Skip to main content

tv   World War I and the Bill of Rights  CSPAN  May 7, 2017 2:45pm-3:46pm EDT

2:45 pm
america's cable companies. it is brought to you today by your company -- or cable or satellite provider. next on american history tv, we hear a panel of historians discuss american motivations for entering world war i, how the country mobilized for war, and government restrictions on protests. centerional constitution for philadelphia hosted this hour-long event. >> i am so excited for this program. we started planning it a few months ago, and i have been looking forward to it. we are celebrating the 100 anniversary of american entry into world war i. and while we remember it as the great war, and as a turning point in american history, there , a lot ofe in which
2:46 pm
the details are forgotten, including how it transformed america, and how it intersects with american constitutional history. i am absolutely thrilled to discuss with our panelists today , and to give you a little bit of background. we couldn't have brought together a better trio. uin,t, we have michael case the editor of dissent magazine and authored a new book. it talks about the peace coalition before u.s. entry into world war i, and then what happens during the peace movement. england, ae will pulitzer surprise journalist and author of a new book. happeneding how much
2:47 pm
in this one month and told the story of what is happening in america, europe, and russia and how those events intersect. brian, aly, we have professor of history at the university of virginia, and the cohost of one of my absolute favorite podcasts back story, if you are a fellow history nerd. i strongly suggest taking -- suggest checking out back story. it gives the background stories of a lot of the things happening in the news, and hosted by a quartet of top historians. greatn i please hear a national constitution center welcome. [applause] >> thank you all three for being
2:48 pm
here. i'm very excited about this program. before we turn to what was happening in the u.s., i would love to back up for a moment and think briefly about what was happening in europe. why is it that the european powers got into this conflict? and what do they hope to accomplish? i will turn this question to you, brian. brian: thank you very much. the short story that was happening immediately before the united states got into the war was trench warfare and warfare in the atlantic. the french, german, british were bogged down in a kind of carnage that the world had never seen before, and the war was going nowhere on the ground. that caused the combatants to ,urn to chemical weapons horrible techniques of war, incredible carnage.
2:49 pm
they were at odds with each ,ther, 1916, for almost a year just a standoff, killing each other. there were at least 300,000 soldiers killed. that is what americans saw happening on the ground. frankly, americans were much more interested in self interested in what was happening on the seas. i will not take you through the seesaw of submarine warfare and non-submarine warfare, but basically, the germans' only chance of breaking a stranglehold on supplies, the british blockade was to use the the british blockade was going to use submarine warfare. they gambled they could win the war break the blockade before america could get its act together and enter the war
2:50 pm
.bvious obviously, we know what happened. that is what was killing americans when the germans resumed submarine warfare. into u.s.efore we get entry into world war i, could you give us a sense of where america stood in its role of its war and the size of its military --the american's view? will: it was a very small navy and practically no army at all. wilson wanted to chase poncho via in mexico and had to use national guardsmen to do that. in terms of manufacture -- in effect become a they have become the richest country in the
2:51 pm
world, but reluctant to play any role on the world stage, instead for the spanish-american war. there was a lot of reaction against that afterwards. was of an isolationist wave generated. i will just mention front.e war had to go there was an eastern front, and the russians were fighting the germans and austrians. it was not a static as the western front, but it was equally as bloody. were fightingn along that front on both sides with tremendous, tremendous casualties. the u.s. was puzzled, puzzled is the wrong word. had a difficult time making a choice when looking at the germans of the russians, that was before we got into the world, because russia to americans was the quintessential, tyrannical, incompetent power. how do you vote for them over the germans?
2:52 pm
the two most horrible countries in the world were fighting each other. >> michael, what is great about both of your books is you introduce us to certainly some forgotten figures in this period of time. what comes through as well is the central figure in the united states is a quite familiar one and that is president woodrow wilson. michael, can you give us a sense of of who woodrow wilson was and what was he like? michael: he was progressive at a was ahen progressivism very broad, multifaceted ideology, but he was in favor of us having a stronger roll -- from the role in the economy did he signed the federal reserve act, and eight hour days for railroad workers after there was a strike that was threatened. he was in favor of the income
2:53 pm
tax that a just begun under his administration. he was someone who believe the political reform, a more democratic society, except for knownbecause he was also infamously now for reciprocating the federal government. but he was a great idealist. his father was a presbyterian minister during the civil war and afterwards. wilson really believed that the united states had a mission in the world. conflicted ofrly whether the u.s. confessor that mission about getting involved in the war and getting involved.
