tv Lectures in History CSPAN August 8, 2016 6:02pm-6:59pm EDT
check it out at c-span.org. each week american history tv sits in on a lecture with one of the nation's college professors. and up next, liberty university professor michael davis looks at the 1944 presidential election between democrat franklin roosevelt seeking an unprecedented fourth term and his republican challenger thomas dewey. with the u.s. and its allies approaching victory in world war ii, president roosevelt had a relatively easy victory over thomas dewey, who mainly campaigned against new deal programs and for smaller government. president roosevelt would die in office six months after being re-elected and vice president harry truman became the 33rd president of the united states. liberty university is in lynchburg, virginia. this class is just under an hour. all right, well, we'll get started and let's go ahead and open with a word of prayer and
then we'll see what we can get into today. heavenly father, thank you for today, thank you for this class, thank you for your love and mercy. i pray that you forgive us of our sins, i pray that you would be with the class as they finish up this semester. so much busyness and activity with papers and finals and job interviews and just life. father, i pray that you would look upon them with favor, that you just help them to finish this semester strong. in jesus name we pray, amen. all right. well, today i want us to continue our look at the world war ii era. today we'll be looking at the home front and specifically examining american politics in the early 1940s. and contrary to popular belief, word war ii did not mute politics as usual in the united states. politicians continued to bicker, issues continued to be debated,
and elections continued to be held. now, the pivotal highlight of world war ii, of course, was the 1944 presidential election. 1944 was the first presidential election since 1864, and one of only a few in all of american history to really take place while the nation was at war. so it proved to be ultimately an extraordinary election in a very difficult time. there were parades, outdoor rallies, radio advertisements, newsreels, cameras, celebrity endorsements, barbecues, rodeos, balloons, flyers, placards, pins, all the things you see here on the screen. so the election was typical, which in a sense made it remarkable. while the united states was fighting in a global war, over 56% of the voting age population, around 50 million people, participated in free and
fair elections here at home. now, in 1944, the president of the united states was the three-term incumbent, democrat franklin roosevelt. we talked about roosevelt a lot already. of course, he was, without question, one of the dominant politicians of his era, just a master politician. we dealt with him quite extensively. in 1944, we have a presidential election year, and unlike in 1940 where there was great speculation about what fdr might do as far as running for another term, an unprecedented third term that year, in 1944, there is really not that sense of anticipation. the conventional wisdom is that roosevelt will run. and so there is no real controversy, really, about what's going to take place as far as a fourth term bid. there will be some who complain, of course, but by and large, it
doesn't quite generate the fury that the third term bid did in 1940. and so there is not much, even within the democratic party as far as rumblings concerning a roosevelt run in 1944. the real action, then, is on the republican side. so what i want to do now is take a look at some of the republican contenders in 1944, beginning with wendell willkie. wendell willkie, of course, was the republican candidate for president back in 1940. he was unsuccessful in that race. he had done much better, remember, than landon in 1936 and certainly hoover in '32, but he had fallen short. and ultimately he was distrusted by many conservative republicans. former president hoover, for example, with some of his contacts in the media will circulate this notion that, you
know, wilky did not really do as well as republican candidates who had toed the conservative line. he was deemed to be too liberal, a little too pro deal, a little too conventionalist, and hoover and other conservatives within the gop, willkie, even in areas where he's winning, is running behind some republican candidates, and some areas where there is a republican wind at the gubernatorial level, he's not winning at the presidential level. wilkie is deeply upset about this rumor going about, and even responding to mark sullivan, i believe of the "washington post," privately and insisting that hoover and others are cherry picking their returns. and that, i actually am doing much better in some of these states and outdistancing the
victors and losers. and so those who are arguing that i didn't do as well as other republican candidates because of my message, well, they're just wrong, they're wanting to throw the republican party back to the days of reactionary leaders. and so wilkie will resist those characterizations for sure. but he's deemed to be too pro new deal and many conservative republicans don't trust him. he also lacks finesse. "time" magazine will describe him in 1943 as a moose on the loose, someone who could be a wild and rambunctious campaigner. we saw this when we looked at 1940 a few days ago, and the lead-up to 1944, he's really doing the same thing. at one point he's speaking to a republican women's group, i believe, in new jersey, and during the midst of the meeting, he jumps up on the table -- it was a little awkward -- he knocks over a pitcher of water and this sort of thing, and so
he seems to be ridiculous as one of his contemporaries will be remark. he's out of control, he's doing crazy things. and so wilkie certainly lacks a little bit of finesse. he also had a tendency to come across as lecturing the republican party. we talked about this a few days ago, too, in that he would occasionally slip and say, you republicans. remember, he had been a former democrat. and so in 1944, he has this reputation of being someone who kind of looks down on the party. thomas dewey once marked, wendell willkie was a democrat all his life until 1940 and never got over it. so wilkie has that problem. he ultimately will be the only major candidate to openly engage in the primaries. as we talked about before, the primaries were not like they are today.
