tv Career of General George Marshall CSPAN May 28, 2017 9:00am-10:06am EDT
secretary of state under president truman and was responsible for the marshall plan, helping to rebuild europe after the war and earning marshall a nobel peace prize. in this talk vietnam veteran, author and historian josiah bu nting discusses general marshals military career and his relationships with roosevelt, truman and eisenhower. this one hour event is hosted by the new york historical society. louise: good evening and welcome to the new york historical society. i'm the president and ceo. sos a great thrill to see many of you this evening and our thautiful robert h. smi auditory. tonight's program as part of our short distinguished speaker series. mr. swartze to thank
for his great support which and night which -- allowed us to invite so many historians to new york historical kit i would like to recognize and thank some of our trustees with us this evening. mr. michaelkett and weissberg. thank you so very much for all you do. on our behalf. all ofo like you thank our chairman's council members who are with us this evening and of course my very talented colleague, dale gregory, our vice president for public programs. lastevening's program will about an hour, and it will include a question and answer session. you should have received a note card and pencil as you enter the auditorium this evening. if not, colleagues are going up and down the aisles with them. the no cards with your questions will be collected later on in the program. we are thrilled to welcome
josiah bunting iii back to the new york historical society. prior to retirement in 2016, he served as president of the guggenheim foundation in new york city, and is the former superintendent of the virginia military institute in lexington, virginia. he has been a great fan to new york historical for many years, serving as advisor to our fabulous exhibition and most recently at the new york historical society. he is the author of several books including ulysses s grant, and a forthcoming biography of george c marshall. before we begin as always, i would like to ask you to make sure your cell phones are switched off. and now, please join me in welcoming general bunting to the stage.
[applause] josiah: thank you. good evening. it is a pleasure and an honor to be here and to talk about my favorite person, excluding those of you. [laughter] josiah: i should begin by talking a little bit about our culture's feeling about the second world war. i work from time to time at the museum, or rather the program that honors the second what were it'scond world war, veterans, on the national mall. about 15 times a year we have a commemorative event -- in fact, we had one last week commemorating the rate of jimmy
doolittle in april 1942, the first time we struck back. i doubt if there are people who remember it, but possibly. but we bring in the veterans from all over the united states on what are called honor flights for these various commemorations. ahead of us, we have the ve day of surrender, and soon after that of course memorial day. ve day, just remind you, was a joyous and happy occasion for the allies, for the majority of our soldiers fighting in france and by that time in germany come but it was not quite as joyce or about third ofr them as you might expect. because according to the protocol of the times, you were -- what should i say -- liable
to continue your service in the pacific theater in what was then expected to be the invasion of japan, the lesser southern island of japan, so that you felt wonderful about the victory, but you have that ahead of you, and i have talked to a number of people who have been through that experience, including a person who once spoke here. you got 15 days at home, then went to the philippines to continue your training, and he soon there afterwards was moved to write an early draft of his book, thank god for the atom bomb. that is something we might talk about a little bit later in connection with general marshall. the feeling that audiences at
the national mall communicate through their applause is not only one of gratitude and admiration, but of a kind of romanticized yearning for what they believed to have been the culture of the united states at the time, particularly the united states at home. the unity of the time. stephen ambrose, eisenhower's principal biographer, loves to tell a story about arriving late at a funeral in indiana of a veteran and was struck by the rapt silence of the church. the silence was interrupted however when the friend mentions jack served with the fourth infantry division.
