tv Book TV CSPAN July 21, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm EDT
during the 1930s, the central bankers had a place where they can meet and discuss things away from politicians and the way it goes from the eyes of reporters. during the '30s, things were so secretive. there was a "new york times" reporter who did report on this for the magazine. and he said after these meetings come he wasn't even allowed into the room when it was all gone. ..
again, what was interesting was that these bailouts were being put in place by the central banker. i don't quite know how governments could do that. there was no kind of political input. it was the bank is deciding where the money would go, how much they would get. do see the continuity of that. nowadays. and the two people who really worked where is a man called norman, 1920 to 1944. and the president of the rest bank. there were very close friends. and they were really the two most powerful central bankers in the world at the time.
comes from new york, made a speech. all doom and gloom. the market would go down. come to new york. make a speech. everything is going well and the market would go out. these were the market movers. and then turned in 1930's they also continued under hitler. and it is generally agreed to have been absolutely crucial for the german economic revival in the 1930's that helped keep the nazis in power, help keep them in business. he was much more. the also became the minister for economics. much more powerful than the central banker is nowadays is controlling monetary policy. he was the guy running the nazi economy. which is why after the war he was put on trial for war crimes. so the bi s. had the ostrander and stronger german presence. other german bankers that joined
the dis or his successor, the president of the rice bank, vice-president. the director of the dis. kurt von schroeder in his house. the crucial meetings. and the man called herman schmidt who was the chief executive officer of the main nice trip industrial chemical. and they ran their own concentration camp, auschwitz with a manufacturer's icon be, the guess that was used to kill several million jews. so during the war the bs became of very important part of the nazi economy. it was kind of the bridge to the world in many ways. it was so important for the germans that the vice-president of the rest bank who was also dis director said the dis is the only real foreign branch of the west bank.
so this is where the story it's interesting. the president of the bank was a man called thomas kendrick, an american, an american banker used to live in london. chosen by montagu norman to takeover of bank. he arrived in 1940. the manager of the bank, of richmond. the deputy manager of the bank was a german, a member of the nazi party. there is general secretary was italian and the economic adviser was a swede. so during the war not surprisingly when you consider the bank is legally in neutral switzerland and is not really accountable to anybody, the dis became the main venue for covert channels between the allies and announces about postwar planning
and, for example, 1942. jacobson, the bank economic adviser to went to america to have high-level meetings because they're thinking once the war is over we have to set up some new financial system afterwards. he comes back. what does he do? he goes off to berlin to tell the hamel everything is learned. so we must think that it was predictable for the people in the states who were telling him these things would know that he is probably going to do that. and they're talking to. he can't go backwards and forwards. he has these connections to the germans. and it is known to the thomas mckittrick was an agent or an asset. at this time the american wartime intelligence chief in europe was based in durham. he was very close friends. he would share information with
him. the general manager of the bank. also an asset. i found some amazing documents where thomas mckittrick is saying that he is speaking to a german industrialists and saying, look, you know, 1944 the war was over and then we are coming in. if you cooperate and if you are helpful we will guarantee your profits. this time there's a lot of talk, german industry breaking up. giant, steel, chemical firms. he is saying behind the scenes, don't worry. you're okay with us as long as you don't make life too difficult for us. what does this mean? this means that well american and british soldiers are landing on the beaches of normandy in walking into a hail of machine-gun fire there would be no doubt, thomas mckittrick is
doing deals with german industrialists, the rice bank. not as some kind of individual idea. he had this idea that he was going to do this with the knowledge of the state department and the office for strategic services, which is why at the time his main enemy really was his enemy at the time the treasury secretary and his deputy, harry dexter white. they painted the dis, having a more each house is a symbol of boxing instrumentality. harry dexter white said out boys are fighting the germans will mckittrick is doing business with them which is absolutely true. so toward the end of the war the b.s. accepted a substantial amount of not see gold. thoroughly compromised institution. again, compromised with the full knowledge of the state department by giving them treasury and everybody else.
