tv Second Act CSPAN November 9, 2013 12:00pm-12:46pm EST
never get shown, and i was determined -- stanley had trusted me enough with his work, and i felt that i should share it. and i really felt strongly i should not profit from it. so that's why the "capturing camelot" book will go to the d.c. public libraries. i've already paid royalties to them, and please buy "let freedom ring" so i can pay royalties to the children's defense fund. so those photographs i haven't donated, i've kept, and they're online for people at -- can i give the web site? >> host: absolutely. >> guest: , >> guest: , www.stanleytretick.com. >> host: and if people want to contact you after this interview? >> guest: they'd better call you.
[laughter] oh, i'd love to hear there them. >> host: do you have a web site? >> guest: oh, i do, thank you. [laughter] say good night, gracie. it's kittykelleywriter.com. it's kelley, fancy irish, writer.com. >> host: kitty kelley has been our guest for the last three hours. jackie o was her first book in 1978 followed by her least favorite, elizabeth taylor: the last star, '81. his way: the unauthorized biography of frank sinatra, 1987. nancy reagan: the unauthorized biography, 1992. the royals, '97. oprah: a biography, 2010. and her most recent picture books, "capturing camelot," and "let freedom ring: stanley
>> italies hopes to have my remarks. thank you very much for than a kind introduction to be here at politics & prose it is in a central part of the community and cannot imagine washington without independent bookstores and especially this one. i have been very fortunate to fall to an idea that has not been written about extensively the question how fdr how he decided to run for urd the unprecedented third term. viavoice been fascinated with fdr when i got involved with minnesota politics he was the president's. with walter mondale was heavily influenced i go to
union halls there were posters of ft are. he was ubiquitous. i have always been fascinated by presidential history in their decision making. and this is what this book is all about. i did not understand him and telling started to research this book and i found out he was a very complicated man and nobody saw that more clearly the and frances perkins with the most under recognize people live first female cabinet member in the united states had known fdr 30 years here is what she had to say.
were franklin roosevelt was not a simple man we think that marks a great and noble was not his. but out of this complicated nature that brodeur achievement but to have the imagination into the most varied human experience is. with the economic and strategic circumstances thrust upon him thousands of books have been written about fdr. why do we need another one? almost everything that has been written is either the new deal years or the war years virtually nothing written about the connective tissue between those achievements.
trying now to get into his head was not easy to do to understand the decision making process. of course, he wrote no memoir because he did not survive his presidency and was not always candid with associates so it is no easy task to get into his head. fdr once a huge reelection in 1936 but as soon as it was over the end he had a court packing plant that was smacked down he took his foot off the accelerator more people joined the unemployment rolls in they were in the roosevelt recession.
it in the 1938 election those that would not support his program the failed miserably said he was low probably the lowest point in with his political standing during his entire presidency. he planned to retire at the end of the second term as most do no question. at hyde park that would be the retirement headquarters he built a retreat and was shipping boxes of files and artifacts he signed a lucrative contract to write a regular articles he was set on rebuilding the financial base. there were some third term robles is speculation that
nobody paid very attention to it seriously. september 1st 1939 hitler invaded poland with the rest of czechoslovakia and this was too much for the policy of appeasement as far as the british and the french were concerned they said if hitler invaded poland they would come to the defense so they managed to declare war on germany hit came to be known as the phony war. there was a standoff for about eight or nine months without fighting. fdr with war looming on the
horizon he was convinced war would come to the united states. he struggled to find a way they needed the arms and only the united states had the industrial capacity but in the way of the neutrality act ft are sought to change that but it was not easy. the company was very heavily isolationist but not engage in the world as it is now. people saw a world war i people thought it was a fool's errand to be engaged
but speaking there was no business over there there was no good to be had. despite this heavily isolationist strain and sometimes he was caught when it became public but he shaped the policy all by himself and this is where it gets interesting. there is no national security council, no white house staff by some cabinet departments or the state department for which he had little regard. he did this in his head. nothing resembling the cia
that would not come for years so that gathering to return harvard classmates it was very bad hockey and very anecdotal but there was growing pressure whether he intended to run for a third term. no president had never successfully run. only to try to use e president greeted and his hero, fdr's hero, a teddy roosevelt and neither succeeded. that he would not say if the press ask a question put on the dunce cap and go steve in the quarter.
