tv 19 Weeks CSPAN August 27, 2017 8:00am-8:46am EDT
>> next on history bookshelf, author norman ross talks about his book, "19 weeks: america written in the fateful summer of 1940," during which british forces barely escaped from the beaches of dunkirk, battle german aircraft in the skies and prepare for an invasion while political leaders in the united states argue over how to respond to the war raging in europe. this was recorded at the english-speaking union in new york city in 2003. it's about 40 minutes. barbara: good evening. welcome to the english-speaking union of new york.
we are so pleased to have a visitor from london with us tonight whom we have been anticipating with a lot of love because he has a connection to the english-speaking union that goes way back to rid norman moss is an englishman but did live in the united states for his formative years. and he, during those years that he was in new york, he was a hat check person at the old english speaking union. down on 54th street i guess, was it? yes. so we're really, there is this link. and i also find that the english speaking union is mentioned in "19 weeks." "19 weeks" is a book that i think many of us will find is as relevant today as it was many, talking about it as an historical document, over 60 years ago. we're going to be talking about the summer of 1940. norman moss is a journalist who has done a great deal of radio work. he was a radio foreign correspondent for metro media.
he has written a very powerful book on the hydrogen bomb, the making of the hydrogen bomb, and klaushe espionage case of fuchs. so, there's quite a background here of serious thought and i think we'll all have some serious thoughts today because some of the moral implications he is covering in this book we're living through today. we have, again, a very strong relationship with england. it's not unlike what we had developed in 1940. the decision to go to war, not go to war, very important in those years, 1940. and here we are in 2003, thinking some of the same things and america and britain are linked inextricably. i really welcome with great warmth our
guest of the evening, norman moss. [applause] norman: thank you. i did indeed work one summer as a hat check boy at the english speaking union. somebody thiss to morning and she said well they probably thought it was nice to have a hat check boy with an english accent and i had to tell her at that time believe it or not i didn't have an english accent. if i ever write my autobiography, and i won't, there will be a chapter called "i was an american teenager." anyway, to the subject at hand, "19 weeks." what was so special about those 19 weeks from the second week of may, 1940 to the third week of september? well, that was the most eventful period of the last 100 years. the events were dramatic. and they were extremely significant. they changed britain. they changed america. they changed the world. some people of the time knew just how momentous were the events they were living through. the american military attache in london major
general raymond lee a very perceptive observer wrote in his diary on august 31, 1940, tomorrow, september 1 will be the start of the most critical month in history. it was an extraordinary time for the british people in that whole period, not just the 19 weeks, but 1940 and 1941, the bombing. and it is recalled constantly, vividly. and i suppose because i was perhaps drawn to look at the, this was borne in on me, i was drawn to look at the wider and deeper aspects, perhaps because i was here at the time and still a fairly english boy. i still remembered seeing demonstrators and isolationist demonstrations with banners saying, let god save the king. the yanks aren't coming. this really upset me at the time. now, the period i'm delineating began on may 10. two things happened on may 10. winston churchill became prime minister. it was by no means a foregone conclusion that churchill would be the man to succeed neville chamberlain. the political establishment would have preferred lord halifax the foreign secretary but
he was associated in the public mind with a prewar appeasement policy so churchill was the man. the same day, coincidentally, the germans attacked. for nine months there had been what was called the phony war, allied armies on one side, germany and france, and safety check in with virtually no fighting or shooting. suddenly the germans attacked. they attacked with the blitzkrieg, lightning war, a kind of warfare the world had never seen before. war of rapid movement. it was spearheaded by armored columns and air power. nobody in the allied side had any idea what was happening. after three days, the british commander general ironside wrote in his diary it looks as if there will be heavy fighting all summer. actually the war was over, that part of it was over before the summer began. the attack took place in an area of northern france and belgium. i should not say the germans attacked france, they invaded belgium and holland, which at been neutral. the area of the attack was the
an hern france and belgium, area the allied and german armies struggled over for four years between 1914 and 1918 and the germans marched across it in days. within a month the french government was forced to surrender. the last days of the third republic we now know now were extraordinarily dramatic with exchanges with telegrams within the, between the british, french and american governments chasing each other, overtaking each other, the french prime minister was appealing desperately to roosevelt for help, help that roosevelt couldn't give. roosevelt and churchill were urging him to stay in the war and continue the struggle from french north africa. they were both asking him to keep the french fleet out of german hands which he did. churchill was asking roosevelt to make, roosevelt was of making promises of moral support and churchill was asking him to make these promises public. roosevelt said he couldn't. anyway, the government was turned over and they had an armistice. when the germans swept across france they trapped most of the british expeditionary force.
