tv In Depth Lynne Olson CSPAN October 7, 2017 9:01am-12:00pm EDT
poland i was prepared but it wasn't, the mightiest military behemoth world history up to that point and poland had a sizable army, very small navy, it didn't have the financial wherewithal that germany did and did think -- the germans rolled over them. >> the date was a surprise but was the rest of europe preparing for war? >> they suspected war was coming. most european countries hoped it wouldn't happen. half were neutral, declared their neutrality. some had prepared for war to a certain extent but none of them
were really ready for what was about to happen. they hope to somehow something would happen to prevent germany from embarking on what hitler had been preparing for for a number of years, keeping their fingers crossed but obviously that didn't work. >> host: why weren't they prepared if they were aware of hitler? >> guest: remember 1939, only 20 years aftxx years after thed war i, the greatest bloodbath in history to that point. many of those countries lost hundreds of thousands if not millions of people, including the biggest western allies, france and the uk, england so
they were not prepared in any way, they didn't want war, going through another cataclysm like that. there was a sense of appeasement from the time world war i ended until world war ii broke out. all those countries desperately wanted to keep war at bay and were ready to do whatever to make sure it didn't happen again. >> host: have the countries in europe being neutral, what were they? >> guest: the netherlands, belgium was neutral, norway, luxembourg, france and britain wanted to be neutral but they were pushed into an alliance, started preparing for war in
37-38 but not really, if you're going to prepare for war against hitler in germany, you wanted to mobilize. they didn't want war, in england, they made clear they would rather appease hitler then prepare to fight him. you can't do that, winston churchill being the foremost opponent of appeasement. he knew hitler was a tremendous threat not only to europe but the world and kept saying we have to get ready but the government just ignored him, he was in parliament but was a backbencher and no one paid much attention to him, same with france. france lost 1.6 million of its young men, a huge percentage of its young men in world war i.
's they had been invaded by germany, england was not invaded and they suffered terribly, lost much of their industry, they were a country that didn't bounce back very well so they were desperate to avoid war. there was that spirit throughout europe, we are going to pretend it is not going to happen again. >> host: in your book a question of honor you wrote more people died in warsaw alone during the war than did americans and european and pacific combat. >> guest: that is correct, poland was hit terribly hard in world war ii. the first western country in europe to be invaded by
germany. it lost 6 million people, 3 million jews, the highest loss per capita. the soviet union had 20 million people killed but they have a huge population. the polls lost 20% of the population in world war ii. >> host: in your book troublesome young men, may 1940, what was going on? >> guest: probably the most important month, in some ways, of the war. ways of the whole war, for europe, for the u.s., for everybody. may 1940 was the kind of the, cull minutetation of -- you know, it had -- germany invaded april 1, 9402, the
surprise and dismay of the brits. they had not been prepared, they did not know this was about to happen. it was a huge defeat for neville chamberlain and so may 1948 was this amazing debate within the government, particularly parliament about do we continue to appease or do we finally stand up? that debate in parliament lasted two days. at the end of that debate basically was a vote, neville chamberlain won it very narrowly but he knew his days as prime minister were done. he did not have the support of many members of his party in parliament. it was an incredibly dramatic
debate. winston churchill was part of it but not leading the charge, he was in chamberlain's government at that point and defending chamberlain in front of his fellow parliamentarians. troublesome young men is the name i gave to this group of members of parliament who were anti-appeasement, who basically had to bring churchill to power. this debate was extraordinarily dramatic and exciting. churchill arguing for chamberlain saying we have to get chamberlain out, this, we have to do something. chamberlain was forced out and winston churchill on may 10, 1940, the very day hitler launched his blitzkrieg of western europe. for drama i don't can beat that
day. once churchill took power he rallied the british to fight but meanwhile hitler was making mincemeat of all the countries he was going through. belgium, holland, luxembourg into france, like he toppled them. once they got to france everybody thought he was supposed to have the best army in all of europe and they were mowed down by several weeks and by june it was clear france was about to fall. who do we have? one small country standing alone against this mighty german behemoth. that was london and britain. it was an incredible month.
>> host: when did british troops enter mainland europe? >> guest: they came in before the blitzkrieg started, once the war with england and france, against germany, september 3, 1939, the british did send two divisions into france in preparation for an eventual offenses by germany. that period from september 1939 to may 1940 became known as the phony war. there was no fighting at all. france and britain declared war against poland because germany invaded poland, the allies -- made these speeches but nothing
happened. nothing did happen until april 1940 when hitler invaded norway and denmark. it really took off with blitzkrieg in may 1940 and by the end that blitzkrieg only the countries -- a couple of neutral countries in europe, the rest of the countries were under german occupation. >> host: when did dunkirk take place? >> the end of may and first part of june, as the german troops were coming in, basically they cut off british and belgian and french troops that were in belgium and crossed into france and no one was expecting them to do that.
they were given for free reign at that point and those troops that were in belgium and france, british troops, british authorities realized they would be basically cut off, imprisoned and killed. pretty early on, churchill and british military started making plans for the evacuation of british troops from dunkirk. we are only talking about less than 20 days from the time of may 10th when germany marched in to western europe until when it started. a very brief time, and churchill did not tell the press this was going to happen. they made plans for the ships to come over to evacuate british troops but the french
were not notified until evacuations had actually begun and they made no provision in the beginning to take off french troops or british troops so the partnership between britain had been unraveled tremendously, basically totally gone by the time the french realized their allies were leaving them and going home. >> host: is it common to think the germans had they pushed on the dunkirk invasion could have changed the course of the war? >> there are a lot of could haves and that could have happened. stopped his tanks from advancing on dunkirk for some reason. it is not clear why, but he did. i -- a lot of historians believe if the germans had been more aggressive, they could
have cut off the evacuation, more than 200,000 troops, somewhere around there, were evacuated, most of them british. it would not have been saved, would have called down if germany managed to cut it off. >> host: most of your books are about world war ii in europe but that is not your background. >> no. it is by happenstance, serendipity. i'm a journalist by training. i spent 12 years as a journalist. i have always been interested in history. i have been an anglophile all my knife but never really thought that much of my life would be devoted to writing books, history of how england in world war ii happened because i left journalism, got tired of deadlines and wanted
to do more extensive work. i like doing research so i wanted to do more. my husband is a former journalist with time magazine and we were looking around together and decided -- edward r murrow, the great journalist, a couple of biographies about him, very good biographies, we decided to do a book about cbs news before world war ii and much of the research, some of the research is about where he made his name in 1940 reporting the battle of britain to cbs listeners in the united states. we did a lot of research and i fell in love with the place,
the period, everything about it. is often true one book led to another and that got me going but i had no thought that that would happen but it did happen. >> host: a blog entry from last year, i rely heavily on the human angle. >> i do. i part of that comes from my training as a journalist to focus on people, write about people. i remember as a child, history classes were so boring. i remember memorizing dates, events, that was what we were tested on and it was so dry and i didn't enjoy it, didn't like it. once i got in, my husband, time is very big or was very big on
writing about people as newsmakers, on human interest stuff. my training as a journalist, i was focused on that too. it is so much more interesting to write about people because people make history. history is made by people. i want to be able to bring whatever i write about, periods, alive through the people making that history and talking about them and why did they decide to do this, why did neville chamberlain decide to be an appeaser. people like reading about people. the human angle is incredibly important to me. when i decide on a book topic it has to have interesting
characters, at least interesting to me. >> host: who were the murrow boys? >> guest: a group of extraordinary journalists that murrow started to hire when he went to london in 1937 for cbs. radio journalism had not been invented, not in the way we could broadcast journalism now. it was basically commentators who were pontificating. cbs for example, i their idea of journalism back then was to record a nightingale singing not in berkeley square but somewhere else, they would do that kind of thing, nature programs or choirs or that kind
of thing, not journalism the way we know it. murrow was sent to london in 1937, he was supposed to arrange talks but he didn't want to do that. he wanted to be a journalist, he had no training as a journalist up to that point but he wanted to be a journalist and wanted to hire other journalists who could report the news from europe. europe was on fire. it was clear that hitler was a threat, mussolini was a threat. he went around hiring the best journalists he could find, the first was william scheier, a correspondent in germany at the time. before he did that he was hired as a cbs correspondent in berlin and had a terrible place. if you are william scheier, he
is balding, terrible voice but spectacular reporter. that is what he was looking for, not guys with really great voices, didn't matter what they look like. he wanted really good journalists, a young reporter starting in paris. howard k smith, resonates with people who watch television became incredible correspondence. to support the looming war, what is going on. >> what was their impact? >> tremendous impact on the
war, murrow -- probably the most prominent correspondent, an amazing impact, we needed to get into the war until december 1941. the last country in germany. murrow was on the air over and over again, we have to get into the war. didn't say it in so many words but it was clear from the tenor of his broadcasts we have to get into the war, we cannot let britain go down. and it had an enormous impact
on public opinion. a lot of people gave him a great deal of credit for the change in public mood in the us from isolationism to not interventionism but at least thinking we had to -- it continued throughout the war. pbs was by far the best in terms of broadcast journalism, in terms of war reporting. they had an amazing influence on what was going on. >> host: was the us prepared? >> guest: no. the us was as badly prepared, not as prepared as many european countries. the american army ranked 17th in the world next to portugal,
the army was pitiful, very few, they had no equipment, it is really nonexistent. we were in bad shape in terms -- began to clear up by the time we got into the war but the big mobilization came after pearl harbor. >> host: in one of your books, "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941," you write about america first but this is a blog you putting in 2013. gerald ford, kurt vonnegut, potter stewart, gore vidal, sargent shriver, in late 20th
century america, in the late 30s, passionately opposed the idea of american involvement in world war ii. >> i did not know about that when i started research for "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941". "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941" was the story of how america moved from a strong feeling of isolationism in 1939-40 and started gradually think maybe this is our war and it is about the fight in this country, what we would do, whether we would help britain and whether we would enter the war, a really brutal fight. as i said, one of the things that surprised me on the side of the isolationists, a lot of
college students who basically said this is not our war. look what happened in world war i, supposed to make the world safe for democracy and we got hitler. obviously they were going to be the ones on the front lines. why should we fight? it is not our war, not our fight. offers men from john f. kennedy, sargent shriver, they were college students and were part of this group call america first, the preeminent isolationist organization. many of those people were the founders of america first. yale college students founded this organization. all of them left. by the time the war happened
they had enlisted. urge virtually everyone you mentioned was fighting for the us, had an incredible war record. a number left america first before, realized it was going to be our fight and they bailed out. >> host: play a little clip, this is charles lindbergh. >> i come before you at this time to enter a plea for american independence. there is no division among us about the defense of our own country. we have always been ready to fight against the interference of foreign powers in our affairs. if need be we are ready to die for the independence of america as our forefathers have died before us when necessity arose. on a clearly american issue we stand a united nations.
