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tv   1968 - America in Turmoil The Cold War  CSPAN  August 14, 2018 8:02am-9:37am EDT

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soviets come in and shut that down and what happens after -- theeonid brezhnev president of 1968, all the wonderful flowering of possibilities for greater has been cut off, and brezhnev says we willd what he ,
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this is from 1968 as president johnson travel to hawaii meeting with the south korean president. [video clip] on july 18, president johnson arrived in honolulu for a series of meetings with south korea's president.
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president johnson: at all of our meetings over the past two and a half years, you have stressed policy ofry's reconciliation and peace. since we met in candor last december, formal talks have begun in paris. we devoutly hope they are the first step on the difficult path peace,e -- an honorable under which the people of your country will determine their own future. , our pledge to
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help your people defeat aggression stands firm. against all obstacles and dissection section. we want you to take back to your country our hope and our conviction that their courage and their faith will be rewarded was a just
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initially not the favored was pute, but certainly forward by johnson as someone
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who could continue his program, could stand a reasonable chance competition with the soviet union about space. the soviet union announced it was going to put a satellite up. the soviets immediately got
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going. they launch the first satellite, sputnik. and when sputnik would gore the world it would go beep, beep, beep until it got over washington and then it would go ha, ha, ha. to theiets had beaten us first satellite. they had beaten us to the first man in space. they were beating us again in 1968. turtles and some should put out thesest orbit,
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talks taking place in paris. more from 1968 and the johnson white house. [video clip] on march 31, president johnson had avoided a halt to all bombing programs expect over the dmz, an area where massive numbers continue to fall. as a result of this decision, the much awaited truce talks with hanoi began.
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december, president johnson's chief negotiator at there stillported had been no substantive discussions. the north vietnamese negotiators clung to their long-held demand that all bombing must stop before they would discuss anything else. the president, in close counsel with his top military and foreign affairs advisors for ass element was the
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buildup of the nuclear stockpile. you can see that we had more , the sovietwarheads union had just over 9000, great britain had 317, france, 36 and china 35. 1970's, you can see the decline in nuclear stockpile , the u.s. didificant for and ie
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win. but that's the point of the cold war, it's not like it was just a challenge of who gets to be king of the hill, it was what is the world going to be like? it will be an association of peaceful states are not? on the, we got a man moon and the soviets didn't, but ultimately, we shared a space station with them. the larger goal that i think both countries always had of a more secure world where people don't have to send their children out to be slaughtered to protect the sovereignty of the nation was something that both countries were striving for and i think that at how children
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especially should prepare for the possibility of a nuclear attack. [video clip] ♪ at the request of the office of civil and defense globalization, the united states army chemical corps as developed a mask especially for civilians use. this mask protects the wearer against biological and chemical attacks by purifying the air inhaled. filter pads in the mask of zorro toxicgases -- absorb gases and screen out radioactive particles carried in the air,
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particles which are called microbial organisms. the mask is comfortable, features good visibility and ease of b
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. .
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the way that the soviet union rolled over its neighbors after world war ii. and so i think one thing we forget is that, as you say, things happened all at once. it seems silly to us now, why would anybody care? but some of those threats were real but some of the solutions were not clear and we did make some mistakes in trying to solve
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the problem but there was a real issue that people were contending with. >> apollo one, this is from "time" magazine in 1967. grissom, white and chaffe who later died but then leading to the mission when neil armstrong landed on the moon. from washington, good morning. >> caller: good morning. concerning this cold war, mr. gorbachev sat across the table from george h.w. bush and united the germanys, gave the warsaw pact nations their independence. the soviet union was split up and all bush had to do to promise was to stay out of his business. but we americans -- the miss
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kravitzes of the world -- violated that immediately with bill clinton and kosovo. i mean, we just can't mind our own damn business. >> mark kramer, does dave have a point? >> first of all, as elizabeth has pointed out a couple of times, in the aftermath of the cold war, from the late '80s on, you know, there's been a steady -- or pretty much steady decline in the number of people killed in conflicts, the number of international conflicts going on. there's still civil wars but it has declined quite dramatically, including the americans, despite the tragic number who lost their lives in iraq and afghanistan. it still is a tiny fraction of those who lost their lives in vietnam. so it is true that the united
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states has had a propensity over the last 70 odd years of being a kind of global policeman. there is significant support for that role, even though there is also a very significant counter sentiment. it is hard for u.s. presidents, ultimately, when called on by other countries or when pushed by domestic forces to refrain from somehow take iing a leadin role in the world. >> madeleine albright said it once, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. there's an expectation that others have, that we have helped to create, whether it's world policeman or a trm i like to use, umpire. the u.s. tries to umpire all these conflicts all the time. we're still lacking a leadership that will look beyond to the next 70 years. mark is completely right. we've been doing this officially
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since 1947. but it's always been this odd thing where it's expected but not legitimate. it's not legit mated by international law or by american law. yet people expect it and demand it. it's a conundrum. how do we get others to take more responsibility without being bad partners ourselves? we helped to create a wonderful structure of world security. we need to appreciate that and sustain that. but one way of sustaining that is by developing good partners and make sure we're not carrying this burden that has us ricochetting from one issue to the next. >> lbj library as the johnson white house chronicled his 5 1/2 years in the white house. did he have influence in the
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1960s as a former president. >> eisenhower? yes and no. he was so remembered and some of our viewers have indicated. when he left office, one of the things he did was to warn against the creation of the index. he was seen as a wise statesman in that respect. >> certainly president kennedy consulted with eisenhower during the cuban missile crisis. on the other hand, he had run against then vice president under richard nixon and was critical, including unfounded allegations of a missile gap. it was not, i wouldn't say, a very warm relationship between kennedy and eisenhower.