with the gridiron dinner the press relentlessly went after him with an 8-foot tall papier-mache nobody laughed harder than ft i doubt it is part of the museum matt hyde park. there are two major story lines with the war in europe and will he run? these are intertwined and remained so for most of the story. the real war begins may 1940 when hitler invades the fellow countries and france falls quickly britain is taking by a thread every reason to believe hitler will invade the british isles he issues in order to that effect.
it is everybody's assumption that britain could go down but he does everything he can to bolster the united kingdom at that point. let's talk about fdr decision making process. many assume he was always running but that's not true. i don't believe it is true. there is no evidence to suggest this was inevitable about this decision. he made the decision entirely alone from september until right before the convention there is no evidence he talked to another human being about this issue. no one.
so to make a major decisions he was a very solitary person. he grew up as an only child in upstate new york with few friends and became very self-reliant that was one of his defining characteristics throughout his life and presidency. and again he made this decision alone without ever having spoke and he always waited until the last minute he reasoned dialogue and more information if i wait and having the opportunity so he never made a decision unless he had to. what did i learn?
he was famously social and love to have people around him all the time even if it was a tense situation or especially if it was he loved the vitality of people around him all the time of yet he was a loner his wife said he had no confidants not even me if i was hard-pressed to explain any one with whom he confided with major issues but pulitzer prize-winning playwright became a speech writer during this period he wrote a classic biography and it is a great biography complemented with another biography by another if you
are really fascinated. but what sure was said about roosevelt was he has a thickly forested interior. think about the. he did not want anyone to penetrate that force. there is also a duality he was a bold and perc perceptive very principled goals a and yet he could be cautious and ambitious sometimes there again are manipulative or duplicitous. this is one of the contradictions of four days
before the convention on july 15, 1940, fdr was swearing in the new secretary of the navy. felix frankfurter had come down to preside and officiate and he asked frankfurter to return that evening to discuss a very important matter. they spent two hours in the oval study upstairs not to be confused with the oval office it was adjacent to the bedroom where he spent most of his time. it was the first time roosevelt had ever talked with anybody about the question of running again. there was no record that at the end roosevelt asked
frankfurter to please write a memo and bring it to him immediately. he said the also led to to request a memo that the librarian of congress that was appointed but picture this. here is the president of the united states. he is seeking advice for s. supreme court justice who is not a politician and this is true the fdr's way but these two men of us off for the surest and clearest window
on this question and it might seek there so important and it's a tired the. he decided to run because of the war. he knew the country was ready to head to bolster great britain in the meantime and he thought only he could do that. he looked around for another democrat who would support the foreign and domestic policy and who could with the election that was not a small order. he could not find anybody so he decided he had to run and the war was the deciding factor. it set the stage for a dramatic convention you have
to read the book to find out but a lot happened so that plant, most of it not plant. this story contains a fascinating set of characters. i talk about francis perkins. she digit years at the at the convention with eleanor roosevelt that saved him from himself. he was full of arrogance and on the verge of making a huge mistake and they came together to prevent it. this was a time when women were not at the table politically but they pulled off and it was remarkable and i so admire what they did. they paved the way for women
to play a role in the political affairs. charles lindbergh plays a prominent role because he was the leader of the isolationist movement in the united states. they only met once and danced around each other they did not like each other. roosevelt told a colleague he thought linda bird was a nazi. he wasn't but he was very cozy with them when he was over in germany. but their real surprise of the book who in my view is almost as much of a hero as roosevelt wilke was an executive who was up until the republican convention a to rickrack he was a new
dealer and almost reduplicate roosevelt. because his opposition do we and taft worthy old republicans the old style and he presented a huge contrast and people wanted someone who thought differently and he came from nowhere to win the nomination. there was great resentment at that convention that only recently he was a democrat and this is exemplified by a random decanter he had at a former senator and indiana blue said you are not my kind of republican.
