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tv   The Battle for North Africa During WWII  CSPAN  January 7, 2018 4:28pm-6:00pm EST

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narrator: the united states can be proud of our armed forces, alert to meet every challenge in the spirit that safeguards our country is the will our serve and the will to win of everyone in uniform. each knows the mission, the defense of freedom everywhere which means defense of our own america.
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>> interested in american history tv? visit our website, you can view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum tours, archival films and more. american history tv of c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, house discussed jason david the week ahead in washington. new limits toout state and local deductions for federal income taxes. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, life at 7:00 a.m. eastern on monday morning, join the discussion. on november 8, 1942, british
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and american forces launched operation torch, the invasion of earth africa then occupied by not to germany. her book,about destination casa blocker, exile espionage and the battle for north africa in world war ii. she recalled eventually up to the joint british amazing -- rishaad american image of morocco, the national history center cohosted this 90 minute event. >> it is my pleasure this afternoon to introduce our speaker, meredith who is the author of the new book, destination casa barca, exile, espionage and the battle for north africa that was recently published by public affairs. she is a historian and a senior writer for the magazine, humanities which is the quarterly review of the national endowment for the humanities and among her scholarly credits are articles in holocaust and genocide studies and intelligent
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nationaltelligence and security. she has been for the new york times, salon, long reads and other periodicals. she received her phd from american university and today, she will be speaking on the new book, destination casa blocker. -- casablanca. all for: thank you coming this afternoon, i like to think of was in center and the national history center for inviting me to give this talk today. i want to start not with thessalonica and not with africa but with another invasion during the war, today. when we think about world war ii and when world war ii shows up in popular culture, it is often d-day. this brave, wrote moment when the allies, the americans and
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the western allies -- we always talk about in terms of the americans, they stormed the beaches of normandy and they liberate france from the germans. there is another invasion during world war ii. when americans stormed the beaches of french territory to liberate a populace. torch whichation takes place in november of 1942. but we'll talk about torch in the same way that we talk about today, in fact, the 75th anniversary of torch just passed. there was a must to talk about it, you may have seen an article or two but i can guarantee that the 75th anniversary of d-day comes and it will be a juggernaut.
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so, why don't we talk about operation torch in the same terms that we talk about doomsday? why is this operation not part of the baroque mythmaking that has come to graze in what were too? i would like to talk about that, today. i like to talk about how the americans and it up in north africa to begin with impossible role in that -- and casablanca's role in that. let's start with casablanca itself. it is a port city in africa on the atlantic coast. it was founded in the 11th and by the 15th century it had grown into a minor fishing village that was popular pirates, it was also popular with traders, particularly the spanish and portuguese and they were the ones who gave it the name wayablanca" because of the
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-- when you would sell -- sell into castle -- sail into casablanca, you would see sails lining the harbor. theyortuguese would come, got tired of the moroccan pirates attacking them. this is actually what you see here. then they would leave. underanca would again be the control of the sultan and the other white dynasty. in the 18th century decided that maybe you should start investing in casablanca to also drive trade to the interior of morocco. help,at did not really because to the north would be the most important port and continue to be most important port into the 20th century.
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i was a change with the french took over morocco. now the moroccans had managed to hold off european powers that was one of the last one out in africa, but in the early 20th century, that would change and morocco would be divided up into three. at the top, you would see spanish morocco, a little sliver that would be given to spain, this would become an international free zone, a trade zone everybody and the southern three quarters would become the french protectorate of morocco. would grasp onto existing political architecture and morocco, their own version of colonialism. they were control morocco's economics.
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also, is the clumsy, as military, essentially take control of morocco without replacing every structure that already existed as they had in algeria. this is a picture of resident charles, he is an army officer and he is in charge of french morocco at the beginning of world war ii and stand with him is city mohammed assault. the sultan and his -- he would be allowed to maintain authority spiritual life, he would be a liaison with other powerful families and morocco. again, the french were in charge, they would take morocco and they would use it to enhance both their colonial holdings and to do it they could to enhance economically as well. would benefit from the arrival of the french.
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the upper left, there is a picture of casablanca in 1900. it was a bit of a wild west town. streets, not particularly modernized, the french would come in and they would do to casablanca what they would do to paris in the 19th century, they would create boulevards and they would create apartment blocks and they would essentially go through and build a new, white colonial city. so on the other three pictures are pictures of various and youds in casablanca can see this growth of this city, they managed to avoid a typical oriental fantasia in terms of architecture but city, they mano they would use the white exterior with art deco flourishes until you end up with this beautiful, white, colonial
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city. this was meant for the french and europeans, not for the moroccans. casablanca in 1940. you can see that in the upper left-hand corner is this whichible compact place had existed for hundreds of in thend you can see lower three fourths of this photo, this is what the french built in 30 years. and up on the right, you can see the port. from 67,000ould go to 350,000 people by 1940. it was all driven by the port. when they did this in 1912 and
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france got the lower three fourths of morocco, they were kind of annoyed because what they're really what it was tangier. this was the most important port on the atlantic in africa. it was a massive trade hub, not so glamorous, this was a jewel of morocco, they didn't get it. so instead, they decided to turn casablanca into the largest port on the atlantic in africa and that is precisely what they did over a. of 30 years. in 1942,s the port this is the aerial shot, you can see how big it is. they built it out so they can accept massive traffic, more shipping traffic, they improve this fishing facility, they also a campaign from which there are a lot of lovely posters. i'm trying to encourage people to come to casablanca instead of tangier.