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there would always be conflict of interests but eisenhower remained a more revered figure in american society and not so much an influential political figure. >> this reference to czechoslovakia. >> i just returned. i kept stumbling saying czechoslovakia, and it no longer is. >> how were the u.s. troops received in czechoslovakia? >> with shock and dismay. the idea that you don't have control over your own country was a terrible thing. it was seen in hungary in 1956. so, again, people kind of hunkered down and survive. and that was the case in eastern europe, you know, up and through 1989. >> but there was a big difference in 1956, hungarian
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revolutionaries used violence against soviet forces who came in. there were about 750 soviet troops killed. there were about 2500 hungarians killed. there was no violent resistance. czechs and slovaks were dismayed and shocked to find that they had come in and also knew if they tried to resist violently, it would be mercilessly crushed. so there were about 100 people killed in the invasion, but there wasn't anything like the carnage in 1956. >> with that background here from the white house, 1968. the johnson white house and this film that includes former president dwight eisenhower. >> at walter reed army hospital, former president eisenhower suffered his seventh heart attack and went on the critical
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list in august. but the general had never taken kindly to defeat. and when president and mrs. johnson visited him at walter reed hospital, they found that he had rallied and was in good spirits. as allied commander in world war ii, one of the republics he helped to liberate was czechoslovakia, pushing the nazis from their boundaries but once again, they were ravaged by the forces of aggression. on august 20th, armys of the soviet union, poland, hungary, bu bulgaria seized control of the
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country in a few hours. soviet embassy lights burned late that hot and muggy evening in washington. even as russian tanks rumbled into prague, soviet ambassador called white house special assistant to present moscow's official reason for the invasion. the memory duandum said it was protect the country against s subversive sounded hollow indeed. >> we look back 1968, america in turmoil. deborah, richmond, virginia, go ahead, please. >> caller: happy mother's day. good morning. it's always been hard for me to think about all the devastation we have created around the world and we make it into something
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heroic. i never could understand that. america -- one country bombed america and america bombed the rest of the world. and it's wrong. >> elizabeth cobbs? >> deborah, i completely understand what you're saying. i know that's the common belief and there's a lot of evidence for it, but what we tend to not remember or not even really know is the extent to which other countries have asked for us for our protection. sometimes you look at what's happened and you say, gosh, why dntd th didn't they all just kick us out? we have bases all around the world. why do we still have those bases? because those countries actually want us there. most of the places where american soldiers serve abroad, south korea, japan. they're in britain. they're in germany, et cetera,
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italy. and if the united states was an empire, they could ask us to leave. and the crazy thing is, america isn't an empire, because we would leave. in fact, france kicked us out in 1966, i think it was, '67. what did the united states do? it left. same is true of the philippines. so because we live here, we're very aware of our own motivations, but if you travel abroad and you work some abroad, what you realize is that a lot of those folks want us there. they're also critical of it. nobody likes to be dependent on somebody else. and so it's both critical and at the same time desired. >> mark kramer, a key player that continues to come up, dean rusk. who was he? >> he was under president kennedy and one of the few holdovers who stayed throughout the johnson administration. there were others, secretary of defense mcnamair and others who
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served under president kennedy. very few of them stayed until the end, including mcnamara, who left. dean rusk was a capable figure, southerner like johnson, and he had a very close relationship with johnson and also with rod, national security adviser during this time in 1968. and that meant that rusk, on one hand, was certainly committed to the vietnam war, wanted to help johnson in that effort and was also increasingly conscious that things weren't working out very well. that didn't diminish his support for the war but it did mean that he, himself, began to look for other issues. and he accomplished quite a bit, for example, in policy toward western europe, which, as elizabeth mentioned, the
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president of france imposed a direct challenge to the united states. and that required a great deal of finess and diplomacy to try to mend those breaches and keep nato from falling apart. dean rusk was one of the major figures in trying to work that out. even though vietnam didn't work out well for him, he did have some other significant accomplishments. >> and conversely in north vietnam, ho chi min. what motivated him? what drove him? >> vietnam has a long history, 2,000 years of worrying about its independence. it had been conquered by china for 1,000 years, other periods where china came back and tried to conquer them. as they say, vietnam a country, not a war. and they were really passionate about reuniting that whole country. so, i think that -- and, of course, he felt that the way to do that was through a communist
