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tv   2018 Roosevelt Reading Festival - Susan Dunn A Blueprint for War  CSPAN  August 21, 2018 8:01pm-8:49pm EDT

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who waged a secret japan. abdicating overlord about how the allies land the d-day invasion. you are watching special tuesday night edition of a tv on c-span2. at the fdr library in hyde park new york, gives college professor susan dunn talked about u.s. efforts to mobilize for world war ii. she is the author of "a bleprint for war" about the first 100 days of the roosevelt administration. his 45 minute event was part of the roosevelt reading festival. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon and welcome, everyone.
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my name is paul sparrow. the director here at the franklin roosevelt presidential library museum. welcome to the 15th annual roosevelt reading festival. it's been a great day so far. [applause] i wanted thank you all for coming. how many of your members, raise your hand. look at that. your membership allows us to do programs like this. we have one of our trustees, dr. la mesa, who has been a strong supporter of the library for many years. thank you. we're lucky not to have a former you're here, cynthia cook. [applause] cynthia held with renovation and restoration of the exhibit and was a real force in helping modernize the library here. one of our key goals is to try to connect with the researchers who actually use the archives here. almost everyone who has spoken today has used the national archives in washington for our archives here and hyde park. it is important to see that
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these are living resources. these are things put away that they use everyday. over over a thousand researchers come here to hyde park to use their archives last year and probably 10,000 have access to materials online. this is a vibrant and important archive and it's critical to maintaining and keeping it. i am so proud to be introducing susan dunn today. she's a longtime supporter and friend of the library. she's been coming here for many years. she's the massachusetts professors at humanities at williams college and the author of a dozen books, including roosevelts purge: how fdr fought the change of the democratic party, 1940: fdr, hitler, the election amid the storm. that sounds like a bad law firm, doesn't it? [laughter] the three roosevelt, leaders who transformed america appeared in her new book, which is really very important for us.
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we are doing an exhibit on d-day. "a blueprint for war: fdr and hte hundred days that mobilized america." please welcome him one of the leading experts, susan dunn. [applause] >> thank you, paul, for that lovely introduction. can you hear me now? thank you. and so small the microphone was up there. thank you, paul, for that lovely introduction. i think we're all grateful to paul sparrow, the presidential library and museum. in close loud for organizing this wonderful roosevelt reading festival. [cheers and [applause] i would like to begin with a little story about escaping.
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in 1939, president franklin roosevelt proposed a two-year experiment. he wanted to move the date of thanksgiving up one week from the customary force thursday november to the goal was to extend the lucrative shopping season between thanksgiving and christmas and thereby give a boost to business. most states agreed to try the experiment, but the six new england states and 11 others decline. the mayor of plymouth, massachusetts, where pilgrims celebrated the first things giving in 1621 we -- in plymouth, massachusetts on the fourth thursday in november, 1940, 3000 men, women and children put on pilgrim costumes and poured into memorial hall to commemorate the first thanksgiving. some of them played the parts of
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governor william bradford, military advisor miles standish in the indian leader massasoit and they reenacted scenes from the past. the signing of the mayflower compact that was the first written expression of democratic self government in america, the landing at plymouth rock in the first thanksgiving. in the early evening as they all streamed out of memorial hall into the fresh falling snow in the wintry stillness of the november dusk, they heard the shout of newsboys selling a thursday evening paper. germany bombs plymouth. 200 tons of bombs fall on plymouth. for eight long hours, they had lifted their liquor couple of bombs on the british port city of limit on the english channel. 150 german planes destroying
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warehouses may be used to provide an block in the harbor in the harbor so that new shipments of rms couldn't arrive. the nazi goal was twofold to reduce to flames and rubble and industrial target and morale by depositing how upon its people. when the minister of the first church in plymouth, massachusetts heard the news of the bombing in plymouth, england, he dashed off a telegram to his british brethren. your sorrows are our sorrows he wrote. your battles are our battles. from plymouth, massachusetts to plymouth, england, saigon. god be. elsewhere in the united states on thanksgiving days and i people watched parades and
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attended church services, enjoy turkey dinners and played football. in the early evening they turn on the lights come and they, they laugh and they slept safely in their beds. but soon, americans would have to decide if the mayor and minister in plymouth, massachusetts was right. where the british sorrows, their battles are battles. and then franklin roosevelt and his team of advisers would have to answer those questions. and so i would like to discuss with you today the two crucial plans to roosevelt and his extraordinary team devised to answer those questions. the year before the attack on pearl harbor. the priorities and goals in case the nation entered war.