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people would get off in casablanca and showing that there was a new life city, it didn't have the talk -- term of tangier. tangier would continue to be the big tour support for morocco. is why the refugees come to casablanca. the port is why americans come to casablanca. we need to have germany invade france before that. in spring of 1940, germany would invade western europe and march into france. morocco would answer the call and it would send five divisions. they would fight in france. alongould be stationed this line and they are also in flanders and along the river. rent is defeated -- france is
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defeated by mid-june. this was part of the german armistice and the northern part of france including paris which becomes occupied by the germans, the south is under control of marshall. as this because this is where the capital lives. this is part of the armistice which get to keep control of the colonies in north africa. that means that the french protectorate to morocco that answers to france. that would have a great effect on a trajectory during war. the german invasion would create a massive refugee crisis in europe and in france and it -- itcost $6 million 6 million to
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frelee south. hop across the mediterranean, they would get able to algeria, iran or two casablanca. -- to casablanca. sometimes they would get on a train and got defensive like a from there. casablanca with become a major waystation for refugees. in july of 1940, 2 hundred ships arrive off the coast of casablanca. they were bearing refugees. it is a massive humanitarian crisis at the port. it would take weeks for those ships to offload the refugees. the protectorate would set up sheds of support to provide food , clothing, medicine, medical care, they would also establish makeshift internment camps outside of the town to process all of the refugees.
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that went off to fight in france now found itself accepting refugees who were trying to flee france. at the center of the refugee crisis, what would become an agent refugees is the u.s. consulate. in 1940, the u.s. consulate had a staff of six. it was small, intentionally they were just over 100 americans in all of french morocco, they were businessmen, douglas aircraft, they were also -- there were also some missionaries, the diplomatic corps, plus their children, that is worth a lot of , rick is which is why will pause for a movie reference, it is why rick in the movie casablanca is an
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incredibly extraordinary character, it would be rare to come across an american in casablanca. but the u.s. consulate would become a point of contact for the refugee. each day, more than 200 people would line up outside of the consulate, hoping to get a visa to apply for a visa, to receive assistance, the consulate would help them with passage, they would tell them that there are budget people looking to take their money and there were captains who were willing to trade money, fact or whatever it would take to get passengers on their ship and they were plenty of refugees who were willing to barter that. the consulate also told them what to sell their jewels so they could get a better price. but it was overwhelming for the diplomats. the u.s. consulate general wood
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white -- right the state department in august of 1940, the american consulate of the city has been the club for hundreds of people who could not get into your content into the united states or canada but came to tell their stories to us into each other. i suppose it was one of the few places where they did not get a cold shoulder and i do not regret that these forlorn people felt that our -- at our office, they could not hear a friend they were that they had nearly wrecked us. -- here a friend they word. but they had nearly wrecked us. 10 days before the germans histed franc, he finished book. when the germans arrived, he knew he was in trouble, it was hung gary and, he was communist, known to be anti-nazi, he already had problems with the french police, he was not going
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to have problems with the germans. so he went at with his lover. -- he fled with his lover. there were some close scrapes, including a brief moment of almost being sent to an internment camp, he was going to have to do something drastic. french foreigne legion. because of the price of five years of service, you can get a brand-new name and disappear. it -- here is arthur, a man known for having a smoking cigarettes who has now joined the french foreign legion wearing a hat. he gets a new name and disappears. he joins up with bunch of british soldiers who are also trying to escape from france and they make their way off across the algiers and they have to train and they go to thessalonica. summers was to go north to his
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bent and then on to britain. though, he isem no longer arthur cursor. he has a brand-new name and he doesn't have any paperwork. into the consulate and tells a story, he is backed up by a british spy master those working at casablanca who is in favor of him leaving as well. thisitical issues emergencies. -- emergency certificate for britain which allows them to leave for the husband and eventually make it to the u.k.. in july of 1940, the british would attack the french fleet in algeria. 100 -- 102,000
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soldiers dead. british wanted the french to turn over the fleet because they were worried the germans would capture. if the germans got a hold of it, that would mean they could take over the tech -- mediterranean. their -- therefore, cutting off britain's section to the empire. in catholic, this meant that the brits, the canadians, the australians and the south africans would all have to leave and they would pack up the consulate, seal the doors and make a run for the board before they were arrested. the u.s. consulate would take affairs for britain and the commonwealth. not only do they have the refugees, they now have assumed responsibly for british affairs in casablanca. which, there are a lot of
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british citizens who are stuck because they are not allowed to leave morocco. begin to fall under french authority. in the fall of 1940, as the refugee population continues to grow and we have all of these phone is running around morocco, the french protectorate opens up what would be the first of a series of internment camps, they take over an old french foreign legion cap in the south and they start putting refugees in it. now, how do you get into an internment camp? you get there because you're considered to be in charge of the city of casablanca because you can't pay for your residence -- residency permit anymore. that is why you wouldn't want to gamble your money at rick's cafe because the candy in casablanca a really long time.
