech. it would have just carry today and then shortly after that he goes before a joint committee meeting of the joint senate committee foreign relations committee to basically tell members of the committee about what chairman had got wrong and it's having to do with firing. for three days he gets a learned disposition and why his approach was right and why the president was wrong. and then the senate calls other
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members, george marshall who is secretary of defense in dean acheson the secretary of state and omar bradley the chairman of the joint chiefs and then the burqa was the airports chief of staff in various other chiefs and all these other people. most of the americans thought the testimony was open. they thought these hearings were open because every day he read in the newspaper page after page after page. "new york times" the testimony transcripts ran eight to 10 pages, full pages so the american people were buried in this testimony. they all got the impression that these were open hearings. they weren't. they were actually closed hearings but they were 99.8% open because there were transcriptionists in the transcriptionists could show it the next day. after all they had heard they thought they had heard the whole story but they hadn't. it was the part they hadn't
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heard that was kind of this mystery to me because i knew this part about how macarthur comes home and there were people within the truman administration was strongly suspected macarthur had put truman up to firing him. they wanted a carpet to get tired so he could let chairman run for president. what better way than to run against terry truman who had made the mistake of firing? he gives his testimony and he has this really popular guy. in fact there's a town in texas called truman texas. the town of truman texas said we have got to rename it because they were much more favor of macarthur. this political balloon launches very promisingly and macarthur goes on a campaign tour and he gets gets to stage islamic country and comes to texas and lashes into truman. although wild still wearing his army uniform with this five
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stars. truman had the sense not to say anything in response. he realized that they give up macarthur enough rope to hang himself. what chairman really didn't realize was macarthur had already hanged himself and so when i first came across the story in the 1980s i couldn't figure out why the air leaked out of macarthur's balloon the way it did. it was just going up really well and then his campaign just -- and the reason i couldn't figure out than was i said 99% was. these were closed hearings in there were moments when george marshall as a person turns driving this cannot be released.
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that's the kept off the record and what he said was he gave chapter and verse by macarthur's approach in china was first of all wrongheaded and secondly the macarthur complained about having to fight the chinese with one hand tied behind his back and how this limited war was working to the benefit of the chinese martial and omar bradley the chairman of the joint chiefs and voip vandenberg said he got it entirely wrong. the reason that have to be kept private was that marshall and bradley in the american leadership didn't want to advertise to the chinese into the soviets we are as fit as can be in vandenberg said the american air force is just a shoestring air force and every fair play and is fighting korea. this would be an invitation to the soviets so you want to move
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on berlin, go ahead. that's also why neither i or most anybody at the time could figure out what happened to macarthur's political balloon. it just comes down and he never found out why. between the time i encountered story when i wrote the book the rest of the testimony was released so i could read them that what they were saying. so this bitter anti-german voice the ones who were in favor of macarthur, the ones who would have been his strongest supporters to run for president realize oh my god because this guy had actually done what he wanted to do and we would be in world war iii and we would probably lose. macarthur really did never find out what happened. he says okay, what happened? there was another general who decides to throw his hat in the ring. dwight eisenhower realized maybe
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it's time for general and eisenhower have this common touch that macarthur utterly lacks. if macarthur had run for president in the age of torit washington when you could present yourself as being better than everybody else then he might have had a chance. by the 1950s you had to be that good and --. >> another question? >> the dilutions by bradley and marshall about expanding the war , what is the primary things that may chairman make his decision or did he make that independently? >> i want to think you made it independently. truman is very good about listening to his advisers in the principle advisers on the subject were george marshall and
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dean acheson but he would also get back up, marshall would get back up as u.s. secretary of defense from joint chiefs. they could say we only have so many divisions and it was why when macarthur promised just before china to the war in korea he said i'm going to have troops home by christmas. they were going to come home. they were going to go back to europe where they were made because united states had signed the north atlantic treaty that the u.s. needed to put military strength into that. germany was relatively undefended so they understood that we cannot afford to get logged down in korea. again this is part of the story that the united states government would not broadcast if we simply do not have the resources to fight a it to theater war in the 1950s soap we get into more deeply involved in asia that will tempt the soviets to move in europe and we don't have the troops to deal
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with it. the thinking was the united states, one of the things the korean war did was to spark a dramatic rearmament by the united states but it was about a three-year plan. it started in the 1950s and bradley and marshall and truman and acheson decided world war iii could be postponed until at least 1953 and then we probably would would not have to be fought. it didn't turn always was that the soviets would think that they had in the damage in a particular place at a particular time and they did have an advantage and they certainly would have had a rate advantage of united states had gotten deeper into the war in asia. now macarthur never believed he was wrong, never at that he was wrong about what happened in china. the way he put it to truman was we will attack china and the soviets won't respond.