2:54 pm
or it would be better for the u.s. to stay away from the fighting. and bring about what he called an amazing speech of january, 1917, a piece without a victory. a piece in which one conquered and belittled. did apeace -- what would a peace without victory looked like? brian: it would look like a league of nations, giving lots of autonomy to not only nations themselves, but sections of nations to control their own destiny.
2:55 pm
wilson was a folk hero to people in the colonies, at least for a while. people in southeast asia, people min as a leader of north vietnam, wrote a letter to woodrow wilson in the early 1920's saying that he was his hero because wilson really stood withinminority groups majority countries. so, he imagined the self autonomous decisions being mediated by some kind of international arbitration. and what most people don't recognize, they think of wilson, league of nations, international -- that is a movement that started in the 1890's. there were conferences and the way, istates -- by the
2:56 pm
did some really bad cross-country skiing once. [laughter] to begin to work out this notion of settling disputes peacefully. and michael talked a lot about that in his book. >> that is absolutely right. we will get to that in a second. i want to place on the table, that one of the characters emerges peter roosevelt -- theodore roosevelt. can you talk relationshipe and with wilson, and sort of how their visions of america were similar or different at that point of time? he had become the primary proponent of preparedness, building an army and navy, and
2:57 pm
an industrial plant. but most important, he really wanted to get into the war. he felt come up pretty early on, that this was a war between autocracy and democracy, russia notwithstanding, and that he knew that it was incumbent upon the u.s. to make sure it was the right kind of world. and he said the u.s. needed to prove its manhood on the battlefield. a plan to1917, he had raise a division of volunteers that he himself would lead in france. he was 58. he became a little bit of a caricature of himself and away, but a very compelling caricature. he had to be careful in criticizing wilson, because he did -- he had to be carefully criticizing wilson. in public, you could see he was trying to hold back as much as he could.
2:58 pm
there is an interesting side about how wilson got around allowing tr to have this division. he rushed that through congress to make sure that would take up all the energy so people would not say, why can't tr have his own division? he won the draft as soon as the war began in europe. they could not say, the draft is good, beginning my division as well. >> there was wonderful correspondence between pr and newton baker, the secretary of war. baker was trying to be polite, but put him off and it went back and forth. baker said if we do get into the work, the armies have been be led by actual generals. [laughter] qualified officers.
2:59 pm
saying thata note he one-time surge as commander -- time served as commander in chief. >> he was known as colonel roosevelt. >> michael, your book is an extraordinary account of the development of the peace coalition during this world war i period. you describe it is the largest, most diverse, and most sophisticated coalition in u.s. history. can you talk a little bit about who comprised that coalition? when did it peak? who were some of its key leaders? diverse it was quite including southern democrats, including thes, majority leader and the head of the tax committee and the ways and means committee.
3:00 pm
a republican progressive from wisconsin who was in favor of human rights and civil rights as well. it included socialists at a time when the socialist party was as strong as it had ever been in history. it included feminists. suffrageor organization were in
3:01 pm
that was why they would keep to the fire, make sure he did not do anything in a serious way to jeopardize american neutrality. so that no public opinion polls at the time, but it is pretty clear, we know this from testimony from congress, until early 1917, it is likely most americans opposed going to war. teddy roosevelt was a minority at that point. it was a sophisticated coalition too. one of my favorite examples is the group against american military unit terrorism. they put up a group in brooklyn. they had the model of atreides -- a tyrannosaurus rex. it was a metaphor for what they thought was going on in the war in europe.
3:02 pm
>> they did not have public opinion polls. they had she music. that was a great way to measure what people were listening to, what kind of songs they were singing, the really popular sales of sheet music would get turned into recordings. the sheet music was all about staying out of the war. it was titles like, i didn't raise my gun to fight the huns. that really shifts when america gets into war, but before the war started, that measure of public opinion is running against going into the war. >> one thing about that, the main activists in this movement, this broad movement in congress were not isolationists. it has been a term going around too much inaccurately. they believed as wilson did the
3:03 pm
united states should leave it in bringing about a more peaceful world, harmonious, democratic. it is why many have been involved in the attempts to figure out legally away to outlaw war, come up with arbitration agreements. it is not believed the united states to keep itself separate from the problems of the world. they wanted americans to dive in. he did not want to do in a warlike way. >> and will, your book describes the title into march 1917.