there is a much different road in 1944 to the presidential nomination than we would see, say, in 2012 or 2016. but there are primaries, and wilkie will openly participate in a few of them at least. in the new hampshire primary, he will come in first. he's really the only candidate campaigning. and yet he falls short of a strong delegate showing. i think there were around 11 or 12 delegates up for grabs in new hampshire. and he wins six of them. and just as today, politics oftentimes is a game of expectations, and the expectation was that wilkie would get around 9 or 10 of the delegates. he only gets six. thomas dewey, who was the republican governor of new york, got three delegates and he wasn't even running, he wasn't even on the ballot, i believe. so you had a disappointing show for wilkie in the new hampshire primary. but he presses on to wisconsin where he wages a vigorous campaign.
in wisconsin, he's facing a number of obstacles. for one, he's under -- voters are under the influence of the ? >> chicago tribune," colonel mccormick's newspaper, which is very anti-roosevelt, anti-interventionist, foreign policy, and anti-wendell wilkie. yet, wilkie will go to wisconsin, and he will talk about foreign affairs, he will talk about being a liberal republican and how the party must change. and ultimately, he loses miserably. and again, he's really the only candidate in the race. and it's a hard, hard blow for wilkie, and he drops out just a few days later. and so wilkie's candidacy will rise and fall quickly. the party's standard barrier in 1940 will not make it in 1944. which is kind of a tradition for
the republican party up until a little bit later. up to this time, at least, the republican party is not very keen on putting forward a loser for a second go at it. it will do that in subsequent years, in 1948 and then again in 1968. but where the democrats had a tendency to nominate people who had run for president but lost again and again, not so much characteristic of the republican party up to this time, at least. and so willkie's candidacy collapses here in the early part of 1944. any questions or concerns? well, another contender i want you to remember is john w. bricker. bricker was the governor of ohio. he was elected in 1938, re-elected in 1942. and unlike willkie, bricker will
not openly participate in the primaries. he is going to wage a traditional pre-convention campaign, trying to assemble delegates working behind the scenes in the lead-up to the convention. there were several strengths as far as a potential bricker candidacy is concerned. bricker, for example, was a good speaker. he had a reputation for efficiency in state government. he certainly was the favorite of conservative republicans. and he doesn't have a pre-war isolationist record. and the reason he doesn't have a pre-war isolationist record, that is, there is no paper trail where the opposition can say, well, in 1938 he said this, in 1939 he said this, and then in 1940 just ten months before pearl harbor, he actually said this. there is no paper trail of embarrassing remarks as it
relates to foreign affairs. and that's because he was the governor of ohio. he had been too busy as governor to really think about foreign policy, and so some republicans saw that as an asset for bricker. but if bricker had some strengths, he also had some weaknesses. and, for example, he's not a national figure. he is pretty popular and well known in the midwest, but he's not a national figure. he's not a name that most americans would just recognize. and the one that i mentioned a moment ago, and that is he has no real foreign policy experience and he has no paper trail of embarrassing remarks also works against him because he is the governor of ohio, and at a time when the united states is fighting in a global war, he has no foreign policy experience whatsoever. and more importantly, he even articulates that for our
reporters in late 1943, i believe. he says, i don't know anything about how the post-war world should be organized. a good thing to do if you ever run for president is probably not to begin a sentence with, i don't know anything about. and so he says, i don't know anything about how the post-war world should be organized. i've never been to europe. how can i know where the boundary between russia and poland should be? how can i know what kind of government france should have? if i should be elected president, i'll get the best advice i can from the people who know something about the rest of the world, and i'll do the best i can. so kind of a nice sentiment, but again, at a time when the united states is fighting world war ii, those remarks come off as a little short of where they need to be. this guy doesn't have experience. and while he's kind of a local yokel and says, you know, i'll get great people to come in and help me because i really don't know much about foreign affairs. i've never been to europe, i
don't know the a lot about foreign policy at all, but i'll try to get some great minds in around me and to do good. again, a nice sentiment, but at a time of world krys, this turn a lot of potential republican voters off. and then finally i have here on the screen that he was vague. when he does begin to maneuver toward the nomination and give speeches, national speeches highlighting his foreign policy thoughts, they oftentimes come across as being vague, and he quickly will acquire a reputation of being somewhat of an intellectual lightweight, william alan, the famed journalist of that era will devastatingly characterize him as an honest harding. this is a guy who wants to be liked, he is a likeable guy, he's friendly, but he's maybe not the sharpest person in the room.
