tv [untitled] June 24, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
1941, the battle for moscow is really just under way, but it's already clear it's not going to be so easy. japan bombs pearl harbor and of course, hitlers that alliance with japan. and as you say, he did not hve declare war buhe gets in his mind anit comes through the dispatchesn the americans in the embassy at the time, if he attacks the united states, who is by now offering supplies to both the soviet union and britain, this will be the knockout punch and somehow this alliance with japan will be unbeatable. so he managed to talk himself into believing what he wanted to believe. and of course, there was nobody going to talk him out of that within his own high command. yes, dave? >> excuse me, a recent phrase filled review of your book has the headline, the americans who cavorted with hitler.
putting on your editor's hat, would you send that headline back for a rewording? >> i'm never going to say anything bad with a publication that writes a good nice review. cavorting is on the edge, they were not cavorting, they were in his presence often and there were many tense interviews between americans and hitler. which i write about in "hitlerland" which is an interesting dynamic itself. in terms of saying, this is something different, i understand what they are trying to do. you know, the cavorting is not quite the right word, but think of this scene that i describe in the book. richard helms, a name that is familiar to a number of you because he becomes the director of the cia, in the '30s, a wire
he's a young reporter in germany for a wire service reporter. during the nuremberg rallies, hitler liked to show the whole thing off to journalists. and they would allow a couple of the journalists to ride in the car behind hitler as he entered the stadium. and helms was chosen to be one of those journalists one time. and he described the scene where he's in the car and there's this explosion of adulation and orchestrated welcome. he said that i had to almost pinch myself not to be carried away by the emotion even though i knew what was going on. imagine if you were a minor official, and given this honor, you would be enraptured and your faith in the great leader would be total. so, again, they were not cavorting but they saw it from the inside.
and they -- sometimes and in a couple of cases, for instance, i have also a scene in "hitlerland" where a young american diplomat named jacob beam was allowed to goo a nazi party where hitler comes in and at one point he's really thrilled. he's had some new victory. and he does this imitation march across the stage first as this slovenly as officer with his belly out bent over and then he does it as a real s.s. officer. you know, he's a performer. so, there was this element of theater about hitler and everything that he did. certainly in the staging of his rallies and in the way he was trying to trap people emnally and to a large extent did. yes, right there. >> how much publicity did the
american journalists bring back to the american news media after all the petings and beatings an happened? >> in hitlerland, i end the book in early 1942, when the last americans have been rounded up and exchanged for the germans. by the way, a little footnote, what happens after the declaration of war, there are about 120 americans left serving as diplomats or journalists. they are interned in an abandoned spa. you know, it's internment,ut b it's very mild conditions by internment and world war ii standards. but, the german diplomats and journalists are interned also. they're interned in the green briar. some of you may know what the green briar is.
it's the most luxurious spa we have in the united states. but getting back to your question, there were many americans who tried to find out early on what was going on. of course this is before the full-scale holocaust, and the conference, but i wanted to make that clear. but there were americans and journalists allowed into the early camps that were mainly for political prisoners and they were pretty highly orchestrated events and they were aware of that. but the more, you know really courageous ones did find out more and more. and they tried to work their sources in a way which has felt a little bit familiar, frankly, from my soviet days where you've had to really go to elaborate lengths sometimes to meet people andthero find out their stories. one stoofhees that one of
the correspondents told, again, this man, mauer from the chicago daily news is how his best source was a son of a rabbi who was a doctor. he would make appointments complaining of an ailment, and when he was being examined, the doctor would find an excuse to get the nurse out of the room, the doctor would slip a sheet of paper into his pocket with the latest information about arrests, about what was happening in the jewish community. when that become too dangerous and the doctor said you cannot come here anymore, then made an arrangement to meet in the urinals and they would never talk, they come in a difference entrance, they'd stand there, they'd leave, the doctor would just drop that sheet of paper. that is how they got the information. so some of them were enterprising and got the information. of course, there were others who overlooked a tremendous amount
and missed a tremendous amount and didn't realize what was happening or chose not to realize in some cases found it unbelievable. there was also the element early on that there was a lot of disbelief. world war i there was atrocity stories, very manufactured. so there was an instinct to disbelieve the stories. that were being reported by some of these journalists and yes, right here. >> have you looked at the papers shuman who was a political scientist at williams college. he went to germany in the '30s. and he was very preceptive, i thought. he came back and warned people. but the story you mentioned about the bankers struck me because i heard many years ago i heard a lecture in said
when he was in germany he met many wealthy germans and german jews who said if hitler had only ded his anti-semitism we germans would be completely behind him. and that was in some of his papers. >> i'm familiar with his work, i write about him some in the book, because he was what -- i write about some the academics that come, shuman came, another who conducted a survey of young nazis saying why did you join the party? just as hitler had come to power. and it was an interesting survey. some people felt it was too sympathetic and there was reluctance to publish it in the united states but it was eventually published. but he was one of -- you're absolutely right. he was clear-eyed about what was happening in germany.
