Skip to main content

tv   FDR the Final Years of World War II 1943-45  CSPAN  June 8, 2019 8:40am-9:50am EDT

8:40 am
>> sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. next, nigel hamilton talks about the last book in his trilogy profiling president franklin d roosevelt at war. "war and peace" covers fdr's involvement in planning d-day until his death in 1945. the national world war ii museum in new orleans posted this event. -- hosted this event. this year marks the 75th anniversary of the allied invasion of normandy, france. >> good evening, everyone. welcome to the national world war ii museum. you sitting here and to those watching on the livestream, i know you are with us in spirit. we feel your presence, too.
8:41 am
i am the senior historian here at the museum. i am also the executive director for the institute of the study of war and democracy. tonight is the latest installment of our meet the authors series. we like to mention our sponsor, we bring this to you with the generous support of the strake foundation. so, thank you. many of you have been to our events before. you know we have a tradition at the museum. may i ask, are there any world war ii veterans or homefront workers in the audience tonight? if you would please stand. or wave. [applause] >> thanks, folks. [applause] >> i heard the president and ceo emeritus, and the current president say as many times, we built this museum for you, so thanks for coming to these events. military veterans of any other era, if you would stand and wave. [applause] >> we always know that is a large number.
8:42 am
i love the waves. people give different forms of waves. looks good. i like that one. thank you so much. we would like to acknowledge three special guests in the audience. a current board member, robert pretty. there he is. robert, good to see you. thank you for coming. and past board members, deborah lindsay -- i am looking in the wrong direction. .eborah and dr. michael kerry. is dr. mike in the audience? great to see you, as always. [applause] >> thanks so much to all of you for being with us this evening. and, of course, we will never move on before we acknowledge the national world war ii museum's cofounder, president, and ceo emeritus in the front row, nick, as always. [applause] >> and to all of you in the audience and livestream who may be museum members, you keep us going, so thank you.
8:43 am
finally a sincere thanks to , c-span for being here. it is great to see your cameras at our events. i know i tend to stand up a little straighter when the c-span cameras are in operation, so thank you, too. you have all heard the phrase, "so and so needs no introduction." you probably know what that means. deserves a very fulsome introduction indeed. as is the case with our speaker tonight, nigel hamilton. nigel is an award-winning author and biographer, author of a biography of marshal montgomery, known as monty, which has been on my shelves for a long time.
8:44 am
this best-selling work on the young john f. kennedy, which was turned into an abc miniseries, bill clinton: mastering the presidency. nigel is the first president of the national biographers organization, senior fellow at the mccormick graduate school of massachusetts, boston. i will say this flat out, he is one of the world's greatest writers. you know you are in for a treat. this one is no exception. [applause] >> nigel is also a dear friend of the museum. he spoke at our 2012 international conference, and for the first two books of this fdr trilogy. from a personal perspective, he is a friend of nick's and a friend of mine. he lives right down the road with his wife. please stand if you wouldn't mind. [applause] >> thank you. and so, to the main event. we are honored nigel has selected our museum as the site of his official book launch for "war and peace." this is the third book in the fdr trilogy.
8:45 am
here, nigel brings this story home, covering the saga of fdr from d-day to the altar. it is an appropriate time for book and itof this is an appropriate time for gathering. today is the 74th anniversary of the german surrender in western europe. we are mere weeks away from the 75th anniversary of d-day. without further ado, i give you the incomparable nigel hamilton. [applause] nigel: good evening, everybody. this is a slightly sad occasion for me because it is a sort of farewell to somebody i have lived with for 10 years.
8:46 am
franklin delano roosevelt. and i shall miss him. i never intended to spend 10 years writing this series. and i certainly didn't intend for the story to take three volumes. all i did know was that is was -- it was something of a national scandal in this country that no one, no historian had written a full-scale account of president roosevelt in his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the united states in the most violent war
8:47 am
in human history. how was it possible that that had never been done? one of the main reasons, of course, was that fdr died in april of 1945. he had begun to assemble his papers. i was able to interview the harvard graduate who was working in the map room in the white house who was helping them him prepare those papers for his memoirs. he was never able to write them. the person who did write them was the british prime minister , winston churchill, in retirement, and later when prime minister again. who was an extraordinary writer,
8:48 am
apart from being a great prime minister and leader of his country. and churchill took six volumes to tell the story of world war ii. so, although i am embarrassed i have taken three volumes to tell fdr's story, it is only half of what churchill wrote. [laughter] i call my talk tonight -- and thank you so much for coming. you work for years and years and you wonder always if there is anybody out there who wants you to do it, who responds to what you are doing.