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macarthur's credibility was not particularly great after he said the same thing about china. >> this gentleman right here has a question, in the front. >> i was a child. my dad was a combat in europe. my dad was in the national guard but what i'm thinking about what i can remember hearing is truman was a wonderful general. eisenhower is popular and everything is fine in the world but people like truman rehabilitated and became now the wonderful and great president that he was.
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how did truman become the great man and lose that reputation? >> it's because truman has a presidential library. [laughter] [inaudible] >> that i will say this that the truman case is one where history really did vindicate harry truman. by the time he left office in 1983 he was the most unpopular president in american history before or send. his popular purple rating was lower than that of richard nixon's at the death of watergate. truman or the constitution could have run for for president again
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in 1953 that even the democrats wanted him to get out of town because he was dragging down the dash so he says enough families. spot there remained very low to the 1950s when americans look to the outcome in korea and said this half-hearted unsatisfactory attempt is not something i want to repeat because again americans were thinking wars are to be phot all-out to win. macarthur was a more compelling figure during the 1950s. truman begins to rise a little bit during the 1960s as the korea story is repeated in vietnam except that it was discovered by the late 1960s there are worse outcomes than a land war in asia namely leading to an american defeat in the war. by 1968 lyndon johnson would
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have given his right arm for a korea style result in vietnam but it really wasn't for more than a decade after that that truman's reputation begins to soar. not until the end of the cold war because germans essential policy of containment was the policy that said we don't have to defeat communism. communism will defeat itself. all we have to do is prevent it from spreading too far. that's what the containment was all about and we have to make sure that we don't blow up the world is world war iii. that's what his policy in korea was all about. by the early 1990s it became clear that the united states had won the war. the cold war had ended on americans turn despite truman's terms. it took 40 years but at that point all the decisions german-made truman made in the
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late 1940s seem to be really wise and farsighted. so it's at that point that truman becomes, truman who is ranked right down there with ulysses grant james buchanan and warren harding at the bottom of the list of present rose to the 1990s to take a position where he is now. that is in the top say five or six. right below the triumvirate of washington lincoln and at t.r. but he is up there so is truman and theodore roosevelt and maybe woodrow wilson but it's because he was playing the long game and it took a long time for the long game to pay off but it finally did. this is one where i'm not going to try to speak for george w. bush but i can't help thinking that he hopes history does a truman on him. in the moment the decision went to iraq and 1953.
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history vindicated truman so maybe it will vindicate george w. bush. who knows? >> would the comment -- [inaudible] [inaudible] >> okay, so the aspect of the bipartisanship in foreign-policy comment was a different world that truman inhabits than americans have it in the 1940s because at that time as an all
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american history and tell them they really up 1980s both political parties are coalitions and so there were liberal republicans as well as conservative republicans. there were conservative democrats as well as liberal democrats in so he was entirely possible to forge a bipartisan domestic policy but even more a bipartisan foreign-policy and truman understood the possibilities and he understood the necessities especially when he was engaged in these novel projects like the marshall plan and it was very important to get leading republicans like arthur vandenberg to come on board. it was possible to do that then. it's a lot harder to do that today. truman could be seen as a model for this is what you try to do and policy. but the parties have changed starting in the 1960s when lyndon johnson really nailed the
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democratic party to civil rights reform, when johnson did it in made it a priority what johnson did was begin dissecting out of the political parties. the first thing that happened was the conservative white southern democrat left the democratic party. they had been more conservatives than many republicans and tell them so they slowly gravitated out of the democratic party and with became republicans. while those democrats moved into the republican party many liberal republicans felt increasingly uncomfortable in their public and party moved in with the democrats of today with the situation where there is no overlap between the two parties. the most liberal republican is more conservative than the most conservative democrat. this wasn't so bad then. truman was able to get this bipartisan seal of approval on these important initiatives. it was essential to their success.
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it would be really hard for a president to get that today. it's a matter for snow but it's also a matter of the makeup of the political party. >> one final question. >> when truman integrated the services you know, i was born in 1950 and i was born in a military hospital. the other thing is he tried to get national health care too and here we are 70 years later and at blew up on us. >> harry truman was a bold president in foreign-policy and he is given a lot of credit for what he accomplished.