some people would come in and get it right away, others would not. howard k smith, the early reporter who became an anchor put i thought -- put it i very smartly. he said there's four stages when a visitor comes to nazi germany, first one is, wow, this is a great place, everything is orderly, it's a beautiful country, the -- you know, the embankments and everything else are wonderful. everyone seems happy. the unemployment seems to have disappeared. second stage is, wow, there are a lot of people in uniforms. there's a lot of military stuff going on, a lot of marching. but in that stage it's still kind of titillating, exciting, all these armies of young men, very handsome going through. third stage is, oh, my god. why are they marching? why are they bds? 's to kill, to conquer. antotal terror in the sense of my god
the world t gedoesn'it. at we' facing here. and democracy may be great bu it's not going to be able to cope with this -- what's emerging in germany. and it's interesting that some people seem to go from stage one to four real fast, some people stayed in stage one or two, and some people actually went up that ladder and then went down a little it's not all clear always. people -- it's rarely black and white with many of these people. wh was the discussion in the u.s. with regard to the olympic games in 1936 in blin there been any consideration of boycotting the olympic games? y, big was a bate abt ympithe olgames in the united states. there were various groups that wanted to boycott it. and the council general in
rlin, the man i mentioned, who by that time austria and was serving ere, was in the diplomatic re, the strongest supporter of olympic. he was a lonely voice,ost hear that the olympic committergely went along with the farce of, you know, saying, oh, yes, we should -- the germans just need to at least admit one orwo jews on the team and it'll be okay. and in fact, one of the olympic committee representatives came over and said, if you can get a tokenjew,ust the w we ve token negroes. at one point they said to one of the -- one of the people taking them around thely clubs.
and they were making a point of saying, h, yes, there are a few jews here. and he sa, yes,in chicago clubs -- in my chago men's club, we don't admit jews either. anof course, so, i mean, the anti- -- again the anti-semiti wasn't just there. of course, the extreme never went to the extremes that it did in germany. but thers ort, but it ndedl short. it came closer than you would have thought. it was a close battle, but then it was blown away, what was also interesting aboutholympics is for all the stories about jessie owens and how hitler was furious about the black athletes winning gold medals, the black athletes largely came away with good experiences in the sense that they came away, they were --erso w
f most lar athlete gerhe -- in that olympi. y inprted black athletes heir h mes, things th a numr of them commented in that time in the united states would not have happened and w.edubois, was on scholarship, and he commented, saying it would have been impossible for me to spend six months in the united states without a racial afront, i never had one in germany. but what my country men do not realize because they don't speak german, but i do realize that the anti-semitism here, the vis much more dangerous.
yes, here in front. if you could just wait for the microphone one second. thank you. >> the rabid mouthings from me fell on receptive ears because that something not -- it happened to other people, fine, who cared? and therefore, was it true that the economic situation and the love of pomp and ceremony the americans have, they don't have a royalty so they love pomp and ceremony. and the success suddenly there was this big, beautiful country with the marching and the big statues that convinced -- is it the pocketbook that convinced these americans and the rest of the world to disregard the jewish issue and say who cared?