it is only when we are asked to take part in the quarrels of foreign countries that we divide. >> host: that was in 1940. did he change his mind? >> guest: he never changed his mind. he always thought we should stay out of the war until december 1941. when japan bombed pearl harbor he instantly, now the war was upon us, he backed roosevelt who he fiercely opposed up to that point, backed roosevelt in his declaration of war and said we are in the war and he supported it with every. >> host: up until december 1941, was he in the majority? >> guest: that is an interesting question. in the beginning he was in the majority.
in 1939 he was thmcmxxxix he w majority. americans as a whole look back at world war i and felt the same as those college students. world war ii is not our war, we had thought it, many americans that the british had tricked us into it through an incredible propaganda campaign, so they were determined that wasn't going to happen again. the mood in the country from 1939 through i would say fall of 1940 was heavily isolationist. that did begin to change with a number of factors. one of them was the bombing, the blitz in london, the constant bombing, the battle of britain and the fact the brits survived, not only survived but they said we are not going to
give up. many if not most see these incredible scenes of london on fire, british people trudging through the wreckage to their jobs. the courage of the british people was extraordinary, not to mention the courage of their prime minister who had become a household name in this country for his defiance of hitler. thanks to murrow and others, the knowledge, the reporting onset began to change people's minds and there was a big campaign, not only america first fighting for a salesian is him but groups in the united states that were advocating interventionism. they started having an impact on the country. back and forth was going on but finally, by 1941, by the time
of pearl harbor most americans did not want to go to war, nobody wants to go to war but most americans we have seen in the polls were ready to go to war if it meant that was the only way germany would be defeated. they were resigned that we were going to go to war so there was a huge shift in public opinion but it took place over two years. >> host: between september 1, 1939, december 7, 1941, what was the communication link between fdr and churchill? >> before first became prime minister they started writing letters to each other, roosevelt was obviously
president and. once churchill became prime minister, there was regular exchange of cables, sometimes phone calls between the two. what it consisted of was churchill beating roosevelt and the us to get into the war and roosevelt saying we will do everything we can, i will do everything i can. roosevelt was very wary of the isolationist mood particularly in congress. congress tended to be isolationist. republicans were heavily isolationist so he was very concerned, a very political guy guy. 1940 was a presidential election year and he was running for a third term which was unheard of. nobody had done that before. he was particularly concerned
about the reaction of him doing what many thought was too much to help britain, running for reelection, he was worried about that too. it was an interestingly 5-year for everybody concerned, certainly in europe it was and in the us because for the allies to win the us had to get into the war. for britain to survive the us had to get into the war. everybody knew that. the question was are we going to get into the war? an extraordinary year in many ways. >> host: good afternoon, you're watching booktv on c-span2, this is our monthly "in depth". we invite up arthur on to talk about his or her body of work. this is journalist, author and historian lynn olson. here is a quick look at her books. the murrow
boys which we talked about a little bit she wrote
with her husband, came out in 1996. freedom's daughter which we have not talked about, the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement came out in 2001. a question of honor came out in 2003. troublesome young men, rebels who brought churchill to power and help save england, citizens of london, "citizens of london: the americans who stood with britain in its darkest, finest hour" came out in 2010. "those angry days: roosevelt, lindbergh, and america's fight over world war ii, 1939-1941" came out in 2013. her most recent book "last hope island: britain, occupied europe, and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war". we are going to be taking your calls
and social media comments, area code 202, if you
live in the east and pacific time zone 748-8200 is the number for you to call. mountain and pacific time zones you can dial in 748-8201. this afternoon, world war ii veterans who would love to hear your voices, 202-748-8202 is the number for you to call. if you would like to make a comment there are several other ways, twitter, instagram, facebook, handle for all of those is@booktv and we will scroll through those as well. you can send an email to email@example.com. we will take calls and comments in a few minutes. from your book troublesome young men you right by 1936 it
was clear hitler's propaganda campaign in britain is bearing considerable fruit. in upper-class circles it was considered not only politically sound but the height of fashion to be pro-nazi. >> very large contingent of pro-german aristocrats. heavily pro-german, very fashionable to go to germany and hobnob with the nazis including hitler. the famous -- very pro-nazi. one of them, unity, went to berlin and became an associate
of hitler and shot herself in the head, basically when britain went to war against germany, survived for a few more years, there was a very strong pro-german sentiment in chattering classes in england. some in the royal family. >> host: what about the us ambassador to britain? where was he on this? >> joseph kennedy was at the end by the british government, churchill and the british people because he was also i wouldn't say pro-german. he was a businessman and he thought that germany was going to go to war against britain
and britain couldn't possibly survive. it was clear britain could not stand up through the might of germany and he was a friend of neville chamberlain who felt the same way, that there was no way britain could survive so therefore had to appease hitler and that is the way joseph kennedy fought too and he continued to see that after britain did go to war. until he went home in october 1940 he was publicly espousing appeasement, saying britain couldn't survive and go down to defeat in the british people went nuts over that. america was not helping in their struggle and the american ambassador espousing
capitulation to the germans. >> of the are's reaction? >> fdr didn't like joe kennedy although he was his appointee, he was the one that sent him to england but a large part -- certainly doesn't agree with what he was saying but fdr's political analog was afraid of joe kennedy politically, afraid of his influence among the american people, wanted him to stay in london, didn't want him to come back to the us before the election in 1940 so he did what he could to keep him there until joe kennedy left. fdr didn't call him back, in october 1940, fdr was going crazy right before the election and went through an convoluted plans to keep him from speaking publicly until he met with dr,
which happened and fdr managed to persuade him not to get into the election debate. he didn't approve of him, not fdr's finest hour. when he was appointed, it was clear to be on the verge of war. >> who was john gilbert wine is? >> joe kennedy's successor, total opposite in every way. kennedy -- a former politician,
governor of new hampshire, an idealist interested in social justice, ally of franklin roosevelt. they had been governors at the same time, when social security act was passed in washington, the first administrator, incredibly important program and took the job, in 1936 against social security from the beginning and made it a campaign issue, quit his job at social security giving up any hope of a political career, and
denounced the republicans for their opposition. a man full of moral courage, became head of international labor organization based in geneva and when roosevelt was looking for a successor to joe kennedy, he told him to go to london, in march 1941 which is probably the worst time in the war for the brits. their merchant shipping was being decimated by german submarines in the atlantic. they were having a terrible time militarily. it looked like it was all over for them. the us was still differing about what it was going to do.
then this guy, this very shy guy who couldn't speak very well arrived in london and the first thing he said is there is no place i would rather be in britain. he really bonded with them, really cared about them, when the bottoms were falling he would go on the streets of london and ask what he could do to help. the newspapers got hold of this and what he did was publicized and he became the symbol to the british that america, maybe there was something good about to happen, he stood up for them and it was really important in so many ways. once we got into the war,
helped create american lives and keep it together after we got into the war. >> host: he bonded with the british people. >> one of the 3 main characters in my book "citizens of london: the americans who stood with britain in its darkest, finest hour". three of them were joe wyatt, the least well-known of these two, edward r murrow is one and april harriman, the us administrator, military aid program congress passed in 1941 to help britain so he was very important as well. i tell the story of these men and what they did for the alliance and all three were members of the churchill
family. they were members of the churchill family. notorious with churchill, daughter-in-law of winston churchill. her husband randolph was churchill's son and was in egypt. they did not keep the affair they were having in wartime london. murrow, harriman in 1943 was the us ambassador to the soviet union, she switched her attention to edward r murrow so they had an affair. winston churchill's middle and favorite daughter, there was this incredible atmosphere, romantic atmosphere in the churchill family during that time but it is not surprising because churchill welcomed
those three americans not only into his professional family but into his real family. he was determined to get american support, to pull roosevelt into the war and tried to get his way with roosevelt so he did his best to get to know these guys and bring them in. obviously it was a lot of time with the churchill family. one thing led to another. >> host: you focus on all three and "citizens of london: the americans who stood with britain in its darkest, finest hour" that did they collaborate in their efforts to get the us more involved? >> all three of them believed intensely, passionately that america had to go to war to help britain and once we got in they worked to get the alliance going. in terms of their personal
relationships with each other, they were very close friends, very much the same way, the two where idealists. they hoped and believed and were working to make sure a better world was coming and would lead to equality and justice and all the good things everybody wanted. april harriman was not a good friend of either of them. she was -- he was a former businessman, a millionaire, businessman who was very much on the make, making his mark in government. couldn't do it in the us of franklin roosevelt didn't give him a job so he decided to do it in england so he basically set out to cultivate churchill and his family and the government and did make his
mark. churchill relied on him to a great extent and as a result of that experience in london and the soviet union he became this uber diplomat after the war. he tried -- to take number one american in london, did not want that. >> 202-748-8200. want to talk to linda olson -- lynn olson. a third line, world war ii romantic era veterans and people living during this time, 202-748-8202. if you are living during that
time, if you were in the war, the minimum, you would be early 90s. do you know how many are still alive? >> guest: rapidly diminishing. >> host: let's take some calls. lynn olson is our guest. in sarasota, the first call. >> caller: thank you for this program. i got so excited when i heard lynn olson was going to be on, one of my favorite authors. i canceled what i was supposed to be doing, do not disturb me unless it is an emergency until 3:00. >> host: what is it about lynn olson's work you admire so much? >> guest: what she said about
history is so true. i had the same experience when taking history courses. i am a before and even though i was a kid at the time i remember world war ii, on roosevelt's field, working on lindbergh's plane, new him and very upset about his attitude towards the war. a lot of information about the war and i cannot thank lynn olson enough. i love the one about polish pilots, i forget the title of that book but i became -- thank you so much. >> host: do you have all the books? talking about a question of honor, about the polish pilots? >> caller: the rest of the books are on my night table. >> host: you have a real fan.