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and this statement would be known as plan dog. the second plan was a colossal program to rescue great britain by providing with armaments. and what fdr called the arsenal of democracy. and it was called cleanly. in 1940, roosevelt defeated his excellent republican opponent, wendell wilkie. the first american president to serve a third term in the white house. but after his election he was own tired from all the campaigning in speeches. and in fact, he was so tired that many people in washington and around the country feared that he wasn't really engaged in the terrible world crisis. fortunately, roosevelt was surrounded by a brilliant team of advisers. secretary of war, henry stimson. secretary of the navy, frank knox, army chief of staff,
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general george marshall and naval chief of operations, admiral stark. they admitted that it could be trying to work with their commander-in-chief. in november 1940, stimson wrote in his diary that the president i didn't mean to follow a consecutive chain of thought. he seemed to hop around from idea to idea stems and said it was like chasing a beam of sunshine around a vacant room. but stimson knox and marshall quartet understood the need for a clearly focused strategic plan and a formal statement of priorities and goals so that the army and navy chiefs would have a solid aces were coordinating their planning and for reading future military contingencies. in mid-november, the person who took the lead was admiral stark,
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who had the memorable nickname of betty. one evening in the late fall of 1940, he used an ancient device called a manual typewriter [laughter] and laid out a menu of four different wartime strategies that the united states could adopt. and at the end, he concluded with his own opinion of what america's prime objectives and strategy should be. stark posed the crucial question, we're should we fight the war and for what object is? he offered these four scenarios. plan a proposed that the united states maintain a purely defensive posture in the western hemisphere and avoid any involvement in the war for as long as possible though the u.s. could provide material help u.s.
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allies. plan b proposed a defensive posture in the atlantic but a fall offensive against japan in the pacific. and they rely on the british to hold their own in the atlantic indefinitely. plan c., this was the nightmare scenario. the u.s. would wage offensive wars on two fronts. the atlantic and the pacific. the stark emphasized a two ocean war would disperse u.s. forces and virtually preclude successful operations in either theater. the last scenario was playing d., the united states would direct all its efforts towards a strong offensive in the atlantic and an ally of written with the goal of defeating germany while maintaining only a defensive position against japan in the pacific. stark firmly recommended that
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the roosevelt administration adopt plan b. he rejected the other options as to when he laid out the logic of his argument. first, the security in its empire as well as the strength of its navy would greatly ensure the security of the united state in the western hemisphere. second, it was germany and not japan that most seriously threatened britain's security and even if survival. third, therefore it was germany that also posed the greatest danger to the security of the united states. and it was therefore in the interest of both american and british security should use the fall offensive strength of the united states in one single direction. and atlantic first defeats germany strategy. the quartet and the white house
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did indeed adopt plan d. the word dog stands for the letter d. and so, the strategy became known as plan dog and plan dog meant that the faith of the united states was now inextricably bound to that of britain. now even though in 1942 and most of 1943, more american forces would in fact be deployed against japan then against germany. plan dog never the less defined america's fair amount or time strategy and goals through the utterly unforeseeable events of the most destructive war in world history. and by the way, here's a footnote. if anyone ever mentions to you the paranoid conspiracy theory that fdr had really wanted the
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attack on pearl harbor to take place, you can mention to those people plan dog and explain to them that the last thing in the world that fdr and his team wanted was a two ocean war. for subject number two, it all started in early december 1943 when a pale and weary franklin roosevelt decided to exchange cold and gray washington for a warm and sunny caribbean cruise. before he left washington for miami come reporters asked him why he wasn't willing to say where he was going. well, fdr said i'm not going to deceive you. we are going to christmas island to buy christmas cards and then we are going to easter island to buy easter eggs. [laughter] and all the reporters laughed. in miami on december 3rd they
