tv The Contenders CSPAN August 7, 2016 8:00pm-10:04pm EDT
i expect -- >> the republicans -- wendell willkie ran for president in 1940. these are some damages -- some images of him on the campaign trail. we are here with david willkie. i want you to introduce the cabinet -- audiences of some of the fervor. your grandfather ran for president and try to defeat franklin delano roosevelt, who was seeking a third term. >>
>> he was always interested in politics, even from growing up in his hometown. he talked about it in his life, in his childhood with his parents, when they got to college -- it was always an integral part of its life. its life. >> we are in russellville, indiana, one of the homes of wendell willkie. -- russia wilhville, indiana, one of the homes of wendell willkie. homes of wendell willkie. >> this is a wooden post card sent to the united states mail, sent from aberdeen, washington. all of the people in the town actually signed the back of the postcard to say "we want willkie." we want wendell willkie to run for the presidential nomination for the >> was the campaign like? you had or will keep clubs. you had boxes of buttons and
banners. banners. >> people wanted something new and different that they had not had before. this is where the willkie name started to take off. here was someone who had challenged the new deal successfully. he had been a strong proponent of individual freedom and liberty. people were drawn to the message. the message. >> we are about a block off of main street. your mother, wendell willkie's daughter in law, lived a few blocks from here. here. >> if it was my grandmother's home town. my grandfather grew up in elwood. when they married, this was the place they generally call home. in the family, my great great grandfather had lost his shirt during the depression. my great great grandfather had lost his shirt during the depression. instead of giving his father in law a handout, when the willkie and bought a farm land. he asked his father-in-law if he would manage it. >>
>> the northeastern part of the state, north of rushville about an hour and a half from here, a little bit of an hour from indianapolis. indianapolis. >> why is elwood so important for the 1940 campaign? for the 1940 campaign? >> the decided to accept the nomination in elwood, indiana. it is the largest political rally ever in the history of indiana. the historical society said the people were honking horns and cheering that the hometown boy was the republican nominee.
>> he was improbable going into the philadelphia. philadelphia. >> no question. he was the dark horse. during the dump -- during the nomination speech, it was such a high sweltering indiana at bay. it was a carnival atmosphere with books and paraphernalia. >> david willkie, who is the grandson of wendell willkie. we'll be checking in with you over the next two hours. tonight we are coming to you from rushville, indiana. in a moment, we'll be joined by amity shlaes, the author of "the forgotten man," and james madison, prof. we are going to show you the scene in elwood, indiana, and the speech by wendell willkie. >> i say that we must substitute
for the proxy of distributed scarcity and the philosophy of unlimited productivity. say that we must substitute for the proxy of distributed scarcity and the philosophy of unlimited productivity. i stand for the restoration of full production and reemployment by private enterprise in america. [applause] on new deal's effect business has had the inevitable results. investor has been afraid to invest his capital. the businessman has been afraid to expand his operations. many at hands have returned to the unemployment office. errors console -- irresponsible experiments in the country as
deprive the former of this market. for the first time in history, american industry has remained stationary for a full decade. i charge that the path of this administration is following will lead us to the end of the road. i say that this course will lead us to economic disintegration and dictatorship. i say that we must substitute for the philosophy of spending, the philosophy of production. you cannot buy freedom.
>> from elwood, indiana, in august of 1940 to the west county's historical society here in russia vill, indiana. this is one of the postage stamps from 1992 -- a 75 cent stamp celebrating the centennial of wendell willkie's bert. amity shlaes is with the george washington institute in dallas tx. you have been a professor of history at indiana university. let me begin with that speech he gave in elwood indiana -- elwood, india. it's as the groundwork for why he was challenging franklin delano roosevelt. delano roosevelt. >> he ran against roosevelt and the new deal and against the tide of policies and politics represented by the new deal. we will have a good opportunity to talk about those in detail. it was a fairly standard political speech, but not a fairly standard political rally. it was a massive rally. 150,000-200,000 people in the small indiana town in august at a time when as hoosiers say, you can hear the corn grow. he spoke with eloquence, yet the atmosphere was such the speech was a bit flat in terms of the audience, in terms of the reception.
that was not the best part for >> one note about the speech, it was heard on radio by millions of americans. of americans. >> this was the time for radio. people sat by the radio and listened intently. intently. >> you ever written extensively about the new deal. this is now eight years after franklin roosevelt promised a new deal for the american people, yet unemployment still in the double digits, still a lot of concern about the economy. why did republicans turned to an outsider?
it is probably the first time in american history that a non- military not a politician was the party nominee. nominee. >> this was a political expression. i see the speech as a enormous success of some kind. the republican party was bailing the country. it was not giving an answer to what the democrats had offered. the democrats were not delivering recovery. the recovery was choosing to write -- choosing to stay away. willkie was an expression of the people. the gop had never expected a rally like that. it was a genuine grass-roots event of a kind that is very rare in the u.s. you start way down there and get to the nomination for president. >> why him? what did he do to try to lay the groundwork that allowed the
party to turn to this outsider, this businessman from indiana who spent some time in new york at the 1940 nominee? at the 1940 nominee? >> it is easy to underestimate willkie. the long term career politicians did just that. he did have no political experience to speak up. he had never ran for office. he never held office. he was a businessman, a lawyer, but very smart and very sophisticated. his business experience was really, in a way, political experience. he was a wonderful communicator. he knew how to work with people. he knew how to make a case, how to make an argument -- the kind of skills a deployed as a presidential candidate. candidate. >> yet alice roosevelt longworth said it was a grassroots of 1000 country clubs. you are smiling. are smiling. >> in the grassroots complaint -- campaign is part of the politics and politicking. it truly was a grassroots in what it intended, but willkie was not a common man.
he was a wealthy corporate lawyer and businessman. he had an agricultural interest, but he was not a farmer. he said he formed by conversation, not by actually farming. he was far from the grass roots, but he tried to appeal to the grassroots. to the grassroots. >> amity shlaes, let's talk about the 1940 convention. this had the governor of minnesota delivering the speech. herbert hoover, former president, who is hoping the party would turn to him one more time. tom dewey, and, of course, robert taft, who is hoping the party returned to him. to him. >> we get in a little trouble when we draw analogies. dewey was the prosecutor from new york who overrated himself. we often have new yorkers come out and say they are going to win, especially when they have a legal background. taft was mr.
r people had him before. taft was a name. that was not particularly new. herbert hoover was a wonderful man. he was getting in the way of the progress of the party because he kept wanting to run again. this time was probably past. what was excited about -- what was exciting about willkie was he went to hear herbert hoover and they could not believe that harbor hoover would hog the nomination. in that way, willie was a grass roots. he, himself, was not of the grass. he was chosen by people who were voting against the party. the other names were "the parti." willkie came in as somebody different, not what we expected. >> he retired and an exciting
man. i think for many people, it was none of the above. man. i think for many people, it was none of the above. it was the perfect atmosphere for an outsider who promises and looks very different from the standard of the late 1930's. >> what was the state of the democratic party, amity shlaes, and franklin roosevelt and his support in 1940, eight years after the new deal at a
he might be a good war leader. all of a sudden, people were tongue tied and did not protest against roosevelt. still, it was quite amazing. amazing. >> professor madison, the headlines in the summer of 1940 with one "at the republican nominee, hitler moving to france and declaring victory. the big question, is great britain next? juxtapose the politics of 1940 and the limning clouds of war in 1940-1941. 1940-1941. >> france surrendered to the not sees a couple of days before the philadelphia -- not sees a couple of days before the philadelphia -- nazis a couple of days before the philadelphia convention began. they knew they needed a wartime leader. roosevelt looked a lot better in that context than did any of of the other republicans.
