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tv   Andrew Roberts Churchill  CSPAN  November 24, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm EST

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other book tv programs from the past 20 years at type the author's name and the word book in the search bar at the top of the page. >> >> good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the national churchill library and center. my name is michael bishop and the director of the national churchill library and center the society was founded long ago and is dedicated to preserving the history of winston churchill. our upcoming churchill
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conference p is coming up this weekend in williamsburg. please visit us online at the national churchill library and center is the result of a partnership twean the universe and society, and over the last two years we welcome students and visitors, and share books and exhibits about churchill. including a painting by churchill you can see over there. for our churchill conversation we welcome ron dermer, david rubenstein, former pakistani president, actor gary aldman, distinguished historians including neil ferguson to discuss the particulars of his life and career but their application to our present day challenges. for churchill himself observed the longer you can look back, the farther you can look
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forward. thou let us turn to the main event. tonight, we will learn about a figure udderly devoted into history, who in his 30s wrote a boxer about a conservative historian statesman and has chronicled the wars around the world. in his views he wrote a single novel feech running the pro(review)nist like himself, and engaged in a struggle against tyranny. his articles a host of political and subjectles appeared in newspapers and articles around the world. a fervent admirer of napolean, and an honored guest at the white house he is truly made his mark on history. one of the reasons, the many reasons that andrew roberts may be the perfect boxer of winston
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churchill is that the above description applies equally to them both. >> i spoke of that coming up actually. [laughter] >> in his -- memoirs of the second world war churchill reflected on the moment when ultimate power came to him in may, 1940. >> i was conscious of a profound relief. at last i had authority to give directions over the whole scene. i felt i was walking with destiny and my past life had been a preparation for this hour and trial. after decades of research, ceaseless travel in the great man's footsteps and the use of new sources, andrew roberts has crafted a brilliant exploration of churchill's walk with destiny. it is the calm and reason judgment that andrew applies to the countless dramas, triumphs,
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and controversies that mark churchill's nine decade life, and six decade parliamentary career. since its publication in britain, "churchill: walking with destiny" has been declared the best single volume life of churchill ever written by both the sunday times and sunday telephone graph. and in the new issue of the finest hour, they hailed it as a heroic biography. he is a visiting department of the king's college london. a lecturer at the new york historical society and the author of 13 books, including the storm of war, masters and commanders and napolean. he is a trustee of the margaret thatcher archive trust. the national pourteral
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galealgiry and the national churchill society. it is my great pleasure to introduce andrew roberts. [applause] >> andrew: might it be possible to have a copy of the book displayed? also, there's something i might draw attention to. >> so i mentioned in my introduction that you had used a great many new sources and some might ask how could there possibly be new sources after more than a thousand biographies of churchill, but you found them can you tell us about those. >> andrew: there had been 1,009 of them. over the last decade a extraordinary cornucopia of resources has opened up.
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the queen allowed me to be the first churchhole biographer to use her father's diary. and king george vi, gave a speech to the audience and wrote down everything that churchill sidsch said. we sorrow have huge amounts of his hopes and fears, every tuesday of the war. we also have 41 -- the relationship between the king and churchill was a fascinating one. it need not be successful it could have gone wrong. churchill of course had supported the king's elder brother during abdication crisis, and the king had also very much been in favor of the policy of the pesment to try to stop churchill from being prime minister. it could have gone wrong, but instead it went magnificently right. and quickly the king was
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referring to churchill by his christure name. it's the only one of his prime ministers that he called a christian name, and they became friends. he uses the word friendship in the diaries. you also have 41 sets of papers that have been deposited in cambridge since the last big biography of him. you have the diaries ofiven miceky, the soviet ambassador, 1932-43, who churchill was a lot of especially during the nazi soviet pack. you have the debates over the war cabinet. those have been discovered in the last ten years. and also there's another fascinating new -- i'm trying to work out the best way of putting this. pamela herring's love letters.
