tv Democracy During World War II CSPAN December 25, 2016 6:30pm-8:01pm EST
noon in-depth live from until 3:00 p.m. eastern on sunday on book tv on c-span2. >> next, a panel of historians ofcuss the influence american democracy after world war ii in a session called "america: democracies bashed in." -- bastion."; and it includes relief provided for displaced jewish refugees from poland. 1946: year zero, triumph and tragedy. entitledession is "america: democracy's bastion."
t spero is an associate professor of history at the university of chicago, the the age of big government" which received an honorable mention in 2012. he is currently working on a entitled his book tentatively via then. moving to his right, only a ofck is research professor international affairs at the george washington university. the founding editor of the eleanor roosevelt papers project which highlights the former first lady's writings and pronouncements on human rights and democracy. she is a widely published author including casting her own shadow, eleanor roosevelt. and a new and expensively reedited edition of "tomorrow is now."
she has worked on human rights education in numerous countries particularly in post-conflict societies. this is going to be an interesting presentation indeed. to her black -- to her right, a newly minted phd at her clean and stanford. berkeley and stanford. a professor of jewish studies at tulane university. she has been a fulbright scholar -- fellow and a foreign scholar. she will be a research fellow in vienna. she has received research funding from the mellon and i am to be asking her for grant writing advice because she obviously has that nailed. without further a do, let us
begin with dr. james spero. [applause] >> thank you. defined by anime abiding mistrust of government. recently, we have entered a moment in which even the most basic assumptions about the proper role of government, seemingly those pertaining to national security and national interest, has become unsettled and bitterly contested. when it comes to the mission and mandate of our national government, the contrast between our moment and that at the end of the second world war could not be more extreme. day, the federal government was proportionately larger than at any other time in u.s. history. half of the gnp,
employed over 5% of the civilian labor force and issued war contracts that built entirely new sectors of the economy and shifted the population centers of the country into the suburbs of what we now call the sun belt. the growth of the government was more striking on the military side of the ledger. over the course of the war, the armed forces mobilized 60 million men and women at a nation that numbered 130 million in 1940. through just one program, lend lease, the federal government said approximately $50 billion in guns, tanks, and other aid to the allies. comparing that to the just $40 billion that was spent on all emergency welfare measures under the new deal in the previous decade and it gives you a sense of what we mean when we talk about big government. the were fair state was much larger and more capacious than the welfare state.
all, congress instituted a mass income tax that reached 10 times as many taxpayers as the new deal had in the 1930's and increased its our wind even more dramatically making structural deficits permanent and in a fashion that keynesian new dealers would never have dreamt much less attempted. this chart is showing the proportion of taxpayers in american society and how drastically that changed in the few years of the second world war. taxation, aome peacetime draft and a standing army to go with it not to mention entangling alliances. these were profound and lasting departures from the american traditional position. wereuring the war, there no tax revolts, no government shutdown over the budget, no draft resistance. after the war, these foundational structures of big
government remained in place of funding internationalism rather than a retreat to isolationism. a popular memory of the second world war talks this up to the fact that it was a good war fought by a society united to defend american independence and liberalism in a war threatened by the global aggression of axes powers. while this view is not wrong, it takes too much for granted. lend lease, the selective service act, the arson -- arsenal of democracy -- these policies were hard-fought accomplishments of retained despite strenuous political headwinds that filled the sales of neutrality for half a decade prior to the work. domestically, the roosevelt administration had been back on its heels since the core packing rise of thee conservative coalition in congress thereafter. how did the roosevelt administration manage to
mobilize in nation that had become so wary of big government i-19 41 -- by 1941? to simply say pearl harbor is to take too much for granted. the will to event that surprised attacked unquestionably galvanized american purpose. it did not determine how the u.s. would wage the war that it entered. think i only of the frustrations of the china lobby for example which was unhappy with the roosevelt administration's rant strategy focused on europe. nor did it decide how or why ordinary americans would comply with the effort. in other words, legitimacy was the central challenge. it was a hard constraint on the mobilization for total war. retrofit anmight automobile factory to produce bombers, roosevelt and his speechwriters retooled their ideological framework and the late 1930's and 1940's torturing
the comfort traced in with fascism -- portraying as aontation with fascism new deal for the world. was part of charter that effort on the domestic scene. not all americans swallowed the new deal line hold but most americans -- most did identify powerfully and intimately with roosevelt. as part of that process of identification, they began to adopt a rhetoric of rights and freedom and adapted it to their own lives. learned that soon wereost effective appeal those that personalized government messages while downplaying the overly ideological statements. the most common strategy used to accomplish this was a rhetorical approach -- turned the homefront analogy. this was an evaluation -- a
valuation of every conceivable asked that to of domestic life. most often by tracing the battlefront consequences of ordinary decisions at home. this rhetorical universe -- defense workers were promoted to soldiers of production. home gardens became victory gardens. and young women going to socialize with soldiers were called victory girls. roosevelt understood the need to personalize the war and he did so relentlessly in his fireside chart. 1944, he promised his listeners and economic bill of rights that the gis and the american people had earned as there do in a war caused not only by aggression and also by want to and desperation. rights included rights to employment, education, housing, health care. it was a comprehensive list. but what has been largely forgotten however was that this promise of economic rights was