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he really changed american foreign policy. he was a bold president domestically as well. this gives much credit for that because he had less success of harry truman tried to get congress to consider supports legislation in the 1940s that congress wasn't willing to go there partly because he wasn't getting much support him his own party from conservative southerners and some party is also republicans fail to give truman factor in anything especially with 1948 election coming up it was assumed the republicans were going to win in 1948 to the democrats held the white house since 1932 and in american politics the grievances just add up. so eventually decide okay that party's had been in power long enough that we are going to put in her republican. the republicans weren't going to give harry truman in a success on civil rights and the democrats weren't going to go along with it either so truman wanted civil rights legislation which is the best way to go decided to take executive
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action. he's ordering the military to desegregate that truman discovers what he predicts about eisenhower when eisenhower was elected. truman did try to get eisenhower to run as a democrat in 1948 and he said i sympathize general if you would run. this was right after chairman became president and he was uncomfortable with being president. as he became more comfortable with the president, by the time eisenhower got elected he was thinking eisenhower wasn't going to be very good president through what he said was he's going to think politics is like the army and he's going to give an order and he's going to say do this and do that and in the army he's not going to know what to do. truman attempted so arrested from the military because
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germane gave the order that the military will desegregate that the military took the position that of course the military is among other things appear a kris-ann bearcats tend to realize the presents presidents come and go but the bureaucrats are made so they found any number of reasons to drag their feet about desegregating the military. when the korean war began two years after truman had given the order to military was as segregated as ever. what changed the minds of the military was the military crisis in korea when american forces got beaten up and the generals discover that they had to throw whoever they had into whatever holes they had so they started putting black soldiers and foxholes with white soldiers. the army brass until then said it's going to ruin the left
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because these conservative southern white guys aren't going to want to fight next to these black soldiers. they'll discover that when the bullets are zinging overhead if somebody says we can do the job that it's okay. it was partly truman's order to desegregate the military but it was the necessity of the korean war that did it. truman doesn't get sufficient credit for pushing the democratic party in that direction. lyndon johnson gets most of the credit that johnson himself understood that chairman was able to do things that made what he was able to do possible. partly it was that truman was from the state, missouri so he wasn't a full ball -- full-blown southerners but he understood what it meant to be a black person in the south and the necessity for the united states
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entered the 20th century on that subject. >> i love that comment about things that johnson was able to accomplish. we have a wonderful recording of johnson white house calling truman on christmas morning in 1968 in wishing him a merry christmas and staff at resented him a plaque of all the legislation that passed and the major culprits went to visit and a speaking to truman. he said only half of those items began with harry 25 years or whatever it was and he very much appreciated the groundwork that harry truman had late to that in the back to that an impact here .51 years ago when the johnson and harry truman sat on this very stage inside the medicaid medicare act. he came from washington to the truman library to sign that legislation and he gave the first card number one to harry truman and number two to bess truman so he honors the men outweigh for the things he had
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done. one last question. [inaudible] [laughter] my uncles served in the pacific arena during the second world war. he signed up with his mothers signature to get in. he was killed in 1942 and had no great love for macarthur. he ended up in the bataan death march dying in the hospital. to this day you can forget macarthur but never forget our military. he was in the a prisoner of war camp in the philippines and they are trying to identify through dna all the relatives so that these people can be properly
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buried. my hats off to our government and to all the military forces. [applause] >> very good. >> we need to wrap up so we can do some book signings but i want to ask you one final question, kind of a what does it all mean? what does this moment in history tell us? i think we often talk about the constitutional ramifications of this, the civilian supremacy of the military being sort of cemented if you will in this way you can talk about the truman doctrine may be applied more to europe into asia. what are the big takeaways just quickly what are the big things we have learned and again i think you've done a great job of balancing this and not making a hero and villain story out of it but a candid moment in our history was once the decision
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had been made. >> first of all the story here is that this is the moment where there is this i will use the word robust debate within the frustration about what policy is. some presidents are reluctant to have that. they want decisions, consensus reached at a lower level and they want a stamp of approval of that. truman wasn't like that. german want to see the opposing view and he was willing to certain point to have those views aired in public so truman demonstrated that there is a nature of leadership that is not afraid of being challenged and so chairman tolerated macarthur for a long time. there is a moment and you mentioned the constitutional aspects. this is really crucial because since harry truman, we'll call them originally and nobody from kansas city, fired douglas
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macarthur who is was the most celebrated decorated soldier in a generation, since then there's never been any serious challenge to civilian control of the military. it is taken as a matter of force that this is the way we run things in this country. but there are small aspects of the story that show those truman , humanity but also an understanding of and i would say the office that he held and sometimes lets let's say in the last 18 months or so i think that the office of the president and it goes farther back than that has not been held in a kind of respect. there's a moment when truman has decided macarthur needs to be be -- and he intended that macarthur would receive the news personally from the
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secretary of war who was traveling in east asia but the truman white house got wind that macarthur had heard about truman and was going to resign ahead of being formally release. truman was not going to give macarthur that satisfaction so truman repaired a press conference, excuse me he prepared a press release and in the press release he's going to say this, the president has decided that macarthur is going to be relieved of his duties and one of the young press secretaries there said i presume you'll want to include that this was on the unanimous recommendation of your top civilian and military at writers which was indeed the case. macarthur needs to be released in truman turns to this young guy and he says son, not tonight tonight the world will know that
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i is present of united states in firing douglas macarthur. tomorrow they can find out he came on the a vice of everybody else but it's not my responsibility and i'm taking the heat for this one. this is one where the buck really did stop with harry truman. [applause] >> build brand celebrated author historian with this fantastic book. i recommended to all of you but you got to take my word for picking bottom by her copy and if you stick around for another few minutes you can even get it signed. thank you all for being here. [applause]
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>> my parents came here with bvap. the story changes sometimes.