he doesn't have a lot of foreign policy experience. and more than likely, if elected president, he might be shaped by those who do have specific ideas about foreign policy and their ideas may not be exactly what's best for america. and so bricker's candidacy really never gets off the ground. he will make a pretty big show at the convention when it assembles in late june of 1944 in chicago. but by that time, it's really all over for him. any questions or concerns about bricker? that leads us, then, to our third and final major contender for the republican nomination in 1944, and that was thomas edmond dewey, the newly elected governor of new york. there are several things i want you to remember about dewey, who will ultimately win the nomination in 1944. and there are several things that are really strong about
him, and i want you to remember these assets, these things about dewey that are really positive and bode well for the '44 campaign. first, he was young, only 42 in 1944, and an energetic and experienced campaigner. two, he had a national reputation as new york district attorney and a special prosecutor of 1930s gangsters legs diamond and lucky luciano. we talked a little about this a few weeks ago when we were in the 1930s, how dewey built up a reputation going after these kinds of gangsters. this is in the mid to late 1930s. so he has a national reputation as a crime fighter. three, he had a flare for the dramatic and a pleasing baritone voice that came across
effectively on radio. for example, when he was running for district attorney in 1937, you would have people all over new york assemble in places where there were radios to listen to him talk on a particular topic that evening. and so when it was announced that dewey was going to speak, people would rush to a radio because it was early reality tv to a certain extent, early reality radio in this case. he was always dramatic. he had been a music major at the university of michigan before turning to law and going to columbia and moving in a legal career. so he understands being in front of people and he's comfortable with radio, and he would begin his remarks with something like, tonight i'm going to talk about murder, committed by gangsters,
abetted by politicians, i'm going to name names. you would tune in to that. that sounds very interesting in an age before the kinds of entertainment that we have today. this is pretty compelling. fourth, in 1942, dewey was elected governor of new york. that's a big deal. new york had 47 electoral votes. republicans had not won the presidency since 1928. if you're going to win the presidency, it would be very, very nice to have those 47 electoral votes from new york. new york in those days was a state that would sometimes go republican, sometimes democratic. >> republicans had recovered a little bit in the midwest in the 1940 election. still far short of what they needed to win the presidency, but the thinking here was that if we could have a candidate
that could take the northeastern states and maybe a little bit of new york, then you take the 47 early votes of new york combined with the 100 or so we have in the midwest combined, and you get pretty close or at least on the road toward 266, which is what you needed in 1944 to win the presidency. in the preceding 100 years, eight of new york's governors had won their party's nomination. and four had gone on to win the presidency. and so any time there was someone elected governor of new york, there is a spotlight on them. it's going to be something that people just naturally talk about, even today. people speculate in 2016 about andrew cuomo. he's the governor of new york. it's a big state, and in 1944, there was great speculation about dewey. he had been elected in 1942, a key state. fifth, a fifth thing notable about dewey on the positive side
of the equation, he had a solid record achievement as governor. he hadn't been governor long, but going into the 1944 election, he has a solid achievement as governor. he's not just occupying the office, but he's doing things such as putting forward a fund for returning soldiers, cleaning up the state's mental health system, fighting vigorously for farmers and higher food production and lowering taxes. so dewey is considered to be a more than competent governor of new york just in his first year and a half or so in office. sixth, this goes closely with point five. and that is, he is a reputation for intelligence, efficiency and getting things done. indeed, in late 1943, "time" magazine described him as a dragon slayer, armed with
concentrations of modern heavy artillery, preceded by elaborate reconnaissance and followed by a staff of logistics experts. as a man, district attorney or governor, tom dewey has a reputation of being tough. and seven, he was a party leader who reunited a weak and divided and once powerful state gop organization of the new york republican party, had in fact, been powerful at one point but since 1920, the party had fallen on hard times. really all the way back to 1912 or 1910 when charles evan hughes left the governorship and went to the supreme court. the republican party in new york began to falter. it was weak. it was divided. it was petty. and dewey grew up as the politician in the shadow of that chaos.
