Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency Harry S. Truman Russia the Cold War  CSPAN  August 25, 2018 12:00pm-1:49pm EDT

12:00 pm
presidency, the harry truman legacy >> panelist talk about the relationship with winston churchill. the u.s. position in berlin and the origins of nato, which mr. truman considered a signature accomplishment. the harry s. truman little white house and harry s. truman foundation both in key west, florida, co-hosted the event. this is the first of two parts. it's about two hours.
12:01 pm
>> well, thank you, and thank you all for being with us this morning. thank you for inviting me. it is my second trip and it is good to be back here. my presentation today is entitled the iron curtain speech, the sinews of peace and the power of prose. in the spirit of looking at original documents, randy, we're going to look at the near final draft of the iron curtain speech. this is the draft of the iron curtain speech that is in the collection of the national churchill museum, his train raid it was the draft that churchill was working on the day before he ride tohis train washington -- from washington, d.c. to missouri. he is making final edits and refinements to the great
12:02 pm
speech. we have this in our collection and we had it on view in an exhibition called the power of prose. it builds on that and gives us a chance to see churchill's mind, a great master of rhetoric and the great visionary when, about his thoughts of the cold war by looking at the primary source document. before we do that, i thought it would be appropriate to set the stage. before we talk about the cold war, it's probably good to start with the ending of the last war, world war ii before it. winston churchill led the allies to victory together with the americans and the russians, the big three, the alliance and and there were -- there was a terrific pageantry in may of day giving eve -- ve the famous v for victory sign.
12:03 pm
the triumph and end of world war two in europe and church hill took a victory lap on that occasion. americans forget that, there was a general election. arguably the most visible and popular figure perhaps in the world who one the war -- won the war and lost an election. before that, he attended the pot them conference -- conference out of berlin. it is the first time that harry truman and churchill met together. we have a photograph of the three looking stoic. . it is a good pretty cursor -- a good precursor to the cold war. the conference is interrupted when the election results in britain are announced and churchill's party loses the
12:04 pm
election. of course, the conference resumes and the new number three in the big three at potsdam. the loss of that general election for winston churchill was quite a blow. he really didn't think he would lose the election. he was nervous at the end, but he did, in fact, lose and this is the prime minister who had devoted five long years to the war effort in world war ii, led his nation, rallied his troops to victory and lost the election. his wife clementine said, winston, i think it's a blessing in disguise. he replied, well then it's very well disguised. [laughter] >> churchill moped about a little bit. took a painting holiday in italy to refresh his batteries and began to receive invitations to speak about woorld affairs from people all over the world
12:05 pm
including this invitation in the form of a typewritten letter, one page from the president of westminster college, frank mcclure. he was a westminster alumnus, class of 1918 who rose up to the 2 -- to be president and invited winston churchill to participate in the college's green foundation lecture, the john finley green foundation lecture. it was a bold move to be sure to ask the former prime minister to the middle of america in fulton, missouri, to speak and i think that this letter would have been given to a secretary politely said, i can't possibly come, tell them thank you, save for perhaps the most famous post-script in history and that post-script here you can read in harry truman's hand, this is a wonderful school in my home state, if you come, i will introduce you. best regards, harry truman. that post-script caught his attention.
12:06 pm
he knew if he was on the staple -- stage with the president of the united states, he would be back in the game. he accepted, the formal courtesy would to reply to the president of westminster college, i would be glad to come. churchill didn't do that, he wrote directly to the president of the united states who in turn let the college know he is coming. this is the letter from the archives from harry truman to frank mcclure saying get ready, march 5 is when winston churchill will descend upon fullton. winston churchill is a smart man, he comes to this location, south florida, in january 1946. he books passage on the queen elizabeth, the great cunarder to new york and makes his way down to miami beach where he relaxes, refreshes,paints, he was an avid painter. here is a painting he did of miami beach, the venetian causeway. he stays at the home of colonel frank clark and treated royally
12:07 pm
and uses the sunshine to refresh, relax and rejuvenate very much as harry truman did here in key west. churchill writes to frank mcclure finally from miami beach in january, so we're about a month out from the speech, the speech was march 5. this is the last part of january and he says, mr. mcclure, i'm looking forward to coming. i don't really know what i'm going to say, but it will be a speech of considerable importance. and it will be about world affairs and i'm going to discuss it with the president, thank you for the apples, they were delicious as you can see in the letter. churchill was very kind. then the speech happens. >> i have never met mr. churchhill personally until the berlin conference, mr. stall in, , mr. ween mr. stalin
12:08 pm
churchill and myself. i became very fond of both of them. they are men and they are leaders in this world today when we need leadership. it's a pleasure to me to introduce mr. churchill. he is one of the great men of the age. he is a great englishman. [applause] >> he is a great englishman, but he is half american. [applause] >> mr. churchill and i believe in freedom of speech. i understand that mr. churchill is going to talk on the sinews of peace. i know you have something constructive to say to the world in that speech. i am happy that he came here to deliver it. pleasuresof the best
12:09 pm
of my lifetime to be able to present to you that world citizen, winston churchill. >> so harry truman accompanied winston chill till from washington to jefferson city and by motorcade to fulton. there was a lot of poker played on that train for sure. harry truman showed his prowess in that arena. they arrived in westminster college on march 5 to a packed art of ternium, -- auditorium. fromymnasium had 27 people here to here. winston churchill and the president of the united states or the address. churchill had decided that his lecture will be entitled the sinews of peace. even though, up until two weeks before he said it would be something about world peace. that is published in the program.
12:10 pm
rhetorical moment of inspiration, he changes his title. as i mention i would like to look at the original document. here it is, this is the presentation copy that she gave to colonel clark, churchill's host in miami beach. we see this is a document that churchill was working on in the embassy in washington the night before they got on the train. as you can see, this is his presentation format. . texts into read from this prose style. he is working on these speeches. this is a carbon copy. you can imagine churchill reading the originals and joe taking notes in shorthand and making latin's -- last-minute additions to the speech. here is one of the first things of interest to churchill in the cold war.