he came ashore on utah beach on the morning of the day, soldiered across europe, was wounded twice, and was present for the surrender and came home safely to us, and suddenly there is an corruption of exciting conversation throughout the church. what are they saying to each other? this is the point of the ambrose story. i never knew that. the veterans of the second world war are singularly modest, even humble, about their service almost uniformly. i think that is one of the things that commends them and the memory we have of them however romanticized it may be. that particular quality, which in the age of selfie sticks, is often absent from american public, not to say, military
life. the war began, as you know, on the first of september, 1939, the same day that george marshall was sworn in as chief of staff, or rather head of the american army. the army at that time was in size ranking between portugal and bulgaria, roughly 260,000 soldiers, all of them volunteers. marshall himself said it was a rather fragile, scattered force. there was no deployable infantry division. when we talk about the, we are talking about tactical units typically of 14,000 or 15,000 men. the stem of the army, the roots of the army, were the continuing
officers and soldiers, nco's, who it stayed with the colors after 1918, 1919. marshall is not a bad example himself. he went over as a major. he came home as a kernel and principle eight to general john pershing, and after that was promptly reduced to the grade of captain again, salary was about the same. they let them keep their rather pittance of compensation, but to a large extent, the small cavalry hung in there. many of you are familiar with the name henry steele commager. if you went to a good college and took a course in american history between 1955-1980, there is a good chance your text was
the growth of the american republic. well, in the summer of 1960, he noticed there was a saturation of sad gossip all over the country about the quality of the presidential candidates for that year. this is a continuing feature of our politics. richard nixon and john f. kennedy, and being henry steele commager, he was moved to examine the phenomenon back to the beginning, and further move to essay a trip into a subset of history that is the study of groups allied in a common purpose in a common field, ordinarily at the same time and
the same place. he uses as examples the literary renaissance of england. he talks a little bit about the vienna of mozart and their contemporaries. he talks about the american founding generation. how does it happen that we suddenly have when we need them ordinarily this cornucopia of apt talent? between 1940, 1941-1945, the american army, and indeed, the navy, although that is not my topic tonight, but i will mention that, suddenly found a fluorescence of enormously talented general officers and admirals. how did that happen? how do we account for that? and this brings me to a number
of things, but also particularly to george marshall, whose own career was spent largely in education between the wars and was able to identify young captains and majors and had an uncanny ability -- peter drucker writes about this -- the best pickers of leadership talent in our history. he could infer, and the proof is what these people became, from what he knew of them when they were relatively young, their capacity for growth, and what they were likely to become when the larger challenges of life were presented to them. it is quite extraordinary, and some of the names you will here in a few minutes were recognized even as captains and majors at the infantry school at fort benning, which really function as what one writer calls mother
church for the army. during that period, leisure was not begrudged. there was no certain career path which required you to move every 6-8 months from one ticket getting punched to another. excuse me. and as a consequence, officers tended to develop expertises which would be normally helpful in wartime. excuse me again. i am thinking particularly of people like joseph j stillwell, who did three tours in china. nowadays that would not happen. nowadays, and certainly starting in 1950, the chances were overwhelming that you would have a prescribed sequence of career moves, but in those days, it
idiosyncrasies, expertises were indulged so that when they were needed, they were there for it and i should mention also -- probably this has occurred to some of you -- social media as we understand and know them did not really exist at that time, so in some ways you could be a relatively naughty boy and nobody particularly cared. they might have cared somewhat, but not enough to destroy your prospects when they were needed. well, marshall was born in 1880. he is an exact contemporary of douglas macarthur. he is part of a generation of people who became generals and admirals in the 1930's and perhaps a little bit later for whom west point and the naval academy were essentially a way out of dodge.
an astonishing large percentage of these men, and most of them at this time were men, indeed all of them at this time were men, they tended to have an been born in what people and new york called the outback, the midwest. a large number of them grew up on farms. chester nimitz grew up in fredericksburg, texas. i will tell you a story about nimitz in a moment. omar bradley was a missourian. ike was from abilene, kansas. hard work was expected. responsibility is assumed without calculation of reward. you do the thing because it is right. and this element of character tends to persist through life.
