tv Open Phones CSPAN October 14, 2013 11:15pm-11:51pm EDT
585-3891 for those of you in the mountain pacific time zones. we are joined now by rick atkinson and the history and biography tent. thank you for being with us. fred and in pennsylvania called just a minute ago and he wondered about the italian campaign. he thought that was the biggest disaster of the war and specifically about mark clark, general clark and i told him in the day of battle he spent quite a bit of time on mark clark. so if you would cover recount the italians. >> guest: i think i'm probably more generous than both. a pretty capable battlefield. 23 amounts than -- killed in world war ii and not every commander is cut out to take out these casualties and be able to sustain the kind of emotional weight that brings.
and clark can do it. you can't blame clark for being in italy. he's there because he's told to be there. teatime campaign makes some sense if you want air bases in southern italy. once you get those, which we do in the early fall of 1944 makes a lot of sense as you slug your way up the apennine mountains, although they too may of of 1945. it will be argued about as long as people are reading about world war ii. >> another colonist was from galen san antonio. why didn't hitler crossed the english channel when he had the opportunity? or if he did have the opportunity and if so would be a finished up england? >> guest: well, he wanted to. he had drawn careful plans for the invasion of england. one thing in particular stopped him and that was he never had air superiority and he knew it up and a schama was not very wide but if you do not control the year, if in fact those
bursts that buyers have prevailed in the battle written in 1940 have free access to your invasion coming by to see that it will end in disaster. you've got to have air protection to the amphibious operation. hitler did that in stop him from launching operation sea lion. the second part of the question -- if they manage to get across the english channel, you have to believe that things would've gone very badly. by the british isles are pretty big. 800 miles from south to north than it would've been a compiler campaign of some sort certainly. but it's hard to imagine that the british would have been able to prevailed had he gotten his forces across the english channel. costar rick atkinson, total deaths? >> guest: about 60 million. >> host: total cost? >> guest: cosh, the united states allowed, if you calculate
in $2012, it's about 4 trillion. to the entire world i don't know that anyone would know. >> host: next call comes from her up in weatherford, texas. her become a year-end tv on c-span 2 with author rick atkinson. >> caller: yes, i just finished reading the books back to back to back and a little postscript on dinner with my father. my father fought in world war ii and battle of the bulge and he received a bronze star botkin and a purple heart in the battle of the bulge. you know, our father's generation, the greatest generation and i did that with my father who you are talking about the draft. my father was the youngest of 15
and went to work, was drafted into the army at 18, was blinded in one eye. went to world war ii, sent his paycheck home to his mother supported the family. my mother waited five years to marry him and i understand why now. he was able at 60% or 70% disability, walk with a slight limp, which you would not notice that his whole life would never even get a handicapped parking sticker. he came back from that war -- i always saw my father cry three times in his life. right before he died. my mother said this during the gulf war they are sitting there watching on tv. she looked over at him and tears were coming down his cheeks. i know now from reading the
books where he went back to his life without war experience. i just want you to know that your book is absolutely on the mark with so many things. i've read several books, but i kind of looked upon yours. i will admit this. i have a question. do you deal with the european war? i'm about to get into the japanese side, which i don't know much about. do you have any suggestions for the reading on that? i'll let you go. thank you. >> host: at >> guest: thank you for your question and your comment about your father, an extraordinary man. there's a lot of stuff out there about the civic work. by father frank has written a trilogy now about the war in the pacific. max hastings bracewell about
specific. if you look on my website, liberation trilogy.com, you will see that there's a short essay on suggested readings and nursing readings they are about the global war beyond the war in europe. >> host: rick atkinson, we spent three hours at the uma for in-depth program when "the guns at last light" came out. i has to then, are your account on a specific trilogy? >> guest: peter, i'm not. i decided some time ago that i wasn't going to do. 15 years was long enough on world war ii. so i've begun working on a another trilogy on the american revolution. it's captured my imagination since i was a boy as it has for many of us. i've been added in earnest for probably three months and i've got a long way to go. it's a whole different set of