12:11 pm
remember, he is a private citizen now, not prime minister, so he is free to say almost anything. that gives him power. in fact, he wants his audience to know that. >> let me make it clear that i have no official statements of any kind. i only speak for myself. there is nothing here but what you see. >> of course, the backdrop is this is what they see. they see the former prime minister of great britain on stage. sitting next to him is the president of the united states, harry truman. it certainly is a world platform and what you see is something of great significance. in the speech, he outlines the united states and british alliance and says that even in peace time, we must continue the anglo american relationship. he outlines his strategic concept as he puts it.this page in the speech is very
12:12 pm
interesting. it's the only original typewritten speech, it's not a carbon copy with notes on it. this is the thesis of the iron curtain speech outlining the strategic objective, too many notes at the last minute that she had to retype it in total. that's why there are slightly different type fonts. he talks about war and tyranny, the two marauders and the destruction of war. he outlines and gives a history of world war ii, the aftermath, the lingering impacts in his great rhetorical style. he talks about methods for achieving peace through the united nations in his speech, he outlines that's the way to go moving forward. he talks about the anglo-american alliance and also the need for that alliance and nato to have an armed air force. it's very clear that churchill says nato must have an air force where we can combine and share military resources to protect
12:13 pm
the freedoms and securities in the world. and churchill talks about this was a concept he originally thought of after world war i, it never materialized the way he had hoped. this was a chance to do it again and again, he says that nuclear weapons, now in the hands of the allies, canada, britain, and the united states ought to remain in those hands, not nato. he is very clear that the english-speaking peoples as he called them should be the custodians of the new nuclear arsenal, not nato. so he says air force for nato, but not nuclear capacity. he says that nuclear weapons should not under any circumstance fall into the hands of fascists or communists. this is the first page, he has mentioned communism. -- we are here on page he has
12:14 pm
15, mentioned communism. he is setting the stage. he is saying we must do whatever we can to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the communists. here he means russia and the soviet union. he talks about the merits of anglo-american values and says that through the magna carta, the trial by jury, the english common-law, they find our most famous expression in the declaration of independence. he notes here at the last minute, he puts the american declaration of independence. he knows his audience here in fulton. again, he is buttering up the audience with talk, very flourishing talk about freedom, democracy, and justice which found a welcome remarks in the fulton audience. and i'll skip ahead here to where he begins to say that
12:15 pm
there is risk of nuclear war without what he calls the special relationship. the term special relationship, the relationship between britain and the united states was coined in the iron curtain speech in fulton. he says without that special relationship, without these two super powers, churchill surely thought of great britain, even in its weakened position post-world war ii of being a super power because they had the nuclear arsenal, without the special relationship, there might be risk that the nuclear arsenal would fall into the communist hands. and here is where he begins to really put russia in the cross hairs. >> nobody knows the soviet and the communist international organization intends to do in the future, the limits if any to their expansive and proslytizing tendencies. >> nobody knows what russia is doing. churchill has a good idea.
12:16 pm
he goes on to say, some platitudes to stalin and the russian people but also some warnings. here is the famous phrase that he, for which the speech is commonly known. >> defended across the -- and iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line, the ancient states of central and eastern europe, warsaw, berlin, prague, vienna, budapest, belgrade, bucharest, all of these famous cities and the populations around them lie in the soviet sphere. and all are subject in one form or another, not only the soviet influence but to a very high and
12:17 pm
in some cases increasing measure of control from moscow. >> the one change, the last-minute change to this part of the speech is the short-hand, it originally said the population surrounds them lie in the soviet sphere and churchill personalizes this in what i must call the soviet sphere. churchill is taking this upon himself. if moscow's influence again is unchecked following the u.k. withdrawals and american withdrawals, stalin didn't take his troops back when the allies did and that was the iron curtain and here is when he appeals to the united states directly warning that in previous conflicts, they sent troops overseas and if there was not an important alliance, that would surely happen again.
12:18 pm
>> in our own lifetime we have seen the united states against that -- against arguments which it is impossible, it is impossible not to comprehend. twice we have seen them -- to -- into these wars in times to secure the victory, but only after devastation have occurred. >> interesting note about that passage in the speech. you hear churchill stumble across the words. he had a ferocious memory. he memorized most of his beaches. he had them mostly committed to memory. here with such a last-minute change the night before, he is almost as if -- this is not what i originally wrote. he is stumbling through those sentences there on page 37.
12:19 pm
and here is where churchill begins to really build to the great climax of the speech. he says the situation will not solve itself. >> and the longer this is delayed, the more general it will be and the greater our -- the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become. from what i have seen of our russian friends and allies during the war, i am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than weakness, especially military weakness. >> this thought was one that was adapted by the truman administration a year later.and -- and, finally churchill uses his , celebrity and his vision and remarks that during the 1930's before the outbreak of world war ii, he warned the world of the
12:20 pm
nazi menace. >> i cried aloud to my fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention.after the year 1933 or even 1935, germany might have been saved from the awful fate that has overtaken her and we may have all been spared from the miseries hitler had on let loose on mankind -- hitler's had let loose on mankind. it was never a boy more eager to prevent the dire actions the one that desolated such great areas of the government. it could've been prevented without firing of a single shot. >> so he is reminding that in the 1930's, it could have been prevented if they had only listened to my observations. here he is making observations,
12:21 pm
saying that soviets are the next threat to world peace. and now is the time. >> this can only be achieved by reaching out in 1946, this year, 1946, by reaching a good understanding on all points with russia under the general authority of the united nations organization. and by the maintenance of that good understanding through many peaceful years by the world instrument supported by the whole strength of the english-speaking world and all its connections. that is the solution which i respectfully offer to you in this address which i have given the title, the sinews of peace. >> note that the night before he he leaves on the train, the last minute, he puts that section into the speech aired it is
12:22 pm
almost as if he is finally titling it, in the last moment. it is that sinews of peace, the strength, muscles, things that join things together, sinews are things that bring things together, the anglo american relationship, the special relationship is what churchill is striving. that is the way to defeat tyranny and communism and that is what is outlined in the iron curtain speech. that is what churchill in his rousing finish says together, the two nations, britain and the united states can solidify and strengthen their existing alliance to meet the threats of the cold war ahead. >> if we had adapt faithfully and the strength of men, if all if all british moral and
12:23 pm
material forces and convictions are joined with your own in association, the high roads of the future will be clear.not --. not only for us, but for all. not only for for our time, but for a century to come. [applause] >> and so that's how winston churchill ends his iron curtain speech. immediate reaction was mixed. there was still some looming concerns that the soviets were our allies. even truman himself -- even truman distanced himself, even though he is clapping on stage. i did not see a copy of the speech beforehand. he said i did not know he was going to say all of that.
12:24 pm
a year later, truman and the rest of the world has fallen in line. they have begun to follow some of the provisions for the special relationship, but a strengthened nato, and a policy which outlined the policies of the cold war and remain through the 20th century. i can argue that the cold war began in earnest in a gymnasium in missouri on march 5, with the president of the united states and the former prime minister of great britain, both of whom were honorary degree recipients that finest ofinster's alumni and it did set into motion a number of things in this country and throughout the world that still had it rippling effects today. thank you for allowing me to do some archaeology of the iron curtain speech and we will take questions after the panel. thank you.
