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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 4, 2013 5:00am-5:46am EDT

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like the person you're about to hear on their work. before we get started, just a couple of housekeeping matters,
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the first is will everyone please take out your cell phone, pagers, things that beep and whistle and -- moon and turn them off so the program isn't interrupted. thank you. the second thing, i want to thank c-span for being here and broadcasting this event today. they are great supporters of the public programs we do at the roosevelt library. we appreciate it very much. let me tell you a little bit of the to mat for the session for those who haven't been to the reading festival before. i'm going to introduce the speaker. she's going talk for forty minutes or so. after which, if time permits within we'll take questions. i'm sure susan will be happy to speak with at the new deal store. where you will want to flee the room to buy one for her to sign. susan dunn is the author of "1940: fdr, wilkie, lindberg, hitler- the election amid the storm" she's the parish third century professor of humidity at
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williams college she's been teaching since 1973. she graduated from smith college and has a ph.d. from harvard university. she has written and edited a dozen books that focus on two key periods in american history. the founding period and the president sincerity of franklin roosevelt. she's the author of "fdr purge." she's coauthor with pulitzer prize winning author james mcgreger burns of the three roosevelt leader who transformed america. she lives in massachusetts with jim burns and their dog roosevelt. and i know that -- [laughter] just on a personal note, for one thing, susan is a great friend of the library and me as well. james mcgrayinger burns is the roosevelt scholar. he wrote the first volume of biography. he's in williamstown, massachusetts, and will be watching the program later. we want to send our best to him
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in williamstown, massachusetts. [applause] so with that, i'm pleased to introduce sue san dunn. -- susan dunn. [applause] >> thank you, bob. it's a great treat and great privilege to be speaking in this magical place. have you ever seen alfred hitchcock's movie "foreign correspondent"? it made the debut in the summer of 1940. in the first scene, a newspaper editor asks him flip what is
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your opinion of the present european crisis, mr. jones? what crisis said the reporter played by joel. i'm referring to the war, mr. jones. oh, that. well to tell you the truth, i haven't given it much thought. you don't keep up with the foreign news, do you? >> how would you like to cover the biggest story in the world today? give me an expense account and i'll cover anything. you'll get an expense account, what europe needs is a fresh, unused mind. you think you can dig up some news in europe? i'll be happy to try, sir. later there are us is sensible encounter with nazis in dutch windmills, and amazing scene of an assassination that takes place in a heavy reign on the steps of the peace palace in amsterdam. and finally, joel mccia winds in dlon when german bombers are
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wreaking havoc on the city. in the last scene of the movie, johnny jones is no longer that detached reporter. instead, in the style of radio he speaks seriously to americans from a radio hookup on london. hello, america, he says to the radio audience back home. i've been watching a part of the world being blown to pieces. a part of the world as nice as vermont, ohio, virginia, and california and illinois. all of that noise you hear isn't static, it's death coming to london. you can hear the bombs falling on streets and the homes. this is a big story. you're part of it. it's too late to do anything here except stand in the dark and let them come. it's as if the light were out everywhere except in america. keep those lights burning. cover them with steel, rig them
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with guns, build a canopy of "battleship" and bombing planes around them. hello, america, hang on to your lights. they're the only lights left in the world. hitchcock got it right. hitler's nazi army and air force crushed norway, denmark, holland, norway, and france. governorgreat britain was left standing alone. in 1940, the battle began. almost every night until may 1941, the planes would drop tens of thownldzs -- thousands of tons of bombs over london, liverpool, birmingham, southhampton, bristol, and other industrial cities and ports. everything that we valued most in life stood on the brink of destruction. the essence of jew jew
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the precious legacy of the enlightenment. and thomas jefferson's immortal aver pursuit of happiness. and we also value the survival of great britain. in 1789, al sander hamilton said we think in english. with that brief statement, he encapsulated the profound intent yule and cultural ties that binds the united states and britain. in 1940, the fate of the world hung on the united states. that summer republicans and democrats would hold their conventions in preparation for the november presidential election. so what are conventions?