3:04 pm
you say is most critical month for this century to come. those are big words. what are things happening in that the civic month that were so important? will: wilson is still trying to broker peace. it is kind of guaranteed by the united states. but not to go through too many events, what we had was the renewal of submarine warfare after wilson called for peace without victory. >> >> they said it was a good idea, then wait a minute. will: so they are torpedoing ships. then you have the zimmerman telegram which is offering mexico part of the southwest if they would join germany in the war against the united states, but it was conditional. if we go to war, consider joining us. we might have the japanese. they were trying to keep wilson out, but the public opinion was
3:05 pm
at don by the east coast newspapers in charge of the war. they began to tell there was a thinking without warning where 15 died. the people were brutal. and then we have the russian revolution, the czar chucked off the throne by our calendar arch 15, -- march 15, and americans thought it was a thunderclap, a democracy in russia. democracy has taken root overnight. it is incumbent upon the u.s. not only to support russia psychologically, but we should enter the fight to protect and extend democracy for the rest of
3:06 pm
europe. that is the tipping point. >> so we have the election of 1916 and wilson running as a person that kept us out of the war. michael gives us a sense of how wilson was in measure with the police coalition, then we are in -- the peace coalition, then it is 1917. what should we make of wilson? was he changed by the events, was he deceptive? how should we think about him in the shift? ryan: he was changed by the events, he had been trying to keep the united states out of the war for sure. what happens now are the efforts that were made to go to war before 1916. these were behind closed doors, but wilson strongly allied with
3:07 pm
the allies. he was certainly never going to go to war against the central powers, and the united states was very in tangled especially with great britain that financial relationship, and wilson was somebody who understood there needed to be some balance in the war, and as he said before 1916, america might have a greater role in influencing peace if it were actually belligerent. that served him for the time. but wilson had, and i have heard from others, he had genuine fears about the public passions and emotions that would be unleashed by the war. wilson certainly bears the blame for some of the violations of civil liberties that is to, we
3:08 pm
could at least give some credit for the premonition that getting into war, unleashing emotions and passions -- i'm looking at you michael, is that ok? >> i think that is true. some people make a lot of the fact he was from the south, that he had experience reconstruction. he grew up in a defeated nation. this had an impact on him. he wants to make sure in the united states went to war, it would not result in that kind of humbling of another nation. at the same time, he thought the united states was the best in the world. he believed the u.s. could show these terrible european powers and empires a better way to
3:09 pm
conduct their affairs. one can imagine talking about the kind of towers and ho chi minh with the letter, you try to meet wilson in power at the peace conference, and wilson did not try to meet him. so wilson is a fascinating egg or because he is ambivalent about aggression. -- fascinating figure because he is ambivalent about aggression. i think that helped explain why he turned against them in the vociferous way that he does. he thinks it is fine to fan the newspapers from the mail. find to put people in jail for giving speeches against the war. >> and the germans themselves understood and they resumed submarine warfare. they said america was going to enter the war.
3:10 pm
it really wasn't a terrible surprise that wilson did change his position and enter the war. in some ways he did not have any choice. >> the german ambassador went to the secretary of state, robert lansing, and told him that this decision that the german government had made to resume on the uber warfare, he walked away with tears in his eyes. he knew they would lose the war. >> the die was cast. >> and the first three ships that went down, a german u-boat was surfaced, gave warning, the cruise off onto the votes, no casualties of any time that any kind. this was driving teddy roosevelt crazy. dishonored the united states, behind the skirts death we are hiding behind the skirts of the british navy. you can make a case for the ship, it used to be british, it wasn't carrying timbers to italy
3:11 pm
or more materials. he was still trying -- i think he also knew shipping was kind of a puny excuse to get involved in the biggest war in the history of mankind. >> the question is, why didn't he go to war sooner? the answer is -- part of the peace coalition was art of the democrat party. remember his secretary of state, lillian jennings bryan -- william jennings bryan, very popular, had resigned earlier because he knew even with wilson saying that he thought wilson was too militaristic.
