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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 2, 2013 8:30am-9:31am EDT

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>> from the 20134 roosevelt reading festival, joseph persico discusses his book, "roosevelt's centurions: fdr and the commanders he led to victory in world war ii." the annual pest value is hosted by the franklin d. roosevelt presidential library and museum in hyde park, new york. this is about 50 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> my name is bob clark, and i'm the supervisory archivist here at the franklind. roosevelt presidential library and museumt we're celebrating the tenth anniversary of the henry a. wallace center, so welcome, very glad to have you. so a couple of housekeeping mattery before i introduce our speaker. one is will you, please, all take out your cell phones, pagers, things that beep and moan and turn them off so that
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our presentation isn't interrupted today?ng the second thing is i want to thank our colleagues at c-span who are filming live at hyde park today, so thank you to them for being here and l supporting the public library and our programs. the format of the session. as those of you who have been here many times before know, what our speaker will do is speak for about 30 minutes, then we'll have 10 or 15 minutes for questions and answers, and i would ask that for the questions you would come up and line up and stand at the microphone, and then mr. persico will call on you for questions. and then after the question and answer period, we'll escort mr. persico out to the lobby where he will be happy to sign the books that you will all want to purchase at the new deal store. [laughter] and finally, as many of you if not all of you know, we just rededicated the library after a three-year renovation and installed all new permanent exhibits, so if you will find one of the library staff people and get one of these buttons
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from them, that will let you see the museum exhibits free of charge. so with that, let me introduce to you our speaker. it is always a pleasure to see joe persico here at the roosevelt library. he is one of the great gentleman in the profession. he is a great friend not only to the library, but he's a good friend of mine. he's the author of his latest book be, "roosevelt's centurions." throughout his career he was chief speech writer for new york governor and later vice president nelson a. rockefeller. he is the author of many books including "the imperial rockefeller." his roosevelt's secret war, espionage, the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour and franklin and lucy focus on franklin roosevelt and the era. he's living proof once you write one book about roosevelt, you will keep coming back for more.
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[laughter] he's been a writer and commentator on several documentaries, and two of his quotations are inscribed on the world war ii memorial in washington d.c. ladies and gentlemen, joseph persico. [applause] >> bob, thank you for that overgenerous introduction. bob has helped guide me through at least two of my three books on fdr, so i'm very much at home here. there's a certain spell for me to come to this library, i can just feel the history oozing out of the wall, and i've enjoyed it for perhaps 20 years now that i've been speaking. my aim in writing "roosevelt's centurions" was to examine the performance of fdr in three
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roles as commander in chief during world war ii. the first was as the recruiter in chief, how able was fdr in his choices of the generals and admirals who were to conduct the war. next, fdr as strategist in chief, how did the strategies that he adopted hasten or delay the victory. finally, as morale officer. how well did he inspire and motivate a people and a nation at war? today i'm going to talk about the first standard that i mentioned, fdr as recruiter in chief. his main selection was general george c. marshall as chief of staff. the nomenclature, i think, is sometimes confusing. the chief of staff of the army is not a staff officer, he is the chief of the army, and that is what george marshall became
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under fdr. their first serious encounter in the white house did not go all that well. the president was describing a plan that he had for increasing the output of aircraft, and this was prior to our entering the war. ask he was very pleased with it -- and he was very pleased with it. he turned to general marshall, and he said don't you think so, george? and you could just read marshall's face. he was not at all pleased with this easy familiarity that fdr employed almost on first meeting anybody, and thereafter roosevelt picking up on this, they became throughout their association general marshall and mr. president.