so there was a lot of pressure to shut the bank down. send it we will build a new global economic system to run a global economy after the war. we don't want this tainted institution in the war. but what ended up happening was that a resolution was passed saying the bank should be shut down at the earliest possible moment. when is that? no date was set paris of the banks survived. one of the things that they're brilliant at doing and has been since its inception in 1930's, reinventing itself. after the war there was a sense and an argument for this, we have to get the global economy up and running, start making things, selling things. the country has to start trading we need somewhere to be the focal point. the imf has been set up, but no one knows what it is. it's only year-old. and the world bank as well. the dis is there, experience.
it has jacobson. so the dna is survived. in its next stage of the next few decades basically until the 1990's the s hosted of the perjury work, the technical and secretarial work for the preparation of the euro. that is some kind of reinvented itself. and this starts to look like the 1940's with the love of obscure things that most people that never heard of to have heard of. the committee of governors and the european central bankers all mad at the dis. in the place is very important. these things were not actually part of the dis. there were based there, manage there. the dis to their banking. so it became the kind of local focal point for all of -- for much of the postwar planning, especially to do with the euro. and then in the 1990's, the late
1980's and the president of the european commission, he set up the committee to work out european union, i.e. the euro. and debased. the politicians wanted based in russell's or strasbourg, but it was based in basel in the dis which served as a secretary. so you can see, again and again the bankers making itself absolutely the center point and reid evolving and reinventing itself. each in a clever and nimble institution. in one of the key people was alexandria. known as the father of the euro. his day job, general manager of the dis. and after the committee passed its -- it was agreed in the plan was going forward this set of something called the european monetary institute which was based, of course, at the dis.
and then a stay there until the end of 1994. became the european central-bank which is another international bank protected by international treaty which is also not very transparent or influential. so you can see through the decades, german reparations finished in 1932. it reinvents itself. the second world war. most people but it should have been closed down. actually, you can't close down. you need is for the post war global economy. the euro. the dis is important for two things. every two months just has been the case to the decades, the key central bankers of the world meet there to discuss monetary policy. absolutely crucial during the financial crisis. give me a very good interview from my book. he said that's the place where we need.
discuss, you know, policy options and talk about what can be done and what can't be done. and there are hosting again -- it hosts the committee on banking supervision which is absolutely crucial for commercial banks, not for central banks. the 8 percent rule. you have to have a% of assets compared to what you're landing. that is based at the dis. several other committees are basted the dsp more obscure committees, the market committee to be the financial stability board as well, which is, to be very, very important, the new -- people say it is the fourth pillar of the global financial system after the imf and the commercial banks. it is coordinating national central banks. so they want good things. you know, they don't want bad things for us. they want a stable global economy. they want the central banks that
don't go bust, currencies that a stable. but it is all rather -- i think it should be n. >> thank you. it is a great kick off. there a couple of things that really stress me. ♪ >> if anyone else has a phone, if you can make sure it's on vibrate. but what really struck me is you talk a little bit in the book about how everybody said that nobody saw 2007 and 2008 coming. they certainly did. of seen some of the very precious reports that they came out. really some of them quite damning of what was going on. but at the same time they all saw what was coming and didn't do anything. you talk about political
pressures. but i would love to see you expand a little bit more on that , you know, what they could have done if they had wanted to and why people didn't listen. >> well, it's true. ever since it was set up, extremely good research department. and it goes back to the days of jacobson. every year there bring on an annual report which is started as 40 or 50 pages. now it runs to the couple hundred pages. full of information about the global economy and finance and a lot of technical stuff about the market's. and these reports compiled by extremely competent and professional people. and in the early -- well, the mid 2000's, that the fis was one of the first organizations. a, there's too much money. is not being properly controlled , and it is not being properly regulated.