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you can also end up there because your british or because your hungarian or german or austrian or russian or polish, there are a lot of polish people in the internment camp but not surprisingly, they were also jewish. they would be into infant -- infiltrate themselves in the french morocco. this is a ceremony in front of the justice house. the house of justice in the central square and that is a poster of martial hanging from the rampart. ins is a ceremony to swear 10,000 formal veterans into the veteran organization, the city would also arrived in the form of purging anyone from the bureaucracy who did not tell the line, if you are thought to be questionable and perhaps you didn't, you are out.
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anti-semitic legislation would also begin to arise, will that were introduced in france would also find their way to morocco, slyly watered-down form, people would lose their professions, they would lose their businesses, and in the toldof 1941, they would be that the jews that lived in the european section would be told that they have to move into the old jewish quarters in the city throughout morocco. casablanca, there was no room. so they do not move. but slowly, but surely, their lives of the moroccans were being shipped away. ipped away. the fact that britain and france have presented -- severed relations allows someone to step in. that would be 5 -- franklin
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roosevelt, he always like to juggle and to play a game. roosevelt decided that someone needed to keep open relations. someone needed to keep to talk to them because he really they really weren't going to go all in on a collaboration with germany. thought,ort of what he he thought someone needed to talk to them. robert murphy would set up the american consulate in the cnbc. bc.n this was a place and wish relations and business meals were conducted in hotels and opera houses in bc because the city wasn't hosted in paris. cap roosevelt to go
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on a mission. reports of them leaking out that african needed medicine, a needed gasoline because extractions had begun. -- german no germans troops in french morocco. but, the german armistice commission had arrived and it had begun to send people and inventories of french morocco's resources had begun, what can be sent from french morocco to france that is the work effort. of course, that means that there is little left behind for the residents of french morocco. so shortages began. roosevelt death rows things that sensibly to french north africa might be a way to open a
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.ialogue as part of the dialogue, that dialogue should be had with maxine way god. eagad. he had been one of the architects of this. support or wasot reluctant to collaborate with the germans. he would be maneuvered out. they do not want to fire him because of his role in helping. so he packed them off to north africa and make them high commissioner of north africa. thatvelt can't believe this honorable general would really collaborate with the some sortd he thought of entree could be offered and that release market way to do it. so he says robert murphy in december and january and
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december of 1940 and january of 1941 on an inspection tour. goes, i have to put inspection tour and that is in quotation marks because because wherever he goes to meet her and he runs around french morocco, he goes to pass a market, he goes to tangier, alger, iran and meet with french officials and also with ghent and they do strike a deal, it is called the north african economic program. -- a very sounding bland sounding program. britain is in soaking on this idea because it revolves around spending supplies for the blockade. britain feels that you have very few weapons available to them and the blockade is one of them. if the americans start sending anderson through the blockade, you're going to have that deluded.
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as part of the agreement, they toide to send inspectors north africa and there would be 12 of them. that is how they become known as the apostles. they need 12 meant to center french north africa to basically keep an eye on the shipments that are going to arrive, ideas that the men would go at the port, they were inspect the ships and then they would watch could come out and then they would make sure to follow the supplies and make sure they went into morocco instead of going to be put back on another boat and sailing north to france and then later into germany. but when they looked around for tont to send -- meant to send
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send, there wasn't enough. french morocco was primarily a french speaking country. but they found two men who spoke english. there were two men who become key to the operation out of castle like. is a world war i of that, he worked on intelligence during the war and in the hisrim, he basically minded real estate portfolio in new york and he was looking around for something to do, a way to get involved with the war. king, is on the site in novel, his grip, he left harvard in the middle of world war i, signed up with the french foreign legion, fought in france and then would join with the americans when the americans entered the war. he was also involved in intelligence in the 1920's and
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30's, he did some adventuring in ethiopia and central asia, collected a number of wives. again, he might as his trust fund. but he was also looking for a way to get involved in the war. so staff reed and dave came are inspectcasablanca to the ship's that are going to arrive as part of the north african trade agreement. councils in as vice the consulate. even though they were for the state department. ,t is very clear to everybody the french, the americans, the british that they were also going to be spies. the americans did not have an intelligence network in north africa. relied on thehad british and the french to provide any intelligence that it needed about north africa, it just was not of interest to the
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americans. so they didn't have contacts, they didn't have people on the ground, dave king and staff reed become the beginnings of that. over the next few months and years, they would establish networks within morocco and in casablanca. they would know who is a collaborator, who was a resistor, with a could depend upon for information. the order of battle from morocco which would let everyone know where all of the troops are. they met all of the courts, they map the coastline, staff reed would establish -- help establish a communications effort for the americans that would connect the consulate with tangier and then with iran and algeria.
