tv Susan Ronald The Ambassador CSPAN November 23, 2021 6:59am-8:01am EST
television for serious readers. >> is my great joy and privilege to introduce all of you to our speaker today he was born in the united states and lived in england where she lived for a number of years she was a biographer and historian and the author of several books in addition to the book which alex mentioned she wrote a dangerous women in heretic queen among
others, she is a meticulous researcher and uses an incredible number of resources in the book she will talk about today is the ambassador about joseph kennedy when he was ambassador to great britain at the beginning of world war ii. we will have a time for q&a at the in of ms. runnels presentation, if you have questions as we go along please enter them in the chat and we will bring them to her desk, thank you susan. >> thank you very much mary i'm happy to be here and thank you everybody for coming to listen to me at 2:00 o'clock in the thank you for coming to listen to me at 2:00 p.m. i will try to screen share, so bear with me. there we are. okay. people ask, why joe kennedy? what made you want to write .bout him people know bit-- bits and pieces aboutd him, but the ansr is quite simple. b
i write about power and greed, so this is my shameless piece of self-promotion i'm giving you, the last three books are about powerful people and greed. and the only one that's a good guy is condé nast. joe kennedy seems to be the founder of the kennedy political dynasty with nine children. they were all heavily competitive with one another. they were often described as a clan or a tribe and they actually were. joe junior, the oldest died, unfortunately, during the war, but he was-- it seemed it to be the brother who they loved, but also feared the most. he was apparently quite a bully actually and resented his father the most as well. the founder of the kennedy was patrick joseph kennedy, joe's
father, first first generation american who was very active in east boston, primarily of irish immigrants and he was the one that got the kennedy side of the family involved in politics. he was the head of award to and if you go to the book the last hurrah, that would give you an idea of the type of shenanigans they got up to. he became actually quite wealthy being a local ward politician, which was a i'll scratch your back, you scratch mine type of existence, but the man who was really in charge of boston's democratic politics were john fitzgerald who was known as honey fitz and he was rose kennedy's father. he looked down on patrick kennedy. he was twice mayor of boston, a state senator and also went to
the house of representatives. this is like the fact that kennedy was courting his eldest college-educated daughter, but only agreed to allow her to marry joe because he was going to become the youngest bank president in america. here's a picture of joe. nevermind the bank-- it was a small boston bank and the father owned most of the shares. this is a picture. i have previously said, don't really like the gown. someone said they really didn't like the tree she was taken with she was married in m1914. one of the things honey fitz did is well was to make sure he would keep joe on the straight and narrow which, of course, he could never do, but he gave joe his own private secretary whose name was eddie moore and his matter-of-fact ted kennedydy was
named edward ward kennedy after him. he became a permanent fixture in the family and served his parents and stayed with joe until he actually died. this picture was taken in 1938 when he was on holiday with his wife mary next to him and rose and the children. joe, by 1917 had two sons by rose, joe junior on the left and jack-- i don't call john f. kennedy john, call him jack because that's how the family referred him. in 1917 the war came to america, world war i came to america, but it's called the great work and you can begin to number them until there's a second one, so he asked for a reserved occupation meaning he would not be drafted. he had received his draft notice, but honey fitz arranged for him to become a manager at the four river shipyard in
boston. but only problem is is joe had not been properly briefed on the nation b and people at actually been drafted in management and he was unaware of the fact that all the workman had been promised a race. secretary of the knees he-- navy , franklin eleanor roosevelt was angry because everyone walked out. joe closed down one of the most important shipyards on the eastern seaboard and he and charles swab who owned the shipyard had to step in personally to get the men back too work and joe was put into a lesser function until the war was over. after the war he went to a small stockbroker in boston, liked the idea of making money. so, after a couple of years there he went to wall street really in his ownrs bad and by
1925 he made his first million, said of his children with million-dollar trust funds in 1925. he bought a house on palmdale avenue-- i'm sorry palm field avenue in new york and then said about making his second fortune because he heard they would make talkies in california, los angeles, and he thought this is the thing for me. i know what i'm gonna do, but instead of actually making his money out of his movie, he had louis kirstein who owned a department store in boston s bak him to buy a very small company, film distribution company called the film booking offices of america and it joe began his-- you know he's a master showman of the world. he-- his films were usually quite profitable, but they were
what i would call see you or do films, really. where joe made his money was emerging businesses and later on merging again and he created the very first large studio. the other thing hee did in hollywood was to manage the biggest star, gloria swanson and they also became lovers. now, unfortunately within two yearsov joe tires of his job. he made two films with gloria towards the end it 1930, one called queen kelly, which was so bad it was never released and the other one called what a widow and when gloria asked him isn't there an error here you seem to have given the writer a new cadillac for coming up with the title, quote what a widow".