well, i will not unduly stress that, i will mention it at least once or twice again this evening because sometimes the decision which were required of marshall and his men were the kind that tested character unduly. well marshall hung in there like most of these people. his first experience was in the philippine insurrection. he was put in charge of an island. lieutenant, you are in charge. best of luck. you will get a letter every seven weeks. good luck, sir. this was a fairly common experience for these people. after that experience, he came back and had a number of assignments, relatively small-scale assignments, but eventually he became known as an officer of great promise and was selected to a company the first division on its sail from new
york in 1917. he was an aide-de-camp officially, and he had an extraordinary experience in world war i. one of the episodes -- it was an interesting one -- the division had been in its encampment for only couple of months -- this is what has evolved into the big red one division -- and they had been out all night on maneuvers. they had come back and they were told that general pershing would be visiting, and pershing would like to see a certain operational demonstration. they concocted some kind of operational demonstration. pershing watched. and after the demonstration was over, he called the officers of the division around him and said that he was embarrassed and deeply disappointed in this performance of america's first
division in france. and he continued in that vein, was quite specific in his criticism, and then turned to walk to his limousine -- just a minute, general pershing. there is something that needs to be said here. and if nobody else is going to say, i will. pershing is a very scary person, six feet four, never smiled, very erect, very formidable. who are you? major marshall, sir. what have you got to say for yourself? marshall been unleashed a torrent of accurate facts, and while most of the other officers, including the division commander, were appalled and very fearful for marshall's future, pershing then turned to his limousine.
marshall laid a hand on the great man's forearm and said, just a minute. i'm not through. [laughter] josiah: and continued on in that vein until purging was finally pershing was finally released and went back to the safety of paris or wherever headquarters was. the officers gathered around major marshall and full of consolation were awfully sorry for you. you will probably go to the front somewhere and bulgaria or something. i don't know what will happen to you. thereafter however when general pershing visited the division, he always asked to see marshall first. marshall observed of pershing a quality which he cultivated in himself. he always wanted to hear criticism from people who knew what they were talking about.
and towards the end of the first world war in which marshall had served as an operations officer, and then had been brought up to headquarters to understudy a really remarkable soldier called fox conner, who was chief of staff of the whole operation. he sent word to one of his subordinates of marshall asking him to consent if he would be his aide. the only time a general asked his subordinate officer is when they request that you come aboard as my aide. well marshall now spent five years with general pershing as his aide, and pershing, a great soldier and a great -- what should i say -- identifier of talent, wonderful ability in most things come but he hated the administration, so that virtually everything that came
into headquarters would be signed at the top, major marshall -- see to this, and i will see what goes. marshall as a consequence as a still young officer got to know an awful lot of important people in congress, and this would be enormously helpful to him down the road. he suffered a tragedy after serving in china with the 15th regiment. his beloved wife lily died of a heart condition. their marriage was idyllic. they had no children. and the letter that general pershing wrote marshall in his bereavement is one of the most beautiful letters of its kind i have ever read. pershing, having suffered the terrible tragedy of three of his children and his widow, his wife, being burned in a fire in
1921 or thereabouts, everybody was worried about marshall. what can we do with him? he was sent to fort benning as an assistant in the infantry school, and there -- and his position was first summer to that of a college dean, academic dean -- he was given free reign to modify the curriculum, to hire the teachers, to keep an eye on the young students, and these are mainly men in their late 20's and 30's, and virtually every recognizable name in the army, and even some exchange officers from the marines in world war ii, came from that cohort identified by marshall while they were there as students, identified and followed. this is where the commager
identification really has its roots, and suddenly and 1941, 1942, 1943, we had an extraordinary array of talented military and naval people. the british were amazed, and so were we. i mentioned the navy briefly. just think about this little cohort for a moment. leahy, king, nimitz, halsey, lockwood, all naval academy class of 1905, 1906. again, they hung in there. they studied their profession. they were ready when they were needed, and chester nimitz -- i may pause there for a moment -- the naval equivalent of george marshall. the morning after pearl harbor, the president talked to admiral
