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tv   Reel America The Road to the Wall - 1962  CSPAN  December 26, 2017 5:03pm-5:41pm EST

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very large hunting safari to africa. now, this particular rifle was prepared specifically for roosevelt. it has the presidential seal engraved on the breach. and of course, roosevelt was famous for the bull moose party, and there is a bull moose engraved on the side plate of this gun. >> watch c-span cities tour, springfield, missouri, january 6th and 7th on c-span2's book tv, and on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. a 1962 u.s. army film narrated by actor james cagney presented a critical history of soviet communism, beginning with a failed revolution in 1905 up to the construction of the berlin wall. the film was nominated for a 1963 short subject documentary academy award.
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>> at the road's end, the wall. these are the people who move along the road. some walk. some ride. some are well shod. some are barefoot. some are so young they must be carried. or so old that the hundreds of millions who take this road, some do so willingly.
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others hope that the road leads to bread for the hungry, peace for the weary, land for the landless. some protest openly doesn't matter. some were born on the road. many will die along the way. havana, cuba, january, 1959. this road leads to this wall. red china, september, 1960. this road, this wall. berlin, december, 1961. this road, this wall.
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in the beginning, the road exists in the mind of a 19th century philosopher and scholar, karl marx, who maintained only through a system he calls communism can the worker and farmer avoid starvation and exploitation. "we declare openly" marx writes, "that our ends can only be attained by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. thus, the road begins. many who walked the road know its origins well. many do not. some things must be known about the road by those who do not travel it.
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this is a one-way street. the sign posts along the way do not describe the true destinations and nearly everyone who sets foot or wheel on this road goes all the way to the end. for there are few exits, only difficult, dangerous escapes. this man is a resident of east berlin. his right to free passage into west berlin is guaranteed by international agreement, but on august 13, 1961, this right has been set aside. to cross into west berlin, he swims the canal that at one point divides the zones. on reaching the western bank, he takes his first few steps into freedom and is promptly shot down by rifle fire from a border guard on the communist side. to know why he was shot down across an artificial border by a man who bore him no personal
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malice, we must look at the road. we must go back along it many miles and many years. back from berlin, 1961 to havana, 1959, to budapest, 1956, coyocan, 1940, kronstad, 1921. st. petersburg, czarist russia, sunday, january 22, 1905. under the czar, nicholas ii, russia is ruled by absolute powers. these people, the workers and peasants of st. petersburg are not here to protest against this autocracy but to appeal to the autocrat, under the leadership of a priest they have come to present a petition to the czar. >> we the working men and
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inhabitants of st. petersburg come to thee, sire, to seek defense. we have become beggars. >> one quarter of a million people stand before the winter palace, but the czar, in fact, is not there, nor is it his will that the petition be received. instead said the czar, nicholas ii. "my autocracy will remain unchanged." >> said the priest "we no longer have a czar. long live the fight for freedom." >> the bearded young man is v.i. ulyanav, party name, lenin. >> long live the revolutionary proletariat, say we. >> the czar doesn't even look the part and he's busy. busy with elaborate ceremonials
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that no longer interest hungry people. busy with his family, including his son, a hemophiliac who nears death whenever he cuts himself and is kept alive, according to his mother, by the powers of gregori rasputin. rasputin is a holy man -- he says so himself. world war i may be hell in the west, it is pure hell ten times over for the russians. for them, no glamour, no airplanes, divisions without artillery, companies without rifles, rifles without bullets. the russian casualties from typhus alone exceed the total casualties of the germans. at the front, defeat, disorganization and lonely
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death. at home, starvation, poverty exceeding even previous russian experiences. finally, in march, 1917, a demonstration in st. petersburg starts over a simple demand for a higher bread ration, gets out of hand, includes a new demand, transfer of power from the czar to an elected parliament. the czar reacts in customary fashion, turns his troops loose on the demonstrators. but something goes wrong. the army joins the people. with incredible swiftness, the czar's regime falls. a young lawyer is minister of justice in the provisional government in which many parties are represented. >> the revolution belongs to the people. i propose to defend it against any attack, whether from the left or from the right. >> he arrests the czar and his family and announces that free elections are to be held. political prisoners are freed
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and some food is distributed. but in a country without experience in self-government, dissident elements of all shades struggle to convince still-hungry people that their particular road leads to salvation. the war is unpopular. when it becomes clear that karenski means to continue it, they return lenin, who had been exiled by the czar's government to switzerland. leon trotsky arrives a month later from canada. summer, 1917, kerensky is head of the provisional government and proclaimed russia a republic. universal suffering elected in a constituent assembly. freedom of speech and press, equal rights for wum women. lenin on the kerensky republic. >> a democratic republic more
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free under war conditions than any other country in the world. >> but in november, lenin and trotsky as leaders of the huge farmer worker army union called the soviet call for the destruction of the republic. >> they imagine questions are decided by voting, as a matter of fact, they are decided by class war. >> the class war is quick and relatively bloodless, the bolsheviks declare themselves in business. this is the russian version of the storming of the winter palace. notice ivan armstrong, the all russian boy, opening the gate under fire. the interesting thing about this is that it never happened. in actual fact, the cadets defending the winter palace surrendered when it was pointed out to them that the building was in easy range of a rebel cruiser.