tied to fdr's insistence on a plan for national service, compulsory and universal in which civilians contributions would be directly related to if the gis facingwo battle overseas. his plans for national service followed a personal list of logic. personalistic logic. i will read you from his fireside chat that was broadcast on national radio. -- i know that all civilian workers will be glad to say in many years to their grandchildren that i was in service in the great war. i was on duty in an airplane factory and i helped take hundreds of planes. the government told me that in doing that, i was performing my most useful work in the service of my country. david kennedy's talk made clear that americans, especially civilians, experienced very
little absolute sacrifice relative to other nations participating in world war ii. in the process of mobilizing millions of workers, consumers, taxpayers, the government had to convince the citizenry that it must embrace unprecedented sacrifice. the scene was not always as language as fdr's might suggest. you can imagine the guilt and sense of obligation that images and messages might have produced. was the symbol of self-sacrifice. this symbol, the combat soldier, that provided the master key to work and political culture. the g.i. was a culture hero whose names for government issue. and a joking reference to the standardized nature of the military in which he served. he personified the new ideals of a changing social order. his common touch conveyed the
democratic and the humane nature of the american war effort as opposed to the regimentation and of the germans and if it -- and the fanaticism of the japanese dive bombers. someone that served and this reinforced a personification of the war effort. while the image of this new culture hero was fairly uniform and birds on being universal, ways in whiche americans responded to it or not. if we focus on three kinds of citizens, fiscal citizens, taxpayers and bond workers, or workers, and serviceman, we can see how the emergent -- divergent they were. researchers recognized this. they found that in tangible differences in row could produce results that were all too concrete.
average timethe delay was 76 days where in south portland guard, they required to enter seven days on average to put out the same sort of vessel using the same kinds of workers. there was high morality in low morale. explain the difference. similar findings explain why one person bought more war bonds than the next and explained how troop cohesion could be strengthened or undermined. i will spare you do the details of the mountains of studies that these government researchers produced. a summary could have been used as a weapon of mass boredom. the findings were quite significant. and i will touch on them in what follows. specials posed a challenge because most americans were unaccustomed to paying income tax or owing the government that.
which had mostly been the preserve of the upper middle class or the wealthy which was subject to the class taxation in the 1930's but world war ii brought max -- mass taxation. for all the talk about soaking the rich, the new deal fiscal regime was a feeble and repressive jerry built structure that was insufficient to finance total war. the second world war regime extracted vastly greater revenues on an order of roughly a magnitude -- an order of magnitude greater. taxpayers had to learn how to file and pay on time. it was rust as aggravating and difficult then as it is today and it was not made much easier by the fact of the new withholding scheme because people still had to file forms. the for the war, the number of taxpayers could have fit into brooklyn, roughly 4 million.
and a similar change happened in war finance in the ownership of men, more85 million than that, the government stopped counting. -- 85 million men women and children. to meet the challenge of guiding and motivating these tens of millions of new fiscal citizens, the treasury developed a strategy centered on personalizing obligation. often, it's most successful ads were literal minded and concrete. advertising and campaign was incredibly popular. individual children and families could purchase equipment for family members that they knew and the service, small school districts might pitch in together to raise money to purchase a cheap. larger metro diskettes -- districts purchased larger
equipment. ofe smith whose rendition god bless america made her both famous and beloved. brought atantly personal obligation to the g.i. in her public appearances she conducted a radio marathon in september of 1943 that raised a record-breaking $39 million. it does not sound like much to us now. whether for -- one of her callers ring in with a moving pledge. i give all of my money to buy my boy back from the work but i am afraid i cannot do that now. i got a telegram from washington this morning and my boy is not coming back. from that point on, the new it aes surged in making record-breaking event. it gives you a sense of how intensely that personal connection was felt by so many americans. ust is what war bonds are to
kate smith concluded. a chance to buy our boys back. as a paid their taxes and bought their bonds, they also learned to make a claim on the government to begin expecting that the claim would be returned by the federal government. dollar wastax something that virtually everyone could say once the victory tax was implemented and mass taxation had been instituted. production like fiscal policy was mission-critical to the american war effort. as the taxpayers and bondholders , it was not guaranteed that workers could be persuaded to comply. and a half decade prior to the work, union levels had tripled 9 million.ion to because of tactics such as the sitdown strike that had shut down general motors plant in flint, michigan over the winter
of 1936 into 1937. although union leaders had signed a no strike pledge after paul harbor, rank and file discontent led to wildcat strikes that crested from 1943 until the end of the war and then again after the war in 1946. worker morale, could make or break the arsenal of democracy and the roosevelt administration knew that. that the war workers took their images of the soldiers of production there he seriously. poster captured quite vividly the worker sense that they were contributing to the work. just like taxpayers and bondholders. they took this role very personally and conceptualized a moral obligation.