and wilke said it is true i was a democrat but now i am a republican. the senator said back in indiana we invite the town hall or aid to cheers from we do not let her read the prayer the first evening. [laughter] there was nervous laughter but a serious point being made but where whore really soared but the lesson was very tight to the mandate of the election put this was completed to get president extraordinary powers to send aid to countries all over the world. and it made the arsenal a
huge effort republican leaders that wilke said it is a matter of principle they had a wonderful dinner the night before roosevelt gave him a he went to london and testified on the hill and did roosevelts view he made the difference and he never forgot it. and he incurred the enormous political risk to 88 the base of the republican party and even though he died before the convention are before the election and he probably ruined his chances of ever holding that nomination because of what he did the act of great statesmanship that you would like to see more of today. winston churchill.
churchill and roosevelt had only met once and that at a dinner in london and in 1980 the churchill never remember the counter and roosevelt never forgot the calpe never remembered. [laughter] churchill was courting roosevelt because he needed the help of the united states to survive in roosevelt was trying to a given. what he needed was destroyers to replace those sold by the boat's it is so long complicated story but they said aid to britain without seeking the approval of congress. it was unusual but he did it. third term presidents learn
how to do things about congress and he paved the way. [laughter] but they had to be treated and returned for something to satisfy u.s. law for access to british base is in the western hemisphere. he was worried that he would but the better of the bargain and he did not want that impression to reach london said roosevelt arranged a trans-atlantic conference call so jackson tries to describe to churchill u.s. law and why this had to be a trade or a bargain. and churchill said empire's
just don't bargain but they replied republics to. [laughter] roosevelt trying to calm the waters said the trouble is i have an attorney general if he says i have to bargain. city says review should trade them for a new attorney general. [laughter] but they got it worked out and got the destroyer's over there. he visited army bases it was the rose garden strategy but
wilke smote him out and ultimately made it the issue the polls began to close and fdr had to come out to campaign arduously for the last two weeks of the campaign and gave five dramatic speeches all on the eastern seaboard. on election night roosevelt thought he would lose the polls had tightened dramatically he was receiving their returns in the dining room of the big house outside park it he saw something in the early returns are really troubled him. he turned to a secret service agent. close the door. i don't want to see anybody. even you're physically? >> anybody. that agent said he had never
see the president lose his serve but he was sweating and he thought he would lose. we know that moment passed and he was reelected. and what consequences that had. most immediately it put in place a man of extraordinary talent and experience to lead the country through world war ii. it began the eclipse of isolationist because the united states for better or worse would be engaged and still is. so with that arrangement arrangement, for the national security state command to change the way we think. never again with a
presidential candidate succeed without passing the threshold test to understand for a policy to protect the interest of the american people interest abroad. therefore i think this is one of the most consequential elections of american history write-up there with 1864 when the kid ran for reelection during the civil war. we will never fully understand what was it his mind when he was thinking about but this is my own effort to try to penetrate that interior that sure would talk about. thank you. [applause] we have a question.
>> how did he keeps killed wolves from the door prior to the democratic convention in? for all those that were interested in running? mac to members for already running one of them was vice president carter they had a falling out the beginning of a second term there was no love lost their but farley was a little different the chairman of the democratic party he had managed set earlier campaigns and he thought it was his turn. it was not. he was not qualified to be president. he had no foreign policy experience there is no way fdr would allow that.
he had to know the consequences he basically throws the field for those that did the no fly he would do with they thought there was a good chance. >> what position did did wilke take on the war during the campaign itself? we back in the early stages he took exactly the same position as fdr. all aid to britain in his second speech following the republican and convention and he made a dramatic statement embracing the roosevelt's policy all aid short of war but he came under heavy pressure by the
hard-core republicans and he was convinced he did not make war the issue can begin to make it the issue. at 1.tuesday reelect roosevelt and that there on the transports said people were scared to death he called roosevelt a warmonger. at the same time he supported the first peacetime draft in the united states and that it would not have passed without wilke support. he became politically flexible during the campaign but he reverted after the election.
