tv In Depth with Lynne Olson CSPAN October 2, 2017 12:01am-3:01am EDT
of several books many on world war ii including troublesome young men, those angry days into the recently published last hope island bridge in occupied europe and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war. was september 311939 a surprise? >> the day that hitler marched into poland and it was a surprise attack and people i think most of the old kind of accepted it but hoped it wouldn't happen, but it did. poland thought it was prepared, but it wasn't. nazi germany was the military
behemoth in the history of until that point and poland have kind of an army, a small dv but it was basically a poor country that didn't have the defenses or the financial wherewithal but it did think it could hold off germany for a while but the germans just kind of rolled right over them.germ >> you save the date was a surprise because the rest preparing for the war up to this point?t?but was th >> guest: they suspected it was coming again. most hoped it wouldn't happen ao least half were natural and declared their neutrality.
they were hoping something would happen to prevent germany from embarking on what hitler had been preparing for >> why weren't they prepared if they were aware of >> you have to remember 1939 was 20 years after the end of world war i which was the greatest bloodbath in history up to that point. many have lost hundreds of thousands if not millions of people including the two biggest western allies and plans in the uk england and they were not prepared in any way they didn't want the war emotionally,
financially the idea of going to another cataclysm was anathemanf to them. all the countries desperately wanted to keep the war as they talked about half of them being neutral. what were some of those countries? >> the netherlands, holland, whe belgium, norway. they were basically pushed intoh an alliance.
very few in britain is saying you can't do that. hitler is a tremendous threats not only to europe to the world and they kept saying we've got to get ready. he was in parliament at that point and there was a backbench nobody paid much attention. france lost 1.6 million of its young man, a huge percentage of its young men. england was not invaded. they suffered terribly.ey los
they lost much of their industry and they were a country that didn't bounce back very well. so, they were desperate to avoid and there was the spear throughout europe that we cannot really have that happen again so therefore, we are going to pretend it's not going to happen again. >> did americans in both european and pacific combat. >> guest: that's correct.ea poland was hit terribly hard.e, the first country in europe to be invaded by germany and lost 6 billion peopl6 million people, 3 million of them in world war ii by far the highest lost per
capita. they have more than 20 million people killed but they have a huge population. may 1940 what was going on in that one? >> guest: it was probably the most important month in some ways of the whole war for everybody. may, 1940 was kind of the culmination of the appeasement policy. it hadn't worked. germany invaded in 1942 the surprise and dismay of theld birds. they were not prepared this was
about to happen in norway andri denmark, but it did and it was a huge defeat for the bill a huge chamberlain. and may 1940 was this amazing debate within the government, particularly in the parliament about do we continue to appease or do we finally stand up. and the debate in parliament pat lasted two days at the end of the debate, basically there was a vote.ne. they really did not have theheha support of many members of the parliament. it was an incredibly dramatic debate. winston churchill was part of it but he wasn't leading the charge of parliament.
he was in the government at that point and he was defending chamberlain in front of his fellow parliamentarians. meanwhile, this is kind of the name i gave to this group of the members of parliament who were anti-appeasement and basically thought they had to get chamberlain out and bring churchill to power. so this debate was extraordinarily dramatic and exciting. here you have churchill arguing for chamberlain and they are saying you have to give chamberlain out or we are going to lose.th this is we have to do something. so the upshot is that chamberlain was forced out and winston churchill became the prime minister on may 10, 1940 very day that hitler launches in western europe, so i don't think you can beat that they and once churchill took power, he started
to rally the british site and meanwhile in all the countries he was going through, it was belgium, harlem, luxembourg, and then into france. once they got to friends,t to fc everybody thought okay they made their match because they were supposed to have the best army in all of europe and then they were rolled down within several weeks. and by june it was clear that france was about to fall. so, therefore who do w whom do e but one small country standing alone against this mighty german behemoth and there was london and britain so it was an incredible month.
it came before the start. once england and france declared war against germany, that was september 31939. the british did send two divisions into france in preparation for an official offensive by germany. but the period from september, 1939 until 1940 is what becamekn known as the phony war. there was no combat or phony fighting at all. supposedly, france and britain declared war against germany because of poland an because thy had invaded poland then the allies declared that they didn't do anything for poland. they made all of these attempts of speeches but nothing happened nothing happened until 1940 with
hitler when they invaded norway and denmark. that was the beginning of the german offensive and then it really took off in 1940 and by the end of that, as i said, t there were a couple of neutral countries but most were under german occupation and >> host: >> guest: with took place the end of 1940 and verse for june as the german troops were coming in. they basically were given a free rein at that point and the
troops in belgium and france and they were basically going to be cut off and in prison if they didn't get out. pretty early on, churchill and the british military started making plans so we are talking less than 20 days from the day of may 10 on a stem to western europe until it was just a very brief time and churchill did and told the french this was going to happen. they made plans to evacuate but they were not notified until it actually had begun. they made no provision so the
alliance that already unraveled tremendously was gone by the time they realized they werego leaving them and going back home. >> host: is it common to think that the germans had they pushed on the invasion could have changed the course of the war? >> i think that could have happened. why he had stopped from advancing on dunkirk for some reason is not very clear why that was true, but he did.d. and i think there have been a lot of historians that believe if the germans have bee had beeh more aggressive, they could have cut that off and more than
200,000 troops were, most of them british, and it wouldn't have been saved obviously it would have come down if they had managed to cut off but they didn't. >> host: most of your books are about world war ii and europe that is not yourwa background or training. >> guest: is by happenstance i spent 12 years as a journalist. i've always been interested innl history tha but i never really thought i would write, much of my life would be devoted to writing books and history of england and world war ii. it happened because i left daily journalism and got tired of the deadlines and wanted to do more extensive work.
i wanted to be able to do more so my husband is also a formerel journalist. we were looking around for a book to do together and decided he was one of my all-time heroes so a couple biographies have been written and we didn't want to do that so we decided to do a book about the correspondenced o before entering in world war ii and much of the research involved london because that is where he made his name in 1940, reporting on the battle of britain back to cbs news and the united states. i fell in love with this placefe and everything about it and it is often true one book led to
another and that is what had me. i never thought that would have been before but it did happen. >> host: you write i rely heavily on the human angle. >> guest: part of that comes from my training as a journali journalist. i remember as a child, history classes and they were so boring the states and events and that is what you were tested on and it was so dry and i did enjoy it or like it. once i got in, my husband as you said worked at the magazine and he was pretty vague on writing about people as newsmakers and human interest.m by tra
by training as a journalist i thought i would focus that way and it's interesting to read about people because people make history. it's obviously made by people, so i want to be able to bring whatever i write about in the period and then talking about them and what made them decide to do this and not the other. why did you go chamberlain decides to be an appeaser. people like reading about other people, so this human angle is incredibly important to me. when i decide on a topic, it has to have interesting characters that speak to me before i will write about it.
>> host: who were they? >> guest: a group of extraordinary journalists that they started to hire when they went over to london in 1937. the radio journalism hadn't been invented back then. not a movie tha in the way thatf broadcast journalism. journalism.as bas it was the commentatorwas the cd of pontificating. cbs for example, the idea of journalism back then was to record a night in nightingale nature program where they would do that kind of thing. not journalism in the way that we know it.
he was sent over to london in 1937 to be the protector of the talks at ces, so he was supposed to her ranged talks but he didn't want to do that so he became a journalist.t. he didn't have any training as a journalist up until that point that he basically wanted to be a journalist and then hire others who could report the news from europe. europe was on fire and it was clear hitler was a threat and he went around hiring the best journalists he could find. he was a correspondent in germany at the time of the rise and fall of the third reich but before he did that, he was hired as a cbs correspondent in berlin and had a terrible place. i mean if you've ever seen a picture, he's short and balding with a little mustache and a typical, typical voice but arriv spectacular reporter.