about 300,000 men, around the port of dunkirk. the british navy by the end of may, the british navy was told to mount an operation to get them out and were told the prospects looked grim. the best they could hope for was to get out 50,000 men before german pressure would make it impossible to get out any more. what happened to the next nine days was an epic that has gone down in british history and will remain in british history. the navy threw every warship they had into it and they had anything they could find -- trawlers, fishing boats, pleasure crafts, yachts, boats that had never been out of the river before and took them across the channel into what was becoming an inferno because the germans threw everything they had at the evacuation fleet, attacking from the air and by sea and then civilians joined in and took their own boats across and extraordinary things happened. the london brigade's fire boat which had never been out of the thames sailed across the river. sorry, sailed across the channel. people took their yachts and boats across and ferried men
from the beaches to destroyers. it was heroic. people were glorious about it. i once made a promise that i would never use the word heroic about anything that happened in the war without reminding myself and everybody listening about the price paid for heroism and what general sherman said about war. at dunkirk, a destroyer with 600 men crammed beneath deck was torpedoed and sunk within a minute. another was hit by a bomb, the boiler exploded and men on the deck were scalded to death. dunkirk was a horror. but civilians went into that horror and brought out in the end almost the entire british expeditionary force. this was crucial because this changed everything. but dunkirk, the war became a people's war. the entire british population felt involved in this effort and they felt it for the first time.
something else was happening at this time that nobody knew about for 30 years until british cabinet papers were released. within the cabinet, there were moves for a compromise peace led by lord halifax who was still the foreign secretary. he said, look. at this point, if we can get some kind of an agreement to allow us to keep our independence, to keep our empire, even if you have to give away a few bits of it to the italians, we should jump at it. and we should approach the germans through the italians. churchill, as one might expect, was against it. he said, once you start talking about peace terms you are on a slippery slope. churchill won the day but once again, this was not a foregone conclusion. it could have gone the other way and probably would have if halifax had been prime minister. now britain faced invasion with an army that was under strength because britain hadn't really mobilized very rapidly. almost all of its heavy equipment was left behind at dunkirk.
all the army heavy tanks and most of its artillery. it is difficult to get across how shocking this was. invasion was simply not part of the british national experience. on the continent, countries had been invaded, occupied, reemerged. britain had not. last time britain was invaded was 1066. britain had fought wars all over the world and lost some, won some. they lost the american colonies. but they were wars fought somewhere else. throughout the 20th century the french army had been the bulwark between britain and an enemy. now, the enemy was on the french sure. shore. -- this was shocking. you can imagine the impact on britain. what was surprising, the impact of all of these events on america. on may 9, the prevailing mood in america was the prevailing view was that the united states had no business getting involved in an european
war. america had been suckered into joining the first world war. that was a mistake. we shouldn't allow that to happen again. two oceans provided sufficient protection. americans did not need to worry about what happened on the other side. there were mixed views about britain. most people felt friendly toward britain. britain was a democracy of a kind, germany was a dictatorship. britain had a monarchy, an empire, it had lords and ladies. this was not the way traditionally americans thought things should be. was this just another european power struggle, the kind of thing that people's forebears had put behind them when they came to america? or was this a struggle between democracy and dictatorship, which deserved american sympathies? this was debated. the magazine new republic agonized over this and came to the conclusion that britain should be supported because it said, britain at its worst is better than nazi germany at its best. that strikes me as the