in the midst of that division. and squabbling in new york. and he is very interested in moving beyond that, uniting the various republican factions, conservatives, liberals, moderates, and bringing them together as one powerful unit. he does a good job of this. he will organize a topdown organization as we talked about just a moment ago, dewey is tough. and he is going to be very efficient in administration and there is a top down organization. there will be policies that are planned by a few top leaders. but dewey oftentimes is the one pushing the agenda. he's the one engaged in the debates. he's the one setting what is going to be done. there would be room for disagreement and he would listen, but the disagreement should never, he believes, spill out into the newspapers.
or spill out into public. this was something that was internal and he expected those around him to toe the line. so he wages a very efficient administration, and really shapes the republican party to do what he wants it to do. so the result is going to be that the republican party will strengthen in new york, he wins the governorship in 1942, is re-elected in 1946, and, again, in 1950. he also sets the party up for years of control in the legislature. and so dewey was an effective party leader. now, as i indicated earlier, he is the ultimate nominee for republicans in 1944. he wins it without much of a fight. he doesn't openly campaign. in fact, going on what i just said, dewey is someone who is more of what one scholar called a consensus politician, he's
someone interested in bringing people together. he believed that politics was a hard, serious business. and not something that could be easily packaged into this or that umbrella or agenda. he sees it as being serious, being something that politicians and candidates and administrators should view as serious to work out the state or the country's problems. and so he's very interested in finding solutions. and not establishing slogans. and so he doesn't want an open campaign for the presidency in 1944, at least for the nomination. he wants it to come to him. and that i think in part rests on his own experience in new york, because of his reputation as a racket buster.
he had won the party's nomination for governor in 1938, had come close, remember, to winning that against the popular democratically incumbent governor herbert leebman. and his nomination really rested on his reputation in 1942, as well. so he wants to use that reputation, that national reputation that he has, to build momentum for kind of a unanimous following around him for the nomination. he believes that the party, as we've talked about over the last several weeks, is weak and divided nationally. and that it is in danger of falling completely apart and that a serious and drawn-out and ugly primary or convention fight would be the worst thing for the gop. so he works a lot behind the scene or has his operatives to
work behind the scene to ensure that ultimately he secures a first ballot nomination without really any serious opposition whatsoever. any questions or concerns? note that dewey will select the conservative john w. bricker as his running mate. dewey was more of a moderate to liberal republican candidate, and those words mean something different then than they do today. but he is certainly a more moderate candidate at the top of the ticket. he selects bricker, who is a nice conservative counter to the top. he had actually wanted governor earl warren of california to be his running mate. warren ultimately will do that in 194, but not in this race. warren backs out, and so it will be bricker who accepts the nod. now, while there were many positives about dewey, there
were also some major negatives. and here are just a few. one is that he was shy and uncomfortable with popular politics. he often then came across as being cold and unpleasant. now, he has his devoted followers, and they love him. but just in general, people who were around him kind of felt him to be unpleasant. ultimately, mostly he was just kind of shy. he was uncomfortable with glad handling, with politicking. again, he is a more serious, sober kind of politician who's interested in solving problems and not putting forward a slogan or playing a game. so he's uncomfortable in that role, as seen in the 1944 campaign in the fall where dewey is on the campaign trail and he's waving to reporters, and
one of the reporters will shout out to him, smile, governor, we want to take your picture. so dewey continues to wave, and he responds, i thought i was smiling. he was not. so that kind of thing, kind of awkward. he just doesn't come across always as someone who's pleasant and calm. he's always calm, but he doesn't come across as being likeable. a second thing about him is that he could be secretive and combative with the press. and this goes back to his days when he was a prosecutor and later a district attorney when he was hunting down lucky luciano and jimmy hines and others. the press didn't like him oftentimes because he could be secretive. he could also be combative with them. there's another episode in 1944 where there's a reporter -- he was a sports writer -- who liked