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now, marshall, nevertheless, went on in this meeting which i've described to criticize the president's program. he thought it was an overexpansion beyond the capacity of the army air corps at that point. roosevelt, he could be surrounded by yemen who were a dime -- yes men who were a dime a dozen, and he was very impressed by marshall's willingness to stand up to him. and marshall becomes throughout the war, essentially, fdr's stout oak. now, soon after pearl harbor george marshall brings into the war department a very promising officer of whom he has heard nothing but praise and rave reviews, and that is dwight eisenhower. he and ike develop a plan for winning the war against nazi
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germany. very early after pearl harbor. their plan is to conduct a massive buildup of troops in the british isles, americans and brits and other allied forces, and then thrust across the english channel, invade nazi-occupied france and more or less drive the 500 level miles right straight through to berlin. now, marshall assures the president that this can be done in 1943, roughly about a year or so after we've entered the war. roosevelt appears to approve of that project. they have made a sale with him. he then sends george marshall with his closest confidant, harry hopkins, to london to exlain the plan to winston
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churchill. churchill seems to agree to it. they've made a sale with winston churchill. but to fdr, the promised invasion of 1943 still sounds very far off. we're in 1942 at this time. "time" magazine has noted that we've been in the war for six months, and not a single inch of enemy territory has been occupied, nor have we won a victory. fdr wants to engage the germans somewhere in 1942. now, winston churchill had given lip service to his support of an invasion across the english channel, but his real objective was to save the british empire. and his conviction was that the lifeline of the british empire was the mediterranean sea. and if you wanted to control the mediterranean, you had to control north africa. now, at this time north africa
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was essentially controlled by the french. you had the three colonies, morocco, algeria and tunisia, all french colonies. these colonies were run by the french government, the government that essentially surrendered to nazi germany in 1940 when france fell, and they were allowed under the terms of that armistice to hold on to their colonies in north africa. so presumably, when we invade north africa in november of 1942, we're going to be facing french troops, ironically. now, f, the r hears -- fdr hears churchill's arguments for first setting our troops against the germans if north africa, and he agrees. george marshall, when he finds out that the president has abandoned the original plan for the cross-channel invasion in 1943, is appalled. he realizes that if all of the
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men and material are sucked off of that campaign that's being arranged out of europe across the channel, that you'll never be ready by 1943. and, indeed, d-day, the invasion of normandy, doesn't take place until june '44. when eisenhower learns that the president has been persuaded by churchill to abandon the cross-channel strategy, he describes it as the blackest day in history. but as the point arrives in which the continent is to be invaded, the big question is who will command the allied forces? who will be the supreme commander? now, everybody knows that this is going to be george marshall. winston churchill knows it. josef stalin knows it.
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"the new york times" knows it. [laughter] and mrs. marshall knows it. she's already packing accordingly. ctd george marshall has every that the command will be his. in a few minutes, i'll get down to the story of how fdr fooled them all. to run the navy, roosevelt's centurion is admiral ernest king. king is an old, crusty sea dog with a very mercurial temper. his wife described her father as the most even-tempered man that she ever i knew. he was always mad. [laughter] his philosophy was to chew his subordinates out in public and praise them in private which is not considered good personnel management policy. but fdr had seen in ernie king a real scrapper.
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king was so tough that fdr used to joke that he shaved himself with a blow torch. [laughter] in some respects fdr was ahead of his navy chief. in 1942 the sinkings of merchant vessels which were keeping great britain alive were severely threatened by u-boat attacks which were sometimes sinking three and four ships in a single day. roosevelt wanted a convoy system where warships would track -- would protect the per chant vessels -- the merchant vessels. king just didn't move along fast enough on that, and roosevelt literally dragged him into the convoy system which resulted in the fact that ship sinkings started to plummet soon after the adoption of the convoy system. now, there's another naval officer that, in my judgment, would have been every bit as good as ernie king as the navy chief, and that's admiral
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chester them in miss. just -- nimitz. just days after pearl harbor,fbr summons him to his office and says, chet, i want you to go out to the hawaiian islands, and i don't want you to come back until we've defeated the japanese. so admiral king ruled, essentially through fear, nimitz was a beloved and revered skipper within the navy. i think he could have conducted the leadership of the navy in the war with a great deal of less wear and tear than ernie king inflicted on his subordinates. nimitz was also a very open-minded officer. at one point a rather mid-level officer who runs the coding operation, the decoding operation in the pacific -- a chap hi by the name of joe roque further -- tells admiral nimitz
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that his code breakers have intercepted japanese messages, decoded them, and they can pip point where a jalapeno -- pinpoint where a japanese fleet is steaming toward the island of midway, preliminary to mounting an invasion on the hawaiian islands. roquefort assures the admiral that he can tell where that japanese fleet is going to be and at what time at any particular moment. nimitz gambles on this intelligence, okays a raid against this fleet, and there is a rendezvous between the japanese fleet -- unintended from their standpoint -- and american bombers who within five minutes sink four of the most vaunted carriers of the japanese navy. now, after six months of doom and gloom in the pacific, the loss of wake island, the loss of guam and the utterly humiliating