joe looked at her, turned red and walked out of her lifend and she never heard from him again. she talks about it on the dick cavett show in 1976 so shows how long things stayed with her. he goes back to new york and i thought she would like to see the image of central park in 1930 after the wall street crash what was, and then were things called apple days when, those wall street traders who were still working or given a lot of time off to sell apples on the streets to make ends meet. joe wasn't paying any attention. he decided he wanted to make his third fortune now and also get involved in politics. what better way than to become friendly with roosevelt who was the oldest son of franklinlt and in the 1932 campaign elliott was
in charge of trying to run his father's campaign in massachusetts in boston. while also setting up an insurance business so joe befriends him and calls him his foster father. what happens then is before probation is actually rescinded, joe takes elliott to europe and even though there are lots of other people who were trying to bargain for the rights to import whiskey to america, when you are coming with the man who everyone thinks is the future presidents a son, you will win out and there was absolutely no contest. joe won out, so before probation had been rescinded that shortly after the electionn, joe had already bagged his next fortune. what joe really wanted because he had his own people working for him. he didn't have to be involved in the day to day of importing of
liquor, he wanted to become secretary of the treasury and he worked hard to help roosevelt earn his money-- earn money, sorry, from contributions from all kinds of people during the 32 campaign, but of course roosevelt said joe kennedy would run the treasury the way he wants to and would not pay me a blind bit of notice so henry morgan was his choice and state is a choice. joe had to settle to become the first chairman of the securities and exchange commission. he did a reasonable job, all the documentation and all the logs however were written by others and it joe ended up trying to befriend them and the only ones who actually worked with joe long afterwards was a man called james landis who was one of the writers-- kennedy's unpublished memoirs. he finally made the cover of hetime magazine, which, of cour,
means for joe that's great success, but now it's 1935 and he had been in the job from 1933 until 1935 andob it's time to retire. he tells roosevelt i need to retire for personal reasons. i have to go to europe and roosevelt to do me a favor, would you as an unofficial advisorav could you find out frm everyone in europe when they will pay our war debt because it would help us go from the corner from depression to recovery. [inaudible] he goes to will learn, doesn't need anyone important, hitler refuses to meet him. he goes to rome. he has contacts with the vatican goes to paris and the american investor in paris really doesn't want to joe on his patch, sell it's only in london and he meets with the american ambassador there.
he introduces him to people including neville chamberlain thewas at the time chancellor of the-- also introduces him to tankers and lows of other people and he gets the idea i think i would like to be ambassador to britain and i think i could help my children get some international experience. anyway 1935 and there's going to be at 36 election again to reelect roosevelt and so joe goes to work and figures if i don't become secretary of the treasury maybe i can becomeer ambassador, so he writes a pamphlet over the winter called, i'm for roosevelt, aimed primarily at-- [inaudible] the one thing roosevelt had trouble with was big business in america. they hated him and thought he
had communistic tendencies and there were rumors spread against roosevelt, so the other person kennedy gets-- [muffled audio] now bishop francis, it wasn't a cardinal as of yet, but he spent his entire youth-- [muffled audio] he was effectively the translator for the pope as well as eugenia put kelly who is pictured below with his own entourage. joe kennedy's to the left. pacelli wants to come to america and joe wants him to meet with the president because he wants to develop a closer relationship with catholic aroma. it's a dream of his and essentially what happens is spellman says pacelli won't meet until such time as he is reelected and there was a big who haul between joe and all the
others, but fortunately roosevelt one and two jelly went in to see him the day after the election. this picture-- the gentleman on the left becomes quite chummy with joe. his name is enrico and he is basically the vatican architect. he's also the architect of fascism in the vatican. now, the thingng joe didn't understand about the vatican's position at that time that since 1929 when he did his deal with mussolini that vatican had agreed to stay out of politics periodod. they gave up the papal states in italy and created the vatican city and all that we know today as the vatican. he then also did a number of agreements throughout europe with a lot of the fascist countries including germany so that he could protect the