that's what he was looking for. he wasn't looking for guys with really great voices and of course it doesn't matte didn't t they looked like. it was the radio at the time. he wanted really good journali journalism. so a young reporter just starting out in paris. it was howard k. smith, names that resignation to people that watch television in the 50s and 60s. he was just looking for the best people to report. what was the impact on the war in the u.s. policy? >> guest: they had as. tremendous impact on the war.ar he had the most impact. among them i may be going out on a limb, but probably the most
prominent correspondent during the war. he had a huge following. just to give you one example, he thought he needed to get into the war. we didn't until december, 1941. britain was on the brink of disaster. june 1940 to 1941 and soap he was on the air basically saying over and over we have to get out of the war. he didn't say it in so many words that was the clear of the tenor from the broadcast we have to get into the war. we cannot let everything go down. and it had an enormous impact on the public opinion. and a lot of people give him a great deal of credit for the change in public mood in the
u.s. from isolationism to it's t not intervention thinking we had to come to the aid of britain. so it was the best in terms of broadcast journalism and the reporting throughout that they had an amazing influence on what was going on. >> host: was the u.s. prepared at that point? >> guest: no, it was about as badly prepared. they ranked 17th in the world next to portugal and bulgaria. the army was pitiful and very
few forces. they had no equipment. we were in bad shape in terms of the defense's and began to gear up. you write about america first for this is an entry that you put him in 2013. john f. kennedy, gerald ford,nee sargent shriver, all household names in 20th centur century ama but earlier in their lives they had something else in common in
the late 30s and even into the 40s they were opposed to the idea of american involvement in world war ii. >> that is one of the more interesting things i did not know about that until i started research. it was a story of how america moved from a strong feeling of isolationism in 1939, 1940 andiu then started thinking maybe this is our war and the book is aboua the fight in this country about what we would do about the war and whether it would help britain or not and it was a really brutal fight. one of the things that surprised me on the side of theeis isolationist is a lot of college students who basically said this is not our war. look what happened to world war
i we were supposed to make it safe for democracy and we got hitler. they were going to be the ones on the front line. why should we fight this. it's not our war, it's not our fight. in aland all those men from johg kennedy on, they were college students and they were part of this group called america first which is the prominent come of the preeminent isolationist organization in this country. in fact, many of those people that you mentioned were the founders of america first. it wawas the college students tt found this incredible isolationist organization. all of them left and by the time the war happened, they hadvi enlisted basically everybody that you mentioned is fighting for the u.s. and many of them in
critical records but they left america right before we got into the war they realized that it was going to be our fight and we were going to get into it so they bailed out. >> host: i want to play a little bit of a video clip andla this is charles lindbergh. >> i come before you at this time to enter the plea for american independence. there is no division among us about the defense of our own countries.s. we have always been ready to fight against the foreign powers and our affairs. if need be, we have the time as our forefathers have died before us when the necessity arose. we expand a united nation and it is only when we are asked touaro take part in the countries that
we divide. he should always probably stay out of the war until december 1941 and when they bombed pearl harbor, he instantly off now that the war was upon us, he backed roosevele in his declaration of the war and said now he supported with everything he had. >> up until december of 1941, was he in the majority? >> that is a complex question. in the beginning he was then 19h majority. americans as a whole the same way as those college students.
we have fought the war and it was sort of an incredible propaganda campaign so they were determined that was not going to happen again. so the mood in the country from 1939 through iowa to say the fall of 1940 was half of heavily isa isolationist. one was the bombing of the blitz in london, the constant battle of britain.g they said we are not going to give up.
it was extraordinary not to mention the kurds of the premaster who'd become a household name. so thanks to these others, the knowledge and reporting on that began to change peoples minds in this country and also there was a big campaign not only fighting for the isolationism, but there were groups in the united states that were advocating intervention was on so they start having an impact also on the country. so this back and forth was going on but finally by the time of 1941 and certainly by the time of pearl harbor, most of the members did not want to go to war. nobody wants to.
but most americans certainly as we see in the polls were ready to go to war if it meant that is the only way that germany wass w going to be defeated. but it was the fact we were going to go to war. so there was quite a huge shift in the american public opinionon but it took place over basically two years. >> host: between septembe september 11939, december 71941, what was the communication like between fdr and churchill? >> it started out before churchill became a minister they started writing letters to each other. roosevelt obviously does the president and and once he became the prime minister, there was an irregular exchange of tables ano
phone calls between the two and basically what it consisted of his churchill pleading for roosevelt and the united states to get into the war and saying we will do everything we can. he was heavily concerned and he is a political guy and you have to remember 1940 was a year running for a third term which was unheard of. nobody had done that before. so he was particularly concerned about the reaction of him doing what many people thought was written at that time because he was running for the reelection
and said he was worried about that. so, it was an interestingly fraught year for everybody certainly in europe, but also in the u.s. because for the allies to win, we had to get into the war. for working to survive, everybody knew that. the question was are we going to get into the war and it was an extraordinary year in many ways. >> host: good afternoon, you are watching the tv on c-span2 and this is our monthly in-depth program we invite an offer to talk about his or her body of work and this month it is journalist, author and historian lynne olson. here is a quick look at her books. the good old boys which we talked about a little bit wither stanley cloud came out in 1996, freedom stalker which we haven't
talked about it the unsung noroines of the civil rights movement came out in 2001, the, question of honor came out in 2003. troublesome young man who brought churchill to power and this came out in the seventh and the citizens of london the americans who stood with britain in its darkest and finest hour came out in 2010, those angry dave's roosevelt lindberg and america's fight over world war ii came out in 2013, and her most recent book out this year last hope i lindberg and occupy in europe and the brotherhood that helps turn the tide of the war. we are going to be taking your calls as well and your social media comments. here's how you can contact us. (202)748-8200 in the eastern time zone. in the mountain and pacific,
748-8201. and we have a third wind thisr l afternoon for world war ii veterans we would love to hear your voices as well.u to cal (202)748-8202 is the number for you to call. if you can't get through but would like to make a comment, there are several other ways. twitter, insta graham, facebook. all of them have our candle for all of those and we will scroll through those on the screen asho well and finally you can send an e-mail to booktv@c-span. from your book troublesome young men in 1936 it was clear that the propaganda campaign was very
considerable fruit. insert an upper-class circles, it was considered not only politically sound, but also the height of fashion to be pro-rig. nazi. there was a great large contingency. it was true in the other realms of society but the upper-class favorite heavenly pro- german and it was very fashionable to go to germany and to hobnob with the nazis including hitler.wentt
she shot herself when britain went to war again in germany. but it was a very strong pro- german sentiment in these classes of england, and some in the royal family as well. where was kennedy on this? t >> guest: he was really loathed by the british government and the british people because he i wouldn't say was pro- german but he was a businessman and he thought germany was going to go to war against britain and theygerm couldn't possibly survive.
he thought there was no way they could survive if they were forced to go to war and so therefore we have to appease. he continued to see that until he went home in october of 1940, he went to publicly espousing appeasement saying britain couldn't divide and as you can imagine first of all america wasn't helping much to begin with and then you have the american ambassador espousing the capitulation.
this was his appointee. as a political animal he was afraid of him politically. he was afraid of his influence among the american people. he wanted him to stay in london so he did everything he could to keep him there until he left and fdr didn't call him back in october of 1940 and as he was going crazy he went through these plans until he met with fh fdr and not to get involved in
in the 1930s, late 20s, when the social security act was passed in washington for roosevelt named him as the first administrator of this incredibly important program. he took the job and then in 1936 again it was a special security right from the beginning and they made it a campaign issue and he quit his job thereby giving up any hope of a political career in the party and basically denounced for their opposition to social
security. so, very much an idealist. then head of the international labor organization in geneva. when roosevelt was looking around for a successor to go kennedy come he chose bill to go to london. he went to london in march of 1941, which is probably the worst time in the world for the birds. they were supposed to be done. the shipping was decimated by the submarines of the atlantic. in the atlantic. they were having a terrible time militarily. it just looked like it was all over for them. they were still worried about what they were going to do. and then this guy, this very shy
guy but couldn't speak very well arrived in london and said, the first thing he said as there's no place i would rather be than britain. and the kurdish people fill in love with him. he really bonded with them and cared about them. when the bombs were falling, he would go out on the streets of london and just walk the streets and basically stop and ask people what he could do to help and so, the newspapers got a hold of this and he was publicized city became a symbol to the british that maybe america, maybe there was something good about to happen. he basically stood up for them and it was really important in so many ways. then once we did get to this point, he helped create this american life and then he helped put it together after we finally
got into the war. >> host: using he bonded with the british people. he really bonded with the churchill family. >> guest: )-right-paren if he is one of the main three characters in my book. he's the least well-known of tho three. then the u.s. administrator thae the congress passed sinc so he s very important as well so i told the story of these three men and what they did for the alliance in all three of those men did have affairs with members of the churchill family.
