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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 14, 2013 8:00am-9:01am EDT

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>> i wanted to give the reader chance to understand the process by which i've made decisions. the environment in which i made decisions, the people listened to as i made decisions and this is not an attempt to be right history, it is not an attempt to
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fashion a legacy. it is an attempt to be part of the historical narrative. >> supreme court justices. >> every single justice of the court has a passion for the constitution and our country, then you know that if you accept that as an operating truth which it is, you understand you can disagree. >> nobel prize winners. >> that for me was interesting was negotiation of the position. love somebody. and respect yourself. all of this is reduced, simplified notions, the philosophers spend their lives trying to imagine what it is
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like. >> we visited affairs and festivals around the country. >> booktv is live at the l.a. times festival of books at ucla. >> bears signature programming, in debt each month. >> of you say to a child anywhere in this country, schools all over the country, once upon a time. that phrase is still magical. >> after words. >> a diplomatic service, in belgrade. my mother wanted me to be born in prague where her mother was and so i was born in prague and went back to belgrade and my father was recalled in 1938 and he was in czechoslovakia marched
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on march 16th, 1939. >> since 1998 booktv has shown 40 hours of programming and is the only national television network devoted exclusively to nonfiction books every weekend. throughout the fall we are marking 15 years of booktv on c-span2. >> here are some programs to watch on booktv. sunday bassyou talk about but did battlers and politics of life and death at age:15 eastern. at 6:00 p.m. eastern we bring you a program from the booktv archives. in 1999 marked about moon, author of black hawk down, sat down with booktv to recount the 1993 u.s. special forces raid. in a:00, treasury's war, the unleashing of a8:00, treasury's
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unleashing of a new era of financial warfare. next on booktv maury klein recounts the creation of the american arsenal during world war ii. the author reports the united states military resources were depleted in the start of the war and only through the collaboration of men and women throughout the country did factories produce 325,000 aircraft by 1945 and at the height of production, b 24 bomber per hour. this is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you. it is up pleasure to be here and to talk about this subject which has kind of been on my mind for the last few years. this is a strange topic in the sense that nobody had really done a book of this type. i wondered why. i would like to claim credit for
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the subject but the fact is the real credit belonged to my editor, really fine editor who had asked me almost ten years ago if i were interested in doing a book like this because he always thought there was a story that needed to be told and had never seen it told and i looked into at the time and i said let me think about it. i bought about it, i didn't see what i could do with it. i said i don't think i am the person for this and we went on and did another book and ahead to yet another book that i had committed to. at the end of the second book peter came back and said might use till now be interested in this book? i said let me look at it again. for whatever reason, i did this time see us story and the reason for seeing a story is that every
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book, particularly in history, has what i like to call scaffolding, which is the structure that holds everything together and makes sense of it. this story has so many elements to it that there is no obvious scaffolding beyond the fact of the chronology, from 1939-1945. within that, what do you do? the second time around i saw some scaffolding, not all of it, sort of evolve as i went along but i am very grateful to peter for being so persistent because at the end an ended up with the book had no idea i was going to right and that is the one i would like to tell you a little bit about. why does it matter? it matters because world war ii literally shaped the world we live in today. it preserved -- easy to forget this because it always sounds like a cliche but it preserved the world for democracy.
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world war i which we will mention in a moment, had the slogan woodrow wilson called making the world safe for democracy. didn't work out that way. would it did was make the world ready for yet another work. in this case if the access had gained more momentum they might very well have snuffed out the largest democratic society in the world. that is one element of it. it also ended the depression. the new deal had failed to do that despite very strenuous attempts, but the start of large expenditures in may of 1940 is what finally started putting the depression to bed and from that point on, the economy grew by leaps and bounds because of the war effort. in doing that it put a whole generation of unemployed americans back to work and then some and a lot of people who had
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never worked. when we talk about sacrifice which we will in a couple of minutes is an ironic things that the war made a lot of americans much better off than they had been in the past that all. because they had gone through, a lot of them had gone through some very hard times. it created all kinds of modern institutions, everything from the tax system to social security which was on the books than, but. was in effect nailed down in the war. it created what we now call the industrial military complex and it created literally beat american military. if that is away that this war turned out, nobody saw this pretty much at the beginning. that is where the story starts.