catholics within those countries, but also get more money for the catholic church. joe didn't understand this. 1926 election, i thought you should see there was a time when america was all blue, almost. joe fails to get appointed as ambassador because bingham is still in his position even though is not well and is instead given the very lonely position of the first chairman of the federal maritime commission because there are 400 posts upon tribes that were gouging the government, fraudulent actually and he had 73 days to sort them out. he did do it in the 70s and he worked very hard to do it, but at the same time he said if i'm not going to prick be appreciated in politics, i'm going to end up buying most of william randolph newspapers which were up for sale for
probably 50 cents on the dollar. joe wanted to buy them for 10 cents on the dollar in that story unfortunately made the cut in my book, but it's an interesting story. joe then decides, okay, it's going to be ambassador or nothing and at the end of 1937 he has this picture taken of the family. this is the portrait that will sell him as ambassador. this is what he said his heart on and what he wants to give to rose so the family can be in the social t register and the kennes will no longer be just up-- is greatest dream was to make the name, is great as adams and boston. his son, joe junior, was going to be graduating from harvard in june, 1938. joe was studying government and he had made his special area of interest. why spain, because it was the status of the war at the time,
but most importantly it was because that was a war which the church had taken the side of the rebels with franco as opposed to the government side or the loyalist side, which was socialist communist and one thing i have to say is that joe and joe junior had a morbid fear of communism. jack, in the meantime, has just started his first year at harvard. he's only two years younger than joe junior, but he was a very sickly childr. in 1947 the family discovered he severed from addison's disease. at this time no one had any time -- any idea what was wrong with him and he became in his own words a very interesting case. he goes to europe that summer with his good friend and wright's home and writes a diary and that diary is actually available at the jfk library
online and it really does make very interesting reading because you have joe junior who is writing his father and expanding everything that he says with my father says, my father believes whereas jack who because of his illnessd has read so much and he was definitelyy the reader of te family and he's thinking things through trying to understand what's happening between communism and fascism particularly in europe and how it will affect america. he was definitely very clearheaded internationalist thinker.heit so, how will joe achieve this? he's been writing for a lot of the press a lot of the time and being m rights he's coming back to john's house been-- john hobbs skin hospital for surgery because no one is able to figure out what's hungry-- wrong with him and he hears is going to retire, so joe asked his good friend, arthur kroft who is the
washington bureau chief of the "new york times" to help him get the word out that he's the best man for this job and that bingham is retiring. i have to say this point that mr. croft claims in his memoir that he never received financial benefit from joe kennedy, but actually that's only if you don't count to $25000 a year he got plus all of the vacations in europe and palm beach. i also need to say that i don't think the "new york times" was aware of that relationship, so these are the guys, these are the three men that are going to make the name of kennedy crate. joe junior says to his father-- [inaudible] jack has now been around europe
and arthur is also a very dear friend of the boys and trying to help promote them into politics. joe finally gets nominated because of arthur croft leading the fact that he should become the ambassador. he finally-- i missed a spot. i apologize. he's finally sworn in in february, 1938. leaks december 9, 1937. now, why there was this delay i ask about in the book a, but its still something of a mystery, but there are a number of different reasons why it could have happened, but you have to read the book to understand that. anyway, he comes to london march 1 and this is a picture of joe on march 8, 1938. as he's going in to give his credentials to king george the sixth.
