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tv   The Civil War Civil War Naval Leadership  CSPAN  December 23, 2021 12:24am-1:33am EST

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by petersburg some of those heavy artillery units had been hit badly by places like spotsylvania and the harris farm and maybe the degree of naïveté and they think they were still combat experience that i don't think they were naïve about it. they were brave guys in other words. all right i don't want to stand between you and dinner. thanks very much. it was great to see you all.
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>> i am honored and privileged to introduce our closing speaker. after lunch we will do the panel discussion but next up we have dr. craig l. simon professor of history emeritus at the united states naval academy where he taught for 30 years and served as department chair from 2017 to 2020. he served as the earnest j. king professor of maritime history at the u.s. naval war college. he is an author and editor of 29 books earning him awards including the lincoln, the roosevelt and the dudley knox
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medal for lifetime achievement. his most recent books are world war ii at sea a global history, operation neptune and battle headway. let's give a warm welcome to a simon. >> thank you let me say i'm glad you introduced the staff and that's great but i'm so impressed was he and his team with the way they put on this wonderful symposium. so great to be back in sealed new friends in this venue and particular so i'm grateful for that. i'm also very impressed by the way with all the people that have stood at this podium before me and the way they have taken on questions not just of what happened but questions have how do we know what happened and the most important question of all and the one i often get org. for my students when i was
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teaching at the naval academy and that is this one, so what? i mean there's the stuff that happened but what does that mean and i really want to congratulate again the people who stood here at this podium before me over the last couple of days for taking on that hard question and it matters because history is not just stuff that happened. history is what defines the world in which we live and failing to understand it and has a devastating impact on that world so if think the people in this world all know that understand that encircling my predecessors here know that and understand that and helps us all figure out what those things are. i would call that applied history. they think what i tried to do with my students at the naval academy and a certain extent my
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students at the naval war college as well as to say you need to understand history because it will help you understand the world in which you live. it's a study in decision-making and leadership as well as knowledge. i know this is a civil war group and i know i have spent four years of my life on civil war stuff but i spent the last 15 or so years during world war ii topics. a friend and a civil war community who are still mad at me about that but i can live with that injury and what i'm going to try to do this morning is talk about with a foot in each camp if you would about the naval leader from the civil war and the naval leader from the second world war and look at them and see if we can't find some aspect of their experience, about their temperament that
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would help us understand leadership. i have been told by students that studying leaders of the past would make them better leaders. i hope that's true but i am not sure that leadership is something that can be taught that if they can then surely history studied in depth over a long period of time not quickly lead during -- reading a book or listen precepts but studied over time and considered is the best possible laboratory for improving yourself as a leader. i doubt if any of my former students confronted the situation in let's say afghanistan in which they said ah-hah i know what to do here because of what grant did in the wilderness. or what they did at midway. that's not how it works. the ancient historian once wrote
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you never step in the same stream twice. there's a time use than did the second time, the water is different in couples have shifted under your feet. the branches floating past are different and the stream may be frozen this time. still having caught that stream once or even with the other people crossing that stream and preparing for the kinds of problems some of them familiar, some entirely new that can confront you when you try to cross it again and that i think is what mark twain meant when he said that history does not repeat itself but it does combine. a lot of people are quoting that this day but i'm not sure they know what they are saying but that's okay. i was going to tease him and ask him to identify the confederate
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admiral on the right wearing confederate gray and i don't think he would have gotten that one last night, let's see. and this is my only slide. here it is, folks. so get used to it. that is pete. that is david glasgow fair guess and it's not a confederate general on the right. note their grim expression. right away you know something about them as leaders just from looking at those steely eyes staring and the similarity of body language. do you know the particular difference here? yes there is the sword, that's true. naval officers do still carry swords but only on formal
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occasion such as a photograph. that's a candid shot of nimitz on the right. it's an imposed photo of farragut and in those days you this band very still while matthew brady or someone take your photo. something else. right over left and left over right arms. i thought about this. what could explain it? neither one is left-handed. chester nemitz when he was lieutenant commander explaining an engineering problem which he helped perfect of the diesel engine in the 1930s and was pointing something out to a group of visitors he added what one is left-handed ace that this gear right here and the tip of the club and pulled his hand into the gear and took off his ring finger all the way down to his naval academy class ring
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which saved his hand. there you go. so we had a mangled left hand and i suspect that's why he has that left-hand tucked inside of his right elbow. other than a there are a lot of similarities in the photograph. more about nemitz later but let me give farragut first. we'll focus on him so we aren't distracted by the wounded ring finger. farragut was a personification of 19th century america. easy to check off the particular characteristics that allowed me to make that argument. not when he's the son of an immigrant and therefore a first-generation american light many in the 19th century. he was a western pioneer born in tennessee in 1801 only five years after tennessee became a state in still very much
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frontier area when he was born in 1801. of course a southern state. he was essentially a self-made man as we'll see in a few minutes here and he was at dedicated champion of the national union as many immigrants are. and given that he was pretty close to being as i suggested a kind of every man and the 19th century but his father horton hayes farragut emigrated to america. it was still part of spain and spanish was his language. the spanish at the time left it and when he arrived in the united states after several years he married another immigrant a woman from scotland which is where the glasgow comes from, middle name.