republicans. >> we are coming to you from the rush county historical society in russia wilhville, indiana, one of the homes of wendell willkie. he was born in elwood, indiana. our focus this week is on wendell willkie. 737-0001. if you live in the eastern time zones, 737-0002. there are so many images from that campaign. there are things we do not see in modern campaigns. what was that significant? what did that tell you about the support wendell willkie had with certain sectors of the public? of the public? >> of course, there was no television. they really had to get out there with the people.
he spent a lot of time crossing the country on trains. retail politics in towns and cities all across america, with all the hoopla, with all the stuff to get people engaged in keep them excited about the campaign. campaign. >> was franklin roosevelt worried about wendell willkie? wendell willkie? >> i think he enjoyed it. he said, "i am not going to pretend that it is an unimportant duty for me to campaign." both of them were warriors. both of them enjoyed that process, yet he respected willkie as a contender. from the beginning, you see him dropping comments -- "that 1 i am worried about their "he was ready for the battle. >> we will hear from franklin roosevelt in just a minute. who was behind the willkie campaign? who are some names are audience might be familiar with? audience might be familiar with? >> rookie at the good fortune to meet people in the publishing
and newspaper business. people who bought bank by the barrel. the editor of forbes magazine, the book editor of the new york tribune, the editor of time life, and others. these people in the publishing world like him very much and were very strong behind-the- scenes in advocating a working for his nomination and election. nomination and election. >> yet, he was a democrat before becoming the republican nominee. nominee. >> he had more credibility as an outsider. he supported the league of nations. he was a democrat right up to 1935. you can find documents with will be associated with democrats. -- willkie associated with democrats. beck gave them much -- more power because he would not a party man. he became a republican out of conviction. the saba was wrong with the democratic philosophy of governance.
when you look at the beginning of his career as a businessman, he thought he was a democratic utilities man. they gradually came to be as the government was putting the private utilities and he grew angry. it was speaking truth to power. that is what he represented. he really was angry for what happened to this country -- his company. he sought shareholders lose money and his company be hurt. that is someone observing from the political sphere. sphere. >> the unemployment rate in 1940 was what? was what? >> the unemployment rate for 1940 was 10 or below. it was above where we are. it is a little bit muddy because you are moving towards a world war ii. the average unemployment rate was in the teens. that is the important thing to know.
some people say 14, some say 15. it is the difference between terrible and awful. and awful. >> wendell willkie talking about unemployment and jobs on the campaign trail in hoboken, new jersey. we are going to listen to part of that and then a conversation, part of the recordings of president roosevelt in the oval office from october 1940 as president roosevelt discusses the challenge. roosevelt in the oval office from october 1940 as president roosevelt discusses the challenge. >> one of the things that struck me as i was driving up the streets of hoboken, why is the average store window -- why does the average store window have pictures of my opponent and his running mate on the new deal ticket? i do not know of any more appropriate place to put those pictures. [applause]
>> franklin roosevelt and recordings from 1940. james madison, franklin roosevelt was a politician. we hear a little bit of that in this oval office reported. >> there is probably never anyone in the white house the was more of a wily politician than franklin roosevelt. he had a skill and ability and success that has few if any rivals. willkie had the misfortune of running against that skillful politician. >> was one goulty consistent on the issues in the 1940 campaign -- was wendell willkie
consistent all the issues in the 1940 campaign? >> i do not think so. the campaign started to go badly for willkie. the disorganization, the chaos. in the last part of the campaign, he moved in the position on the war and a new deal that he may not happily agreed with. they were more harsh than the truth wendell willkie. >> amity shlaes. >> he was inconsistent, but we cannot downplay is a success. he won more votes in that election with any republican had ever won. electorally, roosevelt was that wily fox.
on the popular vote, it was much narrower. willkie got much closer to the democrats than republicans have before. to the tape we just heard of roosevelt, roosevelt really did become worried. maybe we will hear tonight another tape where he worried about whether he could use willkie's mistress as a back to be him in the election. there is a lot of stuff going on and they are beginning to take him seriously. that was the future of the campaign. a very important girlfriend back willkie had. >> you write about are in your book. let's take a few phone calls. we are in russia wilhville, indiana. our first caller is kurt from ohio. welcome to the conversation. the conversation. >> process and good evening. this is a great program and i hope that a lot of people take
advantage of this great service to you are giving to the american people. my question is -- i have a couple of comments -- the first one is being in the suburbs of akron, ohio, i wanted to know a little bit more about wendell willkie's role as an attorney for the goodyear tire and rubber co. where he, during that time, was heavily involved in akron city democratic politics. my second comment is with wendell willkie being the dark horse candidate at that time i in 1940, do you see history kind of repeating itself 72 years later with the emergence of herman cain as the new dark horse for the republican party with no political experience and a business background, that sort of thing? he is starting to look better compared to governor romney and
governor harry and all the others. >> you bring up two good points. thanks for the call. he grew up here in indiana. ohio was a key part of his career. career. >> he followed the economic growth. that is what happened. why did he go from indiana to ohio? because robert was there. because tires were there. we think of our cities now --
when he got to akron, he could not find a bedroom. it was that pact during the automobile boom. it was so tight, going so fast with the automobile industry. that tells you a lot about what he was for. he was for economic growth. from there to new york with a law firm to serve a new industry, utilities, and then to have that utilities company. company. >> herman cain was on the fox news channel today. one of the questions was the republican party has not nominated a businessman said wendell willkie. said wendell willkie. >> i always like when people make connections between present-day politics or issues and the past. i am reluctant to do that except to say this -- it is too early to identify the dark horse because at this point in 1939, very few people had ever heard of wendell willkie. many body was still a democrat. he did not emerge until the spring of 1940. if we are calling a format, we would have to wait until the spring of 2012 to know if we have a dark horse.
>> the conventions of a 1940 were very different from the conventions of 2012. >> the outcomes were less certain than now. we seem to be more settled in a primary system. a primary system. >> ron is starting us from maryville, washington, to talk about the provincial campaign of wendell willkie. willkie. >> thanks for taking my call and for having this series. it is outstanding. i want to provide three corrections or clarifications to statements that have been made. 1, the statement that roosevelt was the first president to contemplate a third term. actually, woodrow wilson contemplated at as documented in his recent biography by john milton cooper. he seriously contemplated it. secondly, i am pretty sure roosevelt was the assistant secretary of the navy, not full secretary. third, willkie, i do not think, was the first non politician republican nominee.
i would specify hoover as being in that category, even though he did hold the cabinet post of secretary of commerce. he was never elected politician or did he serve in the military. >> thanks for the call in place for the points. first on herbert hoover and on note woodrow wilson. hoover was secretary of commerce -- commerce. woodrow wilson, the point about whether he was serious about a third term in 1920. >> i just read the biography of calvin coolidge. wilson and wilson's crowd talked about a lot of things, but it was clear to the party that he could not be the next president. that is a little bit of a different category. we did not say roosevelt was secretary of the navy, we said he served the secretary of the navy, but we appreciate the caller.