>> guest: can't tell you how much i appreciate that. >> host: which of your books has sold the best? >> guest: "citizens of london: the americans who stood with britain in its darkest, finest hour" by far. >> host: what you think it is? >> guest: i am not sure. i asked a lot of people. i really love it. one of the main reasons, in the world, i never heard of him before. i structured the book so it would not be just him. he was the inspiration for writing the book.
horrendous life, and incredible courage and good humor. i'm a romantic at heart but it is -- historians coming their. not having to deal with this, what they were going but americans in london during the time have 2. the bonding between americans and british. i don't know if you want to talk about this but "citizens of london: the americans who stood with britain in its darkest, finest hour" comes from broadcast areas before he went back home. went in london during the blitz to help recovery london with murrow and back to washington but before he left he made his final broadcast about him, very
personal, how he had come to london in summer of 1940, he was there for the fall of france, then traveled to london. at the end of the broadcast he was comparing paris to london and paris was like a beautiful woman who just gave up life and he came to london and he hated the idea because he thought britain where snobs, looked down on americans and never get along with the brits, then he found he fell in love with brits. at the end of the broadcast, trying to keep himself together. people will write i was a soldier, i was a sailor, i was
a pilot, others will say i was a citizen of london. i tear up because it was so heartfelt. he was a citizen of london as were the other americans there. going back to why it is the most popular of my books, i think it was because it was a time most of us wish we could have lived through. this incredibly difficult time we live in the idea of people working together for the greater good eye is very appealing and people like that. >> host: "in depth" -- lynn olson, when i asked you that question i had a preconceived answer, i thought it would be troublesome young men. every summer booktv travels to capitol hill to ask members of congress what they are reading it over the years we have done
this, we want to show you a little bit of video. >> i'm reading troublesome young men by an author whose name escapes me that explores conservative members of parliament, who lay the foundation for winston churchill's replacement of neville chamberlain. >> this summer i am reading a book about winston churchill's rise to power called troublesome young men about younger members of the conservative party in britain in the late 1930s at were disgusted by the appeasement of the neville chamberlain administration so they wanted to change and orchestrated the election of winston churchill it is widely believed, to hell of elevated the most important leader of world war ii. >> i finished a good book many of us in the freedom caucus -- i read it, we like to, gave it to everyone in the freedom
caucus, called troublesome young men about back ventures in parliament, who knew they had to move chamberlain out of power because he wasn't standing up to hitler and mussolini, bringing churchill to power. fascinating book. we read this at the same time we were involved in changing our leadership so it was an interesting ibook i read. >> troublesome young men by lynn olson had to do with the rise of a small band of conservatives in parliament during the churchill period, kind of motivated, i am a member of the house freedom caucus, we have 40 or 50 great folks trying to solve fiscal problems and represent the people, do what the people want to do. there will be a little
motivation. >> host: vice president of the united states back in the day, senate majority leader, two members of the freedom caucus reading troublesome young men. >> guest: it has appealed, not only american legislators. i have been to canada and britain, mps have said that to me in britain and canada. kind of a rorschach test, people reading troublesome young men. they read it and see themselves, i is what is going on. these are all republicans, democrats have said the same thing to me. winston churchill is a hero to a lot of people including many legislators. so i think they all think that is them or they wish it were them. i don't know.
in terms of members of the house and senate on both sides, they put themselves in the situation. >> host: on february 3rd of this year in the guardian, you wrote among members of the u.s. congress there are no profiles in courage at all. ironically this collective power disk applies to several current congressmen and senators who have told me how much they loved troublesome young men clearly seeing themselves in the mold of those wartime rebels yet not one has been willing to stand up to donald trump, and emotionally disturbed, authoritarian president whoever its criticism of his policies with treason. >> i wrote that and i believe every word. >> host: was winston churchill immune to criticism? >> guest: no.
he didn't like criticism, but he would take it. he would crumble and yell and scream, but depending on who was offering the criticism he certainly accepted it. in the war cabinet, people would argue with about what he wanted to do and he would crumble but come to the same conclusion. his generals constantly said you can't do that. he had wonderful ideas but also a lot of cockamamie ideas but he would crumble. ..t he would, basically agree. so he, he did listen to people. he was always in charge, but he did listen to people. cspan: let's hear from clyde in at kin, minnesota. you're on with author lynne olson. >> caller: thank you very much. good afternoon for taking my call. i have always been very curious
about this particular part of our involvement in the european campaign, and once hitler knew >> caller: once hitler knew that we were going to enter the g war in europe and then especially after we were bombed by the japanese in pearl harbor the collaboration between japan and germany and what research might have led people to discover if there was any idea that if hitler were to come to power and win the war than the world domination would have changed and was there any collaboration or unification or but there has been a large push between germanyaf and japan after that point and then, if i may, i have a very proud statement i would like to make. i am one of the few rare people that have the distinction of having a father, i'm almost 70
years old and was in world war i and i like that question addressed. i'm curious about that. thank you very much. y >> guest: to answer your first question about collaboration between germany and japan. it is interesting because there wasn't -- they were in an alliance the two of them but japan did not tell germany that it was going to bomb pearl harbor. germany had absolutely no idea that was going to happen. it really surprised them. for the next three days there was discussion and debate within the german government about what to do. hitler wanted to declare war immediately against the united states and they particularly didn't want that because they knew that america was a sleeping tiger and basically it was going to be very difficult so we can
continue against the soviet union and britain and not get involved but hitler was furious and had been curious at roosevelt in the united states for a long time. he was the one that declared for three days after japan bombed pearl harbor. we did not declare war immediately against germany. i think a lot of people don't know that or have forgotten that. we declared war and congress declared war against japan on december 8, 1941. we did nothing in terms of germanyy until hitler declared war against us and then we declared a war against germany and italy. so, i think the lack of closeness between germany and japan proved to be a problem because they had not really collaborated on going to war with the us and certainly that
was one of hitler's greatest mistakes. hitler made a lot of mistakes but the two worst biggest, i think, were declaring war against the soviet union and then declaring war against us. >> host: pearl harbor was a complete surprise to the germans? >> guest: absolutely. they had no idea what was going to happen. >> host: nancy is in redondo beach, california. please go ahead with your question for lynne olson. >> caller: thank you peter. you're the brand-new fan, ms. olsen. i haven't known about you but i am blown away and what you just said about germany, i didn't in pearl harbor and that blew me away. i didn't know that. >> guest: it was incredible. >> caller: my question is and i know you mentioned lynne berg and i don't like to use the word sympathizer but there is rumors that he would like a nazi sympathizer and i've never
really known and i'm wondering what your thoughts are on that and i'll take my answer off the air. thank you so much. >> guest: that's a really, really good question. it's ath complex question with a complex answer. lindbergh i have said several times was the strangest person i've ever written about. he was a real technocrat and he didn't understand humans and he didn't like human being around and he was a great socializer. he was much more of a technocrat. he loved flying obviously and he loved technology and his interest in germany was basically through that. heth really admired what the germans were able to do scientifically and in terms of technology, especially in terms ofof light. he thought the loofah was the most powerful air force in the
world and that germany was the most powerful country and it was foolish for france, britain and certainly the united states to get involved in this war that we couldn't when in that germany was bound to win. he was very impressed with the germans were doing in terms of militarily and also how they had brought germany back from in a bad economic state and that hitler had managed to revitalize the country, at least he thought. he knew what was going on with the juice and he thought that was wrong but it didn't really matter that much to him and i think part of it is because of the way he was put together. he was a very strange individual. when you ask if he was a nazi sympathizer -- he certainly was not a nazi, you know, he had
spoken out against some of the things that nazi germany had done but he certainly was a sympathizer in terms of his approval and in terms of technology andno bringing the country back from economic failure. >> host: was there a strain of anti-semitism in there? >> guest: that is also a complex question. he was anti- somatic in many ways, certainly, a speech that he madey in 1941 in october 191 and in des moines and it was basically shattered his image in the country and it was seen as anti- semitic and it was but i always say he wasn't alone and he often is said publicly what othere people were saying privately. one of the surprises for me and doing research for this book was
how strong a vein of anti-semitism was in this country and how overt it was. it wasn't covered up. it was just like jews were barred from many professions and they were barred from either barred from university or were limited to a very small quota and they were not allowed to go into some hotels and they were covenants in many cities saying that they couldn't buy houses in certain areas and there was a very, very strong strain within the american government and within the state department and other departments that were very anti- semitic. yes, he was anti- semitic but so were millions of other americans. >> host: barbara webb asks the a facebook, please ask ms. olsen to comment on and morrow lindbergh and the conflict she experienced around her husband's
america. >> guest: and morrow lindbergh and in many ways is my favorite character and maybe not the right word but certainly the most interestinger character in the book because she was married to charles lindbergh and she found that whole. to be totally upsetting, it's mildly putting it. she was caught in the middle of this fight between lindbergh and the isolationist in franklin roosevelt and the interventionists. she came from a very, very international family. she came from money. her father was worked at j.p. morgan in new york and became an american ambassador, us ambassador to mexico and became a senator. their family was very much tied to europe and england. as we see and then she met and
married the most eligible man in the world, at the time, charles lindbergh was just a few years before had become the most famous person in the world by flying nonstop across the atlantic. handsome,in modest, charming, ws everything that a lot of people wanted. you know, this is the 1920s and a time of cynicism in a time of fast living in a time of corruption and then you have this god, this blonde god fly across the atlantic and everyone fell in love with him including anne morrow lindbergh. she was the one who married him and her life turned out to be far different than what she expected. he was the biggest celebrity in the world, he and frank and roosevelt, were the two most
famous people in the united states. so, by being married to him she was thrust into this maelstrom of celebrity and as bad as being a celebrity is now, in terms of not havingng privacy, to be lindbergh and his wife is beyond the pale. they couldn't go anywhere without people following them and shrieking at them and it was horrible. she was a very shy woman and a very, you know, retiring woman but a woman with a mind of her own and very talented. she was a good writer. this is not the kind of life she wanted. when she thrust itself into the middlehe of the debate over whether we should get into the war and became the spokesman of the isolationist movement, this again was not what she wanted it
all. she basically, deepp down, wasnt interventionist but because she was loyal to her husband she basically went along with what he was doing. it was a time of great emotional conflict for her. i don't think she ever really recovered from it and it was truly damaging to her, personally, and damaging to her family and ruined his reputation in many, many ways. it was really difficult for her. >> host: that is all on top of the kidnapping. >> guest: yeah, and we haven't even talked about the kidnapping of their child which is, you know, people who weren't around then know about this lindbergh kidnapping and it's one of the most notorious events that happened in the early 1930s. the little boy was a toddler was kidnapped from their home and in new jersey and taken and murdered and neither of them recovered from that.
i think that played a huge role in charles lindbergh and what happened to him later on. he basically -- when his child was killed and the way it was covered byy the tabloid press, t was so revolting to him that he basically thought there wasn't any freedom, individual freedoms we took and and their second son was born after the kidnapping and took him to europe and in the 1930s and that's when he started going to germany and hitler's government invited him to germany to look at the luftwaffe. he wante hitler wanted them to e thatat the luftwaffe was unbeatable and it went on from there. >> host: robert from new hampshire.