3:12 pm
wilson had balance in different parts of his party and among that was a part michael talks about in his book. >> michael, you alluded to it, but can you tell us more? april 1917, we are mobilizing for war. can you talk about the wilson administration's push to quell this? once we enter the work, what did they do, what was the event? >> congress passes the espionage act. they have things that ramp up the severity of other -- the espionage act was called the espionage act. hardly anybody was prosecuted for spying during the war. it was all about stopping people from opposing the war verbally, in the press. one of the leading prosecutors, so to speak of the espionage act was the postmaster general from texas, who took it on himself pretty much to censor the press. he did not like editorial or a feature, he would say, this paper cannot be mailed.
3:13 pm
it is essential to the popularity of these papers. believing radical magazine in america at the time was called of memphis -- called the masses. there was a prolabor magazine that was closed down by the government because it -- and the draft which is a new thing for america. there was no draft in the civil war. the draft in the south was more popular in the confederacy.
3:14 pm
and the famous journalist wrote that no construction league, and that was a violation of the act of congress because it was potentially disrupting the possibility of raising an army to go to europe and fight with the allies. so this was really the most oppressive time to civil liberties in american history. my argument looks at -- it was not irrational in a sense. with looking back, there is horror, we don't see this kind of oppression against people opposing the war. but at the same time, there was a large sentiment opposing going to war. there had been in 1914, 1915, 1916. there still was even after they go to war.
3:15 pm
these acts that you could argue, it's not necessary, and attempt to make sure there's not as protesters. anyone who proposed this would be clamped down on. and working on something through more short lived for for for a short time. american troops in the gutter to dutch claims in greater numbers in the last six months of the war. >> quick, and there was a minority within the anti-workgroup -- a conscription because come in addition be a rich man -- governments fight. everyone should take part. this also conscription of the wealth. >> that quotation -- this guy mentioned before, like -- in the house he pushed her heart for much more progressive income
3:16 pm
tax, excess profits tax on corporations making a lot of money. both tasks. >> so about the -- site administration -- the pro-war messaging that they did. can you took little been about -- call it propaganda coming from work and feel us enter the war? >> the committee was set up -- a guide named george creel cummaquid spent most of his time as a newspaper editor, kind of a political operative, another progressive. his idea was that, rather than using the comprehensive censorship of the european powers, a better technique would be to flood the country with good propaganda. there was censorship on military
3:17 pm
matters, not on what you might consider cultural or social stuff. he had the cooperation of a lot of newspaper editors. the constant torrent of feel-good stories, inspiring stories about america got into papers across the country. we also had this phenomenon called, the four-minute men. an idea that came out of chicago -- when you are going from one real to the next -- next feature showing. this case would stand up during that four minutes, give a four-minute inspiring speech about america, the red cross. saving food, or why democracy was good. it was always up beat. they're buried in will join the income of -- if there were lithuanian, sioux minutemen. >> they were the twitter. [laughter]
3:18 pm
>> run coming can be give us a sense -- but the scale the central governments to mobilize the war? how fresh perhaps some of the increase for the federal government -- haverford paraded in decades thereafter? >> sure. the united states, had a very small army, small navy. had to mobilize pretty much from scratch because they had not done much preparedness. but wilson made a decision early on to try to tap the voluntary sector, and the private sector, rather than command things from the top. good example of the way they organized the political economy was through this agency called, they war industries board.
3:19 pm
it was 1 -- run by a popular figure in the private sector, also a political operative. the way the war industry board worked was a series of cooperative agreements with industry, all kinds of sectors of industry. rather than say -- establishing quota for production, they were a lot -- fall on voluntary agreements within industries to produce so much for the war effort, to try to comply with price maximums. herbert hoover was another person, an engineer who had organized a massive effort to seize starving belgians before america was in the war, he became known as the flow star -- he relied again, on voluntary efforts.
3:20 pm
there were 2 -- i don't know what happened to the pork lobby -- there were two days where americans went without pork. the idea was to tap into america's patriotism, public spirit, and to use the american people themselves voluntarily, to create the kind of prescriptions that were needed in order to support the war effort. very similar effort was made. michael mentioned taxation, and 35% of the war or so was funded through a progressive increase tax three but, the rest of the war was funded through debt, a lot of that debt can to popular war bond campaigns. people made little money on those bonds, but everybody but bonds. they were issued in small denominations. even middle-class or poor people could show their patriotism by buying more bonds.