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king, his specialty became working with the resistance in french morocco. the fact that he had been in the french foreign legion was a terrific entree. he could use that service and particularly the army officers would respect him for that. now, their arrival in french morocco would also coincide with the evolution of american intelligence during the war in general. entrying the american into the war with the bombing of apostles wouldhe by the organization founded by william donovan. 1942, course later, since when donovan is successful in having roosevelt authorized the office of strategic services, they would again be absorbed organization.
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so you have spies on the ground setting up these spy network, but they are also evolving with the american intelligence effort. assets -- josephine baker. baker, of course, i gone to paris in the 19 20's to make her career because an african-american woman found it hard to make her way in the united states due to prejudice, but in paris, she was welcomed with open arms and fete d and embraced and became a favorite of the french. which means everyone wanted to talk to josephine baker. baker wanted to do something and she made contact with french intelligence. and after the fall of france, she would make contact with the french resistance and she would go to work spying for them.
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she would head to north africa. the idea was she would end up in morocco, and for morocco -- from rocco she would travel to lisbon and spain, where she would perform and meet important people because everybody wanted to talk to josephine baker. then spanish officials in french officials would be indiscreet -- spanish officials and french officials would be indiscreet. she would write what she learned in invisible ink and it would be transported back to morocco. unfortunately, baker's health take a turn for the worse and she would end up in a clinic in casablanca. everybody would then want to visit ms. baker to find out how she was. so her hospital room became a
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collection point for intelligence, and that intelligence would be said on to first staff read, and then another member of the oss. so, the americans are in africa. the americans are in casablanca. they are spotting. how exactly did the americans -- how exactly does a force of 33,000 americans show up off the coast and decide to invade? these blame of 1942, roosevelt and churchill met here in washington at their second washington conference, and they were debating what to do. -- american entry into war roosevelt made a commitment to germany first.
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europe would be the priority for the american war effort. there was a problem. there was not enough men and to invade france. it simply was not possible. there were not enough men in uniform. which meant that roosevelt and churchill were looking for other options to the second front. churchill had this idea that the north should go to africa. because from north africa, they could springboard into, as he would call it, the soft underbelly of europe. they could springboard to southern france. they could springboard to italy. they could springboard to sicily and to greece. they could also turn it into a logistical hub for the united states. supplies to go to britain in the
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london, and in the south, they could go to casablanca and use the port. from the ports, they could ship .upplies north the idea was north africa would become a logistical hub for the southern allied attack on germany. is incredible -- as this debate goes on, dwight eisenhower is put in charge of the operation. he is in london and he essentially is trying to figure out what to do with this operation while roosevelt and churchill are playing strategist, as they like to do. be settledvade would over the course of a two-week
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exchange of telegrams between roosevelt and churchill at the end of august and beginning of september in 1942. eisenhower would later refer to it as the transatlantic essay contest. settled, the allies decided, the brits and the americans decided, they ,ould come ashore in morocco with casablanca as the primary objective so they could take the port. they would come ashore in algiers at iran and they would algeria atshore in out years. what you see on this graphic, the western half of the force would come for morocco. for iranforce comes and the eastern task force comes for algiers. so the western task force comes for casablanca. october, a naval
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force would depart. it was under the command of george patton. you may have heard of him. these five small fleets would then meet in the middle of the atlantic ocean and form another, ships, 120t of 103 miles by 30 miles wide, and it would sail for morocco. -- they wouldret not use radio. in stead during the day they would use signal flags to communicate changes in the course. at night, if they needed to do a
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course adjustment, they would sail between the ships. the fleet manages to slip across the atlantic undetected. i want you to stop and think about this for a moment. in the age of satellites, in the age of knowing everything and see everything, we have a massive invasion fleet that is undetected by the germans, despite the fact that there is a matter of -- massive battle going on in the atlantic. the fleet would, of course, be admiral kit hewitt, who is the man laughing with his eyes closed here and to the left, admiral george patton who would command the western task force. arrived,e americans there are a couple attempts to get morocco to surrender. it does not work.
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murphy tries in october. in the hours before the theicans are off the coast, commander all because of long division and a member of the french resistance -- he is a french general, again -- tries to get him to surrender. he does not agree. it's 2:00 in the morning. he has been woken him. he does not believe there is an theican invasion fleet off coast of morocco. the americans would not be that stupid. they really would not be that in november, the atlantic ocean is only calm one out of every five or six days. that means if you try to put men ashore in wooden boats, they are likely to be smashed on the rocky coastline. the french were so confident that no one would ever try and amphibious invasion that they guarded who normally
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the coast to the interior in the winter. it did not make any sense. but the americans were coming. and in fact, this is a copy of a .lyer blanketed casablanca with this flyer. it's urging the citizens of casablanca not to fight and join the americans. the americans, sure in two different places. they come ashore and madea in the north. hdia.llars -- me fedala. they did not come ashore at casablanca because it was too heavily guarded.