we are warning you that this could all end badly. i mean, they did not say it definitely will, but there were one of the first to warn. that is one of the interesting things perhaps because being in switzerland all this time, the banking culture of their own banking operations is very conservative, very careful. and they don't need to take risks because they of the central bank's. they have a triple diamond-star credit rating. anything that you put in there is going to make money basically they are going conscious and have been arguing against inflation and against too much money, the money supply. but i mean, they should these warnings. and the central bank's did not listen to them. perhaps if they had things might have worked out differently, but also you can say the cause of a global financial crisis are many and complex, but they did
certainly -- there were warnings too much money sloshing around in american monetary money markets, the americans mortgage market. bulbs freddie mac affair. there were on the case on that. and know what's going on. >> the other thing that struck me. you know, very, very critical of the secrecy of the banks, the lack of transparency and a lack of accountability. and can you tell us a little bit more what you think the indications are of that today? what are the costs that we are paying? >> the banks were set up in 1930. i talked a little bit in the beginning about how it was so secretive. you know, journalists, the reports could not even look in the room where the director segment. a lot of that still carries on now. central bankers meet their every two months. you know the mother of lion.
but no germans were allowed in the building at that time. my criticism of the bank's secrecy is that we don't know who attends these meetings and we don't know what is discussed. and we don't know what kind of teams are being raised. and these are public servants, central bankers, public servants. we're paying for their salaries and other plane fares. we should be told what did general themes of discussion and to was there and the kind of feeling. the mood music of the moment. and the bank says, oh, the central bankers say we need a place to speak in secret. if you put everything on the record and no one will say anything. you don't want to put a camera there. put it on youtube. no one will say a word. look, because we are a central banker. you need to change this. they sort of give you the
ridiculous and area. you know. and i'm not saying this put a camera in there and put it on youtube. central bankers need to be able to talk in private. fair enough. but they could have a press conference after these meetings. they could release the minutes, you know, not detailed minutes of use said what, but the feeling of the meeting, this or that. they could tell us who was there. they could make a step toward transparency. in the thing that would be something that is very important because the whole -- among most people the feeling of global international finance, it's still run by these guys in suits nearly almost all men at these meetings. you have to do this, you have to do that. and where is your mandate? and if you look now, even the imf is telling george was born in britain, this too much austerity, actually. there are saying, maybe we got is let the wrong.
if you cut the country to the bone is not going to recover because they'll have no money to reinvigorate the economy. okay. the dis is not issuing demands like that, but it is still part of the global structure of finance. it should change. the culture should change pretty interesting thing about the federal reserve is, for example, every two weeks the markets committee releases the minutes of the previous meetings. if you type in federal reserve, dis meeting, it will direct you to the federal reserve website where it will tell you which official of the federal reserve is at the bs for those meetings. what meetings they are tending, where they are, hour by hour. tells you everything apart from much of their animal ron arad for reasons of security. and guess what, the federal reserve has not collapsed yet.
is definitely room for improving transparency. >> a way of making more of that happen could be, are there any other countries that are that transparent? could individual efforts by everybody to replicate, could that -- could that bracket this? >> well, it could. the bank of england releases some information as well. but pretty solid. we don't really want to release any information about these meetings. it is a juggling act. powerful people in the meeting, they're not going to say, oh, all right. also you everything that we talked about. but if pressure is being put on them, and the pressure is happening. it is the kind of -- of very -- there is a shift in perception about institutions around the world to look at social media and what has happened in the
arab spring and the occupy movement. people are demanding accountability. i feel that they need to adapt. >> i do want to open the discussion to the whole room. just housekeeping reminder, if you could wait for the microphone to come to you before you start speaking. and normally we ask everyone to say who they are. the cameras are here. not everyone wants to. if you don't want to say to you or you can say, roger rabbit. the other thing is, want to mention, not all of ours are on the record, but this one is. please feel free if you would like to tweet. political salon. to we have a question? >> hi. a couple of questions. first of all, roughly how many central bankers attend these meetings every two months?