dewey, and he's given an assignment to actually interview him. this particular reporter was friends with someone who knew dewey, and the arrangement was made and this reporter, who is a sports writer, is going to meet with dewey, just really for a fluff piece. it's kind of a human interest kind of interview, nothing really serious. and so dewey agrees to sit down with this reporter who's actually a fan of dewey. he knows about dewey's reputation as a racket buster so he's interested in writing a very positive story about dewey. well, during the course of the interview, dewey is very sharp with the reporter, very short with him. and the reporter is nervous and he asked a question about dewey's years as district attorney. and the question evidently wasn't to dewey's liking. he looks at him and basically says, that's a stupid question, next question. and the guy is very embarrassed and walks away from the whole ordeal telling his friend, i
can't stand that man. i will never write anything positive about him. i'm not even going to deal with him anymore. so that's the kind of thing that he could get into without really meaning to do that. even one of his closest friends, herbert brownell who later served as attorney general under president eisenhower will say, he just has that difficulty in relating to other people. richard nixon years later noted -- nixon loved him. nixon believed he had a top-notch geopolitical mind and that it was a tragedy that he never became president. nixon viewed dewey as a mentor of sorts. in his 1990 work in the arena, nixon argued that dewey just did not suffer fools. and that didn't always work well for him because fools sometimes vote. and that's a problem.
he's rarely diplomatic in conversation, kind of going into what i was just saying. journalist raymond moly who was part of the roosevelt brain trust and later broke from that wrote later, in any analysis of the art of politics, the significance of thomas e. dewey must be in the amazing fact that he went so far with so little natural political endowment. he was, like samuel johnson's dog that walked on two legs, he doesn't do it very well, but the amazing thing is that he can do it at all. so thomas dewey certainly a man with great potential as the republican nominee in the 1944 race, but also someone who has some very distinct negatives, too. any questions or concerns? all right. well, moving on to the democrats just briefly.
again, not a lot on the democratic side as far as the presidential nomination. the assumption is that roosevelt as the wartime leader is going to seek and win nomination for a fourth term. and indeed roosevelt will do just that. he was 62 years old in 1944 and actually in pretty poor health. he's also facing some challenges in the fact that his democratic coalition, which was very large and diverse, was beginning to crumble. remember, it's made up of northeastern liberals, intellectuals, white southern democrats and western farmers and other groups, including increasingly after 1936 black democratic voters. a black majority will vote democratic for the first time in 1936. so you have a very diverse coalition that's beginning to buckle a little bit by 1944.
while roosevelt enjoyed an 1% approval rating on his handling of foreign affairs, he and we do, the republican nominee, remained evenly mapped in most of the polls through 1944. so there was certainly concern on the democratic side. indeed, roosevelt's speech writer samuel roseman will note later on this was a hard-fought campaign. one democratic operative in the summer of 1944 put it this way, that is, it's fdr or the end of of the democratic era. the democrats and the president were unpopular on domestic policy issues in particular. so the real challenge here for both the president and dewey in 1944 is determining issue space in the election. and that is, is this election going to be about foreign affairs? if it is, roosevelt is going to do a pretty good job. he's got an 81% approval rating
in that area. but if it's about domestic issues and the post-war era, then dewey may just have a chance. in 1942, just a few months after pearl harbor, less than a year, we have the midterm elections of 1942, which are mainly about domestic policy concerns at the state and local level, and there republicans do quite well. democrats lose 47 seats in the house and lose seven in the senate. republicans are unable to take a majority in either house. but these are nevertheless major losses for democrats despite the fact that they hang on barely to a majority. any questions or concerns? well, for 1944, democrats, not surprisingly, rallied without any kind of opposition behind franklin roosevelt. they're enthusiastic about this.