the gentleman the second from the left and the uniform is un-american, colonel raymond lee who didn't get along with joe. he was his military attaché and in his bookta he had said alreay by this time that he was drunk on his own ferocity and that is probably the most true statement anyone has ever said about joe. joe was constantly shooting his mouth off without realizing that messages got back to people and by the time he was appointed as ambassador roosevelt knew all the terrible things he had said about him, but he sent him out into england because he was less of a danger to him overseas than he was to him in washington because joe was in isolationist and didid not believe america should have any international goal other than to earn money. the first person he-- whose nose
he put out of joint was a week later randolph churchill and randolph and winston churchill took joe out for lunch and joe was talking about how britain did know what he was doing and that it should not be hurtling itself to the war and randolph at the time was a journalist and winston apparently stood up and turned purple at the luncheon and lectured joe for 10 minutes and walked out.te randolph, on the other hand, talked about joe's credentials, the palace-- st. james' palace, by saying he only stood out because he and the waiters were the only people in long trouser there was a big thing in the american press about him wearing short britches and he couldn't do that because everyone would make him a laughingstock. so, now joe is the ambassador and he's given his credentials to the king.
king of course has a duty to court joe as well as joe going around to meet all of the other ambassadors and he reports back on the ninth and 10th of march with all the other ambassadors for a saying n about the europen situation. these two gentlemen. the first on top is cordell who is the secretary of state and actually the longest serving secretary of state in american history s and beneath is the assistant secretary sumner welles. now, within days of this literally on the 15th of march , joe does the and pardonable thing and in a telephone call says, i am the european expert, you just shut up, you don't know what's going on here. therefore, within 15 days of his arrival in england he has the state department angry.
now, his good friend enrico who was a committed fascist was the one driving him, one of the ones advising him and joe junior was also advising him, but joe junior wasas also listening to this and as a matter fact kennedy hired his son on 1 dollar a year salary against the wishes of the president and the state department. the reason why they didn't want him to hire him was because he was utterly inexperienced. however, joe met neville chamberlain again who by now was prime minister and he thought nevilleni chamberlain had the answer to everything and appeasement was a wonder. joe started to sing his praises to the state department and to the white house and even-- [inaudible]pa he said nasty things about eaton who the president personally
liked and enjoyed talking to. he thought that edward would who was the replacement effectively secretary of state foreign minister thought he was a bit too protestant for his liking, which is a true. he was extremely religious and high anglican as we say here, but he got on well enough. the first time inn many of joe was swearing like a trooper and he wrote that to the british ambassador. backing up now to march 11,-- he's in london to present the new ambassador to britain. herbert, i laughed because i just think you know you take one
look at this guy and go my goodness what's going to happen next. he had been in poland in the 1920s and called the terror of poland and then moved in the earlye 1930s to tokyo and was responsible for bringing japan closer to the axis powers, so now he is in england and he's under strict orders to befriend kennedy. already by june, they have two separate meetings in which kennedy is listless, drunk on his own ferocity and actually betraying american foreign policy. the day after this meeting is that angeles. kennedy writes in his diary, i'm very disappointed lord halifax hasn't come with me too oxford. it seems he's tied up on more important international business. the annexation of austria into germany.
he thinks-- joe thanks chamberlain has hitler under control, but he also thinks that all he has to do is meet with hitler and he will be able to solve all the problems because he's a great businessman and thinks he can handle diplomacy and politics and as i said in the booksm, the sad thing is he didn't have a diplomatic bone in his body. winston churchill is against him. most of the british establishment is still following our dear friend, mr. chamberlain did. in april, 1938, he and rose are invited to windsor castle and now joe is getting drunk on reddish high society and all the wonderful things they see and do and he sees how happy it's making rose.he he knows they will be in the social register back home and he has made it impossible for american debutantes to come to england tont be presented at cot unless they have clearly
established relationship with britain. rose and he become friendly with these troops and the royal brotr and rose presents her two eldest daughters, rosemarie on the right and kathleen on the left in may, 1938. at court. it's interesting when i quote from rose's diary when she talks about this, she doesn't talk about how the girls did, only about how she did. sorry, i skipped. excuse me. one of the things joe did in april, is he asked nancy air below with her husband waldorf to see if he could introduce his daughter kate to some nice english people her own age and kit attended a party easter weekend party, which is now a hotel in berkshire.