12:25 pm
[applause] >> that was outstanding. thank you. we are all reminded just by listening that it must be a thrill to give a talk like that because you just get to play speech and be reminded that there was such a andory of public service wrote many books. he was an accomplished artist and the power of oratory, if i myself had, none of you would be sleeping. what i find interesting is the findesting -- what i interesting is the relationship between the two men. fdr and churchill would great friends and then fdr dies. at chmen and truman meet
12:26 pm
postdam. because oferesting, the same moments, they are meeting for the same time and the trinity shot is going off in new mexico. to theuld be a lot portends of that relationship. we are doing the questions later . who is next? randi already introduced him, terrific archivist and someone has been helpful to me through the years. i'm proud to introduce randi. [applause] randy: thank you very much. i am randy sole, i'm an archivist at the harry s. truman library in missouri, a long way
12:27 pm
away from here. my topic is the berlin airlift but it is more specifically harry truman and the berlin airlift. i know a lot more about truman then i do about the airlift. they obviously are connected.this summer as you may know, this will mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the berlin airlift in 1948. it was quite likely the greatest achievement in the history of military aviation with the land and water routes into berlin, the divided city of berlin blocked by the russians, some 2,300,000 tons of coals and -- tons of food, coal and other supplies were carried and flown into berlin most by the united states air force with help from america's british and french allies. 77 persons lost their lives in the course of that operation -- operation. to this day, many of the streets
12:28 pm
in berlin are named after the men who died on behalf of the citizens of berlin. the airlift was truly the work of thousands of people, german civilians as well as military officers, crewmen and pilots, supply people. but the decision to carry it out was made by a single man, even in his lifetime, president harry s. truman was celebrated and criticized for his ability to make difficult decisions without delay and apparently without a second thought. dean atchison, his secretary of state wrote that truman was completely without "that most enfeebling of emotions, regret." truman himself was proud of his reputation for decisiveness and regarded a capacity for prompt decision-making as a crucial facet of leadership.
12:29 pm
as he wrote in retirement and i quote, the most dangerous course a president can follow in a time of crisis is to defer making decisions until they are forced on him and thereupon become inevitable decisions. events then get out of hand and take control of the president and he is compelled to overcome situations which he should have prevented. when a president finds himself in that position, he is no longer a leader, but an improviser who is driven to action out of ex-pedience." such unabashed statements tend to influence harry truman's remembrance as a bull in a china shop as far as international relations. truman telling off poor molotov in the oval office and supposedly starting the cold war. truman dropping atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasake without losing a night's sleep.committing military forces
12:30 pm
to korea with no declaration of war. when a marshall of yugoslavia threatened to occupy a city, truman responded and i quote, "tell the son of a bitch he'll have to shoot his way in." this blunt form of statecraft may appeal to many of us, but to the rest of us, it may seem impulsive, reckless, belligerent and even potentially dangerous. the popular image of truman as a knee-jerk, but in down hell dispenser, who treated the world as if it had given a talk of his daughter's singing, the -- does not coincide with the mild, considerate and thoughtful man was worshipped by the men in his cabinet and his white house staff. truman had a temper. but usually, he kept it in check. more importantly, he did not relish interpersonal conflict.
12:31 pm
as an example, early in his presidency he wanted to replace francis biddle as attorney general. even though he was president, he did not want to confront him face-to-face. he had a member of his staff call him and ask him to resign. the attorney general was insulted and insisted on a personal meeting with the president. truman invited francis biddle to the white house and apologized for the way he handled the whole thing. at his request, the attorney general agreed to resign. at the end, and he touched the president's shoulder. "you see, it's not so hard." but it was always hard for truman to fire people. he would face discomfort getting -- he would experience discomfort in getting rid of subordinates like the defense secretary johnson. actionsexamine truman's
12:32 pm
of the berlin crisis in 1949, superficially, they are in keeping with his reputation as a tough and defiant decision-maker. the record of his private statements in june, when the russians cut off access to berlin, leaves little room for doubt. he met with robert lovett, the secretary of the army. as the secretary of the army recorded in one diary when a , specific question was discussed as to what our future policy in germany was to be, namely were we to stay in berlin or not, the president interrupted to say there was no discussion on that point. we were going to stay, period. a state department memorandum determined steps
12:33 pm
should be taken by the u.s. to stay in berlin. day, george marshall sent a telegram to the u.s. embassy in london summarizing policy as determined i the president, the first point, we stay in berlin. truman ordered the air force to begin carrying supplies to west berlin. the airlift was underway, but only providing a portion of the city's daily needs when the president met with marshall on july 14, 1948. also present lovett, royal, and , the under secretary of the army. truman's diary entry is worth quoting. at first, the words in truman's diary bristle on the page, but conclude with right amusement and self-pity. " the meeting with marshall and jim forestall on the russian situation -- marshall thinks the facts in the situation we are
12:34 pm
faced. i made the decision 10 days ago to stay in berlin. and he underlined to those three words. jim wants to hedge. he always does. he is constantly sending me out -- alibi memos which i return with directions on the facts. we will stay in berlin, come what may. royal and jim have to come in later and i have to listen to a rehash of what i know already and reiterate mice day in berlin -- my stay in berlin decision. i do not pass the buck or alibi out of any decision i make your it on that sorry note he turns to discuss something else that happened that day, the funeral of general john pershing. "went to pershing's funeral at the marble amphitheater in arlington. the hottestdamn place. an impressive ceremony. this is the 10th time i planned to attend the general's funeral.
12:35 pm
it came off this time." now he starts to feel sorry for himself. " beth and margaret went to bed -- went to missouri at 6:30 p.m. god's time. i was sorry to see them go. i came back to the great white jail" that would be the white house -- read some papers and wrote this. it is hot and humid and lonely. why does anyone want to be the head of a state? damned if i know. i will pass the buck, nor do i alibi out of any decision i have to make. they reflect his pride, but also his resentment toward advisors who were suggesting perhaps a more cautious approach to the berlin crisis. note to the variations of that same phrase -- "we stay in berlin" -- appear no fewer than six times in the documents i
12:36 pm
have cited. the only inconsistency is that truman wrote in his diary that he had made the decision 10 days ago, when in fact he stated this basic rentable as far back as -- principal as far back as june 28, at the beginning of the crisis. it appears truman was making his position on berlin as clear as possible in private meetings, secret cables, and in his personal diary, but what was he saying about the berlin blockade in public? the answer, absolutely nothing. or almost nothing. on a july news conference, the president was asked what he thought about the berlin blockade. " i have no comment," he replied. he did not refer reporters to a -- he then referred reporters to a statement by the u.s. secretary of state the previous day, reaffirming the u.s. government to make every effort to stay in berlin.
