tv World War I the Origins of the Fossil Fuel Era CSPAN February 9, 2020 6:00pm-7:01pm EST
tv, history and environmental studies professor brian black tells us how world war i led to a dramatic worldwide increase in the production and use of fossil fuels, especially petroleum. professor black also discusses the experiences of a young u.s. army colonel named dwight eisenhower during a 1919 cross-country motor convoy, and how it influenced his later support for a national highway system. the national world war i museum and memorial cohosted the event with the linda hall library and the dwight d. eisenhower presidential library, museum and boyhood home. >> brian black is one of the faculty who spearheaded the creation of an environmental studies major at penn state altoona, where he currently serves as the head of the arts and humanities division.
his research emphasis is on the landscape and environmental history of north america, particularly in relation to the application and use of technology. his first book used the pennsylvania oil boom of the 1860's in a case study of rapid industrialization, and the cultural history of petroleum use in the 20th century, and what it revealed about american environmental ethics and preferences. he has examined industrial intensity during the civil war era, as well as the impact of modernism and land-use planning on the modern environmental movement. professor black received his doctorate in american studies from the university of kansas in 1996. this evening, he will address how world war i informed the 20th century's use of energy sources, including petroleum, and the enduring impact on our
environment and climate today. give a warm welcome to professor brian black. [applause] prof. black: thanks everyone. thank you for being hard-core audience to come out on an evening like this. thank you, kamil, and everyone for putting together this program. i truly am impressed by the number of levels -- and i have not been to this facility, so i am impressed in terms of that. i was part of a conference that
traveled through the asiago plain. a world war i conference. i have to tell you, the memorial reminds me so much of some of the memorials you see there. it is wonderful that we have that and the museum. in terms of me, i was really pleased when camille contacted me because i had a piece of the piece in the new york times with this page. what we have, i think, is an opportunity tonight. i salute the world war i museum for taking advantage of this to bring new historical thinking in as well. i am working with a group of historians to change some basic ideas about how you tell stories about the past. as you will see, this becomes an opportunity to get into larger issues. i hope in our questions and
period, that you feel free to ask me for more specifics about this. among you may be people in the audience who know more than i do. i will also be happy to talk about the macro version of what i will be speaking about as well. the other point i was going to make, because i am trying to introduce you to some literature, some ideas, i do include fairly lengthy quotes on here. i will leave them up therefore a while so that you can have time to read them as i read them out loud. but again, thank you for being here. on the morning of july 7, 1919, a 28-year-old tenant colonel in the u.s. army, dwight d eisenhower, set out on a volunteer cross-country road trip to evaluate the emerging system of roadways in the u.s.
the convoy's findings were instrumental in targeting priorities that the u.s. would follow over the 20th century. in particular, new sources of power provided a logic for expansion and development that was reminiscent of pioneer wagon trains of previous generations. wrote the old convoy started me thinking about two lane roads. this is one of the things i felt deeply about. i made a personal and absolute decision to see the nation benefit by it. in his ensuing experience as a u.s. military leader and "i personalized and personified the american drives to drive." particularly when he oversaw the
historic interstate highway act. today, as we discern the unique, high energy existence that defines american life for the ensuing decades, this event spans and importance. expanding our currently energy position from fossil fuels, by discerning emissions from the passport often, events that we already know such as world war i and the convoy. transitions can be seen to derive from a number of different factors including supply and technological innovation. but they require cultural acceptance and participation to achieve species altering changes to our existence. informed by our new knowledge about climate change, scientists and historians have begun to call our current geological
prophecy, an era when the action of one species, the human, has come to have an impact on the entire earth. historian efforts to define the make world war i and even the old convoy standout as a transformational moment in shaping the domestic economy of the american century. at their foundation, the infrastructural priorities that anded this era in the u.s. derived from the road trip assumed a limitless supply of crude, and cleared a right of way for transformative, high-energy existence. as a commodity, black gold reached the first decade and a half of the 20th century in a most precarious and awkward situation. after its discovery in pennsylvania in the 1860's,
massive discoveries of petroleum suddenly compounded the world's supply, particularly in the u.s., starting in texas in 1901. various innovation left petroleum with only scant utility at times. what factors tipped it from being an increasingly abundant resource to a commodity that spurred a full-blown energy transition? certainly, personal transportation offered remarkably rich areas of potentially global growth. however, the competitive market for powering trucks and cars in the first decade of the 1900s made the internal combustion engine powered by gasoline a most unlikely suitor. particularly due to the complex system of processing and delivery it required. through the spectrum of compounding uses, the tipping point to alter petroleum's