>> james is starting a snack from stanford, north carolina. north carolina. >> i just wanted to comment -- in the fall of 1940, when the willkie did a whistle stop tour of florida. i happened to be a western union trainee in melbourne, florida. he was on the rear platform of the train. a crowd of 50 or 60 people have the opportunity to shake hands with wendell willkie. that was the comment i wanted to add. i wanted to add. >> do you remember if you saw him on the whistle stop tour? what did you take when you saw him campaign? did he leave an impression? an impression? >> i was a kid at 18-years old. i was in all. here is a guide could be the president of the united states.
i am 89 now. i was 18 then. just a kid. i was visibly impressed. it was really something. it was something very, very special. these are some of the images of the crowds swarming around wendell willkie. a couple of points that nbc radio carried almost 30 hours of the republican convention in philadelphia. television was introduced a the 1940 convention. he was in new york, schenectady, and a few other cities. the republican party put together some advertisements used in movie theaters around the country. >> politics are always changing. there are always new techniques, new possibilities, and new media. willkie was very astute. et -- he was excellent at that. he was helped by the time the
people he had around him in the campaign, or the best of the best. what he would not a farmer, but he went after the agriculture vote. >> the agricultural vote was still very important in 1940. there are a very large number of farmers in america and they are very important -- they vote. foreign policy was central to presidential elections for any president expected to have a chance of victory. they must pay attention to that. that is what we see these photographs of willkie standing in front of a corn field or in front of pigs. some wags said that all the odds in russia will started to pose as soon as the cameras showed up. -- rushville started to pose as soon as the cameras showed up. he was quite honest. one of the nice things about willkie is he was honest, including never actually pretending he was indeed a farmer. >> the major issues in 1940 -- what were they, amity shlaes? they, amity shlaes? >> there with the war. are we going in?
do we have to go in? is london is to be bombed, maybe we have to go in. world war i was such a horror. war always stops economics. to the economy. those are the big ones. one thing about willkie, we know the phrase "happy warrior spir." willkie was a happy warrior. he was basically not a vicious man. what the gop have learned in the 1930's was that they failed through bitterness. all the attacks on the new deal were bitter and angry. willkie represented a new way of
being for the party, not just to smear roosevelt, but to take him on with facts and without too much ad hominen. i do not know if you call that media or character. i call it character. >> if you into a movie theater in 1940, you very well could have seen this advertisement put together by the republican national committee for wendell willkie. wendell willkie. >> whether you are in oregon or florida, new jersey are california, you have a right to know how well your republican candidates for breton and vice- president understand agricultural problems and their personal an interest in farming. for this purpose, this motion
picture has been produced. the two most talked-about men in american life today are the central figures of this picture. wendell willkie of indiana and charles mcnary of oregon. mr. welty visits a family of one of his former split -- mr. willkie but it's a family of one of his formefarmer. they does not let anything stand in his way. willkie but it's a family of one of his formfarmer. they does not let anything stand in his way. these are practical corn belt farmers. his interest in america's young people is
>> from the republican national committee -- amity shlaes, he described himself as a liberal. this is an important point to understand. rebels, in the 1940 is a very different term. -- liberals in the 1940 as a very different terms. what's he met the liberalism of the individual -- your individual rights. not the liberalism of the group. not the progressive block. that is quite different from liberalism. that is what he was seeking to define, especially in the middle of the 1930's. 1930's. >> richard is joining us from wellington, florida. we are within a the shlaes and james madison. shlaes and james madison. >> you mentioned the important role of the publication, houses in new york. -- publication houses in new york.
i visited the elite special collections and went to the will keep files. i was very struck by the role and campaign of people like john whitney, william harding jackson, the managing director of the whitney co., and of william mcilvaine in the chicago area. i would like to know if you would talk a little bit about their role in the campaign and, more broadly, the level of whitney companies in new york that stem from mr. willkie's time in new york in 1949 and maybe before that. thank you so much. >> he actually passed away in 1944. >> wendell willkie was a corporate man. he worked a commonwealth and southern, which was a company
put together to wire the south korean the united states. it would not be surprising if you heard names like that associated, but not all establishment republicans with money worked for willkie. many worked for the other names we heard. they thought he would become the candidate. >> the sale of the tva and the impact it had on when the willkie and his view of
government -- the line >> it really starts in the 1920's. the rest of the country is beginning to wonder how we like up the south. the company was put together to supply the answer. there is a bit of governance orchestration because there were different loss in the state. they thought they could do it. they went on the stock exchange. it was when the dow jones first started. that with the internet of the time. another view coming from the government was the government should supply the power. we light up the south -- the tennessee valley authority. willkie found himself as head of commonwealth and suburb. one of the heads of the tva said the with light up the south? they were meeting at the cosmos club. the gentleman lawyer from indiana -- there they were at the cosmos club trying to make friendly like two lawyers. willkie said my company will do some and your company will do some.
he did not get it. the government was. to take over at all. that was the battle waged to the whole period. much of commonwealth and southern was sold to the government. willkie was declared the victor and the shareholders got money from the government. the question was was it really a victory or was it the annihilation of the public sector in the marketplace of the future -- utilities? they took a big check all route to show his friends. i am not sure it was a private sit -- it was a victory for the private-sector or the shareholders. >> ruth is starting us from new york city.
we welcome you to the conversation as we look at the life, career, in the 1940 campaign of wendell willkie. >> they do so much for taking my call. it seems if every election society -- every election cycle, politicians and pundits will cite wendell willkie. why does he still resonate through today's political environment? >> i would say it is the freshness, the munis that is inevitable. it is the dark horse standard we have been talking about. this is someone who is so different from vandenberg, taft, and the others. so viable, so energetic. he seemed so honest. one of my favorites stories about him is at a time even then when religion was important. candidates were expected to be churchgoers. "when asked said, "i generally sleep in on sunday mornings." that was and honesty many people
found it refreshing on sunday mornings -- found in 1940. >> in 1968, ap's said, "could it be another year of wendell willkie? " republicans were dissatisfied with the potential nomination of richard nixon. >> every few cycles the republican party is the ostracized party. it tends -- when it gets tired of itself, someone comes from outside. the republican party is more affiliated with business and enterprise. enterprising people tend to turn out to these republicans because they are from the private sector. that will always be a factor. who is the 1968 republican they were thinking of? the never came. we are still waiting for wendell willkie. he pushed roosevelt over into the war, to put it simply. willkie fought the war at to happen because what was going on in europe was wrong and we had
to help fight the bad nazis. he was on the right side on that. that is refreshing. when someone comes in and speaks the truth about an important and difficult issue. i think that is what people remember. he forced roosevelt to do what roosevelt knew what was right to do, which was go into the war. he may roosevelt be a better roosevelt. >> more from wendell willkie as he talks about liberalism and, also, the roosevelt new deal. this another from the republican national committee, a series of films. national committee, a series of films. >> the doctrinaires of the opposition have attempted to picture me as an opponent of liberalism, but i was a liberal
but for many of those men heard the word and i fought for the reforms of theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson before another roosevelt stopped it and distorted the word liberal. american liberalism does not consist merely of reforming things. it consists primarily of making things. we must substitute for the philosophy of distributed scarcity, the velocity of unlimited productivity. i stand for the restoration of full production and reemployment in american private enterprise. present administration has spent $60 billion. the new deal stands for doing what has to be done by spending as much money as possible. i propose to do it by spending as little money as possible. this is one issue in this campaign that i intend to make crystal clear before the
conclusion of the campaign so that everybody in this country may understand the tremendous >> amity shlaes, as you hear the words of wendell willkie, your thoughts? your thoughts? >> that liberalism which he described, which he differentiates from progressivism, modern liberalism, goes all the way back to the germany of his family. his family left europe in 1848 or soon after as social democrats or liberals to get away from prussiana. it is all about the individual and freedom coming straight through and down. some of us would call willkie the last liberal because he was the last big classical liberal in u.s. politics like that. ronald reagan did not call himself a liberal. maybe someone called him a libertarian.