this powerful sense that they were fighting alongside the combat soldier. this also fostered a rising sense of entitlement to national citizenship guaranteed i the federal government. women and black workers pushed the government to honor its promises of fair employment. the mostnot get it for part during the war but a generation of several -- civil and feminism emerged. overtime pay, seniority rights were built into the more system with lasting consequences for the postwar timeframe. working-class americans joined the affluent society in the 1940's viewing their upward mobility as a fitting reward. we turn to the gis, finally, the third group. without millions of them, it would have been impossible to defend the continental united states much less win a war, two
words on opposite sides of the globe at the same time. in their case, the challenge of motivation had the highest stakes possible. the gis were walking, talking proof that the last thing you want to be in the time of war is a living symbol of national sacrifice. everyone in this room knows well, military service inculcated a deep sense of national commitment that remained a defining aspect of the war generations outlook threat the postwar period. taken foras not to be granted going into the war. everett to instruct the soldiers on why we fight had mixed results when aching to internationalist ideas but war propaganda did succeed in providing a clear image of the fascist enemy to be defeated. if gis were of many minds of what they were fighting for,
they were largely of one mind when aching to what they were fighting against. theiras because beneath varied political commitments ran deeper obligations to their buddies fighting next to them, to their families back at home, and that made the stakes of war quite personal. we can see this in the palpable hunger that serviceman expressed for any news of home. this is a photo of a navy bomber new georgia island in the solomons in february of 1944. you can see the intensity with which these men reach out for their mail. when after more than three years of slogging through it all, these soldiers finally got to and theying about home returned to it. minted veterans could claim a new set of benefits. new kind ofd to a
national citizenship. was less universally applauded than the g.i. bill of rights which i think this postwar advertisement captures a sense of citizenship and homecoming that the g.i. bill plansented -- the marshall was less universally applauded. it was supported and sustained over a long period of time and it also revealed the legitimacy that the war ever had the stowed on the government. while the truman administration's breakneck demobilization quickly liquidated many of the war agencies, it did not bring military budgets or personnel down prior to pearl harbor. clamor tohe public bring the boys back home was quite pronounced, it did not produce a return to the thespheric insularity of
earlier years. indeed, quite the opposite was the case. face of the new commitment to international obligations was known to everyone from photos of friendly american gis trading cigarettes, candy bars, and other rations with europeans desperate for food and the basic rule of law. we know from historical research that not all aspects of american occupation were friendly or even welcome but the american people on the whole were not privy to that information. what they got was a benign vision that the g.i. represented. and this was a form of internationalism that americans could get behind. yet there was a mounting if hidden price to be paid for all of this. what the war was about meant to many different things to citizens whose interests could not always be reconciled. thatyers chafed at taxes cut into the higher standard of living that roosevelt had
promised and provided. at the same time, they began to resent paying for the higher wages enjoyed by war workers especially when they went out on wildcat strikes. workers denounced the high salaries of management. soldiers bristled at the mere suggestion that they were being played for suckers by coddled civilians. this is a sensibility that found violent expression in the riots. soldiers at mutinied in the winter of 1945 into it 1946 when the truman administration changed their distrust formulas. -- discharge formulas. the united states needed the government to sustain the earned.cy that it had that government was capable of projecting american power across the world but only to the extent that it fostered a personal sense of national mission among its citizenry that proved
fractious in the long run. over decades, it only became more difficult to agree on what national is an chip demands and who can claim it. the stronger the united states grew, the less its citizens could agree on the beneficiaries or the basic purposes of the powerful government they had created. the crisis of legitimacy in which we live today has been a long time in the making. thank you. [applause] >> i am short. [laughter] --hello everyone, i am great very grateful that you stayed on saturday afternoon. as i am watching all of these phenomenal posters, i cannot help but give a shout out to the
franklin d roosevelt residential library easy him where i am a proud trustee and plead with you all with a full heart to make the trek to hyde park to see our new permanent exhibit and our new visitor's center. i think it will amplify the conflicting and disparate messages unified by defiance that i think i have heard so far today and i would also very much like to give a shout out to constance who did emergency travel planning for me last night when i missed my flight. the first time that has happened to me in 64 years. from myou can tell packing, i beg your indulgence. i have a honking sinus infection.
without plead for indulgence, i will ask you to suspend everything you have talked about so far for the past three days. i want you to think not about military strategy, not about who won the war, not about the geopolitical outcomes of the war, or the war's economic consequences. -- what i want you to get into your heart is the ricocheting emotional ping-pong ball that america and the world is going through at the end of the war. from unbridled relief.almost unbridled underneath all of that is a
palpable uncertainty of what kind of nation we will become, what america's role in the world will be, and how we will manage a world not only bifurcated by america that is ripped apart by anxiety and fear. fdr has died. we have an untested president. coup by the middle of 1945 will have pulled numbers that make herbert hoover look like a rock star. horror of the holocaust to which we have usome anesthetized, haunting every day. academy motion picture, award-winning film that year was "the best year of our lives."