status can truly be seen to have been the great war. providing proper context to world war i requires historians to consider the context provided by the resources that is teams -- mymy 's environmental history. of these resources that were transformed by the great war, energy and particularly petroleum, which had exploded onto the global illumination market in the last four decades of the 19th century, present the most revealing narrative. a proper accounting of the war's context must enumerate these applications of the flexible fuel petroleum. however, this is just part of the story of the converging technical innovation and cultural desire that result in crude's emerging importance. , variety of global, economic
and regional, political and social factors converged on world war i era to catapult the modern environmental commodity of petroleum to new standards of value, systemization, and competition for access. indeed, by the end of the conflict, petroleum had become a commodity of global significance, even meriting the term "essential." of course, developed nations therefore needed to consider accessibility as a matter of national security. in the form of colonization, or through the activities of government supported truth corporation, access to crude all over the world became both a requirement and a predictor of global power in the first decade of the 20 century. in the origins of the modern world, robert marx joined others in describing the global human 19-teens and 1920's of
going through a great departure. he writes that world war i shocked the imperial order to its foundation and had major consequences for the shape of the 20th century world. the combination of rapid industrial and population growth in the 20th century redefined human's relationship to their environment and clearly separated them from the rhythms and constraints of what he called the biological old regime , the old way of doing things. this energy transition moves from foundational shifts such as the technology to create synthetic fertilizer, for both agriculture and military use, explosives to also revolutionize commercial transportation. in the case of energy use, we see new technologies of the era provide a shrinking of time and space as well as an intensification of human impacts and potentialities.
in "something new under the sun," john mcneil writes the worldwide energy harvest increased by about five times in the 19th century, and 16 times in the 20th. the great war sits at a defining precipice of this shift in our species. from deforestation and mining to the expansion of automobile use and the internal combustion engine, we find the world war i era played a formative role , indeed as a divider between 19 th and 20th century ways of life. as scholars reorient the human story to better reflect these mobile distinctions in the ways people live, world war i also becomes the gateway event to the high-energy existence that finds
definesence that now us. in this geological epoque, mcbeal and others, the human condition becomes one of perpetual service. earth's natural rhythms and balance. at the core of this existence, he writes, an environmental history of the 20th century qualifies as a peculiar century because of the screeching acceleration of so many processes that bring ecological change. we have probably deployed more energy since 1900 then in all of human history before 1900. you have to sit down to really ponder the significance of it. in addition to the fashion in which energy is applied, mcneil also distinguishes the period of acceleration through the adoption of fossil fuels by a
few societies that will begin to industrialize, to develop at an entirely different rate. you see this incredible rise coming after the period, which of course we know, but to see it visualized is a different thing. the energy transition from the world war i era only succeeded because of the advancement of additional technologies that enhanced the impact of new sources of power. historian christopher jones discusses the multiplying effect of such related, or ancillary technologies as intensification. it took the shift to mineral
based sources that governed the 19th century, and broadened its impact. with such new energy systems in mind, the summary impact of the great war on petroleum usage emerges as many layered and complex, but altogether transformative, undoubtedly. the stage for this transition, however, was set prior to the conflict and did not involve a revolution of personal transportation necessarily, as you might assume. the imperative of winning world i had driven the allies to thrust many technologies into action with scant preparation. at the heart of these technologies was a new prime mover. ironically, just as the use of electricity expanded to replace petroleum-based kerosene for lighting, the 20th century brought a massive spike in oil
supplies, as i referenced earlier. east texas started around 1901 times, aliterally at market with hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude, and left industries searching for ways to put black gold to use. reading these trends, innovators including henry ford worked to perfect the internal combustion engine, what i will refer to as ice -- internal combustion engine. such an engine combusted petroleum in a controlled fashion and directed its power to engines that can be used for a variety of purposes. primary among these of course was the effort to reliably power engines that would move devices that would move us. however, combustion was one of the most glaring vagaries of the ice technologies. with frequent unexpected explosions creating fear among many consumers, in addition to