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still, it makes a nice picture. the real violence comes later. on november 25, the election kerensky called is held under the control of lenin's bolshevik who, to their amazement lost 3-1. the assembly elected under the guns of trotsky's red army. refuses to turn power over to the soviet but finally leaves the building in disorder. the following day, a few thousand citizens gather outside the building to protest against the dismissal of the assembly they have elected and are promptly shot down by rifle fire by trotsky's red army. >> not by voting, by class war. >> citizens of the soviet union still vote but not since november, 1917, has more than one name per office appeared on the ballot. the assembly never reconvenes. power passes to the soviet, which lenin control, and from
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there to the council of commissars where lenin's power is absolute. >> this is the dictatorship of the proletariat. a power won and maintained by violence. power that is unrestricted by any law! resting directly on force. keep this well in mind. >> lenin makes peace with the germans and now a genuine civil war breaks out. before it ends, the white russians rebel against the reds. allied troops fight to keep russia in the war, cossacks fight for both sides, czarists rise up to restore the monarchy, the czar and his family are executed and the first of many soviet secret police groups becomes active. arrest without charge, imprisonment or exile without trial, disappearance without explanation all become routine.
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but lenin complains. >> there is still too little ruthlessness. not because we lack determination but because we do not know how to capture enough profiteers, marauders, capitalists. >> however many they capture, they miss one. on august 30th, 1918, a young lady namesdora kaplan takes a shot at lenin. her motives are unknown, her marksmanship effective. lenin is only slightly wounded. that night in moscow alone, 500 anti-leninists are executed on being associated with miss kaplan's effort. the sign posts along the road read "peace, freedom, and bread." because they understood that freedom and bread could be theirs only when peace was obtained, the workers and sailors have fought and won a bloody civil war.
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now on march 7, 1921, they mill in the streets asking for freedom and bread. finally at 6:45 in the evening trotsky, commander of the red army who ordered the slaughter gives the only explanation. >> it was necessary. >> lenin and trotsky are firmly in power. the ogpu, political police, is formed and to check on them is the workers and peasants group whose chief is one josef stalin. he disputes trotsky's position as lenin's second in command and heir apparent. he had the support of zinoviev
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and the city leader of moscow who could make you a judge or send you to siberia. now with the civil war won, lenin eases the demands for belt tightening and public sacrifice. out of economic necessity, he institutes the new economic policy, emphasis is placed on production of consumer goods, but the state maintains control of heavy industry. even private enterprise is permitted -- within limits. and two new words -- american aid -- enter the russian vocabulary. by march, 1922, the american relief administration under herbert hoover is feeding ten million russians. but in march, 1923, lenin suffers a stroke. the following january, he is dead.
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stalin and zinoviev force him into exile. then stalin turns on his associates and ends the new economic policy. three successive five year plans are designed to emphasize constructive capacity. especially heavy industry and power output. 1928 to 1941, russian industrial capacity rises nearly 300%. hydroelectric output is up
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nearly 800%. agricultural production, however, lags, and housing stock actually are less than population increase. if you're an average russian, this means more work, not enough to eat and less and less living space per family. if you don't work hard enough or if you complain, there are plenty of trains to siberia where many hydroelectric dams are being built. on the other hand, if you work hard, you can break the production record for your machine and get a medal and a small wage increase. that's better than a trip to the reindeer country. these are also the years of the great executions. how many people are permanently removed from circulation no one knows. in some provinces, as much as 4% of the population vanishes.