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surprise attack that succeeds against pearl harbor, after our success at midway, the war in the pacific turns around, and we will never really look back until victory. running the air force, the president picked general henry "hap" arnold. he's known as "hap" because through some facial anomaly, his lip is always curled in what appears to be a smile, but he's a tough guy apart from that. hap arnold went so far back in american aviation history that he was taught to fly by the wright brothers. [laughter] and yet in 40 years, which is a short span as history is mentioned, he is in charge of an air force that launches flotillas of a thousand heavy bombers against german cities including berlin. arnold's talents had been
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spotted by elliott roosevelt, the president's son who was a great aviation enthusiast. and arnold started out on a very high plane. at in this point -- at this point the air force is phone as the u.s. army air corps, so it's subordinate to the army. so, in effect be, hap arnold serves under general marshall. but roosevelt gives hap arl hold in a seat on the joint chiefs of staff, that is marshall for the army, king for the navy, admiral leahy is the general staff commander of this group. so by giving hap arnold a seat on the joint chiefs of staff, he has, in effect be, elevated the air force to equal status with the other services. hap arnold describes this move where he's able to sit down on an equal level with king and
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with marshall as the magna carta of the u.s. air force, and it's granted by franklin roosevelt. now, these two men -- the president and hap arnold -- had rather similar free-wheeling management styles. as one aide of president roosevelt put it, the president would give one man is six jobs to carry out, or he would give six men one job to carry out. it was something of the president's leadership style. hap arnold, similarly, would go to the airplane manufacturers, and he would say you've got to start producing more planes because my air force is training more pilots. then he would go to his training staff, and he would say you've got to turn out more pilots because the aircraft industry is producing more planes. [laughter] now we will discuss two
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interesting figures in the american echelon during world war ii, two men who circled each other like wary lions. that military peacock general douglas mcarthur -- [laughter] and that political lion, fdr. shortly before becoming president while roosevelt was still governor of new york, he remarked to some of his associates that there were two dangerous men in the united states. one, he said, was the demagogic senator from louisiana, huey long. and his staff asked him, you know, who is the other dangerous figure in america if and he said douglas mcarthur. nevertheless, after the president enters office in 1933, mcarthur is then running the army as chief of staff, and his term is about to expire.
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but fdr keeps him on. in the middle of the '30s, mcarthur retires from active service. he goes on the inactive list, and he goes to the philippines which he's always loved. he then begins the cushiest chapter in his military career. he is named by the philippine government as a field marshal in the philippine army. now this appointment, to me, has something of a comic opera overtone. and he very likely could have been left to sink in obscurity as a field marshal in the philippine army. but as the war appears to be approaching and the united states will be drawn in, the president puts mcarthur back on the active list, and he gives him complete command of all the troops in the philippines, americans and filipinos.
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soon after pearl harbor, the japanese invade the philippine islands. they sweep across and drive mcarthur and his forces out of manila down the peninsula down onto this rocky island. the japanese are going to succeed in conquering the philippines, and mcarthur faces three fates. he could either be killed, he could kill himself, or he would wind up as a prize prisoner to be paraded in tokyo before the victorious japanese. now,izen our at this point -- eisenhower at this point is still in the war department in washington, and his view is that, yes, you should leave mcarthur there on the island. [laughter] eisenhower had worked under mcarthur and still apparently felt the sting, and his view knowing the mcarthur
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theatrical personality was leave him there, it would suit mcarthur's martyr complex. but the president still has great faith in mcarthur's military genius, and he wants him rescued. consequently, mcarthur is plucked from the philippines. he goes to australia, and roosevelt gives him command of the southwest pacific area. that is roughly half of the pacific war zone. the other half goes to admiral chester nimitz who i mentioned earlier. after mcarthur leaves the philippines, he is plagued with doubt, plagued with humiliation, and he then makes his famous battle cry regarding the philippines: i sal return. i shall return. by mid 1944 there is a competition, a controversy between two forces as to how to win the war in the pacific.
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admiral nimitz and his forces have been conducting an island campaign. they've jumped from guadalcanal, they island hopped to saipan, eventually to iwo jima and okinawa, and it's brilliant strategy because it leaves other well-fortified japanese bases to wither on the vine as he hop scotches across the pacific. and nimitz's point of view is that we can continue to do this, we'll eventually surround the japanese, strangle them economically which will obviate the necessity of a very bloody invasion. the contrary opinion is taken by mcarthur who says that the way to defeat japan is to let him invade the philippines, to liberate the philippines and then use that as a jumping board for the invasion of the japanese homeland.