king, who by that time had become head of the navy. tell nimitz to get out of -- and don't come back until the war is over. chester nimitz went out to pearl harbor. he called together the officers who had been there and who in the time were complicit in the terrible strategy of the enemy surprise attack them up with the exception of one admiral and when general who were already on the way home, and said to them, will you do me, will you do your country the honor of serving with me to fix this situation? nice little lesson in leadership. all these people expected to be fired, and of course they weren't. not long after pearl harbor, and i can't forbear mentioning this, franklin roosevelt, who was an extraordinarily active picker of military talent, wondered out
loud -- he said, is there something we can do to get back at the intimate? -- at the enemy? it was a terrible time for the armed forces and the country. yes, there are probably certain things we can do. two or three weeks later, one of roosevelt's assistants came into the office and said, the newspapers are talking about how we bombed tokyo. is that true, sir? well, i think it is true. you know, we have a secret base in the himalaya mountains that most people don't know about and it is called shangri-la, and we have had so far good luck with the training of our airmen at that base. he was having a little bit of fun with the public. in fact, this is doolittle's raid on the two aircraft carriers within six under miles
-- 600 miles of the japanese coast led by general doolittle. they dropped their ordinance on a number of japanese cities, make their way to china, and eventually most of them made it home. one exception you might remember, one exception was a crew that was interned in the soviet union for the duration. in any case, general marshall at that time was head of the army, and there had been a military draft, but the draft itself had only produced about 1.5 million men, and until the early days of 1942, 1943, we were not prepared to invade or do anything at all. what was marshall like? we will talk about that a little bit later in my presentation. adjectives like austere, remote,
un-self-regarding. i talked to a friend of yours not long ago. he came to our base. he did not have on any ribbons or anything. marshall would not allow himself to be decorated. it is not appropriate for generals to be decorated while young citizens, young men, are in harms way. how about that? his only decoration in the war was an oakleaf cluster on a distinguished service medal given by president truman on the last day of the war. interestingly, when marshall was given this award with a quite beautiful and well-earned citation, his response in thanking the president and talking about the citizen soldiers who he had led, his
response had to do with those suffering in europe who did not know where the next mouthful of food was coming from or what shelter they would have been the evening. this of course is an early of, what should we say, the harbinger of the marshall plan. and you will forgive my pointing out at this point that probably the most popular and admired historian of our generation, david mccullough, talk 10 years ago as a visiting professor at a distinguished institution well east of pittsburgh, pennsylvania and north of philadelphia, quite a ways north, and found that no one in the class of all of these bright children could identify marshall or knew who he was until a girl finally said, is he connected with the marshall
plan? david mccullough said yes, he had a connection with the marshall plan, but the idea of self abrogation, not a crotchety behavior, but you did not step forward to be rewarded for things you are good at doing when you are doing them for your country. sorry. marshall continued on in the army. he got to know such people as churchill, who said this is the noblest roman of them all. he got crosswise with a number of the senior british commanders, the british chief of the imperial general staff, lord alan. he said marshall seemed filled with his own reputation, not a particularly flattering or
accurate reading of marshall, but the whole idea of serving as a commander of what he was always conscious of, a democratic soldiery. these are not automatons. these are not career soldiers. these are gi's. marshall was always aware of that. and one of the most moving cartoons, and some of you must be familiar with the work of bill mauldin, the cartoonist, his will be gone, 38-40-year-old cynical -- who never shaved. one of his greatest cartoons in my view is a picture of marshall or a teacher of soldiers honoring marshall the day he died in 1959. his feeling was that a
democratic soldiery, soldiers representing a republic, will eventually triumph other things being equal. and he came by this notion by his own background come up by people he had known, but also by reading his favorite historian. many years later when walter smith, who was then ambassador in russia, looked in on marshall's bedroom in moscow, he saw marshall, secretary of state, had two books by his bed. one was a book on diplomacy by harold nicholson, and the other one was -- can you guess? the peloponnesian war by thucydides. his favorite line is -- you may want to remember this, it's a wonderful line -- ambassadors from corinth are speaking to the spartan assembly, corinth is a
