tv David Woolner The Last 100 Days CSPAN January 22, 2018 1:00am-2:13am EST
with enormous insight with the depth of understanding of the roosevelt era if you read the book it comes through also now involved and spent most of the last 25 years of his life dedicated to the roosevelt big lake -- legacy so he peels away that superficial analysis and goes to the more important underlying structural issues the most critical point in american history that were determining the future of the world and he brings insight into that proces process. so please welcome david. [applause]
>> that is a wonderful introduction and thank you for your generous support also i would extend my thanks to chris for the tireless director of programs and the entire archives that have been patient with me over the years as a come rushing in asking for documents at the last minute and then many dear friends and colleagues and my colleagues at the college and the roosevelt institute and the trustees. in the entire history department and also from the university college roosevelt
it is wonderful to see all of you and expressing nervously grateful how i am to each of you for your support and encouragement to see this project through it is nice to see here he gave me some five on the opening quotation from shakespeare i used to dedicate the book to my father you have a copy coming don't worry. speaking of my father the book is dedicated to him he always had a joke so i said i better have one and it is a story of two men in a park one had just become a father pushing the stroller along in the park with his baby boy and meets a colleague and says this is
wonderful you have a new baby and looks down to say what a handsome young chap some day he can grow to be president and he said what's wrong with roosevelt? [laughter] laugh not so the first 100 days are famous during that brief period that franklin roosevelt and congress passed no less than 15 major pieces of legislation a president has come close to matching. he began his. by declaring that this is national consecration a time the american people can join together not to embrace fear but to banish it.
in addition to the first 100 days to including to bring social security and unemployment insurance and in the summer of 40. after the fall of france when the british are left to defend themselves with the inspiring rhetoric of churchill and the pilots of the raf that there is another. in the presidential legacy that is important not only from the perspective of his political legacy but what that can tell us about fdr the man and referring to his last 100 days. like when he first learned to deal with the reality of his disability the last 100 days
are are a period of grateful ability. the time that the entire president began to speculate what life could be like outside of the oval office that the private individual felt that need to be near those with whom he could be himself and not exhibit a as he referred to as his public persona. with that unprecedented nature it is easy to succumb to the notion this activist president to fall into that view there was no challenge he could not meet it he is capable and after all to have those great crisis of the depression and
but his reticence to show emotion practice he and his mother adopted to deal with the weak heart of his father was 54 when fdr was born. as his father became more of an invalid mother and son conspired to always remain cheerful to avoid stress or public shows of emotion to not upset the delicate constitution of the aging james roosevelt. he carries this to me into adulthood with the results cheerful exuberance was used as a mask to hide he was really thinking or feeling. with a deep responsibility to lead to a feeling of isolation and loneliness and dozens of
aid and assistance. but the big man was beginning to feel isolated and alone. coupled with a sense of isolation is too much and fdr was exhausted of what was important to him personally and to the nation in the world. it is this fact that makes his last 100 days of his life and presidency so instructive. was he a president and leader in office in the fate of the american people.
and to retire to his home on the hudson river shows -- chose instead to run for a fourth term so he could finish the work he started 12 years before. this brings us to the start of the story for purposes of this discussion because i hope there are questions at the end. that was desperate to accomplish and to bring an end to american isolation. in the story of the last 100 a again on the grounds of his face in hyde park.
no are rooted in the sense of place and franklin roosevelt and why they returned to this place again and again with a sense of community among the friends and neighbors so on the precedented fourth term in office he would decide you like to spend christmas at springwood that is the name of the family home located a few hundred yards from where i am standing right now. and as my family will testify happen to like it is the scene that would greeted fdr arriving on christmas eve day three quarters of a century ago.