he had a notorious affair with pamela churchill who was the, daughter-in-law of winston-in-lf churchill. her husband, randolph was in egypt at this time, so they had, they didn't keep the severe they were having in wartime. in 1943 they went to the soviet union as the ambassador to the soviet union and so she switched over to edinburgh and they had an affair. and it was the middl middle and favorite daughter. so, there was this incredible atmosphere in the family during that time that ithe time that it surprising actually becausectua, churchill basically welcomed all of those three americans not only into his professional family but also into his real
family. he was determined to get american support and to try to e get this way with roosevelt so he did the best to get to know these guys and to bring them in. so obviously they spent a lot of time with the churchill family. one thing led to another. >> host: you focus on those three in citizens 110. did they work together or collaborate in their efforts to get the u.s. more involved in the war? >> guest: all three of them believed intensely that america had to go to war with britain. they all believed that and then they worked to keep the allianct going.in ter in terms of their own personal relationships with each other,ac they were very close friend.
the two of them are idealists and they believed and hoped it were working to make sure that a better world would come of this war. and all these good things everybody wanted, harriman wasn't a good friend to either one of them. abel harriman was a formernd businessman, a millionaire, is this man very much on the make. he wanted to make his mark in government. he couldn't give it in the u.s.. roosevelt didn't get him a job so he decided he was going to do it in england.so so he basically sent off to cultivate churchill and his family and the government and did make his mark. churchill relied on him to a great extent and as a result of
that experience in london at the soviet union in world war ii, he became a diplomat after the war but he basically tried to get other words be the number one american and one in and he obviously didn't like that at obvi all so they were at odds pretty much.n: 202 i >> host: (202)748-8200 in the western time zone. to co 274-8801 in the mountain and pacific time zone and finally, a third line is that asidthe side for the world war d era veteran and people livingpe during a time (202)748-8202. if you were living during that time, to do some quick math,
that is kind of minimum. you would be early '90s. do you have any idea how many world war ii veterans were still alive? >> guest: it is rapidly diminishing. >> host: let's take some calls. lynne olson is oulynn olson is d sarasota florida. >> caller: hello and thank you for the program. i got so excited when i heard she was going to be on.ol she's one of my favoriteauthors. authors. i canceled but i was supposed to be doing today. there is a sign on my door thiso is not disturb me unless it's an emergency. >> guest: >> host: what is it about her work that you admire so much? >> caller: what she said about history is so true i had the same experience while i was taking a history course.
my dad was the only civilian who was on the field during the war. he was upset about the attitude towards the war. even though i was a kid, i didi get a lot of information about the war and i just cannot thankn her enough. i love the one about the polish pilots. i forgot the title of that book. i became an honorary and thank you so much. >> host: do you have all of her books and i think you are talking about a question of honor. >> caller: yes, yes. i love that and the rest of the books, i've read two more of thethem and the rest are on my night table ready to go. >> host: you have a real fan.thr >> guest: i can't tell you how much i appreciate that. thank you.by far
citizens of london has sold the best. it's interesting. i am really not quite sure. i have ideas and have asked people. a lot of people say that is my favorite book that you'vetten, r written.n.really and i ask them if there's a number of reasons. one of the main reasons was was because i'd ever heard of himd m before and pretty sure nobody else had either. so i structured the book in a way that it would not trust him, but he was the inspiration for writing the book. and in this incredibly turbulent
world that we live, somebody who was the kind of empathy andib kurdish and ideals that he had and who was actually able to do good i think he really appeals to people. it's also a very romantic record of fighting time, but it's very dramatic. people like the story not only as americans in london but how do citizens are also mostly british and how they reacted to the horrendous life that many of them had, bein have, being bombg rationed, and it was this incredible courage and a lot of good humor.
it is a romantic story of americans coming there and living in this country deciding not having to deal with all of this, what they were going through. but the americans that were in london during the time had to deal with all of that and so there was a great bonding between americans and the british. i don't know if you want me to talk about this, but it comesast from a broadcast of the boys. he has been covering london with murder over cbs and then was sent back to washington. before he left, he made hishe m final broadcast about him. it was about how he had come to london in the summer of 1940. he had been covering paris and was there for the fall of
france.. when he traveled over to london and stayed for several months. and at the end, he was comparing paris to london and how it was like a beautiful woman who dies, who just gave up and then he came to london and said he hated the whole idea because he thought they were snobs and looked down on americans and that she would never get along with them and then he found he fell in love with them. and at the end of the broadcast, he said he's trying to keep himself together. anin the years to come, people will write i was a soldier, i was a sailor and others will say i was a citizen of london.
it was so heartfelt. so, going back to why it's the most popular of my books because i think it was a time that most ofy us wish we could have lived through and it's this incredibly difficult time that we live in, the idea of people working together for the greater good i think is very appealing and people like that. >> host: when i asked you thatat question, i had a preconceived answer. and i thought it was going to be troublesome young men. every summer, booktv travels to capitol hill to ask members of congress what they are reading. and over the years, we've done this and we want to show you a little bit of video.
>> trolls on young men by anen author whose names escape me that explores the conservative members of parliament who laid the foundation for winston churchill's replacement of liberal chamberlain. this summer i'm reading a book about winston churchill's troubles with young men. it's about the young members of the conservative party in the late 30s that were discussed by the middle chamberlain administration and of those beliefs to develop the most important leader of world war ii. >> many of us read it and we liked it. it was called troublesome young men and it was about the back
bench of parliament in 38, 39 and 40 who knew they had to move chamberlain out of the power. we read this all at the same time you were involved in changing our leadership so it was an interesting book i read in the last congress. troublesome young men has to do with the rise of a small band of conservatives and the churchill period and is kind of motivated by a member of the house freedom caucus with the great folks trying to solve some of the fiscal problems and trust kind of represent the people more closely. i think this book will give me a little bit of motivation. >> host: vice president of the united states back in the day. the majority leader and two members of the freedom caucus
reading troublesome young men. >> guest: it's not only american legislators. i've been to canada and britain. i think that it's kind of a test people read it and see themselves and that is basicalli what's going on as one of them basically said. and it's not just these are old republicans. democrats have said the same thing to me. they, winston churchill is a hero including many legislators. i think they all think that spam or at least they wish it were put in terms of the members of the house and the senate on both
sides i do think they put themselves in that situation. >> host: and on february 3 of this year in the guardian, you wrote among the members in theer congress there are no profiles in courage at all. ironically this collective powes supplies to several current congressmen and senators have told me over the years how much they loved troublesome young men and seeing themselves in those e wartime rebels but not one of them has been willing to stand up to donald trump, an emotionally disturbed authoritarian president who eclipsed the criticism of his policies with treason.po >> guest: beauty of every word. >> host: was winston churchill immune to criticism?ld take >> guest: he didn't like criticism certainly, but he would take it. he would crumble and yell andul scream, but depending on who was
operating the criticism, he certainly accepted it.. for example, in the war cabinet, people would often argue with him about what he wanted to do. and again, he would grumble but think about it and come to the same conclusion. his generals constantly said you can't do that. he has a lot o had a lot of ide. some were wonderful, and again he would grumble but basically agree. so he did listen to people. he was always in charge but he did listen to people. >> host: .. about this particular part of
our involvement in the european campaign, and once hitler knew that we were going to enter the war in europe, and then especially after we were bombed by the japanese in pearl harbor, the collaboration between japan and germany and what research might have led people to discover if there was any idea that if it were, hitler were to come to power and win the war quote, unquote, the real domination would have changed and was there any collaboration or unification or would there have been a large push between germany and japan after that point? and then if i may, i have a very proud statement i >>to make. >> and i very much like that question addressed i am very
curious. >> as to your first question about germany and japan is interesting that they were bound in the alliance but japan did not tell germany they had no idea that would have been. so for the next three days there was discussion with the government about what to do to go immediately against.. the united states but they knew that america was the sleeping tiger and basically it would be very, veryhe difficult to win so they would continue against the
soviet union and not get involved but hitler was furious at roosevelt for a long time and he declared war three days after japan bombed pearl harbor. we did not declare wary agains immediately. people have forgotten that so we did nothing in terms of germany into a hitler declared war against us and we declared war againstt germany and italy.oseness so that lack of close this is a problem that really they did not collaborate so certainly heller made a lot of mistakes but the two
biggest was the soviet union and declaring war against us.on >> pearl harbor was a complete surprise to the germans?. >> absolutely. they have no idea what was going to happen. t >> redondo beach please go ahead. >> caller: you have a brand-new van negative just blown away and what you just said about germany did not know about japan just blew me away. so my question is you mentioned lindbergh but that only to use the word sympathizer but the words were that he was they danzi sympathizer so what are your
thoughts? i will take my answer off the air. >> it is a really goodns question and it is complex. when deberg i have said was a strange as person i have never written about.on i wri he was a technocrat he was not a great socialize our he loved flight and and technology his interest in germany he really admiredlly adi what the germans were able to do in terms of flight that it was the most powerful air force and the world and therefore germany was more powerful and so it
was foolish for france and britain and the united states to get involved in the war we could not win that germany was bound to win so he was very impressed with the germans were doing militarily their part in a very bad economic state he knew what was going on with the reduced but he knew that it was wrong but it did not matter that much. it was the way he was put together. so as they not seeps sympathizer he had spoken out against some of what
nazi germany had done but he was in terms of approval and technology. >> host: was there a string of anti-semitism?. >> guest: that is a complex question. he was anti-semitic in many ways a speech that he made october 41 basically shattered his image and was anti-semitic budget he often said publicly what people were saying privately so doing research how strong the vein of anti-semitism was in this country and how overt. it was not covered up.