12:37 pm
on july 15, truman went to the democratic national convention in philadelphia, and delivered a fiery speech accepting the nomination for president. this seemed to be a dramatic -- this seemed to be an ideal occasion for a dramatic occasion for denunciation of the russians and a forthright statement for america to defend its position in berlin. but truman did not even mention the berlin crisis in his speech. on july 22, it was time for another news conference. the first question was, mr. president what you make of the , situation in berlin? truman's response, "no comment." he was asked if he would discuss the berlin crisis in his special message to congress. "i will not," he said, and again repeated "i will not." later to an answer to a former inquiry, he referred reporters to a remark made by the separate -- the secretary of state. it is a remarkable for during
12:38 pm
the first three months of the berlin crisis, late june to late september, while the air support was increasing in intensity, negotiations between russia and the western allies dragged on. president truman never mentioned berlin in public statements. when repeatedly asked about the crisis, he responded by referring reporters to statements made by his secretary of state. that does not sound like give 'em hell harry. his public reticence in the face of what he must have regarded as russia's violation of american rights in germany is not in keeping with his popular image. it may be consistent with an interpretation of his actions offered by some historians. according to this view, when truman said, we stay in berlin, he did not really mean it. he was playing for time. keep in mind, we know his military advisers warned him the allies could not hope to supply berlin by error alone, -- by air
12:39 pm
alone, at least not during the winter months that loomed ahead. there was an alternative, which was urged by general lucius clay. an armed convoy. even clay admitted the use of an armed convoy raised the risk of war, and truman rejected that option the time being. -- for the time being. so, the airlift was seen, at least initially, as at best a temporary solution. if it failed, truman knew he would be faced with a terrible choice. abandon berlin or run the risk of war by resorting to more aggressive military action. the airlift, according to this view, allowed truman to postpone making a decision he did not want to make. but truman was lucky. the spectacular success of the
12:40 pm
berlin airlift, the success of pilots meant that he never had to make that decision. against all expectations, the western allies were able to fly in enough supplies to sustain the population of west berlin even in the winter of 1948-49. recognizing the failure of the gambit, the russians called off their blockade on may 12, 1949 to play -- to build up supplies in the city. the american and their allies continued their flight until september 30, 1949. according to this view, truman was still weighing his long-term options. even while saying we stay in berlin, he was holding in his mind the position of abandoning the u.s. position in berlin if if war was the only alternative. but why did he keep reaffirming
12:41 pm
to one adviser after another his determination to stay in berlin . why would he repeat and underline the words in his personal diary? he must've regarded it as a historic document, one doubts that he would've torn that page out later. it has been suggested by some historians that truman was kidding himself. according to this interpretation, his private bluster about staying in berlin was in marked contrast to his public stance on the subject. -- it reflected a personal obsession with appearing to be tough and decisive. some scholars have traced this obsession to the conditions of truman's early life and the circumstances under which he became president. young harry truman was something -- his father was a refuge farther. but young harry truman was something of a sissy, by his own admission, a scholarly boy who took piano lessons.
12:42 pm
a need for his father's approval may have led to a need to appear tough masculine. in 1945, this little man from missouri, who had never even attended college, was called upon to succeed a legendary political leader during a crisis -- during a period of great crisis. he tried to conceal his feelings of an from others and himself i projecting an image of toughness and confronting everything with a show of bellicose defiance. thus he has been described as "a man who compensated for his insecurities with calculated displays of decisiveness." more -- calculated displays of decisiveness -- decipher this -- decisiveness." to the point, daniel harrington has suggested that "truman believed that presidents must take charge of events, and his deep psychological need to see himself as a decisive leader
12:43 pm
caused him to exaggerate the firmness of his berlin policy, then and later." this psychological interpretation of harry truman as a little boy whistling past the graveyard of his own insecurities may be satisfying to some of us who disagree with decisions he made as president, but we must face the fact that truman probably would have made the same decisions even if he had been perfectly secure in his masculinity and free of self-doubt, if there was ever a president entirely free of self-doubt. for political leader, what is the real distinction between being tough and pretending to be tough? it may be worthwhile to recall the words of kurt vonnegut. "we are what we for 10 to be, so -- we are what we pretend to be, so we we must be very careful about what we pretend to be -- ."
12:44 pm
leaving aside posthumous psychoanalysis from moment, the -- for a moment, the fact is that truman repeatedly said the u.s. would stay in berlin a -- no matter what. the evidence that he really didn't mean it is, frankly, pretty flimsy. admiral william leahy, the military chief of staff, remembers truman telling him on june 29, a few days after the blockade began, that the u.s. would stay in berlin "as long as possible." on july 19, the secretary of defense recorded in his diary a statement to the effect that truman would stay in berlin and till all diplomatic means had been exhausted in order to come to some kind of accommodation to avoid war. a little more ambiguous. but these are recollections or interpretations by others of our -- of what truman said or meant during the first weeks of the crisis. they were obliged to point out -- they were -- they both represented the military and were obliged to point out to the
12:45 pm
president the limitation of american resources in europe and the hazards involved in any allied response to the russian blockade. i should also note that leahy, though he was greatly liked by truman, was the same man who predicted a few years earlier it would never go off. -- that the atomic bomb would never go off. i think truman never had the same amount of confidence in him after that. forstall is a different story. you can tell in the quote but i just read in a little while ago truman was beginning to lose , confidence in the man he selected as secretary of defense in 1947. he saw him as a increasingly indecisive. he did not understand that the strain and stress of office were beginning to tell on the man and less than a year later he was forced to resign and subsequently committed suicide,
12:46 pm
but truman did not know the extent of his problems in 1948. but he was beginning to lose confidence in him. their advice and counsel meant -- might not have meant that much to truman anyway. the recollections confirm that truman did not want to go to war with russia over berlin. this did not mean he would abandon the city without further military action, including possibly the use of armed convoys to resupply the city. it seems to me the following scenario is more plausible. truman's immediate reaction to the blockade is the position in west berlin would have to be maintained at all costs. this was reinforced by the events that occurred over the -- by the advice he received and events that occurred over the next five weeks. at a meeting of the national security council in july, general clay told the president the abandonment of berlin would have a disastrous impact on american plans for western germany and therefore the economic reconstruction of western europe.
12:47 pm
clay went on to say "if we move out of berlin, we have lost everything we are fighting for." "the president stated that this was also his opinion." truman did not want a war for berlin, -- over berlin, but he a good reason to believe the russians did not want a war either. he received a secret memo from the director of intelligence reporting on a recent meeting between a group of russian officials headed by a russian and a grouparshall of industrialists. how the cia got this information, i have no idea. the germans warned the russians that the blockade would have a devastating effect on sugar refining, fishing, and other industries. according to the memo, sokolovsky expressed consternation, having been led to believe that the used could -- that the east could be
12:48 pm
independent of the west. the russians were warned that the steel mills could not function without supplies from the west. the memo states that the russians appeared greatly shocked, and one general declared, if we had known this, we would not have gone so far. one of the russians in the memo is quoted as aiding flatly that -- as saying flatly that a war with western allies would be impossible because of economic conditions and bad harvest prospects. general clay agreed with this assessment. he told truman that he did not think the russians were planning for war, noting there had been no troop movements are other signs to indicate they were preparing for war. in the event of hostilities, clay told the president the russians have about 360,000 ground and air personnel in germany compared to an ally force of 210,000. obviously, a disadvantage from the allegory of you, but not an