they realize that republicans have a strong contender in dewey and that roosevelt is really the only one that can defeat him. and this is actually what you see here on the screen coming from an independent voting group, but it really articulates what many democrats and independents and people just in general around the country felt about roosevelt, and it shows the real advantage he has when it comes to being a wartime leader seeking re-election. i want you, fdr. stay and finish the job. so roosevelt will be portrayed, particularly in democratic literature, as someone who will bring this war to an end. if the war is over before november, the president may have some problems. that's a concern, and it certainly is a hope that the dewey camp wants, that this war will be over and people will be focusing on foreign affairs. roosevelt wants the war over,
too, but it's one of these things where roosevelt's role as a war leader is certainly an advantage. any questions or concerns? yeah? >> was his health bad enough that they realized that he might die relatively soon? >> there is some concern. he looks bad. i have some pictures here that we'll see in just a moment. in fact, here's one that you can see a little bit of that. he's seated here. oftentimes, particularly in campaign years, he would use his leg braces to give the appearance of being able to stand on his own and this sort of thing. he doesn't do that in 1944. in fact, when he delivers the state of the union address in 1944, he doesn't deliver it from the house chamber. he does so from the white house and speaks to congress and america through a radio hookup. he doesn't feel well. he's been struggling with the flu and this sort of thing. he loses a lot of weight in the
first part of 1944, looks bad in the face. and there are a lot of democratic operatives who fear that he might not make it through another four years. what that means, then, is going to be democratic operatives are very concerned about who his running mate is. his vice president in 1944 was henry wallace. wallace had been added to the ticket back in 1940, and he was widely viewed as very liberal, a little weird, and certainly someone that many democratic party bosses didn't want to see become president. and so the health factor plays a major role within kind of the democratic party's thinking of things in the lead-up to the convention, or at least those close to roosevelt. roosevelt had high blood pressure. some were concerned he might have cancer.
at least that's what some felt he might have when they actually started looking at him closer. he's got blood pressure issues, heart problems. he ultimately dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. but he just looks bad. he's losing weight, he looks bad in the face. so if roosevelt is the only one who can get us through election day 1944, great. but what happens after that? hopefully the next four years are going to be mostly peace years, that the war will be over soon, and that we're looking at a peacetime presidency come 1945. and do we want wallace? wallace doesn't get along well with professional politicians. he doesn't get along well with many democrats up on capitol hill. as vice president he's president of the senate. in those days, a vice president stayed a little closer to the senate. he doesn't get along well -- or at least he doesn't buddy-buddy i with them. he's not hostile toward them,
but he's a little uncomfortable just sort of talking and politicking with them. so he's not exactly embraced up on capitol hill in the senate. so many party elites want to get him off of the ticket, not wanting him to become president should something happen to roosevelt. and roosevelt looks really bad, and so there needs to be someone es. it's a long and drawn-out story, but ultimately wallace is dumped from the ticket, and it is harry truman who will replace him as roosevelt's running mate. so in 1944 it will be a roosevelt and truman ticket. any other questions or concerns? well, sensitive to the wartime setting of this election, both roosevelt and dewey early in their campaigns adopted dignified and low-key electoral strategies.
after all, when dewey spoke and -- in accepting the republican nomination in late june of 1944, this is literally just days after d-day, a couple of weeks, and it's roughly around the time that a lot of families would be notified of the fate of their loved ones. so the republican convention in 1944 is not especially raucous. it's going to be more subdued. the democratic one in july is a little more energetic and a little more old-fashioned in its rambunctiousness, but both roosevelt and dewey attempt to at least adopt dignified and low-key electoral strategies early in the election contest. by late september, however, politics as usual returned as the campaigns degenerated into
what one news journal called an old-fashioned free-swinging campaign characterized by political body punches and head rocking. and here are some images from 1944 that i thought you might find interesting. this is a pamphlet. it may be a little hard to read, but it says behind the mask and up here in the top left, can anybody make that out? what is this? any ideas? yeah, it's herbert hoover and he's holding a halloween mask or some mask of young tom dewey. so the message here is that behind the mask, behind the mask, of tom thumb double-talk dewey and his hitler mustache stand who yowlew heartless roofer, ku klux klan, radio rat, gue lish war prove tier, if you're screwy, vote for dewey.