apotheosis of fake praise. this was not the view of what one might call the foreign policy professionals. those who practice foreign policy and studied the economics academically, they thought america was always affected by what happened on the other side of the ocean. they viewed the monroe doctrine not as uncle sam saying unilaterally stay out of the new world, but as what it actually was historically which was a tacit agreement with britain. it was in britain's interest to ensure that no european country established itself in the americas and the british navy was able to assure, ensure that none did. so the united states could keep its navy in the pacific, content to leave its security in the atlantic to the american navy. sorry, to
the british navy. now there is suddenly the possibility, perhaps the likelihood that britain would be conquered, the british navy would be swept aside. and the public suddenly became very frightened, very alarmed. i've got some quotes from the press. just to show this. it is extraordinary, the rapid change of opinion as shown in the opinion polls, for instance. on may 26 only 16 days after the german attack, here is a new york times reporter on the feeling of new england. he said, an army of parachutes is landing from the skies on boston common and could not have startled the states more than the german penetration of the allied offenses. what some feared for many months was now occurring at last to the whole population. germany might win, the british fleet might be swept from the seas. ok. you say that's new england. new england is anglophile snobs. you would not say that, the people in this room, but a lot of people would. you get the same sentiments in the american heartland. the idaho statesman, the american attitude toward the war is fast changing from that of a disinterested spectator to that of a possible victim of the nazi regime. st. louis, a grave peril which faces the allied has almost overnight reversed nation's thinking about the war. it was very strange. it was somehow as if the public had absorbed and accepted the foreign policy
professionals view without realizing it. they accepted the protection of the british navy without acknowledging it and now there was a possibility that this protection might be removed and they were alarmed. adolph gurl, the under secretary of state, wrote in his diary for the first time in a century the country is getting frightened. the interior secretary, a man given to extreme statements said this, country is in no less perilous situation than the birth of the republic. the administration was alarmed for one thing about latin america. there were large ethnic german communities in several countries in latin america and the nazi party was very active. the army made plans to airlift troops to brazil. nobody had ever done that before. to airlift troops to brazil to prevent a possible nazi coup. there was a debate in america going on since even before the war but now there was very much heightened between what i loosely call isolationists and interventionists. the isolationists were arguing that giving help for britain in any way
risked dragging america into an european war, which they suspected was what roosevelt really intended. the interventionists of course were saying that america's security lay in britain's survival and the phrase was all aid short of war and some were willing to go beyond that. they wanted to buy weapons desperately. first of all, the very simple things the army needed to repel invaders -- rifles, cannon, artillery, shells. there was a debate in washington among the military. some said, look, we can't afford it. america was just beginning a rearming program. the united states army was the size of holland's army, which had been conquered in five days. they said, we need all the weapons we have got. besides, if we do give them to britain or sell them they'll end up in german hands just as the aircraft we sold to france ended up in german hands.
in the end they sent weapons to britain with many, many misgivings. the military assessment in britain was this. they said, if invasion is going to be prevented, it's going to be by the navy and the air force. if the germans land in britain and establish a bridgehead the army is not strong enough to drive them out. the air force meant the fighter pilots, fighter command who had been turned out 19, 20, even 18-year-olds turned out of training schools. a civil servant said to general isma, he said it looks as if all our futures may depend on a few hundred pink-cheeked young airmen. the germans seemed to have the same idea. they decided that in order to invade britain, they had to first destroy the r.a.f. and gain air supremacy and they set out to do just that. this was the battle of britain. first of all they attacked airfields, installations, ports, towns and eventually in september moved to attack london.