archives among other things, different sensory needless to say. but idc resonance at the beginning of this army that i write about in world war ii. i see parallels between washington and eisenhower had a very surprising to me somehow. they have more in common then they don't have in common. so that's what i'm doing. another long project that will take a probably four or five years to do the first. >> caller: hi, good afternoon. thank you for taking my call. you already answered one of the questions i had just now, so i will substitute another. how did you go about deciding what to leave out? and is there some pain you've left out that she now would've put in and did roosevelt -- teachers showed ever finally determine or realize that there
is nothing soft about the underbelly of europe and the mediterranean? >> guest: well, to answer that last question first, churchill never acknowledged that the italian campaign in his approach to kind of defeat germany by coming to the mediterranean was fundamentally bankrupt by the time to britannica to 1944, 1945. he was not the sort of guide to make apologies and he believed what he believed. so we find churchill in late 1944, still arguing for the mediterranean strategy. he tries to persuade first eisenhower, then roosevelt to abandon the nation of southern france, which is going to take place on august 15th. the troops are in the ships and churchill is still hammering away at this. he wants a landing to go through the head of the adriatic and go
through topographical feature known as the ljubljana gap, kind of a backdoor to vienna. eisenhower said i'm not going to go through any gap they can't pronounce. so churchill never acknowledged that this was not the proper course. do i regret leaving things out and how do i decide what to leave out? welcome in deciding what the fattest part of the narrative of art, so much is deciding which of the van. on a subject as enormous as world war ii, many, many volumes have been written about it and will be written about it. trying to find the sweet spot of the narrative account of an individual episode, trying to find the emotional sweet spot, trying to find the sweet spot of individual earners is all part of what writers try to do. you know, sure there are things i wish there's room even in a very big book to have been able to prevent, but nothing i lose
sleep about. >> host: here is the last volume in "liberation trilogy." "the guns at last light: the war in western europe 1944-1945" and georges collated from norwalk, ohio. george, you're on with rick atkinson. are you with us? >> caller: yes. i'm calling to find out what carl truman was the first soldier -- >> host: georgia, i apologize. i didn't catch what she said. >> caller: i heard carl truman. we are going to move on to a net in hayward, california. and that, after you. >> caller: good afternoon. mr. atkinson, as i just heard recently a short 12 lock and i
started with the first look, an army at dawn. i just want to say how much i appreciate what a great writer you are to succeed we can clearly get the overall picture and then with carrot there and personalities, the drama of the situation. >> guest: thanks very much. i appreciate that. >> host: is that it? no questions? >> guest: on her face but page, michael posts i would like to hear mr. atkinson's take on the broad front versus single sold press debate. does he think that eisenhower spread for a strategy with the most expedient way for a single bolt dressed of the possibility of shortening the war but they did to this comment is eisenhower make a mistake in not trying to take berlin.
ask others a lot there. i'll try to be sustained. that issue is hotly debated at the time. it was hotly debated in the years after the war. eisenhower believed that come may not the german rate in a two-fisted fashion where you had major thrust here mmh interest here is the best way to keep the germans off balance and to keep them moving, that they would have to shift their forces back and forth and that this would cause them to use fuel. this is the achilles' heel of the third right and running at a feel eisenhower knew this. what am i believed putting basically all your forces in one powerful thrust through northern europe into northern germany was a more sensible way to do it. they argued about interminably for months. eisenhower having the privilege of being the supreme commander has the last word in his
strategic, his operational approach is the way in fact were played out. my feeling is that eisenhower was correct. there was enough evidence to suggest it had montgomery single dressed then followed some of the could possibly have blunted that single thrust, that spearhead. it could have attacked it from the flanks. it could have been problematic if you didn't have the other pfister clench with. related to that very briefly berlin, eisenhower decided in march 1945 after four months saying we're going to go to berlin that that is the objective of the allied armies coming from the west. he changed his mind and the reason he changed his mind was because the russians had 2 million soldiers poised outside of berlin. they had been on the order river
in january 1945, only 40 miles from berlin. he knew what was going to be a bloody undertaking to capture berlin as in fact it was and he came to the conclusion that it made more sense to angle his forces further south and to cut in half to prevent the germans from rant porcine the alps and have a what was done as a national redoubt, the guerrilla warfare campaign operating from the alps. my feeling as though it's except for the right decision, that they would not eat the russians there. it would have been pointless. he's wrong about the intelligence was erroneous. germans didn't have the capacity to mount the guerrilla warfare campaign, but in fact eisenhower did the right thing. >> host: was there ever a time