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would closerom safi from the north and the south. ahe northern group at mehdi gets bogged down in the invasion. and yes, the french fight. the french fight the americans. they defend morocco. the troops mobilize. they fight the americans. , of course, is a shipswhich means that from the french fleet are , and you get the naval battle of casablanca which takes place over two days. the american sink the french fleet based at casablanca, while not suffering any damages.
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the french casualties would be 490 sailors are killed and 969 are wounded. controls theho french fleet would call casablanca a cemetery basically by the time the americans are done. patton, with some help from the u.s. navy, would take morocco in 74 hours. casablanca was scheduled to be bombed on the morning of november 11 starting at 7:30 a.m. they would surrender morocco and :40 in the at 6 morning, barely avoiding bombing the city. they would sign an armistice on november 11, 1942, another momentous day, because it's the day in which world war i would
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end. every french soldier in american soldier in the room for that armistice had fought in world war i. it seems great. we have this momentous victory. it's doing really great. american troops have come ashore at iran. they came ashore at algiers. they take the city in one day. it's fantastic. it's a great allied victory. the americans have done wonderfully. everything goes haywire when it comes to signing the armistice for french north africa because françois darlan. he happens to be in algiers when the americans come on shore. he is there to visit his son who has polio and happens to find
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him there as they start to try to negotiate with the french officials in algiers. no one wants to deal with the man of the hour, the man the allies have chosen to lead north, henri gir he is a hero. he recently escaped from a pow camp. but no one will follow him. the french army will not follow him. the french army controls north africa. they will not follow him because they think he is a traitor. because he has betrayed his fellow soldiers. he has betrayed the core. because they valued loyalty to loyalty even before
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to vichy. himself dealing with and eisenhower flies to sign the final agreement -- they signed the agreement with darlan that keeps the existing vichy leadership in charge of french north africa. darlan would become the head of udench with africa and gira would become head of the army. when headline started leaking to britain, they could not believe it. how could the americans do a deal with darlan? he was the most hated man in europe. it was done for military
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expediency. this is a case of how you win the battle but lose the peace, or at least the pr campaign afterwards. roosevelt is so flummoxed by what has come out of algiers, he would later tell eisenhower he they were all turning fascist. what would make them make a deal with someone like darlan? it was simply military expediency. the americans and the british did not bring enough troops to happily occupied north africa. the french army would rise up and they would welcome the allies with open arms and join the allies. the moroccan populace were kind of indifferent. and then you have the leadership of the french who do not want to
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join at all. eisenhower really wants to secure french morocco and algiers and move into tunisia, because part of the reason they were coming to north africa was s to counterbrit rommel. so eisenhower agrees to this deal. he would later write, one week later after signing the darlan d.l., he would write george marshall -- i value this aid more than the active participation of their troops. we have this advantage through the influence of the entire group to which we have worked. i value this aid. what is this aid? eisenhower came to casablanca to watch french and americans work together to unload 30,000 troops who have arrived in casablanca.
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these are the logistical lines he badly needs. there are 140 americans and french morocco. by the end of 1942 there are more than 60,000 american troops. it is a huge increase. they were everywhere. americans had tense in town squares. town squares.n so, the movie. we are going to have to talk about the movie. warner bros. cannot believe it's ,ot because it -- its luck because they open up the paper and their headlines about cause of longer. casablanca was not well known to the american public until the
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american invasion of north africa, but here are headlines talking about the navy, talking about patent. by coincidence, warner bros. had a movie in the can about casablanca. the movie finished shooting in the summer of 1942. they moved up the release and 26,the premier on november 1942. if you are wondering why you have seen so much about the movie lately, it is because the anniversary was just this past week. the movie would have another place in history because roosevelt would watch it on new year's eve 1942. to has a blockd of for the casablanca conference, which took place january 20 fourth, 1943. was a need- there
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after the invasion to think about what they were going to do for 1943 and roosevelt said he to come somewhere that she did not want to go somewhere cold. he also wanted a chance to see the troops. they settled on casablanca because it had -- they could find a hotel, they could find surrounding villas. it was also not likely to be bombed by the germans, which was definitely a possibility with algiers. .o, patton's men set up the conference takes place in the suburb of casablanca. hotel is at the center. they are surrounded with villas. they would create their own phone system. they would bring their own food.
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anytime the americans objected to anything, the brits would run down to the shore and grab a piece of paper. the course of 10 days, the americans and the brits would get together and debate what to do. he would spend an entire day driving up the coast. he would also go up to mehdia and see where the fighting had occurred. they would discuss in formal ways of what to do.