an extraordinary film which if you do not own, shame on you who are interested in the war. we have incredible heightened racial tensions in the united states. we have wildcat strikes. we have an untested president disregarding his poll numbers but who cannot seem to manage the economy. he lists rent controls while he keeps the controls on wages. he lists food prices and puts but stillack on rent keeps controls on wages. dislocation in the united states. as many people as left home to work in the defense industries as went overseas to fight the war. communities, multiracial communities that we are -- that were trying to
figure out how to develop. and in europe has 60 million displaced refugees. amount 60 times the we have the start of the cold war. we have the start of the arms race, soon to become the nuclear arms race. we have a heightened international guerrilla warfare campaign that will give rise to terrorism. does this mean that hope evaporates? no. i asked you how many in this room have been in an immediate conflict situation? hands.raise your
i have been in 14. my conversation is rooted in my soul-lifting experience around the world and within the united states of people just trying to define in their own minds what human rights mean. when we began this conversation, i don't want you to put it in a box like it is the united nations. it is the united nations' space responsibility. we are beginning, at the end of the war as we are today, a new world order. we are trying to get away with mandates and how to manage
unstable but hopeful postcolonial democracies. people are demanding change but at the same time they are confronting the paralysis of fear. we could make an argument in 1945-1948 just as we can make an argument now around the world, and especially in the shadows of the election, that we are a world addressed and america is trying to find its voice. in 1948, the u.s. political system is fractured. republicans and democrats have equal numbers and equal weight. at state level and at the federal level. they are also being challenged from within.
thurmond, harry wallace, republicans trying to and you have the democrats who are clinging to harry truman. the overarching theme of all of those four parties, all of america and existing political institutions, as in the u.n. itself, is, how are we going to deal with economic and social insecurity? the u.n. is untested. fdr is dead. as eleanor would say, the boys have taken over and are concerned with the bomb. they totally discount the refugee crisis in europe which will become the first defining
crisis that the u.n. has to address. the second is rebuilding the european economy and how do we transition from the u.s. economy that is totally defied to a wartime economy -- the overarching dark tornado cloud of the great depression. not an easy time to negotiate. roosevelt, whoor had four years of school. four. i am not talking postdoc, graduate school, i am not talking all this stuff -- i am talking for years of self educated school but taught herself six languages and was
conversant with every major religion in the world. she was placed on the american delegation solely for one reason. by september 1945, she had raised her boys against harry truman. his polling numbers were in the toilet. let's put eleanor on the delegation, get her out of the country, and we can have franklin's widow going to the first meeting of the general assembly. when he first called her, she said no. her secretary looked at her and said, are you crazy? you have met all the leaders of the world. you are the only head of state who has actually traveled to conflict zones. on aost your hearing
military aircraft. you spent six weeks in the pacific. london, youmbing of were in london for five days and where you doing, not staying with the king and queen but staying in the bomb shelters in the metro tubes. ,ou have some experience of war not to mention your experience in the battleground in postwar france right as the war came to an end. did not know what to do with her so they put her on committee three. eleanor says, thank you so much. have the material sent to my state room rather than saying, why don't i get to pick? know, is three, as you
the committee for social humanitarian and cultural concerns. what was the most pressing issue samee u.n. -- the exact most pressing issue now in europe, only 60 fold. what are we going to do with the refugees? the soviets want to repatriate them to rebuild the 40 million citizens that were lost in the war. none of the american delegation, vandenberg, austin, new how to debate the chomsky. -- out-debates so much that it makes the front page of a newspaper. after that, the conversation
within the united nations turns to, how will they execute a sentence in the preamble charter to the u.n.? which says, we must reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. people are clueless on what human rights mean, like people are clueless on what democracy means. we have an idea, but we do not have an inkling of the hard work and the sacrifice that it takes to build local institutions from the ground up. we talk about rights. we do not talk about responsibilities. and, the charter says that we must find words to respect the dignity and worth of each human person, the rights of men and women and nations. think about this for a minute.