>> caller: thims. olsen, i realy enjoyed your citizens of london. thank you for resurrecting the reputation and the good name of the governor and i really enjoyed it enormously. the question i have of you was churchill's relationship to chamberlain and how it contrasted to its relationship with stanley baldwin. he seemed to be personally loyal to chamberlain but he really loathed baldwin. in your research, have you found out why he had such a deep personal animosity toward him question. >> host: who was stanleyey baldwin? >> caller: the conservative friend proceeded neville
chamberlain and he had been prime minister back in the 20s, as well, and he brought churchill in an [inaudible] -- i always wondered why churchill disliked him so much. >> guest: that's a really, really good question. there was personal animus between them and there was bad blood and they had gone against each other on a number of issues including, if you remember the king who became the duke of windsor advocated because he wanted to marry the divorced american and churchill was very much a romantic and very much a royalist. he supported the king in his fight to marry the woman he
loves and baldwin was very much against that. i think, quite rightly. in terms of rearming, you know, in light of hitler's threats they were also asked, they were very much opponents in that regard. it's interesting but that's a good question you raise because churchill was very loyal to never chamberlain in the end. he opposed his appeasement policy until britain declared war and chamberlain invited him into the cabinet again as first lord of the admiralty so once churchill became presiden govern though he was constantly pressuring chamberlain to be more aggressive against the germans and publicly he was very much supported chamberlain and what he did and even until the
very end when he was going against thesehe troublesome -- rightly, they were saying that we have to get chamberlain out of their and don't we are going to go down defeated. there's no question will go down to defeat. until the very end winston churchill wasas defending him. winston churchill was loyal. i mean he was very loyal to people and not always loyal but people who brought him into the government and certainly to neville chamberlain and he kept chamberlain in the government and once he became prime minister. he didn't throw them out. again that was loyalty but also, i think, because he was very politically afraid -- he was very clinically unpopular in the conservative party even when he
became prime minister. he wanted to keep the tory leaders on his side and so he kept chamberlain in the government and lord halifax in the government was the foreign secretary because, you know, he was afraid they might try to oust him and it wasn't really until several months later when he started making all those greatt speeches that we shall fight on the land that we shall fight in the hills and he really became the symbol of british resistance and only then did the tory partyty actually start ling up with him but until then he was very nervous about what would happen. >> host: meredith from new york city sends in a question that you just answered about churchill puttingng chamberlainn the cabinet. what was his post quick was he therefore show or did he have substance as well. >> guest: he wasn't given a desk he was basically an advisor but
he was definitely in the cabinet but churchill did listen to him and he may not have gone along with what he said but he did listen to him when he was in the cabinet. table and was also loyal back to him and he supported churchill in those early days in the early days of his premiership and there's a new movie about to come out in november which is about this. in late may of 1940 when fort halifaxx and others within the government actually were pressuring him to think about negotiating with hitler. thinking about making separate peace with hitler. there was a lot of pressure on churchill at that point and many people think that was one of the primary of the war because churchill -based this pressure
and said no, finally we will not do this we will continue to fight and chamberlain stood behind him. chamberlain died a few months after in chamberlain was already critically go with cancer at that point. he is not in the best shape and that may be one of the reasons why he did so poorly in that period before he was ousted. he died. until the end churchill was publicly supportive of him. >> host: linda is in texas, you're on book tv with author lynne olson. >> caller: hello. i'm excited to have a conversation with lynne olson today. i never thought that would happen. here in texas we have the number one flight museum which chronicles the history of the
officers from the royal air force that came over during world war ii and all of the interested in what the women's part of that was and pauline baxter from here in my town was a link instructor in that school. but that has nothing to do with the question i wanted to ask lynne. earlier in the program she was talking about winston churchill's daughters and their affairs that they had with the american journalist there were in england at the time and i was wondering, although you can neverho really say one person ds anything but if she thought that was a calculated affairs or if
they were true from the heart. >> guest: that is an excellent question. that is a really good question. it depends on which you are talking about. the relationships were talking about. pamela churchill, later to marry averill herriman, there's a large part of calculation in that. pamela churchill was more or less he certainly did not disapprove or certainly expressed no disapproval of her relationship with averill herriman even though she was cuckold in his son. churchill basically was a realist. he wanted the americans in the war and he wanted to win the war. his first thought was for britain and britain survival and if it meant sacrificing personal
relationship, i won't say it wasn't the most important thing and it was written. i think, pamela churchill thought that he was encouraging her in this relationship she had averill herriman because she learned a lot about what the americans were doing through averill herriman. commenting churchill wife was not so old with the relationship with the prime minister certainly did not put a combustion on it. he went along with it so in that relationship there was cognition. the sarah churchill was very much from the heart. theyci were both -- they needed somebody. they were. oath. lonely and i think they truly
did love each other. it didn't work out. i think each of them were very important to the other throughout the war and the time they were together. >> host: wended averill in pamela get married. >> guest: averill and pam got married well after the war and he stayed and he had been married and his wife was living in the united states and she never came to london and then he went to the soviet union and went back to new york after the war ended a number of things and his wife died and pamela went on to have many affairs with other men and finally married at least one, perhaps two more people. i think averill herriman was in his 70s and she was probably in her late 50s but they iran across each other in washington
and went to a dinner party and apparently, you know, the flame flickered up again and they were married shortly thereafter and stayed married until averill died. >> host: comes next call comes from victor. >> caller: thank you for your contribution to history bringing light to the subject. recently i read a book whose name i cannot remember because i'm going into senility but this book presents the idea that while it is true that neville chamberlain did a piece it was not for the reasons that his later critics said. in the book it highlights the fact that he was constantly being told by the military people that we could not and
that they could not afford a frontal assault on nazi germany because they were not prepared to engage in war and that it would not be wise to do so when he was prime minister so therefore, he appeased incessantly and then later when the war turned against germany they needed to have somebody to blame and his opponents in politics basically said all the suffering that we had a long was because it was the appeasement issues on neville chamberlain's part and i think he got a bad rap and the blame was laid at his feet and that the victors in england were rejoicing in victory that they were having eventually but that he got a bad rap in history. how do young see that ma'am?
>> guest: i really don't think he got a bad rap. there are a number of historians argue that and i'm not sure what book you're talking about but that certainly is a strain of history that has come up. he certainly is not totally responsible for appeasement. no question. stanley baldwin was an appeaser, as well. basically they weren't hearing britain for war. churchill was talking in the mid- 1930s about the need to rearm and the need to have a stronger army and a stronger air force and there was some work done under chamberlain, certainly the raf was built up but it was not built up offensively and it was built up
defensively. in other words, most of the money went to fighter planes to different britain against a german attack rather than to look at what hitler was doing and saying maybe we will have to go to war against him and you are right. there was the feeling that there is nothing that can be done and there was this idea that the bomber will always get through. that was a stanley altman line. the bomber will always get through and the german bombers will destroy us and blow us to smithereens as the war starts and that it is all over if that happens. we must do everything we can to stay out of it. neville chamberlain continue that and i write into frozen young men that he was fiercer and more warlike against his opponents, his domesticpp opponents those members of parliament and other people who were opposing him then he was against germany. he was not week domestically.
he was a tough guy basically punished those didn't agree -- he did punish those who didn't agree with him and he did not do as much government as, i think, and most historians think he should have done in terms of preparing the country for more. >> host: you write i am often asked how long it takes me to write a book, a length of time obviously varies but on average it is two-three years. not so with the [inaudible] >> guest: it was very different from my other books. i started doing research and got the idea for last hope island after i wrote troublesome young men. if i had done it then it would have been my first book but i got a contract from [inaudible]
to do this book and i did about a year's worth of research and after that and i had actually started writing a few chapters i had written and i got cold feet and thought a couple of things. i thought that i didn't know enough about it and it would be to do the kind of research i needed to do it was a huge subject rate you're talking about seven different countries beside england that i would have to go to and that i would have to find out about their governments in exile and it was overwhelming to me at that point. i also didn't think my publishers pay me enough money to do it. i m decided to put it aside and came up with the idea for citizens of london and my agent to random house and they wanted
it andan so after i did citizens of london that i was thinking about my wonderful agent and she said why don't you go back to the idea that occupied europe and. england and you've done all this work in it's insane for you not to use it. i went back and looked at the second and thought she is right. several years had gone by and i felt i knew so much more about europe, britain, world war ii and i thought i could tackle it and that i felt comfortable doing it. >> host: what became your go to places for research? >> guest: england, possibly. >> host: where in england. >> guest: the national archives which has a lot of information
obviously about the british government but also has a lot of information about the government in exile that i write about and about their relationship with british officialdom. england is also in london is also the home of most of the polish government in exile and at the end of the war poland was handed over to the soviets and the government in exile in both pilots and the soldiers had no place to go. they could've gone back to poland but they would've been arrested and the their life would have been miserable under communist rule so most of them stayed in london or emigrated elsewhere so all the records of poland fighting of world war ii basically in london and in this wonderful old townhouse and london is still a treasure trove of information about world war ii but especially and i also want to most of the countries i
write about as well but londo london -- >> host: what about research in berlin patrick. >> guest: i did not go to berlin and do research. it was really all about the primary research was about the allied governments that were in london. >> host: and were going to talk about those characters and stories and last hope island afterr we take this short break. every month we ask of the author was appearing on in-depth to share hisis or her favorite authors, what they are reading now in some of their inspirations. here are the answers that lynne olson gave. ♪
the great gatsby. is there a common theme among those books? >> guest: i don't know. several of them obviously were written by women and deal with. >> host: english. >> guest: oh, english. i wasn't even thinking that what you're absolutely right. it.ri tend to read books that ay english writers and always have. i honestly read a lot of american novels in nonfiction but i can't explain why i've been an anglophile all my life but i grew up in the west and i didn't grow up in the east but it was always i loved england even before i went there. >> host: lynne olson is inspired by professor donald carson. is he. >> guest: donald carson was a professor of mine at the university of arizona where i went to school.