it was widely expected that the war would begin with mass air raids on cities. this was basically the first day, 3 million children were evacuated from british cities. it didn't happen. now that it was happening, the world was watching to see what would happen, what effect this would have. there were a lot of surprises. basically, the surprise was that the air raids weren't as effective as people thought in breaking people's will to resist and their ability to resist, because there was one thing the germans were trying to do, break the ability of british society to continue functioning. this was an extraordinary time for the british people, a time of heightened sensitivity, heightened collective identity and participation. most of my sources for this book were government archives, cabinet papers. but you can't really have any idea what was going on at that time without also looking at what ordinary english people were writing in letters, were writing in diaries, and what were reported
as saying, at that time, not later, because the period has been mythologized. what were the sayings of the time? i picked up, to be a bit personal, i picked up a sense of this when i went back to england about two years after the end of the war from a whole number of people. partly from my father, who i did not really know, i had been away for eight years. and he was an overweight, over aged man, he had been in the army in the first world war and managed not to be send out of england. didn't like the army, never talked about it. in other words, a civilian's civilian. he was an air raid warden through the air. he walked through streets when bombs were falling when other people were in shelters. he dragged bodies out of rubble. he neglected his business and was out night after night. what he did, many other people did. it is nothing exceptional about him. if they didn't do that they worked in one kind or another of voluntary services. and even if they
didn't do that i think there was a sense in everybody that they were contributing to the war simply by carrying on and getting to work in the morning despite the difficulties. they were contributing to the war effort. everybody was participating. i remember in america, when america was in the war, there was a phrase, if you complained about some service that was not up to scratch or something that wasn't in the stores come other retort was, don't you know there is a war on? well, the feeling in britain at that time, nobody ever said to anybody, don't you know there's a war on? there was a growing sympathy in america for the behavior of the, admiration perhaps for the behavior of the british people under bombardment. as it was conveyed by american correspondents and quite apart from government aid, also to private organizations giving help, giving aid,
and meanwhile the american military send over missions were sent partly to find out what happened in the air raid. they had been expecting this. they began to exchange important military information and technology, things like radar, something as it turned out crucial, exchange of information on this new idea a few people had of building a bomb that worked by uranium fission. an exchange even of intelligence information. and this was the beginning of, i have to use a word that's been overworked to death, a special relationship. this particular relationship between the two countries that functioned at several levels
from the level of public sympathy and public sentiment to cooperation at the top, to an unusual degree. the british people, there was a struggle going on behind the scenes. the british people were counting the number of german and british aircraft shot down. and they were seeing it overhead. the cabinet was also counting something else. they were counting money. britain has, as an island nation, has never been self- sufficient in resources, not since the start of the industrial revolution anyway. it's always imported the material that needs, the raw materials it needs and paid for it by selling things overseas and by its overseas assets. these overseas assets were dwindling. actually very much depleted in the first world war. before the first world war, britain was the world's leading creditor. now, they were being depleted even more. at the end of august, i think about august 28, the treasury presented the cabinet with a paper that made grim reading. it said, our overseas assets are depleting so rapidly that we will not be able to continue the war beyond next spring without american financial help. think of what that meant to winston churchill. he had joined parliament as a young man in 1900. britain then was, to use a contemporary phrase, a superpower. it was the head of the only super power, the head of the largest empire the world had ever known. now he was told that britain couldn't continue a major, prolonged war without financial help from america. already, britain's continuation was dependent on america.
most of the british public did not realize, and i do not think roosevelt realized it. churchill's request for military help now began to center on destroyers. the navy was stretched thin. they had lost a lot of ships at dunkirk. it was having to escort convoys across the atlantic. it was having to defend the coastline against invasion, it was stretched thin. and churchill said, we need destroyers, particularly 50 aging destroyers left over from world war i. and he said, we need them and eventually his tone became more desperate and he said we need them now. next year may be too late. and he made sure that the same message reached washington from all sorts of sources. the trouble was this was an election year and roosevelt said, i cannot go to congress in an election year and ask them to give britain 50 destroyers. not in an election year. all of the leading republican candidates for the nomination were isolationists. todd, dewey, vanderbilt. but an extraordinary thing happened. an outsider came along, a man called wendal wilke who had