he is successful. >> to the first part of the question, of course, hitler used the jewish issue to blame everything on the jews. the whole economic collapse, the defeat in the war, everything, it was a classic scapegoat strategy. and to a large extent, it worked. but -- and in terms of germany's -- you remember germy comes, is hit by that hyper inflation, the economic collapse in the beginning of the '20s, in the middle '20s, things stabilize, and partly because of american's loans and it appears that germany is coming out of crisis and at that time, the nazis were getting nowhere politically. before the depression hit, i think they had 12 members, that was nothing. tiny, tiny party. only when the second economic
shock comes, the depression, he they start shooting up. so, there's a cause and effect here. bus also hler's th.ronality that and i think you are ght too that many people in the beginning were impressed, you know everyone was hit by the depression, the united states was certainly. and at first, there was a habit to say, any formula that begins to work some where is great. but you know, the people -- the germans -- the americans in germany at the time realized it much earlier than people elsewhere that you know, the price that was being paid for this. yes? front her >> in your book, who of the americans inermany your e e pe d the most insight and were the harshest critics?
>> i think for me, there was some of the real interesting and most insightful people are, as i say, the journalists, the daily news, a woman of the "chicago tribune." by the way, at that time there were a huge number of american correspondents in europe and in germany in the middle '30s. there were about 50 american correspondents stationed in berlin, i thought the period like where bill and i were in the -- in the '80s and '90s was a nice time for foreign correspondence when publications had foreign correspondence. you had major publications that no longer exist. in chicago, and philadelphia, and boston. competing wire services.
those, among the correspondents, those really stand out. there were people who came over, hamilton, fish, armstrong, the editor of foreign affairs, came over and met hitler and wrote a book about the early days of the reicht, that was perceptionive, perceptive right after hitler took power. there was someone called james g. mcdonald who came over and met hitler in 1933. he was the head of the foreign policy association here in new york. later on, soon became the commissioner for refugees for the league of nations. he was a remarkable figure. he just came back and said, he is aiming too exterminate the jewish race, and nobody wanted to listen to him. he worked on the refugee board during the war. and later on became the first u.s. ambassador to israel.
there are are remarkable stories there. remarkable stories of blindness, but of real perceptive and courage in many cases. yes? >> where did get the funds to outfit that very elaborate flag. >> the question was, where did hitler get the funds in the beginning, i assume you're asking, to outfit his brown shirts and all of that. it's interesting. if you read the accounts of his early rallies, he took the nazi party. which was nothing, a tiny, tiny group in munich and started these beer hall rallies and say he was a remarkable performer. we tend to see the clips of hitler when he seems to be
totally delirious. but that's the culmination of his performances. he would start in low key talking about common concerns and bring the audience over. and apparently what was remarkable at this, and really bring them in. and among the strongest earlier financial supporters often were older women at these rallies. he seemed to have a particular way of reaching older women. some of them, there were accounts of them taking the jewelry off their necks or arms to support this lovely young man who is going to resurrect germany. of course there were then later on industrialists and various other groups.
but he did have this ability and also he had -- he knew something about psychology that i think one of the things i found interesting about hitler was that his remark once that the reason i hold my rallies at night is because that's the best time to get people in your grasp emotionally. he said, think about going to the theater. when you go to a matinee, it rarely has a huge impact on you emotionally. you're thinking about things you have to still do afterwards. work, chores you have to go back to. at night you're letting go. if you think that's the acting, think about a movie. same thing. a movie, you're likely to feel more into a movie at night than during the day. he knew these things.