implementing the requisite and unique infrastructure ranging from filling stations and gas pumps to roads and bridges seemed daunting. as energy transitions often do. in fact, ice was simply one of the many competitors trying to replace humans reliance on animal power, which was viewed as incapable of expanding to meet the needs of the modern era. across the board, early automobiles were an experiment with a poor reputation for safety and reliability. in fact, electric batteries show the most promise for personal transport during the first decade of the 1900s, particularly in urban areas in the northeast of the u.s. although ford's model t made the personal automobile universally available after 1907, at a cost
of around $400 per unit, in 1912, thomas edison released the electric version that ford believed would define american transportation into the future. however, world war i changed the future of american transportation. the convoy plays no small part in that. far from technical infrastructure such as battery charging stations, the world war i battle front began as a scene from the 19th century. oxen and horses pulled wagons and pigeons carried handwritten messages. to win the war, unproven new technologies were released directly onto the battlefield. by the end of the war, trucks, tanks and other devices powered by gasoline, particularly diesel, had supplanted animal power. the flexibility of ice, and
specifically of gasoline, won the day. as i mentioned above, it was completely separate uses that first brought petroleum to the battlefield. emerging from petroleum's initial development include sylvania -- development in , in the 1860's, subsequent decades brought international develop and increased supply. a unique petroleum culture then took shape, allowing expanded production and availability are at such a moment part they created by technical and corporate innovation and partly by new rules for the nationstates and ideas of individual autonomy. it ushered in a revolutionary assortment of new uses for crude. although the popularity of kerosene had jettisoned petroleum's value in the 19th application accrued by
the late 1800s. in both the u.s. and great britain, the energy transition was openly maneuvered and manipulated by the political and military establishment. as early as 1910, petroleum emerged as a strategic tool for ensuring global power. the first application for petroleum in this regard was ensuring naval supremacy. politically, the british effort at naval conversion was eventually led by winston churchill. he began as a member of parliament, and by 1910 had ome the president of trade. although he did not begin on the side of naval expansion, the early teens brought churchill a
n education on the advantage of oil. refueling at sea, these are the kind of advantages. he later wrote, as a coal ship used up her coal, increasingly large numbers of men had to be taken, if necessary, from the guns, to shovel coal from remote and inconvenient bunkers to bunkers near to the furnaces or to the furnaces themselves, thus weakening the finding efficiency of the ship, perhaps at a most critical moment in the battle. the use of oil made it possible in every type of vessel to make more gunpowder and more speed for less size and less cost. by 1912, the policy had been put into place because churchill recorded in the world's greatest navy, "the supreme ships of the
navy on what your lifeblood depend could only be fed by oil." the emphasis of churchill and britain's military strategists focused on the great benefits to their naval superiority, however their decision also marked a inining moment in a new era the culture of petroleum. by association, committing their fleet to petroleum meant consistent and reliable supply of crude had just become one of the most important commodities on earth. nations's security depended on it. also by association, any nation wishing to compete with britain had to follow suit. by declaring this new energy era, britain forced any competing nations to also consider oil. at the highest level, u.s. leaders debated the implications of converting their military. particularly the navy.
their conversations had begun in the late 1800s, and took on greater urgency as british conversion entered global affairs. the united states had won significant advantage in the naval conversion, of course. in the early 1900s, american oil fields produced approximately one third of the world's oil. indeed, the u.s. approached all such strategic decisions from the basic realization that it was the only nation in the world that could power its military with petroleum, and largely the dutch largely be able to supply it -- and largely be able to supply it with its own reserves. the ultimate autonomy which would then become known as energy independence. although this was an obvious advantage over other nations, the american situation also required a new type of relationship between business and government. given such critical importance, petroleum supply demanded
federal oversight and management. in times of overabundance of supply, this control was often referred to as conservation. in the end, it was churchill who seems to have most clearly formed the necessary new vision of the 20th century. when he proclaimed to the house of commons on june 17, 1914 that this afternoon, we have to deal not with the policy of building oil driven ships or using oil as an ancillary fuel, look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world. two gigantic corporations, one at either hemisphere, stands out predominately. in the new world, there is a standard oil. in the old world, the great ell and royalf sh dutch shell.