never been active in politics before, a businessman and lawyer. hardly known at the beginning of the year, who came along as a republican candidate and suddenly gained a lot of grass roots support and then press support. now, wilke was an opponent of the new deal but he supported roosevelt's foreign policy. he believed it was essential to help britain. and against all the odds he won the nomination. it was said this is the most extraordinary thing that ever happened in american politics. this statement could be justified, it was extraordinary. and it was crucially important because it meant that roosevelt could now go ahead with his policy of helping britain without looking over his shoulder at his republican opponent. there are two books written about wilke and none focused on what is to me this extraordinary fact, this man who politically speaking came out of nowhere and he had one brief appearance on the political scene, he only
once ran for public office. that office was president of the united states. by doing so, he was crucially important in history. roosevelt wanted something from britain. roosevelt wanted 50 bases, i'm sorry, not 50. 50 was the destroyers. he wanted bases in the west indies to protect america's atlantic coastline. so, they organized a swap. they worked out a way that you could swap the destroyers for the bases. it seems simple. it wasn't. in fact, they had to fudge it so in theory some of the bases were given free. in fact it was a swap. there is also a justification for doing this as an executive act without going through congress. and the deal was done. and roosevelt said, when he announced it, this does not affect in any way our neutral status. this was eye wash. his supporters knew it and his opponents knew it. it committed america to europe, to britain's defense, to britain's survival and meant that america believed that britain could survive and
committed america to the defense of democracy in europe, a commitment that has been maintained to this day. it was a change in direction of american policy from earlier in the year. it was a change in the direction of american policy since the time of george washington. while all this was happening the air battles in britain were reaching a climax. finally, september 14 and 15 the germans threw everything they had into an attack on london. the r.a.f. was in the air and in september the pink-cheeked airmen turned the tide. 85 german planes were shot down and the germans knew they'd lost the battle of britain. they were not going to gain air supremacy over britain. after that day, they never again mounted a major air operation over britain in daylight. they continued to bomb london for the next five months, but by nighttime. they didn't attempt to destroy the r.a.f. they did not mount an operation in daylight. and, consequent upon that, they postponed the invasion plan that was scheduled for september. when the british were intercepting coded messages they
knew it. so things were decided the third week of september. democracy would survive at least that year. britain would fight on. they would fight on with the united states' help. i've left out a lot. this is just a very broad statement. i've left out what really happened at the battle of britain, the machinations of the british secret service trying to get america closer to the war. the influence of highly placed figures in the eastern establishment that weren't in government. the influence of communists. i have shown that these events were not just dramatic but very significant. i think there is actually a deeper or more long term significance than that. i'm going to refer to a conversation that took place in berlin in september. in september, 1940, hitler made a speech in effect a peace offer to britain. he said, if this war goes on, either germany or the british empire will be destroyed. and it won't be germany. now he said i have no desire to destroy the british empire and never have had. surely this doesn't have to go on.
this doesn't have to go on until the empire is destroyed. this suggestion was rejected out of hand by britain. churchill was politically shrewd enough to give the task of rejecting it to lord halifax who had only been in favor of peace proposals. then rudolph hess, the deputy furor, called in a man named albrecht haushofer who had a family connection with the nazi regime. his father was a professor, and academic whose ideas on june political strategy had influenced nazi thinking. in fact he was also hess's mentor and professor at university. so hess knew the son albert. and albert was a part- time academic and he traveled a lot. and he knew britain. so hess said, look. i don't understand what's happening. hitler has made britain a quite reasonable peace offer to allow it to retain its empire. instead, with its destroyers for bases deal britain is selling
out its empire to the united states in order to continue the war. why? this doesn't make sense. and haushofer kept a record this of this conversation and replied, he said, because roosevelt represents a world view and a way of doing things that the englishmen understand. he may not always like it, but he understands it. and it's not only an aristocrat like churchill who believes this, but the ordinary englishman believes this also. he may be mistaken but that's what he believes. on the other hand hitler represents something that is alien to the british way of thinking and which the englishman detests. i find this conversation very interesting. first, i think haushofer was right. this was one of those very rare occasions when words like sentiments for another country, words like defending democracy actually had some truth. they were a factor in influencing policy rather than just being soft soap to conceal