12:49 pm
-- point of view, but not an overwhelming one. the allies possessed a rep in -- a weapon that the russians did not have. truman understood, as kennedy did during the cuban missile crisis, that under tense circumstances, an action could lead to war even if neither side wanted it. it was this risk that caused him to reject clay's proposal of an arm -- an armed convoy. he did deploy b-29s to europe. they were well known as the airplanes that dropped atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki. they were not equipped with atomic weapons, but those know there was no way for the russians to know this. he was determined to stay in berlin, as truman said repeatedly, he did not flail at the russians with rhetoric, however tempting it may have been to do so. surely he was not reticent because he was holding out the possibility of abandoning the
12:50 pm
city. rather i think he was hoping negotiations would go forward. he believed the russians were bluffing, using the currency in sectors of western religion as an excuse to force the western allies out of the city without without an armed conflict. in other words, truman was not employing the berlin airlift as an unwelcomepone choice between abject surrender and world war iii. he'd already made his decision about berlin. he also wanted to avoid war, and he had good reason to think it could be avoided. ultimately, the success of the airlift enable the president to that -- that enabled the president to achieve both of his objectives. in all likelihood, truman's actions during the blockade would have been the same if his father had been an interior decorator instead of england
12:51 pm
ule trader.ll -- m we will never know what would've happened if the airlift had failed to supply west berlin, anymore than we would know what kind of emails truman would exchange or whether tweets skype session between truman and stalin would have made things worse. it was a different time. truman, in his response to be -- the berlin blockade was seeking tothem -- employ all measure short of war -- of war not in impulsive, , reckless manner, but at the same time, not wavering from his commitment to maintain the allied position in berlin. his commitment to that position, as well as his desire to achieve it through peaceful negotiation
12:52 pm
contributed to what was ultimately the united states and the war, -- the world a successful outcome of the berlin crisis 1.0, i guess we would call it today. thank you. [applause] >> outstanding. thank you. i will say from my own research, it is such a fascinating thing to look back and will us, at -- and realize, at the the time all of this is happening, the cia is a brand-new organization and all these brilliant people in washington are creating think pieces and singing them to the president. i have some of them with me today. they are interesting. i will make this brief because i know we have to move on, but
12:53 pm
just how close, what did they think what was going to happen was something you just addressed. in 1948, this is what the cia said. " the preponderance of evidence derived from the logic of the situation supports the conclusion that the ussr will not resort to direct military action during 1948." if you turn the page, however, you will read what the cia thought of the soviet military, exactly how strong it was, and how bad it would be if things went the wrong direction. we talked about james forestall. one of the interesting things i , would say the most interesting thing i pulled from his diary just in my own head was looking at the situation and thinking if things go wrong -- we had the -- we had -- he says in his diary that we had the bomb and soviets did not. he thought that if we did have a war, even our possession of the
12:54 pm
atomic bomb could not stop the soviet military from conducting warfare against us. that is how bad things could have gone. thankfully, it did not go that way. let me see who we have next. pardon me for a second. i'm sorry. dr. leffler? ladies and gentlemen, melvin leffler of the university of virginia. [applause] prof. leffler: it is a pleasure to be here again. the comments i have today about truman and the united states and the origins of nato follow-up on my remarks in a longer address about the origins of the cold war. once again, i am going to focus on the origins of nato, the
12:55 pm
united states, and the origins of nato, and sort of a big theme i want to argue, a big theme i want to emphasize -- nato, of course, was one of truman's major accomplishments. one of his greatest achievements was nato. the point i want to stress is he entered the alliance. he signed the atlantic treaty -- the north atlantic treaty reluctantly under relentless pressure from the british and the french. let me create the context for this. truman was not eager to incur strategic amendments in europe.
12:56 pm
-- commitments in europe. or anywhere else in the world. truman was imbibed with the basic american tradition. what was the basic american tradition? no entangling. george washington had warned against in tangling alliances in his farewell address. thomas jefferson had warned against entanglements. of course, the united states had been an associated power during world war i -- and associated power, not an ally -- offense in -- of france and britain during world war i. and, of course the united states had been part of the great alliance that had triumphed over the nazis in world war ii. at the end of the war, most americans, including president truman wanted to be free of obligations.
12:57 pm
when he went to the potsdam conference in summer of 1945, when he first met churchill, the talk we heard about a few minutes ago, and you read truman's diary, he was this -- he was suspicious, not only of stalin, but also churchill. he did not like foreigners. he wanted to promote american interest, and he said that again and again and again. and that was indicated when churchill gave that remarkable address at westminster college in february 1946, president truman was unhappy about the invitation to join an alliance with great britain. he always suspected the british, whether it be churchill or bevan, were trying to trick the united states into doing something that might not comport
12:58 pm
with basic american interests. so, truman wanted to be free of engagements and obligations and in that respect he represented the will of most americans. this was extenuating in the fall -- this was accentuated in the fall of 1946. when the republicans won a smashing the electoral victory and gain control of the house of representatives and the united states stand -- senate. the republicans definitely did not want commitments in europe. they did not embrace any degree of the american alliance. -- of an anglo-american alliance. one of the important things the truman administration had done in early 1946 was to extend, the
12:59 pm
a major loan to great britain. that was one thing that was really important to a nation facing a financial crisis. truman did embrace the loan. he supported the loan. but it engendered tremendous amounts of republican criticism, and truman took this electoral victory for what it was, and it was a commitment by the american people and the republicans to focus on what we will now -- what we would now call "america first. " but as i claimed in my talk last night, in early 1947, truman became aware of the huge and transformation of conditions going on in the world. he will understood the need
1:00 pm
to shore up the anglo american presence in the eastern mediterranean. when the british announced they were pulling out of the eastern mediterranean, and would not support greece or the turks, both of whom were under pressure, truman understood the worsening economic situation in western europe and early 19th the seven, and of course, he announced the truman doctrine in march 1947, and he followed this up in june of 1947 by supporting marshall's famous commencement address to help expedite for the united states to provide huge loans to europe, to expedite the economic recovery of western europe, and undercut the support that local communist parties in france and italy and greece had the idea of
1:01 pm
the european recovery program was to promote the reconstruction of europe, and thereby undercut the support that local communist parties had been able to garner in 1945 and 1946 and early 1947, where often, they were either the leading political party in france and italy, or the second political party in france and italy. in perfectly free elections. the european recovery program was designed to revive the economies of western europe and undercut support for local communist parties. but the european recovery program also was focused significantly on the recovery of the western zones in
1:02 pm
germany, the zones not under soviet control. the french had a little zone, the british had a major zone in the industrial heartland of germany, and the americans had an important zone. the idea of european recovery program was to transform america's policy towards the western zones of germany to begin to increase the level of industrial production in western germany, to turn over the management of the vital coal mines in western germany in the ruhr part of germany to german management in order to capitalize recovery so that western germany's recovery would help bring about and affection away to the rest of europe. this
1:03 pm
was a key component of the european recovery program. of the marshall plan. we often forget how important the western zones of germany were to the revival of western europe. keep forget how important the western in mind, however, that these initiatives, these initiatives toward western germany engendered anxiety throughout europe, not only in the soviet union, not only in poland, but also these initiatives triggered enormous anxiety in france, in holland, and great britain.