also, how large is the staff and where did they come from? >> good questions. a sense of the place. well, about 60 is the answer. sixty flights and. and they're mad by a fleet of limousines would sweep them off. about an hour's drive away. what is interesting, a reflection of this was heritage. how very hierarchical the weekend meetings are. they start on a sunday night with the most important meetings , the economic consultative committee. that is composed of the board of directors which is basically the governors of the federal reserve, bank of england, bank of france. and india and brazil. dis general manager. that is the elite meeting where a lot of the discussions have gone on about coordinating the response to the global financial crisis. those are 18 of them in that. of fine dining room on the
18th floor. at fabulous dining room. use of france and switzerland and germany. very global as befits a global institution. the next date that is the global economy meeting, and that is 30 countries, and then you have countries like turkey and the philippines and indonesia that will attend as well as the 15 or 18 that would have the previous night. and they sit around the table. in another 15 countries are allowed to attend the meeting but are not really supposed to speak unless it is really, really urgent. countries like hungary, for example, or macedonia. they are allowed to attend, but they don't talk. or no -- actually, macedonia is not allowed to attend. the final 15, the third division, they're not even allowed to attend a global economy meeting. they just have to hang around. they are allowed to attend the lunch. fantastic buffet lunch. so it is very hierarchical.
people have told me that in meetings. the federal reserve, the bank of england. of course everyone is very polite to each other. you know, the managers, hospitality for 17 years. it's very pleasant and comfortable. the dedicated office which it will use for 23 days. two or three days. a couple of months. of the secretarial staff. the second question, it's really a great place to work. firstly, especially if you are at a senior level, you have sort of -- i mean, that diplomatic status, but you have a sort of privileged status. and you get paid a lot. it's tax-free. the general manager, i think -- i mean, perhaps compared to a
j.p. morgan it is not that much, but the general manager last year got 850,000 euros tax free which is -- what is that like loads of allowances. and there are about 600 people working there for 50 countries. people like working there because there is also, it's rather like the wind. since a public mission. foreign exchange deals. gold swaps. provides asset management advice for smaller banks from small countries that simply don't have the expertise to do that. so there is a sense of the people who work there that it's a global international institution with a public mission. and, you know, it's a tax-free
comfortable place to work. i spent a week there in the archives. very interesting because well your in the archives in the our cars are open to religious research, apart from personnel files and that kind of stuff, but i spent a week there. i would go and put my request in. the files would come up half an hour later, but i have to stay in the archive room. i was allowed out to get to the washroom where to get a cup of coffee, but i was strictly not allowed to go wandering around the floor or row upon any other floor or explore on my own. i was distorted the library and escorted back. very high security. it is unlike the u.n. there are no to our. >> guest: can i just have a tour. and i think that is the small thing, kind of a problem. it should be open. people should be able to go and see what they're doing. a very interesting building.
built in 1977. it's circular. this corridor. brown walls and beige furniture. it is really retro. this does that kind of a -- tented windows in this kind of james bond -- definite james bond feel to it. it is very, very interesting place. >> the microphone is coming. >> hello. i am a friend of world policy institute. my question is, what, in truth -- tell us about your world view and why you're on a crusade for transparency for the bank of international settlements? >> well, it started with an earlier book are wrote called hitler's secret bank which you mentioned, but that was an investigative book. parts of it hopefully read like a novel.
so gripping, but that was an investigative book. it's chapter. it was a book investigating nazi gold. if you remember the late 1990's, the the scandal broke. all the holocaust assets in the dirty money that was sloshing around from the second world war . and i did -- the general manager. they took a decision. open. i said, what is this place? this strange stellar. the station overlooking the big road next to it. and i just thought, this is very, very interesting. find out about thomas mckittrick. the idea that during the war while people were fighting for their lives just a few miles away in a nice, safe basel with
the knowledge of everyone in berlin and london and washington, the channels are being kept open. but that was fascinating. quite interested in institutions i read a book about the united nations called complicity with evil which examines the you in failures to start genocide. the title is from the u.n. peacekeeping report. we have been guilty. and i'm just interested in these international institutions, the idea that you step through the door. not in the country animal are. your somewhere else. some is just fascinating. >> the you -- you did not mention china. aren't they a member? >> s, china is a member.
china is an important member, governor of the bank of china attends the economic consultative committee. again, in the 1990's after the euro was invented. the bs was invented. a very european institution. the first quarter directors. including nowadays the board of the government bank of belgium and holland. not really the key players anymore. they're all still on the board. so after the euro, the european central bank been set up. there were thinking, what are we for, what are we going to do? and their realize that they had to become global, they have to become a global institution. it was absurd. in 1990's china was out a member. russia was not a member. and that was one of the interesting things about the bank. continuously reinvents itself.