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i want to make two for three basic points that really govern where the book went. the first of these is there is really two year as we are talking about here and they are very different. the first one which we call preparedness begins when hitler invaded poland, september of 1939 and goes to pearl harbor. that 27 months is the most difficult time of all because we are not in the war, we don't want to be in the war, we went in many cases to pretend we have nothing to do with the war and i will explain why in a moment. as a result it was difficult it was to start mobilizing defenses. it is full of conflicts, denials
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and so forth. the second point, the legacy of world war i. the end of world war i left a bad taste in america. it didn't come out the way it was supposed to. the idealism got crushed, a very cynical treaty of verisign set the stage for world war ii. and in 1917 it hardly bothered the sense, if they bothered us very much in the years to come. more important for americans was how the war ended at home. number one, we sometimes forget this, on the tail end of the war came the worst epidemic in modern history, the great flu epidemic in 1918-19 which killed
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over twenty million people worldwide. number 2, the american economy had ramped up to produce armaments for the work and ironically most of those armaments never got in the war but we got in the war in april of 1917, we used mostly european weapons. for example we started building airplanes. not a single american airplane got in the war. not a single american tank got in the war. hand grenades and ammunition and so forth we got from the british. we had at that point what by 1918 was the largest armaments industry in the world. almost immediately after the armistice and the end of the war the government started canceling contracts. when i say canceling 19 just like this. without warning they pulled
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them, factories were left literally with production lines still half full, thousands of workers were let go without warning. in a state like connecticut relief valve this because it had so many of these kinds of plants. companies were left with factories, buildings, plants they had built to produce armaments. what do we do with the machinery? at least give us a tax credit to carry these in case they are ever needed again. the government wouldn't do it. the result was in almost every case these companies, everybody from remington arms to you name it simply tore down the factories, gutted them because they didn't want to carry the expense of them. the result was by the time you
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get to 1939, we have no armaments industry. so when the war breaks out in europe we are in very pitiful shape. the u.s. army is something like 28th in the world. when it went on maneuvers in 1940, kind of a farce, time magazine said after looking at these it appeared as if they might give a good battle to a group of boy scouts and not much more. all of this coupled with the scandals that emerged after the 20s and the 30s over munitions contracts, bankers, developed this whole idea which became very popular that the war had been brought on by the bankers and munitions manufacturers
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simply for profits. that weighed very heavily so that when it came time in the 1939-40 period to talk about mobilizing preparedness, one of the themes was always we are not going to make another generation of instant millionaires. franklin roosevelt was sensitive to this because he obviously had his conflict with the business community and he wasn't about to let that happen but at the same time he had to get this process moving. so that was one of his many dilemmas after the invasion of poland. the third thing that i think confuses the way we look at this is the way in which the past often gets encrusted in some sort of mythology the shapes the way we see it. in this case, that methodology is the greatest generation. the notion that some of this
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generation of americans linked arms, march forward, did the patriotic thing, stepped right up to the plate, choose your own cliche. that didn't happen. it didn't happen first of all because there is no such thing as the greatest generation. there is no way to measure what is great about a generation. what you measure is human behavior. history repeats itself -- history never repeats itself but historical patterns do because those historical patterns are based on human behavior. if you go down through the generations you will see human behavior runs the whole gamut from the ultimate givers to the ultimate takers and that is no different from this generation than from any other. for every patriot who went out and tried to enlist to serve his country there was more than one of him that was doing anything
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they could to avoid getting into the military. for everybody who cheerfully accepted rationing and did their bit collecting shortages there were people who simply thumbed their noses and visited the black market. mr. black was one of the busiest business men throughout all these years and there was no way to contain it. if you want to call this generation anything i call them the unluckiest generation because they found themselves having to deal with the worst economic crisis in american history that literally threatened the american dream. only then to deal with the colossal war on an unprecedented scale that literally threatened the existence of democracy itself. not many generations have to deal with that within a short