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also, if he can win the president's approval for going back to the philippines, he fulfills his promise: i shall return. now, the president in the summer of 1944 he summons mcarthur to the philippines and nimitz, and he if a sense is going to referee -- in a sense is going to referee between these two gentlemen as to which strategy is going to be adopted, island hopping or going up through the philippines. he hears both their arguments. mcarthur makes a brilliant defense of his position without a note in his hand. nimitz is piled high with books and maps and makes a very convincing argument for his case. fdr solves this dilemma in typical roosevelt fashion. he approves both approaches. [laughter] he will allow the island hopping, which he thinks is a
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brilliant strategy, to continue, and he also okays mcarthur's wish to invade the philippines. now, after that something happens which is brazen even by douglas mcarthur's behavior. here we are in the midst of war, and he makes it known clear to republican leaders in the united states that he would gladly accept a draft, their nomination to run for president. this would pit him against his commander in chief in the midst of war. apparently, mcarthur the military hero fares a great deal better than mcarthur the politician because when the republicans meet that summer at their convention to pick a candidate, among 1,046 delegate votes cast, douglas mcarthur receives one. [laughter]
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i'd like now to talk about how fdr regarded general eisenhower. you know, after eisenhower became president he was caricatured as a man who mangled the english language, a man who was inarticulate. and the interesting thing is this irony, that when he was first brought into the war plans department by general marshall soon after pearl harbor, ike initially made his name by the cogenesee -- cojencs, and sound papers he did many of which went before president roosevelt. so clearty the obfuscation was a smoke screen to conceal the things that he did not want to say. now, as i said earlier in my talk, everybody knows that president roosevelt would back
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george marshall to be the supreme commander when the time came to invade europe. it would have been the logical capstone to george marshall's career. even the president himself pointed out that every school kid could name a civil war battlefield commander; lee, grant, sherman, stonewall jackson. but who remembered from the civil war era who would have been chief of staff of the army which was the position that marshall now held? but fdr had observed something that captured his imagination about eisenhower. he saw eisenhower as a skilled political general in the best sense of that word. now, when the time came to invade north africa, the
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colonies -- as i mentioned, algeria, due tease ya and morocco -- were under control of the french government. in command of north africa and its colonies at that point was a french admiral by the name of francois darlan, a known nazi sympathizer. but eisenhower dealt with him, something of a pact with the devil, for which he was roundly criticized in the united kingdom and the united states. i mean, what was this war all about? weren't we fighting fascists and nazis? why do we have an american commander dealing with him? fdr backed eisenhower completely in his dealings with darlan in north africa. the president realized that what ike was doing was cutting a deal with the devil to reduce the resistance of french troops when we finally invaded these colonies, which was the case. the french fought for about
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three days, and that was it. so as a result of the deal that eisenhower cut with the admiral, many thousands of lives or were saved. eisenhower saw -- excuse me, the president saw eisenhower perform again in north africa. the president went to the conference at cat blank ca in -- casablanca in 1943, and he met at this oint be eisenhower, and the president always had an eye for a pretty woman. and he noticed that eisenhower was chaufferred around by a very comely britisher, a witty woman, very attractive, by the name of kay sommers by. at this point in the upper levels of the allied command, the rumors are fairly rampant asking the question how close is dwight eisenhower to kay sommersby, his driver? admiral marshall is dead on any
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suggestion of hanky-panky of people under his command. he had a commander in the middle east, and he'd heard a rumor this commander was involved in a dalliance with his secretary. and he contacts that general and said i want her sent back to the states pronto. fdr's utterly unconcerned with eisenhower's private life. hehe has seen in eisenhower a leader who can bring together strong-willed national leaders; churchill, de gaulle and his own president and unify them for a concerted attack during the war against nazi germany. he's able to do the same thing with very competitive generals like general montgomery, patton, his own supporters. so the president very much appreciates this absolutely critical talent.
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i like one of eisenhower's subordinates said best about the rumors regarding kay sommersby, he said eisenhower's bearing crushing burdens. if kay sommersby is helping to relieve some of those burdens, i'm all for it. leave him alone. [laughter] now, who does the president she can to be the -- select to be the supreme commander? november 1943, it's getting a little late in the day, it's about time he decided who he supported to be the supreme commander for the liberation of europe. in cairo he summons george marshall to his suite, just the two of them. and as marshall described this meeting, the president beats around the bush at great length, ad nauseam, before he gets down to what he wants to sew marshall -- to see marshall about. and be he finally just says what do you think about the supreme command?