commercial city for the moment, neutral. the spartans are bent on war. quote, you have not yet begun to consider what sorts of people are these athenians whom you may have to fight. and i've often wondered whether my favorite japanese naval person, yamamoto is a roto, is that it is up your should not do what you have in mind doing. yamamoto went to harvard for two years and studied english, spent one summer riding jalopy in the united states and spent two weeks in detroit, and knew what he was talking about. his superiors paid no attention and wished later on the day. marshal imbibed lessons like
that, and in the weeks many years later but he would make his nobel prize commencement speech at harvard, he had occasion to talk to the undergraduates at princeton about that, saying he doubted whether any graduate of the university like that could leave and serve the obligations of citizenship in the nation's foreign-policy who is not learned and imbibed lessons of the great war between athens and sparta, perhaps the students were also. when marshall ended the war as a five-star general, he had gone home and i should say a few words now, if i may about the quality of the general officers whose careers that have been following, which in my review
constitutes his main duty to the country. one day in late december, 1941, he brought in the assistant secretary of general staff, major walter bureau smith and said to him call that man down for the third u.s. army in san antonio and tell them to get up here right away. 12 hours later, maybe a little bit longer, dwight eisenhower appeared attention for the great man's desk, and at that time, marshall gave eisenhower a lengthy and detailed briefing on the current state of american forces in the war in the southwest pacific theater. and having described was happening, all of which was very
disappointing, very frightening, very bad, he looked up at eisenhower and said how should we respond. and then gave that look the generals know how to give, indicating i'm finished with you. ike returns three hours later and with this plan, and marshall listens to it and says to him simply i agree with you. do your best to save them. and gave that look again, meaning on your way. this is how he operated. but in identifying people like eisenhower and his contemporaries, walter bureau smith enlisted indefinitely the head of the army air corps cap arnold, he had this uncanny ability to see who was good that
what needed to be done, and once having appointed them, left them alone. the other thing that distinguishes the army of that period was a deep reservoir of relatively young and unknown general officers like pete cassatt, people like that from a tactical fighting genius who suddenly when they were needed appeared in the right place at the right time. marshall was very much involved in that kind of thing. and again, he was not looking for perfect people, he was looking for the right people. he served honorably for a long time and he went home on the last day having received this unsought decoration. walked into the house, his wife, catherine, went upstairs, and the phone rang.
it was president truman. general, i want you to go to china for me as special ambassador to try and broker some kind of an arrangement between shanghai scheck and melts a song. -- between shanghai scheck and mao zedong. yes, sir. catherine heard this about an hour later on the radio that marshall was going to china. there was hell to pay, but off he went. working under the auspices of the army on the state department, yet asked president truman committee work with the -- coudld he work with the under secretary of state dean ashton asa sort of a rear echelon.
marshall service in china was a failure by most standards, and what became known a little bit later in the political history as the china lobby made him pay for it, although nobody it seems to me could have been expected successfully to broker such a coalition government as was proposed. he came back having been visited by eisenhower and asked if he would consent to be appointed secretary of state. in january 1947, took over secretary of state. acheson was in the under secretary. he inaugurated a time we might call revolutionary in the making of american foreign-policy for the next three or four years. the truman doctrine. it was extraordinary time in our history. what we remember of it. paul johnson, an english historian who loves the united states says that group that was assembled by marshall but also i
-- by acheson, you all know walter isaacson's book the great men, the wise men was the ablest generation of american leaders in our history since the founding. they were particularly distinguished in his view by the quality of the churchill ranked only second to courage, magnanimity. a wonderful tribute. if you have not read that book recently, and you want to feel good by your country, is a very good book to read. marshall served as secretary of state only for a couple of years. he retired again, and one day he was on a fishing lodge in michigan, the same thing happened, phone call from president, marshall took the call, yes sir. he returns to washington and truman says to him -- president truman says to him i would like
you to serve now the secretary of defense. the country had been involved in the war in korea for only two months, but we need you there. i don't know how many people here remember vividly the korean war or how it was prosecuted or how it ended. marshall, that time, was elderly and in those days, 70 was considered to be elderly. he was tired, he was worried about things which robbed him of chrispness that allowed them to make tough decisions. the author of the tough decisions was douglas macarthur. a rivalry is imputed between marshall and macarthur exact contemporaries. george marshall does not do rivalry, but douglas macarthur certainly did.