8:49 am
i call tonight's talk "the man who saved d-day," because, as bob said, we are about to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the normandy invasion. it may be probably the last occasion on which there will still be significant numbers of survivors. the story that i will focus on tonight, the focus is on d-day itself, or rather, not on d-day, but on the project of d-day. each of my fdr volumes began with a voyage. volume i began with the
8:50 am
president's trip to newfoundland in the summer of 1940, before pearl harbor, to meet a man who would become his opposite number as commander-in-chief of the british empire -- winston churchill. they met on their battleships off the canadian coast. they drew up together the great
8:51 am
far as possible from the german lines of communication, so that american forces could learn in the field how to meet and defeat the german wehrmacht. so, the second volume took up story and also begins a with a great voyage. the first president ever to fly abroad in office, in a flying boat to casablanca, where again, he met with winston churchill , and again, overruled his chief
8:52 am
s of staff, recognizing that in january of 1943, almost no american troops had ever fired a single shot in action against a german soldier.better to conting process in modern warfare in the mediterranean and also to declare a moral policy, much as it when laying down the atlantic charter, mainly, unconditional surrender. no negotiation with the nazis. unconditional surrender. at the end of the book, american soldiers had landed in sicily, conquered sicily, and were on
8:53 am
the shores of southern italy. the german army surrendered to eisenhower in northern africa. so, we come to the book that is being launched tonight, volume iii. i can reveal that my editor was somewhat surprised at the title. he thought it had been used before. [laughter] mr. hamilton: well, yes, but a long time ago! and nobody else had thought to use it since. [laughter] mr. hamilton: so, i thought it was pretty appropriate, "war and peace." this third volume also begins
8:54 am
with a voyage, a journey. it begins with fdr sailing on a new american battleship, the uss iowa, with his chiefs of staff to north africa. i am looking at a picture that is very small, but i think you can see general marshall, admiral leahy, and admiral king. they are going to north africa because they were going to go on to cairo and there, once again, he is going to meet with his opposite number, the prime minister of britain, winston churchill. but, before he gets to cairo he
8:55 am
, he wants to make quite certain that he has a chance to talk with the american commander-in-chief, allied commander-in-chief in the mediterranean, the young dwight david eisenhower. he is anxious, in fact, and fortunately, there are quite a number of photographs from that period, to listen to ike's views on strategy in europe, and to think about him for a very good reason. because ike tells him that he has just been to see winston churchill and he is worried by the prime minister's
8:56 am
unwillingness to go ahead with the d-day invasion in 1944. so, when roosevelt arrives in cairo, on the surface, the two men look like they have those -- always been great friends, which they were. but, sometimes, great friends fall out over great issues and d-day was a great issue. and very quickly, in cairo, the president of the united states faces a crisis, an extraordinary moment in history where his main
8:57 am
prime minister not only of great britain, but de facto commander-in-chief of all the empire forces including the south africans, australians, and canadians, has, as he had learned, threatened to have a showdown over delaying or halting d-day. which had been agreed, should should take place in the spring of 1944, in a few months time. why was winston churchill, a prime minister whose british empire military forces were so essential to the success of the invasion, which would be launched, a cross-channel invasion from britain, why was
8:58 am
winston churchill such an implacable opponent of the great landing? afterwards, winston churchill would cast his magical rhetorical and literary spell over the story, claiming that it was simply that he wanted to do much more than just cross the english channel, but he would therefore prefer to focus first on the mediterranean and its steppingstone to the balkans in 1944. also, that as prime minister, he had deep misgivings about russian intention in eastern europe. he was thus unashamedly, he wrote in his memoirs, against putting all the eggs of the western allies into one basket, d-day, which could be done
8:59 am
later, if at all. now, many historians have followed suit, lauding churchill's political perspicacity, and downplaying and downplaying the very lens of opposition to planning in 1943. some, like the biographer andrew roberts, whom i admire, even claim that is not true that churchill wanted to postpone, still less cancel, operation overlord, the codename of d-day. as had sometimes been alleged. others, like the director of the churchill archives, alan packwood, who i count as a friend, claim that it is near
9:00 am
-- mere hindsight to assume that d-day was the most important military operation in world war ii, upon which the success of the war against hitler depended. i have to say, as a military horne's localt is -- that is loyalist hogwash. i bow to no one in my admiration for winston churchill's lonely standing. after the franco british defeat in 1940, his finest hour. but after pearl harbor, in 1941, the direction of the war against hitler is surely fdr's finest
9:01 am
hour. as i hope my fdr trilogy can persuade you, as it has persuaded me. all through volume two, commander-in-chief, churchill has done his best to argue , vainly, against a cross channel landing. twice coming to the u.s. to argue personally with the president. war and peace reveals not only how opposed to d-day churchill remained, but how the prime minister sent arguably treasonous messages to the -- messages, in the view of the
9:02 am
american secretary of war, direct to stalin, to say that d-day would have to be postponed in favor of more combat in italy and the mediterranean. finally, in cairo, in front of the president and military advisors, the prime minister delivered his grand indictment , as he called it, of the president's d-day strategy and a last-ditch appeal to delay or abandon the invasion. this was, to my mind, the greatest military crisis of the second world war. a crisis of churchill's own. the culmination of a whole year of opposition to the d-day project.