but things were different on the other side of the atlantic during a counter offensive the fighting that the battle of the bulge turned out to be the fiercest of the second world war. hitler's sudden move became as a real shock only before this looked across northern france in august many hoped they would be there but the failure of the operation and with german resistance followed by
the counteroffensive thought about the dyer realization the war in europe was far from over as we can see here. >> i was sending reinforcements desperately so to add to the anxiety was a growing concern among the american public about soviet behavior in poland and also concerning poland and other parts of eastern europe it was also upset about british intervention in behavior and in the fall of 1944 when the resistance center allies of
the british that the communist resistance might gain the upper hand politically and then to send forces to establish a conservative regime this is a scene december 3 with a protest movement in athens after they killed some civilians. there were arrests of members of the communist party the american public wasn't just focused with respect to the russians they were concerned of the british behavior and then equally unsettling at the time was the revelation was the document to spell out the united states which included a
clause to choose the government was never signed by franklin or churchill. his headline from the chicago tribune 1944 the american people were fools. so there was concern and confusion what does this mean? do we go back to imperialism or this sort of behavior? so these factors combined to create this uncertainty when the warm light and and the behavior of the soviet british allies or the ability of the administration to see your those principles articulated once the war was over. but the sharp contrast in
congress sworn into office 1933 versus sworn in at the start of the fourth term january 3, 1945 this congress was the opposite those that seem to be plaguing the allies was no push for rush for new legislation in most concluded it would be better to wait for the state of the union. then this is an important time. with the 79th congress could be one of the fateful
assemblies in the history of the nation reported by the new york times. because they are unsettled and waiting for leadership not knowing of course looking to provide leadership during this critical period. that is exactly the 100 days after the gavel brought the congress into session. so the phrase 100 days thinks of the term but it is the first 100 days of congress. well it is quite remarkable. but that was exactly 100 days that he died.
to remind the american people if we vanquish our enemies the more we become conscious of the differences among the victors. he also argued it is vitally important not to let those differences divide us those interests and then after the last war preferred international anarchy to cooperation with nation that did not he and think as we did. gradually to achieve a better piece and admittedly in the imperfect world we must not let that happen again to follow the same tragic road
and then i thought to myself this might be possible. said they do not provide rules of easy application but it is good and useful to have those principles of which we saw he saw that as the aspirational document as to that recent criticism fdr admitted he shared the concern we must not permit those specific
immediate problems of adjustment with the liberation of europe to delay the establishment for the maintenance of peace that is a long-term goal. so they reflect his thinking at the time but what was critical was the establishment of the united nations that is the important component we fail to recognize that whole notion of the security council they didn't like to call it the great power of diplomacy that his vision was of you have those for big powers in the same room there would not be another third world war.
that the soviet union would demand a measure of control but the best evidence comes from the ideal that churchill negotiated with solomon that his document it is a difficult time for churchill on the one hand he doesn't seem to pay attention that he used to years desperate to have another meeting with colin long -- stalin and then flies off to moscow separately so this is the first thing that he presents two cuts a deal with the soviets for control over the easter mediterranean
with 90% of control versus 10% of greece and then split 5050 so the notion that roosevelt is feeble and naïve foldout eastern europe that frankly that is nonsense because that reality is soviet power if you think it is a serious question so great powers often can't attack one another so this is the reality they were facing that this is prior to the intervention.
this is the horsetrading the mom -- that goes on in long -- under the surface. remember britain went to war over poland. forget that. hitler wanted one more added time british declared war on germany that started world war ii so that is a tremendous problem with the notion that they went to war it is a political problem if he tries to give away poland. we can talk more with the american perception but in the book that make the point they
want to get involved with the soviet power there were limits to promote the free and independent poland that point was a very unlikely place. that would be impossible to get into the media shot and we can talk about this with the discussion. and then to embark on the rest of our journey focusing on those three issues that i mentored long -- mentioned in
those other issues that come up in the book. here is roosevelt's fourth inaugural address his son is behind him strong and tall vice president truman said he is an important character and consistent he comes back for this inauguration. he came from the philippines back to the united states. after the ceremony going into the private study to talk about his will. and shortly after roosevelt leaves on this extraordinary journey from north virginia to the atlantic up through the straits of gibraltar that were pretty dangerous. you can imagine a straight only 9 miles wide with a blimp