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boarded the uss tuscaloosa. they relaxed in the gentle breezes of the caribbean. they finished, played card games, joked around, drink martinis and watched movies in the evening on the deck. a navy plane delivered special letter for roosevelt for winston churchill who later said this was one of the most important letters he ever wrote. that letter catapulted roosevelt from calm seas and sunny blue skies into a dark war-torn world. churchill began his letter with a solemn observation that the future of our two democracies and their humane in light meant civilization now depended on the military aid that the u.s. could provide to britain and he asked for supreme and decisive help in
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our common cause. churchill did not ask for americans soldiers. instead, he very pointedly wrote, give us the tools and we will finish the job. he did not believe that the british could not win the war without american forces, but he couldn't do that yet to his american cousins. so he said that what the british needed with american ships, planes, tanks and other weapons. up to that point in december, the british had been able to pay for american weapons and transport them through dangerous waters on their own ships. and this policy was known as cash and carry. but not churchill wrote the moment approaches when we shall no longer be able to pay cash for shipping and other supplies. the bottom line is the world's
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greatest empire was begging the american president for help. fdr's closest aide comment harry hopkins had joined him on that cruise and hopkins watched the president sitting alone in his deck chair reading and rereading churchill's leather silently. and then hopkins wrote one evening fdr's mood suddenly changed. in a matter of days while sailing the caribbean, and the president had come up with one of the most consequential policies of the entire war. the commitment to supply the british army, navy and air force with all the tools of war the needed. everything, absolutely free of charge. and now there would be no more
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masquerade of american neutrality. it would be clear to the whole world where the united states stood and that was alongside and wedded to britain. if the president's plan was approved and funded by congress, the united states would become the unquestioned leader of the democratic forces in the war that was taking place between two world, the criminal world of the nazi gangsters and the enlightenment world of john locke, edmund burke, george washington, james madison, thomas jefferson and alexander hamilton. fdr returned to washington on december 16th. in the next day, he held one of his most memorable press conferences. as usual, he began by casually saying that he didn't have any particular news.
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and then he said there was one small item he could mention. he told the reporters that it was becoming all too clear that the u.s. needed to do everything it could to help the british empire defend itself and that meant supplying britain with more material. one reporter asked about payment and then fdr gave his famous reply, now when i'm trying to do is eliminate the dollar sign, the silly old foolish dollar sign. here's an illustration. suppose my neighbors house catches fire and i have a long garden hose. he takes my garden hose and connects it to my hydrant. i can help them put out the fire. i don't say that before the operation. you have to pay me $15 for it.
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i don't want $15. i want my garden hose back after the fire is over. but what if they get smashed up? he'll replace it. if i get a nice garden hose back, i'm in pretty good shape. another reporter asked the president at the thought that his new plan would take the u.s. further into war. and the president had a short reply. nope, not if it. roosevelt had framed his new policy in both moral and practical terms. he was following the golden rule by generously offering neighborly assistance to england, the mother country. and the mother country would somehow return the weapons after the war. of course, how exactly britain would do that remains conveniently vague. but is that what lemley really was? a phenomenally generous giveaway
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program or was it also a self-interested with provo. what roosevelt did name it and public was he was acting not just out of neighborly generosity, but also an american self-interest. he provided two british soldiers said they could do the fighting for him like a mercenary army. and he didn't admit that the u.s. wasn't really landing. it was buying. it was buying temporary security and it was buying time by equipping the british to fight for the u.s. geared up industrial production, trained all the men who had recently been drafted into military service and prepared for its own defense. the u.s. was also buying blood, the blood of british soldiers, pilots, sailors and civilians who would be killed while the u.s. remained on the sidelines.
