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tv   [untitled]    January 28, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EST

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the roosevelt administration. she will also have tutorials with an economist that you might have heard of whose name is john kenneth gal bright. sowe so eleanor argues repeatedly that we must tell the country why weir fighting the war because we will lose the war before we will win it, and the great lesson of world war i is that we won the war, but we lost the peace. so she embraces the four freedoms with a life and risking fervor. there are assassination attempts on eleanor roosevelt's life during the home front in the second world war. i do not make threats. i do not need hate mail and this is the time when she will be assembling the largest fbi file in american history, and a symbol of j. edgar hoover who hated her, who wanted to strip
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her of her citizenship who sent her to go live with her people in liberia. so, eleanor, in many ways, and eleanor speaks her mind in the way general marshall speaks her mind and also like general marshall. there are times when she will -- there's no other word for it, just shut up. and nowhere is this more clear than in the issue of internment. now my great friend doug robinson and i have spent collectively 20 years trying to find every scrap of paper in the history of the universe and eleanor roosevelt and internment. we have talked to people who were in internment camps because we had talked with people who met mrs. roosevelt in the river and we have mined archives in 11
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countries and in about 50 states trying to find this. i will bet my mortgage, my career and the digital budget in this library to which i have passionately devoted on is that in this case, franklin roosevelt said to eleanor roosevelt, this is wartime and on this you will not cross me. does that mean that eleanor shuts up on internment? s why, but she can't stay shut up. in her column she will write it chills my soul to think of american children behind barbed wire. when they erupt and they're in our camps in california and spread into arizona and it's eleanor roosevelt who has sent to the camps to sort of calm things down. i think the respect that she has
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held within the japanese community can be told in one story. togo tanaka was the instigator of the riots in the camp. he married when he was in the camp. he had one child, a daughter. anybody want to guess what his daughter is named? eleanor. and when, in fact, when his papers were destroyed when different people raided his business and the army went after him for submersive activities, his wedding picture was destroyed and he had sent it to mrs. roosevelt which she kept and so one of the great treasures of this library is that photograph which the library was kind enough to copy for me and which my friend greg robinson and i said to togo
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tanaka so that he could have a picture of his wegd the week before he died. so she is a fierce advocate also, internally of reconversion and what does that mean? reconversion means not only how you move your economy from a peacetime to a wartime economy, but how you reconvert from the wartime to a peacetime economy, and how do you move that in a way that will spread the blessings of what impossibly be a new deal, the third new deal for lack of a better word for the americas. if you look at her commitment to diversifying the workforce, she's a major force in the fair employment practices commission. we all know the story of the marian anderson concert, right?
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where 75,000 people show up on the steps of the washington -- i mean, of the lincoln memorial, it is the event that makes it the great civil rights memorial of the united states. eleanor tattoo on why curse hitler and support jim crowe. during the war, she will continually advocate within the frank ez of the military to, in fact, overturn the federal law on the battlefield so that plasma that is taken of one race from one race can be given to wounded soldiers of another race and not have that medic be imprisoned as a felon and lose their voting rights. share her insistence upon housing for all people in the united states who relocated to fight the war effort, including almost 6 million african-americans who have relocated from the south to the north creates great controversy
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in the north. there's a race riot in detroit in 1943 that she's blamed for by both the mississippi press and the liberal bastion in new york times. both of which write, it is blood on your head, mrs. roosevelt. eleanor had long thought, and i guess i should say, i lived, breathed and slept everything i could possibly say. so i do slip sometimes and call her eleanor, but e.r., would just -- i kind of lost my train of thought, on c-span, too, i'm sorry. that's what happened when i try to pun. ernie pyle, i'm sorry. she was so distressed that ernie pyle gave so much focus to the battle of the atlantic and murrow gave so much focus to the
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battle of britain and the battle of the pacific was, in pack, so bloody that she from the day pearl harbor is bombed, from december 7, 1941 starts planning how she can go to the pacific. after the detroit riot in 1943, e.r. finally gets to go to the pacific because as the vice president writes that night, he gets above the pacific because the situation is too hot. she spins five and a half weeks going to 17 islands around the pacific. a high command, very much objected initially to her visit, but they later say it was their largest military miscalculation, and not one single event that they could have done improved
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morale. let me give you two examples of how she uses that trip, not only to thank american troops, but to inform the president and set the stage for what will become her role in a post-war world. she immediately gets off the plane and she flies an uninsulated military aircraft. she shatters her eardrum. she will go deaf in one ear and in two days she will walk 50 miles up and down hospital corridors. she will meet every soldier and go up and shake hands regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and say where you're from, and she will take down their conversations or their memories that they want recorded. she comes back and not only reaches out to all of their
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relatives, but, in fact, she writes an extraordinary briefing memorandum for the president on this which is turned up in other people's papers. she comes back determined to prevent another war, not can i have 30 more seconds? not just in a way to do some idealistic pie in the sky but to build an infrastructure that will help delay military conflict. because like fdr she profoundly believes and argues around the country that more than the beginning and more to an end to war and to the beginning of all wars and so she throws herself into the planning for what will become the united nations, but outside the president's inner circle. because while they were a team they have a very complicated and prickly relationship.