overhead in the catalina flying votes seven destroyers and cruisers it is unbelievable. just in armada for the one ship with roosevelt on it. and then they get to the most bombed place on earth all to that is the entrance to the harbor the extraordinary and then as he saw the sales and and then speaking with churchill and winston to enjoy the mediterranean sun makes up an entire chapter but it is 13 hours. and that would be fly off to
crimea. he will have one visitor and meeting after another. that is an awful day ahead. and then i do have a little point that eric you did the plane took off on the 15 minute intervals with dozens of aircraft with the 740 sevens flying all night. then it is an interesting trip that they take to drive up over the crimea amount but what i find interesting is the efforts to make him feel comfortable we can see he is
in the soviet jeep that is the american jeep under these they put a nice carpet here with an actual kitchen chair of the height is roughly approximate to the height of the people coming to see him so he would not be embarrassed that he was a diminished figure. and here they are witnessing the guard of honor. the russians take great care of the president and then to drive to malta is extraordinary roosevelt notices and says to anna at one point she is a huge part of the story protecting him during the trip and it is
extraordinary this is what it looks like if you go today and here is the conference room that had a circular table it was relatively cool not like we think of winter like going to a tropical area but much more than washington. so in terms of roosevelt's goals they are threefold. the first is to orchestrate the final defeat of germany was soviet participation and to have soviet participation
but the sad thing that people overlook is the extent that was front and center. they consider germany as an aggressor with the franco-prussian war so there was the exit long -- a perception in the world that peace was incompatible with the notion of a strong and united germany. so one of the major discussion points that breaking germany into five or seven states and what is fascinating when they
arrive in the conference begin roosevelt is the only had a state and then he will chair the session start by talking about the occupation zones and the question is what france will do but stalin is very upset. and what about the reparations? you have to understand that the soviets wanted our cooperation and relationship they are scared with well over 20 million dead in the second world war. as we can interpret soviet
behavior they are obsessed with security is the critical issue so roosevelt is talking over the fact it looks as if germany will not be dismembered so we don't have time to get into the minutia but throw that issue comes up and then appoint to exile and have this conversation and to stand up to the russians you want me to go to war with russia? is that what you want if you look at the example because if
not a common communist to negotiate with stalin and the soviet government that roosevelt saw a model and i'm not trying to excuse of what happens but they were both very frustrated because they would not compromise or negotiate with stalin and refused to recognize so that polish issue becomes a terrible problem and because in the public's mind so they link this to the charter so
that becomes linked and that is a very critical part to be compatible with those expectations he has articulated. and try to get the russians to support that idea of free and fair election so he says i did the best i could and we can talk about that later. so it is an interesting picture churchill here you can
see the stereotypical conference meeting and then will spell asked to take extra notes he speculated that he might die and want somebody to have a solid record firmly he didn't, but he asked him to come to everyone and asked him to take notes. so here is courtyard this was not a very happy day they could not get the god damn polish settled they take a break and get their photograph taken and things cheer up
after a few minutes. but it goes right up to the very end of the conflict. >> but that roosevelt leads that is referred to the last line to egypt line to egypt and he has an extraordinary meeting with the king of saudi arabia. so for those of you that palestine was controlled by the british issued a white paper restricting immigration during the war which of course was terrible for the jews trying to escape europe they
could not afford to have that rapid unrest that roosevelt never endures one of the most interesting part he had this idea to go to saudi arabia and convincing that granting the jews the homeland of palestine will not cause the arab population any great difficulty. every single one of his advisors should not do it. some people said it was a violation of the charter. others said what about the oil? then there was the old military dimension we cannot afford to put troops into the middle east.
they were all dead set against it but he said that anyway that i think is his determination but also the estimation of his own personality to convince them to give them a homeland in palestine. the uss murphy comes alongside with roosevelt he would see the entourage saudi arabia they had to build a bedouin tent he refused to sleep in the state through because he thought it was unacceptable. the king has to eat so they corral the sheep because he had to have fresh lamb every day so they would slaughter his sheep so the crew had arrived there was a lot of fractured raising it was an extraordinary trip.
the king's bodyguards had a great photograph. and it really is quite extraordinary. the photograph of the keying meeting with him and then to convince him believe me it isn't a casual conversation he goes on where he gets frustrated to say i will not talk about this anymore. he said that the germans say. roosevelt goes home to call it the great failure of his political career. that he could not move the king at all he told that was built but he went ahead anyway.
so here is palestine. what is happening? next line. we have a minute the home germany is interesting because one of the key aides dies into the journey and then sinks into a depression sitting on the decks day after day and of his key advisors they have different responsibilities and then to help them write the speech tuesday day after day roosevelt doesn't start until the day before they arrived back in virginia. here he gives the famous address he is sitting down.