jews were barred from many professions either universities or limited to a very small area they could not go into some motels there were covenants in many cities and that they cannot buy houses in certain areas with the very strong strain from the government and other departments that were anti-semitic.ery anti but so were millions of other americans. >> please ask miss olson to comment with the conflict she experienced. >> and one of those that i
write about in those in read it -- in three days -- angryry days but she was married to charles she found that a whole period to be totally upsetting to put that mildlysh she was caught in the middle of the fight between lindbergh and be isolationist and the interventionist she came from a very international family and came from many and her father was with j.p. morgan in new york and became an american or u.s. ambassador to mexico and was the senator so they were very much tied and aligned to europe and england as was she then she met and married the most eligible man in a
the world at that time of you years before became the most famous by flying across the mantic.-stop. with those modest and charming is what those people wanted it was the time of cynicism and corruption and then you have this died -- god so everybody fell in love with him and she married him. her life turned out to be far different than what she expected. he was the biggest celebrity him and roosevelts but she was thrust into this
celebrity and as bad as that is now not to have any privacy this was just beyond the pale they could not go anywhere without peopleur following them and shrieking at them. she was a very shy woman and a mind of her own and a gifted writer but this is not the kind of life that she wanted.. then to thrust herself into the middle of the debate iff we should get into the warcame t then was the spokesperson of the isolationist movement in this is not what she wanted at all because she was the interventionist social went along with what her husband was doing.
it was a time of great emotional conflict. it is damaging to the family. so it was really reallyll difficult.nd that >> not even talking about the kidnapping of their child then those and those defense that happened at toddler was kidnapped from their home in new jersey and what happened later on.led and
his child was killed and the way it was covered by the tabloid press was so revolting to him the basically thought there was no individual freedom left. and the second son was born after the kidnapping. they went to europe in the '30's and and that is when he started to go to lou germany and day use him for propaganda purposes. they wanted it to say the germans are not beatable. and it went on from there. >> i really enjoyed and with
to bring him as his checker end i wondered why he liked him so much. >> that is a really good question part of that is there was personal animus between them and they had gone against each other that the king advocated because he wanted to marry a divorced american and he supported us picking -- the king and baldwin was very much against that..
that could not happen so in terms of rearming of hitler's threats there are opponents in that regard. that is a really good question because churchill was very loyal to chamberlain in the end. he opposed the policies and told britain declared war and chamberlain invited him as the first lord of the admiralty. and was constantly pressuring to be more expressive against the germans so he very much supported what he did even
until the very end what we were talking about and then desperately saying we have to get chamberlain out of their. no question we will go down in defeat. winston churchill was veryll loyal but those who brought them into government any capt. than in the government once he became prime minister and did not throw him out. it was still politically afraid still unpopular even when he became prime minister.politi he wanted to keep the tory
leader's on his side. and to keep lord halifax in see government. he was afraid they could oust him but if he started then he became the symbol of british resistance. so that he was very nervous about what would have been.. >>. >> so what was the post? was he there for show?. >> so basically as an adviser but churchill did
listen he may not have gone along but he did listen to him.rl in those early days and months. there is a movie about to come out in november about this period late may of 1940 is where lord halifax and the others were pressuring him to think about negotiating. to make peace with it hitler.many and many people think that they faced the pressure and said no.
sat chamberlains stood behind him and died just a few months after he was already critical with cancer at that point maybe that is why he did so poorly in that period but up until the end he was publicly supportive. >> texas go ahead. >> caller: i am excited to have a conversation with lynne olson today. i never thought that what happened.s. [laughter] here in kaufman and there is a museum from the of royal air force.
and part of that was was a week and a structure.chool and that has nothing to do with the question but i want to ask earlier in the program she was talking about winston churchill's daughters in the affairs they had with him. they were an england at the time and i was wondering but if she thought that was true from the heart?.
>> that is a really good question.talk so with that relationship there is a large part of calculation. sorely he did not disapprove of her relationship even though she had his son. he was a realist wanted americans in the lower ther first thought was for britain's survival if that meant sacrificing personal
relationships, that was not the most important thing, as though they were encouraging her with that relationshiprelatn because she learned what they were doing. and churchill's wife was not so thrilled with that relationship but they did not stop that. so there was a calculation. it was very much from the heart, they needed somebody
a end it didn't work out. each of them was very important the time it did work together. >> when did they get married ?. >> it was well after the of war wife was living in the united states and never came to london and then went back to new york after the war his wife died and pamela went on to have many affairs with others and then hair and then was in his seventies but they ran across each other in washington and went to a dinner party and eight were
married shortly thereafter. >>. >> this is awesome baby for your contribution to history. recently i read a book whose name i cannot think of because i go into senility but it presents the idea that he did it peas. it highlights the fact to be told that they cannot afford a frontal assault on not the
germany because they were not to prepare and would not be wise to do so if he was prime minister so then later they needed to have somebody to blame because that is the appeasement of the chamberlain part. so he got a bad rap was put at his feet but that he got a bad rap in history. >> i don't really think that.
there are a number of historians that talk about that that certainly that is the strain of history that has. no question stanley baldwin was the accuser as well. they were not preparing britain for war. churchill was talking in the mid-30s to rearm l or a stronger air force and under chamberlain the raf was built up defensively so most of the money went to fighter planes to go against the german attack rather than
looking at what hitler is doing you are right. there was a feeling there is nothing that can be done the bomber will always get through they will destroy us to smithereens so we must do everything we can. neville chamberlain and continued that. so he was more fierce and warlike against his domestic opponents with members of parliament then he was against germany. he was a tough guy who
basically punished he did actually punish those who did not agree with him. in preparing the country for war. >> i am often asked how long it takes to write a book the link varies but on average it is between two and three years. >> so i got the idea of last whole island so i got a contract i did one and years
worth of research. and i got cold feet. i did not know enough about it. it is a huge subject that they have to find out about the government. go to. it was overwhelming at that point. all subtle dig my publisher paid me enough money. my agent did not like the citizens of london but then we offered it after i did
"those angry days" was thinking of my next booked why don't you go back to the idea you have done this work is in st. not to use it. so i thought she is right. several years have gone by a with europe or britain or world war ii and i can tackle that. >> host: what is your go to place for research?. >> it is the national archives that hats the british government with those european governments and exile with their
relationship. london is home of the polish government and exiled papers. so it is handed over to the soviets they had no place to go. and their life would have been miserable under communist rule. so to stay in london to emigrate elsewhere. so poland fighting is basically is in london is still a treasure trove and those that i write about. >> what about researching?.