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span of time. in looking at how they did what they did it is important to realize why and how we managed to win this war. as john pointed out no war had never remotely approach the scale of this one. is truly a world war. fought on three continent, fought on virtually every ocean and the fact the we are split between a war in europe and a war in the pacific vastly complicates not only the production of goods but the delivery of goods, getting them there. the problem in the atlantic is getting them through the german submarines taking an incredible toll of ships first with the british and when we got into the war we were literally up and down the american coast and in that post from some places you
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could literally see ships being torpedoed and sunk and if you went to the beach in those days you might very often find everything from body parts to pieces of a ship washed ashore. it was a very ugly scene. the same problem didn't exist except on a tiny scale and the pacific, the problem was sheer distance. how do you get stuff all the way where she was going? in trying to mobilize the country, roosevelt, who had not as far as we know and this seems to be the case had not planned to run again in 1940. he thought that if we could mobilize industry to at least start repairing war goods that
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we would be in a position to help the allies once the war started. the problem was that many americans didn't want to help the allies, didn't care who they were, you had some on the extreme like henry ford to suggested let britain fight it out with germany and maybe they will kill them both of. henry ford's attitude was during this period after the european war broke out, the french and the british, they were behind in their armaments and wanted to buy stuff from us and we were cheerfully ready to sell them this and one thing they needed were aircraft engines for their planes and henry's on was called to washington to say we desperately need engines for the r a f. can you make some? he said oh sure, we can turn out
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quite a few of those and he went back, told his father what he had said and was an embarrassed face, had to tell washington we can't do it because my father will not build any goods for foreign government. he will make them for america but will not make them for foreign governments. that order ended up with chrysler which had the same qualms. the opposition to the war, not only getting into it, that was widespread but even helping the allies was incredibly strong. roosevelt had to literally walk a tight rope. the first thing he ended up doing was running for president for an unprecedented third term because he did not want to leave the country bereft of
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leadership. and he did not announce by the way that he was going to run for the third term until the democratic convention met in july of 1940 and everybody was playing of the will your won't he? the great washington lottery in spring of 1940. when he finally did inform the convention that he would be a candidate, they breeze the sigh of relief because they didn't have a strong candidate. he couldn't campaign because he had so much else to do so his campaign consisted of seven speeches and his traditional for of the neighborhood on election eve. roosevelt had a difficult time campaigning anyway because he had to go by train. he hated to fly. have only flown once in his life to accept a nomination in 1932,
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never did it again. and he had a large entourage as a president does. so to the extent that he gives speeches they all had to be within 12 hours of washington. that was part of the political game for him. what helped him immensely in 1940 and what helped the process we are talking about of bringing american opinion around was that he happens to be at the edge of a revolution in the republican party. the republican party was pretty much bankrupt of ideas and new blood in 1940. so much so that an outsider, wendell willkie, who was essentially a utility's executive and once been a democrat, but they managed to
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get him the nomination in 1940. wendell willkie, like roosevelt, was an internationalist. he believed the allies should be helped. by taking that position he took the issue out of the campaign which was agreed held. in fact he took some other issues out of the campaign and have a hard time finding something to run on. and that is why the campaign got personal and nasty by the end. once roosevelt was elected he could move forward a little more boldly and what he proceeded to do was step-by-step increase american aid to the allies, increase the buildup of american armaments and in every way possible, find outlets that
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would increase the finances of available for all of this because this was going to be an unprecedented set of expenditures. that is why the tax system was revolutionized during the war. the way it was revolutionized was a way it might surprise you. it was not a case of soaking the rich. was more a case of moving the exemption down farther and farther until millions of people who had never had to pay taxes now did have to pay taxes. not just the middle but the lower middle and even the low now found themselves having to pay taxes and that never went away. that is where you can thank that part of the tax code. it was a strange time and a strange way of doing things because in polls, americans said they should be taxed more.