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conventions are about bands playing, delegates parading through the aisle. sporters cheering, and poll ticks speech fying. at both of the convention that took place in the number of 1940, there was an elephant in the hall. not the republican elephant, but the nazi faint. -- elephant. there was uninvited guest. his name was adolf hitler. the question on every's mind was whether fdr wanted the party nomination again in 1940, and he refused to give a clear answer. mr. president, would you tell us now if you would accept a third term one reporter asked him point-blank? put on a dunce cap and go stand in the corner. fdr replied with a laugh. not even the members of his own family knew what his real
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intentions were. of course, one question was whether fdr deserved another four years in the white house. his attorney general, robert jackson, was convinced that war and war alone compelled fdr to run for an unprecedented third term. jackson believed that at least as far as domestic policy was concerned, the president had already pulled everything out of his new deal bag of tricks. only the foreign crisis justified a possible third term. of course, fdr's own ambition also played a role. some democrats had accused him of torpedoing all the other potential candidates, but in fact, the widely president had done the opposite. he encouraged them all to run. secretary of state, former
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indiana governor, senate majority leader, new york governor, and even his isolationist ambassador to great britain, joseph kennedy, who salivated at the idea of occupying the white house. it fdr cheerfully welcomed them all in to the race, then left them twist and dangle in the wind until they gave up and dropped out, and that left only himself. roosevelt had chosen a very shrewd strategy by not declaring himself a candidate and by refusing to compete for the party nomination. he was saying that if the democrats wanted him, they would to draft him. and when he accepted the nomination on the last night of the convention, that was precisely the point he made. he told his listeners that he
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would have loved to retire and return where else, to hyde park, and work peacefully and quietly on his papers and his new presidential library. but he said that he had no choice but to accept the call to duty of the american people. he made it very clear that very soon he would have to draft young men in to military service, and take them far away from their families. and since he was going to ask those young men to make huge sacrifices for their country, he had to be willing to do the same. and what happened at the g.o.p. convention? well, the best known candidates were all isolationists. the most popular one was new york district attorney, the famous gang buster who locked up
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well known gang people. he was willing to give some aid to britain, he sternly warned against any other involvement in the war. his main competitor was conservative senator robert taft of ohio who opposed the draft, and branded the democrats the war party. another senator buying for the nomination was michigan's author. instead of calling himself an isolationist, he preferred to call. himself an inisinsulationist. nobody could figure out the difference. the most unlikely republican candidate was former president, herbert hoover, hoping to make a comeback. only one candidate was not an isolationist, and he was definitely the dark horse at the convention.
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his name was wednesday l will key. he came from indiana and was the head of the southern utility corporation. he agreed with much of the new deals he claimed he managed the programs more efficiently. on the subject of the war and europe, willkie was determined to stand up to hitler, and supply great britain with all possible aid.
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he said british defeat would be a calamity for the united. on the fourth evening of the convention, state delegations finally cast their votes. on the first ballot, dewey held a significant lead. taft, willkie, and the others trailed far behind. but on the third ballot, willkie jumped to second place. on the sixth ballot that took place way after midnight, the dark horse willkie sprinted to the finish line and won the g.o.p. nomination. later that summer, willkie traveled back to his hometown of elwood, indiana to officially accept the g.o.p. nomination. he spoke to a huge festive crowd, and just like roosevelt, he stressed the importance of compulsory military service.
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i cannot ask the american people to put their faith in me, willkie said, without putting on the record my conviction that selective service is the only democratic way to get the main power we need for our national defense. he explained that a voluntary system was neither adequate nor fair. only a draft would obliging rich boys as well as poor boys to serve their country. he denounced the fascist dictators and made the usual pitch saying that he hoped the united states could stay out of the war. then he showed more spine. he said that if elected president, he would try to maintain peace, but he said, in the defense of america and of our liberties, i should not hesitate to stand for war. ice --
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isolationists in the audience were not pleased. willkie told the crowd in the little town of elwood, that elwood seemed very removed from the shattered cities smolders buildings and the stricken men, women, and chirp of europe. was the war really so far away? he didn't think so. he said on the contrary, the war raging on the other side of the atlantic would inevitably effort the daily lives of all americans. and then directly attacking the isolationists, he said that all all americans intickettively knew they were not isolated from the suffering people. he wrapped up the speech by challenging president roosevelt to a debate. would fdr accept the invite in i don't think so.