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now, george marshall hungers for this command, as i've said. this would mark the capstone of his career. and any general worth his salt wants to be a battlefield commander, not a paper push or. pusher. but he's also a monumentally modest man. what does he tell the president? he says, i'll do whatever you say, whatever you think good for the country. at that point the president indicates that their meeting is over. marshall rises and heads toward the door, and just at that moment roosevelt says to him, i wouldn't be at ease without you in washington. george marshall knows that he is not to get the supreme command, and it goes to eisenhower. eisenhower after the war is viewed as the liberator of europe. he's elected president once, he's elected president again. george marshall, a truly great man, his image in the public
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consciousness has dimmed seriously since that period. let's talk a little bit about, perhaps, the most flamboyant pirg in the u.s. army -- figure in the u.s. army and maybe all the armies engaged in world war ii, general george s. patton. george patton's a brilliant battlefield commander, but he can be a terrible, terrible human being. nevertheless, fdr holds him in very high esteem because he's impressed by the boldness, the dash, the package nation of a george patton -- the imagination of a george patton. so just before the campaign in north africa in which patton will play a very serious part, the president invites him to the white house. patton is an old cavalryman, and the president says to patton, george, are you going to slap tank -- excuse me, he said, are you going to slap a saddle on that tank of yours and go in
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with your saber raised? he just finds patton a fascinating character. they have a very cozy chat, and afterward the president writes a memo longhand describing this meeting, and he wants this memo deposited here at hyde park among his papers. and he ends it saying george patton is a joy. not long afterward, patton gets in hot water. it's during the siciliano campaign. he goes -- siciliano campaign. he goes into two military hospitals in sicily, and he slaps two shell-shocked g.i.s. when this story is revealed, there is a huge cry back in the united states for patton's scalp. the president nevertheless sticks with george patton. and when he is asked by a reporter about the patton incident, slapping of the g.i.s, the president doesn't answer directly, he answers as he often does, with a parable.
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the parable here of the relationship between lincoln and general ulysses grant. and he points out that the president was criticized for elevating grant to such high status because grant was known to be a drunkard. abe lincoln looks at this winning general and says, well, let's find out what it is that he drinks. [laughter] patton is viewed, essentially, in the same way. patton is like a star athlete who breaks all the training rules. he stays out all night, he gambles, he winches, but he wins ball games. and this is not a player that fdr is going to bench regardless of the furor created over patton's activities. i think at one point in patton's behavior during world war ii occurs at a point when his forces have driven across france. they've now entered germany.
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and patton knows that his son-in-law -- an officer by the name of john waters -- is a p.o.w. held by the germans in this camp not far distant. so he orders a rescue mission in which 300 men approximately are sent as a forward group to go into germany, reach the walls -- breach the walls of this camp and snatch his son-in-law. colonel waters. as a result of this mission, 25 g.i.s are either killed outright or presumed missing and presumed dead. very expensive price to pay for trying to rescue his son-in-law. and that mission does not succeed. one more centurion i'd like to talk about is general omar bradley.
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bradley when the invasion of europe takes place, d-day, the normandy invasion, has half of the forces under his command in the south and the other half is general bernard montgomery. eisenhower has shown very great, good judgment at giving this command to omar bradley. and you have this irony. at the beginning of the war, bradley is a subordinate of patton. but eisenhower sees that omar bradley might have the same battlefield dash and boldness that patton has displayed, but he sees him as a better overall manager of men, manager of command. so their roles are reversed. patton now becomes a subordinate to omar bradley.