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system. but that longer term trend, my gosh, has been there throughout vietnamese's history. definitely a communist. definitely a feeling that he was on the vanguard of world revolution. that's what 1968 was about, the feeling that world revolution was spreading everything, from the plo to the -- to other factions in other countries. and so ho chi minh fed on that. >> caller: good morning. happy mother's day. thank you for c-span. earlier caller mentioned he thought that the military people had -- that are in power presently would remember how bad vietnam was and some of our experiences and would want to avoid war. seventh army from 1960 to 1963, took my discharge over there.
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i became quite friendly, as friendly as a person could become with an officer, with a captain baird. few days before i was discharged into the cold weather in germany, he was trying to talk me to staying and i wish i had. he said vietnam isn't much but it's the only war we've got. i was a lifer. 12 years later i went back in to the reserves and guard to finish out my 20 years. i love the army but sometimes people forget that eisenhower would have retired as a lieutenant colonel, had it not been for world war ii. and everyone in the military may say, like the air force like to say, peace is our profession. but secretly a chance for advancement and it's understandable. and we now have what washington advice us to avoid, which is a
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standing military. we've created a military cast both on the enlisted side and the officers side. i don't think it bodes well for the country in many ways. i recall that, you know, it w was -- i think it was interesting to see the southern boys who said they would never integrate ole miss have to take orders from -- >> i think our guests would like to weigh in. this something you brought up earlier. >> the world's largest neutral nation for the first 160 years of its existence and made a fairly conscious and deliberate decision that was debated in congress openly in 1947 as to whether or not to take on this bigger role between the truman doctrine and the marshall plan. the military part of this, and
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the financial part of helping to promote world peace. it's really to our advantage, it was to the advantage of everybody that that happened. but what happens happened since is that the sort of logic has remained, more or less, unquestioned. no system works forever. it's always good to plan for what comes next. and i think you're right, we have this industrial complex that's problematic for the united states. and that has led us down roads that are not always good roads to be going down. so, i think that that's -- you make a very important point. >> mark kramer, one of the major achievements for president johnson was the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. what was that? >> it had been under discussion for several years. initially, mostly between the united states and the soviet union, but increasingly, as elizabeth mentioned earlier, there were much smaller countries, ireland and india. well, india is not smaller, but
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still less -- >> in terms of weapons capability. >> right. less consequential actor in the global scene. they had been pushing this for a long time. so the treaty, though, was ultimately a way of trying to deal with the german question short of an outright settlement of second world war. the status of germany wasn't really resolved until 1990. achievements in the 1970s but one major step was the nonproliferation treaty. that's why it was crucial for both the united states and the soviet union to ensure that west germany would be part of it. the germans were hesitant about it but ultimately agreed to sign
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on. it was created to contain the horizontal nuclear weapons, the spread to other countries. actually, again, the treaty isn't ultimately what happens limited that spread but has provide a framework that makes it easier for countries to do that. at the time the treaty was signed there were already five nuclear powers. nowadays you get -- depend iingn how you count, if you want to still count a country like south africa, even though it gave up its nuclear weapons. but there has been very little spread of nuclear weapons since that time. and nonproliferation treaty has set the timeframe for that, even if it's ultimately concerns that have contained that spread. >> from that ceremony 50 years a ago, the signing ceremony for the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. >> on the morning of july 1st,
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in parallel ceremonies in washington, london and moscow, representatives of 57 nations affixed their signatures to one of the most significant and meaningful documents of the 20th century, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. ♪ >> this treaty is not the work of any one country. but is, in fact, the product of all nations, which shared our concerns over the danger of nuclear proliferation. agreement has not been easy. basic security, technologic al
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are deeply involved. yet our determination today has been crowned with success. >> today we are here to add another stone to the ediface which one day we all pray will ensure lasting peace to mankind through complete and general disarmament. >> elizabeth cobbs? >> i would add that we saw lbj in that clip and mark was so right to point out that because of what happened in vietnam, we tend to remember lbj in that way. here was a person who did so many other things as well, advance civil rights in a way that no president had done since abraham lincoln, advance nuclear nonproliferation treaty. those were major accomplishments that changed our world. >> charlie is joining us from new york. good morning. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, good morning. in late 1970s, i was assigned to the second army calvary regimen