9:03 am
the prime minister claims his tolier promise in quebec, carry out the invasion is simply a lawyer's agreement. one that he, as british commander-in-chief, can tear up . and he is serious. he threatened his own war cabinet, he will resign if the d-day's can insist upon spring 1944 priority and timetable. he even threatened his military chiefs and will risk breaking the grand alliance telling the americans that they will be welcome to switch their focus, if they do not accept a delay or cancellation of d-day. in other words, the prime
9:04 am
minister of britain is willing to break his partnership with the u.s., a partnership that he himself had created, rather than give in. he openly complains to his staff that he is the only genius that can win the war, but is being forced to fight with one arm tied behind his back, thanks to american stupidity. rome, roads turkey, the , dardanelles, the black sea, the balkans, vienna -- anyway -- anywhere but d-day and normandy in the spring of 1944. he demands, by the pyramids.
9:05 am
how the president of the u.s. deals with churchill's rebellion is the core drama of war and peace, my final volume. in his great volume -- his six volumes of war memoirs. churchill gave his own version, and it helped him win the nobel , ase for literature literature. as a historian and biographer, i cannot match winston churchill's prose. i can only offer fdr's point of view, which is very, very different. fdr saw d-day, as did hitler.
9:06 am
-- as did hitler's, as the theding strategy against third reich. thus, inevitably, against japan one sittler was defeated. hitler was defeated. perhaps, no one will ever really explain winston churchill's opposition to d-day. what we can do at last, 75 years after the landing, is to see exactly how the president of the u.s. went about diffusing churchill's time bomb in cairo. and insisting, as the president did, that the d-day operation be carried out, as agreed in quebec. saving d-day, in other words.
9:07 am
churchill was furious, boiling with rage. the two men flew to tehran. where fdr got stalin to promise to back the d-day invasion with a simultaneous russian offensive on the eastern front, which would force them to fight on two fronts. in which case, the germans would be unable to withdraw forces from the east to reinforce their armies in france, facing the allies. stalin also promises the president to join the war against japan, once hitler
9:08 am
surrenders. this trip was historic, a triumph. when churchill was asked by his doctor whether anything had gone wrong, he snapped. "a bloody lot wrong has gone wrong." [laughter] in fact, as history shows, a bloody lot has gone right. certainly, hitler is in no doubt as to the defining importance of an allied cross channel invasion
9:09 am
for the fate of the nazi third reich. the landing and subsequent battle will "decide the war." hiller warned his staff, and s. bel' " it will not be too hard to beat the western allies," he adds. after all, he does not have the feeling that the british have their whole heart in this attack. after the president's trip to cairo and tehran, the d-day project is energized. it will go forward in the spring of 1944. it is energized for one, extra historic reason, as i have tried
9:10 am
definitively, at last in this book, or in peace. namely the president's , surprising decision not to appoint general marshall to command the d-day invasion, but the man he interviewed at length on his way out to cairo, young general dwight d. eisenhower. this was one of the most inspired appointment of world war ii. a coalition war, involving the forces of many nations, but led by the u.s. typically, fdr is not content to send ike a telegram.