>> did your close worked to parts of the same question was your biggest surprise? how did your of him change to the most? >> craig if not a superficial understanding at least a simpler one. and he was the complicated man was the first part? the biggest surprise? us how much of bloater that he was. a straw and personality that
he was such a social animal he was not a loner he was very batchelder. that not to be over he was a very solitary man that thickly forested interior was not penetrated by anybody. >> it was amazing to learn he had almost no staff. so how could he from sinn as a president without a staff at that time? you talk to paul, the key of the stake at the convention. i racing to the bait. [laughter] >> he did not have any staff he figured this out in his
head he would listen and gather information inbound he processed this and at the end of the day he would come out with the decision. after the election he went for a cruise of the uss tuscaloosa he loved to vacation on the armed cruisers. thank god a letter from churchill to say the desperate and out of money. we can no longer pay cash. our reserves are gone. roosevelt thought about this for today's seal the other staff person on the ship was harry hopkins he did not talk to hopkins' even on
these days then he came out with least remember the fire hoses analogy? if the hoses on fire borrow your neighbors. he doesn't want to be paid he just wants it back. taft did not always come up with those responses but it is like to we got eugenol wanted back. [laughter] but in terms of roosevelt he decided he wanted henry wallace to be vice president and he had prepared to refuse the democratic nomination of wallace did not get it there is a huge civilian. wallace was also recently a
republican. so there was a revolt under way so perkins digit years eleanor roosevelt's trip to chicago to make a call me speech at the convention that made the difference. >> talk about hitler's invasion with poland on the and the side of the world japan does it and a shed does not seem to come up much did impact anything? >> it did not because he was firmly focused with what was happening you are right to there were some things set on track and it takes off more directly where this election stops so i decided to focus on how and why did
he decide to run for a third term? and hitler figure japan did not. >> with the fdr solid relationship with the u.s. support of propaganda with the depiction of ogle joe but did you learn anything in the research what he thought truthfully? >> i never encountered stolid in this research. he does not have a presence of the book. but basically he had divided poland then hitler invaded the soviet union but russia does not play a role.
you are a knowledgeable audience. [laughter] >> this is a theoretical and asking all said and this same question what would have happened given the isolationism in this country had hitler not declared war on the united states after pearl harbor? >> of course, we do not go up to pearl harbor but it is a fascinating question and especially because during 1940 and 8041 hitler did not want to antagonize the united states. and roosevelt did not think the country was ready.
unsurprising. he did not have the support from progressive republicans. there were a lot the roosevelt did not have a better friend in the senate. so on that with military prepared this for reasons i don't fully understand but they did not. >> did you discuss the relationship with kennedy? >> he plays a big role. roosevelt made the mistake to name his ambassador to the united kingdom because he was a defeatist and always searching the prime
minister of great britain first chamberlain then churchill to make an accommodation with hitler. he was very much into appeasement and was an advocate. that was a term not understood as if it is it today. and it ran its course with hitler but roosevelt made a mistake to put him over there but he could not rely on him sandy cap to go around him so that offended kennedy to the extent during the campaign kennedy had agreed at the agreement of clare boothe luce to come and endorse wilke. , but felix frankfurter worried about the catholic''
the jewish just as worried about the catholic croats to takes up a couple others who came down but then told the joe kennedy could make that difference because both the irish and italians had been alienated by the fdr war policy. and then to get wind he would endorse willkie so he concocted an elaborate scheme come down to the warehouse i cannot wait to hear paul you have to say but fdr was in the oval office having lunch with the young congressman the white
house said we have ambassador kennedy on the line and he said joe it is good to hear your voice. we have so much to talk about and how loved the phone and turned a and made a face. [laughter] with did johnson made a note of that. kennedy was a big supporter in earlier campaigns. >> could you elaborate on the war preparations that maybe a few months ago that at the time did not have to take factory but dismantled