whenho i was a kid growing up, i didn't really have any idea of being a writer. i was a good writer in school but i never thought of it. what i didn't know was that i wanted to go to washington. when i was a child, and kennedy was president, he was one of my inspirations and i just thought i wanted to go to washington and do good. i wanted to be part of that and the young and that vitality that he brought to public service and i thought public service with something really interesting and i was interested in doing it and i wanted to go to washington. i retained that goal when i was in high school and then when i went to college. then when i was finishing my sophomore year in college i thought okay, you want to go to washington but what will you do
in washington. i do not want to be a secretary or assistant. i wantedan to do something important and so i thought what can i do. i thought of journalism and decided to take t a journalism class at the university of arizona. i took my first class and fell in love with it. i fell in love with the whole idea of journalism and the reason i did is basically because of the professors there. they were all former journalist themselves and newspaper reporters and they were outstanding. donald carson being the preeminent one, there was a whole group of them there were just absolutely wonderful and they encouraged meey to become a journalist. everything about it i just loved. i love the idea of going out in reporting, doing research, coming back and writing a story, the excitement and drama that you could go anywhere and you
could ask the most important questionsio and do that for a living. i just thought that was fabulous and they encouraged me throughout those last two years and i majored in journalism and political science. then i graduated and got a job almost immediately with the associated press. again, it was largely due to those professors. they wrote letters to friends of theirs in the newspaper business and in the wire service business and thanks to them i got my first job. they were and still are very important to me. >> host: who influenced you or where did you get your writing style for your books? >> guest: i developed it somewhat myself but, as i said, my first job was with the wire service and it's anything about a wire service it's the facts. it's i did learn that it was very important to attract the
reader right away so obviously, not only do you want your most important backs in the first paragraph, but you want your most interesting backs and i soon gravitated to being a feature writer so, obviously the human element was very important but i still had a wire service style, truth first -- i don't no, it wasn't as fluid as i wanted to. i happen to have the good fortune of marrying a magazine reporter who is a brilliant writer. mypo husband and we wrote two books together and he really did influence me k in opening up and telling a story and i can't really explain what i learned but i learned how to tell a story better than i had been doing up to that point. it was a progression and i
didn't start out as a fluid kind of center of a scene and i grew into it but has been helped me in that regard. >> host: speaking of grabbing the reader. last hope island opens on april 9th, 1940. what happens? >> guest: we already talked about that but norway was invaded. norway was invaded but i also went with the actual invasion and the ships in the german ships coming up the fjord into oslo at night and no one is expecting that. it is april and it's still cold up in norway and everybody is asleep except for a number of ships, norwegian ships who are guarding and a couple of norwegian shore batteries and all of the sudden they realize that these two warships are
silently going up the fjords so they try to stop them and norway has a miserable navy. very, very small navy. extraordinarily, to very ancient cannons on the shore battery as the big warship they fire and everyone thanks they are relics but they our museum pieces and they t worked. they sank the worship. that allowed a precious couple of hours of breathing room for the king of norway and his government to escape and the whole first chapter is about the warships coming in and the sinking of the warships and the king and his family and his government escaping from oslo just as the germans are about to capture them. >> host: but that escape was treacherous. >> guest: yes, true.
yeah, the king, they originally went by train to a town 60 or 7e germans were on their track they started driving in cars and again this is april but it's not springtime in norway. the weather is still wintry and treacherous and so they are going on these very narrow mountain roads with chasms looming down in the mountains stretching up there. it was icy and the germans are always behind them. at one point, the german fighters caught up with them and they were in a small little village and had taken shelter for the night and german planes, fighter planes, suddenly appeared over this little village and a warning was founded so the king and his son,
the crown prince and government ministers, fled into the forest and took cover under the trees while these dive bombers were coming down and shooting at them. they were dropping bombs on them. unbelievably, none of them were killed in the all survived but one of the planes was eventually shot down and the pilot had in his jacket basically that we got rid of the king of norway and his government. they didn't. they all escape. it was an extraordinary experience for several weeks as the king and his people were trying to elude the germans and they eventually did and he maden it to london but it's an incredible story. >> host: chapter two, queen wilhelmina. >> guest: queen wilhelmina ofon holland, norway, that was in april and in may, the next month, queen wilhelmina of holland is sound asleep and gets word, awakened that the germans
have started to invade her country, ass well. they are not coming by see this time butch dropping by parachute into holland. again, totally surprised that she had no idea and they had no idea this was about to happen in two weekss her daughter and basically says war has come. so, she also has an end is dramatic but she has several days of dodging the germans and finally leaves holland and she didn't want to be pollen. she wanted to stay. wilhelmina was a really feisty woman andst she wanted to stay inside. shebu wanted to stay and fight. she wanted to fight for troops. she was prevailed upon to go to london which he really did not want to do. >> host: how interrelated were all these royal families at this point? >> guest: very interrelated. it's really interesting, king hawking was the uncle of king
george the sixth of britain. you know, thanks to the victoria who had so many children and her children married lots of royal family in europe so they all not only knew each other but they were related to each other. hawkins married king edward the seventh daughter so he married his first cousin, became queen maud. he was uncle charles and his kingly name was hawkins but king george the six call them uncle charles. wilhelmina was not related to either hawkins or king george although when she was young -- but let me get this right. when hawking was young his parents wanted him to mary queen
wilhelmina but she was not married and they thought that would make a good match but he did not want to marry queen wilhelmina because he wanted to marry mod. they knew each other obviously, all the royal families were very close. >> host: he wasn't even norwegian to no, he wasn't norwegian. he is one of the great stories of this book. he was danish but unfortunately he happened to be the grandson of the king of norway in the sweden. they were part of a confederation until the early 20th century and norway, in 19 oh five, decided it did not want to be part of that consideration anymore and wanted to be an independent country so they didn't go to war and they told sweden okay, we want to be independent but we will take a member of the royal family as ourou king and they did not have king at that point and the
king of sweden and norway decided that the only person that would fit that bill was king charles, prince charles, a danish prince. that was the lastth thing he wanted. he wanted to be and remain with the navy. his wife, mod, that was last thing she wanted in either one of them wanted to be on the throne but they were prevailed upon and he became king of the country that he knew nothing about or very little about. he cannot speak the language until he became king and had to change his name from carl to hawkins. queen mod refused to. she wanted to stay mod and she did state mod until she died. he felt like an outsider until world war ii and the government of norway was very liberal and socialist and it never accepted him as king and they didn't like
the idea of a monarchy. they didn't have much to do with them. even though he knew right from the beginning that hitler would be a problem he read mein kampf and kept warning his government that we had to pay attention and that norway might not escape this problem. he escaped and resisted and refused to give into hitler's demands that he excepts a norwegian nazi as the prime minister and he said that if the government wanted to do that then he would abdicate and his family would no longer be the royal family. a lot of government ministers wantedo to give into hitler but because the king was so insistent they went along with him in the country resisted. he was really the centerpiece of norway's resistance throughout the war. this guy was considered an outsider, after the war, was the most beloved person in norway.
he had totally changed his life as a result of world war ii. >> host: and queen wilhelmina, wasn't she given, didn't she give a house to the kaiser from world war i and he was living in holland and -- >> guest: she was feisty from the desperate she became queen when she was ten years old. her father who was elderly, king of pollen, died and she became pleased. she didn't act as pain until she but from the very strong-willedwas and strong refused to listen to what people thought her government thought was the right thing to do. she gave haven to the kaiser after world war i and the allies were furious for doing that and she insisted that he would stay there and he did. >> host: terribly sad story her as a child and wanting to go ice-skating and she had to skate by herself.
>> guest: can i tell there's another wonderful story -- she hated what she called the cage which was the very straightlaced stiff royal court that she grew up in. she absolutely hated it. you are right. she wasn't allowed to skate with otherr people and she had to skate alone but my favorite story about that time is that she was once overheard when she was aug little girl scolding one of her dolls and she said to her doll, if you continue to be naughty, i will make you a queen and then you have no other little children to play with. that is heartrending. much of my story of wilhelmina during world war ii is her struggle to break open that cage that she was in. she did successfully. once she wenten to london she ws no longer surrounded by this court and she had power, acquired power. she made great use of it.