the word changes meaning. the second was the economic specification of what he was saying. from the point of view of the firms, productivity is really important, we not only make the widgets, but we make them better. that will increase the standard of living for everyone instead of redistributing, which is the ultimate. that is a very clear and sophisticated economic argument. it is not about just helping the middle class. it is more complex than that. more complex than what we hear from politicians in this campaign. >> amity shlaes is a columnist with bloomberg. jim addison teaches history at indiana university. our next caller is ted from morristown, new jersey. >> did will keep feel that he got an inappropriate level of support in the general election from this nomination rivals, taft and hoover, and their people or was heo recently
arrived and the party to engage the leaders the way a veteran republican politician would have? >> professor medicine, you are shaking your head no. shaking your head no. >> i do not pay the got the support -- i do not think he got the support he wanted. james watson said on hearing of the nomination, "it is all right if she wants to join the church, but she would not be expected to sing a solo on the first day." they never ever trusted him. they never got behind him. him. >> if you go back to the speech in elwood, indiana, he said, " you republicans." how did that resonate with the republican base? >> i think some of them noticed there were called "you" rather than "us." >> our next caller is from
savannah, georgia. >> banks are doing this program all wendell willkie. i believe he was far ahead of his time on many issues. first of all, civil rights. he was a great advocate of civil rights. if the country had followed his lead, we would have avoided a lot of the strife and dissension we had in later decades. during the war, he was a great advocate of ending colonialism. he wanted to prevent the european countries from reestablishing their empires in the third world, particularly france and indochina. we would have aborted the tragedy of vietnam and the war. finally, i wanted to mention, who is a great believer in the idea that the way to fight unemployment was to encourage
investment and growth. that would be the only way we would get jobs in this country. that is still relevant to what we are debating about today. >> thank you, charles. >> one thing that really resonates from one world when we look at it today, his book sold tremendously well about this time -- when he went to the middle east, he said the colonials here are two dominant. when we withdraw, there will be a vacuum. there'll be nothing for the people to return to. we need to help them build democracy. he had a more cynical, cavalier attitude towards the middle east. when you hear the protesters in the middle east today, you go back to the errors we made in
the 1940's and 1950's, squandering opportunity. his description of tehran and the number of babies who died because the water was not clean and the tyranny of their regime gets back to what we see today in many places of the middle east. he was like an analyst of the arab spring years ago. it is striking. >> john from maryville, indiana. >> within six months of the election of 1940, willkie was totally unpopular with the republicans merely because he had adopted roosevelt's foreign- policy. he was pro-war.
the republican party ostracized him completely, no matter how well he did in the previous election. when he toured europe, he went over to asia. republicans hated that. he called his campaign on farm policy statements as "campaign oratory" before a congressional hearing in 1941. he ran again in 1944 for the nomination, but he had so embittered the republicans by becoming roosevelt's, almost four policy agent, that he had a chance against dewey. the really was pro-roosevelt with regard to foreign policy. for the purposes of the campaign, he took an opposite position, but after the election, he came around and really endorsed roosevelt's pour policy, indoorwent over to england to store on behalf of roosevelt. in 1944, roosevelt and willkie
had met. i think roosevelt wanted his endorsement. before the election he died, so he never endorsed dewey or roosevelt. >> you bring up a number of key points. we are going to talk about this book, "one world," and his post campaign visit to new york. you also brought up the 1940 fall campaign. let's touch on that. if we could. in the next hour, will focus on the second part of your phone call. he went in with such great promise. he did not have a lot of support from the republican establishment. basically, what happened? how did this unfold?
>> roosevelt did have liabilities going into the campaign. he won in a landslide in 1936. the congressional elections in 1938 produced, i think, 81 new republican house members voting against roosevelt, voting against the new deal. the results of the court packing plan. then there was, as we talked about, this notion that the big zero terms were enough. -- two terms were enough. they thought about his arrogance, his power, and the big government he had created. roosevelt had liabilities in 1940. willkie, a republican, might have been able to beat him. >> willkie did not do it, in part, because he was running against his own former position as much as against his opponent. much as against his opponent.
>> he did not have a good track record politically. >> he was pro union. he was quite in subsistent -- he was quite inconsistent. the best way to see him is as a wonderful attorney who takes the best case, the clarifying case. the case of for the market and the company was the one he made at the end of the 1930's. in the campaign, several different cases conflicted with one another. later tonight we'll talk about some great cases that we still talk about today. his positions and what he did. he always stood for free market. he was always pro-war or no war. he was a protean man. that was part of its charm. auckland right.
-- often right. they could see he was like roosevelt. >> a lot more to talk about. we want to show you another piece of film. this is from the republican national committee as a way of trying to frame william willkie. >> wendell willkie, born 48 years ago, emerges in response to the greatest demonstration of support and our country has ever known. his grandparents, like the ancestors of many americans, fred project fled europe to find liberty in this country. here in elwood, his parents practiced law. wendell willkie was born in a modest home like many americans. he went to public high school
just like many americans. his hard-working parents moved to this elwood >> just some of the scenes from elwood, indiana, the birthplace of wendell willkie. david willkie is when the willkie's grandson. many say the resemblance is pretty resemblance -- say the resemblance is pretty amazing. the you think you look like your grandfather? >> not exactly. >> what kind of a man was wendell willkie? describe his persona and how your family views him as a politician. >> physically, he was a large man. some called him a big bear of a man. his brother was a heavyweight roman-greco wrestler. he was always tasseled. he would put on a suit. he could never keep his hair straight.
his wife would have to tell him when to get a haircut. he was not so worried about outward appearances. what he was worried about what the idea. what is important about it? what is important about it? is important about it? >> explain his indian roots and, also, where he went to college and how he began his career here as a lawyer. >> he grew up in elwood, indiana. the interesting thing about his -- him and his parents was not only was his father a lawyer, but his mother became one of the first attorneys in indiana. her first case was against his father. they were husband and wife against each other. at the end of the day, his mother one. not surprising because you the true driving force in the family. most of his siblings went to indiana university. they were a vibrant part of the community.
they loved being on the campus. they led the conversations that came out of there. a future governor of indiana was also there at the same time and became friends with him. after he finished at indiana university, he took a job in kansas teaching history. he also coached basketball. i never think of him as being an athletic person, but coming from indiana, we always like to think of ourselves as basketball players. he did that for a time before coming back to indiana university and going to law school. when he went to law school, he was always challenging the thought process that was there. he was the top of his class, and at the end, when he graduated, he was giving a speech to the commencement class and he chastised both the indiana general assembly, the legislature here in indiana, but also the supreme court at the time.
it was so scandalous that the university did not know what to do. they delayed giving him his diploma for several days while they debated what to do and eventually let him go on, but he was always one to challenge the status quo. >> unlike some of the earlier contenders we have covered, we are now moving into the radio, television and film age, so we can hear some of these personalities speak, and wendell willkie did have a strong tv personality. can you elaborate on that? >> absolutely. he was drawn to the camera, as you can see in the clips you have shown. he relished talking about different ideas both in casual conversation, but then on a larger stage too. when people were paying
attention to him, it was almost as if he got more energized along the way. >> your grandmother was edith willke. how did the two meet? meet? >> they were in a neutral wedding party together. he was drawn to her. she was a librarian by training, intellectual in her own right, and there was a natural romance that bloomed. >> david willke is the grandson of the 1940 presidential candidate, wendell willkie. one of 14 individuals that c-span is focusing on. he got the republican nomination on the sixth ballot in philadelphia. we have the author of "the forgotten man" with us.