this is not politically correct language. we are in the shadow of the most horrific war the world has ever seen. even though the 51 nations who formed the united nations only have one thing in common, and that is that by god, they beat the germans. whatill have to figure out this means. so, it is a two-year debate that lasts more than 300 sessions, more than 3000 hours of oceans.tions across two initially, 18 nations who have nothing in common, as i said, other than the beat the germans. they do not share the same currency, they do not believe that currency exists, they do not share the same god, they do
not believe that god exists, they do not share the same government, they do not share the same concepts of citizenship, they do not share the same concepts of nationality. the only thing they have in allies,even among our is that we beat the germans. the united states has grave concerns. oh, my god, what are we going to do about socioeconomic and cultural rights? are we going to give everybody a job? god, whats go, oh, my are we going to do about the right to vote? great britain is worried about their empire. is secretly sabotaging the negotiations as they go along. outa is trying to figure how to create a vision that is
gandhi-esque ideal vision but a nation that is at war within itself and at war with its occupying nation in terms of what they will fight for. they are awakening the fight for palestine and israel. the war in southeast asia is beginning. so, what do we know from this? struck by the cartoon that you put up there of what to do do today for freedom? eleanor roosevelt carried a prayer in her wallet with her that i continue to carry in mind even though i am an agnostic. this is the prayer. help me to remember
to ask -- sorry. my drugs are kicking in. sorry. dear lord, help me to remember someone died for me today. warif there continues to be , how me to remember to ask and to answer, and i worth dying for? that shehe strategy took into the negotiations. left, four minutes i have i would like to give you the thumbnail negotiating strategy why i believe that was right and leave you with the so what questions that i hope we can pick up in questions and
answers. eleanor understood a fundamental thing. we could either say the world sucks, that it was inherently evil, awful, that we would never end more, and that we would live in the shadow of the holocaust forever. not goingd say, i am to go down that road. that we have to have another vision to inspire people when they succumb to fear. that is the simple approach that , arguing and negotiating the declaration of human rights. she also fundamentally believed that the only way to have an effective conversation with someone is to know the opinion of your fiercest critic as well as you know your own and treat them with respect and stay at
the table. she made a very faithful decision to separate the negotiation into three parallel tracks so that you and create the declaration which would be a vision and to negotiate the covenant separately because as she said, lawyers would spend three years deciding where to put a comma, and then figure out how to do the implementation. she was right. the covenant were ratified in 1966. they were adopted by the u.n., the united states ratify the political civil rights covenant in 1992. we have still not yet ratified the covenant on social economic and cultural rights. this is the challenge of our time. it is not just about dignity. it is not just about sovereignty did it is not just about what
rights mean. it is the challenge to negotiate with respect. debate,e challenge to how to confront fear and real political power with grounded inspiration. as eleanor would say, we are all on trial to show what democracy means. i would like to leave you with article one, which is the absolute hardest article to negotiate. it took more than 3000 hours of the day -- of debate, and it is the first time in the history of the world that governments can together to adopt it. all human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights. they are endowed with reason and
conscience and should treat one another in the spirit of brotherhood. as we succumb to hyper politicized conversations in the next six weeks, and does the world begins to come together to figure out how they will respond, i cannot help but believe that this is the firmest legacy that we must hold onto to move forward. and i am very grateful for your attention. [applause] >> thank you. i do not think i am the only person that thinks your talk was
invigorating. thank you for waking up the audience. i will do my best to keep them awake. i would like to thank dr. mueller and jeremy collins for inviting me to be here. theuld also like to thank doctor who introduced me to this museum and thank you very much for your attention. i teach 18-20-year-olds at 9:00 in the morning every monday, wednesday, and friday. i use a lot of images. forgive me if i am bombarding you. i would like to begin by showing you some images that are familiar. auschwitzmage from from january 1945. from buchenwald.
this image was made famous because a young man named ellie el was in onee weis of the bugs. -- in one of thebunks. here is a picture of -- giving a thech -- giving a speech in in 1946. camp here, this is not paul newman, but we see some young men and .omen on their way to palestine perhaps they could be on their way to the americas, north and south. we are very familiar with the story. camps inaced perns occupy germany, specifically in the american zone, all of these in theed people
americans zone, an effort to put pressure on the british to open the gates of palestine to legal immigration. we know about the heralds and report -- in a sense, when we think about the name of our panel today, the united states as a bastion of democracy -- this is in part true. i think that the story i am going to tell will demonstrate that it is a bit more complicated. what i would like to do is slow in onur chronology, zoom a few months in 1946 and four granddad with what is happening -- foreground that with what is happening prior. i would like to recast the lens that we used to retell the story of displaced people and we are recasting that lends so that we are looking at them from the standpoint of those who are living in east central europe,
specifically czechoslovakia and poland. how should we understand liberation? homecoming, return. these are the words. -- these are big words. homecomings are staggered, incomplete, and they do not end in the wake of victory. the movepeans are on between 1945-1947 they had at any other time in human history. introduced to the scale, using the comparison of the refugee crisis unfolding today. my numbers are between 30-50,000,000. it is difficult to know how many people are displaced by the war. as people are changing their locations, political and ethnic
borders are changing as well. the course ofct liberation and how people experience it. i would like to propose it simply arriving in a displaced persons camp in occupied germany . there is nothing simple about it. there is a contingent journey from the duration to ending up in a displaced person camp. there is not a straight line. today, we're going to focus on a small group. --is a group of polish jews to see how their liberation and return unfolds. before i launch into this , iticular group of people would like us to keep four
contexts in mind, constituting some of the great ironies of the postwar moments. shifting polish borders mean that prewar homes are often in different postwar states. there is immense destruction, as well. we need to recalibrate our understanding of what home is. collect inews 1945-1947ermany in and onward. there were upwards of hundreds of thousands of jews in cans throughout the american zone, in particular. they are changing and growing. campsmber of jewish actually increases from 1945-1946 and this is for the most part -- once from other nations are decreasing in
occupied germany. in this group increasingly becomes a huge problem for both the united nations, member nations, and the relief and rehabilitation administration. finally, this brings into the group of polish jews i would like to speak about -- the majority of jews living in poland survive the second world war because they spent the war living sprinkled throughout the soviet union in the context of labor camps and we have upwards of 300,000 survivors who survived the war in the soviet union compared to 80,000 survivors who survived the war in occupied poland. in fact, when i am talking about this group of polish jews, i am talking about the majority of survivors.