i mean, i say in the book that it wasn't justur churchill and e british had their finest hour during world war ii. it was also wilhelmina and other people like her. she certainly made the most of being in london and world war ii. >> host: but what you do right in last hope island is why don't the contributions by allies other than the us, britain and the soviet union neglected by historians and you say that churchill as it happens bears much of the responsibility for the omission. >> guest: yes he did, we don't talk too much about the contributions that he made but countries madetr enormous contributions not only to help britain survive but in terms of overall allied victory. i think one of the main reasons is that churchill promulgated this image of plucky little england standing alone against germany but it was england standing alone. he said that during the war and
he said that the day the war ended, the day. he said that after the war that they stood by themselves but they didn't. they had all these other governments from these occupied european countries who were there, too, and were also contributing a lot and i think that is one of the reasons why what you read, i think is true. people look at the big three, the ones who made all the contributions. >> host: lynne olson is our guest here on book tv. we have another hour to go and will put the phone numbers up and in case you can't get through on the phone numbers we also have some social media sites where you can make a comment and we will look at those as well. i do want to point out that we have set aside a third line so that if there are any world war ii era veterans or people who lived through that era out there who would like to call in and
talk with ms. olson (202)748-8202 is the number for you to call. bruce in chesterton, indiana. you have been patient. thank you for holding. you are on with lynne olson. >> caller: i want to thank ms. olson for hernk insight. you've been helpful looking at the origins of world war two and the intrigues that happened at that time. i want to go in a different direction. it is my understanding that winston churchill was a very strong proponent of the british empire and the side defending britain itself he was interested in reestablishing and maintaining the british empire after the war. that probably didn't have much of an effect until towards the endlo of the war when it became obvious that germans were going to lose and i was wondering and i also understand that for the roosevelt was not inclined that way. he was an anti- colonialist and i was wondering if the relationship between the two through the war and especially
at the end of the war when britain wantedwa to reassert itself and its empire. >> guest: that's an excellent question. all of what you said is true. churchill still very much an empire guy and he really believe that the british empire -- he basically thought that britain's future after the war would be with the british empire and with the us in a special relationship. he was absolutely determined not to give up the empire as a result of the war. roosevelt, as you said, was very anti- colonialist and he was constantly pressuring churchill in terms of basically saying the days of the empire were over and this wase a huge point of controversy between the two men and toward the end of the war, starting in 1943 as it was clear the germans probably were going
to lose and the allies would win and the question of the future and what was going to happen "after words" became paramount and it also occurred at the same time that the united states and the soviet union were taking over more responsibility for the war and the british had stood for soo long but they were running out of people in the soldiers and money and running out of planes et cetera that they were clearly the big boys in the war starting in 1943 and obviously getting more and more so as the war went on. basically roosevelt who had been close to churchill and had been together a lot from pearl harbor onward started losing interest in churchill and in england and more interested in closing up to stalin and the soviet union. he made that clear in the couple of the meetings that they had been to run and later in delta.
i don't think it was roosevelt's finest hour. it was very obvious that he was siding with stalin and making fun of the churchill in toronto and it was painful because he did feel that he was close to roosevelt and he thought he was friends with roosevelt and when this started happening and when roosevelt made it clear that he was against the british empire and thought it should be dissolved it really was extremely difficult for churchill to accept. i think that when roosevelt died in april 1945, right before the end of the war, churchill didn't go to the funeral. he could have easily gone to fdr's funeral but he did not. he pled too much work but a lot
of people including -- i share the belief that he basically had been so hurt by roosevelt had done to him that he just didn't want to go. >> host: chuck from manchester, massachusetts. good afternoon. >> caller: good afternoon. "last hope island" was a great read. the book is full of surprises but one of the biggest surprises i had in addition to the tremendous contribution made to the war effort that you so well commented on but the failure of [inaudible] the british intelligence operations in those foreign countries, the brits had been no, i thought, for their superb intelligence operations and their thought gathering but you document some abysmal performances. i wonder can you account for -- how did that happen? how did they get away with that
and why isn't that better known? >> guest: again, a great question. that is one of the surprises when i was doing my research and mi six is special intelligent services and world-renowned and still is and a lot of people think of it as the all seeing, all-knowing spy organization and ever since it began in the early 20th century but in fact, for most of its history it was the opposite. as i say in the book, the part of the assassination of mi six and as i said, it was all-powerful comes not from reality but from british spy novels. english spy novels that became the rage in the early 20th century, late 20th century that were the forerunners for james bond.
these books were about patrician amateur spies, british beasley but young men who grew up in the upper classes or the upper middle classes who went to public schools in britain, who got jobs in the foreign office or city and financial area. they drank the best wines, ate the best food and in the middle of their careers, wonderful careers, were asked to go and solve and to become spies for britain in various, nefarious places in the world. when france was seen as the enemy to britain and then it became germany. these amateur spies in the book would go off and solve the problem and stop the nefarious wherever they were from invading britain and doing something
terrible and then they would go back to their lives in the city or lives in the foreign office. these are very popular extremely popular and it's not only in england but germany. hitler was a fan of these books so heinrich similar and hydric who were the two top people in the ss but they were addicts of these spy novels and they came to believe that mi six was this all-powerful, all-knowing organization so that is the backbone. the reality was very different. mi six was underfunded and it tended not to have the vitalist roles in the ranks and it had messed up and when this happened all the british mi six networks
were rolled up and they had nothing and they had nothing when the war began. thanks to the occupied countries who brought the european countries who brought their intelligent b services they word for mi six. they worked and they were spies and they continued fine on france and poland and holland there were spies from those countries and they were sending it to london and it wasn't mi six but mi six took credit for it. all of those great intelligence is like about the b1, b2 bombs and rockets they came from the french and the polls but mi six took credit for it.
the gun placements on the shores of normandy and all the things that the allies needed to know to invade and keep the bombs from coming in all that information came from europeans, not from the brits. they came from european intelligence services and not from mi six but mi six again took credit for it. >> host: john is coming in from laurel, new york. hello, john. it helps if i push the button. i apologize. start again, john. >> caller: thank you, sir. ms. olson, i read with pleasure the citizens of london and most recently "last hope island". you were kind enough that i did send you an e-mail after reading "last hope island" and you are very kind to respond to my e-mail. i want to thank you for that. you were just talking and when i
just askeded you about in that e-mail was why you didn't include something about the channel islands and you had said that the singly that because you are writing about london. i thank you forab that. you were talking about the suspicion, iab guess, that the united states, fdr in particular had with respect to churchill with regard to the reestablishing and empire and i just finished reading two books by matt hastings, british right, andd retribution about the war n japan in the last year and he also wrote about armageddon about the last year of the war in europe and he points out and i'm adding to it but you already said that he points out that fdr and the government in general
dissuaded britain from becoming more involved in the last year and the war in the pacific because they saw it as an attempt bym him to have legitimacy to have a power base or to reinstate a power base with britain in the pacific and i thought that was very interesting and i just came across that in reading mr. hastings book. >> host: john, why your seemingly large interest in the world war ii era? >> caller: why is it? one yes, sir. >> caller: well, that's a very interesting question. i guess i started when pearl harbor was attacked i was four years old but i'm amazed at the recollection that i have when
the war was over i was eight years old and yet i have such vivid recollections which is hard for me to explain because the only thing i can attribute it to is the war permeated everything in our lives and it wasn't like today where the war is being fought by somebody over there in some country and we understand very littleun about . it was so personally because everyone had someone who was involved in the war in the pacific, i lost an uncle and he was on the aircraft carrier in bunker hill in okinawa and i had lunch and i remember the day that we were notified and it happened to be mother's day and we went my visit my grandmother and a cousin who fought the whole north africa campaign and i went to italy and i followed where he went to and it was so
much of a personal thing in our lives that it was very vivid to me so as i got older i developed an interest in read more about it. >> host: we will leave it there and let lynne also respond to your earlier question. thanks for sharing with us. >> guest: thank you so much. that's just me. i can't add much to what you said and you're absolutely rig right. i don't know -- but i haven't done much research about the pacific because my interest has always beenat in that european t there's no question that the us tried very hard to keep britain from being heavily involved in the pacific and they considered that we considered them are war that we had done the lion share ofsh the fighting and they were very much against having britain come in at the end and they were
thinking about the future and postwar. >> host: he talked about death and i think it's 400,000 or so americans lost10 their lives during world war ii and maybe half of those being soldiers and the rest somewhere else. that 400,000 compares to 25 million soviets. >> guest: there is no question that the loss of life in world war ii was unbelievable. the soviet union certainly for the runs but we got off fairly lightly. 400,000 is not light, that is a lot of people but compared to, you know, poland and the soviet union and other countries in eastern europe and just overall -- were not even talking about military. so many civilians died in europe andma in asia and it was astonishing how many and we
didn't have a handful until pearl harbor and other places there were people who lost their lives were civilians but nothing like what happened. >> host: i think i read somewhere that china t and russa were the two -- >> guest: yeah, i must say because of my fixation on europe i do not know that much about the pacific but that is so true and people are beginning to focus more on the soviet union and what happened in the soviet union and matt hastings being one of them. they did bear the brunt and there is no question in one of the reasons why roosevelt and churchill were willing, if not eager, certainly churchill was not eager to turn over poland to eastern europe to stalin at the end of the war but the reason
that they did is because they wanted to keep stalin in the war. theyey wanted to keep the sovies as the main force that was taking the brunt from the germans and it was all political. we interviewed matt hastings in london a couple years ago and i believe he told me that more citizens during the battle of britain were killed crossing the street in london because of the blackout then by the details or the bombing in britain. >> guest: i didn't know that but certainly. >> guest: accidents, certainly. tens of thousands there were killed in the brits and he's more of an expert than i am in that respect. there were a lot of citizens who lost their lives in world war ii. >> host: dan, bridgewater, new jersey. >> caller: i'm sorry that i did
not see your works but on the issue of your i wondered if i could get you to comment. i was a child during world war ii and have many vivid memories like the gentleman before but i came from eastern europe and now in europe and for many years the bad guys in the minds of people was churchill and the british manipulating the situation of europe and declaring a lot of people who were very faithful to the british and during the war and some other british espionage people wrote extensively on this. it leaves some question as to on his interest england, just like germany, operated through the
20th century. it also raises the issue of maybe that has a lot to do with people saying good riddance though it may hurt them economically and i wonder if you would comment with anti- english that is so permanent in europe that is related to the [inaudible] >> host: dan, where were you during world war ii? >> guest: i was. >> caller: of the child in eastern europe. >> host: where in europe? >> caller: when senator mcgovern had bombed [inaudible] in romania and then they t were tod to drop the leftover bombs in the field so that they can get across the mediterranean they decided that it would be a shae to disrupt them in the field so
they dropped it on the capital city which i have absolutely no military targets. it's funny that my war with vietnam and how we felt about vietnam didn't feel about world war ii. history is a funny thing. >> guest: i agree with you totally that history is a a funy thing. i can only speak certainly about britain in terms and you're talking about anti- british feelings but toward the end of the war it is very obvious that there would be anti- british feeling in poland and the rest of eastern europe because of what churchill and his government did which is basically agreed to hand over poland to the soviet union. after poland and czechoslovakia both of them were important allies but poland particularly