>> to other questions. first of all, how much access to do have in terms of interviews? if you could talk of the pit about the bank's role in the capitol requirements for commercial banks? >> sure. well, this section was mixed. in the beginning the bank was very helpful. i think they assumed that i was a kind of finance banking specialists that was interested in very technical questions. and then after awhile it became clear that i was interested in other things like government transparency in the history. so on the history side they were extremely helpful. the archivist was great. he got the older documents. the banks had given permission was extremely helpful to me. answer all my e-mails. when i wanted more material about present-day there was a lot of tooling and throwing.
i had some access. i had an interview, and e-mail interview with the head of research department, you know, one of the success is to pare jacobson like 25 years, 30 years down the road. and then they became quite helpful again. so i think it was a learning process for them. things that they -- so it was next. they gave the answer, all the questions that i asked. i mean, they responded to them. some of the questions i asked it would say no comment we are not answering that, but they were professional and that there responded to my inquiries. and your second question about the committee. well, their roots of the committee of go back to the 1970's when a couple of banks won't bust. paul was in long island. a german bank went bust.
it was just a realization that if these banks -- the economy was much more globalized, when the banks when busted had an effect on other banks that were exposed to them piece of the committee on banking supervision was set of. where was it made? naturally. so over the years they said one in two and three. again, that @booktv not going to get into the technicalities of the agreement. it is not really about that. it is interesting that it shows you how this bank reinvents itself and mesa so essential again and again and again. the committee has to be based summer. it's kind of unthinkable that it will be anywhere else. >> in the future, obviously there are transparency issues or
accountability issues for a bank that no one ever tough. no one has ever given how likely is it that we're going to see enough pressure to make these things changed? and the historian in the new york times of the weekend about some growing discontent the policies of the ecb and the imf which interestingly has lately been the sort of organizations. so is that as a sign that there is an increasing amount of pressure? and how likely is that pressure to get to the point where we are likely to see some real changes? >> clearly in europe these people cannot just tell us what to do anymore. we need accountability and transparency. the bank was -- it's true, to
some extent, it has made moves toward transparency. it has a website. you can go on the web sites, download the annual reports back to 1930. you can see the list goes staff that workfare. the banker, the twitter feed. i mean, mostly tweets unease about speech by central bankers. they say they have shifted toward that. but my position is that there is still much further to go. i think that it will adjust because had been no what will happen? and throughout the decade this is a very smart institutions. continually reinvented itself under pressure. s. nat to adapt and move. the european central bank left and it was no longer dealing with the euro, they realized that they have to bring in china
so i am sure that will happen nowadays. what i propose to is that the banks issued a block of shares. certainly the banks set up a foundation. this is really an institution with a mission of public service as well as being enormously profitable we made a billion dollars in profit which is not bad for a bank with only 40 customers. you and i cannot have an account all the people that work there can. one or two international organizations. so i think i argue that they set up a foundation, perhaps roughly on the line. bankers and the developing world start reaching out and being proactive, training and business people. use profits for philanthropy. this is where there were not particularly helpful. if you do, the key move -- keyword, philanthropy, no results to maturity, no results.