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there's an interesting interlude between omar bradley and the president. it's just after the sicilian campaign, and the president knows that omar bradley is back in washington briefly, and he summons him to the white house. and they discuss the sicilian campaign. and then suddenly the president starts to tell omar bradley about this extraordinary project that is taking place out in the sands of new mexico, and he starts describing the manhattan project, the development of the a-bomb. bradley is amazed by this because at this point even officers above his level, officers like eisenhower and mcarthur, don't know anything about development. so he assumes that the president has just been carried away for the moment, goes back to europe to continue the war, never
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breathes a word to anybody including his superior, eisenhower. that this project is advancing in the sands of new mexico. which will produce an atom bomb. on the subject of the bomb, there's a misconception that i would like to clarify. after the war president roosevelt and ari truman -- harry truman were criticized for the use of the bomb. the charge is that we would not have used the bomb against a white nation like germany, but we would have used it against a yellow nation like the japanese. however, during the battle of the bulge the president is very concerned about the heavy casualties. before the battle of the bulge is over, 19,000 american g.i.s will die. so roosevelt at this time calls general leslie groves to the
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white house. groves is in charge of the manhattan project. and he tells groves that he wants to use that weapon. groves is rather surprised and explains that they are nowhere near ready, it'll be months before they even test the atomic bomb. but it's very clear in my mind that roosevelt had every intention of using it as long as the german resistance couldn'ted at the level that it did during the battle of the bulge. interesting thing about roosevelt's centurions is that the team was very stable. the people that he put in charge of the military at the beginning of the war were still there at the end, a time when winston churchill was firing generals left and right. so i would have to give a very high grade to fdr as the recruiter in chief. the figures that he selected still resonate in history; marshall, admiral king, admiral
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nimitz, dwight eisenhower, hap arnold, and it's hard to quarrel with a winning team. by the time of fdr's death in april of 1945, his battles have essentially been won. cruelly, he does not live long enough to see the defeat of germany which takes place just shortly thereafter or the defeat of the japanese. but when we consider the impediment that he bore, the polio that made of him a paraplegic, the suffering and pain that he went through, the heights that this man rose to as commander in chief during world war ii can only be described as heroic. when liberty-loving americans all over the world needed a giant, fdr stepped forth. in my judgment, the president ranks with the immortals, he ranks with washington, he ranks
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with lincoln as a great president in time of peace and as a magnificent commander in chief in this time of war -- in time of war. thank all of you. prison -- [applause] >> we have time for a few questions if you want to come and line up here. you need to line up, ask your question to joe so that c-span can catch your question on the microphone. >> winston churchill has frequently been criticized for meddling too much in the actual military planning in considering himself a military planner and leader, and that's always contrasted with roosevelt who, as far as i know, left much of the military planning to his generals. could you make any comments as to why roosevelt took a path in
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military decision making that seems to be quite contrasting from that of churchill? >> this is true that the president left the day-to-day figures.f the war to his but he was the strategist in chief. he made the big strategic decisions. it was fdr even after the united states had been attacked by japan and and the american people were seething with rage against the japanese, e made this initial strategic -- he made the initial strategic decision that our first objective must be to defeat nazi germany. was he realized -- because he realized that the defeat of nazi germany would ultimately bring about the defeat of japan. but the defeat of japan would never insure the defeat of nazi germany. another major strategic decision that he made in january 1943,
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casablanca conference, he surprised everybody by insisting that the war must be terminated in only one way, and that is by the unconditional surrender of our enemies. major strategic decision can, very much criticized in quarters at that time. so throughout the war while he does not meddle with the generals, he is our strategist in chief. any other questions? >> thank you. what about the story, i think it's actually a fact, that the president of the philippines actually gave mcarthur a quarter of a million dollars while he was in our army, and some of his subordinates also got like 25, $30,000. is that true?
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>> the only thing i can say about the point that you've raised is that you were off by a quarter of a million dollars -- [laughter] president quezon even after his island had been invaded came through on a deal that he had cut earlier with mcarthur, and he got a half a million dollars at that point in the war. another question? >> mr. persico, in world war ii you mentioned all men. in today's war there are women there. the only female that you mentioned was kay. why was she picked? you know, i'm looking at it from are mamie eisenhower. wasn't it a bit embarrassing? why was she picked as a female? >> it was interesting to me that
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after ike gets the command to invade europe, he's the supreme commander in europe, general marshall -- who as i pointed out if my remarks was death on any kind of hank can key spank key -- hanky-panky -- he cooks up a reason to send ike back to states. he's been separated from his wife, mamie, for something like a year and a half. and he sends him back ostensibly to have meetings with the president and other figures, but he mainly wants to get ike and mamie together for a while to make sure this marriage survives and it doesn't interfere with eisenhower's command of the other forces in the europe. any other questions? >> all right, mr. persico, thank you. but it did not answer my question. [laughter] >> i was always concerned about the this decision in the pacific command where after the
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gawptless surrenders, but at that point they then expand the command further down, and when wainwright vendors -- surrenders, he loses over half a million men, places they haven't even begun to fight. who makes that decision to expand? >> well, mcarthur assumed that after he was plucked from the philippines that wainwright would carry on almost to the death. wainwright sees his forces essentially starving, outmanned, and he surrenders nothing like the figure of half a million, but he surrenders them. and mcarthur publicly says thereafter that wainwright carried on a heroic battle to the very end, but as he makes clear to his inner sickle, he is -- circles, he is outraged that wainwright surrendered in the philippines. anybody else? >> time for two more questions. >> i want to play off the
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relationship further between fdr and mcarthur. was fdr uptight about mcarthur? was fdr inherently hostile towards mcarthur? i mean, i ask this in a certain context. when the japanese attacked pearl harbor, the commander and chief of the pacific fleet, when the japanese attacked the philippines, mcarthur was not only plucked -- as you put it -- out and taken to australia, he was given the congressional medal of honor of all things for his role. what can you elaborate on? i realize it could be the subject of an entire talk, but what can you elaborate on in terms of the relationship, the psychology between fdr and mcarthur and perhaps particularly in terms of mcarthur's inordinate compulsion to retake the philippines? >> well, as i pointed out in my remarks, the two men circled each other like wary lions.