policies of self-interest. but i think hess was also right and very prescient because in the immediate-term britain was not sending out any bits of the empire. there is no transfer of sovereignty involved. but in the longer term by continuing the war it was ensuring that it would lose its economic power base, lose its economic strength, and in the long run lose its ability to maintain its empire, to maintain its role as a great world power. this would inevitably pass to one country that would emerge from the war rich enough and strong enough to take over the role, the united states, giving us the world that we live in today. thank you. [applause] barbara: thank you so much. now it is question time. i want to alert you, i'm sure you've noticed we have bookspan in the room with us and if you would like to ask a question, just wait a moment until the microphone can be brought to
you. i will just take it by hands. right here, front row. audience member: with respect to your last point about the loss of the empire, what was churchill's understanding of the decision he was making to reject the hiller offering and work with the u.s. in the event it was clear what happened? but churchill, an empire aficionado, would have -- certainly would not have understood that -- or did he? norman: to accept a certain amount of ambiguity there. churchill was certainly an imperialist and certainly fought hard for british independence, not only against germany but america. he fought against american encroachments but at the same time, he belonged to the aristocratic class that believed in an almost racial anglo
american superiority who talked sometimes about passing on the baton of leadership to america as if america was the younger brother. and i think he at any rate made a choice that when it comes to the crunch, whatever happens, however far down we have to go, if you have to lose weir going to lose to the americans rather than the germans. i don't think it was all together a conscious choice but he must have known that whatever the cost they were going to continue the war and fight nazism however far it depleted britain's strength. audience member: did hess's flight to england, that bizarre thing that happened later, come out of that conversation? was he trying to come over and convince the english? norman: yes, i have the impression that hess never gave up the idea of making peace with england. this seems to have been a freelance peace effort. there's a lot of mystery about that because there were letters he carried with him that have never been released by the british government and my guess is they contained names of people he thought might be helpful and would be embarrassing. he had an idea of making peace with england, yes. audience member: when was the
lend-lease program initiated? norman: immediately after the election. immediately after the election. up until then, roosevelt had sort of taken a back seat and allowed others or encouraged others to take the initiative. from then on he took over and pushed the lend-lease program, later that year. audience member: as a follow-up question, could you comment on what roosevelt's view was, the best understanding was he was not an imperialist. he was not interested in inheriting the british empire. he had a different objective, set of objectives, to support the british effort to resist or churchill's effort to resist the nazis. so what's your view of what was in roosevelt's thinking? norman: roosevelt was known to the imperialists. roosevelt did not all together share the anglophile sentiments of his class. he was an anti- imperialist and had very little sympathy for the
british empire. he was quite, for example, he nagged britain later in the war to give in to make promises of independence to india. he was definitely anti-imperialist but he supported britain all the way, not the british empire. yes? audience member: did your research take you to the later time when, after pearl harbor, hitler declared war on america, not the reverse? would america have declared war on germany if he hadn't done that? norman: that is an interesting speculation. no. roosevelt clearly was pushing. it seems to me, roosevelt was pushing america closer and closer to the war in both the atlantic and the pacific. the atlantic you had american destroyers escorting british merchant ships. there were clashes and an american destroyer was sunk. the american government said it
was going about its own business, which was nonsense. it was actually helping the british war effort. in the far east they were provoking japan and they blocked trade, created a trade embargo which gave japan the choice of either pulling back or going to war. i think one possibility is that japan bombed pearl harbor, germany then reneged on its promise to japan and a declared -- and does not declare war on the united states. in which case it would have been impossible to get the american people interested in what was happening in europe. audience member: i agree. audience member: is it your opinion that hitler ever really intended to invade england? norman: again, there's a lot of ambiguity there. his order to invade england was something like, we must prepare, and if necessary, carry out the invasion of britain. well, this "if necessary" denoted a kind of reluctance, very different from the kind of
go-go vigor which characterized his other military orders. i think, certainly he thought britain would make peace and wanted britain to. on the other hand, he massed an invasion fleet. you don't do that if you're not serious. and i think he probably would have gone ahead. you know, hitler was a dictator to an extraordinary degree. there really was no cabinet in germany. the german government was hitler and whoever he wanted to help him. so you know, in a cabinet you could count heads and say, these were for and against it and undecided. in this case you just look at one man's mind. and i think the indications are that in the end he would have come down and done it. audience member: did he have enough paratroopers to make a serious landing? norman: yes. we tend to underestimate the difficulties. we think of it as d-day four years in advance. it wasn't. there was no such thing as amphibious warfare then. there were simply no landing craft for example. he would have had to seize a port in order to get tanks and artillery ashore. certainly the british thinking was in june, july, august, he could have done it. but each side was tending to