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and i'm very conscious of the fact we're on tv. she led an active romantic life during the second world war. [laughter] we have these love letters. i was given exclusive access to them. she had love affairs with people all around churchill who knew him and wrote backwards and forward to churchill so you have these letters from people like jack whitney, the great broadcaster, more o, and she was married all the way this time to winston's churchill's sun randolph, and had a baby by him. you also get letters by bill paly, and of course fdr's special -- the head of rax. general kenneth anderson, and
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someone we know of as jerry. [laughter] and it's it could be pieced together, and there is something new something that wouldn't have appeared. all of these new sources on every page of my book. >> host: you use these sources in many years of experience researching churchill to take readers along with him on his walk with destiny, but the in essence of destiny was present in him from a very early age, can you tell us about that. >> andrew: it's epessential to understanding him. from the age of 16. winston churchill when he was -- he was self-educated because he had to be because he went to harrow. at the age of 16, told the friends they were going to be great struggles huge upheavals in the world, but he was going to be called upon to save london
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and save the country and the empire. and he said this at 16. he believed it. and he acted out his life very much under that sense of self-belief. the sense of destiny. and as he went through life, and especially as he survived incredibly large number of brushes with death, i can go through them but there were an enormous number. he believed as a result the almighty they were what he called invisible wings that were flapping over him and protecting him. when you look into the role of the almighty in churchill pches theology it seems to mainly been designed simply to take care of winston churchill. [laughter] >> host: one of the most extraordinary things about churchill becoming prime minister in may 1940 was that he
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survived long enough to reach that office. you mentioned just a minute ago his various scrapes and near misses. can you tell us more about that? >> andrew: let's go through them. he was born two months premature. he was stand in the stomach when he was age 10 at prep school. age 11 he had serious pneumonia, the closest he came to death. and his doctors administered brandy to him both orally and rectally. you might have thought that put you away from brandy for life but it didn't in his case. he had survived a near drowning on lake geneva, a house fire. of course he fought in five wars on four continents, and in the err 1st world war he etch p went into the trenches, into no man's land 30 times which he didn't need to do as a battalion
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commander commanding the sixth battalion. the german trenches he could hear the germans speaking to them. he survived two plane crashes, three car crashes and thisherere and to show you this scar down the center of his forehead as a result of his car crash in 5th avenue in new york in december 1931. it didn't stop with the war either. he when the war started it continued to steak extraordinary risks. again and again especially during the -- and he had a minor heart attack when he was lifting a window at the white house in 1941, and also he got seriouser series of pneumonia later on in his life. and in may of 1943 he had a accessory bout. his doctor, asked him to provide
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some blood, and churchill said well i can give you some from my finger or from me i my ear, and i have an almost infant expanse -- [laughter] >> host: when we think about churchill we think about the fierce bull dog on the cover but you discovered churchill was lachrymose. >> andrew: he was a profoundly passionate man. and emotional man. he -- 50 times during the second world war. it must be he burst into tears during the war. i would put this down to the fact he was not a buttoned up
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stiff upper lip aristocrat of the late victorian age into which he was born. much more he was a throw-back to an era he loved of the regency. the people who wore their hearts on their sleeves more than the victorians did. >> host: as long as we're on the subject of churchill's emotion said we should deal with the part of perception that churchill was depressive or manic-depressive or something along that lines. >> andrew: i don't believe that's the case at all. he was -- he got depressed, undoubtedly through the time of the world war i, killing or wounding the 160,000 ally troops which he had supported from the beginning all the way to the end. he got depressed of the fort of singapore in february 1942, and
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the fall of tobruk in 1942. anyone would have got depressed in these times. depression a debilitating illness, and it can attack at any time. he was able to chair over a thousand meetings of the cabinet war of the defense committee. and any time day and night until 3:00 a.m. in the morning sometimes. and that's not the -- of the depressive. again, he did drink an enormous amount but he wasn't an alcoholic. tb scott said he couldn't be an alcoholic because no alcoholic could have drunk that much. and when you look at the amount that he drank, and you have to remember that he was -- he had an oxygen-a like constitution and of the 2,174 days of the second world war there's only one day people around him said
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that he was drunk. and on that occasion they ignored everything that had been decided that night, and had precisely the same meeting the next morning when he'd sobered up and so no decisions were taken on the back of his drinking. but i am very much came to the conclusion by the end of researching this book, in his words were correct when he said that alcohol was -- that he'd taken more out of alcohol than alcohol had taken out of him. >> host: you've firmly established that churchill was neither a depressive or a drunk but when you look at how his parents treated him you may not blame him for either of those afflictions. can you tell us about that? >> andrew: his father lord randall churchill was a eluce figure who had been chancellor of the -- of the great orters in
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english politics. and he never spotted any part of brilliance in his own son. instead, he lam basted him. letters from churchill begging for love and affection from his parents. his mother was born in brooklyn, of course, and yet didn't she seemed to take on the english victorian attitude towards children. when she was -- when winston was ten years old she wrote everything she did in her diary in 1884 and only saw her son six and a half hours out of six months. and he said churchill said that he felt that she was -- my early life -- that he felt that she was like the evening star, and that she shown brilliantly, but at a distance.