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zinoviev, who helped stalin seize power, is quickly disposed of. to have been a friend of either one of them is now a crime. for this and related activities, well over half of the top communist leadership and thousands of lesser officials vanish. as do most of the army officers. a very few of the victims are given trials. some of the trials are remarkable. for example, several defendants are convicted of conspiring with trotsky in 1936 in the hotel bristol in copenhagen. in actual fact, in 1936, the hotel was no longer in business. next case, in 1938, yurchev himself is purged together with many purged judges, labor camp operators and the like. coyocan, near mexico city,
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august, 1940. a young man comes calling on an attractive secretary, and paying her little heed, plunges the mountain climber's ax into an old man's skull, and leon trotsky is dead. in the west, another dictatorship arose. complete with infallible leader, secret police, and cattle cars that carry men and women to the grave, or worse. this is the time of the popular front, all who made cause against the fascists are welcome. but even as the pickets march, the popular front is changing. on august 23, 1939, molotov for the russians and von ribbontrop for the germans undertake to divide the world between them.
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on september 1, eight days after the nazi/soviet pact is signed german troops crossed the polish frontier and the world learns the meaning of a german word "blitzkrieg." on september 17, the red army crosses poland frontier. on october 5, poland has disappeared. german and russians shake hands. >> the scum of the earth, i believe. >> the bloody assassins of the workers, i presume? >> germany gets more from the pact than help with the dismemberment of poland. russian ice breakers clear the way for german surface cruisers, germans are also given a naval
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base at murmansk and vast amounts of war material. french communists sabotage the electrical system on french fighter planes. but with the fall of france, hitler decides the pact has served its purpose and ends it by invading the territory of his recent partner, russia. the turning point of the german invasion of russia comes at volgograd which was then called stalingrad.
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when the war ends, russia acquires as the spoils of war eastern poland, subcarpathian, east prussia, northern sakhalin and portions of finland. latvia, lithuania and estonia are incorporated as soviet republics and much of their native population is deported. there are russian zones of occupation pending final peace treaties in germany, austria and north korea. and the russians have the right to maintain garrisons in poland, hungary, romania and bulgaria. how did we get from here to there? to the present situation? with an iron curtain dividing europe and communist outposts throughout much of the world. what is the secret of communism's post-war expansion? what methods do they use? the answer is they use them all. occupying troops remain until
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political domination is achieved in poland, romania and hungary. zones of occupation become zones of continuing influence and control in east germany and north korea. along with the political and psychological efforts, economic aid and trade agreements help spread the soviet influence in africa and the middle east. force is avoided wherever possible. but when it is needed it is used. the expulsion of from the mainland of the chinese national government is a military exercise complete with artillery, tanks, infantry, amphibious operations, casualties, and refugees. subversion is, of course, an important technique of communist conquest. czechoslovakia in 1948 is an established democracy in eastern europe. suddenly a rash of strikes. conservative elements resign
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from the cabinet. communist deputies pound their desks as the street demonstrations reach riot proportions. police brutality in putting down the riots as charged and the communists take over the police. on february 25, informed that the alternative is civil war and aware of unmistakable threats of invasion from the soviet union if he does not capitulate, the president accepts a communist cabinet. but the son of the country's greatest hero will not go along and remains in the foreign office. two weeks later, his dead body is discovered. whether he was murdered or killed himself is not known to this day. three months later a constitution, soviet style, is adopted by parliament.
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bennish refuses to sign it and is forced from office. before the year is over --. czechoslovakia like its heroes bennish and marge rick is dead. and eastern europe, in the words of winston churchill, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern europe. behind the iron curtain it is easy to express contentment with your lot and difficult and dangerous not to. but human freedom dies hard. uprising strikes in east germany
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and 1953 and in poland in 1956 are put down with local police, augmented by russian soldiers. in poland, concessions are made so that poland today, although indisputably communist, permits a degree of freedom unheard of in the other iron curtain countries. poles are permitted to criticize government decisions if they do so discreetly. an occasional political joke allowed, but loud laughter is not recommended. you might disturb your neighbor and he might be the law. budapest, october, 1956, these demonstrators are not anticommunists. in fact, many of them, hungarian students particularly, are communists who feel that as hungarians they have the inalienable right to determine how hungarian communism is to be administered. on october 24, local party bosses decide enough is enough
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and in the interest of law and order -- their law, their order -- direct police to fire into the crowds. but the crowd does not melt away. even when russian garrison troops join the police. faced by an overwhelming mob, the russians make a strategic withdrawal leaving them to be slaughtered by their own countryman. in november, a hungarian communist speaking as prime minister declares hungary neutral as between russia and the west. the russians hesitate, hungarians celebrate. but hesitation and celebration end soon. an entire russian army ends hungary and crushes the revolt, under a flag of truce, they discuss surrender terms. june 17, 1958, his execution is announced. no flowers, please.