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we were just going to see, check out the states or you know my mother had hopes of making a family here and making your dreams come true. and eventually their visa expired and they wanted to try to figure out a way to become citizens. their journey in their quest. so they were undocumented. my childhood was shaped by that fact. my parents were very honest with me. as a young girl i knew what their status was and i knew clearly what my status was. i was an american citizen and a warrant so i had something that they wanted very desperately and they made it very clear that we needed that so that we could stay together. i remember every prayer, every
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wish was that my parents got the papers that they needed so that we could stay together. we managed to live our lives and it was certainly scary and i know anybody who has been through the experience knows how interesting your life can become when you are living in the shadows. >> i have art explained that what i wanted to do was to take words, so many books about language take the well-known examples of words and take you through them. if you view the history of english you will find
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descriptions of the words that are now the other histories of english and when i'd written something and the paragraph that i just written that i thought was of interest i checked it in the oed checked check what the story was and then just wrote it out from my perspective. on the one hand i was showing you the details but also trying to approach it in a way that was readable. this is quite difficult dictionary to read sometimes if you are not familiar with it. and this is an example for the were transferred to know if you are familiar with the origin but i have 60 days worth of boxes that describe individual words so if you will bear with me with this we will see what will transpire.
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there are all sorts of things and they're quite fun. in the mid-to late 18th century transpired cause no end of arguments between otherwise healthy individuals. there were people who think the word should mean are they used to mean for any deviation from this is heresy. it's somehow related in its origin to ignorance well the only argument over words transpire or at least its aged equivalent has a literal meaning but over the centuries english speakers have to use the technical word. the word transpire is known in english from the latter end of the 16th century and derived from russian trance as an across and spare rory is to breed inspiration and spirit etc.. you're expected to mean something to do with transmission by breathing. here's how the oed view settled meaning.
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them it is a false or surface of the body to give off discharger waste etc. from the body through the skin. that's the old meaning of the word. now what we nowadays think the best transpire. as we move to the 17th century the range of context grows at the core of meaning remains constant. perspiration comes into it frequently the quick passing from inside to outside art outside to in. it's turns out to be quite a useful word. the first hiccup on the road occurred in 1748. it concerns lord chesterfield who later was gerrer support from his proposed dictionary when he realized it was veering off the track. in 1748 or chesterfield ironically and despite his
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general qualms on language change decided to use the word transpire bigger tip we. when writing to one of his correspondence this is what he wrote. this message goes to you in that conference conference in which i place in you and not one word of it will transpire. there's nothing wrong with that should you be the person that finds nothing wrong with language and the french used a slightly earlier. what chesterfield was saying was not one word of this content -- the development from me transpiration is easy and unexceptionable but when he addressed to work in his dictionary he found a semantic shift too much. a sense they have innovated from the past without necessity. what happened next cent language
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into deep to climb to cling to us american lady abigail adams wife of the second president of united states who is credited with writing in 1775 to her husband in the continental congress in philadelphia there's nothing that has transpired since i wrote u.s.. i'm sure there's used in this way before she did it at the moment she has all the credit. language purists hated this new meaning to a grant to happen. no permeation or at least only permission in trance vibration of the very loosest friday in the sense of something moving from one state and of nothing happening to another state and something happening. organic change that this should not happen in 18th century style. it might well be americanism and americans -- dance card and brenton in 1775 and 76 and probably made the usage less popular. the third edition of the oed
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from the early 20th century despairs. it is a misuse. the dictionary evidently rising from misunderstandings such as what had transpired that he did not know which is a way of explaining something. this novel gives of the work is pretty common in the united states nor does it appear to be uncommon in england. though it has been repeatedly censored by judicious critics here and there as improper. another thing to keep in mind actually transpires.
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