contributions to the allied victory weres enormous in so my ways in terms of espionage and in terms of breaking the enigma code and the battle of britain and polish pilots helped win that battle. in many other ways -- there were 200,000 polls in british uniform fighting across europe but the fourth largest military in the ally and they helped win monte cassino and every european front and to have that rewarded at the end they didn't get their country back and they didn't get it back and they were promised it back. i can certainly understand that but i also have to point out that for much if not most of the war britainso was a symbol of he for much of europe and it was resisting because it was holding out against germany and it provided a refuge for these governments andr military forcs
europe where they wouldn't have been able to keep up the fight if it hadn't been for england and if they had couldn't go to london and stay there for the rest of the war. i talked alo lot in last hope islands about one particular important source of hope for europe and that was the bbc. the bbc broadcast to all these countries in their own languages during the war. you know, millions of people in occupied europe listened to the bbc even though it was outlawed by the germans in every single country and in some countries the punishment for listening to the radio was death. but they did. they had their radio sets during the day and they took them out clandestinely at night and turned it on to listen to the bbc. for many european and it was
theira lifeline to freedom. it was the only place they could turn to and hear what was going on in the war and that's there were countries still fighting against hitler and it did offer a flickr, not a flickr, more than a flickr of hope and inspiration for all those countries. britain did play an important role, not only in terms of the actual fight but in terms of providing this inspiration to the country and also did some did bad things as well and you have a very, very important points. you're right. >> host: from a question of honor by the battle of britons and the 303rd squadron, a.k.a. the [inaudible] squadron was credited with downing more german aircraft than any other squadron attached to the royal air force. nine of its pilots were formally designated as aces and the
squadron because it was made up of polls was not allowed to take part in a british celebration following the war because the brits didn't want to offend the stalin. >> guest: that is right. we begin the book question of honor with with this heartrending scene that is after the war and its 1946 and britain is hosting a huge victory parade that is consistent of all the countries that bought for the allies during world war ii and there is this huge parade down the streets of london with british americans from all over, brazil, and itbr went on and on andd the polls were not there ad they were not invited because again there countries had been turned over to stalin and it was now a communist country and the polls who actually had done and contributed so much to the
pilots had to stand on the sidewalk and watch all these people go by in their country was: and they weren't honored in the parade. it was really tragic. >> host: lynne olson, your first book was [inaudible] in your second book is freedom slaught slaughter. that is unlike any of yourat otr books, isn't it? where did it come from. >> guest: yes, it's an outlier. after stan and i wrote [inaudible] we were looking around for something to do and i not started on the path of becoming an expert in britain in world war ii and i was reading a wonderful book by taylor branch called parting the waters. it's this magisterial and it's a biography in the first of a three volume biography of martin luther king what it really was was history of the civil rights movement in the 1950s in this
country and19 it's a brilliant book but i was reading it and i kept running across names of women who played a role in the civil rights movement and taylor wrote really well about them but he didn't, in my opinion, didn't include enough. i wantedd to know more about them. many more women who i've never even heard of and i went looking for a book about them and i couldn't find a book about women in the civil rights movement so i decided to write it myself and that turned inth to be freedom slaughter. >> host: we have some video of one of the women and we will play itt in heavy talk about it. >> on the night gathering like the days is not enough. you have to go back and reach out to your neighbors don't speak to you and you have to reach out to your friends think
it good and get them to understand that they as well as you and i cannot be free in america or in anywhere else where there is capitalism and imperialism. [cheering and applause] until, until, until we can get people to recognize that they themselves have to make the struggle and have to make the fight for freedom every day in the year every year until they win it. thank you. >> host: who was that? >> guest: ella baker. that is so interesting. that is very embarrassing for me
but ella baker was really behind the scenes woman. i have not really seen much footage of her but everyone has seen rosa parks and some of the soers but that is fascinating. ella baker is one of those forgotten heroines that i've never heard of and she was the kind of this thread that rammed to the civil rights movement and she connected all these groups together and she was basically the woman behind the throne with martin luther king in terms of setting up the southern christian leadership conference. she was the person and luther king was the leader but she was the one who actually created and crwas infuriated by the way he treated her as woman and went off and became the inspiration and the godmother for the students civil rights movement.
[inaudible] it was the student movement andt these are the kis that went down to the south and were organizing for voterr registration et cetera and ella baker was there inspiration and she was the one who was behind help create that movement. i swear to god that's the first timesw i have ever seen that and there is so little and probably has more footage that i know of i have not ever seen it. she is so incredibly important to the civil rights movement. she was just one of many women who are behind the scenes doing all of the work but not all of the work but they never got the credit for what they did. >> host: and freedom's daughter came out in 2001 and i'm not even sure if it -- but now that i think back but you write about ella baker that from her earliest days she kowtow to no one, she was always protesting
something andg that martin lutr king was not fond of any criticism but baker's complains were particularly galling and old enough to be king's mother aker felt no off for the 29 -year-old leader. >> guest: that footage is perfect. she did not take anything from anybody. she's extraordinary, really an extraa ordinary person. >> host: we wanted to touch on freedom's daughter as well aspe the world war ii book. thank you and that's part of lynne olson's collection. charles in tacoma, washington. please go ahead with your question or comment for lynne olson. >> caller: inc. you. lynne, i am a big fan since troublesome young men. i loved it. i didn't know anything about that and in my mind it was that churchill just appeared at the right moment and the polish book, i knew they had flown in the battle of britain but i didn't know about the huge
accomplishment that they perform during the war or that they had the fourth largest force in the war. i got an autograph and i don't do autographs, i don't but i got in autograph at an air show in that little air museum in washington and i get choked up sometimes, there were two polish pirates there and the younger one had fought with [inaudible] during the war the other one had fought in the battle of britain and this was a little incredible frail little man and i had to shake his hand and get his name.
in theth citizens of london and later when i read david idmccullough's paris book about the section about ellie hugh washburn was the ambassador to france during the franco-prussian war and the siege and then the horse i put those two men together and if you haven't read it it's a wonderful book. story.great i want to thank c-span for continually putting on the show. thank you. >> host: thank you for your comments and thank you for watching. are you retired and from what? >> caller: i am retired. i'm just a working guy. i did a lot of things, sold cars, drove cars and didn't have anything and an important
career. i did world war ii because when i was four years old, three, four or five years old during the war we lived during record air force base and what they had i found out later was a group of p47 there and they would do just that i had my own private air show ass they did their maneuves over our barn that was incredible. >> host: thank you for that. >> caller: a big, well. >> guest: that's great. i choke up to when i talk about pilots that we got to know a number of the pilots when we were doing the book, stan and i, a question of honor. there was still a fair number of them around and actually in seattle, washington when we were there one time a very tall,
distinguished looking, older gentleman came up to us and said do you remember in your book in the beginning where you write about the parade and then you talk about the pilot standing on the sidewalk and a woman says he starts walking away a woman says to him why are you crying, young man? we said yes and he said i am that pilot. you know, i had a lot of tears that night, too. thank you so much. >> host: portland oregon, anne. >> caller: like all the discussion of your book but i want to ask as a norwegian american we didn't always think that much of sleeping but why did sweden and switzerland able to sit out both world wars? >> guest: i think the answer is because it was strategically important for both the allies and germany.
particularly in the beginning of the war it was important for germany and both of those countries that they be neutral, in terms of money, laundering money, sending money to switzerland, sweden provided germany early on with some important elements like iron or so it was important for them to remain neutral or germany would've taken them over. the neutral countries that official neutral countries in europe and world war ii are fascinating places. there wereng other places like portugal and spain but they were seething with spies from countries all the countries that were fighting, japan and germany, britain and the united states and they were all their spying on each other so a lot was going on and [inaudible]
>> host: was anyone in the 1930s when olson was putting the stock together and saying this guy is going to fall in the sky would fall and was their group out there saying that? >> guest: there were various people who were. king hawken was saying that in norway. queen wilhelmina was a not to her government in holland. there were people, winston churchill was saying it in britain and there were people in groups but theye overall attitu, as i said before, was because we absolutely do not want another war we will close our eyes and pretend like it can't happen and that was the prevailing attitude and in the united states, as well. >> host: "last hope island", king leopold the third. what happened,ll who was it? >> guest: he is one of the sad stories of this book. that was the third monarch and i write about the two others, hawken and wilhelmina and they
made names for themselves to be one and they got to london. >> guest: and got to london and became heroes and heroines and leopold was the king who didn't leave and he was considerably younger and he was in his late 30s and he was his situation was different from the other two. they actually had some power where they didn't really. he was the commander in chief of the belgian armed forces and he also part of the reason his story is sad is because he wanted to beer very much like hs father, king albert, who had decidedd over belgium over world war i and king albert was also the commander in chief of the belgian forces and when germany invaded belgium it was the first invaded by germany in world war i and he said he was not going to leave and said he would remain in charge of the forces despite the fact that belgian
was overrun by germany. he managed in his forces to win one crucial battle early on capped and -- belgian kept a st of its territory thanks to the victory in this battle where the king stayed and was able as a result of keeping that territory keep airports as well. that was important, as well. he was a popular figure in world war i hero so his son grew up hero worshiping his father and wanted to be exactly like his father. his father died young in a mountaineering accident and leopold became king and when world war ii
would never leave belgium. so he stayed andle sure enougha huge mistake and he surrendered. so he became the subject of total -- opposition to him in britain and france was extraordinary. churchill and the french laid the blame on all these countries. of leopold had not given up, everything would have been fine, could have continued on, we could have beat the germans, it was all leopold's false because he capitulated. he was guarded by the germans,
he met with hitler to get better treatment for his people. he made a grave mistake -- >> host: vulnerable -- >> guest: his troops were overwhelmed. churchill and the french government said because -- doesn't surrender. and allowed the british forces leave the bunker. they were holding off, the evacuation of dunkirk wouldn't have happened.
the whipping boy for the defeat. >> host: another thing i learned in "last hope island: britain, occupied europe, and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war" is the us recognized to be she france. >> guest: the legitimate government of france, the premier turned over, became the head of the government, and the only french official, heard of it that point, they did not recognize the government, winston churchill recognized the gall as the unofficial head, it was not the official
position of france. in the us franklin roosevelt thought he could get france to come to the ally side. the us government recognized to be she has the french government. we had an ambassador, and embassy, invaded all of france. tried hard to get the officials -- >> host: in brooklyn, massachusetts, you are on with lynn olson. >> caller: someone once said history is an agreed-upon set of myths. i am sure you were following the deborah lips at trial in london, i wonder if she has any
opinions to offer? >> guest: a holocaust denier sued deborah, a historian, that is what the holocaust didn't exist, but it didn't happen, is beyond belief. to know nothing about world war ii in poland and the soviet union, knows that it happened. it is astonishing, managed to carve out what she did as long as she did. >> host: 202 is the area code, in eastern central time zone, 202-748-8271 in the mountain and pacific time zone.