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and when hopkins no longer mediates between the two. and the roosevelt white house that is best exemplified by each statement that each makes in the same day. the day that fdr says say good-bye to dr. deal, eleanor roosevelt holds a press conference and says i, for one, will not put the new deal away in lavender and the day that fdr will die of a cerebral hemorrhage in north springs, georgia, she is meeting with charles who is trying to get her support and her guidance on how to do an end run around the secretary of war and the secretary of navy who is profoundly opposed to ending the british empire. and sowell nor meets with tossic and agrees to carry his memorandum supporting trustee
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ships on the plane and to have an in-depth eye to eye conversation with the president on how we build a new world rounded in the four freedoms. that conversation never happens and fdr has a cerebral hemorrhage and dies as you all know and she becomes a member of the delegation to the united nations where she'll be a leading force in the creation of the universal declaration of the human rights which goes global. so thank you very much. [ applause ] >> our next panelist is dr. david woemer. he is senior fellow and hyde park and maris college in poughkeepsie. a specialist in anglo-american
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relations and u.s. and foreign economic policy under franklin roosevelt. dr. welkner delivered papers on fdr around the world. he is co-editor of fdr's world. war, peace and legacies and fdr, the vatican, the roman catholic church 1943 to 1945. his next book is called "the frustrated idealists" kordell hall, anthony, and the search for anglo-american cooperation. david, thank you for making the extraordinarily long trip. >> thank you. >> thank you, stu. it's a great pleasure to be here, and i want to thank lynn and the staff of the roosevelt library for inviting me to be a part of this distinguished pa l panel. i'm going to do a couple of things this afternoon.
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one is i will take a few minutes just to speak about one other member of fdr's inner circle and that is his secretary of state kordell hall and then i want to speak about some of the relevance that we might draw between some of the issues that were brought up by our panelists and the contemporary world. some of the issues we face today. it's interesting, and i'm sure my 14s at the roosevelt library will agree, roosevelt seems to be more controversial now than ever, so for those of us in the roosevelt field it's a very busy time. kordell hall was the longest serving secretary of state in u.s. haddestry and he's a largely forgotten figure in u.s. history, particularly among the public, of course, but hall was actually a very important part of the roosevelt administration and we won't have time today and we'll keep an eye on the clock
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to get into all of the details, but let me just say this, he was absolutely obsessed is probably the best word i can come up with, with the idea of reordering the world's trading system. he really felt that it was critical to develop a freer training system around the world and he did so because both he and roosevelt believed this, it was a means to raise the living standard of working people around the world. this was not about a kind of globalization that we sometimes see criticized today as being driven with corporate interest and hall was very much in favor of the working man and he also was extremely upset at the tariff that had been passed in 1930 which has set them at their highest level in american history. and just really quick little history lesson, because of that high tariff, the british went to
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canada and had a meeting in ottawa in 1932 and in reaction to the fact that they could no longer trade with the united states, they set up a system called imperial presence and those in the british empire could be traded in some cases duty-free. not surprisingly, when roosevelt won the election in 1933, kordell hall made it one of his goals to do away with imperial preference, to try and break down the british system that had been set up largely in reaction to what the united states had done in the prior administration during the hoover years under the republicans, and that's going to be a major theme of his and we'll get back to it, i'm sure, in the question and answer period. and has a lot to do with how the war would play out and what would happen during the british-american relationship. now interestingly, one of the
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things you'll learn about the roosevelt administration is that there are lots of vifrnt voices within it and of course, hall had this great hope that he was going to be a powerful secretary of state and that he was going to be able to run american foreign policy and he always wanted to have this meeting with fdr to talk about that before becoming secretary of state, but that meeting actually never took place and hall found himself kind of struggling many, many times to try to get a handle on and get control of u.s. foreign policy and almost from the first day, roosevelt indicated that he wasn't going to embrace the freer trade concept. he wanted to concentrate on domestic issues and domestic economic matters and hall found this so frustrating that as early as 1933 he thought about resigning. eventually he passed a piece of legislation in congress, and from that moment on, he would work slowly, country by country