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and that obviously had a deep psychological affect on him. she showed no interest in him until he became a signature on her trust fund and then she became helpful and nice to him. after the father's death, in 1894, at the age of 45 when churchill was 20, churchill grieved his obsession with his father. he wrote his father's two-volume biography. adopted his father's political stance of benjamin democracy. he adopted his father's speaking starts and putting his hand on his head. he called him son randolph, and when he finally made money. basically winston churchill was in the red until the early 370s,
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when finally he had cash to spenld because he'd written his war memoirs. he did a renallancy thing which was to spend it on the first of 37 race horsz. he put the jockies into his father's racing. >> host: churchill fought and wrote his way all over the world and time and again he displayed a kind of extraordinary and reckless courage that many of his contemporaries were amazed at. he said later that courage is the first of human qualities because it's the quality that guarantees all the others. you tell us a great deal about churchill's courage in your book, could you discuss that and how that was important to his career and success. >> andrew: the courage that was manifest from early on he charged of course with the battle of -- and where his units
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lost 25% casualties, the following year his train was ambushed in the war and they lost 34% of casualties, and a couple months after that he escaped from the prisoner of war camp and made his way across 30o escape. he was a man compounded of colonel, and you saw this. this was very much a preparation for the trial. you saw it again in the second world war when as a prime minister he traveled 110,000 miles outside of the uk, he went in planes across the atlantic, one got struck by lightning. if the instrumentation would have failed he would have been killed. he went across the atlantic in u-boats in the area that had to change directions to avoid u-boats. he flew in unpressurized cabbens
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in the late 60s and early 70s in areas that were being patrolled by the -- so it was with several planes that he had been in got shot down the next day or ones that were coming to him were shot down. it was a tremendous thing. he needed to do it because he was the glue that kept the big three together. starting -- refused to fly and only left russia once. fdr was profoundly disaged, and although he did go to several of the conferenceatize took churchill to go all the way to moscow twice, and so on in order to be the glue that kept the big three together. >> host: as his walk with destiny entered the 1930s he became the first one of the first at least high-level promiseinant political leaders in britain to spot the danger of
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hitler. why him? what about his background and experience helped him perceive what so many others could not? >> >> andrew: i think firstly he was a fellow sea meat. unlike many of his background and age, he liked jews. he'd grown up with jews, his father had liked jews he thought the jews gave the ethics to world civilization he felt comfortable. around jews. so he had an early warning system for hitler and the nazis that they would genuinely like a lot of british people didn't have. next he was a historian so he was able to place and the historians of his own great ancestor, john churchill, who and he wrote a full volume biography of his great ancestor, and who had of course prevented the -- of the war of spanish
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concession so he was able to place hitler in the long continuum of people he needed to be stopped from the continent, starting with phillip the 2nd of spain, going on to louie the 144th, then to napolean and then to the kaiser so he's able to see hitler in the historical perspective. and the last reason was that he come up with fanaticism in a way that very few other prim ministers ever had. he had seen it in the northwest fun fair, he'd seen it in the sedan, and in this case atlantic fundamentalist fanaticism. and he spotted it again, the same traits in the nazis, and hitler. this was something that was simply not that safe to -- none of him had seen anything like
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that fanaticism in their lives. >> host: once his walk with destiny concluded and he became prime minister in may 1940 one of his most potent weapons was his rhetoric and speeches. many of us know by heart. tell us about where this rhetorical power came from and the influences that went into it, including perhaps william shakespeare. >> andrew: i do recommend the shakespeare exhibition. at the fulton library which concentrates on the extent to which churchill's love of shakespeare and his learning of great reams of shakespeare, affected churchill's rhetorical technique. even at the age of 23, churchill had written an article the
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scaffolding of rhetoric, which explains the five things you need to do to capture an audience in a public speech. at that point it was there a because he had never given a public speech himself. [laughter] he took it from the ferry into the practice, and traveled tens of thousands of miles up and down the country to give speeches as a young budding politician and he was able therefore to put his theories into practice in a completely brilliant way. he had a problem in the in that he wasn't a natural speaker he had a -- he had to work incredibly hard but he knew how important it was so he put in the hours necessary. and in 1940 one of his private sectors asked him what the secret was to his war time speech were, and he said that you needed to keep words short,