3:21 pm
this sets a precedent for how america would fund its worse in the future. >> the war bonds, there was a mild coercion involved. >> absolutely. >> if you worked for an employer who is in favor of the war -- most employers were -- he made sure that you knew whether you are buying more bonds are not. there were voluntary organizations, religious ones and otherwise who were expected to publicly say how many war bonds they bought. in 1917 elections -- and i read about the menu ran for mayor of
3:22 pm
new york as an anti-war platform. we got almost 1/4 of the vote and a four-man race. he got in trouble during the campaign because he said, i do not think i will buy any war bonds. [laughter] >> that the great point because the flip side of all of this was a dark, coercive element. the flip-side of the four minutemen was the american protection league. a voluntary groups, very grassroots, but they would report suspicious activity, they would report people who didn't seem to be all in for the war. there were tens of thousands of such reports. there is a real coercive element that went along with these voluntary efforts. likewise in the economy, there were groups that reported people that were charging prices they thought were too high. -- nots a real kind of big brother, but lots of little cousins. [laughter]
3:23 pm
>> chattering away about people who might not really be behind this war enough. >> one reason you had to have that was, even unlike world war ii, there was never any sense that the u.s. itself is under threat. it was not an existential threat to the country. you had to persuade people that this was something we needed to support. >> one example of these voluntary coercive connection -- the american protective league, the apl that brian mentioned, was charged by the justice department with trying to make sure that young men did not even a the draft law. infamously in new york city in 1918, march, the atl engaged in adl engaged in this massive slacker raid. they rounded up 250,000 men in new york city. they checked their papers and went into movie theaters, restaurants, workplaces.
3:24 pm
this was so outrageous that -- apl, thehe apd, justice department said, i think we will not give you this power anymore. there's voluntary organization -- these guys are not paid by the government to do this. >> the early 20th century was also a period of amazing constitutional creativity. we had sandwiched around world war i, the 16th, the 17th amendment, and the 18th and 19th. to what degree did those movements intersect with or affect the debate over world war i? >> the biggest debate in the period that i wrote about was over the president's warmaking powers. march, justning of as the term of congress was coming to an end, he went to get authorization from congress to put guns on merchant vessels, thinking that armed neutrality would be way to deal with a u-boat threat without getting into the war.
3:25 pm
the senator michael talked about one of the leaders of a , filibuster in the senate -- his attitude was you are leading with your chin. you put it on a ship you will , get into a fight. we will stumble into a war we don't want. so there was a filibuster. the measure died. once the congress had expired on march 4, wilson issued an executive order that guns would be put on ships. this never happened because we got into the war, but it did create quite a stir. he had to make a promise to the senate that he would not take the country to war without going to congress and asking for a declaration of war. we have moved beyond that at this point, but that was the primary issue at that time. i will say also that because he was so angry at this group of willful men who carried out the
3:26 pm
filibuster against him the , administration leaned on the new senate. they introduced the cloture rule for the first time. filibusters could be limited. last week that rule is extended further. we are still living with that today. >> for that incident it was 2/3, we just moved to 3/5. these are all very constitutional issues we are dealing with today. just as the espionage act is still on the books. when scooter libby was indicted for leaking secrets, it was under the 1916 espionage act. in the george w. bush administration. >> if he ever comes back from russia, he will be indicted under that act past 100 years ago. who knows will happen. >> the other big constitutional
3:27 pm
issue is the push by organizations to extend the vote to women nationally. janet lincoln, the first woman -- janet rankin the first woman , elected to congress from montana, a progressive republican, promised that her first act in congress would be to introduce the susan b anthony amendment to the constitution to the vote to women. wilson had asked for the war. it cuts through a lot of the usual dividing lines. so in the women's movement, you have those who said we need to support the president or we will undermine our own cause. and you have people like rankin who felt like it's not worth going to war for our cause, although you the same thing in the labor movement and the african-american community as well. these huge divisions. >> thank you so much for the questions here, we will get right into it.