9:11 am
cairo,ng from tehran and he stays with eisenhower in tunis. together, the men fly in the president's plane, nicknamed the sacred cow, to malta and sicily. where the president decorates general mark clark and tells lieutenant general george patton , whom i think you can see next ,o the last figure at the back despite the current, black cloud hanging over patton for slapping shellshocked gis in a field " you will have an
9:12 am
army command in the great normandy operation." thus was the grand alliance saved. d-day set in stone and its supreme commander appointed. back in washington, the thedent is feted as conquering hero from hyde park, surrounded by his family, he broadcasts a christmas message, announcing to the world his appointment of eisenhower as supreme commander of the forthcoming assault.
9:13 am
he looked, and found, full of , as someonee pink describes him. but he is not. he soon falls ill with the flu and he never gets better. the second half of war and peace tells a sadder story of fdr behind the scenes. he is finally, and belatedly diagnosed with fatal heart , disease. neither he, nor eisenhower, and -- who was moving to england to take command of the invasion, has been able to stop churchill from mounting his own version of d-day in italy under new, british supreme command.
9:14 am
it was one of the prime minister's worst military intercessions in the entire war, which results in 43,000 allied casualties in three months to no purpose before d-day. 43,000. by contrast, the d-day invasion is a triumphant allied success. the president broadcasts a prayer on behalf of all americans for its success. the landings not only prove one of the great combat achievements
9:15 am
in military history, but they did prove churchill's forecast of an english channel running in blood, which churchill had predicted to american senators and congressmen in 1943. the president even insists on an american invasion of southern france. this is part of a normandy invasion, but the president also insists on an american invasion of southern france, near marseilles. to give eisenhower more heft as he advances into germany. that invasion is similarly successful. in the public image, the president is the master strategist of the war. in fact, he even sails by
9:16 am
summer, to that pearl harbor. here he is seen entering pearl harbor itself. to force general macarthur to sit down with his opposite number in the pacific to see how the u.s. navy operates. then, with the admiral, to present him with their best ideas on how they propose to defeat japan without incurring ruinous casualties. normally, this would have been vintage fdr, blessed with charm, the ability to get commanders to
9:17 am
work together, arriving at a clear strategy. but the president is not in vintage good health. he is dying of heart disease. he can barely work two hours a day or give a public speech. here is a photo of one that he gives on his return to the u.s., where he is asked to stand, using his iron legs. he has a heart attack doing it. continuing as president and u.s. commander-in-chief is a titanic struggle for him. assured by all of his advisers that there is no one else that can possibly lead the nation to victory, not only in the war but preparing the allies for the postwar, for peace.
9:18 am
he agrees to stand for reelection. well aware that he will never survive another term, despite being only 62 years of age. he is duly triumphant at the polls. at the inauguration day in 1945, he is ravaged healthwise. i'm not sure how clear this is, but this is a map of his voyage to yalta. once again, traveling to get there, in the crimea, for a second meeting with stalin to discuss the war's endgame.
9:19 am
here he is in malta on the way out with general marshall. here he is arriving in tehran. how to get the russians to help in the war against japan. how to establish united nations and the un security council as , well as discussing the insoluble problem of poland? it is something of a miracle of survival. you can see how ill he looks with churchill there. he just manages to get through the conference. coming back to the u.s., his
9:20 am
military assistant, general watson actually dies of a heart attack during the voyage. the point is, the president is not merely sick, he is dying, unable to stand, even on his metal stilts, when reporting to congress. beyond his patriotic sense of duty as commander-in-chief of the u.s. armed forces, one thing perhaps more than any other has kept him alive since his doctors gave him their sentence of death 12 months before. for in the very week that they diagnosed his fatal malady, the
9:21 am
love of fdr's life, lucy rutherford, has become a widow, and she inspires him to go on at least to hitler's end. he almost makes it, but not quite. he takes the train and works on his u.n. speech. there he is, leaving admiral leahy, his white house chief of staff, in washington, to mind the military store. he is joined in warm springs by lucy rutherford, and her friend, the watercolor portraitist elizabeth shoumatoff, his longtime hyde park neighbor, daisy sutley, is also in the room, and his personal secretary, bill hassett, when the end comes.
9:22 am
do we have time to read a short passage? bill pass it has drive the papers the president has signed in ink. once gathered the private , secretary put them neatly in a folder on the card table which the president used as his desk. lucy and daisy were sitting and watching madame shoumatoff work on a life-size watercolor. she was painting as fast that she could, but became aware suddenly, that his gaze, quote "his gaze had a faraway look and was completely solemn."