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mcarthur, i think, behaved with a considerable amount of disloyalty and a lack of appreciation for the fact that the president rescued him in the philippines, gave him this very important command even though mcarthur was driven out of the philippines, and the president undoubtedly as we try to read his mind is saying this man is a military peacock, he's filled with arrogance and hubris. but in the long run, he's a great soldier, and i'm going to have to depend on him. >> i was wondering how would you compare roosevelt's ability to manage or deal with his generals as compared to, say, lincoln, or would you say roosevelt was just luckier in his recruiting abilities up to a point where, for instance, lincoln until he
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was able to get grant in the place? >> well, the only thing i could say here which may have some relevance is abraham lincoln is facing these choices for the first time, and some of his appointments failed like mcdowell and several others and that roosevelt was a student of the civil war, a very clean student. perhaps he learned from lincoln's experience, and he was, as i say, a recruiter this chief of a remarkable team. these people are there from pearl harbor to the japanese surrender aboard the missouri in tokyo bay. >> so his background like in the navy was the difference, do you think? >> more military experience and, as i say, more knowledge of history. >> let's give a hand to joseph persico. [applause] >> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback, twitter.com/booktv.
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>> the chapter on capitalism i wrote because i was worried that people in business -- first of all, there are very few people in government ever been in business because it's hard. i mean, it's easy for an academic to go into business. they can leave and come back to their world. it's easy for a lawyer to go into government and then come out. it's very hard for a business person. if they're a small business person, it's their business, and they have to be there. if they're in a larger corporation, they get knocked off the ladder, and they're out. and it's very hard to reenter. and as a result, you have people in business who don't, who -- i'll admit it, confession's good for the soul, my wife tells me. but if you're in government looking at business, you understand it intellectually, but it's one dimensionally. you don't have any idea what delay does, if you're in government, what government delay does to business. you don't have any idea what
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uncertainty does to business. you don't really feel the impact of the regulations. and and i end my taxes -- send my taxes in every year, and i always add a letter, to whom it may concern, here are my taxes. i want you to know, i haven't the vaguest idea if they're accurate. [laughter] i said, i went to college, you know, i've got average intelligence, and my wife went to college, and she won't even read 'em, because she knows she doesn't understand them. and i just want you to know that that's the case, and i pay money to an accountant, and he helps me. and i hope they're right, and if you've got a question, just give us a call. [laughter] but can you imagine this country with a lousy tax system like that? it's inexcusable. how many people here understand their taxes? let's see.