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a one particularly are resting thing about their son as he started his naval career very young. i am obligated to my friend john for explaining a lot about the naval academy in mid-19th century. it was founded in 1845 but of course it also existed as a naval school. he could pull people out who had served many years already and send them back to school for a year because in the middle of the 19th century of course steam engineering was coming into play but it wasn't enough just to know which rope to pull her how to be steely eyed in your expression. you actually have to know some stuff. that explains why the naval academy came to be but it was approximately between 1880 in 1845. when i began teaching there my students years ago, my students were mostly 18 or 19 years old
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when they arrived at the naval academy so i had some advantage 17. if you were in their early 20s. you cannot have reached your 23rd earth day and can't be beyond your 23rd birthday when you start the naval academy so those who were 22 or about to turn 23 usually had several years and enlisted ranks for their member in particular the thing thing and is made because the way the naval academy setup now those who are rising juniors take charge of the incoming plea and they had all their haircut off than they marched around to keep your errors in the box and all those visits and they are guided around by second-class men and all the movies they seen about drill inspectors doing a lot of yelling and so on.
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there was one guy who would not be intimidated in this particular group that he stood there calm and stoic eyes in the box knew the answer to every question and the 19 and 20-year-old who was yelling at him couldn't figure out why he couldn't rattle this young kid. one of the requirements after two or three days was a direct inspection. they had this fallout with a sailor suit with the dixie cat. dead to fall back into the rooms change into their dress uniform and come out in five minutes and we will have inspection. they would -- and in change and they came on the square and this would be drill instructor approaches this man who is so far unintimidated and he looked at him and oh my gosh and oh my gosh he had four rows of combat ribbons on his uniform including two purple hearts and a bronze star combat. you are going to intimidate that
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guy. so they either come because they are prior enlisted service or they come because they have prior colleagues but a lot of people who applied to the naval academy don't get in so they go somewhere else and apply again and don't get in and they continue where they are. we have -- i have had students who came to me with a bachelor's degree in hand. i had a plebe with a bachelor's degree from yale in history and might plebe class. general plebe by the way. [laughter] so i tell you all of that to ask you this question how how old do you think farragut was when he became a midshipman? he was nine. he had his -- i heard somebody say 11. he had his first command at 11. he was onboard a ship in the caribbean and they captured a pirate vessel. midshipman farragut was assigned
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to be commander at 11. anyway. in the first of the 19th century there really wasn't the naval academy. west point was founded in 1802 and the naval academy in 1845. as i say i think the reasons for that or because it was perceived in the early 19th century that the way to learn to be a naval officer was on the job. with the application of steam engineering and more complex technological stuff they decided maybe going to school would be a good idea after all so some are sent per year and that it became too. davis graduated in 1847 i think he spent one year there. by 1856 they had a full four-year traditional collegiate education. you really don't have people with a four-year education experience by the bay, four
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years by the severin until just prior to the civil war. the way it worked was he got a deployment because you knew somebody usually. perhaps a mayor who knew a congressman. you would apply to your senator or your congressman and you have to pass a test that you had to be literate but he had to read and write and you had to have computational skills and hopefully some algebra for prior to that i enlarge you were apprenticed to the captain. these young gentlemen learned a literally learned the ropes until they were ready to take a test both written and oral and if they pass the test they became what was called a task midshipman. that made them eligible for commission to lieutenant when there was an opening. somebody had to die pretty much or resign. so how did farragut become a midshipman at nine in this
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situation? the story begins ironically enough in new orleans were almost exactly 50 years later flag officer farragut would win his first victory and here is the story. by now fair get the immigrant -- his wife had died and he's a civilian employee at the navy yard in new orleans and one day he was fishing on the mississippi when a canoe came drifting past him with apparently nobody in it. he rode over and pulled up alongside of him and looked inside and there was a man lying prone in the bottom of the canoe unconscious, an elderly man but he couldn't wake him up and he couldn't identify him. no identification so he brought him home took him to bed nursed him and never regained consciousness and two weeks later he died. it was as fate would have it an 84-year-old father of the