if you lived in the world war ii era, comments to our guest 202-748-8272 is the number for you to call. churchill and roosevelt and other leaders, what was going on in the late 30s. >> germany set up concentration camps by the late 30s but were not really produced. it wasn't until 42, the final solution was decided upon,
extermination camps. and hundreds of thousands if not millions, were not set up deliberately to kill people. it wasn't a systematic thing to murder as many people, the extermination camps were in poland. and wartime poland come of the germans are so much in control, churchill and roosevelt both knew about the extermination camps by the end of 1942. the polish government in exile, polish carriers from the --
with an occupied poland managed to bring a lot of this information to london and elsewhere and jewish organizations were passing it on. the polish government published a report in 1942 talking about 1 million people had died in these extermination camps and that was published and the government spoke out very forcefully, roosevelt was aware, the thing is nothing was done. what could have been done but initially could have been a more forceful reaction than what churchill roosevelt mounted.
that was not something they wanted to deal with. they did not -- kept saying, both of them saying important thing was to win the war. the rationale engaged to everybody. why aren't you saving the dutch in the last winter of the war? why aren't you doing anything? the best thing is to win the war. is yes. >> host: john is in west palm beach, florida. >> caller: give me a few minutes please. to know world war ii you have to learn world war i. people forget what we went world war i, the 100th anniversary. we didn't get there until april 1918, after the declared war and didn't start fighting
until the summer time and lost, this is combat, 53,000 we lost more than fat, 63,000 because of injuries from the war and disease. the point i am trying to make is the british in one day lost 65,000 men and when people look back at chamberlain, they don't see what the english people saw which was horrendous death and horrendous personal tragedies from world war i. this is a poor analogy but like a football team, the winning team suffers a lot of injuries but the wind. the losing team suffers a lot of injuries, they lose. they want revenge and hitler was the revenge. the winning team in world war i
wanted to move on and laugh they wanted was a war. i have a question as far as winston churchill's citizenship. his mother was an american citizen if i'm not mistaken. the president of the united states -- >> guest: he wasn't born here. you have to be born here to be president of the united states. he would've loved the idea of being president of the united states. he was very proud of his american heritage, he really was. he was not all that popular before he became prime minister with the london. he came from an upper-class background, grandson of a duke and always regarded as not quite proper among the people he grew up with and they lay the blame on the fact he was half american, was emotionally outspoken. all the things you are not
supposed to be when you are british but he was. he took pride and delight in being half american. he appeared before the house of representatives during the war and i can't remember how he praised it but he would say i could be appear as president of the united states rather than prime minister. that tickles the idea that things had been different, he could have been president. of the 19 he was unemployed after 1945, had plenty of time to come over here and be president. >> guest: he was voted out. the conservative party was voted out of power which was stunning to virtually everybody except churchill. everybody thought he was going to win. most people thought he was going to win. he had won the war. no question winston churchill,
with an churchill i think we might be speaking german. i'm exaggerating. he was extremely important. so everybody thought because of that he would win in 1945. the british people were tired of war. they had been on the frontlines too. their houses were bombed lose they had suffered tremendous deprivation. they wanted it for life, a better life, especially those in the working-classes, wanted more. they had put out for their country and wanted something in return. they didn't think churchill was up to the task to be a peacetime prime minister and they were absolutely right. he was old, he was tired, he would not have been a very good peacetime premier. he came back a few years later
as a prime minister but i think that was a mistake, he probably shouldn't have. of the 19 calling from fredericksburg, virginia. >> caller: i want to ask lynn olson if she can relate why the germans fought so hard after the disasters of spring of 1945 and why it would take eight days to surrender after the suicide of hitler on 30 april 1945. thank you and i will read a lot of her books. >> guest: part of that came from hitler, we will not surrender. basically i will see germany ruined before i surrender. they feared what would happen to them thanks to the soviet union, what would be the fate of those top officials won't be good regardless. held out but hitler, germany
was being decimated by american and british bombing campaigns but hitler was not going to give up. >> lynn olson, is there another anglo centric book coming up? >> my next book is use of england but the focus is the frederick system. >> host: is it safe to say the free french and french resistance or two things? >> i'm writing a book about somebody who is head of an intelligence network in france and the relationship of that network with england. it is more what is going on in france during the war. >> host: do several of your books build on each other? and then it is like i'm going this way? >> each book has been a
building block for a new one. when we did the monroe boys we watched an old british movie called the battle of britain which was made in the 60s, cast of thousands, the british actors known to man but one scene in battle, in the movie which shows a squadron of polish pilots flying, speaking polish, british control, neither of us were surprised because at that point neither of us knew there were british pilots flying in the battle of britain, 20% were not british but from occupied europe but that was the impetus, the spark for a question of honor and one thing led to another. i can't remember what it was but that led to troublesome young men, they all led to it. >> you write that eight days
after the surrender of japan in august 1945 harry truman canceled food shipments to britain with any warning to the british government. >> that was devastating. what they were going through wasn't over, harry truman came to power after the death of franklin roosevelt. he was not to be -- prepared to become president. he didn't know anything about what was going on in terms of the bomb. all sorts of stuff he didn't know, one thing he didn't know was how bad off the brits were at the end of the war. they were basically bankrupt, had no money and he had a lot of pressure from people in
congress, republicans, democrats, that were benefiting the british so he did again, not knowing what he was doing and it was devastating. the british needed money to live. actually, rationing in britain became worse after the war ended and it was during the war. rationing didn't end until 1954. they won the war and yet they were worse off than much of occupied europe which recovered in many ways faster than the british did. it was a horrific thing americans did, without knowing what he was doing. >> host: patrick, baton rouge.
>> caller: my comment and question for lynn olson, i am disturbed at what i see as present minded history. i am also a child of world war ii. i was at fort benning with my father who was a professional soldier when the japanese bombed pearl harbor. i think people today cannot understand the absolute terror struck in the hearts of this country. you see things like the twin towers today, but i have the feeling people watching that is like special-effects in the movies or television. they don't really get it. the atmosphere of complete
unity that everybody involved in this, this has got to be done. it was a wonderful spirit in many ways and that to me has been lost. to go back to the concept of viewing history by present-day standards like the gentleman from romania was decrying the fact that bombs were dropped on cities and towns but nobody cared about that because we were scared to death. >> host: i think we got the point. let's hear from lynn olson. >> guest: there is a problem as you say with present day looking at history from the present day. that is something i and a lot
of historians try to avoid, try to spell out. to give you one example. world war ii is now known as the good war, the greatest generation, we had to do it, it was a fight against the worst evil ever, and i bet that is true looking back on it. when americans, i am talking about americans now, americans were going through two years leading up to our getting into the war, they didn't know all that. i think the isolationists were wrong looking back on it but most were not doing it for bad motives. they didn't believe it was not good for us to get involved in this war. the young men we were talking about who created america
first, they didn't know they were going to be the greatest generation in a couple years. they didn't know what was going to happen to them or in those extermination camps in poland. from their point of view they thought they were doing the right thing. it is important to keep that in mind when one reads about what happened before. people saying about occupied europe, france, poland, people didn't risk -- resist. this myth about widespread resistance is a myth is most people did not resist and why didn't they? were they collaborators? if i were there i would have resisted, hello. quite frankly i think you had to have lived in one of those countries before you can say that. you cannot pass judgment on something that happened 60, 70
years ago under circumstances you cannot possibly imagine how horrific they were. one has to guard against that, guard against judging what happened then by the standards of today. there are real problems doing that. >> host: let's get ed from lakewood, florida. >> caller: i would like to talk about the prevailing viewpoint today. i lived in amsterdam, i was born there, 100% dutch. before the war -- ladies, totally operating, the country did not like it even though she made a grandstanding statement i'm going to defend the netherlands. when the dutch find out she
left for england they considered her a traitor. unlike the king of belgium who really got in the crosshairs of the population because statements for germany, absolutely 0 to help the netherlands. in the netherlands, so high to canada. that is the prevailing viewpoint and no matter how much lynn olson discourages that i stand by it. >> host: thank you for calling in. >> guest: you are correct, no question she was regarded as an elitist, aloof before world war ii, that is the way most people saw her in the netherlands and she was not popular when she left. she didn't want to leave
because she thought that was the way people would regard her. from all accounts, i have done a lot of research, the people -- she did become the heart and soul of the resistance, made many broadcasts over the bbc encouraging her people to stand and resist and spoke out constantly against the germans at hitler and using swear words nobody in holland heard her use. from what i understand i respect your viewpoint but from what i understand the majority of people in holland came to love her. she did not move to canada. her daughter and granddaughters went to their during the war. she stayed in holland, she visited the united states and canada but she lived in london throughout the war and went back to holland the instant she
could come back. the response from the dutch when she came back was overwhelmingly positive. there are elements in truth in what you had to say but overall that is not true. >> host: i couldn't find it but you recount her flight back to holland and the greeting she got and the fact she wouldn't eat strawberries because none of her subjects could eat strawberries. >> guest: she came back before holland was liberated and she felt she was gone long enough. she brought back a retinue of three people, young dutchmen -- and set up shop in a small manor house in one of the provinces, and thousands of people put in by foot and she would hold court in the sense she had her daughter who came
back, in this manner house, lines and lines of people, they were happy she was home. >> host: for the last three hours lynn olson has been our guest, she is the author of 7 books, the most recent being "last hope island: britain, occupied europe, and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war". thank you for your time. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> sunday night on afterwards
radio host and contributor charles sykes discusses his book how the right lost his mind. is interviewed by tammy bruce, fox news contributor and host of the tammy bruce show. >> donald trump represented something, certainly a big middle finger to the establishment, if you really wanted to deal with these issues, would have gone with marco rubio or scott walker and they didn't. he is a master of twitter but he was crude, rude, serial liar, thin-skinned, erratic, a fraud. this was relatively well known and conservative, character mattered the president was a role model, found a way to
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