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for many cubans, the years before 1958 were hard. as in many other countries, the cuban peasants rarely owned the land they worked so hard to till. for the urban masses, life in city slums was also depressing. filth and disease flourished. yet most of these poor cubans, the proletariat of marx, suffered their lot almost as if they were unaware that there was another way to live. when fidel castro was ready to come out of the sierra maestre, his support is based not on the poor but the middle-class. ironically, it's the knowledgeable who form the advance guard of the revolution but when the pied piper seeks to broaden his support and sounds support for bread and peace, the poor are there to listen. many believe, few doubt. the revolution is a success.
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castro's brother raul is already a self-proclaimed communist. his associate, che guevara, participated in the unsuccessful revolution in guatemala but in the revolution, few cubans, even in the middle-class, believe that fidel castro will turn communist. at first he promises free elections, he acknowledges the rights of citizens and newts the government, but the elections never take place and the government quickly becomes an instrument of coercion. the takeover is a success. berlin, 1961, our road has almost reached the present.
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why have the russians built this wall? why are all people denied the right guaranteed them under the international agreements to pass freely from zone to zone within berlin? the communist explanation is simplicity itself. according to them, west berlin was a base for intrigue and imperialist assaults on east berlin and east germany where a man has a chance to enjoy the finer things in life. but things were going the other way, east to west, and so has every other casualty at the wall. no one can be sure of the real reason, but prior to the erection of the wall, almost anyone who could get into east germany could reach west berlin if his feet held out. and many did. once in west berlin, you are
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outside the iron curtain. the free passage of people between east and west berlin was the only physical gap in the iron curtain. so the russians sealed it. the wall is a solid fact. and the wall remains. it stands in berlin today. it stands and will stand wherever the road of world communism leads. some day, according to its builders it will surround not merely the world but the moon, the stars, outer space, the universe. their objective is clear and so is ours. they intend to put the world on their road.
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we intend that the world shall be free, each man and each country to choose the road that suits him best. to achieve our objective, we need, above all, to understand. each new threat must be met, force with force as in korea, threaten military action with military aid as in greece and turkey. exploitation of economic weakness with economic aid and cooperation of the sort that has helped keep western europe independent. the choice is not red or dead, the choice lies between wisdom and ignorance. bravery and cowardice. freedom and slavery.
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american history tv on c-span3. this week in primetime, starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tonight, u.s. army special forces detachments stationed in berlin, germany, during the cold war. >> two teams would remain the city just to give the russians and the east germans a hard
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time, destroy critical targets like radio stations and power plants while the other guys would cross over the wall to hit these targets. rail yards. >> wednesday night, black voter suppression in the 1940s. >> during the congressional debate, representative lewis ludlow of indiana said "what a travesty, we're sending negroes by the multiplied thousands to the firing line to die and fight for freedom while telling them they shall have no part and parcel in freedom at home. >> thursday night, president andrew jackson's political struggle to challenge and even cripple the powerful bank of the united states. >> already by 1829, june of 1829 when he'd been president all of three months jackson was writing friends that the only thing that can prevent our liberties to be crushed by the bank and its influence would be to kill the bank itself. >> and friday night, an interview with senator john mccain on the vietnam's impact
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of his life and the country. >> i don't hold a grudge against the north vietnamese. i don't like them. there's some that i would never want to see again. but at the same time i was part of a conflict. i thought they were some of the meanest people i've ever met in my life and i never want to see again but there were several that were good people and that were kind to me so that's why it was much easier for me to support with president clinton and others the normalization of relations with our two countries to heal the wounds of war. >> watch american history tv this week in prime time on c-span3. >> congress is out for the week and the rest of the year. next week, the second session of the 115th congress begins with
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the senate returning wednesday, january 3rd, with two new democratic members. alabama's doug jones and minnesota's tina smith. the house returns monday january 8th and plans to work on government funding with temporary spending expiring on january 19th. also on the calendar, this year's state of the union address on tuesday, january 30th. you can watch the house live on c-span and the senate live on c-span2. >> c-span student cam, the tweets say it all. student cam in action. video editing and splicing for constitutional documentaries. this group showed us how it's done. two stellar interviews in one day. and these students ask some hard hitting questions about immigration reform and the d.r.e.a.m. act. when asking students to choose a provision of the u.s. constitution and create a video illustrating why it's important, our competition is open to all middle school and high school
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students grade 6 through 12. $100,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. the grand prize of $5,000 will go to the student of team with the best overall entry. the deadline is january 18th. get contest details on our website at >> next a u.s. army film that tells the story of refugees fleeing soviet occupied east germany through berlin to west germany. when an estimated 20,000 germans were crossing the border each month. from 1945 until this film was made, about 9 million had been granted refugee status in west germany.


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