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commander of the navy yard david porter. when porter learned about this he was so grateful to farragut he said i don't know how it could possibly repay you but i will make this offer. i'm going to take one of your sons into service as a midshipman. quite a generous offer because then as now appoint mrs. midshipman are pretty valuable and the treasury. jorge accepted the offer and set off with his 9-year-old son james. wait a minute. i thought his name was david. that is a story to produce young farragut grew to manhood he decided to honor his benefactor by changing his first name from james to david and that got a little complicated two years later in 1813 when captain porter's wife gave birth to a son whom they named david and
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this of course is david dixon porter who is often referred to as farragut's foster brother. they both grew up in the same household and it votes had the same father figure. david farragut as he is commonly known thinks of david porter as his father so these two not blood relations but foster brothers by adoption if you will. for the next 40 years david farragut was promoted along with his peers and indeed ahead of most of his peers eventually making the rank of captain which is the highest ranking you could achieve in the civil war. i'm often asked about this. why were their generals in the army now add most of the navy? the answer reaches all the way back to the british civil war, the english civil war in the 17th century when journals but the parliament against the king
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and therefore were called the british army but the navy fought for the king against parliament and therefore was then and still is today the royal navy. the perception was that navy's better instruments of the empire and autocracy. we don't want any of those admirals in our united states of america. generals represent the militia but the navy vets to suspicious of no admirals the united states navy. they needed somebody to supervise a number of captains they came up with this ranking flag officer but the first person ever to bear the title of admiral in the united states navy is this guy. late in 1862 due to his performance ignorance he was made america's first rear admiral. in 1860 as we know and was elected president and a protest about that led to the secession
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and at the time captain farragut was living in norfolk virginia not only because then as now norfolk is a good navy time -- town but also because he would marry a norfolk woman. his first wife susan had died 20 years before in 1840. his second wife was a virginian by birth, by resident and she was even named virginia. here's a man born in tennessee raised in louisiana, living in virginia married to a southern woman whose family owned. bryan talked the other day about george thomas and the dilemma he faced as a virginian who stayed with the union and the consequences that he paid her slip officially but what about farragut? this moment reveals a lot about
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farragut. in april of 1861 the state of virginia had voted to secede from the union after the clash at fort sumter and particularly lincoln's call for volunteers to restore, to put down the rebellion. fair get went straight home and announced that he would not live in it disloyal state for one more hour. he told his wife he was leaving. now. this act of mind may cause years of separation from your family so you must decide quickly whether you will go north with me or remain here. he passed what he could carry headed for new york that afternoon. she went with him. now you might want to compare this episode not only with george thomas but particularly with robert e. lee's action when
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he heard of virginia's decision. it is one of the more poignant chapters in freeman's biography. freeman describes how he underwent an agonizing trial where he had to choose between his state and his country but according to freeman he stayed up all night pacing back and forth in an upstairs bedroom wracked by doubt unable to decide where his duty lay. his wife downstairs listening to those footsteps back and forth across the hardwood floor and in the morning he came down to tell her that he had decided to resign his commission and seek service with virginia. freeman's chapter on this episode is entitled the decision he was born to make. fair get decision was the one he was born to make to pray but for
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him there was no agonizing no midnight pacing back and forth and no uncertainty. the moment he heard virginia would seem disloyal, he was an american first. the moment virginia abandoned the union he abandoned virginia. and yet despite that there was some uncertainty in washington about his loyalty and frankly about his age. he was 60 years old. today of course we know that's the springtime of your life. [laughter] but in the middle of the 19th century the union was planning an assault on the city of new orleans in the spring the secretary of the navy gideon wells and gustav is fox. farragut one of the most senior and accomplished officers in the