and professor jim madison. let's take you to the scene in november of 1940. it was just down the street at the hotel were many reporters gathered to follow the 1940 campaign. wendell willkie came not to declare that franklin roosevelt was in fact going to be elected. he conceded the election. we will follow that with a conversation we had a few weeks ago dick lugar on wendell willkie and his brand of republican politics. >> people of america, i accept the result of the election with complete good will. i know that they will continue to work as i shall for the unity of our people in the building of a national defense, in aid to britain, and for the elimination from america of antagonisms of
every kind to the and that the free way of life may survive and spread throughout the world. >> after that, he really became an ambassador for the united states. he had a friendship with franklin roosevelt. he certainly seemed to prosper from that. he was not a bad loser. he was a winner in terms of our country and his outlook. his ability, really, to influence public use in other countries about the united states or correspondingly, american views, so that we would not become isolationist, and not become withdrawn. >> those are the thoughts of senator dick lugar and how he viewed the republican party. that was just a portion of wendell willkie pose a concession speech. did he expect to lose? >> the campaign began to go against him in october. the results were not a shot at all to wendell willkie or to anyone who was following the
campaign. >> post-election, the relationship began to really grow between president roosevelt and wendell willkie. >> it is quite amazing. all of his relationships, roosevelt's relationships are hard to nail down, but he and wendell willkie did move closer and closer together until roosevelt's death in 1944, particularly in areas of foreign policy and supporting great britain before they went into the war. >> when wendell willkie goes to europe on a tour for roosevelt as his ambassador, the famous tour in 1942, he repeats the same behavior he did at his law school graduation. roosevelt has kindly given him a state. he goes to meet with stalin on roosevelt's behalf, and what does he do?
he hears that stalin needs a second front in the war, that he needs help, and he thinks maybe we could give you a second front. that was not the u.s. policy at all. roosevelt did not like that. he did not plan to have a second front for stalin. wendell willkie called it as he saw it. when he got to russia, he said these people need help. they can't wait for the army to march on and so on. but roosevelt, to his credit, was able to manage an upsurge. >> we're joined from phoenix, arizona. >> good evening. i would like to point out to your audience that you're getting a very one-sided economic argument on your program from your panel. she is entitled to her opinion, but she is a well-known revisionist historian who
encourages the new deal. she has seven times repeated on tonight's program the canard that because unemployment was still in the low teens in 1940, the new deal had failed. i would like to point out that in her book, she concedes that the keynesian experiment worked. she writes "the spending was so dramatic that finally it functioned as keynes had hoped it would and unemployment had dropped from 22% to 14%." now granted, 13%-14% is still too high, but to say that when roosevelt came in with unemployment in the mid-high- twenties and due to can see in spending reduced it to the low- teens, earmarked as a failure, is just unfair. she has made a career of repeating these canards and i think it needs to be pointed out to your audience.
>> we will give both of our guests a chance to respond. >> i do not think we need to get too personal about this. whether you are a democrat or republican, we see both parties, the obama administration, and unemployment rate of 13% is an -- unacceptable now whether you are a keynesian or not. the spending had some effect, especially in 1936, so the caller is really excising a little bit of what i wrote and giving it an interpretation i did not intend nor was visible in the text. bad period. we did not recover. we sort of appeared to recover during the war, but nobody calls for a recovery. so that's all there is to
say. >> my grandfather was a dirt for -- dirt-poor farmers to the beginning of the new deal but he had a framed photo of mr. roosevelt on his wall. he treated him with great respect. i, as an historian, think the new deal was a great success. i would much rather talk about wendell willkie after the election. there aerrare -- io issuesry interesting ther. >> let's go to william from florida first. go ahead, please. please. >> just as a defendant to the history of the 1940 campaign, that -- footnote to the history of the 1940 campaign, one of the
most courageous supporters the wendell willkie had was a friend of mine, the longtime mayor of syracuse, and probably the best mayor syracuse ever had. syracuse is in the center of new york state, which was the political empire at that point. it took a great deal of courage to take on the entire state political establishment, which he did. unfortunately, when wendell willkie lost, dele left no stone -- dewey left no stone unturned to drag him out of political life. willkie gethelp going again. he said his mistake was that he bet on a man with a weak heart. it should be remembered that he had a very strong political supporter in the center of new york state and i think that is a footnote to the whole thing. >> thank you for the call. you bring up an important point that we tetouched on in the last hour. the relationship between wendell willkie and thomas dewey.
>> not a happy relationship. i do not think they ever reconciled. nor did many of the professional politicians. in the 1944 republican convention, no one bothered to invite wendell willkie to speak or even to be a delegate. he was not there. he was exercised by the party. >> under the roosevelt administration was a lend-lease program. what was that? >> we gave money, loaned money to europe, send arms, so that england could defend herself. that is the simplest way to put it. eventually, we went into the war. pearl harbor. that was an important spending program. that is an example of one. one of the things that is happening during this period is that up until 1938 or so, 1939, roosevelt is fighting with business. he is chasing them.
john maynard keynes set of roosevelt chasing the special you'd till it is, why don't you either nationalize them or leave them alone? of chasing them around a lot every other week. but then suddenly he needed business to wage his war and instead of being the enemy, the occasional target, there they were in the white house making aluminum, not being prosecuted, making airplanes, making boats, making material for europe and for the u.s. that was an important change for business because they knew they were allies of the government and not antagonists. that is an important feature in the recovery. >> in 1941, wendell willkie travels to london. how unusual is it for a democratic president to select his republican opponent? >> he carried a letter of introduction from roosevelt to churchill.
willkie sees london anfter -- at a time when it has already been badly battered by the germans, he sees canterbury cathedral. he gets a real sense of what this war really is for england and what the british people are doing to stand against hitler alone. he brings that message back. he brings it back to the senate and he makes a very powerful case for helping england. >> here is wendell willkie before congress. >> if we are to aid britain effectively, we should provide her with 5-10 destroyers a month. we should be able to do this directly and swiftly rather than through the rigmarole of dubious legal interpretation. i am as much opposed as any man in america to undue
concentration of power in the chief executive. and may i say that i did my best to remove that power from the the present executive. [laughter] personally, i would have preferred to see congress, whether through this bill or through others, instruct the president to lend or lease these things. >> in february of 1941, what was the country going through and what was wendell willkie thinking as he testifies before congress and realizes what has been happening in europe, especially in london? >> this is a country that came out of world war i and said never, never again. senseless.warfare is 30% or more of veterans were disabled in some way. the casualties were tremendous. american said its mind against war. and yet, when we had the
evidence, and that is what wendell willkie was bringing home of what was happening to britain, so like us in many ways, and the evidence of hitler's utter audacity with poland and on and on, suddenly, we knew we had to help. that was a big, emotional change for the u.s. that was a reason for the republican isolationism. there was a sense of league of nations and there was a sense of isolationism because world war i had been so incredibly wasteful of lives in every way. there comes a moment when you have to step in, and wendell willkie crystallize that for us. that is what that speeches, a crystallization of our need for entry. >> richard is joining us from san francisco as we look at the life and career of wendell willkie. >> hello, i have enjoyed tremendously your author's book on the new deal. there were lots of books written, or some books written
many years ago, but she has taken up the cause of those who have some doubts. one of the previous callers kind of attack you from the left. i would like to attack you from the right. i do not understand the love affair you have with wendell willkie. i just do not comprehend it. in the case of foreign policy, particularly after the war started, he was an absolute disgrace. going to the soviet far east and looking at a forced labor camp and sing a wonderful conditions and saying how wonderful conditions were was just too much. i would have thought that the republicans would have had a little bit more of a level head as far as our international commitments were concerned, particularly after the beginning of the war. at the same time, i think it is a bit much to champion a republican who the base was resentful of. i will listen to the comments of the author. thank you.