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to try to break down this imperial barrier that had been set up by the british. he also was interested, of course, in imperialism and if we topped the point to an overarching theme and this team has come up in many of the talks today, i think it's important to remember that both roosevelt and hall thought that the second world war was essentially caused by economics and by the economic crisis, the global economic crisis. we americans tend to forget the global depression was a global financial crisis and it's not dissimilar to what we went through in the last few years and because of that, eventually hall convinces roosevelt that he should embrace free trade, and if you think about freer trade and breaking down the british empire and all of these other issues, you begin to see that there will be a pattern emerge here in the war and even before it, whereby president roosevelt and secretary hall come to the
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conclusion that they have to remake the world economy, if peace is going last, if we'll have a long-term peace, we have to the world economy. to make a long story short by the time we get edward r. murrow and others in london, he's presented with a tremendous opportunity because the british end up being broke as they are in december 1940 and youedenly the united states has a leaver with which they pressure the british to give up imperial presence and so much of the war will be a conversation about trying to get the british to buy into what the americans think has to happen after the war. so an interesting story about hall and we can talk more about
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it later. to be honest, he's the father of global reservation in many respects. it was his reciprocal trade agreements in 1947, and it was hall's reciprocal trade that gives the president the authority to create these trade agreements. in many ways in terms of u.s. foreign economic policy, he's a gigantic figure, but as i said, largely forgotten. >> i also want to take a minute, and the contemporary rell vents of today's talk and certainly when we talk about the special relationship that was brought up earlier by lynn olsen, we can think about that special relationship manifesting itself very recently with respect to prime minister blair's decision to support george w. bush's decision about going into iraq. it was very controversial in great something by the way that the
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canadians decided not to do which caused controversy and strife in canada. which issing because the canadians are part of that anglo-american relationship. and there are many strains that we can point to that came over that, and we -- and in britain, not so much in the united states, but in britain both gordon brown and david cameron, there's been a great deal of discussion, as to the special relationship, does it still exist, does it matter? and so forth and so on. and certainly tony blair i think believed it still existed and was very much wanting to perpetuate it. president obama gave the churchill bust that george bush had back to gordon brown. for americans, so what, but in britain that was enormous news. so these things are undergoing transformations and changes and yet, somehow many times they come back to where they were before. and in terms of military affairs of course, president roosevelt's
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decisions and decision to go with operation torch the invasion of north africa in 1942 in many ways is kind of similar to president obama's decision to go with the surge in afghanistan. it was his decision that he largely took on his own. probably his military advisers in this case wanted him to do more, but it is a decision that was very much his and very much one that he took that had some political risks. roosevelt also was thinking of political reasons when he decided to go with operation torch. because he had to figure out a way to get the american people involved in the war in europe. they were obsessed with what had happened at pearl harbor. they wanted to continue to fight in the pacific. and there was a great deal of public attention to that fight. and roosevelt felt it was absolutely critical to get the american public thinking about the war in europe and they had to find a place where they could
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find the nazis in 1942 and absolutely wanted to do that. and really the only available area that made any sense was north africa. so he went ahead with the north african decision over the objection of his chief of staff. in the intelligence world of course, you know, it's very interesting. so much of what we take for granted today with respect to our economy, whether it's fdic, the securities and exchange commission, there's so much that goes back to the new deal. but what we also need to remember is that the whole national security structure of the united states was built in the second world war. the development of our intelligence capabilities through the oss which eventually would evolve into the cia. the office of the national security adviser, it's a fascinating story, but essentially what many historians
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have argued is that only franklin roosevelt could keep all of this stuff in his head and when he died they had to institutionalize it and they had to create a national security adviser much like harry hopkins had done. they they had to institutionalize what roosevelt had in place. the former director of the fdr library is very famous for a line he wrote about roosevelt being the sole coordinating link and when he died they realized they had to do something to coordinate that and so we ended up with this national security structure that we have today. now, of course, with respect to eleanor roosevelt, you know, one thinks of the controversies that surrounded hillary clinton's tenure as first lady. we see that today, even today,