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needs to work out yourself what you wanted to say, and keep clarity of the message, and you needed to keep synthesis short and if possible, use words from old english. which would narrowly, naturally appeal to the people listening to it in the english language. and when you look at the 141 word peroration of his speech on the beach, which speaks with fighting with confidence in the air and we shall never surrender. of those 141 words all but two come from the old english. confidence, the word confidence comes from latin and surrender comes from the french. [laughter]
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>> host: indeed. [laughter] churchill's rhetoric was of course a formidable weapon but he was also a war leader who commanded what became ultimately a vast war effort. one of the things that marked it out from the beginning was its determination to coordinate it. can you talk about the lessons he derived from his earlier experiences in the first world war and other conflicts that he brought as prime minister in 1940. >> andrew: i mentioned the horrors of the campaign where 160,000 allies casualties was suffered. and he insured he was never going to be in a position that was going to happen again. because he was never in the second world war to overrule the whole of the war. he was a politician who learned
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lessons. learned from his mistakes. and also of course he knew that he had made endless errors all the way through his life. he got so many things wrong. he got women's sufferrage wrong, the abdication crisis wrong, the gold -- wrong. the many others. so he was a genius but he was a flued genius and he knew that, and he knew he had to learn from his mistakes. in fact he told his wife, i should have made nothing if i had a not made mistakes. >> host: since you mentioned clemen teen can you talk about her,. >> andrew: she's central to his existence. she gave him some of the best advice of his career. she told him not to come out of the trenches too early in the
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second world war which was a difficult piece of advice to tell him because he was going off into the trench rating and she knew that and yet she also knew that he would never be happy in life if he sported the reputation he had by returning too early. in june 1914 she writes him a marvelous letter telling him not to be beastly to the staff, and to be nice to the secretaries and stenographers, because he was being rude and difficult. and that seems to have worked, at least for the moment. he was he always thought of her as his rock, and depended on her enormously and the wonderful thing about her is she was a battleax and could be so rude to his enemies, and you did not
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want to get on the wrong side of her when she was in full swing. this marvelous letter she writes to henry akkwit, is the prime minister in 1915, she told him he needs to reemploy churchill and not let him leave the party. and got her in our in the snooty about the letter. actually when you read it today, you would be so proud. as that good of wife you could write a letter. >> i strongly suspect we have a large number of questions from the audience see i think we will turn to that now. if you do have a question please raise your hand. anyone we have one over there. we have a microphone that will come to you -- lady in red, back
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there. here we are. >> guest: hello. thank you very much. i have a speciality question. so the question of the -- and the british withdrawal was in a way debated between -- and churchill so could you expand on that but for all churchill had having these and i mean like after the first world war the withdrawal of uk from the region, thank you. >> it was the question really in september and october 1920 that brought down the government, and it was a really went to the heart of what the british empire was going to be about because the government's churchill and
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others wanted to ensure that turkey stuck to the provisions of the fair of treaty, and which were very harsh on turkey. and the -- were going to do it. and it was -- if people had supported the government we would have possibly gone to war with turkey, which nobody wanted to do four years after the end of the great war. and so, others such as andrew -- brought down the government in order to prevent this from happening. so where are we going to be a continuingly pugnacious imperial power, the policemen of the world as ben lord put it in a letter to the times or were we going to stand back and effectively accept that we were going to be a declining power. what was called the carlson club meeting made it clear it was going to be the latter.
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>> guest: hello. thank you for coming sir. thank you for doing this and everyone at the churchill center. in christopher andrew's book defend the realm, it was a history of mi5 one of the things that struck me is that churchill the impression i had was that churchill was almost fighting a two-front war in the run up to him becoming prime minister that he was concerned with the rise of fascism, but he was also concerned about the rise of communism at the same time and it was in some circles and some policy circles it seems like it was an either or, and i was wondering if your book speaks to him trying to address that and get people to take it seriously. >> andrew: absolutely.