so pretty intense. republicans will respond with this whole, we want you fdr to finish the job. you're indispensable. republicans will ask in this cartoon, on what meat does this our great feeser feed? and he's in a fourth term toga here and carving up indispensability baloney. so the republicans fight back a little bit here. here's another democratic cartoon which is implying that the japanese and the germans are wanting dewey and republican victory holding up signs, don't vote for roosevelt. please, don't vote for roosevelt. here's another republican one. roosevelt is indispensable to communism. we demand his election. and you have here sidney hillman depicted. sidney hillman was a central part of the fall campaign in
1944. this is the presidential election where the slogan "clear it with sydney" or clear everything with sydney is very prominent. and the sydney is the person you see in this cartoon holding up the communistic pac and you see him here in this image. hillman was a former head of the powerful labor federation, the congress of industrial organizations, the cio, and after the smith/connelly act of 1943 forbade labor unions to actually be involved or make contributions to campaigns, hillman forms the political action committee, the pac, the cio-pac, and will do aloft work to assist democratic candidates. you don't have to get all this down on the screen, but you can look at it later when it's in black board just to familiarize
yourself with who hillman was, but i'm not going to ask you specific things about what this pac is all about. but in the main, it was viewed as something that was an aid to democratic candidates and especially the roosevelt campaign. and hillman not only being involved with labor organizations, hillman was born in lithuania and was viewed by many as a socialist or a communist and he has the backing of labor unions and he's using that backing to support democratic candidates. and so supposedly, too, i have this at the very bottom of the screen, roosevelt before signing off to a truman bid for vp told his aides, clear everything with sidney. make sure it's okay with him before we go forward with a truman vice presidential candidacy. so that remark "clear everything with sidney" became kind of a
major battle cry for republicans in 1944, saying, see, roosevelt is indispensable. he's indispensable to the communists. the rhetoric was also intense. and here is an image of republican congresswoman clare booth luce of connecticut elected in 1942, the wife of henry luce the publisher of "time" magazine and the author of the "life" editorial or essay in 1941, "an american century." but she accuses fdr that fall of little by little distorting our democracy into a dictatorial bubbledom and insisted he's the only american president who lied us into a war because he didn't have the political courage to lead us into it. at the dnc, indiana store jackson described 1944 as a fateful election and warned that
in the fearest most devastating war ever known, a democratic defeat would mean battleships for hirohito and legions for hitler. frankly, could -- do better himself to bolster access morale than the word that american people have upset this administration. we must not allow the american ballot box to be made hitler's secret weapon. also, at the democratic national convention you have oklahoma governor and keynote speaker robert kerr describe dewey as a vague, inexperienced and reactionary disciple of herbert hoover, criticized the isolationist in kong greggs prior to pearl harbor, he asked, shall we restore to power the party whose national leadership under the domination of isolationists scrapped and sank more of our fleet than was destroyed by the japanese at pearl harbor? pretty intense. imagine saying that in 2004 or 2008 or 2012. roosevelt himself entered the fray in september 1944 in a
speech before the teamsters. i have a little bit of this speech. i know our time is getting late, but we should have time, if this will operate right, to watch just a small about 30-second clip of this speech. here is fdr speaking in september 1944 before the teamsters. >> the position in this year has already imported into this campaign a very interesting thing because it's foreign. they have imported the propaganda technique invented by the dictators abroad. remember a number of years ago, there was a book "mein kampf," written by hitler himself.
and it is copied by the aggressors of italy and japan. according to that technique, you should never use a use a small . always a big one. for it's very fantastic nature would make it more credible. if only you keep repeating it over and over and over again. [ cheers & applause ] >> roosevelt had just a great time with this speech. he goes on and talks about how republicans are talking about depressions and he adds, you know, if i was a republican, i wouldn't even say the word depression because everybody remembers that the last time they were in office there was the great depression. and so he has a lot of fun with it. then he goes on and talks about his dog.