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fdr had nothing to gain from a debate, and he let his pitbull, secretary of the interior, put the icing on the cake. he commented if willkie was eager for a debate, he should debate the isolationist in his own party including his own running mate, senate charles mcnary of oregon. the conventions were over, and surprises had taken place at both of them. the democrats broke with the two-term tradition, and nominated fdr for a third term. the republicans nominated a new newcomer who had never before held public office and never participated in g.o.p. affairs. and at both conventions, the delegates made wise choices. fdr and willkie were intent, principled, courageous, and
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skilled men. they shared a commitment to social justice, they had a clear understanding of the mortal threat. they loathed everything that fascism stood for. despite the weasel-worded campaign promises not to send american boys to foreign war, they both wanted to protect the world from the brutal fascist onslaught. roosevelt was more experienced and had the support of his own party members in congress than willkie did. both men were qualified, in my opinion, to lead the united states. and some commentators proposed that the two of them run together on a joint ticket. the suggestion that they both laughed off. but isolationists were not at all happy with the choice they now had between two
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internationalists and strong anti-fascists. and they called the two candidates "the willkie twins." in fact, the dangerous conflict was not between roosevelt and willkie, who were in basic agreement on the war, but rather between the two of them on one side and american isolationists on the other. in the 1930s, the united states was bitterly divided between isolationists and internationalists. it was a clash more so than the debate over mccarthyism, in the 1950s or vietnam in the 1960s. family and friends, churches and universities found themselves torn apart. the spokesmen for the isolationists and their national organization, called the america
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first committee, was none other than the charismatic heroic avenue -- avenueuateer charles lindberg. he was the fearless young pilot who had flown across the atlantic in 1927 in his single-engine single-seat plane spirit of st. louis. when he returned to the united from france right after that flight. he was showered with ticker tape and a huge parade in new york, and you can see that parade on youtube as well as his landing at the airport outside of paris, where thousands of people stormed on to the tarmac. after the kidnapping of their son, they felt hounded by the
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press. they decided to move to europe. they lived first in england than for instance. -- france. they often visited germany. in germany, charles was wined and dined, and honored by the nazi air force minister. bottom line, lend -- lindberg bought in to nazi propaganda, hook, link, and sinker. he called the spirit of the german people magnificent. he was intoxicated with their advances in aviation. he especially admired their strength. for lindberg, german strength were the keys to the future. when he returned to the united, in 1939, he became the public voice of isolationist -- isolationism. he hammered roosevelt for failing to appease hitler and
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aluate nateing the powerful nation of germany, italy, and japan. land -- lindberg's standard line that the united states was completely protected by two vast oceans and in no danger whatsoever of any foreign innovation. he insisted that the only real danger to america was roosevelt himself. an in any case, it was pointless for the united states to intervene in europe because he believed that with germany's powerful army and air force, hitler was unbeatable. lindberg was sure that the dye had already been cast. well, it was so completely obvious to lindberg that germany would win the war, that he
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wondered why in the world roosevelt persisted that fact. he thought about that and rounded up the usual suspects. he decided that roosevelt was a victim of american jews. who were conspiring to push the nation in to war. lindberg a-- accused jews of controlling and manipulating the news and entertainment media. and he advised americans as he said to strike them down. now lindberg added the final toxic ingredient to the isolationist recipe. a strong doze of anti-semitism. bravo. well, as if that wasn't enough. lindberg's wife pitched in too. in the fall of 1940, at the
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height of the election season to the best sellera short book list. the tight was "the wave of the future" and can you imagine what the wave of the future was? it was what else? dynamic in dazzling fascism. well, it was obvious that fascism and dictatorship were more modern and energetic than old fashioned slow democracy. oh democracy is so quaint, so inefficient, so worn out. ann marrow lindberg argued the conflict takes place in europe between democratic nations and fascist nations wasn't between good and evil. no. it was between the forces of the past and the forces of the
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future. believe it or not, she actually wrote that hitler, and i quote, is a very brave man. like an inspired religious leader. as such rather facebook page fact call, but not scheme, not sell fish, not greety for -- greedy for power. a visionary who wants the best for his country. her book was beautifully written. but the message was repulsive. she argued that americans must embrace the wave of the future. she described her vision of fascism in the united states, i quote, pa -- peanut cure it's the white steeple of new england or the sky descraiper of new york.