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and our mission was to guard the border between east/west germany and czechoslovakia. a couple of hundred feet into czechoslovakia was an apple tree i was there, picking apples, walking back to our lines. i heard movement behind me. it was an eight-man czech army patrol. all they did was smiled and waved. in the morning, we would give them hot coffee. they would give us hot soup. we got along very well with the soldiers of the czech army. >> yeah, one of the results of the invasion of czechoslovakia is that the army, which had been capable at that time, was not allowed to resist. that led to widespread demoralization and subsequently there was a major purge in the
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army as well. it, too, had been affected by the reformist sentiment of the prague spring. all those people were removed and the army over the next few years was pretty affected. >> are they still visible today in the czech republic? >> i think the czech republic looks completely different today. it's a beautiful place with music on each street corner. if you talk to people of a certain age they will remind you how terrible it was. there is such a different feeling in western europe to eastern europe in terms of how they saw the u.s. in the cold war. we, like western europeans, tend to be self critical of our role in the cold war and eastern europeans have a very different attitude. they felt left behind and they also felt that the united states was one of the few countries which continuously was at least
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expressing a desire, you know, for them to become free. >> mark kramer, another key player, of course, is chinese leader mao. >> uh-huh. china had been plunged by mao into the culture revolution in 1966. that was a very harsh time with china. there had been millions who died in starvation, of famines caused by mao's policies in late '50s and early '60s. what happened in the culture revolution, in some ways, was even more traumatic for chinese society, even though there were fewer people who died, it was still vast numbers and it was in the most grisly way, often through torture and humiliation, people of needlessly -- university campuses, for example, were occupied by people who would then force professors
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out, which would affect elizabeth and me, out into the open and they would be degraded and often beaten violently and sometimes killed. so, it was an extremely violent and chaotic event in china and mao was very much at the center of that. mao, at this point, was aging. he was already in his 70s and he looked on the culture revolution to rejuvenate that revolutionary spirit he instituted in china when he came to power with the communists in 1949. >> elizabeth cobbs, this building behind us, the u.s. capitol, did 1968 change congress? >> you know, the riots came to washington, d.c. itself. and so i think what you had was this extraordinary turmoil within the capitol and, of course, president nixon was elected in 1968. it was just a terribly tumultuous time. >> from your standpoint?
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>> similarly, in the case of washington, d.c., you know, there's violence on the streets. there were protests against the vietnam war but also, you know, protests sparked here in the aftermath of martin luther king's assassination. for people who lived through those events, they often remember, as one of the callers mentioned, this rapid chain of events. it seemed that one thing would ease and then suddenly a new crisis would develop. >> but the great difference is that we're sitting here, talking about it. i happened to be in china two weeks ago and there the great leap forward famine is described as a time when china was just trying to repay russia back for its help to china and so that's where all the food went. or i was talking to someone else who said we never saw that picture of a young man standing in front of a tank in tianamen
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square. so what you have in so many countries, in a place like china, is so authoritarian, that you can't have the protests that we had here that were traumatic in washington, d.c. in 1968. but we came back from them. we didn't mow down our people to stop their protest. to richard, joining us from missouri. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm 80 years old, so i know about the cold war. in 1960, i was going to be drafted so i joined the national guard. so nobody wanted to be in the guard. i had to go to a meeting every monday night, see. so in '66, i got out. at that time, everybody wanted to get in the guard, people being drafted. i happened to be in the
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construction business. we went into building ammunition boxes for vietnam war. built a million of them for 105 and 81 millimeters but also 1968 truck drivers were going through memphis whenever martin luther king was assassinated. that was trying times. one thing about johnson, everybody don't like him but anybody over 65 ought to like him. because he signed medicare in. i'll let you go then. >> richard, thank you. a real dichotomy between the foreign policy approach and the domestic policy by the johnson white house. >> uh-huh. >> i remember furs time i walked into the lbj library. i came in as a person who, you know, i remember the vietnam war and protested against it myself. and so, you know, i had this idea, johnson. how many kids did you kill today, as one of our viewers was saying earlier. yet the fact was once you walk