there she met gino and became her best friend of england and also about two weeks later jean's cousin billy-- now, billy was the heir to the duke of devonshire and literally it was love at first sight a tremendous love affair. meanwhile, halifax is very worried that it isn't working so he and churchill started to work together on other economic means of trying to out-- outwit germany. kennedy is completely oblivious about that. he has his family in europe giving his boys international experience and he's also putting himself in positions for maybe the vice presidency in 1940, maybe even the presidency. this lady who should be well known to all of you is clare booth luce. in may, 1938 she and henry came
to the embassy in london and shortly afterwards she began an affair with joe. interestingly, a staunch republican, she became one of his greatest advisors. so, she tells joe that he can't keep staying in london. it won't get u-boats back home, you have to get yourself some press and go back home to some great press asap. go back home every three months or people will forget what you look like and he took her at her word, the only problem is the next time he was going to go home was in june for joe junior's graduation, harvard. of course, arthur croft was happy to give him good press, which made roosevelt angry, really angry and refused to see him. he's so angry that joe starts to go early to the graduation, but then discovers harvard university is going to refuse to
give him an honorary doctorate. insteadd they chose 14 other people including walt disney and it was walt disney that caught joe upset. comes back to europe, one of the reasons why he had been chosen in terms of roosevelt was that he was a businessman and there was a major trade agreement being negotiated with america at the time and they thought joe was a businessman i could negotiate. by the end of june, beginning of july, joe spending time trying to arrange for the family to go -- [inaudible] he's flying back to the state department and everyone is disappearing at the end of july so the state department already knew he had d planned to go at e end of july. everyone else in britain was staying on because there was something very wrong in europe and they thought hitler was going to move again. the reason why he wanted to go is because to prevent harding 10
asking kit to marry him. it was going to be his 21st birthday and joe feared he would ask her and she would accept. last thing he wanted was for his good catholic daughter to marry a protestant particularly as peter grace was madly in love with her as well. kit only loved billy. the picture below is jack with his sister. his picture, there whole family and front of their little cook pan-- cabana at the beach. joe, have him here with his mouth open because while he was there he was shooting his mouth off about how morgan was useless and sumner welles was useless, how cordell was useless, how the whole state department if it were in his hands he could fix-- of course they didn't think it was broken. his next-door neighbor are the duke and duchess of windsor heard about it and actually edward so perturbed that he let
the royal family now back in england thatat there's a problem with joe. joe meanwhile meets another neighbor and they begin an affair. this is marlena with her daughter, maria and if you ever want to read something that's absolutely riveting it's maria's biography of her mother. her remarks on the kennedy children are absolutely delicious. so, affair with marlena dietrich , he is still there when -- comes back very belatedly via paris and horns in on a meeting of the other in american ambassadors to britain and discovers a it's actually quite important, i better get back to london and tell chamberlain what to do. he portrays tremblant to the
state department as the only man who could save the world from disaster. he's the only man that can bring peace and i'm just going through something that joe repeats and gets the state department and the president angrier and angrier because of course chamberlain had refused roosevelt's overtures for peace in january, 1938ev, and so they knew they were dealing with a very difficult man who was actually probably anti-american. chamberlain comes back after munich at the end of september waving his piece of paper claiming peace for our time and halifax heart was broken. he had shivers when he hears what tamerlan says because he knows appeasement is dead and that britain absolutely must rearm, but of course it doesn't. a local newspaper, which actually says it all that hitler is just running roughshod over
everyone. two months after munich we have crystal knauf, which was an excuse if nothing else for looting and pillaging and killing jews. joe decides well, maybe this jewish thing mightg be of interest to me if i want to run for office in america may be able toth get the jewish vote ad he thinks about putting together something he calls the kennedy plan. this is just one of the 900 synagogues destroyed 9. joe goes back to america for a prolonged holiday a. christmas holiday between 38 and 39 as he's gone for two months and this has been a thing of his, constantly goes back for two months at christmas and meanwhile a the exodus of the js from german occupied territory begins. joe writes something called the
kennedy plan, which is effectively stolen e from other works written by other people who were actually working out of the london msa. he comes back in the middle of february and immediately asks if he could be the envoy to rome because pope pius the 11th has died in his good friend eugenia pacelli and enrico have now been pope pius the 12th and enrico says sure you and rose can come except he comes with all of his children, the nannies, his butler and a few other people and i write about exactly what happens, but joe doesn't understand two-seat set up apple coronation is quite amazing, but then to take all of these other is terrible. i'm going to plug my book again and say you have to read it to get to that.