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as americans backyard life and small towns. her loyalty to her husband and her trips to germany had apparently blinded her to breathtaking evil. she didn't understand that history is not made by waves or lunar tides but free, human beings who are accountable for the political, moral, and criminal decisions. they supported wendell willkie. willkie was appalled bier their vision as a fascist future. in a speech he gave that fall, he said, i see an america for
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which democracy will arise to a new birth. an america which will once more provide this war-torn world with a clear glimpse of the destiny of man. at noon on tuesday, october 29th, exactly one week before the november 1940 election, a lottery took place in an auditorium in washington. a few weeks earlier congress had passed the selective service act for universal, compulsory military training and service. it was the first peacetime draft in american history. now the lottery would determine the order in which american boys would be called up. on a table in the middle of the
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stage, sat a huge glass fish bowl that was filled with 9,000 blue capsules. each one contained a different registration number. the audience was packed with cabinet members, senators, congressman, young men, parents, and reporters. they grew quiet when they saw president roosevelt walk slowly on the stage on the arm of his assistant. he gave a short talk that was broadcast across the nation. this is a solemn ceremony, he said. it's accompanied by no fanfare, no blowing of bugles or beating of drums. he explained that the reason for the selective service lottery was to muster all of the nation's resources, manpower, industry, and wealth to defend america. he told the young men who would
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be called up for military training that they would become member of an army that first came together during the war of independents to secure essential rights and liberties for all americans. then henry stepped forward. he was fdr's impressive new secretary of war, and he was a lifelong republican. with his eyes blinded he plunged the hand in the bowl and took out the first capsule he touched. a million men between the ages of 21 and 35 held their breath. anxiously awaiting to hear if they were going called for induction. you can watch the video of this lottery on youtube. you can hear roosevelt slowly saying, drawn by the secretary of war, the first serial number
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is 158. in the rear of the auditorium, a woman let out a little scream. she just heard the president announce the number of her son. about 6,000 other young men around the country held the registration number which became draft order number 1. the lottery went on until 5:00 the next morning as dozens of people read out the number of the 800,000 men who were called to service. 45 million young men would eventually register for the draft and 10 million would be drafted. the head of a local draft board in tennessee, a man by the name of alvin work said he had a problem. his small rural county only needed to draft two men, but 40 boys showed up and wanted to
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serve. alvinwork, was of course the real life hero of the 1941 movie "sergeant york" starring gary cooper. in another 1941 movie called, "you're in the army now" comedians jimmy and phil silverses. whom my students have never heard of -- [laughter] sergeant -- joined the exuberant chorus and sang the song "i'm grad my number -- bad my number "glad my number was called" you can see it on youtube. many people assumed that roosevelt, mac would delay the lottery until after the election. he showed tremendous courage and statesmenship in going ahead with it a few days before americans would cast their
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votes. but the day after the lottery he did drop in the polls. and willkie climbed up a few percentage points. pollster george gallop called the race neck and neck. across the country, willkie was the favorite of almost all the nation's major newspapers. "the new york times" opposed a third term for roosevelt and endorsed willkie. the times wrote that willkie would preserve the traditional ballot of the american system of government. the "los angeles times" called willkie the indispensable man in the time of national crisis. one of the few newspapers in fdr's corner was the "chicago defender" the nation's largest african-american newspaper that was sticking with fdr and the new deal. so who would win on election day? fdr or willkie?