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and in casablanca, they would continue to him batting german submarines to invade sicily and .taly they recommitted to the europe first strategy. they would also think about getting turkey into the war on the side of the allies. the results are a dinner with and their of morocco guest, the resident general. it was hosted by roosevelt. there's no alcohol. roosevelt,ll and that was a problem because they both loved cocktails. there was a little pre-gaming beforehand, and it is rumored that churchill snuck off in the middle of dinner to have a drink. muffy, along with robert
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-- robert murphy, harry hoffman. the sultan would bring his son who had a big crush on patton. he thought he was amazing. along with two of his advisers. gotng the dinner, roosevelt in a long conversation about how the americans might be able to help morocco. the sultan was interested in educational opportunities. he did not like that moroccans were so dependent on the french. so roosevelt and his roosevelt way starts brainstorming. we could help you with education. we could help you with science. we can help you with agriculture. churchill, who is definitely a fan of colonialism and colonies, got very grumpy during the meal. his french was not great, but he knew enough to know what that conversation was about. he could only hear snippets and
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he, too, was angry. sultan took from this dinner that the americans were interested and perhaps interested in supporting his independence. the americans were not in a position to do that and in fact they would later downplay any indications that they were. in successive years it was not in the interest of the allies are the french. it was definitely status quo. nevertheless, the moroccan nationalist movement inspired by the americans would officially relaunch during the war. it had been stomped out in the 1930's. it would coalesce again january 1944. the resistance movement would
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publish a manifesto announcing it was once again for independence and a little more than 10 years later morocco would gain his independence from the french. you might actually know casablanca a little bit better for this meeting. roosevelt and churchill also tried to get de gaulle and giraud together. there were two factions. one faction wanted henri guiraud and another faction was headed up by charles de gaulle. degaulle had not been told about the invasion. he did not know about it. even though they were invading another french colony. said it was better to
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withhold. at the conference they would try to orchestrate what they would call a shotgun wedding, and they actually used those terms, degaulle -- gnd put thed degaulle to french resistance movement together and that did not go so well. this meeting would also be followed by the announcement the allies were going to pursue unconditional surrender. when people talk about because of conference, usually the idea that roosevelt announces during the press conference the allies are going to do unconditional surrender. it was not planned. in fact, giraud was so shocked head went around like, you said what? putas suggested that they
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out a press release. roosevelt, however, just blurted it out. churchill wanted to preserve the appearance of unity between the brits in the americans, decided not to argue with roosevelt in front of reporters that had been gathered. until that press conference occurred, the casablanca conference had been a secret. roosevelt, churchill, and the rest of them had managed to sneak off without attracting dust without information being leaked to both the british and the american public about where they were. after they had been gone for a while it was pretty clear something was up. you can't have senior officials disappear from washington. you can have senior officials disappear from britain, from london and not have people start to speculate. there was no way, however, they believed anybody was in casablanca. so, when the press corps was
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brought to casablanca and the , they were just shocked. one of the amazing things about the casablanca conference, particularly in today's world where everything is tweeted and we feel like we need to know every movement of our president every single day that roosevelt could disappear for almost three weeks. it would take five days to get to casablanca biplane and another five days to get back. he was essentially gone for most of january. the americans would stick around a morocco for the rest of the war. casablanca itself would become a logistical hub to help with seven europe. they would send the soldiers back to the united states at the end of the war.
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ok, i will finish up with the movie. is a nice of course, piece of hollywood back what magic. they did not shoot it in casablanca. sorry. it was shot on a lot. elements to the film that are actually reflected in history and they actually get certain things right. the tension between resisting and collaborating, what side are you on? that is a big, big theme of north africa. the plight of the refugees, about how to get out, how you get there, what happens when you get there, how does one get out of casablanca -- they got that right, to you well. also, the notion that people can change sides. so in this photo, rick is shaking the hand -- actually,
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rick is pointing begun -- pointing the gun. we think he is the head of the security in casablanca. he's definitely a vichy official. there is no way that they could have known that the official link has a blog a member of the resistance. they have king out of jail couple times. he would help dave king bail his resistance contacts out of jail. actually contains quite a few elements of history. thank you very much. [applause] >> so, now we moved to our question, discussion time. ground rules.
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of course, use the microphone so everyone can hear you. would someone like to start us off? yes. >> thank you very much -- >> and you are? is dave kirk. meetingo go back to the with the sultan. i wonder if you can say more about what the impact of the american presence in morocco is on the moroccans and the way in which they may have been transformed or reshaped by the .ar do you have much sense -- ms. hindley: one thing that from the americans
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invading is the french are not as all-powerful as they have projected themselves to be. it also provides a rallying point cause part of the allies, particularly the west -- four roosevelt and churchill, there that they are peopleally liberating from an oppressive regime, which the moroccans that point thought the french were an oppressive regime. spark a bit. they would form what is essentially the roosevelt club in morocco. this happens later in the war.
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the french and the moroccans don't usually socialize together -- out in public at least. it becomes a place where they can meet, exchange ideas. --s is one of the reasons they thought they had a better chance of the french allowing them to stay than maybe the moroccans allowing them to stay. but the ties between morocco and the united states continue to this day. rocco is one of our best allies in the war on terror. the ties are closed. and it partly springs from that meeting with the sultan and roosevelt.