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navy and they wondered if he was up to the task so they asked a man they thought would surely know and that is his foster brother david dixon porter. porter's reply is interesting. he started out well enough i see no reason why he should not be competent to do all that is expected of him. okay, so far, so good and then he added while his foster brother was likeable and personally brave quote he has no administrative qualities. they want stability and loses too much time in talking. at least he didn't say he drools at the mouth. very likely porter made these comments because he was angling for the command himself. if you think mail is slow today it was even slower than him by
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the time porter's letter arrived in washington farragut had already captured new orleans. a century later charles to forward publish a book with the title the night the war was lost. that may be a slight exaggeration but it does acknowledge the strategic impact of farragut's accomplishments. another character assizes dead fast loyalty and his boldness of action was that he was clinically savvy. two years later during lincoln's second presidential campaign in 1864 farragut was in new york where the hartford was under during your brief and attended arrived at cooper union and according to the new york herald someone identified in the audience pointed them out in the person on the stage called for him to come up and give us some
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words admiral farragut. the crowd rose to its feet speak, speak. resplendent in his navy uniform farragut louden smiled and waved but replied in words that would not have been more welcomed to abraham lincoln the theater written in them himself. as we said i was invited here this evening not as a politician but as a naval officer to see the unanimity of the unit feeling which prevails here. i must leave politics to you my fellow citizens. i meddle not with politics nor give speeches. i will endeavor to do my duty on the sea while you do yours here. imagine linking -- lincoln reading that in the near carol the next day given the troubles ahead with ambitious cabinet officers the "team of rivals"
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and political generals like mcclellan and others. no doubt a relief to him to hear that here was an officer at least who stayed above the fray untested by the adulation of the crowd or political office. later that year's farragut did do his duty on the seat when he charged into the bay in mobile alabama. most of you know the story. it was halfway into the bay when there was a muffled thump and to come so reared up out of the water felt back in and rose up the propellers still spending and shot down like an arrow taking most of its crew with it. sunk by a confederate torpedo perhaps designed by hunter davidson. when that happened the ship directly and farragut the
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brooklyn stopped and then it began to back down. the ships are in a line ahead formation with the lead ships began backing down you can imagine the chaos likely to ensue and this of course is when farragut took matters in hand in order to avoid having to collapse like an accordion. he ordered the hartford to veer out of line steamed past the brooklyn directly into the marked minefields and as he passed the brooklyn the captain called to tell him there were torpedoes in the water just ahead to which farragut replied replied --. >> full speed ahead. >> give me a minute. here's the thing to remember about that moment. this was not an active
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unthinking for learned charge like the light or gade in the crimea or perhaps a charge at gettysburg. it was a practical response to a swiftly unraveling circumstance and it was absolutely the right decision. any other decision would have led to chaos. he tried to turn around back down under the guns of those 42 pounders disaster. once through the minefield without any casualties of farragut squadron easily defeated the smaller confederate fleet and seized command of mobile bay. along with sherman's capture of atlanta farragut seizure of mobile bay help secure lincoln's re-election and i have always believed that as the single most turchie jackley impactful event
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of the civil war and lincoln's re-election in 1864. it's easy for me to hold up their gut is an example of good leadership for my midshipman my students of the war colleges while commanders and captains for his faithfulness to his mentor, for his instinctive and unthinking loyalty to his country and his quick thinking and a crisis. so what about this guy? i wanted to talk about nemitz this morning partly because he gets to the point i'm trying to make about the application of history's leadership would also to be honest because i've just finished writing a wartime biography of chester nimitz due out in the spring, great father's day present. [laughter] nemitz at war just about his years in command in the pacific.