truly, rick atkinson comment that the germans could have won this war? >> guest: i think you can argue that after they've invaded the soviet union in june 1941, that the handwriting is on the wall. there's a lot of blood thingies to be shed before you can say that convincingly and it's certainly true to germans initially are very successful in the soviet union. but he's fighting a two front war against a very powerful adversaries. my feeling is after 1943, the wars last for germany. there's many german generals who recognize that also. hitler is not the kind of guy to acknowledge that he's lost a world war, so it's going to drag on until 1945. >> host: michael in seattle, thanks for holding. you are on with rick atkinson. >> caller: thank you very
much. your books are terrific, mr. atkinson. my father was a manic with a wife and child who volunteered in december 1941. he was a front-line medic. i would like your comments about the medical care that our soldier sees in europe. what was that like? you know, what could be done? what were we not able to do? and you know, where do they take them to after they moved away from the frontline? thank you again for your time. your books are terrific. >> guest: the medics arrive is a very important part of the war. a lot of american veterans are alive today because of maddux and american veterans of world war ii who survived the war and what not to have lives after world war ii because of medics who were very much come as your father was, in the line of fire.
medics are out there crawling around, protect it by an armband with a red cross on it. the medical of search at the united states particularly in the second world war is pretty extraordinary. they discovered a lot of things that help save lives. they were discoveries like penicillin they were absolutely indispensable at preventing carnage from being even worse. there were many men who lived because of penicillin and the ability to convert the discovery by british scientists and industrial strength operation whether it's penicillin available ultimately for discovery of things like the importance of plasma and whole blood and how you would mix them together. these are battlefield lessons learned, learned the hard way frequently that are absolutely indispensable. ask your question of what happened to a soldier when he
was wounded, there is a whole system of aid stations and hospitals depending how badly he was built, dependent on the position of the lines and so on. but essentially the effort was to stabilize them. hasn't changed much these days seven years later. stabilize them. you've got the golden hour if you get the bleeding stopped and keep them from going into shock. you can do other things that prevent the downward spiral that these two death and then you get them back to the first level of care, where there are physicians and can do more emergency help and get them into a bigger hospital. so it was an extraordinary part of the logistical effort of the water and the medics are very much at the point of the spear. >> host: : from sylvester, georgia. you were on booktv. >> caller: i'm looking forward to reading your books, mr. atkinson. i had a quick question.
i read in a previous book by another author that roosevelt and churchill worried that stalin would take the soviet union out of work before concluded in europe and sign a separate peace treaty with germany, like they did during the bolshevik revolution. but that mattered on the western rented the outcome of the war? >> guest: yes, there was anxiety about that and there's one reason why roosevelt was so eager to get the american army into the war in 1942, even if it ain't going to a place that seemed as improbable as north africa. roosevelt knew that if you could keep the soviets bleeding for the allied cause that that was damaged last bleeding that the american soldiers had to do. there's a certain cynicism to it, but his real politics and it was a clear eyed view by president roosevelt that the soviets were the most important component in the alliance generally in defeating the
germans. the soviets did most of the dying. they did most of the killing in the soviets were absolutely indispensable. it's hard to imagine the british and the americans winning the war without soviet participation. so there were great efforts taken to ensure that stalin did not do what he had done previously and that was to make a separate piece of serb hitler, which was the invasion of the soviet union in june of 1941. there is precedence for that kind of soviet decision-making. so roosevelt was always very, very attentive to soviet demands. he had long correspondence with stalin. he recognized on the same mass murder among other things, but he also recognized that as he put it in times of trouble is permissible to cross a page. so i think his handling of the
soviet union, his and churchill's together was a pretty true diplomacy. >> host: 69 total does world war ii. how many of them soviet? >> guest: about 26 million. >> host: next call, jim and sunset louisiana talking with author rick atkinson about his "liberation trilogy" on world war ii. >> caller: mr. atkinson, wonderful, wonderful presentation. i loved it. i was born in paris, france in 1945. my dad was an american g.i. in my mother was french. she told me stories about the german occupation and the liberation as it came in. she was telling me the worst part for her has been put in a position of being ready to come to america. she said something about ships