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and from the -- revolution he was a convinced anti-communist, but by the late 1930s, 1939, he thought it was essential to get the soviet union into a defensive pact to stop hitler, which have many problems because the polls were essentially to this, but they quite rightly feared and despite the russians as much as the germans. so it was a really complicated strategic decision. that churchill took to embrace the soviet union which he had been denouncing for the previous decade. he did it partly with the help ofiven miceky, the ambassador, so we have new information to the extent to which he was doing this. there is a chance that you
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mentioned the christopher andrew book which is the substantial biography of that. the chance that he was being bugged by mi5, because they obviously needed to know what was being said between him and miske, it's a pretty gray area of course like everythingelst in the intelligence world, but nothing came of it ultimately because the nazi soviet pact in august 1939 managed to leapfrog anything that the national government were able to do. >> guest: with this much material to choose from i'm curious how you decided what not to include and is there anything you didn't include in your book that you could share with us tonight. >> the lady in the back there in thest in the blue is my editor,
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and she knows better than anybody in the world what we did and what we didn't include. basically it could have been ten times bigger. she said stretched to the limits of the behinding and you have to do that because there is so much to say about churchill but the real problem i found in writing this book was to -- what to cut out. it was condensation, condensation the whole time one had to condense, and sometimes it's like chopping off your little finger. you have gone off to an archive, and found a nugget that you're proud of and then you just don't have space for it. and it's a horrible feeling but you have to do it because otherwise you are either forced into two vawms which doesn't sell very well, or you had
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something that if you drop it on your toe it would break your leg. but i think with this one, i have to agree with this one, about 150 pages of notes the bibliography and index you don't have to worry about. the actual bit that's the meaty part is under a thousand pages. debating pages -- [laughter] >> guest: could you talk about the modern case against churchill and how you consider it but a feather on the scale of history? >> andrew: yes. this is important especially since the internet. the attacks on churchill have become evermore weird. but i saw the other day about
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your astronaut, scott kelly, the un ambassador to space, only the united nations would send an ambassador to space, it hasn't have a government or people but nevertheless, this man said that he quoted churchill saying in victory -- in a tweet, and he got an enormous number of twitter trolls saying that churchill was a racist, and the colonialest and a war criminal, and all of this kind of thing. all the old canards the gassing of the iraqi tribesman, etc. which let me point out it's clear when you go to the original documents he was talking about tear gas, not mustered gas. he made that clear in the letter. again and again with these things you need to go back to the original sources.
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what mr. helly should have done is educated himself about churchill, instead he put out a tweet saying that he was very sorry he should have said anything in favor of this evil racist war monger, and then he got all the pro-churchill people tweeting him. i do think the space that helly the space he should have focused on is the one between his ears. >> guest: for about 30 years after the war it was the torture of the grand alliance and everybody had gotten along, and then more and more they tried to point out the shameful way roosevelt treated churchill, my personal opinion. my question is do you have any sense how he personally felt about the way he was treated?
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>> andrew: i think it's too harsh to say that it was shameful. i think fdr put american best interests first, which is the duty of an american president. i don't think because they didn't go to war against russia which he would have had to have done to impose the agreement that made it -- that fdr can be accused of that. he did pivot from the tiran conference onwards towards trying to make sure there was a long-term arrangement with the russians, which of course came to -- but what happened was that stalin lied all the way through the integrity of poland and he still had over a million russia. and without going to war with russia it seems very difficult to work out how any issue could have been done about that. so it was a terrible moment come
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by march 1946, and the iron curtain in missouri churchillhole was the first person, just as brave as what he said in the 1930s, and got just as much publicly as a result. came out and said soviet understarting was going to be a scourge. and so of course by that stage fdr was dead. but, you're right in saying where i think you're right is saying that truly 1944 onwards the close friendly relaxed working relationship between the two men had broken down. and there are over 300 more letters i think it's 342 more letters from winston churchill to franklin roosevelt than there are replies from churchill to roosevelt, maybe that's what you're referring to when you used the word shameful.