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interestingly nemitz is the son of immigrants first generation american in this case chairman immigrants who lived in the hill country of north texas near where lbj grew up. the town where he was worn in fredericksburg was named for the chairman prince frederick and still has a chairman flavor to it. if you haven't been there on main street is a chairman red strom -- there's a chairman restaurant and you would think you were in munich or there's also a wonderful museum which i will shamefully promote the national museum in of the civil war. people are perplexed as to why the national museum of the pacific wars in the hill country of texas. the answer of course is because that is where it just are nemitz was born and there was a small nemitz is in their grew enormously and in the last 10
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years is it's a completely different place these days. like farragut nemitz was raised by a surrogate parent. his father died of a heart attack at 29 for months before chester nimitz was born so he was raised by his mother and particularly by his maternal grandfather his german-speaking grandfather who taught him among other things not to obsess about things over which you have no control. the calm patience is more valuable than panicked activity. nimitz did not go to see at night but by then the naval academy is coming into being and young boys did not go to seed to become midshipman, they went to school. chester nimitz had no plans to go to see at all. the turning point in his life
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occurred when he was watching artillery demonstration at the county fair supervised by a group of recent army officers from west point. chester nimitz was very impressed by their uniforms. he asked them about this place called west point. whatever they said convinced him that was what he wanted so we asked -- he asked his grandfather about attending west point only to be told that all the appointments were filled for that year and the congressman said what about the naval academy? he had never heard of the naval academy. but it sounded okay so he to the test and passed it and went on to annapolis at 17. nimitz never had to choose as farragut did but here's an adjusting story about his loyalties that i found that the
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letters of his wife and she wrote this down several years later so my memory and history can pay -- be taken with perhaps a grain of salt but here's the story he related. when he left for an apposite fans and uncles in fredericksburg were worried he might come back of his texas character and imbued with all sorts of yankee notions so of course they were horrified when he came home five years later with the young wife in tow of beautiful 20 world catherine vance freeman who is from brooklyn. [laughter] during that visit some of chester's relatives wanted to make sure she knew what was what down here in texas. as members of the family sat around together over coffee one of them pointedly asked chester what would he do now that he was an officer if texas again
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seceded from the union? would he fight for texas or for that federal government in washington? catherine remembered the woman looking directly at her when she asked this question as if to say now you will see where things stand, yankee girl. chester smiled graciously and answered quietly why of course i would fight for the united states against any rebellion. catherine said the woman dropped her teacup. now this is not quite the same as deciding to leave home on an hours notice and is hypothetical in any case but chester made his loyalty clear. one central aspect of chester nimitz' life in his command temperament as well was his calm and to liberate demeanor. he smiled readily but it was
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usually this smile, tightlipped almost skeptical looking smile almost as if to say i am waiting to take the measure of view before a committee of. some believe it was to show that he had ever served about him and there maybe some of that but the real reason as having been raised in the hill country of texas he had never seen an dentist until he got to the naval academy. i got his dental records and to me by his grandson and it's fascinating to look at the following teeth are missing one, two, three, four, five, seven, eight, nine, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24. five were left all of them gold. he didn't want anybody to see that and that's why all of those
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photographs he had this expression on his face. like farragut nemitz could make a bold decision at least as bold as farragut's move into the bay. he was forewarned of the japanese approach at midway. he decided to confront that assault even though on paper he was badly overmatched aware that his strategic mission as pacific commander was to hold the defenses in the pacific until germany was defeated. he might easily have said we will let the japanese have midway because they won't be a will to sustain it. >> 3000 miles from tokyo. they will be sorry they ever went there. arguably that would have been a smart strategic move. instead of nemitz decided to send everything he had all the ships, all the planes out to
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meet the threat. his decision was not simple audacity or brash or impetuous. he carefully assessed circumstances measured the strength of each side and deployed what he called calculated risk a phrase he used often with himself and with his subordinates. i expect you to apply a calculated risk. just as an aside announced up there for a minute how do you learn calculated risk. but by reading history. ..