>> thank you for the call. is that sentiment pretty typical of what many republicans feel? >> a lot of republicans would of said that sentiment and maybe in stronger words. they called wendell willkie naive. they felt he was taken in. he was just a tourist. the soviets especially manipulated him. so did the chinese. he was inexperienced and not up to the level of international diplomacy and knowledge. >> and yet he received more votes than herbert hoover in 1932 or the candidate in 1936. >> he received a lot of votes for someone who allegedly had no support. this whole party, this whole television show is a love affair with wendell willkie because he is interesting on a number of levels. that does not mean he is
perfect. that does not mean he is consistent. as we said before, he is like an attorney. he moves from case to case, and those cases are not always consistent. he spoke truth to power at an important point in 1938. narratively, that was important. every case is different. we make a cartoon version in the forgotten man book. and the artist, an expert cartoonist, made a bust of willkie. he was so inspired by him. there is something about him, inconsistent and disappointing as he is, that is very alluring to people. i think because he talks about what is possible, not merely what is realistic. he is an aspirational figure for a set many different points and in many different ways. >> one professor working with us on the series said wendell willkie is the personification of this 14 part series. an individual to be a lot of americans may not know much about but who had a very serious impact in his lifetime. >> i think that is a good point.
let me follow up. i think wendell willkie brings us to our better natures. he asks more of us. that is one of the things i like most about him. he holds out the ideals of america and ultimately the ideals of the human race, of the condition of the world. there is a lot to like about wendell willkie, even if you might think he is a little not even uninformed at times. >> georgia, go ahead. >> i will take you back to the glamour and excitement of that day in philadelphia. at the convention hall. i was there. i was there with my father who had a unique involvement at the convention.
he sort of orchestrated what was known as the stampeding of the gallery. as a kid, i was up there with instruction on the queue -- cue to rise up and begin the chant of, "we want willkie." television had just come on the scene. from a national standpoint, and particularly for the delegates, to hear this raucous crowd from the gallery stampeding a convention, it put them in the mood, although it did take a number of ballots to ultimately nominee wendell willkie. it was fun. i have never forgotten the experience. >> we should also point out a 26-year-old young republican from michigan, gerald ford, was also in attendance. he talked to c-span about that in 2000 as he went back to philadelphia for another republican convention. >> that is right.
that is right. >> do you want to talk about the excitement the wendell willkie generated in the 1940 convention? >> i think we're done with that topic. >> we will go to oliver next. >> i would like to commend c- span, one of the greatest things on television. i did not know a lot about wendell willkie. this is very interesting. i seem to remember his name was spelled with one l in my history books. but i want to ask, you talked about his mistress. was she related to me or charles -- maeme or charles van doren? >> she was home related to those van dorens. the reason we mention it is not
just mere gossip. he -- she was his muse. we talked about wendell willkie's identity. what was his liberalism. rita van doren started to write about classical liberals. that was his way of thinking about what was wrong with politics in the u.s., that it was too much about groups and too little about individuals. he started to write these articles and to talk to read a. -- talk to arita. he got his political bearings and he began to speak politically and right politically, and not just write articles, but to write manifestoes and to meet the people that then began to back him. sometimes someone comes along in your life who is a transition person, and rita was at that point such a person who helped him to clarify his ideas.
>> she was also on calvin coolidge's book tour. >> she was a wonderful book editor. she edited many of these people down. there are figures who appear over and again. coolidge was said to represent the silent majority. we certainly associate that phrase with nixon and agnew. those people last a long time, sometimes through many candidates. >> i want to play one more piece of sound from franklin delano roosevelt poser recordings. he is in the white house trying to figure out whether his
relationship with rita van doren should be brought up as a campaign issue. >> this was a time when it was not common to reveal those relationships. reporters knew about those relationships. other politicians had them, including roosevelt himself, of course. but at the time, you did not write about that. you did not report that. whether roosevelt was going to try to use that against wendell willkie is what this tape is about. >> again, this is a recording with president roosevelt on the relationship, and the fear the -- a affair that wendell willkie was having with rita van doren.
>> professor jim madison, two points, playing dirty politics, that conversation, and the president wondering whether edith was hired to come back and campaigned with her husband. >> she loved her husband and remained with him until the end. she had a party in her apartment in new york city after wendell willkie died.
she invited rita van doren to that party, behaving in an adult way. that is not a way that any of us need to approve, but that is their life, their personal life. make,r point i'd like to talking about that relationship, it clearly was a romantic relationship, but it was also a very important intellectual relationship. she was especially important to his speaking, his politics and his life. >> utah, go ahead. >> yes, i'm curious as to why wendell willkie's relationship with madam chiang has not been discussed. >> you have brought it up, so we will talk about it. >> i'll leave that to the international hoosier scholar . >> i think the answer is we do
not really know what happened. we know that this was on the one world trip in late 1942. it included a stop in china. we know that at one point in the evening, wendell willkie and the woman left by themselves and were gone for several hours. some people say there was a relationship there, but the evidence is very tricky. >> explain the significance of this second trip in 1942 for wendell willkie. >> roosevelt sent him on a tour. he went all over the world, including to china, russia, the middle east. often to places that were also a little bit tricky, close to the
battlefield. he rolled around in an american jeep in russia. with the russian general, he said what are you all defending here, sir, and the russian general said we are not defending, we are attacking. he was trying to send an expression of hope and support from the u.s. to these countries at the time. china was a big country in play at the time. the book he wrote, "one world," was an enormous success. so close to a million copies. david lilienthal, the old antagonist, asked how come the book sold so well. other politicians, everyone was in awe of the concept of peace now, one world. why that happened was that we were now in war.
pearl harbor had happened. everyone was thinking about what kind of peace we should have after. all of the ideas that you hear about were formulating in people's minds, and wendell willkie was one of the first four emulators. >> david, you have read your grandfather's book. it is still available now. why did it resonates so in 1942-1943? >> there were several reasons. number one was that he took it upon himself to visit all
different war crimes at the same time. here we were in the second world war. if we think about that time, no one person had traveled around the world. no one had reported to the american people the struggles of different people around the world. why were we in this war? why did we keep going through this work? i want to go back to some of the conversations that just happened talking about my grandfather and his development. over time, he did develop. he did change in his thought process based on what he went through, and i think the american people did too. if you think about the american people, going back and looking at the american people during the depression and moving through coming into world war ii, this was a different place. that is where "one world" came into play. here was a view of different parts of the world that people had not seen before.
people had not traveled outside of their farms in the way the people are able to do now, so easily. to talk about these faraway places, baghdad, chun king, northern africa, all of these places came into play and fascinated people. >> he said that america is like a beleaguered city, living within high walls. i have been outside of those walls, and then he tells the story of what he saw. >> he talked about at that time -- but one important thing was that national boundaries were becoming less and less important to countries in and of themselves. it was more commerce the was going to rule the day. that is what the connection is that we see now, how that commerce really does come into play. we see that now in the national discussion. even here in indiana, we have a company selling things halfway around world to baghdad right now.