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>> guest: could you explain churchill's relationship with our president's post world war ii? i was under the impression that they shared our national intelligence information with him when he was in -- because he returned back as prime minister. so, i'm pressure truman and eisenhower both and probably kennedy both sent him our national security and -- >> andrew: not kennedy. >> guest: not kennedy but truman and eisenhower. in your museum you only have one book on general montgomery, and it's comparing him with rammel, and could you expand upon his relationship with general montgomery. >> andrew: well first of all the
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imperial war museum have sold their library basically. and it's one of the great historical tragedies and that's why they only have one book there. if you ask that question five years ago there would be have been well over 500 books in the imperial war on montgomery. his relationship was subject to fluctuations with montgomery. he admired him at the beginning, made him feel marshal very early on in 1944 to fury of patton and omar broadly and various other people that wanted to be five-star generals at the moment that weren't. he then thought that monte got too big for his boots, which he most definitely had, had befriended moonty in the post-war period, and then to a great degree i think monte went
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stayed at chatwell, 78 times in the course of the postwar and then he fell out with monte again. he said of his relationship they were like two old birds pecking each other, but ultimately there was a great deal of respect and admiration. the first part of the question can you repeat that? of course like everybody else churchill liked ike, but wanted the other to within the 1952 election. and he was nervewracked because he thought eisenhower wasn't going to pursue the policy of nuclear appeasement that he wanted to proceed towards the russians after the russians exploded their nuclear bomb in
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1849. at that point the anti-soviet winston churchill of course had been pro-soviet during the war and anti-soviet in 1946 at the moment of the iron curtain. then would change again because he saw british interests were not best served by having a heavily nuclearized soviet union. he thought eisenhower would not address that whereas the democrats might. >> guest: thank you also for coming here it's been a real treat. and having read your book on how halifax many years ago, and i can't wait to read your book on churchill you probably get this question a lot since "the darkest hour" came out and now
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being an expert on both of the leading characters on that what is your take on the movie, do you think that the artistic license they took was necessarily to get the story out to a wider audience, i'm curious on your thoughts. >> andrew: thank you so much, i wrote halifax 30 years us go. since then i've written 5 other books with churchill in the title or subtitle. i felt i was walking with destiny and my past life has been a preparation for this hour and this trial. the -- i love the film. i thought it was great. and love gary aldman's prophetics, the glint in the eye and the chortle, i thought he caught churchill brilliantly, the problem i had with it was that it deattracted from the
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true leadership that was shown by winston churchill in may 1948 for the issue of making peace with adolph hitler, where he did not go into the subway and ask a focus group of people in his -- what he wanted to do, what he should do. neither was he visited by a king in his bedroom at midnight? [laughter] and so as a result you have a detracks from the extraordinary leadership he did show. he decided he was going to outmaneuver halifax, he put forward -- it's all in chapter 21 of my book. it was a campaign to ensure especially of course once we'd got 250,000 troops back from done kirk by the 28th of may. these peace notions were never going to go anywhere.
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it's one of those pivotal moments in history that if they had, if halifax had been prime minister, and supported halifax. we could have gone down a very, very dangerous path. if we'd made peace with hitler then. he would have been able to instead of using 50-70% on operation -- the attack on russia on 22ened of june 1941 he wouldn't have been able to use it at all. in the north he got to subject to a thousand-day siege and in the center he got to the subway stations of moscow, and in the south he captured stalingrad. what he had been able to have done if he had twice as many planes is terrifying to consider. especially without america being in the war at the moment.
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>> guest: i was wondering if you could talk about churchill's role in the attack on the french at murzelkabir. >> andrew: he was a frank file to the end. he had always loved france but when it became clear that in-- nothing was terribly clear about the -- nothing was terribly clear because although we were interceptling the french naval signals, they weren't always being done in real time, and also not completely successfully. so churchill believe ad that the french fleet was not going to scuttle itself, this is the -- fleet that was in the algerian border of iran.