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>> after that during the beginning of the central pacific drive all the way to your demand and in okinawa, in the aftermath of the costly american victory,e 1000 marines were killed and 3000 more were wounded, on the island less than the ones where 1 mile in size there were a lot of second-guessing about the plan to invade the next island, much stronger, much larger and all three of the commanders, raymond, amphibious commander turner and the commander of the marines who would make the assault, holland m smith known as a hauling mall and advancement the multisided the billing was too ambitious, it would be wiser they said, to focus on two smaller outer islands, take those first is kind of a warm-up and then
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attack them at some future date and he explain his rationale, capturing into outer islands would not break the japanese control and the marshals which was the goal and if they eventually have to be taken anyway and on the other hand, if they fail, those outer islands with all become strategically impotent. and besides we have learned lessons, and we can apply to this new invasion. as operational commanders were not convinced read always willing to hear advice, he invited everyone in the room to share their views and he went around the room person to person and every single one said we should attack the outer islands first predict any waited until everyone has spoken any waited another long moment and said well thank you and we will attack kwajalein and they should've ended it but he did
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not hands is continue to argue and kelly turner was especially confrontational telling him, yours is reckless and dangerous and finally he said that said, if you don't want to do it, i can find people who will and do you want to do this or not. while yes, we do. >> is fine, we will hit kwajalein and not the same bring as dang the torpedoes but it was the same sentiment. and like the decision, it was carefully calculated and he was convinced the japanese did not intend to go all in and they would not commit the flight and equally confident that the adjustments that he had made to the protocols, they would make it successful nevertheless, he risk a great deal here, by going
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ahead despite the unanimous opposition it of all his subordinates and if that attack and failed or if it had succeeded, the very heavy casualties like kwajalein that might've been the end of his command. but he carefully considered the risks and ordered the attack and i went off like clock work. the americans and the entire campaign plus 300 and the japanese lost 8000 killed and was the beginning of the unit for them and they knew it. here's another aspect that i feel compelled to mention regarding chester nimitz and that is that he had a sense of humor read and he did not tell jokes at a fellow officer explained, he told stories that in a humorous side and many of them were shaggy dog stories with a long and even an
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interminable buildup in this by the way is a character that he shared with another civil war figured that you may have heard of, abraham lincoln, did this to and i think for the same reason, he was to deflect the visitors or to subdue emerging arguments and lincoln, or chester nimitz would be in the midst of the conversations and he would say that reminds me of a story and everybody shut up for a minute while he told the story and one of chester nimitz's favorites was about a young doctor who arrived at the home of an expectant father, a nervous father, and an expectant mother. don't worry it also the doctor i have this in hand and everything is going to be fine and limits me and the doctor went into the bathroom with the expectant mother leaving the father to paced the hallway outside. and after a minute, he came out of the house, for a better life. which the father provided and
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the doctor goes back into the room two more minutes pass and doing this deliberately because it's really chester nimitz did it, he would pause and he would write in a few minutes later, the doctor came in and he said i need a screwdriver. the father brings him a screwdriver and goes back into the room and more time passes. and he came out and asked for a pair of pliers which the father provided and i can do this all day but i'm going to stop here and chester nimitz to carry on with this and finally, the father and probably his audience by now, said will come on, what is going on here, is everything alright doctor he said all, it's fine it just cannot get my bag opened. [laughter] now some of chester nimitz stories risqué released what passed for risqué in the 1940s, pretty tame these days
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and catherine his wife, was sometimes stop him money starting one of these in mixed company it out in pearl harbor at the all-male dinner that he hosted in their home, they were a staple. so if they guess move from the dinner table to the card table which happened occasionally, he might tell a aspiring woman bridge player who was invited to a bridge party at the local reigning champion. alas the woman's husband who is not graded cards was partnered with a local champion, the hostess. and he is hopeless, he forgot what suit they were and he didn't know how to bid in the signal what he was holding. in a disaster and when he excused himself to go to the bathroom, the wife apologized to the hostess and said i am so sorry for my husband and hostess waved that often said don't worry about it for a minute, but it is true this is the first time all evening when i was
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pretty sure what he was holding in his hand. [laughter] now, it might be possible, to make a list of the characteristics shared by these two men for leadership manual, and another fan of lists. hope is no political scientists in here for me to make fun of in the political scientists collect, love list and the cherry pick a few characteristics and take care the five things you can do to be successful at business or the seven secrets of the effective people or whatever it might be. and i'm of the school that reading and understanding history provide you with an artificial experience that will inform your judgment in your decision-making rather than consulting a list but if we did have a list, raymond davis a
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good one, general spruance he served as chester nimitz chief of staff for 14 months and here is what he said, chester nimitz is a marvelous culmination of patent intolerance of the opinions of others, wise judgment after he has listened and determination in to carry things through. tolerance, judgment, determination. and general spruance annuity was talking about, we can see three of those characteristics in both of these guys, they could and they did not only tolerate abuse of others but encouraged the views of others and they went out of their way to solicit ideas not just from peterson seniors by from jr. officers as well and closer to the gunsmoke. and to take those ideas seriously, listen carefully and evaluating those ideas i
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calculated all possible factors, the plans of course and the circumstances was involved, the likely outcome, and even if they had to make a quick decision, perhaps chester nimitz going to attack and they did not make rash decisions having calculated the odds and the implied quiet but firm judgment. once that decision was made, they demonstrated a powerful determination to carry it through, not to change course in mid stream because as we all know, you can never stop in the same stream twice. thank you and i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> here is one up here. this is the pregnant cause