>> guest: i dodo several were written by women i wasn't thinking that you are absolutely right i do tend to read books by english writers and always have but i cannot explain why i've been that way all my life even before i ever went there. >> inspired by professor donald carson?. >> a professor at the university of arizona when i was a kid growing up i had
no idea of being a writer. i never thought of it. but i wanted to go to washington kennedy was president he was one of my way inspiration's i wanted to go to washington and to be part of bad vitality that he brought to public serviceghtp and i was interested in doing that. and i obtained that goal and when i was finishing my sophomore year in college what you going to do with washington? i don't want to be a secretary or assistant
so i thought what can i do? i thought journalism so i decided to take a journalism class at the university of arizona and i fell in love with it with the whole idea of journalism basically because of the professors with the wire service and newspaper reporters donald carson was preeminent. and they encourage me to become a journalistt i ju everything about it i just love to do research comeback with the excitement and the a drama to go anywhere to ask questions for a living. i thought that was fabulous w
and they encouraged me and i majored in journalism and then graduated and got a job with the associated press. they wrote letters to friends of theirs and thanks to them i got my first job. the they are still very important to me. >>. >> with the of wire service is just the facts. i did learn it is important to attract the reader right away natalie the most important facts but the mostap interesting.
i gravitated to be a feature writer. but i had, i don't know it wasn't what i wanted. with day magazine reporter wrott and we wrote two books together and encourage me to open up and tell a story. i cannot explain what i learned but how to tell a story better than i had up to that point. i did not start out in the center.
so that helped me in that regard. >> so "last hope island" opens 1941 happened?. >> normandy was invaded by open with the actual invasion the german ships coming in at night and nobody is expecting at it is so cold it in norway and everybody is asleep except for a number of ships and the shore batteries then all of a sudden they realize these to warships are silently going and they had a miserable maybe they're
very small but extraordinarily to very ancient cannons they fire but they did work even though they didn't think they did so without allowed up precious amount of breathing room for the keane of rye way and the government to escape. so with the war ships coming in and the sinking and his family and government escaping just as the germans are about to capture. >> but that was for a couple of weeks. >> yes.
originally they went by train, 70 miles north so they started driving isn't springtime in norway it is still treacherous so a very narrow mountain road with the chasms and the germans are always behind them favor in a small little village taking shelter for the night and the fighter planes and day warning was sounded andnm government ministers to take c cover under the trees.
they were dropping bombs. unbelievably nobody was killed they all survived so basically we got rid of the king of norway.rway and it was an extraordinary experience as the king and his people were trying to allude to the germans. it was an incredible story. >> host: id chapter to?. >> the queeney of holland. and queen wilhelmina gets word that the germans are
dropping by parachute. and totally surprised. no idea this is about to happen and to say the war has come. and also not as dramatic and and did not want to leave holland. she was a feisty woman the was prevailed upon. t >> hall interrelated. >> very. >> it is very interesting actually it was the uncle of king george the sixth.
he wanted to marry mod. but they knew each other obviously all of the royal family is were close. >> host: he was not even a norwegian or even speaker region. >> guest: he is a great story of this book. he was danish the happen to be the grandson of the king of norway and sweden theyal were part of a confederationear of the early 20th centurydecide they decided they did not want to be a part of that confederation they told sweden bouquet we want to be independent we will take a member of your royal family. we did not have a king about point so the king of sweden and norway the only person
that fits the bill was prince charles and was a danish prince. he wanted to remain with the navy and his wife that is the last thing they wanted and that was prevailed upon. and to become king of a country you cannot speak the language in changed his name from carl and the queen refused and state mod until she died but he was considered an outsider the governor of her way was very liberal in never exempted him as king they did not like the idea of a monarchy ended in have much to do with that.
so that hitler would be a w problem. he would warn his government we need to pay attention and tell world war ii he escaped and resisted with the of our region and nazi as the of prime minister and as if the government wanted to do that and a lot wanted to get it with hitler because the king was so insistent they went along and really was of a centerpiece of norway'ss resistance so this guy considered an outsider was really the most beloved person in norway it changed
the life as a result of world war two. >> host: queen wilhelmina did she give the house to the kaiser from world war i? >> she was feisty. she became queen when she was 10 years old. she didn't react and until she was 18 the from the very beginning was very strong-willed and refuse to listen to what people thought her governmentnm thought was the right thing to do. so she gave a haven to the kaiser after world war one and the allies were furious with her she said he could stay there and she did. >> host: a terribly sad story she had to skate by o herself. >> there is another wonderful story but she
hated the straitlaced formal court. but my favorite story about that time she is once overheard talking to one of her dolls if you continue to be naughty i will make you an clean and you will haveer nobody to play with.h. that was heart wrenching. so her struggle to break open that cage.e she did successfully.. she was no longer surrounded and she had acquired power and made great use of it. and it was a just churchill
and the british but it was millipede and others like her. and they made the most of being in london with world war two. >> why have the contributions been neglected but he is say churchill bears must cut -- much of the responsibility. >> we haven't talked much about the contributions they did make end in terms of allies and a one of the of made reasons churchill promulgated someone left standing alone but it was really england standing alone because the day the war ended and he said after
patient thank you. >> caller: i want to louis think missiles and for her insight it has been very helpful looking at the origins of world war two and the intrigues that have been. so it is maya understanding i have the strong proponentt of the of british empire to reestablishing or maintaining the british empire after the war. that didn't have the effect until it became obvious. so why a understand roosevelt was not inclined that way as the anti- colonialist. with that relationship the especially at the end of theth of or not to reassert itself with the empire. >> that is an excellent question.
>> what you said is true true, churchill was very much of the empire by. he basically thought the future was with the british empire and united states and was a obsoletes determined but as you say he was very anti-colonial constantly pressuring churchill to save the days of the empire were over this is a huge point of controversy so what would happen after words so the
united states and the soviet union would take over the most responsibility for the war? they were running out of people or soldiers or many -- money that they were clearly the worst starting 1943. and so basically roosevelt eight were together a lot and started to lose interest in churchill and england with the soviet union and made that clear in a couple of meetings that they had i
don't think it was roosevelts finest hour.it was he was siding with fallen. but it was painful becausewa he did feel he thought he was close and thought he was close and when this started to happen and but it should be dissolved with the empireit d it was difficult to expect. roosevelt died right before the end of the war but churchill did not go. easily could have but he said he had too much work.
sova to be so hurt what roosevelt did to him that he did not want to go. >> host: manchester massachusetts go ahead. >> caller: you are a start -- terrific story teller. so in addition to that tremendous contribution and with that british intelligence they had been known i thought for that superb intelligence operation but the document abysmal performance so hollow did that really happened?. >> a great question that was
one of these surprises mi is the special intelligence services of britain is world renowned and still is. and is known as the spy organization but in fact, for much of a the history it was the opposite the part of this fascination comes not from reality the the spy novels that were the rage that were the of four runners for a james bond. these books were about a
merger spies that were obviously british with the upper middle class we went to public schools with the for an officer in the city in the financial area to treat the best wine and eat the best food and a wonderful career sarah asked to become spies in the up parts of the world so then it became germany. and then to resolve the a problem or invading britain and then they go back to our
and the channel islands. you had said you know you writing about london so i think you for that. but you were talking about the suspicion, i guess, that the united states, fdr in particular, had with respect to churchill with regard to reestablishing an empire. and i just finished reading two books by hastings. british, right? and he wrote retribution about the war in japan and also wrote armageddon about the last year of the war in europe. it points out, and i met it's what you already said, he points out that fdr and the government in general, dissuaded britain from becoming more involved in the last year
in the war on the pacific because they saw that as an intent -- attempt by him towards having legitimacy. in the pacific. so i thought that was very interesting. i just came across that in the hastings book. >> john, why your seemingly large interest in the world war ii era? >> why is it? >> yes, sir. >> that is a very interesting question. i guess i started, i was when pearl harbor was attacked, i was four years old. but i am amazed at the recollection that i have and the war was over, i was eight years old and i had such vivid
recollections which is hard for me to explain. the only thing i can attribute it to is that the war permeated everything in our lives. it was not like today. when the war is being fought by somebody over there in some country we understand very little about. it was so personal because everyone had someone who was involved in the war. and i lost an uncle. he was on the aircraft carrier when he was killed.i had -- i remember the days that the family was notified. we went to visit my grandmother, it happened to be mother's day. i had a cousin that was in the campaign and i went to italy and found when he went to. it was so much a personal thing in our lives that it was very
vivid to me. so i started to develop an interest and read more about it.>> will leave it there and let lynn olson respond to you. >> thank you so much, that was fascinating. i really cannot and must we sit. you're absolutely right. i do not know that. i've not done much research about the specifics because my interest is always been in the european theater but there is no question that the us tried very hard to keep britain from being heavily involved in the pacific. we considered the war that we had done the lion's share of the fighting and they were very much against having britain command at the end and they were thinking about the future. thinking about postwar. >> you talked about death.