you remember your history of the korean war during the famous meeting of the president with macarthur on wake island, general macarthur informed president truman that the war in korea was going well and that there was very little chance of the chinese communists getting involved. and if they do, quote, there will be the greatest slaughter. president truman went home, convinced by what he heard, maybe not completely. but of course, what happened only a month later was exactly what general macarthur said would not happen. macarthur's response, as you might remember was to threaten to make the war much wider. to involve for most of it taiwan, and to do everything we can by way of blockading the chinese coast and perhaps bombing china itself. he continued to make the statements in public and he had
to be relieved of his duty. i don't know how many of you can remember that, but is something to bear in mind when you think about harry truman and how he acted as president. in the movie the bridges of ri, the only korean war movie anybody hear oral anywhere can remember, the old admiral played by a wonderful actor called fredric march learns about the death of a young american fighter pilot of a naval fighter pilot. part of that cohort of younger officers who kept their reserve status to bring in a little extra money, these were people in their middle and late 20's, beginning their careers.
and fredric march kept his eye on this young officer played by william holden. if you are a movie buff, can you identify holden's wife? the most famous resident of the city of philadelphia since benjamin franklin? grace kelly. said seriously to one of his aides, where do we get such men as these? i think that you have to look at the way children are reared, and are not about to go off on a tangent, but the way that generation was raised, the values that they imbibed had a great deal to do with their service as leaders of the military establishment in the second world war. i also dislike to hear people try to make a distinction
between what they call character and what we know as intellect. you can believe it when i tell you that the about of every every famousphy of west point graduate other than douglas mcarthur and robert e lee, the chapter to begins with the phrase although a mediocre student at west point. [applause] >> well, something happens between a mediocre student at west point and 20 or 30 years later. the formation of the ability to judge things with patients, judgment, patience, disinterestedness, the willingness to consider all factors that go into the making of a decision, the courage to urge opinions which are not popular. this was the essence of martial.
-- of marshall. and we are the better for having produced such a man as george marshall was. i sometimes wonder, and my wife, diana would not like me to tell this anecdote, but i can't forbear telling it. coming down the stairs in her house the other night, i tripped over what was called or what i thought was a broken golf club, i was informed that it is an impertinence called a selfie stick, which you are too used to take photographs of yourself and then freely send them out for everyone to look at. i think of this group, didn't mention omar bradley, but that would be a pretty good example of it. the way they were raised and trained in what they were able to do much later in life and obviously, that has a great deal to do with it. what kind of mind to did marshall have?
he had a mind that dean addison was in all of -- he had a mind that dean actions and within all -- what is and all -- was in awe of. it was always accurate and useful decision. marshall had his uncanny ability to think and operate that way. david halberstem wrote he has an uncanny sense of the consequences of deeds. this is what we call farsightedness. when you think about the absence of such qualities today, and people are serving in the public wheel, you wonder what we can do to develop it, and it's an important question. i don't know how many have seen the television, the last hour or
two, with people of chinese -- pictures of chinese planes being mobilized and the version of john mccain calls the fat crazy kid from north korea threatening to make the united states a bit of ashes. if you haven't seen that, you should see when you get home. i think i will stop there an attempt to answer any questions you might have about marshall. it is interesting that when you think about the second world war and those that we honor for their service, we think particularly of the famous generals, patton, ike, and so on. marshall is a name which really rarely comes up. let me leave you with a sense of george patton, because he was selected by marshall for his position and sustained by marshall, however outrageous his behavior was. i want to ask first of all if
there are any guests here this evening for a italian fit -- who are of italian descent, because telling this story may risk their good sensibility and good judgment. but this is george can. -- george patton. were alive today. he talks to the 45th infantry division on the morning of the invasion of sicily. i know a lot of you fellows are italians, and you are from italian descent, but the reason you will lick those italian to be fighting against is you come from a more fertile and braver blood than they have. you are descended from italian who have the gumption to come to the new world. they are descended from italians who lacked that kind of spirit. you understand me, men? yes, sir. i don't know what social media would do with people like general patton.