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of the position of first lady remains one that is -- i goes you could say to a certain extent still undefined and for first lady to get involved in political issues or involved in discussions of policy remains very, very controversial. of course, michelle obama has largely stayed away from that and has focused her attention much like eleanor did in going to the pacific on trying to raise the morale of the american soldiers fighting overseas. she has done a great deal in that area at working at home with servicemen's families. but the partnership between franklin and eleanor roosevelt is of course critical and serious. and informs not just the war, but their entire tenure together in washington. and she is one of fdr's advisers. they don't always agree. in this -- this shouldn't come as a surprise, those of us who study the roosevelt administration know that he gets
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all kinds of contradictory advice from different advisers time and time again, which is as it should be. the other thing that i think we need to think about, and i'll wrap up with this if that's all right. is how important those advisers can be. in this case, using an example that is in the press very often and maybe a little less so now, but the -- kind of the perpetual economic crisis we have been finding ourselves in the for the last three years has raised a lot of questions about president obama's decisions in terms of who he asks to come join him in the white house. and there's -- there are many people who feel that there's a preponderance of advice he's getting that's too close to the financial sector, too close to the banking sector and too close to wall street, if you will. and they want to broaden that circle. if you follow this, you know that most of the people that would be outside of that circle,
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many of them have left the administration and so if anything, it has gotten even narrower with the exception of perhaps his most recent appointment of the chairman of the economic council advisers. so the advisers of the president do make a difference. they are very important. and i commend the roosevelt library for hosting these two important conferences on presidential advisers, because they have an enormous impact on what happens in washington. thank you. >> thank you, dr. woolner. we are going to move to the q&a participation. a microphone is set up on here on my right. we ask that folks in the hyde park audience if you'd like to ask a question of the panel, please proceed to the microphone. please also when you are called upon provide your name and hometown. in the meantime, a reminder, we are indeed taking questions
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online at we have received some submissions and i will take those questions right now as we wait for folks in hyde park to join us at the microphone. our first question, david, taps on what you were just mentioning. it is from twitter. something fdr never dreamed of. fdr seemed to place republicans in important positions. i would ask dr. woolner to compare that to president obama placing his advisers in top positions. something you were just talking about. >> well, the questioner is absolutely right. president roosevelt especially when we get to 1940 was extremely well aware of the pit falls of not building a kind of broad based administration in a moment of great crisis. even before the war, appointing
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a republican as the first head of the social security. i will -- roosevelt with u.s. a great admirer of woodrow wilson. when presidents are arrogant, they get themselves into big trouble, when democrat or republican. wilson was a brilliant man, but a bill arrogant, and refused to compromise. he thought he knew what he was doing as a progressive democrat, refused to really include republican representation on some of the most critical policies that the united states had ever engaged in. namely, of course, the creation of this new institution called the league of nations. this is an enormously important institution. and by ignoring republican representation with respect to his delegation to go to paris at the paris peace conference after world war i, but not including republicans, and then by refusing to compromise with the republican opposition, which wasn't just republican, by the way. there were democratic opposition
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too to some of the provisions of the treaty of versailles, he took an all or nothing attitude and as a consequence the united states never joined the league of nations and wilson's great effort as far as the united states was concerned was a failure. so roosevelt lived through that period. he was part of the wilson administration and he was absolutely determined that he would not suffer the same fate. and so that reason that he reached out to the republican constituents to try to people his administration both in the '30s, but particularly in 1940 when he creates a coalition government in the prosecution of the war. president obama has done some of the same, of course he kept secretary gates on as the secretary of defense. so he included a republican representation in his administration. but i will say and i think this is accurate that in some respects, president roosevelt had it easier than president


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