and i ask them how much to give away. they did not tell me. where did you get it? well, we support the local initiatives. although they say that they do do a lot of training. 5,000 central bankers a year. but i feel that it's changing, the accountability of finance. there will make that change. even when i was dealing with them, helpful at first. they realized there were not. then it became quite helpful again. some these are very clever people. in know what's going on. they have great and tennant. they're in that tower block. they can still run away the windows. it's blowing toward transparency it will adjust toward that. >> what happens to the profits
to make every investment banker back to the cheryl list? >> the payout a dividend every year and reinvested. >> the plane tickets and the empty offices. >> it's very successful. very well run. >> another question? >> anyone else? >> the shareholders put the central bank. >> to are the shareholders to back. >> they are the member banks, the central bank's. there is an annual general meeting every year where they discuss where the bank is going. but another thing that we should mention is also the bank is still very eurocentric.
you can see their heritage after the collapse of communism of the small countries, the new countries, they are all admitted the population is something like 16 million people. the small new countries. but in africa only algerienne south africa. not a member of the dis. that is quite amazing. pakistan is not a member. kazakhstan is not a member. so in africa, in asia, in central asia, there are big gaps. asked why. well, the central bank has to make sense. governance. economic transparency in the way the economy is run. have questions about economic in
russia and china and other places. it is changing, but slowly. >> we have seen a similar dynamic to the imf for some of the country's that are not the usual suspects are being much more vocal, particularly ptl and the big brick countries. >> well, all i have heard is that in the global economy meetings recently there has been quite a lot of anger about quantitative easing in all the money that sloshing around in the interest rates. what that is causing is a kind of capital liability and capital flight to other countries countries like asia and career. all of this is pouring in to get higher interest rates, and they don't want it. it is distorting their economies the global economy meetings. i mean, everything is very polite.
the discussions going on. and the governor of the central bank was trillionths. definitely a shift in the developing orbitz and away from your and the west. countries are definitely finding their voices. much more confident and also, the economies to quell. look at your. what a disaster. you europeans a telling us what to do. >> this sounds like a bit of an echo of 2007-8 where you are getting warnings of something going on. i'm having this moment of deja vu to the early 90's were, of course, you had very low interest rates, all the money poured into what then were beginning to be called to emerging markets. and then it flew back out.
you get debt crisis. and there was not like it had not happened before. seemed like a 2007-8, a very big problem is looming that they are discussing. they aren't doing anything about it. >> no because ultimately have the globalize finance. national central banks. their interests, they are accountable to the senate or to the british government's or the french government. they are interested in the national economy. so, you know, quite a lot of anger, i understand, and asian countries about japan. the country is a country. so that is kind of the price we pay for living in a world of nation states. >> of balancing between short-term and long-term thinking. for example, it wasn't really in the united states interest that mexico have a tequila crisis. >> not of all. >> not at all. there's a real feedback loop.
as a problem caused by one country to make custody of the country in and fees back to the first century. it does not seem to be an awareness that is time to do something. >> yeah. i think -- gap. is the way that the system is set up to read national decisions have very fast the will ramifications and consequences which are not really the concern that much of people because they make decisions on a national basis. i think that is not an argument for super national government. it is just an argument that's partly rough-and-tumble of the global economy. >> some of the bankers that he read about, i cannot we need more of a global government rather than less. >> i am curious. i am curious.
i'm curious to know what you think will happen. how the dis will invent itself in the future. >> i think they you will see some moves to do what what what. depends on what the pressures are. institutions respond to pressures. in a general sense they have no mandate, the technocrats are getting involved in becoming stronger and stronger, there will move toward greater conspiracy. i mean, my idea for a foundation and a block of shares is a bit of a dream come a bit of a pipe dream. i think that's what they should do, but i still see that happening in the near future. i could imagine somewhere down the line their release corporation about the global economy and become more of an outward looking organization.
feel the need to be a bit more accountable. depends on the pressures upon them. it's definitely -- i live in europe and in europe there is a real sense of anger. they are not part of it, but the ecb is. they connected to it. they have always argued against inflation playing with the money supply to try to boost growth. so they are part of that. >> to we have any other? well, i know that we have a number of books that are available here. i am sure -- >> i'm more than happy that i'm signing books. >> volunteer him a want to thank
you for coming up on such a dismal and rainy night. we're very, very happy to have him here. his reputation preceded him. and never happier than when i'm talking about a geeky finance topic with someone who is just as passionate about the intricacies of global banking. thank you again. thanks to all of you. >> thank you very much. >> is there and nonfiction author a book you would like to see featured on book tv? send us an e-mail. tweet us. >> up next, book tv peterson interviews offers in london. this week the series concludes with military historian anthony peeler followed by victorian era expert jeter flanders. talking about his research and writings on world war two.