-- royal dutch. for many years it had been the policy of the foreign office and the indian government to preserve the independent additional oil interests of the persian oil fields. to develop as well as we could, and above all to prevent it being swallowed by others. in the last two or three years the consequence of these new uses, which had been found for the soil, there was a shortage of the article which this world has only begun to see required for special purposes. that is the reason why prices have gone up, and not because of evily-disposed gentlemen. therefore, on the eve of world war i, the status of crude had already been altered dramatically. it's new importance would be pressed on the global stage almost immediately. in great britain, when churchill committed the royal navy to petroleum in the 1913, he
forever compromised the nation's energy autonomy. britain had neither domestic sources of oil nor existing supplies in its colonies. anglo persian bp with its access to oil in central asia, persia, quickly became the most sensible option to ensure britain's energy future. expenditures such as pipeline construction had left anglo-persian bp in deep debt. they were near bankruptcy by 1914. to convince parliament to help the company, churchill said, if we cannot get oil, we cannot get corn. cotton and 1000 one commodities necessary for the preservation of the economic energies of great britain. parliament approved his plan to purchase a 51% stake in bp for 2.2 million pounds.
maintaining and developing oil supplies soon became a critical portion of the british colonial effort. global use of petroleum grew by 50% during world war i. which exacerbated the difficulty of managing the global supply, the catalyst for many of these changes in petroleum culture was conflict on a global scale. in the determining human transportation future, for example, the brief explanation is simple -- world war i relied on the use of vehicles. and the electric power alternatives that were succeeding in many portions of the consumer market simply could not meet the flexibility required. during world war i, the manufacturer of automobiles for civilian uses was virtually
halted as the industry was mobilized to produce vehicles. the role of automobiles for use in the war effort emerged immediately when a fleet of parisian taxicabs were used to bring troop reinforcements forward during the battle of the marne in 1914. it is estimated that 125,000 ford model t's were used on the battlefield in world war i. truck production was doubled, even though the american auto industry was required to make other products as well, such as shells, guns, etc. increased vehicle need led the industry to increase production during the war. historian david kirsch noticed that truck purchases received up
to $1200 from the government for the purchase of a crude vehicle, which stipulated petroleum. internal combustion, ice-powered vehicles, over electrical alternatives. u.s. manufacturers established the standard war truck in 1916, and consequently began exporting vehicles to the front. kirsch writes, the dramatic role of trucks on the great war reinforced and accelerated the standardization of the peacetime truck. by 1919, electric trucks accounted for less than 1% of the total number of commercial vehicles produced in the united states. down from 11% in 1909. 11% of the truck fleet in the u.s. in 1909 was electric.
mobility on the u.s. homefrontmt was influence and basic ways by the needs of the war. in the u.s. a strain on the railroads fueled the military to emphasize long-distance trucking and to call for the roads that these routes made necessary. in addition, most trucks were manufactured in the midwest. and needed to be brought to the eastern seaboard for shipment. from 1917 to 1918 it is estimated trucks made this trip. in 1916 the federal road act focused federal funds on roads that would help farmers get
their products out of the rural areas with more ease and flexibility. following the war, standard practices within the industry included the use of long-haul trucking over railroads, forced the appropriate sphere of the electric truck to grow smaller. although proponents of electrics pushed for separate spheres of transportation with separate technologies, business owners could not support hybrid fleets. in making their decision for the internal combustion powered truck, businesses accepted a cost-benefit scenario that allowed them to succeed across the board. even if another technology such as electric made more sense for short hauling. it was these decisions that help to determine the future pattern in human mobility. during world war i, having a domestic abundance of crude to
manage put the united states in a powerful position. no matter what regulatory choices it made, it was a war, writes historian daniel jorgen. these machines were powered by oil. when the war broke out military strategy was organized about around horses. with a one horse on the field for every three men. such primitive modes dominated the fighting in this transitional conflict. throughout the war the energy transition took place from horsepower to gas powered trucks and tanks. and, of course, oil burning ships and airplanes. innovations put new technologies into immediate action on the horrific battlefield of world war i. there was the british that overcame trench warfare by
devising an armored vehicle that was powered by the internal combustion engine. once again, churchill was given credit for bringing the project under its codename, tank. -- reality, one other when other british cap, british politicians wish to continue with other practices. its decisive use arrived in august 1917. when a squadron of 500 british tanks broke through the german lines. in addition, the british expeditionary force that went to france in 1914 was supported by a fleet of 827 motorcars and 15 motorcycles. i'm giving you a lot of numbers here.