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but britain was desperate and the u.s. was in a position to dictate terms in churchill's leather had acknowledged as much. two weeks later on december 29th, sunday evening, roosevelt was wheeled into the diplomatic reception room in the white house to deliver his 16th fireside chat. a few other people were in the room. some cabinet members, the president's mother, sarah and the hollywood actor, clark gable and his wife, carole lombard. this always makes me smile because my students have never heard of clark gable. and for that matter, they haven't heard of cary grant. you know the name humphrey bogart, but never one knows the name of cole porter, even though cole porter lived in
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williamstown just across the street from the college. across the country, hundreds of radio stations were tuned in and around the world, 100 million people listened on short wave radios from new york to california, the country came to a standstill. the president began by stating that the nazi had made it clear that they intended to enslave the whole of europe and dominate the rest of the world. he called this a form of tyranny in which there is no liberty, no religion, no hope. he said that because britain was the spearhead of resistance to nazi world conquest, the united states would pledge to send to britain every ounce and every ton of munitions that we could possibly spare. he explained that all the
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american industrial strength had to be mobilized for defense production and that the entire peacetime economy of the united states had to be placed on the wartime basis. and then he uttered the words that would go down in history. they must be the great arsenal of democracy. just while roosevelt was delivering his fireside chat, german planes were delivering something else. the worst attack on london is the beginning of the bullets that past september. they dropped hundreds of explosives and incendiary bombs that reduced east london to a flaming skeleton. "the new york times" london correspondent wrote that people on the east end of london said it was like reading trapped in a forest fire. when they tried to get out of the leaving do them part of london, they found themselves
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have been by what was toppling over in front of them. the famous american war correspondent, ernie pyle, was in london during the blitz and he described what it was like to go down every night to the air raid shelter at the liverpool street to. he wrote, i wasn't emotionally ready to see people laying around by the thousands on cold concrete. many were old. there were children, too. some asleep and some plane. there were smart alex and there were quiet ones. they were hard-working people of middle age who had to rise at 5:00 and go to work. now, think of yourself traveling every night at dusk through a subway station, sitting there all night trying to sleep.
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now think of that as your destiny. every night, every night from now on. a few days after the president's fireside chat, the gallup poll found that 70% of americans agreed that the state of the u.s. was tied to that of britain. and they believe that their own safety depended on a british victory. a week later in early january 1941, fdr gave another important speech. his state of the union. reporters remarked that his voice had no lateness, no touches of humor to speech contains the grim truth he believed americans needed to hear. he said every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being assailed in every part of the world.
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and then he discussed american aid to great britain and the importance of speaking up for production. at the end of his speech he described his vision for the postwar future. he said that he saw a world founded upon four essential universal human freedoms everywhere in the world. freedom of speech and expression , the freedom of every person to worship god in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. everywhere in the world. if you have a picture in your mind's eye of norman rockwell's famous illustration of the four freedoms, they portrayed those freedoms in a particularly american context. the men in work clothes for standing up to speak at a town meeting in arlington, vermont. people praying together at a
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church service. the grandmother in an apron serving turkey at thanksgiving family dinner were children and adults around the table are all smiling gleefully and a mother and a father tucking their little children into bed at night. but fdr had repeated over and over that he wanted those four freedoms to belong to people everywhere in the world. his message about the four essential universal human freedoms gave a moral purpose to war. this wasn't a war for conquest. instead, he held up the hope that it would ultimately lead to a postwar world order founded on individual freedom, prosperity, tolerance and international peace and security.
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and then came another speech in mid-january. fdr's third inaugural address. but after the december press conference, the dramatic arsenal of democracy, fireside chat in the freedom state of the union talk, this speech seemed a bit of an anti-climax. but in my opinion, it was the most important of all those talks. it was a philosophical, even spiritual talk about how precious democracy is. and i think it is a very relevant and meaningful lesson to think about today. roosevelt said that a nation is like a person. it has a physical, intellectual and spiritual life. its body must be clothed, fed and housed.