in 1939, poland is divided. part of poland is attached to the soviet union. with this comes the promise that -- one million poles will be deported in order to work in labor camps. this translates into scores and scores of settlements, many of which have half -- close to 90% citizenss these polish living in the settlements. those of you that are interested interestingly in the process by which pulls are decoded into the soviet union should take a look -- polls are deported into the poles in the -- soviet union -- i want to understand exactly
work looks exile and like and what that means. there are elements of this exile are horrible. hunger, cold, constant displacement. just because you were deported does not mean you are going to stay there for two years. you could quickly be taken to to giga stand -- samarkand -- what is interesting about the polish jews is the experience -- they survive often with the family unit intact. although through people returning to poland after the war find that there are 3-4-5 children with their parents in one family. time to put down roots as evidenced by this picture now these are pictures .resh off the archival presses
here you can see a teacher asking the students with the weather -- what holiday is it today? teaching these children, making sure that their polish language is up to snuff. here, an interesting picture of people celebrating polish democracy and independence. notice all of these children wearing white close. notice how the close look clean. those of us who have experience -- know how difficult that is. look at the artistic backdrop. these are people that have paints, taking time to make signs. they have access to a camera that they can use to take this commemorative picture. exhibition poster from turkestan.
andurchased -- they are memorializing their own immigration. they have space for an exhibit. there is time to put together the exhibit. there are visitors that are coming -- this is an advertisement. here we have an example of one the most interesting things that i found. throughout 1945 there are huge commemorations for the warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943. camps, thethese majority and almost exclusively be your people -- at least a dozen cans had a commemoration such as this in 1945 -- i will be giving a paper on these commemorations in south africa next year if any of you will be
in cape town in march. of eventually, this group polish jews eventually returns home. now, what does help me? this isdoes home mean? a money, basically, from the repatriation fund that is given to people as they can ready to return home but this home -- what does home mean? we have already mentioned that polish borders shift in 1939. they also shift after the war. , theave this pink entity so-called recovery territories that belonged to nazi germany. poland is losing the territory annexed to the soviet union.
we have shifting borders, massive destruction. this is the place of general --enhower toward t --oure toured and of course polish society itself is completely dismantled and eviscerated. upwards of 6 million people have been killed. 90% of all people that identify as jews were killed. this is what home is beginning to look like. home is not just a place you return to, it is all the other elements. some of these towns ceased to exist. anyone who has read "everything is illuminated" knows about this town that only has one person
living in it after the war. poland,that, throughout there are massive population movements going on. -- wens of ethnic germans also have population exchanges and forced deportations in the eastern borders professor snyder talks about this as well. this is building off a society that has already suffered massive displacement. those of you who have read a diary of a polish medical doctor know that he himself is constantly under threat that he is going to be displaced. jews and polish christians lived under the constant threat of displacement themselves.
what we have for this group of polish jews, liberation beginning in january 1946. that is quite a few months after peace in europe is included. , boardingizens repatriation trains across the soviet union making their way home. they returned to poland across a six-month span. these are the polish jews who are experiencing events like those of july 4, 1946. what is interesting to me is that upwards of 80,000 stay in poland. in the so-called recovery territories.
the man who taught me you dish is one of these people -- grew yiddish school. more jews from this group join something called the semi yiddi. legal movement of european jews towards palestine. memory, wherer the so-called recovery territories are, they are in the pink and that is where you begin the population of jews go from 0-15,000 in today's. -- two days. these towns are being swarmed with people in the constitutions are changing irrevocably. most of these towns are able to take on so many people because they were recently emptied of ethnic germans or the town themselves have been destroyed.
means flight to zionists operative from mandate palestine come back to europe secretively in order to induce or encourage people to leave and to try to live life in palestine. i use induce or encourage to give us a spectrum because depending on who you are, you are going to have a different view as to who these zionist operatives were and whether this was a forced choice. why do i define it has semi legal? in british law, this is any legal movement. illegal movement. according to czechoslovakian law, this is actually legal. the polish and czechoslovak
government leave the border open to allow returning jews to pass onward through czechoslovakia to displaced persons camps in occupied germany, specifically the american zone. the goal is to get to the american zone to continue to put pressure on the british to open the gates for these migrants. there are different ways to --e --ne good e -- there seem to be a plethora of different stories of how people end up in different places. i recommend the book "underground palestine" to understand more about how people were able to move onward. is "flight and rescue."
himquestion i was asking greatly intersected with his book that went off on a tangent. i specifically wanted to know practically logistically and financially how the border between poland and czechoslovakia state opened. why does one particular exit point at one town become so crucial for this flow of polish, jewish refugees. we can see a map of czechoslovakia. the town would be up in the top -- the third arrow from the top moving down. has anybody in this room than their? thank you. -- in this room been there?