by war's end, the british army included 56000 trucks, 23,000 motor cars, and 34,000 motorcycles. these offered superior flexibility on the battlefield, however their impact on the land-based strategy would not be fully felt due to the continued prevalence of other methods of fighting. in the air and sea, the change was more obvious. by 1915, britain had build 250 planes. in this era of the red baron and others, primitive airplanes required that the pilot pack his own sidearm and use them for firing at his opponents. more often, the devices would be used for delivering explosives. german pilots applied this new strategy to the bombing of england. over the course of the war, the use of aircraft expanded remarkably.
britainm 55,000 planes, italym 20,000. the united states, 15,000. germany, 48,000. the disagreement over using petroleum at sea helped to exacerbate existing conflicts leading up to the war. ironically, use of petroleum in the ships led to what jurgen called a stalemate. with only one battle primarily involving them. however, part of the explanation for this is the great chasm that separated britain's emerging petroleum powered shipping fleet from the coal burning one of germany. it made little strategic sense for germany to confront the british navy. therefore, it used the tactic of submarine warfare. these early submarines ran primarily as diesel powered ships, which were capable of briefly diving for attacks.
when the allies took renewed measures to prosecute the war in 1918, petroleum was a weapon on everyone's mind. the allies petroleum conference was created to pool, coordinate and control all oil supplies and tanker travel. the united states's entry into the war made this organization necessary because it had been supplying such a large portion of the allied efforts thus far. as a supplier of the world's supply, the u.s.'s reddest weapon in the world war i may have been crude. president woodrow wilson appointed the nation's first energy czar, whose responsibility was to work in close coordination. this explanation for our massive
transition to petroleum usage could not stop at the battlefield. however, with the wartime infrastructure in place in the u.s., the army's intrigue with domestic applications inspired efforts to find out if motor vehicles could withstand the trip across the u.s. they also hoped the convoy would function as a demonstration of a new era. more importantly, with proper infrastructure such as roads, could the american public be convinced that the internal combustion engine reliably could guide our future?
ike's convoy displayed the technology that helped to win the war. and also the importance of good roads and bridges, which could only be achieved through the radically new commitment of tax dollars for infrastructure. this intriguing historical event of 1917 suddenly emerges that celebrated the soldiers in the convoy. they celebrated -- then heard speeches about the need for roads and infrastructure to support the new technology. scouts on harley-davidsons and indian motorcycles sped a half-hour ahead to inspect road conditions. quicksand outside nebraska engulfed 25 trucks from the convoy, and in utah many were stuck once again in massive sand drifts in the desert.
pavement in california allowed the convoy to return to their top speeds, 10 miles per hour. 62 days after leaving washington, the convoy reached san francisco on september 5, crossed san francisco bay and concluded in lincoln park. additional activities at events such as concerts and street dancing, while also carefully enumerating specific details of the almost constant mechanical difficulties with their vehicles. the novelty of such travel also compelled amazed participants to record their rates of progress. --t of which i took this one from july 9. it was near my home in bedford, pennsylvania. the quote is, a very good, made 57 miles in 11 and one third hours.
during the expedition, eisenhower gained unique insight for the need for a network of connected roads and bridges. eisenhower's report to army leaders focused mostly on mechanical difficulties and the conditions of the patchwork of existing roads. he imported a mix of paved and unpaved roads, bridges, and narrow passages. narrow roads caused oncoming traffic to run off the road. some bridges were too low for trucks to pass under. eisenhower pointed out that the rows in the midwest region of the united states were impracticable. but the roads in the east were sufficient for truck use. eisenhower singled out a western section of the lincoln highway, transcontinental road, with routes through utah and nevada, as being so poor it warranted a thorough investigation before government money should be expended.