it concludes with a speaker saying is there any questions? [laughter] [applause] >> could you please comment on general marshall's relationship with franklin roosevelt? saul bellows said his most vivid memory of being a boy in chicago was walking through the streets on a summer night hearing what he described as that magical comforting voice. it is impossible for me to imagine a person better suited to be president of the united states at that time in our
history than fdr. not only was he able to hold the nation's hand and cultivated its mind and can do with -- and kindle its patience, but he was also probably the best kicker of men, navy and army. of men, navy and army. he was an able man himself, that we've ever had in the presidency, including george washington. he was absolutely remarkable. and it is enormously to his credit that his first pershing like meeting with marshall had exactly the same effect on president roosevelt. 1938, he is called together all of the senior members of the administration, including the secretary of war, not yet mr.
stimpson, but whoever was. marshall was brought in as a deputy chief of staff and one star general. fdr says the one thing we can do is build as many as 10,000 airplanes, perhaps more immediately. perhaps we can build as many as 50,000 airplanes. in doing this, we can demonstrate to our enemies or prospective enemies a real seriousness of intent. everybody on board with that? yes, mr. president. what about you, george? marshall later on quotes -- a pretty starchy fellow. i objected to this public representation of our intimacy. that's a quotation. now, mr. president, i don't agree with you at all. again, everyone else in the room files out saying good luck in
guam. [laughter] the next day, fdr calls them up, come by and see me. two months later, he picks him, reaching over 35 senior generals to run the army. but of course, marshall's closest colleague in the administration, who understood him just as he was understood by marshall was one of the forgotten heroes of the second world war, harry hopkins. fdr and marshall had an extremely productive relationship. they disagreed on matters of strategy, marshall, where the great strategic miscues of his life insisted that the united states supported by henry stimson the secretary of war undertake with the british and early invasion of northern france. we will cross the channel in 1942 and what we can do is make sure russia will survive because
the germans will cluster together all of their units to save themselves in france, germany then an occupation of france. churchill on the british this dissuaded the president from following any such as one of them called insanity. you really don't know what they're like, you're not ready to do anything like that. it was churchill and the president were certainly proved right. invasion occurred instead was the north africa, which is really where our soldiers learned to do what they had to do. the relationship between president roosevelt and marshall was cordial, productive, and he in the beginning was a little bit wary of the president. there was a moment, a sharp, defining moment in february, 1942.