9:23 am
he had just told her about the stamp he asked for to celebrate the upcoming,. conference.ing "wait till you see the san francisco stamps with the united nations," but seemed to have moved somewhere else in his mind, staring at lucy next to him. it was about 1:15 p.m. to the filipino butler, the president has said they needed 15 more minutes to work before taking lunch, which he was looking forward to. suddenly, elizabeth recalled, he raised his right hand and passed it over his forehead several times in a strange, jerky way without without emitting a sound. at least as far as she could hear. daisy recalled the president, quote "looking for something,
9:24 am
his head forward, his hand fumbling." immediately she rose. "i went forward and looked in his face." "have you dropped your cigarette? " she asked him, alarmed. he looked at me with his forehead burrowed in pain, and tried to smile. he put his left hand back up to the back of his head and said, i have a terrific pain in the back of my head. those would be the president's last words, daisy, quite certain of them afterwards, -- he said it distinctly, but so low that i don't think anyone else heard it. my head was not more than a foot from his. i told him to put his head back on the chair. the president is sick, call the doctor, madame shoumatoff yelled. "
9:25 am
the doctor comes and administers medication for the president's heart. the president had -- the president's heart. the president had suffered a quote "massive cerebral hemorrhage" or catastrophic stroke. his blood pressure was over 300, and there was nothing, despite attempted artificial respiration by the president's doctor could be done except wait for the end. they called washington to speak to the president's naval formal white house doctor, admiral mcintyre. and he's told that there is a long siege ahead. but in the event, the siege did not last long. , recognizingrd
9:26 am
that the end was approaching told elizabeth to pack her easel , and bags and summoned nicholas robbins, the man who took this photograph in a white cadillac. they set off in the estate before the press could arrive. we would only hear whether or not the president had passed away when i stopped to telephone the white house on their journey home. the flag was already at half mast. the operator, before putting through the call, asked if they knew what had become national, in fact, global news. at 3:35, local time, on april 12, 1945, the commander-in-chief -- the last words of the author of this book -- the commander-in-chief was dead. thank you very much.
9:27 am
[applause] host: nigel, thank you very much for another wonderful presentation and for really wrapping up this wonderful and remarkable individual up. we want to open the floor for questions. we'll start in the center, about halfway back. please stand when i bring the microphone to you. >> we briefly talked when you were signing my book, and i would like you to share with the audience your contrast with hitler's interference with his
9:28 am
command, with his army, with what roosevelt did with his own. mr. hamilton: yes. i enjoyed meeting you, and, you raised an interesting question, what was it that describes fdr's style of leadership, and can he be faulted for interfering with his military staff? yes, he did interfere with them. sometimes as commander-in-chief, he has to do that. after fdr, harry truman would have to do it. with macarthur. in the second world war, fdr had to do it several times, as i explained, with his chief of staff over premature decisions to launch d-day in 1942 and 1943
9:29 am
before american forces, not just the forces, but the combat commanders had shown that they could beat the wehrmacht in open battle. and we have one of our experts on the wehrmacht right here. tough, tough enemy. so i would say that fdr's great contribution to military command is his willingness, where he felt necessary, to step in to i think that is what a president often has to do, he has to think of the human equation, not just whether his military advisers should be allowed to go their own way. but once having made his strategic decisions, fdr was
9:30 am
truly remarkable in letting his team get on with the business. and the support that he gave to eisenhower, once the d-day decision was reached at cairo and tehran was really exemplary. and is in direct contrast, as you pointed out, to the way that adolf hitler tended to interfere with the command decisions, especially in battle, of his generals. host: we will go back to the center again. >> thank you very much. you talk about tehran and yalta. seems like one of the big differences between tehran and
9:31 am
yalta was fdr's illness and his declining health. do you believe that if he had been healthy and if he had continued as he was at tehran, that any of the decisions made in yalta or post-yalta, even if he had lived that long, would have been different, based on his health, or not? mr. hamilton: that is the most difficult question i have ever been asked. [laughter] historians are still debating that. it becomes a political and rather partisan debate. i cannot believe that fdr would not have been tougher with marshall stalin if he had been in good health and yalta. -- in yalta.