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i don't see many hands going up. but i, i wrote the chapter because i felt that i was in business, and i know that a businessman has, in a large company, has shareholders, they have customers, and they have employees. and their shareholders, customers and employees aral across the spectrum in political views and ideas and parties. and, therefore, business people are very reluctant to challenge the government, to criticize the government. they don't want to divide their stockholders or their employees or their hair holders -- shareholders. they also worry about the irs, they worry -- [laughter] well, be you don't understand -- if you don't understand your taxes, you ought to worry. i worry. i know, i don't know. and they also if you're in the
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pharmaceutical business like i was, you've got the fed food and drug administration, and they have all these alphabet regulatory organizations. and to the extent someone criticizes the government or challenges an approach they're taking, they worry that the government could be turned on hem. and that is, in my view, why this current irs thing so critical. because the american people don't want to feel that their government -- it's their government -- could be turned on them in a way that targets people. if you can target one person, you can target someone else. it doesn't matter if you're liberal, conservative, republican, dem can accurate. and i think that's why that's so central. now, what i'd like to do is have sandy or somebody -- where are these people? do you have microphones? i think you do. there you are. and i'd be happy to respond to
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questions, as i say, and even answer some -- [laughter] and i'll do my best. and what you need to do, i suppose, is raise your hand, and sandy will bring a mic. >> okay. >> i always hate the first question. [laughter] anyone who pops up like a jack in the box with a first question scares me to death. [laughter] >> hello. >> boy, those lights are bright. >> no -- >> make it a good one. i'm going to embarrass you, if you don't. [laughter] >> here's what we'll do, mr. secretary, if i may -- >> well, wait, someone's going to have to turn his mic on. you had the floor up here before, sandy, you know that. now, who has the first question? okay. oh, you've got it. okay, anthony. is your mic on? >> i don't know. >> there you go. >> well, mr. secretary, i do have two quick questions -- >> no, no. i'm 81 in july. i do not need multipart
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questions. [laughter] >> okay. >> it's 7:15 here, it's 10:15 in washington where i flew in from yesterday. single-part questions. [laughter] >> okay. >> but, i mean, feel free to go ahead. [laughter] >> okay. first question is -- >> no, no, you only get one! [laughter] turn off his mic. [laughter] >> will you write a book for republicans called rumsfeld's rules for republicans that says thou will not tax without doing a tax decrease, thou will not raise expenses without some sort of cut in the middle? i mean, i remember when i watched your interview on the letterman show, you had suggested that, you know, there was a time at which debt had
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reached, i forget what it was, $100 billion and the world went crazy. >> i was there. it was in the presidency of lyndon baines johnson. i was a congressman, and it was first federal budget in our history that hit $100 billion. and everyone just gasped at the thought. >> but now it doesn't seem like -- >> now we have trillion dollar deficits. >> and it doesn't look like the republicans are helping us any. so will you write a book for them? >> well, let me say something about that. i think the republicans, you know, there are people all across the spectrum in both parties, but the -- i was asked, i was speaking about my other book, "known and unknown," at fort leavenworth, the military base, not the prison. [laughter] and there were, i think, 1490
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majors from mostly our country, but from around the world too. it's a big school there. and someone asked me what's the biggest problem that i worry about when i go to bed at night. and the answer was american weakness. and why do i say that? i think the signal that's being sent out from this country is that, basically, we're modeling american economy on europe, and it's a failed model. it doesn't work. and there's no way you can have the deficits we've had and have the debt we're incurring without sending out a signal to the world that this country's not going to be what it was in the past. and there's no way you can do that. if you're not going to act responsibly, people take that message, and they see it. and then you turn around, and when i went to washington, eisenhower was president. i came out of the navy, and then i served there during
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kennedy-johnson in the congress. we were spending 10% of gross domestic product on defense. today we're spending less than 4%. our allies in europe are spending less than 2%. and the signal that goes out to the world now with this sequestration is that we've cut $493 billion out of pentagon budget, defense budget, and we're about to cut another half a billion -- half a trillion, which brings it close to $950 billion out of a ten-year budget. the signal that that sends to the world is that the united states is not going to be in a position to contribute to a more peaceful and stable world in the decade ahead. >> [inaudible] >> you can watch this and other programs online at a booktv.org. >> when you write a book, i mean, a hot can go wrong. i mean, that's just sort of the way i approach the world. i have, i'm somewhat neurotic in
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my writing and reporting, and a lot can go wrong in 110,000 words. i've been pretty shocked by -- i guess if there's been criticism from inside, it's been mostly in the vein of how dare he, meaning how dare an insider give away the secret handshake. how dare an insider talk about other insiders in a way that perhaps might not be, you know, in keeping with the codes that we have in washington. and people keeping asking me why are people uncomfortable here, and i welcome the discomfort, but i also think this is journalism. i mean, this is what we do, and we should invite discomfort. >> booktv's book club returns this month. look for daily book club posts starting tuesday to get the conversation going, and throughout the month we'll pose discussion questions, links to interviews, reviews of the book and video with the author from our booktv archives.
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>> now, from the libertarian cato institute in washington, d.c., albert vargas discusses his book, "global crossings." .. immigration has become a burning public policy issue in washington. for the first time in decades, the united states is considering a major reform in the way it deals with

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