john talked about death. 100,000 or so americans lost their lives during the world war ii era. maybe half of those being soldiers. and the rest, somewhere else. but the 400,000 compared to 25 million soviets. >> yeah. there is no question that the loss of life world war ii was unbelievable! in the soviet union certainly for the front. but we got off fairly lightly. i mean, 400,000 is not light! that is a lot of people! but compared to, you know, poland and the soviet union and other countries in eastern europe. just overall. you know not even military, so many civilians died in europe and asia. it is astonishing how many. we did not have, you know pearl
harbor and other places people lost their lives but nothing, nothing like what happened. >> i think i read that china and russia were the two transport with the losses in world war ii. >> i am not saying that because of my fixation on europe. i do not know that much about that but i do know obviously that is so true and people, friendly people begin to focus more on the soviet union and what happens and met hastings being one of them. i mean they did bear the brunt, there's no question! one of the reasons why roosevelt and churchill were willing, if not willing or if not eager, certainly churchill was not eager to turn over poland in eastern europe to stalin at the end of the war. the reason that they did it was because they wanted to keep stalin in the war. they wanted to keep the soviets as the main force you know if
was the brits taken the brunt from the germans. it was all political. :>> interviewed met hastings in london a couple of years ago. i believe he told me that more citizens during the battle of britain during the war years were killed crossing the street in london because of -- them by the bombings or the v2's. :>> i didn't know that but certainly there were a lot and they were killed in accidents. yeah. but i mean, there are tens of thousands who were killed in the blitz and b1 and b2. he is more of an expert than i am. there a lot of sentences that lost our lives however, in world war ii. >> dan, bridgewater, new jersey. please go ahead. >> i'm sorry that i did not read the works but on the issue -- i wonder if i continue to
comment. i was a child during world war ii and had many memories that are vivid. i came from eastern europe and now in europe and for many years in europe, the bad guys was churchill. and the british manipulating the situation in europe and there were a lot of people that were faithful to -- they wrote extensively on this. kind of leaves a question as to who interest, england just like germany operated through the 20th century. and raises also the issue of maybe that has a lot to do with
why now, a lot of people are saying good riddance to england coming out of the eu even though it may hurt them economically. i wonder if you would comment with this act and the anti-english feeling that is so prominent in york particularly related to the world war ii in particular because no one is left to remember world war i. :>> where were you during world war ii? :>> i was a child in eastern europe. :>> where in eastern europe? >> when mcgovern had bombed -- in romania. they were told to drop the leftover bombs in the field so that they can get across the mediterranean but they decided that it would be a shame to do that so they dropped it on the capital city of romania which had absolutely no military targets.
>> thank you, sir. >> it's funny that my war was vietnam and it's funny how we felt about vietnam and you did not feel about world war ii. history is a funny thing, that is my point. >> are totally agree with you. history is a funny thing. i can speak about certainly about britain in terms of we were told about anti-british feeling. toward the end of the war, is very obvious why there would be anti-british feeling and in poland and much of the rest of eastern europe because of what churchill and his government did. which was basically agree to hand over poland to the soviet union. after poland -- poland and czechoslovakia were important allies but pulling particularly. the contributions to the victory were enormous in so many ways in terms of espionage and in terms of the code and the battle of britain or polish
pilots helped to win that battle. and many many other ways. poland, there were 200,000 in british uniforms fighting across europe. the fourth largest military force in allies good health win. they were on every european front. and then to have that rewarded at the end, it didn't, they did not get the country back. they did not get back and i certainly can understand that. i also have to point out that for much of the war britain was also a symbol of hope for much of europe. because it was resisting, because it was holding out against germany. it provided a refuge for all of these governments and military forces from europe. where they would not have been
able to keep up the fight if it had not been for england. if they could not have gone to london and stay there for the rest of the war. i talk a lot about one particular important source of hope for europe and that was the bbc. the bbc broadcast to all of these countries in their own languages during the war. millions of people in occupied europe listened to the bbc even though it was outlawed by the germans in every single country. and in some countries the punishment for listening to the radio's death. but they did. they hid their radio sets during the day and they took them out at night and turned it on to listen to the bbc. and for many many europeans it was their lifeline to freedom. it was the only place that they could turn to and here was actually going on in the war, i know that there were countries
still fighting against hitler. and so, it did offer more than a flicker of hope and inspiration for all of those countries. so britain did play an important role not only in terms of the actual fights but in terms of providing inspirations of the country but it also did some really really bad things as well. and you have a very important point. >> question of honor by the battle of britain and, 303rd squadron, a.k.a. -- was credited with downing more german aircraft than any other squadron attached to the royal air force. none pilots were formally designated as aces. the squadron because it was made up of poles was not
allowed to take part in british celebrations following the article the brits do not want to offend. :>> that's right. we begin the book question of honor, with this absolutely heart rendering seen. it is after the war. 1946. britain is hosting a huge victory parade that consisted of the countries that fought for the allies during world war ii and so there was this huge parade down the streets of london. obviously, british and americans from all over, brazil, it just went on and on and on. but the poles were not there. they were not invited because again, the country was turned over to stalin, it was now a communist country and so the poles who contributed so much, particularly in pilots had to stand on the sidewalks and
watch all of this people go by. in their country was gone and they were not honored in this parade. it was really tragic. >> lynne olson, your book was laura boyd, the second is freedom's daughter. it is unlike any other book. >> that is an outlier. after we wrote -- we were looking for something to do. i've not gone on the path of becoming expert in britain in world war ii. i was reading a wonderful book called parting the waters. it is magisterial. if the biography the first of a three volume biography of martin luther king but what it really was is history of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s in the country. it is a brilliant book. i was reading it and kept running across names of women
who played a role in the civil rights movement. and taylor road really well about them but in my opinion is not include enough.i mean i want to know more about them. it was rosa parks obviously but many more women that i never heard of. so i went looking for a book about them. and i cannot find one. i could not find a book about women in the civil rights movement so i decided to write it myself. that turned out to be freedom's daughters. >> we have video of one of the women. we will play it and have you talk. [video] you have to go back out and picked up to your neighbors who do not speak to you and you have to reach out to your friends that think they are making it good and get them to
understand that they, as well as you and i, cannot be free in america or anywhere else where there is capitalism and imperialism. [applause] until, until, until we can get people to recognize that they themselves have to make the struggle and the fight for freedom every year until they win. thank you. >> who was that? >> ella baker. that is so interesting! it is very embarrassing for me but ella baker was really a behind the scenes woman. i had not really seen much footage of her. everybody has seen rosa parks
and some of the others but that is so fascinating! ella baker is one of those forgotten heroines i had never heard of. i mean she, she was kind of this thread that ran through the civil rights movement. she connected all of these groups together. she was basically the woman behind the throne with martin luther king in terms of setting up the leadership conference. she was really the person who did it. martin luther king was the leader but she was one that created this and he treated her as a woman and then they often detained the inspiration -- it was the student movement. these were the kids that went
down to the south and were organizing for voter registration etc. ella baker was there inspiration. she was the one who is behind that helps the commitment but i swear, that is the first time i've ever seen that! there is so little, probably a lot more for this i know it but i had not ever seen that.:>> she is so incredibly important to the civil rights movement. she was just one of many that will behind the scenes doing all of the work and they never got the credit for it. >> and that, freedom's daughter came in 2001. i'm not even sure if it was you to but now you write about ella baker that from her earliest years she counts out to no one. she was always protesting something and that martin luther king was not fond of any criticism but baker's complaints were particularly --
old enough to be his mother he felt no awe. >> yes! you can see that she doesn't take anything from anybody. she was really an extraordinary person. >> we wanted to make sure that we touched on freedom's daughter as well as the world war ii book. it is part of your collection. charles in tacoma washington. :>> i am a big fan since a young man. did not know anything about that. in my mind churchill just appeared at the right moment. and the polish book, i knew they had flown in the battle of britain. i did not know about the huge accomplishment that they performed during the war or
that they had the fourth largest force in the war. i got an autograph. and i don't do autographs. i do not understand that. but i got an autograph at an air show it's a museum in washington. i get a little choked up sometimes. there were two polished pilots there and the younger one had flew in the war. but the other one actually thought in the battle of britain. and this was just a few years ago. there was this little incredibly frail little man. anna had to shake his hand and get his name.