while he's in rome, again he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. hitler decides to take the rest of czechoslovakia and he marches in. meanwhile, rose goes back to london and is again presented at court with eunice this time, so that she can come out in grand style and that year the biggest party happened to have been edlyn and palace palace pictured below. the following month the king and queen meet with the roosevelt's at hyde park. joe tries to claim loudly that he's the one that had organized this, but it had actually been in the offering is since 1936 when george the sixth became king. there was a special envoy to the
coronation t asking him to pleae come to america and it was at this point that roosevelt warns the king that if he wants to know about american foreign policy he should not be asking joe kennedy. joe is now desperate. he believes there will be a war. he has to tell-- talk people out of letting hitler-- just let hitler have his head and he will be fine so effectively what happens is he asked charles lindbergh to please write a big report about how futile it will be to go to war against germany in this report is circulated throughout american embassies in the state department and, of course, it gives the president a heads up as to what lindbergh is going to be doing if war comes in he comes back to america and certainly he became the spokesman for the american first committee whose motto is make america great again and as you can see he and roosevelt were not good terms.
august, 1939, the thing that churchill had feared the most happened. the molotov pack happens and that's going to guarantee a war becauseua, course, germany is nw going to have to go and fight the soviets to n begin with. within days, actually i think seven days, britain is forced to declare war on germany when germany invades poland. joe is now completely sidetracked by the foreign office and also by the american state department. they are working together either through the britishhr ambassador in america or through other people roosevelt is now in touch directly with churchill and everything he is hearing from kennedy is different from
everything he's hearing from churchill, so in-- joe decides in late november, 1939, i'm going away. i'm going to not come back. and no one ever knows what's wrong with his gastrointestinal system, but he actually-- the only medical document ever of any of the kennedys on file atn the kennedy library he actually has his doctor right to roosevelt saying his gastrointestinal tract needs him to stay in palm beach. well, chamberlain asked for him to come back in march, and it's only when he learned that in march, 1940, sumner welles is going to be going around europe that joe leaves palm beach and comes back into britain. here's a picture of joe chaperoning sumner welles with chamberlain and halifax. as a matter fax-- fact, the king's diary states howte upsete
was that joe would not let him meet privately with sumner welles. there was, as you know, a long period in the war where between september, 1939, and april 1940, where nothing at all was happening, germany invaded norway april, 1940. the british were soundly defeateded and this is really te end of the-- [inaudible] within three weeks churchill is asked to form a government by the king because even though chamberlain had won the vote in parliament, it was by such a slim margin everyone knew that britain was possibly going to perish because it had not rearmed adequately enough and churchill had been talking about this since 1933 and he was the only man that could possibly save the country. i should say-- sorry, i should say that joe is also the only man who did not congratulate him
on becoming prime minister. there were four different documents that ir came across ad finally it was noted joe made a telephone call to congratulate churchill. within six months of churchill becoming prime minister, wood was moved to become the british ambassador to america on the retirement of the-- lindsay, who was the previous ambassador, not so much because they did not get on, but mostly because he felt that would would be an honest broker for him in america. he was in actually his sons had befriended kate in england and when one of them came to america it was kick who helped him through his problems. he had lost bo-- both legs and the african campaign and she was absolutely wonderful to him and would help kick get back to europe so she could marry billy
huntington in 1943. in the summer of 1940, obviously people were taking shelter where they could. joe kennedy was told you cannot come back to america. you have to stay in england that you have to help as much as you can. well, he bought an ambulance, but he never went to see the bombed out areas. this is as close as joe kennedy came to a bomb. he told everyone that he was actually bombed out of the american ambassador's residence in the west and, but there-- on the internet you can see where the bombs actually fell and there was absolutely no bombs, so he became known as jittery joe at this time. he had left london. he did not go see any bombed out areas or inquiry to the king and queen when buckingham palace haq
been bombed. he was a very, very, very scared man, but the way man-- one man who was not scared was jack. this is a picture of joe with winston churchill as he is leaving england in october, 1940. he recently had a tea with king of england and the queen and he upset them so much that the king wrote him a lettero about how wrong he is about britain and how wrong he is abouts the need to fight and i do put that in the book. his good friend, neville chamberlain, who had remained a part of the cabinet dies about two weeks after joe leaves. as he's leaving, he reads these constant things from churchill, these wonderful inspiring words and hated nevermore. he comes back to the states in
november, unclear booth looses guidance. he's going to declare for wilkie. he blackmails, actually, roosevelt into coming back to america and that is something i don't want to go into in the chat, but it's a fascinating portrait of what happens to a person who doesn't realize that they should keep their own counsel. he lobbies for no war. he lobbies against britain, he talks against britain and he is thoroughly hated by the british as much as he is by the state department, but in america and no one really knows what's been going on and when japan bombs pearl harbor he decides-- oh, i guess i better go to work and he you know sends roosevelt a cable saying i'm your man, just name the place and of course he never hears back from him.