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but we're going to try and fight it out and take on the admir with the force. so churchill had to take this grindingly painful decision. especially as the 3ered of july 1940, and two weeks before the germans had marched into paris, not just setting back in the hope for close ang lofrench corporation but also killing between thousands it turned out it was -- 1200 -- nearly 1300, 1299, french soldiers. so he took that decision. it was one that he never regretted. and one of the reasons was that it sent the message to the world and especially here to the united states, that we were going to fight on -- if you sink
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the french -- and they were your allies beforehand it's clear you're not able to give up and make peace with hitler. >> host: can you discuss the reaction of the commons. >> andrew: he cried as he so often did earlier. but he hated doing it, and said so. but nonetheless, it was the first victory we've had for some time, and of course actually the other thing is that the royal navy itself split between the officers who were in new other french officers and they'd been on each other's ships and trained with each other and liked each other who were death certificate by trying to kill so many frenchmen and the able seaman who just thought they were something straight out of
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trafalgar, and absolutely didn't mind in the slightest. [laughter] >> guest: again, i just want to say thank you for being here. my question is what are your thoughts as to why he was not reelected right after the war. do you think maybe because when the war ended people saw him as a symbol of the old order, he was an imperialist and wanted to basically start anew? >> andrew: that's one aspect of it. it came as a shock when he lost the 1945 election on the 26th of july. he expected to within because he'd been on one of the other of these election tours, but his
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name was only on one ballot, where as a lot of conservatives who had been abeefed they're names were on the others. and people wanted after six years of devastating war wanted to have a more well they wanted nationalization, they wanted the national health service, they wanted the welfare states and the bed ridge report put into operation, and they knew it was going to be labor party that would do that with gusto. where as churchill did offer to do most of that, he was not do it with anything like the same conviction, and that's essentially -- he also made an incredibly stupid remark during the election where he attempted to acquaint labor party with the gestapo which was an extremely stupid thing to have done and
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lost us a few seats. >> host: i think we have time for one more question. >> guest: of all the churchill biographers out there, how were you able to convince the queen to give you unfettered access to her father's diaries? >> andrew: i'd love to pretend it was anything other than serendipity. i didn't take no for an answer and i kept asking, which i think was very sensible with the royal archives, and also if it had been 17 plus years since the event, and so i think that it was pretty much time of course that's a decision to be taken between her and christopher knighter and her private secretary luckily they came to the decision that i was going to get a yes rather than yet another no. but as i'd say it was on
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archival genius. >> host: ladies and gentlemen i'd like to there vite you all here on monday the 26th at noon and now i hope you will take your own personal walk with destiny over to the book fair and ensure the education in the future of andrew's children by buying books remembering that the holidays are just around the corner. and please allow andrew to make a dash to the signing table where he will be only too happy to give you his autograph, thank you for being here tonight and andrew roberts thank you. >> thank you. [applause]
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>> michelle obama is on tour for her best selling autobiography "becoming" here's a portion of her speaking in washington, d.c. >> so education was important to our family and early on in about second grade something happened that changed your trajectory, tell us what was going on in the early days. >> this is a story gives you some insight to who my mother was as well. we grew up in a neighborhood called south shore on the south side of chicago. the south shore. in the house. [applause] we are everywhere on the southside we come everywhere. but when we moved into the neighborhood it was a mixed neighborhood. ninety mix-race neighborhood. working to middle class which is why we moved there to go to better schools. we lived with my aunt robbe so
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she was able to own her own home, and was married to my uncle, tarry, he was a pullman porter. so they had a stable income and was able to buy a house in south shore. the neighborhood was mic'ed and that meant the schools were mixed. so in kindergarten and first grade i put a school picture in my back to show you the diversity that was there. but what was going on in the 70s was what we call white flight. and all my little white friends that i had and i had plenty of them they started literally disappearing before my eyes. and i didn't want realize until i had grown and up learned about segrogation and the whole issue of pushing folks fleeing out of the communities at black families moved in was that the neighborhood was starting to change, and so we started to feel those effects not just in
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friends leaving but a disinvestment in the neighborhoods and we felt that in the school. so second grade comes around and it was the first time i was in a chaotic classroom, where erasers were flying, and teachers wasn't teaching and i knew this as a second-grader. and i would come home with my little lunch and baloney, and i would -- you came home from lunch back then. lived around the corner, we'd turn on "all my children" and watch the shows, and i'd have my baloney sandwich, and say mom, this class, we didn't even get homework, i was that kind of kid. [laughter] we are not learning enough in this class. how will we make it in third grade. i was this kind of worrier. >> what were your friends saying? >> we had girls that came with us, we traveled in packs and we were all complaining.
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this needs to change. and we were just complaining, and my mom did the mom thing of like hmmm and we thought she was listening but little did we know she was back up at that school and she was making some moves, and what happened was that a few of us got tested out into the third grade because of my mother and the advocacy of other mothers. but i tell this story because i knew even at that age that i wasn't being invested in as a second-grader and sometimes we like to pretend that kids don't know when they're being short-changed and be valued, and i'm her to tell you that i knew that as second-grade. so as we look at school inequality and things aren't right, kids know when they are not being valued and it makes
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them feel some kind of way. [applause] and i was lucky to have gotten out of that classroom and into a better classroom but dlat wouldn't have happened if i didn't have a parent at home who was one of my fiercest advocates, and understood the difference between whining and real distress. >> that was just a portion of her talk inn washington. watch for more in-depth coverage of michelle obama's book tour in the coming weeks on book tv. >> this year book tv marks our 20th year of bringing you the country's top nonfiction authors and their latest books. find us every weekend on c-span 2, or online at >> next on book tv's after


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