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they didn't really kicked about it. the hard part was finding two things, finding the ways of getting goods to the allies and creating an organization that would ramp up production. the key to getting goods to the allies turned out to be one of the most powerful bills ever passed by congress. at the time it was said that this bill, this act gave the president more power than any act ever passed by congress. roosevelt never hesitated to make use of the power and he had difficulties even then. for example, when hitler invaded russia, the russians were in dire need of weapons. roosevelt was perfectly happy to furnish them if he could get
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into him but there was a lot of opposition to giving weapons to the godless communists. remember this was on the heels of all the stalinist purges of the 1930s. so there was a lot of ted danson around that issue. the argument of roosevelt and others is very simple. every nazi soldiers that the russians killed we don't have to deal with. every nazi tank they destroy we don't have to deal with and if they can do it let them do it. the only question was how long could they hold out? remember what hitler had done? he had taken pulling quickly in september 1939. when he invaded poland american
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business sense to there would be a wave of work orders and vigor encouraged to build up their inventories and they did build up their inventories and then nothing happened. business went flat again for the next several months and everybody thought it is not going to be any further war. not until may of 1940 when hitler launched the real blitzkrieg and took over the lowlands, france, and eventually other countries as well, he not only planted the german flag over most of the european continent but collected gold resources of those countries and those resources were considerable. germany is very short of a lot of resources, and this was one way that he could get them. if in a sense germany owned europe where would they go next?
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and a lot of people warned that it would be south america or even north america. we actually at one point roosevelt send troops to greenland to make sure they didn't go there because that would have been a nice steppingstone to this country. the real menace when hitler began pounding great britain was if great britain fell, not only would hitler get its resources, maybe even its navy, but that is the navy we counted on to control the atlantic. the american fleet is all in the pacific. as pearl harbor demonstrated. as a result what would happen if in perfect hitler controlled the atlantic? we would have no trade routes, no capacity for getting out of our own imports and at that time
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we didn't have the two ocean navy and that was one of the things that had to be built up so this is a very serious situation. how then did we meet it? we met it largely by utilizing the one thing americans have always done best which was mass production. we invented it. we invented it in the auto industry. this is the first wholesale mechanized war in history and you are talking in a country, the united states, that is basically on wheels. weigh more americans own cars and car drivers than europe. as a result, we have not only the scale of our production capacity, but we have the technical know-how. all we had to do was organize
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it. all we had to do. that is basically what bill book is about. if in fact we could do that, the goal was literally to bury the axis in weapons. the germans had better weapons, they had superior weapons in many cases. i will give you one exception in a moment but they didn't have nearly as many. and the result of that was once we got production moving and that did not occur until 1943, the tide of the war could change and it did change and we made the decision that we would basically focus on europe and even though the first attack had come in the pacific we would fight a holding action there. a couple of quick examples how >> guest: quote we were to do
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this. there is a shipbuilder, marvelous character named andrew jackson higgins in new orleans, higgins built landing craft. he had originally built small boats because new orleans in shallow waters in the bayou and so forth and he got a very nice start first by building fast small boats the coast guard could use to chase rumrunners and then by building slightly faster ones to sell to the rumrunners and he did pretty well at this. nobody could match his boat. the navy hated his boats because the navy's bureau of construction wanted to design its own boats and when they design them and put them in competition against higgins's boat they died. they absolutely died. they had no chance. nevertheless they were reluctant
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to give higgins' contracts. submarines were entirely different. the marines said we need landing craft and we need them badly because we have virtually none. they are part of the navy. to which the navy said you don't need landing craft. what are you going to use them for? their idea was world war i. in world war i if you have to land stuff you simply go to the nearest port in france or whatever and offload it. only problem now is hitler has all those ports. there is no place to offload. number 2, but more in the pacific is going to be an island war. how are you going tois going to. how are you going to get to those islands? you will need landing craft.
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the marines understood this, the navy didn't. they began to pride boats out a reluctant navy. a letter from general smith to general higgins said i don't know what we would have done if it had not been for you and the marvelous ships you bills and we are forever grateful for that. the date on that letter is december 6, 1941. there are many examples like this in the book of how we simply didn't know what to do or how to do it and we had to learn. nobody knew how to build tanks. when the president of chrysler, katie keller, was called and asked if chrysler could make tanks for the government, he said i don't see why not.