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before the question comes in and i was just curious whether anyone had gone through the naval academy when they received as we did at west point. >> what a great question, i don't know the answer to your question but demerits were handled differently to the disc and a different institution date. each had a page on the page, every transgression was listed in the nurses plant page for robert e. lee mostly blank pages for others as well and lee was not the only one in those circumstances and there was no such book at the naval academy and a lot of those, no specific it demerits system. and if you transcribe them somebody would have them marched just as one of the punishments at west point was to spend x amount and a number of hours marching back and forth and that was a punishment occasionally applied and i don't think they had the same system whereby you can look in the book and counter
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demerits so it is hard to know. >> actually, there are two sorts of things, one is bad behavior, your shoes are not find information on your legs because you're absent without leave these are transgression title by nonjudicial punishment as is: it can result in all sorts of things, retraction of liberty, confinement in the yard, we don't have a campus monthly of a yard, navy yard. so this kind of things and the other one is of a course honor and anything that touches upon your honor, that is not handled by the adults, by the commission authors it is handled by the honor council of the brigade of them a shipment and they meet and they interview, they talk, they gather evidence and they decided one of their own has a fact compromise his or her honor and they apply whatever
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punishment including expulsion is allowed. >> are you saying that in spite of lee west point and dropout reject that chester nimitz had a better museum. [laughter] >> first of all he's not rejected or dropped out, the way that young men in the 19th century, all men were appointed the economy depended heavily on congressman, they really have the choice of this and at the individual candidate had to be you know, literate and all forearms, or to arms and two arms and two legs. both eyes, apparently not keep.
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but beyond that is the gift of the congressman and of course this is great for having favor. and it is not happen anymore. nowadays, the students, the young high school students mostly apply like you would apply to any other college. a big packet of forms and you have to pass a physical exam and you have to have certain scores on your act score sats, and that maybe fading out. i have a grandson who is a college applicant this year and apparently people are not requiring those anymore and i don't know have been retired from the naval academy meant to be aware of that but i did serve on the missions board at the naval academy for many years. and i tell you the people that we had to turn down our wonderful and as for the relationship between army-navy and the quality of the museum, i am hesitant to say except to say that i think that the museum in fredericksburg is worth a visit
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and as is the one in new orleans which is of course absolutely wonderful and even larger. so i will advocate for both of those museums and there's a question here. >> was equally aware of what he was doing in the background to try to assert authority and hannity handle that. >> he was mostly aware because a small officer or like the army and expanding and normatively and there were 42 ships and commission in 1916 and 671 and 18625, and the size of the officer course expanded and during that, everybody knew everybody. and they often was a did you hear what he said about that. so there is some of that going on he knows that david is not his strongest champion and part of that is fraternal, the big
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brother who always got you know promoted ahead of me and said that whatever psycho or historical analysis that you will apply to that, may be appropriate but he was aware of event and of course, david had other problems as well and he worked on the edge a lot. the red river campaign of course he was known as picking up a lot of that cotton along the banks and saying that if he could take monetary advantage of those circumstances. but so yes that i think generally he was aware but he was tolerant of that as well then he also knew that he helped grant critically at vicksburg. and therefore the falling out as a consequence of that. john pretty. >> i love this between you and you're the person to do it but i want to ask an open-ended question that sense you mastered
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it civil war history and world war ii for so long and so well, as you worked, any of the comparisons the people are episodes that come to mind in any other as you're working world war ii anything that comes to mind from years working in the civil war that you find notable. >> that is a great question and for small all is important to recall that these are the two existential wars of american history and these are the two wars that had to be fought and a lot of wars are you know, we choose them. we went to vietnam, we went to afghanistan in his who knows what we will go next of those are course of choice in spanish working were in mexican war in these wars were x potential and there is no way that slavery could have been eradicated from the market culture absent a war
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like this, it had to be fought. in world war ii, the enemy was genuinely evil going to think of world war ii as a template for american wars rated and is the way that wars are fought, you declare it, you go all out and everybody is going in the same roof and you utterly win with unconditional surrender, you get rid of the bad guy, who hopefully kills himself before we hang him and then you return to peace and everybody is prosperous ever after. no other war is like that in this is a unique conference statement and confrontation but had to be fought because the enemy really was evil and really did have to be eradicated and we had the wind unconditionally and those are necessary things so what these two wars have in common, they are the wars the american had a fight and had a win. and now because of that, there's a tendency within the two
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cultures, obviously the civil war in the first example book within the north, the copperheads notwithstanding, it felt a little bit like bold or two before pretty much fully in the same rope and they both had a resort to a draft and they both had to build up internal industrial production and that had never previously existed, not just for the ironclads but for lots of things, and pam, the armor began getting meet in order to feed the troops at the front and that's a whole new industry and the expansion of the railroads and even in the midst of war. for the civil wars is an industrialized total industrialized war in world war two was a fully industrialized war. these two were sent to transformational impact on american culture and individuals like these, were the ones who brought it to success and i think it does not mean that they
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are generations were greater, i am not going to demean the greatest generation, some of you are here. but i am going to say each generation has its opportunity and some generations have greater opportunities in their stead and i would calling at the naval academy and they said the thing that determines whether you will make flag rank has already been decided, so your fitness reports are your performance or your grade in this class. it is her birthday. if when you are about 30, or 35, we got the war, you're probably going to make it. the great class of 1846 at west point, why did they all become generals, because it was a civil war absent the civil war, none of them made general the same thing is true of the naval academy class of about the same time. i don't know if that is responsive or not john, but we had opportunity.