i loved -- in the citizens of london. and later when i read david mccullough's parents book, a section about washburn i think it is who was the ambassador to france during the war and the siege and in the horrors of the community. i really put those two men together. if you have not read it, it is a wonderful book. and a great story. just want to thank c-span for continually putting on this show. thank you very much. >> thank you for your comments, thank you for watching. are you retired and from what? >> i was just a working guy. i did a lot of things. i sold cars and did not have anything, an important career but i was like -- i did world war ii. when i was four years old, during the war, we lived near
the air force base and they had when i found out later was a group of p 47 is there. i had my own private air show. as they did their maneuvers over our barn. >> that's great! >> it was just incredible. looking straight up, a big wow! >> that is great. i would choke up to, i do also when i talk about the pilots. we got to know a number of them doing the book. and there are still a fair number of them around. actually in seattle washington, when we were there, one time a very tall distinguished looking gentleman came up to us.
he said, you know you remember in your book in the beginning what you write about the parade and the talk about a pilot standing on the sidewalk and a woman says he starts walking away and the woman says to him why are you crying young man? and we said yes. and he said i am the pilot. and you know, i had a lot of tears that night also. thank you so much. >> ann from portland oregon. >> as a norwegian american would often much of sweden but i was wondered why were sweden and switzerland able to sit out both world wars? >> i think the answer is because it was strategically important for both the allies in germany. they both particularly the beginning of the war was important for germany. both of those countries that they be mutual.
in terms of money, laundering money, sending money to switzerland, sweden provided germany early on with some important elements like iron ore. if it wasn't important to stay neutral they would have been taken over by germany. the neutral countries, they were fascinating places.all of them, they were others like portugal and spain. but they were seething with spies from all of the countries who were fighting and whether was japan, germany, britain, the united states. they were all they are spying on each other. so a lot was going on. a lot of very underhanded stuff was going on in these officially neutral countries. :>> was anyone in the 1930s, lynn olson, putting all of
these.together and saying that the sky is going to fall? was there a group out there saying this? >> there were various people i mean the king in norway was saying that. and in holland there were people. winston churchill was saying. in britain, they were people, there were groups but the overall attitude as i said before was because we absolutely don't want another war we will close their eyes and pretend like it can't happen. and that was the prevailing attitude. and in the united states as well. >> king leopold the third. what happened to >> this is one of the sad stories of this book. that was the third. i read about the two others that left. hawkins and wilhelmina left and made names for themselves. they went to london, stayed
there and became heroes. leopold was the king who did not leave. he was considerably younger in his late30s or early 40s . his situation was different from the other two. he actually had some power where they did not really. he was the commander-in-chief of the belgian armed forces. he also, part of the reason history is sad is that he wanted to be very much like his father. king albert who had decided over belgium during world war i. he was also the commander-in-chief of the belgian forces and when germany invaded belgium, belgium was the first european country invaded by germany.and he said he was not going to leave. and he was going to remain in charge of the forces despite the fact that everybody in belgium was overrun by germany. but he managed, he and his
forces managed to win one crucial battle early on which meant that they kept, belgium had a small part of its territory thanks to the victory in this battle. when the king albert state and so was able as a result of keeping the territory france was able to keep her number of their ports as well. that was very important. and he was a very popular figure in world war i. a hero. so his son grew up hero worshiping his father and wanted to be exactly like him. his father died young in a mountaineering accident and leopold became king. so in world war ii, he thought i'm going to do exactly what my father did. he took charge of the troops and when it was clear the germans were going to win, they were he said he was not going to leave. he was going to bed his father and stay with his troops.
his father said he would never leave belgium, leopold said i will never leave belgium. so a state which ended up being a huge mistake and he surrendered. and so he became the subject of total i mean -- the opposite, the opposition to him in britain and france was extraordinary. basically, churchill and the french laid all of the blame for the defeat of all of these countries at the foot of leopold. leopold had not given up then everything would have been fine. we would've been able to continue on and we could have fought the germans, we could have beat them, it was all leopold's fault. so he was being guarded by the germans in cannot say anything. and so, he stayed in belgium for the rest of the war. he met with hitler to try and get better treatment for his
people and that was seen as collaboration with hitler. he made a very grave mistake. he should have left. but you know he stayed for honorable reasons. and his troops were overwhelmed. churchill and the french, the head of the french government said that because they surrendered, because of belgium surrendered, it was the reason why the germans were able to sweep and so quickly into france, etc. but in fact, the belgian forces were allowed, the british forces to lead at dunkirk. they were holding up the german forces and if that had not been true, dunkirk probably would not have happened. so he became kind of the boy for the guilt of the defeat in
western europe. :>> and other thing i learned is that the us recognized -- not the free french. >> no! the government was actually the legitimate government of france. the premier turned over and turned the government over to -- legally it still was the government and the only french official who went to britain was the lowly brigadier general. almost nobody had heard of him at that point. the brits did not recognize the government there winston churchill recognized them as the unofficial head of free france. so was not official position at all. the us, brendan roosevelt thought he could get them to come over to the allies side.
so the us government did officially recognize them as the legitimate french government. we had an ambassador, and embassy, and that continued until the germans invaded all of france in 1942. so yes, he tried very hard to get the officials to come over and they never did obviously. :>> skin from doug and massachusetts. >> hi, someone once said that history is an agreed-upon set of myths. i just have a question for you. i am sure she was following trial in london for --. i was wonder whether or not she had any opinions. thank you so much! >> that trial was over david irving as being a holocaust denier and three denver who was
a historian basically wrote that he was a holocaust survivor which indeed he was. yeah, i mean -- that was the end of the holocaust did not exist. it did not happen. it is beyond belief. i mean you know, anyone knows anything about world war ii and what went on in poland and the soviet union and eastern europe knows that it happened. i mean we have so much evidence around us it is astonishing that he managed to carve out all he did. >> you can call us at 201-748-8200 or 201-748-8201.
you can also call 201-748-8202. lynne olson, churchill and roosevelt and the other leaders, were they aware of the concentration camps and what was going on in germany? did they bury that a little bit? >> i mean, germany had set up concentration camps by the late 30s but they were not really for jews. they were for opponents of germany. that was the establishment in the 30s . then some of the others were also but it wasn't really until the 40s, it was not until 42, early 42 that the final solution was actually decided upon. and the extermination camps. there's a difference between concentration camps and extermination camps. many of them were horrible in
which hundreds of thousands if not millions of people died. but they were not set up deliberately to kill people. many, many people died as a result. they were murdered there but it was not a, a systematic thing to murder as many people as you could. extermination camps were. and almost all of them were impulsive. and the reason for that is because it was a way, it was hard to get information from poland because the germans had you known it was obviously so much control. but yes, churchill and roosevelt both knew about the extermination camps by the end of 1942. the polish government in exile, polish couriers from you know
within occupied poland managed to get out and bring a lot of this information to london and elsewhere. and jewish organizations were getting information as well and passing it on. so the polish government in exile published a report in 1942 talking about at least a million people have already died in these extermination camps in poland. and that was actually published and there was, the government spoke out, british government spoke out very forcefully. americans didn't do all that much but roosevelt was aware. the thing is that nothing was done about it. and then the question becomes what could have been done? i do not know. but certainly, it could have been a much more forceful reaction than what churchill or roosevelt mounted. they did not come again, that was -- it was not something they wanted to deal with for whatever reason. they did not want to deal with
it. they kept saying the important way was winning the war to help the jews. that is what negates everybody. why aren't you doing this, why are you saving them when they were starving in the last winter of the war? why weren't you doing anything? it was the best thing to help us win the war. and so yes, the answer is yes, they did know about it. >> john is in west palm beach, florida. >> just give me a few minutes if you would please. in world war ii you need to learn world war i. people forget what we went through in world war i. it is the 100th anniversary and we really did not get there until april 1918. one year after we declared war. emeryville did not fighting until the summertime. and we lost. this is 53,000, we lost more than that actually, 63,000
because of injuries from the war and disease. so the total was more but the point i'm trying to make is, the british in one day lost 65,000 men and when people look back, they do not see with the english peoplesoft.which was horrendous deaths and horrendous personal tragedies from world war i. this is a poor analogy but it is like a football team. the winning team serves a lot of injuries but they win. the losing team suffers injuries and they lose. they want revenge and hitler was the revenge. the winning team in world war i just wanted to move on and the last thing that they want was a war. but i do have a question as far as winston churchill's citizenship. his mother was an american citizen if i'm not mistaken. could he have been president of
the united states? >> well, he was not born here. i think you have to be born here in order to be president of the united states. i think he would have loved the idea of being president of the united states! you know, he was very proud of his american heritage. he really was. and i think he was not all that popular before he became prime minister within london. especially he came from an upper-class background. he was the grandson of the duke and he was always regarded as not quite proper. among the people that he grew up with. and they laid a large part of the blame on that he was half american. he was emotional, outspoken and ambitious, all of the things that you're not supposed to be when you are british. but he was! and so, he really did, he took
great pride in being half american. and i tend to say he appeared before the house of representatives during the war and he said, if i'd been born, i don't remember how he phrased it but he basically said you know, i can be appear as president of the united states rather than as prime minister. you know, i think -- things had been different he could have been president. >> he was unemployed after 1945. he had plenty of time to come over here and be president! [laughter] >> well, he was voted out of the conservative party, they were voted out of power which was stunning to virtually everybody, especially churchill. everybody thought that he was going to win. or most people thought he was. he had won the war. there is no question that winston churchill, without winston churchill, i think we might be speaking german. i mean i'm exaggerating but he
was extremely important. and so, because of that everyone thought that he would win in 1945. with the british people were tired of war. they had been on the front lines also. their houses were bombed. you know they have suffered tremendous deprivation. they wanted a different life. they wanted a better life. especially those in the working classes. they wanted more. they had put out for their country and they wanted something in return. they did not think that churchill was up to the task. to be a peacetime prime minister and they were right. he was old, he was tired. i think he would not have been a very good peacetime premier. he did come back a few years later as a prime minister but i think that was a mistake. he probably should not have. :>> we have a call from fredericksburg, virginia.