you can see he's very relaxed, seated here. but he seems to be his old self. he looks better than he had earlier in the year. and he goes on to talk about his little dog fila, the real highlight. he says, republican leaders, we're not just content with attacks on him or his wife or his sons, no not content with that. they now include my little dog. i don't e sent attacks and my family doesn't resent attacks but fila does resent them. republicans insisted that roosevelt had left fila in alaska and that has he had to send a destroyer out with taxpayer money to retrieve him. as soon as he lernd that the republican fiction writers in congress had concocted such a story, his scottish soul was
furious. he has not been the same dog sense. i am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods of himself. but i think i have a right to reject to libelous statements about my dog. one person in the crowd smashed glasses with wine bottles every time the president ridiculed e dewy. the speech writer later recalled the applauses and cheers when he finished were startling to us who had seen him out campaigning in 1932 and 1940. never had there been a demonstration equal to this in the mind of every friend and supporter who stood and cheered and applauded in that large
dining hall was the same thought, the old maestro is back again, the champ is out on the road, the old boy has the same fighting stuff and he just can't be licked. well, thomas dewy will respond shortly after that in oklahoma. and let me go back. there you see dewy. dewy will not be pleased with the remark. let me see this and then we'll be just about out of time. this gives you a little bit of a picture of dewy and what he sounds like and how tough he really is. this is not from his immediate reaction to roosevelt's speech but it's one of his speeches that fall. here he is. >> administration at home is one long chapter of failure. but still some people tell us we agreed that the new deal is a
failure at home. but its foreign policies are very good. let me ask you, can an administration which is so disunited and unsuccessful at home be any better abroad? can an administration which is filled with quarrelling and back-biting where we can see it be any better abroad where we cannot see it? these things we pledge to you, an administration in which you will not have to support three men to do one man's job. [ cheers & applause ] an administration which will route out waste and bring order out of present chaos. an administration which will give the people of this country value received for the taxes
they all pay. and so dewy on the campaign trail in late 1944. ultimately we know the outcome of this, and that is this is going to be another roosevelt victory. let me say this before we head out. there are really three reasons for this change in tone. you can go back and look at it in more detail later. no real specific thing you need to be aware of as far as numbers here. you see a number of them on the screen. one of the things that made this so intense in the end is there was a perceived closeness in the race in national polls. you can see on the screen it's very tight in these national polls, 51 to 49, in september dewy was two points ahead of roosevelt, 51 to 49. and fortune poll in july independence kated that the war was over, dewy would win big.
the second reason was the feisty temperaments of the vice presidential candidates. they were picked, i think, to rally the respective bases and they did a good job of that. truman was not a great toorator but he would be quite fiery. bricker was much more eloquent and more sensational than truman, traveling over 15,000 miles that fall and delivering over 200 speeches, most of them scathing exciindictments of the deal. sometimes you have campaigns where the candidates just don't like each other. and one friend of roosevelt's later recalled, you know, roosevelt respected landon. he got along with wilkie and really liked him. but that tom dewy he really hates, it showed. roosevelt will campaign late in the season making a campaign
swing through a number of big cities, including chicago and boston. and on election day it's a close race but ultimately another roosevelt victory. 53 to 46%. now while this looks pretty overwhelming for roosevelt, actually in some of these states where roosevelt wins, the margin of victory for him is very small. this is actually the closest race since 1916 when charles evans hughes narrowly lost to woodrow wilson. indeed 500,000 vote switch in the right states would have meant a dewy win in the electoral college. that's a relatively small window of victory for roosevelt. still a pretty big win. any questions or concerns? all right. when we come back on friday we'll continue our look at world war ii taking a look at combat
pragss in the european theater. have a good day. see you on friday. you are dismissed. the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it's free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up to the minute schedule information for c-span radio and television plus podcast times for our popular public affairs, book and history programs. stay up to date on the election coverage. c-span's radio app means you always have c-span on the go. at c-span.org you can watch our programming at any time on your convenience on your desktop, laptop or mobile device. go to your home page, c-span.org and click on the video search bar. type in the name of a