that idea that wendell willkie had during that time is much of the world that we live in today, and that is described in the book. >> the book was published 70 years ago. how can you get a copy? >> you can e-mail here to the historical society. i believe the e-mail address is up. firstname.lastname@example.org. >> let me take our audience back a couple of blocks to a home you spent many years in. this is the same home where wendell willkie came back and talked about his one world tour. >> but i want you to remember that we can only have one president at one time and one foreign policy at one time. it does folks good to say i am not the president of the united states, that he acts through
hypocrisy. no man in charge of the united states at this critical moment could act from such motives as that. [applause] they expose the expansion of our nation, of our army, of the bill. they oppose the passage of the selective service act. if the policies which they advocate had been adopted, the united states today would be facing a victorious nazism in a world wide conflict in which we might ultimately be destroyed. >> as you hear and see your grandfather just a few blocks
from where we are in the historical society and the message that he was delivering to those residents of indiana back in 1942, your thoughts? >> he wanted to bring those thoughts directly here to the american people, to middle america, to say there are other places that have become so important. it is common wisdom now that if america had not entered the war at the time it did, what would europe look like? would hitler have continued and gone on in his conquest? what would stalin have done? if he could not talk to the people in indiana, he felt that it was important to go on to other places, other cities throughout the country. it would be much harder to do. >> 70 years ago this month, october of 1942, the book hits stores. did it face criticism?
>> it did. it did sell many copies, people like it very much, but it had much criticism. there were many who believed that america should be america alone and not part of some larger entity such as the un. there were many americans who had never been out of the country, never been out of the state or even the county that they lived in. the provincialism is central to what willkie is trying to do in this book is explain in clear language why the farmers of russia live not very differently than the farmers of rush county indiana. they are human beings and we have some obligation and some self-interest and larger interest to understand that and to act on that. >> we want to thank the
historical society for hosting us here tonight. if you're interested in getting more information about wendell willkie or the book, you can e-mail us. we're joined from north carolina. good evening. >> hello. >> please go ahead. >> i am the last surviving member i think of the roosevelt white house staff. i was there for a couple of years in the mail room. i read the incoming mail. theentering into the war was a very heavy issue at that time. the public was very, very much against it. we received up to 15,000 letters a day, most of which opposed entry into the war. only pearl harbor turned public opinion around. i also want to go back to the election when wendell willkie
gave his concession speech. i will never forget how tired he sounded, how heavy his voice was when he said i tried my very best to defeat franklin roosevelt. and i could not do it. he apologized to the nation for not doing so. i just wanted to make a comment that i was an actual person involved in the issue at that time. >> thank you for adding an important dimension to our conversation. another amazing call. >> one thing about "one world," the anti-united nations people hate it, because it does lay out the framework for it, but the push for democracy is very important, right up until today. in fact, the astoundingly modern part of "one world," is that he sees through the government to the people with the democracy
deficit. it is very analogous to what we see today in the world. finding a way to democracy. when there is violence, as we saw with gaddafi, do we declare it a victory for democracy or not? we heard obama being ambivalent about that. we do not know. we think it is a victory for democracy but it is a hard call because it was so violent. he was looking for these things. >> we will go to california and then get your follow-up. go ahead. >> could you have your guests to speculate on what might happen had wendell willkie won the election? >> as much as i admire and respect wendell willkie, i am
personally glad that he did not win. it's counterfactual history. we really do not know what would have happened, but roosevelt was a far better wartime leader, far better prepared and experienced to lead this nation in more than wendell willkie would have been. >> the go to michael next in fargo, north dakota. >> i was a little late getting to the program, but as i understand it, wendell willkie never held political office. i would be curious if his vice-presidential nominee was chosen for political experience to, i don't know, help balance the ticket, or how he came about to be appointed. >> his first choice was not selected and so it came to the party establishment to come to wendell willkie. how did this all come about and who ultimately did he choose? >> again, a traditional republican in many ways, far
more acceptable to the rank and file of the republican party and the republican party leadership, so i think the caller's guess is right on. >> jim in washington, d.c., you're next. >> very interesting program. i would like to address two questions. one was that wendell willkie was named in a newsweek article in 1960 as a model for a candidate that year. that model was george romney. he was the candidate of the republican primary, but dropped out because he made a remark about the vietnam war, but he was an industrial executive at american motors and had never really served in public office
before. but he ran in the early days of the republican primary against nixon and then did not, of course, win. >> but he did serve as the governor of michigan. please continue. >> the other president who ran for a third term was ulysses s. grant. he had been president for two terms, stepped down for a term, and was a candidate at the republican convention in 1880. he lost to james garfield. that was the other president who did seek a third term. >> thank you for the call. we had teddy roosevelt also ran for a third term under a different party after he left the white house. >> coolidge served under
harding. harding died. coolidge became president and won of his own right in the next election. he could have run for another term. easy call. the democrat always runs again when they are popular incumbent, and he chose not to run. that is a famous decision which is attributed to personnel decisions or depression. what i am discovering in researching calvin coolidge is that he chose not to run because of george washington. absolute power corrupts absolutely. he thought overtime an executive gets too used to the office. that was a concern the people had over fdr, that you do become too -- you confuse that the state is me. the more you serve, the longer you served in office. >> you can learn more on our website and get more on this program and our 14-week series, looking a presidential candidates who ran for office,
lost, but changed american history. new jersey, go ahead. >> i am a college teacher. my students have been assigned to watch and they will be so envious that i'm getting to speak to you. i loved your book. i am looking forward to the coolidge book. my question is, what is the percentage of the electorate that came out to vote in that election? was it a big percentage or not? again, i cannot wait to read the coolidge book. >> well, we do have the electoral college totals. we know that it was a landslide for franklin roosevelt. >> but we do not have the share
of the turnout and we apologize for that. we will supply that on our website in 24 hours. we are sorry. we owe you. >> you see when the will be receiving just over 22 million votes, franklin roosevelt just over 27 million votes. >> it was not a landslide. wendell willkie had done better than his republican predecessors, but it was a clear victory for roosevelt. >> david, your grandfather had a view of civil rights in this country 20 + years before we saw the civil rights movement led by martin luther king. >> he was certainly ahead of his time when it came to thinking about civil rights and the rights of all people. it was part of his creed. it was part of his code. one of the things i wanted to show you was the part of his campaign where he talks about race relations in a very direct and raw way. this was an advertisement used
in an african american press at the time, how he reached out to that part of the electorate. >> again, we're trying to always get a sense of what was going on in the country. in this part of the country, in indiana, talk about the kkk and its role in society here. >> certainly the kkk had a very strong presence here in indiana. there was a major push to keep them out of the republican party. there was division in small towns. there was an african-american population in this town, and continues to be, and throughout all towns, but the races did not mix, did not intermingle, so there was always a fearful nature. that is how wendell willkie, not only his thought process coming before the election, but also
afterwards, on the one world trip. >> what about this aspect of his life, his views on civil rights? >> i think david is being unduly modest about his grandfather's position on civil rights. he was well ahead of everyone in this country with the exception perhaps of eleanor roosevelt. it comes out of some of the same things better in one world about democracy, anti-colonialism. he was strongly opposed. he insisted that colonialism had to disappear in the name of democracy. he insisted that equality around the world could only be achieved if there were equality at home. he connected the international one world idea with the necessity of justice for all in
the united states and he walked the walk. he spent a lot of time working with the naacp. he worked with hollywood filmmakers to remove the horrible racism in hollywood films in the 1930's and 1940's. in all sorts of ways, wendell willkie was an advocate for racial justice, a supremely important advocate, long before most americans, white americans, will take that position. >> you just took the words right out of my mouth. i was just about to say that. i was just about to say, what did when the wilkins said that the african community in indiana at that time he did what did wendell willkie say about the african-american community in indiana at that time and the kkk at that time? you took the words right out of my mouth. i love your show, the contenders. i learn every day as a young african-american man who owns a home. i tried to teach my daughter and
my son about presidential things. i tell them every day, you can make it, you can do it, you know. i am just thankful that you all have this show on here talking about this great man that, hey, i do not know anything. my granddad, he is 89-years old and he tells people about history in america. i am so glad you're talking about the african-american community in indiana which was a racist-ass -- sorry about my language, but was very racist toward african-americans at that time, the 1940's. thank you for bringing this up. >> thank you. david, he is talking about his grandfather. what about your grandfather as you hear that sentiment? >> he thought that everybody was
responsible just from their own meritocracy of what they would do for their own lives. that was part of his dream, is that anybody, anywhere in the world, should have that individual freedom. that was a core part of his values. he thought if you help somebody someplace else in the world it would come back and help you. it was through hard work and struggle that we would better ourselves here as americans. going on to the race relations part, certainly he had a long, even after he died, wendell willkie, the naacp was housed in the wendell willkie freedom house in new york city. they kept that mantle that was there just because he was so far out in front of every place else. as jim matheson talked about, being in hollywood, pushing the idea of race equality. certainly as we look at what came up in the 1950's and 1960's, what would have been
different if wendell willkie had been president? >> and the other question is, would this republican party accept a wendell willkie and his brand of politics. we asked that question of dick lugar, republican from indiana? >> i doubt that wendell willkie could win today because he was a moderate. he was a person who was looking out for the good of the whole country. there was not the same sharp partisan fever attached to his candidacy or to his rhetoric. he had a very sound business attitude, and that is why he was successful. he understood the american free enterprise system and job creation, the things that are very important to us as we look at the economic recovery now.