ofwould have seen drugs people -- we would have seemed rose in droves of people -- here we see people standing in the center of the town. notice the interaction with local shopkeepers, how the town itself is changing as it is flooded with these refugees, some who stay just for a few hours, others who stay for a few toks and use the fresh air convalesce. we can see polish jews on czechoslovak repatriation trains . we can see jewish children at the main train station in frog. according -- in prague. zionists,s of world czechoslovakia has become the important spot in europe. when i gave this presentation to a professor, the director of the
museum of history of polish jews, he said, in fact, 1946, the state of israel existed. lefte about two minutes and i have two slides and i would like to get into a little bit of the how and why. i and happy to take more questions during the q&a. memoir,g to one man's he details the reaction of polish government officials. says, those in control of the borders made a phone call and said the border should remain open and that was how the borders opened. find, legalble to
accumulateegan to making the flow of these refugees increase and continue and what is interesting about studying what is happening on the ground is trying to figure -- the same biases of work of work.s -- symbiosis idea andiate has one another person says that she is wrong in the first woman has to leave. the jewish joint redistribution involved andhighly their director and czechoslovakia is working tirelessly to inform ministries of what is happening but in my mind, the most important players -- two important , andoslovakian officials
their shared desire to create east central european polities .hat are based on ethnicity i call this event the ethnic revolution. , uncertain pinpoints the process by which wartime and postwar leaders in places like poland and germany rewrote citizenship laws so that when so-called if the groups equaled one political citizenry, strangely enough these ideas are rooted in third reich policies but they are also enabled by a drastic shift in international norms that make massive isulations transfer
permissible in signals a conclusive end to the heterogeneous state of the land of the former habsburg monarchy. what is fascinating in the mind of -- the reorganization of ethnic groups in east central europe demanded the simultaneous embrace of palestine as an f now-nationalist project. project.o-nationalist i try to understand our chronology -- and able to shift our perspective and we have seen that the prospect of displacement and return our small stories that are happening to individual people and stories that are happening to governments, nonprofits. if we really want to understand the emergence of the state of israel in 1948i suggest that we turn to the wonderful
complicated and fascinating laboratory of east central europe for a more nuanced answer. thank you very much. [applause] >> we have time to take a few questions. in the center of the room. and ms.ssor cranston black discuss the role of the u.n. to resettle 30-60 million refugees and my question is how exactly did they do it or did ?hey do it no >> they tried as best as they could. u.n. relief and rehabilitation administration
was able to help people outside germany better than those rather than those who were resettled in the four major zones. part,k the most effective which is the one that has been the least really looked at, or which is why i add the other 10 million to the total, is we don't look at all among the .efugee populations in africa we look primarily at the refugee populations in central europe. -- did a great job in france. they did an ok job in italy. i think they really did an extraordinary job if you look at sorry.m nigeria
and some of the other side of the mediterranean. i would say the people that did the best job with this were outside the organization. unicef didn't extort a new job. this is where unicef takes off -- you have a very bankrupt catholic charities give way to unicef into the world health organization. in they begin to really take and so i would argue and to be honest i am really rusty on this so i would have to go back and pull that on my documents but i would argue that the greatest impact that on rough had was in africa and in the creation of that gave agencies
specific services to refugee populations and created chapters and partnered with what we would today call civil society organizations that were generic to those countries. it is important to keep in mind that displacement continues and arguably still continues for many people affected by this conflict. it is a question that i asked my students. when does displacement and? can displacement be inherited that cocaine the trauma be inherited? -- can displacement be inherited? campse displaced persons functioning into the 1950's. way thatne
displacement is solved quickly to a certain extent is because there are open houses, exchanges that people are being forced when you have 3.5 million ethnic germans leaving czechoslovakia, millions leaving what had become aland after 1945, you have ready-made place to bring people so that's something for us to keep in mind and if i could just speak to the context of jewish -- american jewish organizations, jewish organizations throughout south america, as well, and in palestine and israel worked, as well, to attempt to resolve -- to resolve displacement. that it tiesso say very much to the question over the fight of the nationality of the displaced person. left.k
>> this question is for sarah. great talk. in terms of infrastructure for displaced persons in poland, was there any infrastructure and for formal -- how formal was it? >> when we talk about infrastructure, we have to keep in mind that when the united nations assembled in san 1945, poland was unofficially represented because the allies could not agree on which polish government was the official government. legitimacyissue of that is still permeating the entire allied camp well through the beginning of the summer of 1945. as far as infrastructure on the ground, what strikes me when i read the archival files for
isding through remembrances how much people seem to be working, how passionate people but we haveeir job to keep in mind, especially in the case of poland, dealing with a country that is the most ripped apart in europe -- so that we are also dealing with the task of cleaning the rubble in the biggest cities, warsaw -- so, it is interesting to keep this in mind. my experience working in czechoslovakia has led me to a as it laughter in so far is a wonderful example of how individuals in bureaucracies cannot get along and will use personal alliances against other people.
when we talk about a large nonprofit, we have the different personalities involved. pragueson living in actually wields quite a bit of power. have repaired they are to handle certain things and finances your questions. threenk you to all 3 presenters. i have a comment directed to dr. black. >> i figured it was coming. like nitpicking perhaps it is. that is who i am.