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and also -- i don't want to make it sound like the moroccan waspendence movement basically a product of the americans because it's not. it is a homegrown movement. it is drawn from intellectuals in 1944, but also other groups that come together to rise up and basically a certain themselves. >> you have written a book and the story is about the invasion liberation,nd the later, of europe. i'm not suggesting that you do this, but could you envision an alternative volume that somebody else writes -- you can move on
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to a different subject -- that would tell the story from the perspective of the moroccans themselves? theyoing to imagine that did not necessarily appreciate french colonialism in the way so theirch did, experience of the war is very different from the french or americans. put another author -- could another author write an account from the perspective of the moroccans and if so, what would like?ook ms. hindley: yes. they absolutely could. in a sense because the french were in charge, because they morocco, and meant the political decisions and military decisions were made essentially by the french. moroccans are the more -- when it comes to the high level events unfolding -- i
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don't want to use the word i standers, but they are not directly involved in the story. at iny have lost family members france. maybe one of their families one of the 19,000 p.o.w.'s kept by germany following the clash of france. you could write an alternative story about how the war affects them that way. there's another thread that comes out in terms of digging deeper in the story of moroccan moroccan jewry. gap when it comes to the war that has only been filled in the last four or five years. because independent is so important to the moroccans, when
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scholars have dug in, particularly moroccan scholars, 37 wheree looked at 36- there is a nationalist movement and they are clamped down. the leaders go into exile. then they kind of skip over the war and they start up again in 44. it is a great moment where everything coalesces again and you have the manifesto. and they spring forward again over that next decade. i would look forward to more scholars digging in. there are a ton of documents available. -- i'm for the vichy july, the vichy records are kind
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of scattered. i admittedly do not speak arabic. that's a gap on my part. i will look forward to other scholars. if anyone needs a dissertation topic, let me know. i can suggest a few. prof. arnesen: gentlemen on the other side of the table and then we will move to the back. . >> thanks. i am john lindberg from the u.s. naval academy. thanks for a fascinating presentation. what happened with the agreement that setup, preserved vichy control in north africa. how long did it last? ms. hindley: that's a really good question which i realize that i skipped over. assassinatedlan assassinated on christmas eve. 1942.
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so it lasts less than two months. it's not clear who assassinated him. a young man was recruited to carry out the task. he is not fired a gun until a few days before. we do not know who he was working with or for because the french immediately executed him. so, was it oss? i know. it's very convenient, isn't it? was it the oss? was at the free french? was it members of vichy that were upset that he was working with the americans and the british? it's unclear. a lot of folks speculate. it's hard to know who it is. giraud becomes the high commissioner of north africa and things do not change much. the policies that have been put in place by vichy essentially
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stay in place. do this amazing, and i have to say very french, thing, were they say they cannot repeal the policies put in place until they study what the effects will be. so they are very sort of pokey .bout repealing them that anger is a number of people because particularly it takes a while to get the anti-semitic -- it would also have other effects. empty the wanted to internment camps. they wanted them emptied and roosevelt made a commitment, but the french because of vichy leadership, the same bureaucrats are in power. the french would delay, delay, delay and it would take almost nine months to empty the internment camps and send the refugees back on their way. prof. arnesen: there is a hand
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in the far back right there. i don't know how this would work -- >> i don't know how this would work. the vichy are still german allies. we invade. we leave them in power. we have a military operation going on in morocco under vichy rule. i don't understand how that would work. ms. hindley: the americans are an informal occupying force. we leave the bureaucratic structure in place. mind-boggling to be honest. show up witht enough personnel or soldiers to do regime change.