3:28 pm
what were the courts doing in connection with restrictions on speech and the press during this period? >> basically they were saying, whatever congress has passed is fine. once in a while, a court would say no, so-and-so -- the kaiser not so bad. you shouldn't be arrested for that, and they went to some people go. -- let some people people go. there was a case, anti-war groups tried to get the draft labeled unconstitutional under the 13th amendment, involuntary servitude. that clause in the 13th amendment, which was passed to outlaw slavery. in 1865. i think it was unanimously, orally one vote and the court said no. >> and that same case, the shank case, is the case where we get a lot of language today where we
3:29 pm
talk about free speech. oliver wendell holmes talked about a clear and present danger . if his speech presents a clear and present danger, it cannot be allowed. that became a very important -- he talked about people falsely, -- people falsely yelling fire in a theater. the analogy was to situations and which the protections of free speech just need to be loosened because there was a present danger. >> holmes and justices from the mid- had recoiled from that. 20's first of all, the war in retrospect was much less popular after it ended, than it had been when americans were actually fighting. by the mid-20's, the famous case
3:30 pm
case called the gitlo case, a radical socialist to said, the american government should be overthrown by the working class, basically. this case helped to lead what is called the corporation and the bill of rights. until then, most amendments to -- did not actively apply to the states, only the federal government. i think in large part as a result of world war i, now something we take for granted, the bill of rights, especially the first amendment, is applied to the states as well. before that, if you are in mississippi or alabama and he says something the authorities of alabama and mississippi did it can be completed the constitutional to put you in jail for that or prosecute you for that. because of the experience of world war i, jurisprudence changed. for the better i think. >> what would ironically be one of wilson's own appointee is
3:31 pm
louis brandeis, a profit of free speech. this one is for any and all of you. what lessons do you see coming of world war i for our present times? [laughter] >> first off, the war launched america in a completely new direction as we were talking about today. wilson, in his address asking for a declaration of war, put what we would think of as human rights and democracy at the forefront. these two ideals have been what the united states appealed to his various policies. he put them at the top. americans discovered that that was a motivating way of
3:32 pm
approaching foreign policy. going into the world to remake the world -- often in our image was the idea -- but to spread wilson called white civilization. today we might say western values around the world. our current president would seem to have campaigned on the idea of ending that era. i'm not sure it can be ended -- i think these -- it is so ingrained into the american character, it would take more than one presidential term to bring that to a close. >> i think the famous literary critic and political commentator randolph bourne wrote a lot of essays during the war. he opposed the war here the famous line from one essay, not published until after his death death he said, "war is the health of the state."
3:33 pm
brian is a distinguished historian of the american state. it is hard to separate the wartime state and the national security state we have come from. many of the structures in the state we still have in many ways stem one way or another from the world war i experience. the ones that don't stem from the world war ii experience their american roosevelt, it -- under franco roosevelt was a dedicated wilsonian. during world war i -- saw himself trying to deplete the -- complete the legacy of wilson. we should think about how we understand our government -- how we understand our state and both peaceful terms and were like terms and think about lyether we need such a broad and inclusively powerful security state. and if so, why. >> i would just say world war i
3:34 pm
is a great lesson on teaching us to be wary about the passions that are unleashed during wartime. democracies have a fundamental problem. how do you convince citizens to give their lives in order to preserve those democracies. the basic way to convince them is through patriotism. and that patriotism requires a lot of passion. you have heard us mentioned progressives. one of my favorite example questions for undergraduates was who wasn't a progressive in this era? everyone was progressive. but they really believed in experts, in objective science. the league of nations comes out wilson's assembling the best experts in the world to suggest
3:35 pm
what to do. but things didn't work out and -- in that kind of passionless, rational way for any part of wilson's agenda. that's because he needed to stir up passion to get into the war and he needed to suppress strong sentiments against the war. ishink the lesson for today be careful what you wish for when democracies go to war, they do so generally only by stirring up passion. that tends to be very bad for any kinds of minorities and those democracies. >> the u.s. had large irish and german minorities. englande not supporting and the germans were not lining up to fight germany.
3:36 pm
did they have an impact on the debate in the entry to the war? >> very much so, especially in >> very much so for the first couple of years. the largest ethnic organization was the german american association 2 million members. the population was only 100 million in the whole country. might finance, you not be surprised to learn was financed by the brewers. they argued that the u.s. shouldn't send arms to anybody. there should be an embargo on sending arms to anybody when american industry was beginning to gear up in late 1914-1915. businessd do good selling arms to the german and french, but not to the germans. mines allh navy put over the north cease of their was no way to get to germany.
3:37 pm
so there was no way to get to germany. when the lusitania was destroyed 120 something americans who died , in may, 1915. that pretty much put it into the effectiveness of the german-american organization. by that americans didn't point necessarily want to get the war, but they knew they were not going to think about germany in the same way again. irish-americans more complicated. irish-americans were the leaders of the church, the catholic church of the time. almost everywhere in the country. irish-american republicans, those that wanted independence for ireland, were very much opposed to the united states going to work to support the british empire. the irish-americans who controlled or led the catholic church, had other ethnic catholics to worry about.