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what is the tank? so he and his engineers went to the rock island arsenal where there was an actual tank. they had never seen one. none of the engineers had ever seen a tank. they took the tank apart piece by piece. they made drawings from which they could do blueprints so they can have every piece because now we are talking mass production which i am coming to and left pieces for engineers again, then they went back and they made wooden copies of each one of those pieces so they could fit together a model because what they are trying to do with mass production is built machine tools that can turn these out in quantity and you've got to know what each of those pieces are and you literally end up with thousands of blue prints by the
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time you are done with this sort of thing and none of them had ever seen a tank before but by the time they got through this they were building tanks. they were not as good as the german tanks, they were much weaker than the german tanks but so many more of them. the way mass production works, most people didn't understand this because they would come to chrysler or ford and say you guys turn out 1,000 cars 0 week. why can't you just carry out a thousand tanks? a tank is not at all like a car, it is totally different and number 2, they are not set up to make tanks. to set up to do that you don't just say ok, stop making fords and start running tanks down the line. need a whole new set of machinery, take everything out
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that is there and put new machines in or build a new plant which in most cases, lot of new plants got built and it takes time because you have to go through the process i just described, break down what it is you are making, make a in a form the engineers can understand and then find and design machine tools that can manufacture those parts in large numbers and then you have to design all those machine tools will fit on the factory floor so the product can flow from one station to another and that is a very complicated piece of engineering and only then, you have to start bringing in these raw materials, only then can you start production. what i am saying is it is of very slow start but once you are there, it rolls and because it was so slow there was a lot of
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criticism particularly in 1942 when not a lot was happening and everybody was saying where are the planes? where are the shifts? where are the tanks? no one tried to build planes on an assembly line before. and the guy who was instrumental in working that out was charles sorenson of ford because automobilemakers knew how to do mass production. he went to the aircraft plants which are boutique operations by which i mean you build planes one at a time, piece by piece and before long there were assembly lines turning out planes. henry kaiser did the same thing for ships for at least liberty ships and a great engineer and architect named william francis gibbs was instrumental in doing this for naval vessels because
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there are two and navies, there is the merchant marine and there is the navy. the merchant marine is crucial because everything has to go overseas so you better have a lot of ships that contrary this stuff. so that in essence is what won the war. the ability to solve these incredibly complex problems and to design a couple of new weapons which changed the world in every sense. the two weapons that were truly unique to us where the dirksen senate office building 9 bomber and the atomic bomb which of course the dirksen senate office building 9 bomber carried. it may surprise you to know the single most expensive weapons project during the war was not the atomic bomb, even though it cost 20. it was the 29.
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it was so difficult to design, so radical concept, it had so many problems, particularly engine problems. there's a wonderful quote by a pilot that set i love more engine time on that plane then you could ever know. by contrast use easy b-17 which had been around awhile most pilots love. they called it the queen of the skies. by the time the war started it was already in phase 4. there is an example. i will give you one more before we go to questions which was something little-known that won the battle of britain for the are a f. if you wonder how did so few pilots and planes, so many
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german planes? we had it, we could produce it in quantity, we got it to the british, the germans did not have it because they don't have an oil industry. that is like conquering europe and other places like that is important to them. their planes did not have 100 octane gasoline. why did that matter? if you use 100 octane gasoline the plane takes off in a shorter distance, it can fly faster, it can fly higher, carry heavier armaments. is a more efficient fighting machine and that made the british spitfires, the pilots too, that is what made them such formidable weapons in the sky and that gasoline as i said came from the united states. 100 octane gasoline was the one commodity that we never succeeded in making enough of
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during the war. there was always a shortfall of it. even synthetic rubber which we had to do from scratch paula i -- well into the war, 33-44, we had enough that there was never a problem that there would be a shortage but there was always a shortage of 100 octane gas because the air war was taking it apart and the farther away the war moved the more gasoline it needed and in the pacific, that is a long, long way. so that is just kind of a little preview of a very complex story. one of the things that i did in this book was to tell the individual stories of a lot of ordinary people and the source for those stories was one of the things that enabled me to find a scaffolding for the book and that was the magazine's of the period.