praised california for having excellent paved roads. lastly he observed that the different grades of road determined much of the convoys' success. would this have been enough to compel such a massive transition? in fact, ike's education had just begun. it is rare for a historian to be able to so clearly trace the development of an idea such as roads. and infrastructure. however, ike followed up his time in the convoy being assigned the importance of french roads for military value in the 1930's and during world he studied revolutionary german roadway the autobahn. that was before super roadways. probably the best road in the world at the time. eisenhower wrote quote, during
world war ii, i had seen the superlative system of the german autobahn. the national highways crossing the country. largely by chance, his military service had bought him a global expertise on civil engineering and how it could be used to guide the future of the country. as he emerged as u.s. president, ike created the president's advisory committee. on the national highway system, which resulted in the grand plan. it obligated $50 billion of federal funds over 10 years to build a vast system of interconnected highways. the clay client committee also warned of the need for large-scale evacuation in the cities, in the event of nuclear war.
if evacuation of urban cities was required, the roads could be reversed to make population withdrawal orderly. by the end of the 1950's, the ihs was well on its way to the more than 46,000 miles of roads that it encompasses today. the transformation had occurred in just decades. easily within one man's lifetime. the hidden hand behind the utility of this new national infrastructure was independent fuel. the success of ike's vision ended on a reveille. the convoy presents a prime example that energy transitions are no simple flip of a new switch, following a discovery or adoption of new sources of power.
competition and influence determined that the ice would power autos of the future, but that was just the beginning. this energy oice was reinforced and srt political decisions. and laws such as zoning, exerted over decades. americans determined that the 20th century would be powered by fossil fuels such as petroleum. and the marketplace provided them the flexibility to create a landscape of drive-thru's and filling stations. over the course of human history, each new energy source worked on innovation and scale. and so fossil fuels allowed us to do more work, to accomplish more than ever before in human history. today energy transition beckons,
and promises not necessarily more power, but a more sustainable, smarter future. this revolution is not just in the sources of power, it is also in how we think about energy. even prior to july 7, 1919, eisenhower read the patterns and trends and forecasted that the american future would be built around cheap crude. the oil discovered in texas and elsewhere allowed his generation to dream of future unfettered by the constraints of energy supplies. today the pattern feeding our energy transition are more nuanced. including limited supplies that require political, military, and strategic considerations. and clear knowledge that burning fossil fuels greatly impacts earth's environment. and it is challenging for such a transition to occur organically,
because vested interests work the levers of government to resist a market-driven transition, such as from ice to electric-powered vehicles. one of the lessons of the 1919 convoy is to demonstrate that energy transitions have occurred in history, and that they often were directed by choices that grew organically from accepted knowledge and new technology. the final lesson of ike's road trip is to ask, where is our generations's path for the 21st century? how do we find it? how do we ensure it can break through the marketplace, and which visionary leader will guide us as ike did? thank you very much. [applause]
>> you are welcome to go to either side of the stage, where there is a mic. and if you are unable to get there, just raise your hand and i will come to you. >> thank you for your talk. while you have posed this question, in your own opinion, is the beginning of these last couple of decades, have you been seeing anything akin to the convoy to spur on this new century? prof. black: well, i do. thanks for that question.
it gets to that larger, macro idea we are investigating here. i make the argument that, especially if we look at the personal transportation marketplace -- cars -- that we see a whole different shift after the 1970's. and most energy historians have long criticized our reaction to the crisis of the oil supplies of the 1970's. but one of the things we learned by looking at energy transitions of the past is how unpredictably they play out. sometimes they take a long time. and so, if you begin to allow for that, and not to expect that andch, that quick switch, then you look at something like the availability of hybrid and electric vehicles in our society today, that is transformation. many of us might not drive them right now, but their availability is a watershed
change. and so i think that is something we can very clearly point to, and i think we had a lot of use of regulations and legal possibilities to ensure that even more of the vehicle sector would go in that direction. certainly that has changed in the last few years, which is another lesson of the political vagaries of energy transition. but we certainly see a shift, beginning in the 1970's, in the availability, the choice that consumers had in terms of the vehicles they drive. so that is one place. >> hi. how much was dividing up some of the colonies of the ottoman empire on the minds of the different powers at the
versailles negotiations? prof. black: very much. from my knowledge, that was a very specific part of their strategy in dividing up the pie of land, but in the reserves that they knew were there. very much. that is a good point to bring up. >> the churchill quote from 1914 about anglo-persian, which became bp, so apparently at the time they were already established, abadan, that wasn't part of the ottoman empire at that time? prof. black: that was british product. it was involved in that regard.