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in there and you start to realize everything else that this man did, that the barrel he was over, in a way, when it came to foreign policy -- we forget. there were five vietnam war presidents. truman got us really engaged in vietnam. eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, nixon. this cold war logic, the sense that we had at all costs to maintain this pushback against the spread of communism really trapped people. and what's so interesting, fascinating about johnson -- i'm so glad this viewer mentioned this -- he brought us medicare. he created a social security system that allowed people to have a living support. so very complex man. >> the year began with the tet offensive and escalated with political violence and assassinations. and it ended with this photograph in december of 1968, as we view planet earth from
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space i want to share with you, as we conclude this program, the words of jim lubbell. on board the apollo mission 1968. >> god created the heaven and the earth. and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. in the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters and god said, let there be light, and there was light. and god saw the light. it was good. and god divided the light from the darkness. >> it makes you realize just what you have back there on earth. the earth from here is a grand oasis of the big vastness of
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spac space. >> the division love in the world despite of human failure, give us the faith to trust the goodness despite our ignorance and weakness, give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts and show us what each one of us can do for the coming of the day of universal peace. amen. >> that apollo 8 mission christmas eve, 1968. mark kramer? >> the apollo program itself had begun on a tragic note. by the end of 1968 it was pretty clear it was going to lead in the near future to the landing of astronauts on the moon, as it did, indeed, in july of 1969. apollo was a fitting way to try to bring out the contradictions and conflicts of 1968 because it, itself, had had those contradictions within it.
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the major achievements of 1968, nonproliferation treaty, the saving of nato through the hormel report and the subsequent steps taken by secretary of state rusk were conflicted by, again, the grim situation in the vietnam war and with north korea. >> elizabeth cobbs, frank borman relaying a lot of telegrams he received. one that stood out the most he said from an american citizen, congratulations to the crew of apollo 8. you saved 1968. >> you know, i think that the cold war pushed america to examine itself, and to try to define what it was for. not just what it was against. and apollo 8 was sort of in that -- what they said was here is perspective on our world. here is our earth. and i think the last words of
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their phrase was goodwill -- merry christmas to the good earth. the good earth. in a sense, that's what they're trying to say, is that we're all on this fragile little planet together and we need to work together. >> and that concludes our nine-part series. we want to thank elizabeth cobbs from texas a & m and the hoover institution and mark kramer from harvard. to you and all the guests who participated in this series, we thank you. our look at the cold war in 1968 continues shortly, with a discussion about the start of america first as a slowigan in e 1916 presidential campaign. and how it impacted foreign policy between 1945 and 1968. you're watching american history tv, normally seen only on the weekends here on c-span 3. we're showing these programs while congress is on break this month. in about an hour and a half, a couple of fills from our real america series. they're about life in 1968. the first one on preparing for a
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nuclear attack and how to survive it, if one actually happened. that's followed by a film on the start of nato after the soviet union blocked off east berlin. these programs are from our series "1968: america in turmoil." watch any time on our 1968 page. if you missed any of today's program, we'll show it again tonight at 8:00 eastern. wednesday, american history tv continues with the development of the automotive industry in the u.s. and how cars changed american life. thursday, martin luther king jr. we'll show a 50th anniversary commemoration from march. and friday, the world war i centennial ceremony and various aspects of the war from discussions at u.s. army heritage days. this sunday on "oral
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histories" we continue our series on women in congress with former democratic congresswoman ava clayton. >> my interest in the agriculture committee, my service and even my members' resistance to me but finally their acceptance of me. and they did. they did. you know, i earned -- i wasn't on that drafting committee only because i was a ranking member. i was on there also, i made a contribution. also their acceptance of me as an equal and many of them their acceptance of me as their superior allowed me to know that i could negotiate with the best of them. >> and in the weeks ahead we'll hear from helen bentley, barbara kennelly, nancy johnson and lynn woolsey. watch "oral histories" sunday at
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10:00 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3. america first was a term started during the 1916 presidential election when woodrow wilson used the slogan as well as he kept us out of war. next, historians talk about how america first thinking impacted u.s. foreign policy in the cold war, between 1945 and 1968. they talk about international trade policy, the rise of anti-communism and how conservative commentators came into prominence. the miller center in charlottesville, virginia, hosted this talk. it's an hour and a half. >> so,


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