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they had incredibly good writers. i would like to have acknowledged them but they don't have a byline and you don't know who wrote these. if you should happen to get a copy and looked at some of the footnotes you will see how many of these citations go back to these magazines and me a wonderful collection of people. i certainly enjoyed spending time with them. i love to know what they did after the war. one of the curses of doing what i do is your knowledge will stop where the book stops. if you want to take it beyond you have to do something else like another book. let me see if you have any questions. yes? >> wait for the mic. >> i would like to ask if you could expand on little bit on a roll of henry j. kaiser, how
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efficient he was with his boat building. >> kaiser became -- i don't know if you know how he got his start. he had to start building hoover dam and that got him into the concrete business. he moved from one business to another and he played some part, hoover and -- was the shasta he didn't end of building. he never built boats. even though very much about them but his partners had and there was a consortium of them and together they bid for some contracts for merchant ships and that got kaiser interested. what keyser was very interested in because this was where his home base was was developing the west. he gave the west a big cement
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plant, the first steel mill, gave it a magnesium plant and gave it a host of shipyards up and down the pacific coast and once he went into this business he had a group of very talented young engineers and he would do, i am not exaggerating, one young guy was in his middle 20s, one of them by the way was his son, both his sons, he calls -- roads in cuba, knew how kaiser work, to build a shipyard. he did know the shipyard from a banana boat, he knew his boss but where? richmond, calif.. there was nothing there. before long there were three shipyards, richmond 1, richmond
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2 and richmond 3. in vancouver's there were two more shipyards, huge ones. what kaiser did was if you look at the existing shipyards, they were cramped for space so if you built a ship what happened was you build it piece by piece, another boutique operation and the result is all these people falling all over each other trying to do whatever job they are doing and it is a very inefficient thing. it would drive a production manager crazy. kaiser changed all that. he said you build them from the bottom up. you break them down into as large a part as you can make, number of the parts and they bitterly do this, like a puzzle. what determined how large a part you could make? two or three factors. how much would the grain left? without that you are in big
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trouble. if the parts of being made here and assembled here, what is the railroad, how much clearance does it have? can it get through that sort of thing? there was lots of land so they could spread it out and fabricate the parts here, have what is called away is where you build the ships here and they literally built them, he took the out of the water, put them on dry land, they would build them on trial land and build them, i have a picture of this in the book, just a row of them and they are going down and each person is doing their job just like an assembly line. it is a very different assembly line and if you look over at this part of any shipyard, you will see the parts and their labeling. we need this, we need this, grab
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one of those, take it on the crane and get it over there and that is how it went from building one ship at a time to turning out a ship, at one point edgar and clay bedford had a contest to see who could build one of fastest by setting everything up. everybody thought this was a publicity stunt but it really did help to see it. clay build one in ten days, a whole liberty ship. edgar turned around and did one in five. after that they went back to normal production. you have all your crews set up, everything in place. that is what kaiser did. if you ask what kaiser's wohl, it is not doing all that stuff, his boy is doing that. is role is he learned to become
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the ultimate washington insider. he knew where to go, who to talk to. he had an idea, one of the weapons for submarine warfare, baby flat carriers. one way to fight the submarines was airplanes. you can only go from land base to what if you have many carriers they called them and put ships out at sea to go after submarines and what finally ended the submarine menace was not convoys, the navy leadership was sporadic to say the least. they insisted, admiral king insisted the only way, not just the best way but the only way to fight submarines was with a convoy, wasn't working, would finally beat them with a combination of lots of new type
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of destroyer, escort destroyers and airplanes a specially modified be 24s which sought out submarines when they had to surface and knocked them out again. kaiser, the navy said no, and roosevelt said let's build some of these. that is the kind of thing he could do. that was his ultimate talent finally and he got so much publicity he became the celebrity of the production process. anyone else? here you go. >> would you speak briefly about the rationing that was necessary and price control? >> one of the biggest problems you have in war time and was a
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horrible problem in world war i was inflation. there are couple ways to fight inflation. the best way, this kept getting bogged down in politics was taxing. americans are making more than they made in ages so you got to tax them to do that and they were willing to be taxed but congress was reluctant to do this. the other way was by rationing goods so that there aren't good available to buy. the military kept growing and therefore kept absorbing more goods so the rationing started on a modest scale and it eventually extended to a large number of products. and you see how these evolve let's say shoes were rationed which they were. you are entitled to x number of