the ambassadorship to great britain at a time when they were still a british empire and that made great britain very important with the highest office he would ever achieve and until his dying day he wanted to be called mr. ambassador. his sons, however, were braver. jack, as we all know, had the pt 109 experience, but there's another experience, which is the first diplomatic experience that i write about in the book, the very first casually civilian casualty of the war, canadian civil casualty of the war took place september 4, 1938, and it was jack, not his father who handled it with the survivors. he was brilliant. joe junior was a naval pilot. he was apparently a mediocre pilot and had there not but a war he probably would not have been the main pilot of an aircraft, but he had volunteered to be the first drone pilot
because he didn't want jack to be a greater hero than he and jack had obviously already been decorated for the pt 109 and saving his cruise life, and that's why he volunteered because of the competition between the two. so, there was a failure as ambassador, but this man greatest legacy was his children who absolutely adored him. he did everything for themm. and according to jack, when he was president, joe kennedy made everything possible. thank you. >> thank you, susan. that was fascinating. wonderful. i'm trying to get out of the screen share. [laughter]
close share, should i do that? will that help? i don't know. let's see if i can get myself back on instead. i am trying to get back on because i don't want people to ask questions to the slide. [laughter] no, i don't want to resume a share. i don't want a s new share. should i do that? quit powerpoint. let's see, yes, here we go. >> you did it. well done. >> we do have some questions in the chat. >> sure. >> when question is, how does joe maintain his reputation today in the united states and why is this information about his time as an ambassador not more well-known? >> that's the main question i ask myself when i was reading all of the candy biographies--
kennedy biographies, why hasn't anyone written about his time in england, i just couldn't get it. the closest anyone came to writing about it is willis swift in his i "kennedy's and the gathering storm", which is a very nice book about the kennedy family in britain at the time, but not about the political and diplomatic dilemma that was going on. so, like writing about people who are reasonably well known, if i can, but little-known stories about them so i decided i would take the slice of two years and concentrate on that. no one else had written about it and i think that's the main reason why no one knows because of all of the kennedy biographies aroundll, no one was interested enough to write about .t i think also, perhaps, even willis swift did not come to england to do research.
he had researcher here, but he personally didn't come to do ith when nassau wrote his book-- biography on kennedy he was using wills-- will swift's ilresearch and thanks him for i, so that means they didn't go to the churchill archives personally. they didn't see winston churchill's quibbling in his own hand. they didn't see the notes-- the researcher missed the note, thanks-- thank goodness we won't have to hear kennedy any longer when we are in the house of commons. these are all things that p you know i believe in doing the research myself, so yeah, i found these, but no one, nobody had been to the royal archives before me and it's a bit of a big thing to get into the royal archives b. anyone who is accredited
publisher can do it, but it takes a long time for it to happen, so i think that no one else has written about what king george thought about him and that's why the book is important >> of course. thank you. another question is about joe's relationship with jack and how did he help him even though their policies and approaches were so different. >> it's easier to answer the second one than the first one. >> okay. >> i will answer the first one as well, but the second one first. when joe junior died, jack was still in the hospital after pt 100-- 109 and he heard his brother was dead and he apparently sighed and said oh, dear lord, now it's on to me. jack actually wanted to be a writer. he started out as a journalist,
so he knew he had no choice. he had to take his brothers placeha. i don't know that he would have had a choice even if joe junior hadn't died because i think that joe senior was hell bent on creating a dynasty in his mind better than the addams family had done, so that was the main impetus for jack going into politics. how joe helped-- they really-- he was always his father's son, i mean, all the sons were womanizers like their fathers-- father. they thought that was normal because that's the way they grew up in a also thought it was normal for the mother to be absent from the home for 300 days a year and that was rose's way of coping with joe being a serial womanizer. very difficult situation and
really follow the family makeup, but because there were so many children they got strength through each other. they did client the other and joe and rose made sure that it was part of their upbringing, so he gave them a sense of togetherness. he was always called dad by the boys and daddy by the girls. rose was always called mother by all of them. she was a distant figure. jack never analyzed why she was a distant figure. he claimed it was because she had too many children. i think that it was a convenient way of his looking at it. he adored his father and joe adored his son, but what was jack's strength was he never ever contradicted his father directly. he never said you are wrong, dad or you know i think you have to do this.