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it's mind must be kept informed and alert. but a nation like a person he said has sent a deeper, something more permanent than the sum of all its parts. no single word could name it and yet we all understand what it is. the united states it was something called the democratic aspiration, a quasi-design purpose and national life. the ongoing quest for freedom, justice, equality and happiness. he said that if the spirit of america were killed, even though the nation's body and mind lived on, the america we know would have perished. to keep that democratic aspiration alive in a time of verbal warfare, he explained
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that all citizens would be called upon to make countless sacrifices but the guiding light of the nations. he said will furnish the highest justification for every sacrifice that we may make in the cause of national defense. but what caught more notice than the speech was the military spectacle that followed it. pennsylvania avenue were units of calvary come infantry, navy, coast guard, marines to west point cadet, motorcycles and the sky above airplanes flew in formation. it was an astoundingly militaristic extravaganza and that was also the message that fdr wanted to send. the united states was willing to fight for the democratic way of life, which he called the most humane, the most in vance in the
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most unconquerable of all forms of human society. on january 10th, 1941, the lease bill was introduced in the house and senate. the title was rather vague to promote the defense of the united state and for other purposes. but it had the patriotic number, house resolution 1776. the house foreign affairs committee and the violations committee held hearings and supporters and opponents of the bill testified. secretary of state, cordell hall whispers to testify and he painted a grim picture of the ruthless nazi anomie and is listed to unbelief was absolutely essential to the goal
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of american defenses self preservation. secretary of the treasury, henry morgenthau gave a detailed report confirming that a british simply didn't have the dollars to pay for the arms they needed. secretary of war, henry stimson pointed out that if the british navy was destroyed, the united states would be in real danger of invasion. and so when the lease would allow the british to fight where they cured up production and prepared for its own defense. what stimson didn't tell the committee members would be also ought, that american soldiers would eventually have to fight and die to get the job done. in his diary, stimson wrote, we cannot permanently be in a position of toolmakers for other nations that fight.
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the star witness for the opposition to land in the house of representatives was the man i love to hate, aviator charles lindbergh who became an american hero when he flew solo across the atlantic in 1927 in a single engine plane, the spirit of st. louis. it is ironic that the man whose flight inspired hopes of transatlantic community and international cooperation was the leading spokesman for the america first committee, the nation's powerful isolationist organization. lindbergh's message to the congressmen was that no matter how much help the u.s. might give britain, it was a foregone conclusion that britain could not win the war against germany.
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he also said that a british german war with simply not an american affair while the more so because the united states was protect it by two vast oceans and could therefore remain a fortress happily isolated from the rest of the world. at one point in his testimony, he congressmen bluntly asked lindberg which side he wanted to win the war and lindberg shockingly said this. i prefer to see neither side win. between britain and the nazi germany, there is not as much difference in philosophy as we have been led to believe. and believe it or not, he insisted that the real danger to the u.s. play here at home and that roosevelt posed a greater threat to the united states dan did hitler.
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for his part, fdr said to henry morgenthau, if i should die tomorrow, i want you to know that i am absolutely convinced that lindbergh is a nazi. by the way, lindbergh's wife in mario lindberg also pitched in. and the fall of 1940, she wrote the best-selling book called the wave of the future. for mrs. lindbergh, the wave of the future with fascism. she wrote that fascism and dictatorship, well they are just infinitely more dynamic, modern and energetic than americans 18th century democracy with its slow-moving checks and balances and frequent elections. and she argued that the conflict taking place in europe wasn't
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between good and evil. it was between the forces of the past in the forces of the future. and if the nazi were guilty of any minor mistakes or misdeeds, she said that was merely on the wave of the future. interestingly, eleanor roosevelt came out with a book of her own in the fall of 1940 and it was called the moral basis of democracy. she argued that the true essence of democracy is fraternity, sharing, sacrifice and an ethics of responsibility for the neighbors we know as well as for the people we don't know. american democracy she noted must be truly inclusive. all citizens should enjoy prosperity and equal rights and find meaning in pleasure and be
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an active participant in a morally sound and robust society. in together, those citizens would willingly risked their lives to refute the repulsive notion that fascism represented any kind of future. the star witness for the proponent was the man i do love, wendell wilkie, the indiana businessman who'd been defeated by roosevelt in the 1940 election. when the election results came in on that election night, roosevelt who was just 100 yards from right here in the dining room of springwood said i'm glad a one, but i'm sorry wendel lost in fact, wilkie and roosevelt were not very different.