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dollars worth of shoes. that could be a $5 a pair of shoes or what if you want a better pair of shoes? the way they went about it finally when they saw that wasn't working with you are entitled to a pair of shoes. and what they are is up to you. in the case of strategic foods, stamp books basically when they finally evolve into their final form, every food on the list had point basis and that was revived according to what the supply was so let's say you wanted canned beans. that might cost you five points. every person have a ration book with x number of points for that month and you could spend the points any way you wanted. originally they tried to ration
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by commodity and that was incredibly cumbersome and if you want to blow it all on a piece of beef, do that. beef was the scarcest thing. in addition to that food in general is the hardest possible thing to control or ration and the government had to control it. price controls were necessary to keep the inflation from eating up literally eating up the economy. that would take a little while to explain but it is a serious menace in 1941. a lot of the food ultimately, particularly meat which was the hardest thing of all land by going to considerable detail on that in the book, a lot of that stuff mr. black did very well. mr. black made out like a
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bandit. the black market is the book in itself. the way it worked during the war. anybody else? yes, sir? >> i would like to know how roosevelt was able to get them least through the isolationist congress. >> by a very familiar tactic, he had the votes. they made the noise but he knew going in that in this particular case he had the votes. enough republican support who saw the necessity for it and it was not a particularly close vote. let me describe another vote which was just as important. one of the most controversial acts the past was our first peacetime draft. how are you going to get americans to accept a draft at a time when we are not in a war
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and we are convinced we are not going to be in this war but it got past and when it got past people were called up for one year. as the year came to a close, to have not renewed, not extended the term of service of these people would have literally gutted the army. literally gutted it and george marshall, the chief of staff, was beside himself at this possibility but it had become a political issue. we made a promise to the boys they could go home after a year. we have to honor that promise and this went around and around and around and when it came, the bill came to extend before congress in the senate it passed by a few votes in the house, one
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vote. shortly after this happened a reporter was talking to one -- a british citizen in london which is getting bombed unmercifully at this time and this britt said the americans are a curious people. one day they talk about extending freedom and democracy everywhere, the next day they decide by one vote that they will go on having an army. any other questions? yes, sir. >> in looking at america did you ever look at how russia performed building their armament? were they as poorly prepared as we were and how did they address it? >> no. you may remember that the world
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was shocked when stalin and hitler signed a non-aggression pact, the reason for that from stalin's point of view, he knew he was pretty short an invasion was coming and basically he was buying time to build up. so the russian industrial plant in so far as it existed and it was not too bad was in pretty good shape when the war started. the problem was a lot of that was in western russia which is exactly what the germans were overrunning so the russians kept having to pack up plants and pack up the equipment and machinery and keep moving it farther inland. when roosevelt wanted to know what we could do to help and he didn't know stalin yet, he sent harry hopkins who was very sick but underwent this torturous flight to russia and he met stalin and asked what do you need? and stalin said basically
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machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, tanks, and airplanes later. and hopkins got a feel for stalin and it was a pretty good one and came back and told roosevelt this was worth doing and roosevelt had to push his own cabinet to get this done even after that. at one point this is all recorded in henry stenson's diary, at one point when on a tirade. the only time you could remember roosevelt abrading in the cabinet like they were school children because he wanted this done and he wanted it done now. it is not as if the stuff was lying around. ahead in fact to get some of the planes to russia we borrowed them from british planes in storage and then replaced those. any other questions?
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no? so now you know everything. let me leave you -- well, not quite maybe. let me leave you with one interesting fact that always stuns people when you talk about sacrifices that people made. it is true that more americans had a rising standard of living during the war. however, it may surprise you to know that more americans died in industrial accidents during the war than died in combat. when you consider there are about eleven million in the military, about forty million for thirty million in the work force, but if you look at those factories and you look at all of those people working under some really tough conditions it won't surprise you but that is a
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shocking statistic. thank you very much. [applause] >> the books are for sale over here. part of the proceeds goes to -- >> you are watching booktv and c-span2. here is our prime time lineup for tonight. starting at 7 and parties and, curtis white talked about the science delusion, asking big questions in a culture of easy answers. at 8:00 meredith whitney talks about the shift of prosperity in the united states followed by a look at president kennedy's final days in office at 9:00. at 10:00, on after words, an interview with jenna green, in the balance, politics on the roberts court.
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we wrap up prime-time programming at 11:00 eastern with rocket girl, the story of mary sherman morgan, america's first female rocket scientist. visit booktv.org for more of this weekend's television schedule. .. >> this is an honor and a pleasure to be here, truly a wonderful store. thank you for having us. when kevin and i first started this book, i'll be honest, i really didn'

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