he had basic instincts and psychology and staging when you look at the nuremberg rallies. he managed to start -- i visited the apartment -- the two apartments where hitler lived in munich. the first one was this tiny room in a small apartment where there were about four different tenants. incidentally, i went up there, knocked and said sheepishly to a young man with his daughter. i opened the door. i'm an american journalist, a writer. he said, oh, you want to see hitler's room. so i went and saw hitler's room. soon he moved to a huge apartment. i think it was about completely funded by supporters. that was long before he took power. one more final question.
there. >> in the best seller, the garden of the beast -- >> i have never heard of that ambassador dodd tried to warn the state department about what was happening in germa and how his bosses in the state department would not go along with him, would not believe him. >> yes. that's accurate. it focuses on william dodd and martha dodd. makes the point strongly. and the evidence i saw and i also write about both of the dodds in my book. of course they are two of the many characters in my book. dodd, i think, i basically agree with larson.
he's a decent man but he was a historian with a diplomatic post. he originally came to germany saying maybe i'll be able to talk some sense into people, you know, that they're still -- he had been a student in germany. he remembered many well-educated germans. he thought, well, there must be a way to have rational conversations. soon he realized with people in power. that was almost impossible. the meetings at hitler were incredibly stilted. he was discussed about what was going on especially after hitler murdered so many of his own followers that he really wanted to have as little to do with the government and the party as possible. which on a human level is very
commendable in many ways for a u.s. ambassador serving in the country means that also he was, you know, he was very limited in what he could and could not do. the other frustrating part of it as you say was that his reports to the state department expressing his displre were often treated skeptically. there was a sense thatwell, why isn't he talking to these nazis more? again the sentiment in the department with the exception of george messersmith and others. we can't let things get too far. we don't want another conflict. and those who like messersmith d dodd di't immediately prt a conflict. he was later on that. somebody like messersmith predicted a conflict like william shira was earlier. they were seen as people who were just trying to bring bad news that no one wanted to hear. thank you very much.
[ applause ] >> that was absolutely wonderful. i invite you to please stay d join us for a small reception outside. thoks aravailable. therican couil prwith us and ving this e wonderful speaker. thank you so much. we welcome you to the missouri governor's mansion. >> the first governor was b. grass brown and here we have a photograph of him, his wife, and his child. what is interesting about b. grass brown is the fact that his granddaughter wrote the book
"good night moon" which, of course is aoritor sool ehildren or states. >> july 7th and book tv and american history tv explore the heritage and literary culture of missouri's state capital jefferson city with c-span's local content vehicles and american history tv inside the governor's mansion. >> there was a governor steward, a governor which the story says he rode his horse up the mansion, into the dining room and proceeded to feed his horse oats out of this plate warmer out of part of the side board. now, the comment was that he probably should not be feeding his horse in the governor's mansion. and his comment to them was i have had to feed more people in this home with probably less manners than my horse has. >> watch for book tv and american history tv in jefferson city, missouri, july 7th and 8th on c-span 2 and 3. >> how do you approach book interviews differently than news
reporting interviews? >> i think the book interviews as gathering history. i think interviewing when i'm working for the news side as gathering contemporary information. >> how difficult is it to remain impartial in your reporting and not get caught up in the hype of one campaign or another? >> i'm going to try to as best as i can give people as full an understanding of what is happening in this campaign. it's not that difficult to put your biases to the side. >> how has social media changed your line of work in terms of reporting and getting your news information? >> twitter in particular is now a primary news source for anybody who covers politics and anybody who pays attention to politics. twitter didn't exist four years ago for all practical purposes. >> tonight, purdue university students interview the washington post on the newspaper business covering presidential elections. what's newsworthy, and the rise
of social media. tonight at 8:00 on c-span. next weekend, award-winning author and historian david pietrusza is our guest on book tv in-depth. a dozen books including "1920," "1960: lbj versus jfk versus nixon," and "rothstein." join us live with your calls, e-mails, and tweets sunday july 1st at noon eastern on c-span 2. you're watching american history tv. on c-span 3. every weekend we visit historic sites, museums, and college classrooms as leading professors and historians reveal america's past and watch our series on the 150th anniversary of the civil war with debates and interviews