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that's great. [laughter] >> is there a parallel between the post war korean, and did david farragut achieve a high position as did chester nimitz pretty. >> the short answer is yes, not only the first admiral, he is the first full admiral, four stars, which remained the highest rank in united states navy until 1945, when congress passed that we will allow the existence of four admirals each aware five stars and one of which of course was chester nimitz. this is a great trivia contest for another tribute test, who are the other three. >> lay hey king and halsey. and there is an argument whether it would be craig symonds or halsey rated this charge and
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general spruance was applying calculated risk and i think he got it because he was supported by carl vinson, the chairman of the naval affairs committee and that is why he got it. but there is a group active now to try to get general spruance the fifth start so anyway, they each got that honorary, more than honorary, that promotion to the highs rank and there was no chief of naval operations in the 19 century, so david farragut did not have that, he was older and therefore trying to go into retirement with four stars became a much beloved veteran of the war. and chester nimitz did become chief of naval operations two years and any work for a while for the united nations and then went into retirement and he hated retirement. unlike me, i love retirement chester nimitz hated it and he ended up going everyday with something important to do.
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and once it was no longer in the case, he died in 1966 he went into decline so anybody else. alex has one back there would. >> the night the war was lost, you mentioned the title and you said it might be a bit of hyperbole in the last year to come another came out called the mortal blow to confederacy about that fall in new orleans and can you speak a little bit, is there any way for david farragut to lose that battle pretty. >> oh sure, any numbers in the number of ways to lose the battle and first evolve as as to the importance new orleans, not regimen, the headlines out, not charleston, new orleans is the largest city in the south and it is of course the cork on the outlet from the mississippi river valley and what made is so important commercially is not only the product of the south, but the products of the midwest and they all came down to new orleans for shipment so plugging
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that up, was an important element of the blockade and a mere mortal blow to the confederacy in terms of seizing the city so that is important and i think the easiest way for him to lose it is to say, and looks too difficult to me. and it was protected by two substantial masonry reports, some of that course and river systems of coursework thrown out, fort donaldson and fort henry, and what it and easily overcome by ironclad before jackson and court saint phillips of new orleans were substantial a barrier there as well in the confederate navy one of the trivia questions as i was a manassas, first ironclad to engage in battle and if it's in new orleans, so i think that the easiest way to lose it is for him to say that i don't think that we can do this read and here's an interesting tidbit, one of his subordinates and that was david dixon porter who commanded, nothing about but the
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ramps, motorcraft, essentially essentially both of a large 13-inch mortar amid the ship and his idea was that we need to stay below the city and fire long-range, markers into their parts until the evacuate. but david farragut said were going to break that thing and we going to go crashing by just pull up in front of new orleans and which had been stripped of most of his local offenders because they're concentrating for the battle of shiloh and is right there by the jackson statute, along the front of new orleans, you've all seen the photographs if you not been there. but his guns pointing and said, gotcha. the way not to do it is to not to try it and that was not his option. are we done. lunchtime, thank you recent
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historical parts civil war symposium. >> this is usually the fun part in the afternoon to have speakers give their different viewpoints and have you ask questions. i think usually the first question is what are you working on now, and what difficulties are you having in performing your task. so let's start over here with will. we know he has a lot of stuff going on civil sta


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