overrate the strength of the other side. which is just as well. audience member: as a follow-up on the last question, wasn't there in existence in britain a fifth column supposedly that could have come into action on behalf of the germans at that time? norman: no. there were a lot of people who, before the war, had been sympathetic to nazi germany. one might speculate in the case of a german occupation there would be quizlings. there was not in existence a fifth column of any consequence. there were a few pro-nazis locked up. there was the very peculiar case of tyler kent, i don't know if you want to go into that affair, an american embassy official linked to pro nazis and was leaking embassy documents to them, sent to prison in britain. sent to prison in britain. the americans waived his diplomatic immunity so he cob
could be sentenced to prison in britain in order that the trial could be kept secret because he knew about the roosevelt-churchill correspondence which was secret at the time. and if roosevelt's opponents knew about that it would have been explosive. so that's a round about, a deviation from your question. there was no serious fifth column, no. audience member: what about moseley's organization? norman: it was basically pro-nazi but basically founded as a british union of facism , modeled after the italian fascists rather than the german. moseley and the other leaders were locked up anyway under emergency regulations. i don't think it was ever a serious fifth column no. british intelligence was not particularly worried about that. they were worried about german spies. that was something different. though even then the german , espionage network was small and inefficient. audience member: relative to your point of two questions ago, there is a theory that despite hitler's chest thumping bloviations aboutoviating'
superiority that he had an intrinsic inferiority complex about england and its superior culture and that is one reason, the reason, why he turned away from the air war. norman: he certainly rated the british higher. he had racial theories and eastern europeans were lesser beings. he did not apply that to the british. he was very interested in the british empire but anybody who is interested in power must be interested in the british empire. small island nation with a very small army controlling a part of the world. barbour: any other questions? audience member: was he thinking about the invasion of russia? norman: he was always -- audience member: i have that definitely in mind that he was more interested in the invasion of russia than in england and i do not think he was serious about england. norman: he was serious about england. but his ultimate aim was russia.
if you read "mein kampf," it was a very good guide to hitler's policies. his only real aim was conquering central and eastern europe. everything else was secondary to that, even france. he thought in order to conquer eastern europe you had to get france out of the way. it would always be a threat so you conquered france but that was an unfortunate necessity. same with britain. he didn't think you had to conquer britain but you're quite right. that was his primary aim. everything else was secondary to that. and i think he made the mistake of doing that before he had finished with britain. barbara: any other questions? thank you so much. [applause] barbara: i was delighted to see how many historians we have in the room tonight. we have the book. it's book right here and i'm sure norman would be delighted
to sign it for you. it is coming out tomorrow. we are on the cutting edge here. tomorrow is the publication date. it be selling it in the stores for $27.50 and we'll sell it here for $25. no tax. so here is your opportunity. and again, thank you so much, norman moss. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> do you take credit cards? barbara: yes, we do. we do indeed, and the bar is open, ladies and gentlemen.
>> you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join us on the conversation, facebook at c-span history. >> this weekend on american history tv, historians on the early life of william cody, better known as buffalo bill, before he performed in his wild west shows. here's a preview. >> when his father died in 1857, lily takes over supporting the family -- willie takes over supporting the family. he is working to keep his mother and sisters alive. when the national civil war comes, he joins -- at first he joins an informal group of what were known as red legs, j
hawkers. these arkansans -- these are kansans, who feel the missourians picked on them, and this is their opportunity to cross the border and get their revenge. jayhawking informal regiment edit 1864, joins the kansas seventh, which is notorious. if you are a missourian and i said kansas seven, you would know what that meant, even today. they were so notorious they were sent from the border. he did see some service in the south and by the end of the war is back in st. louis. bill'sd buffalo childhood in bleeding kansas and
awker in the a jayh civil war mean to him? >> watch the entire program is 6:30 and 10:30 p.m. sunday. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> up next, richard faulkner, professor at the u.s. army command and general staff college, talks about trench warfare during world war i and looks at the different strategies and technological developments used in attempts to drive opponents out of their trenches. hour and 20 minutes. afternoon, everybody. thank you for taking time to join us today. i would like to thank the dublin institute for continuing to be gracious host. this is our fifth year producing this
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