in which the president of the philippines wrote a letter to president roosevelt saying i really think it makes sense for us to declare neutrality. if we declare neutrality and you accept it, i believe the japanese will allow us to remain neutral through the balance. do you think that that is a doable suggestion? and it was endorsed by general macarthur. roosevelt took one look at it and said no, we can't do this at all. the act of decision, but this is an example of what fdr was prepared to do when he had to do it. eisenhower was supposed to respond to macarthur's attack on marshall's speech in wisconsin in 1952. he demurred, but he accuses him of using the army to help
destroy mccarthy. is this true? it's about two thirds true. when i ran for the presidency, everyone knew what he thought of marshall. he believed marshall was literally the greatest man alive. he had heard things that mccarthy had said about marshall repeatedly, some of them on the floor of the senate. he said i'm going to use my visit to milwaukee and wisconsin to settle scores with joe mccarthy. the sentences included things like mccarthy's antics is an example or are an example of precisely how we should not combat possible subversion. in a moment of weakness, almost inexplicable, to me, general eisenhower allowed himself to be
persuaded by the governor of wisconsin and buy a couple of of aides a couple to excise the paragraph praising marshall. he had sent a copy of the speech with the marshall quotation to the new york times. everyone saw the next day or two that marshall or eisenhower had left that part of the speech out. there was hell to pay. adlai stevenson of fighting back a losing campaign said to the press general eisenhower , complains about my recourse to using my funny bone, i'm complaining about his backbone. ike recovered successfully, the friendship was reduced, but it
always has been a troubling episode. that is essentially true, although i'm not really where -- aware that ike use the army to destroy mccarthy unless the question refers to private shine, who was the good friend roy cohn. these are names that if you're over a certain age, you may remember. did the european powers have the operational capabilities to recover from world war ii on their own without the assistance of large special marshall plan -- the marshall plan? no, but it is important to remember, do use a cliché, that the marshall plan was a pump priming operation. the marshall plan depended on the cooperation among the
beneficiaries of the plan, 16 separate countries, coming together at the beginning and aiding each other through commerce and so on. the marshall plan is most useful work very early and i think it was necessary at that time. imagine being an undergraduate at harvard on the fifth of june, 70 years ago. here's the secretary of state sitting with a group of doctoral on a rams, including frank boyden, the headmaster of deerfield, j robert oppenheimer the literary critic, marshall. he's introduced by the president, who says she is sold -- who says he's a
soldier. statesman to whom freedom owes an enduring debt, and who brooks comparison with only one other in our history. the audience understands what is meant is washington. that would make you feel pretty good, wouldn't it? even if you were george marshall. he walks to the lecture very quietly from the wind is buffeting the microphone and says i need not tell you gentlemen, this all-male school at that time, i need not tell you gentlemen the situation in europe is very serious. it was not the marshall plan, it was a marshall suggestion, which ever after he referred to as himself, he didn't call it the marshall plan. it was put together by general marshall, but also with the likes of george kennedy, chip bolin, m.d. after some. -- and dean as you sent. -- dean acheson.
and it was a remarkable adventure in what turned into was extraordinary. the ultimate accolade was awarded him in the form of the nobel peace prize in 1953. three nobel prizes were given in that year. dr. albert schweitzer, mr. churchill, george marshall. churchill's nose was out of joint because is was for literature. [laughter] are we about to -- the time? should we have intervened militarily in korea? without question, yes. [laughter] [applause]
quite thank you so much. -- >> thank you so much. [applause] good evening, everyone. i'm vice president for public programs. i think we could use a part two. maybe to answer all the rest of the questions. so i just want to let you know the book, marshall, which is being published and will be out mid-summer, we encourage you to pick that up. we will carry it in our store. books,arrying one of his it is part of the american president series. i wanted to mention it to you. i got the book along with many other people.
grant, the most underrated general. not a great job -- not a great president but pretty good in uniform. >> thank you. [applause] we also want to thank all of you coming to this program tonight and attending many of our programs. we cannot do it without you. that is why we are during it it we look forward to having you back. we wish you a wonderful evening. don't forget the little grant book. thank you so much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] you are >> resulted in a naval
victory for the u.s. just six months after the attack on pearl harbor. on june 2, american history clearly will be live all day in virginia for the 75th anniversary of the battle of midway. features include author of the admiral, leahy and king. the five star admirals who won the war at seas. honestly of a code breaker that outwitted admin will -- at midway. timothy, co-author of never call homer heart --ve pilot. on c-span3.iversary
next, a panel discussion on millennials and socialism. with history and english professors in pennsylvania. the first speaker explores the early stages and the passing of the pure feud and drug act of 1906. -- food and drug act of 1906. second argues for literacy materials to explore essentialism. -- socialism. later a panelist talks about how millennials use spoken word poetry for some discretion. -- for self-expression. the center for vision and values at grove city college hosted this hour-long event, which was part of a conference titled " the god that failed coming in some and socialism then and now. " >> good afternoon everyone. my name is kyle george stead. i have to say, it would not be a true visit back without al stereotypical brain, nice to see most of your made it dry.