he had a very diplomatic way of speaking to him and joe ended up respecting him for his different views, but the main thing joe did is financed in the 1960 campaign. that was the thing and there will be a book coming out by irwin gelman i think in january, about the 1960 campaign. joe helped by staying in the background because it was already known that he was a fascist empathize or, certainly in political circles and it was already known that he was a an anti-semite and that was certainly not going to help jack win any elections. i should say that roosevelt also called him a fascist sympathizer >> one of his gifts to his son was to keep his mouth shut. >> yes. [laughter] >> did his-- did he have irish
sympathy that compromised his support for the english? >> i think-- i believe he did, but he hid them very well. one of the ambassadors who he cozied up to early on was the irish ambassador and he managed to wrangle an honorary doctorate at trinity college in dublin, so he was very pro- ireland, pro his irish roots, but he didn't speak out as an ambassador of that being pro- ireland, but it was a really difficult time for the british in terms of accepting the irish free state and also having northern ireland as still part of the united kingdom. i think he understood to a certain extent the sensibility. most of the british-- because there were loads and loads of thing in the foreign office
files of the national archives but then when they were analyzing joe they didn't feel he was anti- british so much as pro- irish, which is interesting considering all the terrible things he said about britain being stupid and fighting hitler >> is there anything to the stories that he was a bootlegger >> probably, certainly he had imported boost to america before probation was over and he had embroiled the presidents us on and that-- in that, but i had heard from friends in boston that it is definitely what happened. what i read i didn't-- you know, they said he was connected to al capone. prove it. no one's proven it and then again the us government could improve that al capone was doing what he was doing, so they had
to get him on tax fraud. these are a couple of very smart cookies here. f i can't believe that joe wasn't involved, that i have no proof he was. a lot of hearsay. >> so, tell us about what you are currently reading and books that you might recommend for our participants today. >> i just finished a few days ago. it blew me away. i heard use of language and such a phenomenal book. before that-- i read a couple of books a week. believe it or not, i was readini tito's-- peter's autobiography and the reason for that is peter's father appears in my next book. so, it was just absolutely amazingg.
very very funny book called "dear me". i thought it was wonderful. i don't know if anyone is a big pbs watcher there, but the book before them was called "silk house". by anthony horwitz. he's the creator of pbs america and he's also done other things like midsummer murders and whatever, a very big british name and so i am currently reading his-- what's it called? murderous magpies-- magpie murders and i'm also reading at the same time, of course, because you must read two books for pleasure, "the dictators muse". it makes me laugh because the bits that are really great fun,
but the bits that are invented like letting was close friends with oswald mosley are not true in those things make me laugh, but it is very well written. >> good. thank you.tt we are so grateful to you, susan, for all you have done today. fascinating and i know people are looking forward to reading your book. we want to also thank the friends of ferguson and the elm street books where they can purchase your book and to everyone who attended today. this will be-- is recorded and will be available on the library's youtube channel, so if you had to leave early or have a friend that would like to pick that they can do that. it will be ready tomorrow. our next author series will take place september 15, at 6:30 p.m. , and in person series with the author of "the other
black girl" and it will take place in the ferguson library. our great thanks to all of you and have a wonderful day. thanks again, susan. >> thank you very much. take care now. bye-bye. >> sunday, december 5, on in-depth, historian and conservative commentator victor davis hanson joins us like to talk about war, politics and citizenship in the united states. ..