but here is the interesting picture but here are the normal steps. this is a very famous moment the first time he allowed himself to be front of congress it is very moving eleanor roosevelt watching the gallery and they are choked up to say it was like a vision. and that he was a crippled man. but then he goes on to say after 14000 miles but then he
goes back to the white house it is interesting. sixteen days. that's it. the longest. franklin roosevelt in the white house continuously in his fourth term. he is gone all the time. every chance he gets he goes to hyde park burden to the altar he just doesn't want to be there. so of code course with the oval office and quiet of it talks about the 16 day. that comes out but it is a fascinating story of his final 16 days and it takes a lot of time the prime minister comes
from canada spending a wonderful weekend together. so they could free up time on the weekend and bakes him to stay to say can't you please stay? and then lists all these people and all the people close to him. this is very sorry that he has to be they also talk about the atomic bomb which is interesting. so it is a fascinating time every time eleanor roosevelt leaves siam asked i might as well bring it up. that out of those 16 days he is on the phone or meeting her and anna was arranging these
readings. it isn't a physical relationship but a man who needs company and solace in she is like a policy advisor for those that don't have the agenda that what they were trying to promote and they share that desire work for what bob monk -- bond and the two of them over decades but he just wants to get away from that and also entertain from another arriving on his anniversary it is a very moving scene they go for a drive on the countryside and ask plays for people are starving to death and roosevelt was determined to do something about it. and then goes off to war in
spring and it is close quarters it is a very small place it is very modest that is one of the charming things about the roosevelt error modesty. so this is the dining room so to speak but this really shows you roosevelt working at is card table with his leg propped up with his favorite chair and his bedroom on the opposite side. and then he sees him in this position he says his hands
shook so much it was embarrassing to watch as he tried to pour the drink and he had to hold the glass. is not in the greatest of shape. so he is focused but part of what he has to do is get the soviet union. with that idea was not just for the soviets but also the american summit because they were very skeptical of american sovereignty so the fact that there is a veto in that provision and then to
acquiesce to have three seats in the general assembly by the time class areas no outstanding issues with the soviet forces on -- participation so to turn away from the international responsibility. one of the most spectacular fireside chat i just can't resist showing this. churchill presents and great britain. and then roosevelt takes pencil to put in alphabetical order. so here is the sketch from the tehran conference from the
executive council. but here is a fireside chat asking people to put also the largest sale of national geographic maps in history now he says take out your maps. and to give them a lesson. because the second world war is a new kind of worn not only with this method but also geography. then warfare on every continent, and here they in the world. the last point was critical
and then to reset hemisphere point of view and then to be viewed as one to be separated by the intake in the pacific and then look at it be published in various magazines but especially when you have airpower. but he said that they had to change their thinking and could no longer afford the stop of those polar projections links with the rest of humanity.
and then the way they interpret geography or north america on the map but a psychological shift to encourage global thinking that universal thinkin thinking. as such his great struggle has taught us increasingly freedom and security or property anywhere depend on the security and rights and obligations of liberty and justice everywhere in the world. from this perspective the allies helped to defeat the axis with america's values were ever they may rise. they were indistinguishable as it was impossible to separate american security from the needs of the people. based on these concepts he could argue isolationism was
not only naïve but dangerous for it was imperative from the 30s and the 40s to stay actively engaged in the world. the primary instrument for the folder projection was the united nations coming as no surprise a map that uses this technique. so to conclude with a declining energy in the final days of his life but that determination to secure united nations understand there were contradictions to have the family of nations that they would not be without its faults with the imbalance between powers and the states
that made up the rest of the international body. that he never thought he could form into being that you make it the exclusive authority during the big three unless after the war the first step of the democratization of the democratic organization of the world. with his overarching goal even more cataclysmic regardless of the atomic bomb but also tokyo with the utter destruction even before the bomb was successfully tested it could not survive another conflict like this. and on the 26th of june the
purest expression the emphasis on human rights to be under the skillful leadership with the declaration of human rights 1948 with the social advancements of all people and then for the fullest collaboration with the object of security for all labor standards and social security. the creation for the un charter stands as another reflection with the issue that
divided from churchill from the trust territories to ensure the government responsible took adequate steps to prepare them which include the right to self-determination. so it is clear of course the trustee council is there but has nothing to do. it is the last and not from the council so the legacy of fdr in addition to britain was in free-trade with his security system helping to vent also endurance.
but every outcome in his policy he was the farsighted politician and as mccormick noted holding on the 23rd of march the last interview he gave and project into the future the design for peace. as he sat the day before he died working on the jefferson day address. contemplating the work of the executive struck that jefferson himself a distinguished scientist that is brought into one family and however widely dispersed there
is a lesson for today we are faced with the preeminent fact colts of faith the science of human relationships for all people to live together and work together so those that share the resolve that would be achieved be possible to against the terrible scourge of war. all of those ready to dedicate themselves and i would have never crashed for the public. the only realization is that outside today let us forward with a strong and active faith. unfortunately is unbounded
optimism carry on despite his utter exhaustion and that was never delivered with no address to the opening of the united nations conference into about his years in tranquility and peace denied. and with that determination that he works so hard to establish during his time in office and at no time more urgently -- urgently that his last 100 days. thank you very much. [applause] you for. . . . .
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