>> what do you think about wendell willkie's politics and the republican party today? >> wonderful observation from senator lugar. i beg to differ about whether a business candidate would do well today. i think he would. maybe it is herman cain or someone else. what we see from both parties is a desire to find someone who started a firm, who comes from the outside. a very similiar mood. when you have had a long period of non-recovery, you look outside of washington for the answers. quite similar, and that is why someone like that would get a reception, i would argue. >> he ran again in 1944 briefly. >> and not at all successfully. the republican establishment had no use for him because of his continued support to roosevelt after the 1940 election. in fact, there was some talk,
not much more than talk, that roosevelt, who had his own troubles with certain democrats, of franklin roosevelt and wendell willkie coming together and forming a new political party. now there is an idea to think about for the future of america. >> our next call is erica from washington, d.c. go ahead, please. >> thank you for doing this. it is a great show. i have a policy question if we could go back a little bit. i think i've understand the type of things the shape wendell willkie's economic beliefs and background. do know if there were any specific events that shaped his foreign policy prior to the events of world war ii? that brought that internationalist view. >> the foreign policy of wendell willkie? >> i would mention his family background. they had the experience of
fleeing prussian militarism. his grandfather was beaten for no reason by prussian soldier. it was an arbitrary exercise of authority. they came here to work as lawyers. that comes through their children especially. german americans who sought freedom and wanted to preserve freedom. >> certainly, within the family, thinking about wendell and his life, growing up being part of world war i, his time in the army opened his eyes. the intellectual life of the family. when wendell grew up, his father would wake up his children by reading shakespeare quotes every morning. that is how they would start their day. it was an era of intellectualism. thought process that allowed him to look at side of his own surroundings in indiana.
>> duncan is joining us from ohio. go ahead. >> i was just curious about the relationship he may remain not have had with huey long? >> are you familiar with that? >> i know he defended him against criticism and charges. he defended all sorts of people who were not popular. he defended american nazis, american communists. this was part his political belief that everyone has the right to individual freedom. he was a great patriot, in my mind. >> how did your grandfather pass away? >> he had a series of heart attacks.
he was a workaholic. he never stopped. diet, exercise and genetics, although we know today about those things certainly played a role in his death. >> i think he was an exceedingly hard working person. he was 24/7. he also lived hard. he smoked. he smoked heavily. i have seen pictures of him with a camel cigarettes on the desk and we know what kind of coffin nails those are. he drank heavily. he did not live what we now understand is a healthy life. >> he is buried just a few miles from where we're located. correct? >> a beautiful cemetery that is described as being looking out over the prairie, although we are not quite prairie here. he has a stone granite book lay open and talking about his life and his view of what the world should be, equality, that
america was the place to be. why? because you could dream and in america you could make those dreams come true. >> if you could ask him one question, what would it be? >> how do we bring our country together this time so that we have a political process that yields economic recovery? that we get past calling each other names to formulate a policy that gets the country to grow again. >> hugo is joining us from connecticut. welcome to the program. >> first of all, i met wendell willkie and my grandfathers, along with thomas e. dewey, two very, very fascinating public persons. i was 10-years old at the time, but i do remember distinctly both of these personalities.
my grandfather was the publisher of the oldest newspaper in this country. but i won't get into history. he was an fdr republican, my grandfather. my uncle was a socialist. but that is beside the point. the point is that i was terribly impressed as a young boy with this man. i was always in a political environment, intellectual environment, educational, historical, etc., in my family. but this man impressed me a great deal. frankly, he was the reason, as i became eligible to vote, that i became a republican. what disturbs me today is the wendell willkie republican --
the first time i voted was for eisenhower, when i was able to vote. subsequently, i became a young republican club member. subsequent to that, by disillusionment, i lost my contact with the republican party. i hate to say this because there were so many elements in the republican party personified by wendell willkie, and thomas dewey and others that impressed me. i was just wondering, among your panelists, whether or not they could at least comment on why we have lost the essential, how can i put this? i don't know how to put this in
political terms. i will put it in human history terms. how we have lost the fundamental of what capitalism political association with capitalism, and ultimately with the nature of what is going on in our society today. >> thank you for the call. we should point out, next week we will talk more about the personality and political career of thomas dewey. er's point? >> i understand what he is saying. there are days when i would agree. i don't agree with the pessimistic view. i'm still an optimist. my hope is that will continue to be candidates offering choices wendell willkie offered in 1940
and especially the wendell willkie after 1940. >> david, what was your grandfather's legacy? >> there is the thought of commerce as we discussed into caller's point, do politics and business have a place at the same table coming together? i would argue in these times, definitely yes. that is part of his legacy. there is also the legacy of thinking about race relations. thinking about what it means to be a citizen of the world and understand how the rest of the world affects us in places like rushville, indiana. all those commonly together to say yes,. can an outsider commission and rise to the highest levels? i would argue yes, it can happen again. >> why is wendell willkie
important? >> he is a game changer. count on it. there will be more willkies. he is not the last. to you, david, and the rushville historical society, we thank them. as we look at the life and career of wendell willkie, he passed away in the fall of 1944. here's how united newsreel reflected on his life. >> ♪ wendell willkie, republican candidate, taken suddenly at the height of his 52. nominated by popular acclaim and a phenomenal overnight rise to onlitical limits, he w
admiration for his honesty and courage. he spent the last years of his vigorous life in an effort to promote mutual understanding and goodwill among all nations. >> ♪ >> he talked with churchill in london and shared experiences with britain's average folk. >> ♪ >> he visited and talked with the people of russia, the middle east, and china, renewing his strong freight in unity among all people. -- strong faith in unity among all people. a great american and world citizen who will be sorely missed in the critical years ahead.