that was just swimming full of pregnant women from all parts of europe coming over. did you do any research or run across anything in your work searches for this type of thing? she said it was very [cheers and applause] for her. >> guest: the short answer is no, i didn't spend much time looking at the postwar aspects of it, including the travels of war brides from making 50,000 of them in england with a lot of little anglo-americans duet windborne out of unions between american soldiers and british girls. so i don't know much about that. i do know that there was great concern the first of all the british government was concerned. i'm talking about the race now, not the french were concerned
that there were so many british women who are impregnated by american soldiers that there was a sort of quasi-treaty signed and english laws, were invoked and it was a support skill set up and the soldier had to agree to pay a think it was a pound a month and took little anglo-americans was 14 years old. but the french, there is an interesting issue, particularly in urban v. come with american soldiers behaving badly about frenchwomen and the french were so concerned. this includes general de gaulle and genera show in some way to fight in italy and was essentially chief of staff of the french military, that they wrote several very tart letters to president eisenhower, telling him that frenchwomen could not one of their in normandy at
night without being accompanied by french men because they are being accosted by american soldiers in some cases by american soldiers. eisenhower took it seriously. he hanged several perpetrators and crack down hard on it because he recognized among other things that this is bad behavior in this undercuts everything you've been trying to do in terms of trying to present yourself as liberators. so i know more about that aspect of the relationship with the french women in particular than i do about the postwar aspects of it. i read about it actually. >> host: just a few minutes left. on indianapolis. go ahead with your questions and comments. call code just picked up your book. i'm looking forward to it. most of my readers in the last 40 years has been on. the marlboro to the point about which of course would include the american revolution that you're just not getting into. most of your reporting -- your
writing has been in the modern era of warfare, where you are not going to go back injury. for the experience of the panel is totally different. you can expect disney casualties in one day as he would for example the french army must mourn one day than the american army lost in the entire campaign. do you think you have to do some adjustment interview it yanked the battle? >> guest: is a good question and i can't answer it yet, but i'm thinking about it i'm thinking about precisely that. i do think there is some adjustment necessary, but i also think war is or the mothers and george washington's army in 1776 the weather isn't sent dwight eisenhower's army in 1944 or whether he's an army in afghanistan. today there are certain salient in certain eternal verities of soldiering life.
certainly haven't just seen to my research for the american revolution. i'm adjusting to all different sorts of things. artillery doesn't play a very large role unlike 20th century war. their small battles for the most part. although ultimately with 25,000 americans killed in action in the american revolution, second only to the civil war in terms of the number of americans killed in action proportionate to our population of about 3 million in the american revolution. so that's a good question and i'm thinking about it. i appreciate it. >> host: boy in portland oregon, good afternoon. >> caller: yes, there's been a lot written on an enigma and magic. the only thing i found was the paragraph that says neither the
germans by the japanese were able to make meaningful headway towards solutions of the sigma machine. can you tell me anything about the machine? i never heard about it before. >> guest: i can't tell you much about it because i'm not a signals historian. you know, the germans kept changing their code. they practiced reasonably good operational security. they were aware that code breaking had come a long ways. they were not aware it had come as far as it had with the abilities of the british in particular and the amazing effort going on a blog flu park, north of london to crack the german codes, to intercept radio transmissions, to take those codes using the enigma machines that coded and ultimately for the british, decoded those
messages. and to keep all of that secret. that secret of all chair, as it was called kummer remained secret until 1974. it is considered the deepest secret of the world -- of the war. so consequently, the germans had no idea that their mail was being read essentially. it was a great advantage is you can imagine for the western allies. you know, when it came out in 1974, historians said gosh, we have to rewrite the history of the war. this is such a big deal. it turns out now, you find very few and is for it had either a tactical impact on the war. it allowed the americans and british to have a larger strategic sense what was happening about the germans. they didn't do this after the attack of the bulge in