3:38 pm
italians are fighting on the side of the allies. hungarians are part of the austro-hungarian empire. poles who wanted an independent polish nation. they had not had that since the 18th century. hated the germans. the germans were never given that right. as time went on, the catholic , those that lead the church for more effective in convincing most irish-americans to support the war, to see themselves primarily as americans, as opposed to having their loyalty more than those struggling for independence in ireland. >> if i can elaborate on the irish point, it's less of the after writing in dublin in 1916. anti-british feeling of st. patrick's day dinner in oakland. -- brooklyn. teddy roosevelt name was mentioned. it met with boo's.
3:39 pm
then wilson's name was mentioned and cheered and applauded. he was their man. they thought he would keep them out of the war. when the war came a lot of those angry irish voices from the weeks preceding it dialed back down again. you didn't hear much about that. there's a famous national guard regiment in new york, the 69th, which acquitted well on the western front. i had two great uncles who lived on francis street here, both drafted. francis died of the ones he received on the western front. as michael was saying patriotism, american patriotism, came to the fore largely in that ethnic group. >> the famous song of course, written by george m. cohen.
3:40 pm
>> in terms of the implications for today, you have heard talk about our special relationship with great britain. in many ways, this begins, comes out of world war i. we take it for granted across the 20th century american history, but the irish were no friend of the british throughout all of the 19th century and american history and of course britain was our great enemy during the revolution. this was not an automatic thing. this special relationship with written. it was forged during world war i. time for maybe one or two more. finally the government desegregated? [laughter] >> it was gradual. a grad student wrote a dissertation partly about this. not finally until 1940's, 1950's. president harry truman had a commission which calls for it to
3:41 pm
be desegregated. it was part of the desegregation wave of the federal government in the 1940's and 1950's and make 60's. >> i had a grad student who wrote a dissertation also. although truman very famously called for the desegregation of the military, it wasn't actually desegregated during the korean war. it's a fascinating dissertation. the reason the army finally got desegregated was it became too complicated to come up with separate units, black and white, separates doctors, black and white, separate chaplains. it was the need to get those troops to korea in the 1950's that was the first time that the military was truly desegregated. >> this only happened because of the black freedom movement.
3:42 pm
washington, d.c. was a southern town. when i got here in the 1960's as an intern it was clear it was not desegregated. there were certain places that if you are black, you didn't go. >> unfortunately, we are out of time. i can tell to the three of you about this topic forever. please give a thank you to our guests. [applause] thank you so much. they will be a book signing downstairs in the lobby with will and michael. thank you. >> you are watching american history tv, 40 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter patsies in
3:43 pm
history for information on our schedule and keep up with the latest history news. tonight on q&a, defense news naval warfare correspondent chris cabot on the navy's bribery scandal involving malaysian defense contractor that leonard glenn francis. >> is shocked the culture of the navy that people were corrupted to provide defense marine with information about ship movements. . and other things as well in exchange for not that much money, but fairly lavish lifestyles. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. tonight on afterwards, pulitzer prize winning journalist helene cooper discusses the life and presidency of liberia's first elected phenol president in her book "out of president:" the
3:44 pm
extraordinary journey of ellen johnson early." she's interviewed by congressman karen bass of california. >> when you first meet that a president? >> i've known about her all my life. -- she was theus minister of finance in 1979, 1980 when the coup happened. i need to the minister of finance was. she knew my parents. she was somebody that as a child growing up in liberia i had heard of. she was speaking truth to power, always criticizing the same government she worked for. in 1985 when she was arrested and thrown into jail, i heard all about that. she became at this time a political icon. >> watch afterwards, tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2's book tv.
3:45 pm
>> american history tv was at a organization of american historians in the meeting in new orleans where we spoke with historian kate epstein about the history of the relationship between the u.s. military and the private sector. interview focuses on her book "torpedo: inventing the military-industrial complex in the united states and great britain." this interview is about 15 minutes. >> your area of study is a national security and intellectual property. where do those intersect in american history? waroughly between the civil and the early cold war. i look at how the u.s. government tried to work with the defense contracting sector to acquire modern industrial weaponry, and nt


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on