>> i wanted to ask ms. olson if she can relate why the germans -- after the disasters of the spring of 1945, why it would take an admiral eight days to surrender after the suicide of hitler on 30 april. thank you and i will read a lot of her books.>> thank you! i think part of that came from hitler. you know we will not surrender enough basically i will see germany ruined before i surrender. i think they feared what was going to happen to them afterwards.what was going to happen to them especially the soviet union. what would be there, certainly the fate of those top officials was not going to be good regardless. and so they held out. but i mean hitler, germany was just being decimated by
american and british bombing campaigns but hitler just said he was not going to surrender. he was not going to give up. >> is there another book coming out? >> my next book is about the french resistance. the focus of that is the french resistance. >> is it safe to say the free french and the french resistance are two different things? >> yes. i am writing a book about somebody that was the head of an intelligence network in france and the relationship of that network with england. so it will be a lot more what was going on in france during the war. :>> to several of your world war ii books build on each other? did you get an idea from one and then say okay i will go this way? >> yes, the book has been a building block. for example, when we did -- we
watch an old british movie called the battle of britain which was made in the 60s. all the british doctors known to man were in there. but there was one scene in the movie which shows a squadron of polish pilots flying or just speaking polish and the british were really upset because they were speaking polish beard and nativist, neither of us at that point knew that there were any british pilots flying in the battle of britain when it turns out 20 percent of them were not british. they were from occupied europe. but that was the spark for the question of honor and then one thing led to another and some question of honor, i cannot do what it was but that led to troublesome young man and then troublesome young man doing research i found out other stuff and so that all led to that. :>> in citizens of london, you write that eight days after the surrender of japan in august 1945, harry truman canceled shipments to britain without
any warning to the british government.>> that was devastated. >> why? the war had been over four months. >> what they were going through is not over. harry truman came to power, came to the presidency after the death of franklin roosevelt.he had not been prepared by roosevelt at all to become president. he was not in terms of policymaking, he did not know anything about what was going on in terms of the bombs, there was all sorts of stuff he did not know and one thing he did not know was how bad off the brits were at the end of the war. they were basically bankrupt. they have no money. and he got a lot of pressure from people in congress. republicans then, democrats stopped this program was benefiting the british. so he did again, not knowing
really what he was doing. and it was devastating. the british needed the money to live. rationing in britain became worse after the war ended than it did during the war. rationing did not end until 1954. they won the war and yet, they were worse off. they were worse off than much of occupied europe with recovery was faster in many ways than the british. so it was really, it was really kind of a horrific thing that the americans did. what truman did was not really knowing what he was doing and the consequences. >> patrick, baton rouge. >> hello. my comment and question to ms. olson is, i'm very disturbed at what i see as present minded
history. i am also a child of world war ii. and in fact, i was at fort benning with my father who was a professional soldier when the japanese bombed pearl harbor. what i think people cannot understand today is that absolutely terror was struck in the heart of this country. you see things like the twin towers, i have the feeling that people watching that, that is a special effects in the movies or television. they do not really get it. and just the atmosphere of complete unity, everyone involved in this, it was just it had to be done. it was just a wonderful thing
in many ways. and it to me has been lost and again, to go back to the concept of viewing history by present day standards let the gentleman from romania. crying, the fact that bombs were dropped on cities and towns but nobody cared about that because we were scared to death. :>> i think we get the point patrick. let's hear from lynne olson. >> i think there is a problem as you say with the present day. looking at history from the present day. i mean -- it is one thing that we try to avoid as historians and we tried to spell out that yes we can, to give you an
example, world war ii is now known as the good work. the greatest generation, we had to do it, it was a fight against the worst evil ever. and all of that is true looking back on it but when americans come in and talk about americans now, americans were going through the two years leading up to augmenting into the world. they did not know all of that. i think the isolationists were wrong looking back on it. they were not doing it. most of them were not doing it for bad motives. i mean they actually did believe it was not good for us to get involved in this war. you can understand, the young men we were talking earlier on, john kennedy and jerry ford and the ones that created america first. they did not know they were
going to be as great generation in a couple of years, they did not know what was going to happen to them. they did not know what was going to happen in the extermination camps in poland. from their point of view at that point they thought they were doing the right thing. i think is really important to people to keep them on one reads about what happened and another example is people saying about occupied europe. and france and poland, people did not resist enough. there is a myth about widespread resistance. and it is ms because most people in those countries did not resist. and why didn't they? were they corroborated? if i were there i would have resisted. well, hello! quite frankly, i think you had to have lived in one of those countries before you can say that. you cannot pass judgment on something that happened 60 or 70 years ago under circumstances that you cannot possibly imagine how perfect
they were. so one has to guard against that. one has to guard against judging what happened by the standards of today. i think they were real problems in doing that. >> ed from lakewood florida. >> good afternoon! i would like to make a viewpoint which is probably the prevailing viewpoint today about the queen. i lived in amsterdam, i lived in holland, i was born there i am 100 percent dutch. i can tell you for sure that queen was elitist, totally -- even though she made a grandstanding statement i'm going to defend the netherlands. when they found out that she left for england they consider her a traitor. unlike the king of belgium who really got in the crosshairs of
the population because of the statements for germany, the queen said nothing or did absolutely zero to help the netherlands in fact probably -- she moved to canada eventually. i think that is the prevailing viewpoint and no matter how you say i stand by what i say. thank you. >> thank you for calling in. >> i think parts of what you are saying is correct. there is no doubt she was looked at as an elitist and aloof before world war ii. i think that is the way most people saw her in the netherlands. absolutely correct.and she was not popular when she left. that is what she feared. she did not want to leave but she thought people regard her. but from all accounts i have done a lot of research, the
people from london, she did become the heart and soul. she made many broadcasts over the bbc encouraging her people to stand and resist and she spoke out constantly about war against the germans and hitler and using swearwords that nobody in holland ever heard her use. and so for my understanding, i respect your viewpoint but from what i understand, the majority of people in holland really came to love her. she did not move to canada. her daughter and granddaughters went there. during the war. she visited the united states and canada but she lived in london throughout the war and went back to holland the instant that she could. and the response from the dutch when she came back was just overwhelmingly positive. so, you know there is some
truth in what you have to say but i think overall is not true. >> i cannot find what you recount her flight back into holland and her greeting that she got etc. and that she would not eat strawberries because none of her subjects could eat strawberries. >> she can back before holland was totally liberated. and she felt she was gone long enough so she came back and she brought back with her a royal -- to young dutchmen that were military aides and a secretary. and they set up shop in a small house in one of the provinces in holland. as soon she got there, thousands of people toward invite but to greet her. and every night she would have, she would kind of hold court in the sense that she and her daughter hit came back with her came out in this house and lines and lines of people would
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