and so, that is very much where alreadyhe transition playing out as the politics, as the geopolitics was already beginning to shape the modern world by that point, between wars. also when you talk ike's administration, that was the turning point when personal vehicles really overtook trains. train transport. so, do you see the flip back to public transit happening in this century? prof. black: i think we do see it more often, where it is possible in urban areas. we have seen a lot of transition to light rail and the streetcar kind of design that we see in many cities now. and that is a throwback technology that works very well. but it is limited in how it can be put to use across the vast
stretches of the united states. so, it is not something that can be totally transformational, but it is definitely we see something progressive, urban areas looking toward. >> brian will be available in our lobby if you think of additional questions. so on behalf of the museum memorial, thank you for joining us here this evening. please come back, and another round of applause for brian black. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: this is american history tv, featuring events, interviews, archival film, and visits to college classrooms, museums and historic places. exploring our nation's past every weekend on c-span 3.
♪ >> a heavy snowfall on primary day in new hampshire is a moment of things to come. the presidential hopes snowed under by a right and vote for the -- for a write in vote for man half a world away. 100,000 were expected to vote. more than 80,000 cast their ballots. 35% write in a nanme. -- wrote in a name. from the capital of the granite state to the smallest cabin on the canadian border, people seem to have made up their mind's. their efforts on behalf of their candidate were put in the shade by the whirlwind tours of gold wind and rockefeller.
a projection of the early counts showed the trend. it was a large victory all the way. with the victor far from the scene of his triumph, his son george faced a barrage of questions. he said his father would remain at his post for the time being. the ambassador was at work in south vietnam when he got the word. officer, he service could not discuss politics. but the man who emerged into international prominence may have ended the chances of goldwater and rockefeller. from missouri to pennsylvania river towns have been inundated by the rising waters of the ohio and its tributaries and other rampaging rivers. kentucky and ohio have been especially hard-hit.
there is nothing amusing about this amusement park. watching this multibillion-dollar center washed away. damage throughout the area is estimated in the millions of dollars. there is some irony in the fact that the nearby racetrack is known as river downs. at cincinnati the crest of the ohio reached more than 60 feet -- 66 feet. this is near the record of their workflows. it is estimated that more than 27,000 families were affected by the flood. the susquehanna river drove nearly 10,000 from their homes. some towns are completely deserted, from the mayor to the town alleycat.
in kentucky there was more of the same. near the ohio crested 19 feet above flood stage. hundreds of square miles were underwater. as the flood began to recede slowly there was desolation in its wake. some 12,000 persons were living in 53 shelters. most have lost everything they owned. as always, modern man finds himself unable to cope with the awesome forces of nature on a rampage. announcer: you are watching american history tv, covering history c-span-style with eyewitness accounts, archival films, lectures in college
archival films on public affairs each week on our series, reel america. saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday on 4:00 p.m. on american history tv. here's a quick look at one of our recent programs. >> as part of his official duties, the president must report to congress on the state of the union. ,hortly after his inauguration dwight eisenhower delivered this message in person. outlining his foreign programs, he declared -- >> the policy we pursue will recognize the truth. that no single country, even one so powerful as ours, can alone defend the liberty of all nations surrendered by communist aggression from without, or subversion within. effectiveurity means mutual cooperation. for the united states, this means that as a matter of common sense and national interest, we
shall give help to other nations in the measure that they strive earnestly to do their full share of the common task. [applause] no wealth could compensate for property of spirit. nationrt of every free must be honestly dedicated to the preserving of its own independence and security. [applause] announcer: you can watch archival films on public affairs in their entirety on our weekly series reel america, saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. next, university of pennsylvania history professor
kathy peiss talks about her book , information hunters, when librarians, soldiers, and spies banded together in world war ii europe. ordinaryls how citizens collected books, newspapers, and documents to aid u.s. military intelligence. the national archives in washington, d.c. hosted the event. ii, gettingrld war the correct information was critical to the war effort. while we might -- we might imagine spies, much useful information was found in published resources, books, newspapers, and other documents. book peiss'latest --cusses how the lead information ghering was a role for librarians and archivists who were skilled in collecting