1:04 pm
everyone in europe in 1947 was traumatized by the war that had just ended. and everyone in europe feared the revival of german power over the long-term. everyone was aware, right, within their lifetimes, everyone was aware that in 1917 and 1918, germany had been defeated, supposedly disarmed, and within a generation, germany not only recovered, hitler had taken control and within 22 years or so, germany dominated the entirety of the european continent, occupied all of western europe and very large parts of eastern europe and soviet russia. that was the memory of all policymakers in
1:05 pm
europe and all people in europe in 1947. so there was tremendous worry about the implications of the marshall plan. for people in western europe, the marshall plan and the initiatives towards western germany also conjured up the reality of the possibility of soviet countermeasures, countermeasures like the blockade of berlin that we just heard about, countermeasures that could actually lead to a series of initiatives back and forth, that could culminate in war. people were worried about the possibility of war with
1:06 pm
russia in the short run, and the long-term danger of the revival of german power. nobody was more worried about this than the british foreign minister, ernest bevin. bevin was worried about it because he believed that the revival of germany, or the western parts of germany, demanded security commitments by the united states in order to ensure both the british and the french against the revival of german power. but most of all, he was in constant conversation with the french in paris, and the french made clear to the british foreign minister that they would not go along with the initiatives in western germany
1:07 pm
without additional strategic commitments by great britain and by the united states. and french cooperation in the european recovery program was vital to its success, not only in terms of france, but in terms of the fact that the french controlled a small sector inside the western parts of germany, and you needed french cooperation and collaboration in order to agree to the revival, or to the uplifting of the level of industrial production in western germany, which was under control of the allied openers, the french -- governors, the french, the british and the americans. you needed french cooperation. you needed french cooperation in order to bring about currency reform in western germany. you needed to have french
1:08 pm
cooperation if you wanted to return the coal mines to german management, and the french demanded additional guarantees of their security. the french worried about 2 things. the french worried about the revival of german power long-term, and they were also extremely worried that these initiatives in western germany could provoke soviet countermeasures that would lead to war. bevin, the british foreign minister, in order to reassure the french, initially proposed what was called the western european union to the french. indeed, that was signed in early 1948. as the initiatives began to take place to revise western policy towards the western zones in
1:09 pm
germany, bevin negotiated with the french, the dutch, an agreement that called for british commitments, mutual commitments to defend britain, france, the netherlands, they'll jump and luxembourg. that was the western european union. the french demanded this, but they demanded more. the french demanded that the united states commitment -- commit itself to the defense of western europe. bevin agreed with this. his idea was to bring in the united states, to bring in canada, and also to bring in the british dominions. bevin exercised a tremendous amount of pressure on the truman administration to sign commitments and a treaty to
1:10 pm
guarantee the defense of these western european nations, all of whom would be collaborating in the marshall plan, in the european recovery program. but the truman administration, and truman himself, in early 1948, was ambivalent about going along with this. he was ambivalent, even though many of his key advisers were telling him, you need to do this . if the recovery program is going to be successful, if you are going to get the french to agree to this, you must make commitments are you truman himself, as i just said, was uncertain whether this was the right policy. and he was increasingly uncertain during the summer of 1948, when the berlin blockade was underway. he was uncertain because he also knew there was a forthcoming election, and he didn't know if
1:11 pm
he could get republican support. quietly, behind-the-scenes, the very, very influential under a secretary of state, robert lovett, was meeting all the time with the republican leader in the senate, arthur vandenberg, to try to get vandenberg's cooperation and collaboration on a bipartisan policy that would support american commitments in western europe. truman, in the late spring and summer of 1948, decided to support what was called the vandenberg resolution, that would provide america's commitment. eventually, the united states
1:12 pm
would sign such a treaty, but truman was hopeful to get through the election of 1948 before this happened, because he knew this would be an incredibly controversial commitment, even though vandenberg, the republican leader in the senate, supported it. the other major republican figure, who was running for president, was robert taft, who was not supportive of an american commitment to europe. however, the blockade itself, that we just heard about, and truman's commitment to stay in berlin, and the tensions that this aroused during the summer of 1948, and the possibility that conflict might arise, impelled truman and his advisers to say yes, we really need to make this commitment. we need to make this
1:13 pm
commitment to the french and the europeans. if our recovery program is ultimately going to be successful. we need to reassure the french that we will defend them if war breaks out, and the possibility of war, lb at unlikely, judged -- albeit unlikely, was more and more of a possibility. the french kept saying these initiatives that you and the british are supporting might lead to war. what is going to happen if there is war? yes, the united states will win in the long run, no doubt about it in 1948. but in the short run, what would happen? soviet armies would conquer all of western europe in the short run before ultimately, the soviet union would be
1:14 pm
defeated. the french said, we need assurance that you will defend us should these initiatives breakout. and the french said, we want assurance that if war does not breakout, and german power revives in the long run, that you will come to our defense if we again have to deal with the specter of german domination of europe. and those are the factors that led truman, after the election of 1948, to move decisively ahead with the signing of the north atlantic treaty. the north atlantic treaty had two purposes. we often think of it mostly as a deterrent against the soviet union. but when you look at the negotiations that were underway all through 1948, you see that a
1:15 pm
major preoccupation was to reassure western europeans, and the british, about the revival of german power. that was deemed indispensable in order to expedite the recovery of all of western europe, which is what the british and the americans wanted. of course, in 1948, at the same time, people were uncertain about what would be the long-term consequences about the revival of german power. and a north atlantic treaty was aimed at reassuring europeans about the revival of german power. at the same time, the north atlantic treaty had provisions that provided for the possibility that over time, the
1:16 pm
newly emerging west german state itself would be able to join nato. when nato was formed, germany was not part of it. western germany was not part of it. but americans hoped that eventually, western parts of germany, and what would become west germany, would not only be integrated into the marshall plan and the european recovery program, but that western germany eventually would become part of the north atlantic treaty organization, part of the nato alliance. the intent of this was to both use german power to defend against the possibility of a soviet attack in the future, but the other part of nato was to integrate and co-opt german power for the western alliance. let me add a coda to this. at the end of the
1:17 pm
cold war, in 1988 and 1989, this whole issue about germany reemerged. it reemerged after the fall of the berlin wall. after the fall of the berlin wall, it became clear that eastern germany and western germany would be integrated into one nation. and in 1989, there was still enormous concern and apprehension about the revival of german power. margaret thatcher was stridently opposed to the unification of germany in 1989. she still feared, she
1:18 pm
still had the memories of world war ii on her mind, as did many brits. what was so interesting was that in 1989, one of the selling points of george h.w. bush, both to mikael gorbachev and margaret thatcher, was that nato existed precisely to integrate and co-opt german power. the indispensable requirement for the united states in late 1989 and early 1990 in the negotiations with gorbachev over the unification of germany was that germany must, a unified germany must be inside the nato. president bush in 1989 and 1990's all that --