december 1944 because they did not transmit those orders and that communication via radio. so it's a very interesting part of the war. >> host: danny and rainbow, texas. we have one minute left. >> caller: yes, i was interested he said the northern part of the italian campaign is more or less useless and that's pretty much my father's contribution as many of us said. >> guest: i didn't say useless. i didn't say that, dna. >> caller: well come he said it was a very small value anyway. >> guest: i didn't say that either. it was a cul-de-sac of sort. you know, the intent in continuing the campaign in italy is to tie up as many german divisions as possible in italy said they could not oppose the forces landing in italy. there were 24 divisions in italy, otherwise a good possibility that many of those if not all those would've been
in normandy on june 6, 1944. so i would never say that it was useless. i would say that was heartbreaking. there's no doubt about that. >> host: rick atkinson, you begin army had done before the war. how big was the u.s. army in the 1940? >> guest: the u.s. army had about 190,000 in 1938, 39. it was a puny little thing, poorly outfitted. by 1945, how big is the army? the army of honesty .3 million. there were 16 million in uniform in a country of 130 million. you can see at 344 fold increase in the size of our army in five years. >> host: rick atkinson is the author of "liberation trilogy." liberation trilogy.com. here's the latest that just came out in may. "the guns at last light: the war in western europe
this event was part of the 2013 national book festival in washington, d.c. for more information, visit loc.gov/bookfest. the importance of confidence in being a united states senator, but being a woman in the house how important it is to foster that in leaders or business owners. >> absolutely. and to be involved and, you know, step up front, quite frankly. and i say to graduating classes. i could never imagine i would have been run forking the united states senate when i was in your position either. but we have opened the possibility of doing that. because it is critical to have those examples in a governing institutions and all places in our society that are important to have women's voices and
reflect it, you know, of women in our population. the second part of it is they bring a different experience. it's important to have that voice at the table. and so i encourage them to think about it as a possibility in the future. and, you know, the choices present itself and even for me, as much as i was passionate about politics. the thought of running for public office. i was going come to washington. so you to go against the grain. whatever you do in life. it is what it is. and that's what i always did. i against the grain and felt strongly about the things i believed in. and so that voice is important to fight for it. it may change in policy. there was a direct correlation, you know, i love the fact that, you know, even today the women's health initiative we spawn by the nih with excluding women in clinical study trials. top this day, the women's
clinical study trial ever for women is still revealing results and life-saving discoveries for women. that's important, because in effect to having women participate in the political process in what evolves from it. i think about title ix, for example, i mean, in fact i was talking about it the other day in brazil, as a matter of fact, and she was beneficiary. i loved fact you have young women who are active. there's no second about it. they're active in sports because the law in nature where they were treat to the sports for women were treated equally. >> but it's fascinating how -- rights and responsibilities came all during your -- many of them during the four
decade of service you were there at a formative period that, you know, people women younger than you may take for granted. you were a witness to the changes. it's worth -- women especially should read about the fight yous to wage on behalf of women. i love an ante-dote -- of maine who gave a speech the declaration of conscious. directed mccarthyism but not naming senator joe mccarthy. in june of 1950 and you pulled a financier and -- the man had made the declaration of conscious he would have been the next president of the united. and you mentioned in the book when you talk about hillary clinton who is an old friend, you said an extraordinary role model. you have known her for years.
your husbands serve as governors. did they sit next to each other? >> in the order the states came to the union. that's how they sit. >> right. and the order that the -- right. it was so cairn -- you are old friends and colleagues and that the united states is ready for a woman president. i have to ask you she's obviously the great hope of the democratic party. the great hope of many women. whether or not you want her to run. whether or not you would support her. any feelings you have? you say you have enduring respect for her service as secretary of state. she, you know, barring whatever is, you know, wrapping her up in any current benghazi excitement on capitol hill. when you look at the future and think this country is ready, would you, as a republican, city out if she ran? [laughter] well.