when you told us that eleanor roosevelt had only four years of education, i think that was a little misleading. as a child, she and other children were schooled at home by a very good teacher. sir, whoawful teacher, ripped her books up it do not believe eleanor's version of that. eleanor could not write a grammatically correct sentence in english when she worked with mademoiselle roger. >> weldon, that was not much education, was it? >> there is a lot of stuff that i will defer to everybody on about eleanor, but that i know more than anybody in the history of the universe. [laughter]
she made up for it. >> big-time. thank you very much. >> thank you for your question. i hope i did not seem flippant. >> back to your left with james. frank talkedichard about the extraordinary efforts that were taken to prevent .amine and typhus in japan now, you've got 30-60 million people moving around central and eastern europe. what did we see in terms of starvation and disease and so forth? how do these people just survive? given those numbers. a boatload of them died.
debate withint the american government and a onin unicef and within onr how many calories a day constituted a good diet? it was based totally upon the political -- the suspected political affiliations of the group. eleanor herself was very involved in a debate where she said, i am happy with 1000 calories per day. one bureaucratic and political issue. the other is the infrastructure and the delivery issue. what i would like to do because sarah can talk about this much more concretely than i can because my work now has turned into much more on the ground do
you deliver as opposed to what we did in the war -- but the one thing that i would like to say is that also, part of the impacted because beloved american charities, once they got their feedback on the , got very turf-conscious of who should deliver what to whom that greatly delayed the delivery of a central nutrient blankettswhich spurred greatly e development of a new refugee organization and the creation of gave -- added fodder
and information depending on which side you are on about the role for a u.n. peace force in displaced camps. >> i should just add that that is within europe but then there was a famine in india and there was a great debate over whether that food relief should be sent to other parts of the country. out that the food relief program built out of the new deal had tremendous support by 1947 majority of people polled said they would support reimpose an rationing which is not popular in order to feed starving europeans which was an extra ordinary degree of support. >> they had their first meeting in 1944 --e second
atlantic city, montreal, and london. cemeteriesu see the of this newark in it -- you see thesegnatories asking concrete questions about things like calories, how do we dispense things, how are we preparing ourselves against diseases. in the first meeting, there was fora special designation dp's of jewish backgrounds. one of the nongovernment entities that i work with, the world jewish organization, inbied vigorously so that their legal language, there is a distinction may distinctively for jewish dp's in the idea that they want to make sure that this category of jewishness is in their language so that these
people can be entitled to more calories. they want to be able to say if you are jewish you should have more calories than if you were not persecuted racially so these conversations that we might find so concrete about things like calories really mean quite a bit when you begin to attach a calorie limit to specific displaced person populations. one last question to your left, please. >> i was really struck by the charts that you showed with higher taxes and higher military spending maintaining after the war in the postwar years. i know there are still a massive demilitarization of the economy, ray privatization. --read privatization
re-privatization. of desire to kind hold on to some of that? >> that is an excellent question. we can look at this moment in two different ways. of is to see it as a moment extraordinary upward ratcheting of state presence beyond the peak of what had been possible in the new deal. by 1947, troop levels noted go below 1.5 million. you look at military spending as a proportion of gdp. there those indices -- are always at least 50% higher than at the peak of the new deal which produced a lot of political backlash. one way is to observe how this newacceptance of government was.
of course, the cold war comes along by 1950. changes arethese locked in permanently but it might have gone a different way and maybe if congress was determined actually to roll back not just the war machinery but parts of the new deal -- and had a lot of support. but were not able to succeed even in modest objectives like trying to obtain a significant and permanent rollback of the personal income tax, the initial postwar cut. astonishingly quite is how many of these different measures remain. on the other hand, this is a period in which extraordinary distrust of the government is alongside acceptance. in a context of determine his asian to mobilize eventually against the soviets, i think
anti-communism has to be understood in part not only has been about particular communist governments but also a deeper and abiding distrust. at one point, mccarthy was putting the army itself on trial. that reflected the powerful discontent with the sudden state presence in everyday life. what is quite striking is how c 68t things like anna could be in a context in which these new international commitments well supported created ambivalence and over the course of decades finally came apart. >> thank you all very much. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest news.
force is one of the things that the american public very often gets impatient about it because they really believe can the trump -- that defeat anyone. it is not true. it is an extraordinary military. in certain win situations. they can only destroy things. they cannot build a new talkstonight, mark danner about his career and the challenges facing the u.s. war on terrorism in his latest book. >> what we do not want to do is respond in such a way that will produce more of these militants, more of these militant organizations. they want us to overreact. they want us to occupy muslim countries so they can build their recruitment. they want us to torture people.
at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> coming up next, author william hazel grove talks about his book, "madam president: the secret presidency of edith wilson." when woodrow wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, it was edith who guarded access to the recovering president. the wilson house in washington, d.c. hosted this hour-long event. theelcome everyone to woodrow wilson house. i am the interim director. before we get started, i would like to point out the portrait on the wall. that is the lady we will be talking about tonight.