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>> we are conducting this operation and the vichy government is running everything. i am just thinking from a spy perspective -- i don't understand how you would do that. ms. hindley: yes, we leave the bureaucracy in place. but the americans -- there are american troops occupying and it's the same thing in algeria as well and the troops then, the forces are basically moving on into tunisia. yes, it is a tremendous opportunity for intelligence and spy gathering and for sabotage. but in morocco, for whatever -- it manages to work out. it is incredible. they stay in power until the summer of 1943 and they move him out and someone else would come in. prof. arnesen: against the wall here. >> thank you. my name is jeff kidman, state
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department. great talk. you have touched a couple times on moroccan jewry. was taughtcaust, it not long ago, a year or two ago, sultan, a guy i'm assuming was the same sultan, the national leader was somewhat at least -- i mean somewhat protective of moroccan jews. he did not cooperate. he said something like "now my orjects are all moroccans," something like that. it was not primarily humanitarian thing, but it was part of the moroccan independence, nationalist movement. can you talk a little bit more about dust do you have something more to say about moroccan jew ry? ms. hindley: so, the sultan --
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the sultan was very concerned and very moroccan jews concerned about how vichy legislation would affect them. he did make representations to guests and he did attempt to interfere in various places with their treatment. i want to make the point that there was never the point in morocco where they were rounded up. had to wear stars on their clothes. we never got that far. if the war had proceeded further hadg -- if the americans not arrived, things might have progressed that way. and it's not clear to me what at that point, what the sultan would have been able to do. because he sort of -- he has -- he has more power. >> can you speak to the motivation about why he took the stance he did when he did? ms. hindley: because he
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considers himself to be a protector of the jews. it is part of his role as sultan. it is also part of his role as being a descendent of mohammed. he is responsible for both -- for the jews as well as the followers of islam. >> [indiscernible] there is a hand on the side. >> actually be gentlemen back here asked to be question i was interested in about administration, but there were i came across -- unaffiliated. there was something i came across which touched on at the very beginning that the germans reportedly had gotten that roosevelt and
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churchill were meeting at casablanca. through,ot through -- the understanding was they were meeting at the white house and washington, d.c. and did not pay a lot of attention to it. is that legend or is that fact? i readdley: you know, that story, and i decided not to run that one down. know, i am just point to tell you, i don't actually know the answer to that. >> i thought it was interesting. ms. hindley: no, it's great. it would be a perfect example of a translation issue because it would translate as casablanca white house, and the last time they met at the second washington conference was washington, d.c. at the white
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house and they were at the white house in december of 1941. it would make sense that they were there. here in then: front. >> thank you. benjamin, no affiliation. meeting orts on the the conversation between roosevelt and the sultan bring to mind analogous meetings between the saudis and roosevelt on this battleship. we were looking at our possible future role in the region, including in palestine in which we were pretty significantly involved, in part because of the
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significance of the americans in this movement. which also brings to mind the missing person in the room that stalin. of course, he was preoccupied elsewhere. and hevery much involved would definitely have had an .nterest in these colonies could you comment on that? i mean if i had been a presence , and aboutground espionage and so on -- what kind of presence did the soviets have in that theater? ms. hindley: so, stalin was invited to the conference, but he sent his regrets. he said he was too preoccupied on the eastern front. churchill had visited him in august of 1942 to deliver the news about the second front and .hat would be in north africa
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he was not pleased. but they spent time drinking and they worked it out. i am actually serious. yes, he would have been interested. inre were communists casablanca. but there was not a super spy network. it was not particularly sophisticated. it would actually fire up after the americans arrived. there would be a big resurgence of communism. there would be a lot of time writing memos, worrying about the influence of communism. had helpedause vichy to push the communists underground.
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if your communist you could be sent to an internment camp, and also, the french colonial policy did not look fondly upon the communists, so they intended to stamp out that movement as well. >> if i can ask another question , the book excels in his narrative in your storytelling technique. and yournarrative storytelling technique. it brings the city alive and .any characters it's really quite enjoyable indie gauging and it carries you along from beginning to end. is what i imagine would be a successful book with a trade publisher. it's not an academic book. and if it were in academic book, the academic question would be, who are you arguing with? or how would you situate your
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findings in the broader field?ographical are there people whose arguments you are engaging? or is this really the exploration of a period of time through this very engaging cast of characters? ms. hindley: all right, that's not a small question. i'm not arguing with anyone in particular. was writet to to do about casablanca during world war ii, and when i looked around -- so, i came to the topic because, like everyone, i had seen the movie. i would catch it here again on turner classic movies. i was in the archive doing research -- actually my dissertation -- and i was looking for other things. the problem when you're doing research is you find other things. referencesrun across
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andasablanca and refugees casablanca and internment camps and i -- that always stuck with me. i had to stay focused. when i was looking for a project, i decided to go back and look because i have those documents in mind. but then when i started looking at what was available, i was surprised to see there was not a lot on morocco during world war ii. it's an incredibly underwritten period. there's only a handful of books. it's starting to change. there has been a lot of work done on it in the last four or five years. there are a lot of familiar stories. there's not a lot of new stuff. so, in a sense, i was looking not so much at the argument, but
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to fill the gap. writing exactly what happened in morocco during world war ii and also what happened in casablanca and what does it mean to -- and then as i started to write -- also what does it mean to be displaced as a transient and people come and they do not stay very long? and then -- so, i guess, you're right. i don't make a historiographical argument in the book, but i do not make any apologies for that. i think anyone who picks it up will learn a lot about moroccan history, about casablanca, and also about the north african theater. it does not get the attention it deserves, but it is pivotal to the americans getting into and to understand what the rest of the war might be.
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>> thank you. prof. arnesen: other questions? with that, i will invite you to our reception right outside of this room. i will emphasize that the book is available outside for purchase, and the holidays are coming. and as i tried to make clear, it is an eminently readable book that perhaps relatives of yours very much might enjoy reading, on i will invite you back december 11 for the final seminar of this season. "thewill speak on the book myth of independence: how congress governs the federal reserve." thank you to our participants and thank you to meredith hindley. [applause]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of american history programming every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for a schedule in to keep up with the latest history news. "afterwords," the book "benched." he is interviewed by democratic senator richard blumenthal. >> as a judge of 45 years, having gone from the life of making decisions and going to court and advocating a case to judging -- was that a difficult transition for you? and did you ever miss the life of accuracy -- advocacy, so to
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