9:32 am
there were documents, careful minutes taken during the conference. stalin is deferring to the president. the president was running the conference. the fact is that the president did not run the yalta conference. stalin and churchill did, and battled particularly over poland, but whether with so many millions of russian boots on the ground already in poland, ultimately, it would have made that much difference, particularly when the poles were very naturally unwilling to surrender territory. who knows? in some ways, it was a relief to end the book where i did. [laughter] mr. hamilton: and leave those questions to another biographer of a subsequent president.
9:33 am
>> nigel, i have a question online, kent from missouri wants to know: how do you excuse fdr for not informing truman on the a-bomb? or can you excuse him? mr. hamilton: i can't. as i say in the book, it is very difficult to understand why fdr, again, going back to your earlier question, i think if fdr had been in that her health, for instance, if he had only been suffering from a physical ailment, but if he had been mentally fitter he would have understood how vital it was to put his vice president and obvious successor in the picture. but he relied on henry stimson to do it.
9:34 am
and the truth is, by those last weeks when perhaps he thought he would spend more time, he did see truman, and obviously, he had given instructions that secretary stimson should share the atomic bomb secrets with the vice president. but he just was not well enough. and to be honest, i think if he had sat down with truman, i'm not sure how much sense he would have made, in terms of whether or not to drop the bomb. i am often asked whether i think, as his biographer, that he would've dropped the bomb, and i can say unequivocally that he would have done so.
9:35 am
after all, he is the president who funded the manhattan project, who watched as the scientific research was done. i have quoted from stimson's diary showing that he was well aware what the germans were or weren't doing, the japanese the same. he discussed with winston churchill whether or not they should share it with stalin, the secret. he is totally on the atomic bomb page until this fatal illness reduces him really, to a very lame president at the end. the point is, he thinks he has accumulated in his fourth term in office, that is pretty historic. but also, in all the work he has
9:36 am
done with winston churchill, in his meetings with stalin, he thinks he has accumulated the sort of stature that nobody else could have. extent i think that is true, that nobody else could have done what he did in that final year. host: on that point, then i will get to two more questions. mike r. wants to know, was it that he had much confidence in his subordinates that they knew the right thing to do at this point in his life, though they -- that they were going to carry on his message, his legacy to his successor, and was part of his secret to his success the fact that he would stay hands off?
9:37 am
mr. hamilton: i don't think that is quite true. i think when necessary he accepted that the role of the president and commander in chief is to make the ultimate decision. hands off, yes, while things are being done. but when it comes to a question on okinawa, do we deliver a ion that will kill not just many tens but hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and even civilians? only a president as commander-in-chief can make that decision. and fdr would never have stood back from it, and i think if he had lived in retirement, he would have been proud of what truman did. host: question in the back to your right.
9:38 am
>> thank you. why didn't fdr lie in state at the u.s. capitol? mr. hamilton: why didn't fdr lie in state at the u.s. capitol? there are various theories. [laughter] mr. hamilton: as i am sure you know, there is this very sad train taking him back, the ferdinand magellan that takes him back, with eleanor aboard, from warm springs to the capital. there have been various theories. some people feel that eleanor was still upset that she had not been present when her husband died, and that lucy rutherford
9:39 am
had been present, and was annoyed or angry with her daughter anna for having kept that secret. i do not think there is any in that. i don't think that is why eleanor decided against it, for her own reasons. secondly, i don't think eleanor, it has been much exaggerated, her feeling of anger. the point is, it is impossible for any historian to believe that fdr could have had this intimate -- not sexual, the president was unwell, but it is impossible to believe that the commander-in-chief, surrounded by doctors, personal staff, lawyers, politicians, it is impossible to believe the claim that eleanor did not know that lucy rutherford was keeping him
9:40 am
alive. and after fdr died, eleanor wrote to lucy and sent her some objects. i think fdr had been extorting an extraordinary relationship with eleanor. obviously, he shouldn't have had that adulterous relationship during world war i, but when that ended, he was completely loyal to eleanor, who looked after him when he suffered his polio. i find it very moving that at the very end of his life, he did have this, her charming relationship with a woman he had
9:41 am
once loved so much, and who loved him. host: we have time for one or two more questions. so we will go to your right, towards the front, nigel. >> there was a report that hoover was told by macarthur that he had sent a 40-page memorandum to truman, seeking to inform him that japan was attempting to surrender, under terms which would have been acceptable under yalta terms. there was also a report that there was a, in 1995, there was a report that the english for the first time, released information that there had been a secret communication from japan to russia in code orange,
9:42 am