he has written to nonfiction books. this is about half an hour. >> host: this is book tv on c-span2, currently in london conducting interviews for bring shoppers. we're joined now by british historian and to the beaver. he has written several books on world war ii and related topics. if we could start with is some are related topic, the spanish civil war, how did that began. it did have rolled in the beginning of world war ii? >> it was definitely part of what is described as the law more of the 20th-century. started in 1917 and ended in 1989. a wonderful debating point for historians. one doesn't want to go too far down the road. many people regard it as the opening round.
it was very much a test bed. working at the tactics. particularly. there are also the -- using their equipment. they learned quite a bit as well. >> out of the. >> began. a cycle of fear and balance. the spanish republic which was started which came to power in 1931. the 13th, the king of spain was forced to abdicate. the popular front. such neutral dislikes and fear between them and they're right to. and in july 1936 the rising of the generals and the civil war
which started a particular summer did not end until the beginning of 1939. >> who won? >> very much the right, the nationalists. and helped of course by hitler and by mussolini who sent so-called volunteer troops. there were many more italian troops, but the vital contribution,. >> was spain part of world war ii? >> i would not say that it was part of world war ii. despite i think the left in spain suing to regard it. rarely was to try to stay neutral. he did not want to be involved. spam was so weakened. >> one of your recent books is the fall of berlin in 1945. that was the u.s. title. what was life like.
>> the prospect of the attack of the red army. very well. the soviet union, they had much to avenge after all the atrocities committed in the soviet union. so everybody was afraid. not knowing when there are going to come. the middle of january, the attack started from poland all the way through 2,000,060 miles of berlin. so for the women it was frightening. they had rumors of the mass rapes in east prussia. and they were not surprisingly absolutely terrified. in fact, the -- the behavior of the red army was -- it was not just in germany. i mean, and hungry and even in poland and yugoslavia the red army was completely out of
control. absolutely regimented, but in fact there was verbal control. when they got drunk -- >> for most of world war ii was berlin as a haven for germans? >> it was not a safe haven from the point of view of air raids. if berlin was one of the chief targets, particularly a bomber command, the royal air force and bomber command in his controversial strategic bombing offenses. the americans to also bombed berlin. so a lot of the city had been smashed, but because it was so spread out he didn't get the conflagrations. therefore the city survived more intact than one would have imagined, but then when the russians arrive in your ad armies attacking kamal with heavy artillery and supporting air forces, by the end of it of course berlin was pretty well smashed to pieces.
>> 1942, what was life like? was the cinema, electricity, shortages? what was the city life like? >> the city life in berlin was on the whole carried on fairly normally. particularly for those who had money or above all had contacts to and influence in the not to party. and those who w friends of the leaders certainly had a very good life. for most of the population things have started to get tough the nazi regime made sure that it was the occupied countries who suffered. in fact, under was basically exported and the food was taken back. so there wasn't real hunter and a particular way, but there were certainly shortages of petrol, above all. heating and other things. but real hundred did not actually start until really
1945, until actually the invasion. >> where the bombing raids that the allies conducted on berlin strategically important? >> they did not achieve their objective, that is certain. what they did achieve -- and this is the important aspect. they forced the liftoff of because said there was so furious about these bombing raids the all-time, they forced caring to withdraw the bulk of his fighter squadrons and anti-aircraft guns from the eastern front. is actually made a huge difference. russian historians won't really acknowledge this, but even stalin was aware of it at the time. the bombing campaign in fact helped the red army enormously in 1943 and 44. >> the role of the soviet union, we in the west, do we know enough about the role of the soviet union when it comes to of world war ii? >> on the hole in the west we tended to see it as a eurocentric point of view.