1:19 pm
saw that position -- sold that position to gorbachev and the british by saying an integrated germany, co-opted inside the atlantic alliance, inside nato, as well as inside the western european union, a united germany integrated would have its power co-opted and controlled so that germany's neighbors in europe could be reassured that germany, again, would not be the same type of threat as it had been in 2 world wars. the importance of nato was that it both deterred the possibility of a soviet attack, and it reassured europeans about the revival of german power. however grudgingly
1:20 pm
truman initially was about it, he embraced nato and it became one of the signal -- the signature achievements of the truman administration. thank you. [applause] >> we are going to do some questions, i think. outstanding. thank you very much. i think we are going to, how are we doing on time? we are
1:21 pm
good? if it is ok, i have a question for each that might get the conversation started. then we encourage you to come up with questions. maybe we can go in reverse order. i think particularly the young people in the room might be fascinated, someone who has written so much about the cold war, how strong the communist party was within the united states in the early days. dr. leffler, can you speak to that? >> the communist party at this time in the mid to late 1940's was almost nonexistent, totally impotent. the short answer to your question -- >> can we address the 1948 campaign of henry wallace? >> well, i mean, i, are you suggesting henry wallace was a communist? >> i am suggesting people have made the argument that the communist party was stronger than people today think. so much so that they might have a >> there were plenty but, they didn't garner all that much support, and certainly, wallace appealed to the progressive wing of the democratic party, and
1:22 pm
definitely, wallace appealed to people, for example, in the south, who supported what we would say is the beginning of the civil rights movement and racial integration. as a result of that, wallace was often charged with being a communist, garnering the support of communists who wanted racial integration. that was the way the segregationists targeted and tarnished the champions of racial integration in 1940 eight and 1949. but to answer your question directly and succinctly, the communist party had no significant power whatsoever in the united states in the late 1940's. >> excellent. i had this wonderful experience in the truman library where an archivist brought out a
1:23 pm
package of cigarettes that belonged to joseph stalin. the cigarettes were strange. they looked different than american cigarettes and they had soviet writing on them. i think this is a way to get into how extraordinary the archives are there. might i ask what some of the more surprising things we might find there, even if they are not on display? >> well, the portrait of harry s truman on the head of a pin is hard, it is hard to exceed that. the obvious question is, why would anybody want to execute a portrait of truman on the head of a pin? but
1:24 pm
somebody did and we have it. you mentioned stalin's cigarettes, which i think were liberated by somebody at the conference, so when he wasn't looking, perhaps he was still sullen over the outcome over the british election and couldn't understand how the british new would win the election before it happened. in all the elections he was in, he won easily. he was frustrated when churchill didn't come back and he lost an election. how could you not have known that? anyway, i think we have a lot, you mentioned the cigarettes. we have amelia earhart's pilots license. not sure why, but we have that. we have all kinds of gifts given to president truman as head of state, and as a private citizen. i mentioned the pin portrait as an extreme example of artworks in honor of president truman. to answer your question more briefly, mr. and mrs. truman never threw anything away. when we got access to the
1:25 pm
papers after margaret truman daniel died, and the papers were donated to the library, we found a bank note, checks dating back to the 1920's and 1930's, all their utility bills, all the stuff you put in your shoebox at home and throw away eventually, they never threw anything away. we are glad they didn't. we have marvelously minute documentation of the personal and private lives of mr. and mrs. truman. not the most colorful, they were a couple people who didn't spend a lot of money. one thing we found out was mr. truman had more money than we thought he did, basically he wasn't totally poor. they never spent any
1:26 pm
money. so they saved up all the allowance they had from their white house years. they were able to save a lot of presidential salary, which was a lot of money. they were in good shape by the 1950's. they weren't ready for the poor house, although they didn't have any income until the presidential pension at was passed. there are a great variety of papers that still come to light occasionally, photographs, things that were in somebody's attic and we had never seen before. we are finding things all of the time. we have a remarkable collection. >> it is remarkable, the work that the archivists do. when i am painting a portrait of harry truman, when he comes president, i can did in the archives and know how much money was in his bank account because all of that exists. i can see his checkbook from august 8, 1945, as we are repairing to baum nagasaki. -- preparing to bomb nagasaki. he
1:27 pm
had to write checks for groceries. he is sitting at his desk, and we have the checks with his signature. it is extraordinary. the work they do has to do with the important documents that tell the story of our nation's history in a real way. the fact that they exist is a privilege and says a lot of out our way of life and transparency in government. that work is important and i thank you. mr. riley? thank you for an excellent talk. i think that, for me personally, i feel like i can't underestimate the degree to which the ability of churchill and truman to get along personally, and find a human connection with each other, how important that was to the history of the world at the time, because coming out of world war ii, the interest of the united kingdom and the united states suddenly, after
1:28 pm
this great alliance, were not the same. i think it was the ability of these two people to find a personal connection that really helped us in the future. do you agree? can you talk about that relationship and the narrative of it as it evolved? >> from a churchillinan perspective, from 1940-1945 -- >> i'm sorry, can you hear? >> i will move forward. from 1940-19 45 and 1946, for churchill, the warriors, it was a great transformation of his country. britain was a power and 1940, stood alone in the war. by the end of the war, britain was a distant third partner in the big three. the americans were truly the most powerful country. churchill wooed roosevelt to enter the war and support the invasion, but by the time truman comes into the picture,
1:29 pm
churchill is not wooing, he is begging for support. he needs american financial support, american military support. the iron curtain speech, in the text, in some ways, he is saying, britain has this wonderful past. we can still help but i know you are the power. churchill is looking to really lift himself up by being associated with the americans, whereas earlier, it was bringing the americans in twitter leading power. it was an interesting powershift for churchill. the
1:30 pm
fact that he and truman got long very -- got along very well, there was nothing like a potsdam conference to get to know each other, and the train journey before the iron curtain speech, they talked about a variety of things. they played poker. there was a great luncheon. they spent less than 24 hours in fulton, but they certainly got along very well, and even though truman's reaction to the speech was guarded after the iron curtain speech, throughout the rest of their lives, even when truman was out of office, truman had great respect for what happened in fulton. lots of things in the archives are about that. after churchill died, truman wrote glowingly of his relationship with churchill. that special relationship between two men, not just two
1:31 pm
countries, that was established in 1940 five and 1946 lingered and was important. >> i would question the whole idea of a special relationship between truman and churchill. there has been a vast amount of scholarship on the roosevelt-churchill relationshipthere has been a vast amount of scholarship on the relationship, which in some ways was a special relationship, but there is a huge amount of incredibly persuasive scholarship to support exactly what we just heard. churchill wanted a special relationship, roosevelt always was dubious and skeptical about it. the anglo-american special relationship, as the british love to call it, as churchill loved the color, was fraught with elements of competition, as well as elements of cooperation.