attempting to negotiate a surrender. simply indicating that the emperor would be retained. do you believe that those happened, and should they have been considered consistent with fdr's instructions that it should be unconditional surrender? and would that require the dropping of the bomb? mr. hamilton: it sort of goes beyond my brief tonight in terms of fdr's life, but it does relate to fdr in terms of how he looked on the war with japan. and i do quote evidence in the book that not only was fdr soften the unconditional surrender in specific cases, he writes a wonderful memorandum on this subject to the secretary of state, howell, saying, there's a
9:43 am
difference between principle, which you want to hold to, and practical realities, which may require you to do something else. later, he does talk to somebody about the japanese. he is worried that the japanese seem so willing to encourage civilians to commit suicide, not just troops. there is also the concern about american pows. so i don't think fdr was ideologically -- about dropping the bomb. i think he would have weighed the matter very carefully. but certainly, in the state he was at that and of the war i
9:44 am
, think it was merciful that he was not the president that would have to carry the weight of that responsibility, and that we had a president who refused to pass the buck. host: last question will go to our livestream audience -- winston, who had seen his clout decline and his empire end, and fdr were dear friends. so it seems in their correspondence, but there may have been some resentment near the end of the war. was winston truly sad on fdr's passing, or did he see this as his opportunity to reestablish his greatness and the united kingdom's greatness? mr. hamilton: i don't think churchill in anyway wanted to exploit the president's death. it is true, he did not come to the funeral.
9:45 am
but as you say, they were -- i wonder how many times in human history there has ever been a coalition of two leaders, of that sort of level, who so trusted and communicated with each other. tonight, the about great showdown, is evidence of the fact that they did actually have it out. i have reached a vast age myself, and finishing this book, i was sad. i was sick. the president has made me think of mortality. so i prefer to think of churchill not coming to the united states because in some ways, you know, he may not have been able to control his own difficultwhich i find
9:46 am
enough. [laughter] host: thank you very much, nigel. [applause] host: i said the incomparable nigel hamilton, he proved it as he always does. so you know the drill by now. buy the book, buy multiple copies of the book. he will be happy to autograph it. please pick up a brochure for future programming. drive carefully. thank you, and good night. and one more time please, for our nigel hamilton. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: this is american
9:47 am
history tv, covering history c-span style with lectures, interviews and discussions with authors, historians and teachers. 48 hours, all we can come every weekend on c-span3. -- all weekend, only on c-span3. this weekend on the civil war, virginia tech professor paul quigley talks about jefferson davis's political opponents in the south. here is a preview. davis, his position was always, we are in this together, we want to win the war, we need to group resources together and to do what is necessary to win against the union. all military resources, all personnel should be under the control of the confederate government, and jefferson davis is commander-in-chief. the state did not like that.
9:48 am
when it seemed to hurt them. one of the issues that came up time and time again was when the territory of a particular state came under attack by union forces, the state governors and many others within those states would complain, why are our boys from georgia and north carolina and wherever, why are they fighting in virginia or out west or wherever they were, when they should be here? the coastline is under attack, why can't we use our own men to defend our own territory? ins came up, for example, february of 1862 after the fall of roanoke island in north carolina, davis tried to explain to north carolina that it was not going to be possible to protect every mile of confederate coastline, that is about 3500 miles of confederate coastline. that is without taking into account the internal borders.
9:49 am
so davis kept saying, we cannot connect -- protect them all. think about the big picture, we need to send troops and resources where they will be most valuable to the cause as a whole. announcer: learn more about jefferson davis's political opponents in the south, today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war. you are watching american history tv, where we explore our nation's past. saturdays and sundays on c-span3. the reviews are in first c-span's the president's book. it recently topped the new york times. it is called a milepost in the evolving reputations of our presidents. and from the new york journal books, the president's makes a fast engrossing read. with graduations and father's day approaching, c-span's the presidents makes a great gift. read about how historians rank
9:50 am
the best and worst chief executive's, from george washington to barack obama. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, the challenges they faced, and at the legacies they have left behind. c-span's the presidents is now available as hardcover or an e-book today at c-span.org/the president, or wherever books are sold. ♪ >> the atlantic wall has been penetrated. there after the first assault, the allies clung precariously on to a few beach respect. -- beaches. men and material have poured on to the newly won beach hits with favorable tides. the allied kenen has announced that it was. the nazis knew that each passing hour diminished their chance of throwing the allies back into the seas.

31 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on