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they were both solid internationalist and anti-fascists who are totally committed to the survival of democracy. they were both well educated and they both had a moral conscience in wilkie was a pioneer in civil rights. wilkie told the senate committee that american and british democracies could not hope to defend themselves without cleanly. he took out all the opposers, isolationist, like the ambassador to britain, joseph p. kennedy, who he said all wanted to sabotage the united kingdom. when one senator asked about all the fighting and sarcastic things he has said about the campaign, wilkie brutally dismissed that as dead that was just the usual campaign oratory.
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finally, on december -- finally on march 11th, nate 241, both chambers of congress overwhelmingly passed the bill. vice president henry wallace signed it, rushing over to the white house for fdr quickly read it, scroll to his name on it and it became law. churchill expressed britain's new deep gratitude to the united states. he said it was the new magna carta and that partied democratic nations to uphold a moral civilization. churchill later memorably called lend lease the most unsorted act of all recorded history.
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lend believes also rescued the united states. it mobilized the nation's industrial might from coast to coast. factories that had produced lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, textiles and adding machines started making shrapnel, gas mask, automatic pistols and high precision instrument. automobile factories began producing scout cars and energies for engines for airplanes in the labor force was booming. millions of men and women of all ages streamed into factories and work on assembly lines. vocational high schools run overtime, training and retraining american men and women for new roles in the
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workforce. the manager of the state employment service in the small city of york, pennsylvania said in january 1941, a year ago, our task was to find jobs for men. now our task is to find men for jobs. and what about housing? all the new workers needed places to live near the factories. and so, roosevelt set up an agency called the division of defense housing that supervised the construction of 2.5 million new homes along with schools and recreational facilities. all of this powerful activity and energy produced prosperity throughout the country. and ironically, this vitality is fulfilled the promises of the new deal more than any of the economic programs of the 1930s.
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the number of the lend lease bill with 1776. in 1776, the rebellious children in the third and colonies cut their ties with the mother country. they declared their independence and went to war on because that dastardly king and parliament refused to respect the rights that the americans had inherited from them, from the british. the precious anglo-saxon and enlightenment principles of freedom under law, self-government and the right of individuals to due process. but in 1841, those rebellious kids in america did not issue the declaration of independence. this time those bratty kids issued a powerful and i hope enduring declaration of interdependence.
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and not just with the mother country great britain, but with the rest of the globe. lend lease marked the end of the era of american isolationism and retreat from world affairs that began in 1919 when the senate reject did woodrow wilson's league of nations. the plan died in lend lease meant that the united states was embarking upon the road of global leadership. from then on, well at least until the election of 26 teen [laughter] america has sought to play the leading political military and moral role in the world. so in conclusion, i would like to express my deep gratitude to franklin roosevelt, admiral stark, george marshall, henry
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stimson and frank knox for their commitment to democratic values and general spirit of internationalist than global responsibility. and a thank you all for listening to me today. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> now, unfortunately we are running a little late, so we are going to go right over to the book signing. we are not going to take questions right now, but i do want to thank you all for coming and remind you that on june 30th, will have her family fund is still here. free entertainment. the museum will be free, the home will be free. it will be a great day. please come down. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> sam kleiner look, someone is about a secret air base in burma who set up -- and were the first to engage japan after pearl harbor. he talked of a book event in washington d.c. this is 45 minutes. >> hello, everyone. , everyone could, everyone. welcome to, everyone could welcome the framers. my name is olivia, one of the coordinators here and i am very excited to welcome sam kleiner for his new book, "the flying tigers." we're also joined by evan thomas. both men have done many great things. i will read off only a few because there's just too much. sam is a lawyer based n

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