the united states, certainly when one thinks of films like saving private ryan. one has to recognize the fact that 90 percent of casualties took place on the eastern front. and, of course, the soviet union had appalling losses. they lost 9 million men in their armed forces. at least another 16 million civilians. it was a terrifying loss. from the point of view there really had a certain blood guilt toward the soviet union which was one of the reasons why someone was able to manipulate both roosevelt and churchill. >> what were hitler's tactical reasons for invading the soviet union in 42? >> said there was used to it quite often coming up with certain reasons. and then his other reasons which were more secret or personal, he did not speak about a sum much. one finds very much in the cases of invasions' of the soviet
union, the basic idea was to pillages the soviet union of its oil, natural resources and basically to turn the population into a sort of a slave state. it was going to be a german colony, the breadbasket for not to germany. and this was an idea actually which started in 1918 at the end of the first world war the germans invaded and occupied the balkan -- the bulk of the ukraine and a lot of southern russia. to use it at their -- as the breadbasket. there was working on that in his main objective. >> another one of your books. talk about that. >> probably -- one would say certainly was the military and a psychological turning point. one could certainly argue that the american entry into the war in the summer of 1941 and the russian defense, if you like was
probably the turning point. but stalingrad was an astonishing battle, one of the worst urban savageries that one has ever seen in ways that you had these armies fighting in the ruins of normal life. fighting in the cellars in the sewers and everything. of course in a way this actually through the german spirit never used to using their superiority of aircraft and tanks and the mobile warfare. this was very significant because, in fact, they had actually reached their cumulative. i.e., they lost the initiative. and this is where they were then surrounded in a surprise attack by the soviet union when it thought that the soviets in had its last gasp. from that point the germans knew that the war was going to end in berlin. the soviet soldiers knew that there were going to win after all. >> if you would, compared stolen
as a leader to winston churchill . >> stalin was a disastrous war leader to begin with. he refused to accept the idea that the germans are going to invade. he then became a very canny one for 1942 on. particularly at the time of stalingrad when he realized he had to give his generals to said addressing the, this was the same time that it there was becoming a complete liability to the german high command. churchill was a superb war leader. if churchill had not had the moral courage and determination to continue the fight in may may 1940 when lord halifax and others felt that we were about to lose our romney, france, dunkirk and basically we should make some form of peace overture, churchill realize that would be the beginning of the
end to even ask about terms. and so in fact not just this country but everybody knows a huge debt to churchill for that because that could have -- it was one. when hitler actually could have won the war. >> how did stalin become, as you say, better war leader? >> partly because he learned. he had an astonishing capacity for jordan information, not in the same way as sailor. it was obsessive in the way that he would accumulate knowledge, but information. it was not necessarily knowledge so very canny. you know, a terrifying mostar. at the same time a very clever man obeys self-taught but with an astonishing grass of details. >> who were his lead generals? which is made general was you cough. and one of the reasons why stolen admired.
absolutely pitches. in fact, october 1941 we found in the russian archives that they had issued his order that anybody who surrendered, the family would be executed. what he did not realize that, liable for execution herself. his son had been captured by the germans. i don't think he was worried by this. he just admired his determination. >> where the nazis or? >> remote so. they even started taking photographs of him and dropping leaflets over the russian lines to imply -- to show that he had been taken. stalin was horrified at his son had committed suicide every basically there were supposed to kill themselves rather than be taken into captivity. in many of them, as soon as there were released from actually thrown straight into the gulag where labor camps.
he eventually did commit suicide , through self against the wire of the campaign was shot down in the german camp. >> how much coordination was there between those generals? >> there was in many ways rather too little and in some ways rather too much. montgomery was insufferable. it has been said. he was never getting enough affirmation see. i think that if anything eisenhower was far too tolerant of montgomery. he did put his foot down. the key moments. but there was no direct relationship until after the end of the war. actually, he then became an object of obsession because the gone on so well. and he said, no, because of his popularity
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