1:32 pm
in 1945 and 1946, i mean, i have looked through these diaries and the idea that truman had this special religious with churchill is implausible. he said, phooey the british are coming in here, and there is mr. churchill this and stalin that -- there is no sense that truman has any special feeling toward churchill, or toward his successor. and then there is actually virtually, as far as i know, no correspondence between them. in september, october, december, 1945, then suddenly this proposal comes up, the possibility of churchill coming to full, which truman definitely embraces. he was consulted before hand, i think he even saw a draft of the speech before hand. and was happy about the fact that churchill raised the
1:33 pm
specter of an iron curtain and highlighted the possibility of a soviet threat to all of europe. truman embraced that, but he didn't like the idea of a special anglo-american alliance at all. and i think in the months after the fultinon speech, once again i do not think there is any real correspondence between truman and churchill. later on there is this glorification come absolutely what you said is right, but it is sort of the revival of this -- in people's memory -- it was not at all salient at the time. ther was noe special relationship in 1945, 46 and 47. >> i will agree. there is a wonderful letter that human rights, where he says he is having more trouble with churchill than with
1:34 pm
stalin. and again, i think that the relationship was so much more important on the other side of the pond in the think is what you are saying. >> churchill needed truman a lot more than truman needed churchill. the appeared presence -- the mere presence and the rhetoric that churchill could bring to an occasion, the attention he could bring was something that was extraordinary. >> absolute. >> i encourage questions from the floor. i think we have a microphone over there, and one over there. >> good morning. my question is for mr. self. -- osouth. hello. >> technical difficulties >>. >> it is working now. >> i want to thank you and the other panelists for your presentation. my name is danny fernandez and i join you today as a masters in literature
1:35 pm
student. i noted you compared truman's berlin airlift to that of the cuban missile crisis. are they to moment similar? considering the lectures, the threat of war with russia was always on the tail end of every initiative and consideration of all the leaders, but here the cuban missile crisis was one instance of near nuclear war caused by a moment of aggression by the united states, and not a bluff of b-52s carrying rations, than bombs of total in our nation. cuba and west germany were distinct, the former went through a communist revolution and the latter, a democratic reconstruction. again, heidi you
1:36 pm
believe these moments -- how do you believe these modes can be similar, when the cia supported a military force to take on castro's regime? >> i do not think they are similar in every respect, but in the sense that candy and truman -- and that kennedy and a truman had a certain basic objectives. in these crises. truman's was insistence on maintaining the american position in west berlin, the allied position in west berlin. he was convinced that to give that up would be
1:37 pm
devastating. and i think that his basic position, regarding cuba was he wanted the russian missiles out. and neither kennedy in 1962, or truman in 1948, wanted war. i think they both wanted to avoid it. but they took actions that were restrained. instead of launching an armed convoy across and into germany to resupply west berlin by force, truman opted for the airlift. kennedy, instead of doing what a lot of his advisor suggested, military advisers especially, was the bomb cuba and blow them missile sites before they became operational, he listened to the advice of his brother and others whose adjusted that a blockade, excuse me, a quarantine of cuba would
1:38 pm
be a less risky alternative. there was more riding on the missile crisis. i think you alluded to the fact that by 1962 the stakes were much higher for the world as a whole, because the two powers, both of which possessed nuclear weapons, and it would've resulted in a terrible loss of life if something had happened. which i think neither side wanted. but that is the extent of the comparison. i think obviously there are vast differences between the situation in germany and the situation in cuba. >> thank you very much. randy: you are welcome. >> sir? >> yes, my name is tim and i have from key west. several years ago, we organized something about what truman did during 1940,
1:39 pm
including the berlin airlift, and we had the privilege of bringing in to talk colonel halverson, who i know you are familiar with. what he did, he was a young pilot during the airlift and without asking permission he came up with the idea of dropping candy for the children of berlin. and over the course of the -- and ultimately they said, go ahead. they dropped 22,000 tons of candy for the children of berlin, and american students with the help -- they would wrap it in handkerchiefs and use it as parachutes. and when he would go over to berlin to drop the candy, he would wiggle the wings of the airplane, and when i was trying to promote attendance at
1:40 pm
the vfw here i asked whether anybody was -- and there was a gentleman he raised his hand and said he was in berlin during the time of the airlift as a young child. and i said, what is your name? he said, my name is dennis and i was amazed. i said kumar you frank howl ey's son? sure enough, he was. frank, working under general clay, he was the head of the allied forces in berlin itself. and he did a remarkable, remarkable job. and to here his son lives in key west. >> i would say, one thing about the berlin airlift that has not been stated today, and it is very significant, although we do not have to focus on it, was that the soviet union and
1:41 pm
stalin made no effort to interfere with the airlift. and that was critical to its success. if the soviets had interfered with the airlift, it almost definitely would've led to a major war. but the soviets did not. and i think that relates to the basic insight you are talking about, that harry truman had. even more than his most important defense and military advisers, harry truman had the intuition that the soviets would back down. most intelligence analysts in the summer of 1948, and i have reviewed almost all of these intelligence assessments, actually said that the soviets
1:42 pm
are not likely to go to war. but james forrestal, the secretary of defense, was a little unsure about that. so was marshall, the secretary of state. but most analysts, and general clay himself, said i am so sure the soviets will not go to war i am willing to sit on the airfield in germany in order to demonstrate that. but the key point was that truman really felt that we should stay in berlin. i agree totally, we will stay in berlin. and he understood that the soviets understood that the united states had overwhelming power and would not challenge that power, which is they did not challenge. they allow the airlift to go on. >> that is true, they did not interfere
1:43 pm
with the airlift to the extent of actually shooting down airplanes. they tried in various ways to intimidate the pilots by flying close to them, some stunts, but it never went beyond that. the other thing all mention is mr. halverson has visited the truman library, the candy bomber, and he is a very nice man. he is the kind of man who came up with the idea on his own, as he was thinking of the children in a terribly depressed country, a war-torn country, and how to make it easier for them. and when he was there one person on our staff then and now, after his talk, came up and thanked him. he is a german, a native of germany, and he said he wanted to thank mr. halverson for what he had done for the german
1:44 pm
people. that was applied not merely to the candy, but to the other goods they brought over at great risk. >> questions? sir, please. >> is this one working? >> yes. >> i am rocky gaston. i am a retired u.s. air force flight officer. i cannot believe how small this world is. i graduated from new york university. i belonged to a fraternity there, my brother was dennis howley. and his older brother, peter. both were in the air force with me, together. and i met general -- the general, he was an alumni of the fraternity and he came to visit us. had a charisma you cannot believe. this is one thing about traveling around the world, the coincidences you come across. and that is touching. i still
1:45 pm
correspond and him close with dee today, in california, and of course dennis lives here. that was -- one of the things you brought up was about the communism after the communism rise, after world war ii. and it wasn't significant, but it was a rise that was probably -- the communist party with the strongest in the unites states -- no? in the 1930's, it was popular. >> no comparison between the support for the communist party in the united states in the 1930's, with support for it in the late 1940's. >> one of the things you did bring up, wallace was colorful. i can remember him. wasn't there a man named norman
1:46 pm
thomas? he was the head of the communist -- the actual communist party. >> the socialist party. >> was it? >> it was. >> he ran four times. htthey asked if he was going to run again. he said no, everything has a ready been instituted from my platform -- has already been instituted from my platform. you brought up yesterday that the rise of communism at that time -- >> it was a very different situation in france and in italy and greece, where the communist party was extremely influential. >> greece was common is for several years, for about three years? >> right after the war, actually the commonest were never in control. the
1:47 pm
conservatives were. but a civil war broke out and it went on for about 14 years. >> yeah. i mean, it was more serious than i think you give us the impression of. i thought we were in control of that war for a while. but anyway, the fact that the socialist party. i always thought it was the communist party. but i thought it was interesting that norman was asked why he would it run for a fifth term, and he said everything has been instituted from my platform. [laughter] anyway, that was -- >> on the subject of the communist united states, we have in our archives a host of letters that came in after the iron curtain speech.
1:48 pm
people saying, congratulations and so forth. there is one folder in one of our boxes labeled crackpot letters. [laughter] and in that file there is a letter from one of the communist organizations in san francisco, saying how dare you bring winston churchill to do this. and we have one letter in the archives. >> i will say that i researched the dewey papers and there was a folder there also called crackpot letters. >> mr. truman wrote the file on those letters when he wanted them to go to that, then not file, and -- nut file, and he would pass them along. sometimes they are strange comments, sometimes things out of the ordinary. >> i think we


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on