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in either case, the world would not lose. on election night, roosevelt was right here in hyde park. while his family members and friends chatted quietly in the living room and the library, fdr sat all alone in the dining room listening nervously to the radio and reading the ticker tapes. finally a newspaper in cleveland called the race for him. roosevelt could breathe once again. he opened the door to the dining room and relaxed and laughed with all the others. a happy parade of dozen of his hyde park neighbors arrived at the big house about 100-yards from where we're right now. roosevelt went outside to greet them. he said to his neighbors, we're facing difficult days in this country, but you will find me in the future just the same
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franklin roosevelt you have known a great many years. my heart will always be here. the election was not the landslide that took place in 1936 when on two states voted for al. maine and vermont. in 1940 roosevelt still won by a substantial margin. the vote was 449 to 82. he carried 38 states, willkie carried 10. my students think 12. [laughter] after the election, roosevelt said i'm glad i won. i'm sorry wendell lost. two months later, in mid january 1941, willkie flew to england as roosevelt's personal
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representative. his mission was to see firsthand what was happening there, and express american solidarity with britain. he -- birmingham, and liverpool, he inspected military factories, and he drank beer and played darts in pubs. and while nazi bombs were falling over london, he dissented in to the underground shelters with hundreds of londoners. they loved him and nicknamed him the "indiana dynamo." the nazi blitz after the election in december 1940, winston churchill sent the most important letter he'd ever written to president roosevelt. he explained that britain desperately needed planes ships
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and munition in order survive. but it was broke. it couldn't pay for war material anymore. and so in order keep britain in the fight, roosevelt proposed that the united states simply lend them everything they needed for free. look, roosevelt said at the press conference, if your neighbors' house is on fire, he can't put out. but so you a garden hose that you can attach to a hydrant, are you going say, hey, buddy, you have to pay me $15 for the hose? no. you're going to give him the hose and he'll replace it later for you. fdr's neighborrerly story about the garden hose was a master stroke in the fight. in jan -- january and february congress
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held hearings. after lindberg and joe kennedy testified against it, secretary of state wired willkie and asked him to leave england at once and return to d.c. to testify in favor of the president's bill. willkie immediately agreed. he gave his full enthat's -- enthusiastic support. at the hearing, one isolationist senator wondered out loud why the g.o.p. candidate was now helping his former opponent. he grilled willkie about the all of things he had said about fdr during the campaign. but willkie casually slugged it off and said that was all standard campaign or oratory. after willkie's long day of testimony, he and roosevelt had kin -- dinner alone in the president's study in the white house.
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willkie stayed until after midnight. fdr's secretary later said that from the sounds of laughter that she heard coming from the study, she could tell that the two men really enjoyed being together. fdr and willkie became a team and continued to work together during the war until willkie died suddenly in october of 1944. a few weeks before that november election. by then the g.o.p. wanted nothing do with their former candidate and they wouldn't even let willkie speak at the 19 e -- 1944 party convention. roosevelt's speech writer wrote that fdr admired willkie and was profoundly eternally grateful for his support in the battle
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against isolationism and fascism. once sherwood overheard fdr's closest aid harry hopkins make critical remarking about willkie to the president, sherwood wrote that roosevelt angrily slapped hopkins down and said don't ever say anything like that around here again. don't even think it. you, of all people, ought to know that we night not have had selective service or a lot of other things if it hadn't been for wendell willkie. he was a god send to this country when we needed him most. i began the talk alfred hitchcock. let me close with a few more words about the movies. americans in the 1930s wanted
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light, sparkling entertainment. films with charlie, freds escaped stair, ginger rogers, and the marx brothers. starting in 1939, there were darker films too. films that informed american audiences about the nazi terror spreading around the world. one of the first antinazi films was "confession of a nazi spy" with edward g robinson. it was followed by others like the "mortal storm "starring jimmy stewart" murder in the." "sergeant york" the great dictatorlet"let" blank some there was a hollywood conspiracy
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to whip up war his tar ya and propel the united states in to war. since many of the head of the hollywood studios were jewish, those isolationists decided it had to be a jewish conspiracy. two passionate isolationists of montana and north dakota demanded and got congressional investigations and hearings. the hollywood studio heads needed an attorney to defend them. they hired as their lead council none other than wendell willkie. just a few month before pearl harbor, the subcommittee hearings were a nasty side show. but fortrovided
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a healthy dose of sanity and realism. he told the senators that the motion picture industry was happy to plead guilty to being 100% opposed to fashionism. i wish to put on the record this simple truth, willkie declared, we make no pretends of friendliness to the route lest dictatorship of nazi germany. we abhor everything hitler represents. we plead guilty of a -- the industry desires to plead guilty tow doing within the power to help the united states defend itself and the world against fascism. so in conclusion, i personally would like to thank americans in
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1940 for voting for franklin roosevelt or for wendell willkie . i thank them for having watched and i thank you for still watching great movies like "foreign correspondent" and the "mortal storm "and casa casa blanca that remind us of fascism and what was at stake during the terrifying election year of 1940. thank you. [applause]
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