tv The Presidency Eisenhowers Influence on Ronald Reagan CSPAN April 4, 2020 12:05pm-1:11pm EDT
kopelson discusses dwight eisenhower's influence on one of -- on ronald reagan. we will hear audio clips of mr. reagan talk about mr. eisenhower and echoing his political views. mr. kopelson is the author of reagan's 1968 "dress rehearsal." the pepperdine school of public policy hosted the event. [crowd conversations] >> ok, we are going to get started. good evening. i am pete peterson, dean of the pepperdine's graduate school of public policy. it is a pleasure to welcome you here this evening to our calabasas campus for tonight's discussion with dr. gene kopelson on the relationship of -- between ike and president
reagan. that may be some of you who are reagan aficionados may not have known was influential in reagan's overall political career and a relationship that influenced many of the views he became so widely known and praise for throughout the 1980's. some of you probably do know president reagan had a long-standing and deep relationship with pepperdine university. in fact president reagan, first , as governor, but then as president, made over half a dozen trips to our malibu campus and also to downtown los angeles and beverly hills for events in support of pepperdine university. i know our speaker tonight is going to be talking about some of those in the beginning of his lecture this evening. but one of those that jumps out at me, a few weeks ago, we had
our annual pepperdine associates dinner in beverly hills at the beverly wilshire. this was on february 9 of 2020. in her remarks in talking about the future of pepperdine under our new president, our chancellor, sarah jackson, remarked that very night, february 9, was the 50th anniversary to the night when then-governor reagan spoke at an event called the birth of a college, which was the announcement of the building of the pepperdine campus here over the hill in malibu. that night, again as governor, president reagan was so popular that not only did he speak at one event at the beverly hilton, he also spoke at a second event at the beverly hills hotel.
between the two events, 3400 people turned out to hear then-governor reagan talk about the birth of a college, which was the building, the plan and vision for building a campus in malibu, california. he returned on several occasions, planted, when we opened the campus, a fledgling tree, which was named by then-president davenport known as the reagan bush, which has since grown into a 40 foot tall cedar tree. no, it still exists. it still does. again, a long time relationship with president reagan. so, when the opportunity came through some friends, i got
connected with gene kopelson, to learn about this run for the presidency 12 years prior to his 1980 run but also this particular relationship with another legendary republican president. that being dwight david eisenhower. i leapt at the opportunity. dr. jean colson is actually an md and not a ph.d. kopelson is a renaissance man. he is a well-known and renowned cancer doctor. he ran the cancer center at yale university for two decades has had this abiding interest in president reagan, which has led to a number of different writings, including the book we will be discussing tonight, "reagan's 1968 dress rehearsal." ike, rfk, and reagan's emergence as a world statesman. without any further ado, please welcome to the stage dr. gene kopelson. [applause]
dr. kopelson: thank you all for coming out this beautiful california evening and thank you to dean peterson, to melissa espinosa and professor ed larson as well. i very much view the 1980's, the age of president reagan, as a golden age. i set out trying to learn more and understand how and why he ran for the presidency for the first time in the mid to late 1960's. a subject that has been ignored by historians previously. i did research at the reagan and eisenhower residential library -- presidential libraries. and i learned ronald reagan viewed the 1950's, the presidential era of dwight eisenhower, as america's golden age. i am going to like any author, i
have to pick out a specific subject matter for a book talk. i have to leave a lot left unsaid. i'm not going to go over the mechanics of the 1968 campaign. i hope you will read it in my book. it was an interesting story. by the time of the republican convention in august of 1968 in miami beach, more people voted for ronald reagan than for richard nixon. there were delegates at the convention and although they were obligated to nixon on that first ballot, had he been stopped, they could not wait to vote for ronald reagan on the second ballot. nixon is not made the nominee until the wee hours of the morning until the convention gets to w for wisconsin. speaking at wisconsin there were , three critical republican primaries in 1968. wisconsin, nebraska and oregon. history remembers the democratic side. robert kennedy, eugene mccarthy and lyndon johnson announcing he is not going to seek reelection.
but it was an interesting race on the republican side. i tell all of that. speaking of the opposition, in the 1960's, ronald reagan's main political foe of all people is robert kennedy. what possibly could robert kennedy and ronald reagan have to do with each other? please read that in my book. the subject tonight is ike. you also could say, what possibly could ike and reagan have to do with each other? after all reagan is elected in , 1980, and doesn't dwight eisenhower in the 1960's spend time golfing, become ill and pass away? you are going to learn a lot more about a brand-new relationship that is unknown to history before my research. that is their relationship. you are going to be thrilled tonight because you're going to hear the voice you know so well from the presidential years, mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall.
but you're going to hear him in an earlier era, 15 years earlier discussing world affairs issues in the 1960's. subjects you never knew ronald reagan spoke out about. here we are. i have to certainly go over in a little bit of detail what dean peterson has mentioned. i will just show you the slides but you can find them for yourself or likely have seen them when you came to pepperdine for the first time. or considering joining the institution. there is reagan at the birth of the college dinner. here we are dedicating the redwood tree. he is still governor reagan at this point. here we are, two years later, back on campus. the reagan's were here a lot. when the campus was being built, they came on horseback, nancy and president reagan, to check on the progress of what was happening. in fact nancy had a , long-standing relationship. this is a magazine cover
acknowledging the doctorate that pepperdine gave to her. please read more about it. the one photograph i do not have is when he came after his presidency and was given the gift of a surfboard by pepperdine university students. back to the subject at hand. during world war two is the first interaction between ronald reagan eisenhower. ronald reagan is an actor. he is making publicity films for the army and air force. dwight eisenhower is planning d-day in england. they make a war bonds appeal record that is sent to the american public. that is the first time they appear together. of course we win world war ii thanks in no small part to dwight eisenhower and the d-day landings. many of you will remember some of the history. now we are going to go forward a little bit.
after world war ii, we get to the 1950's. around that time the korean war begins. the north invades the south. ronald reagan is unhappy with president harry truman's slow building up of america's troops. unlike when dwight eisenhower launched a massive invasion, truman does it slowly. reagan is unhappy because the war is becoming a quagmire. ronald reagan believes in small government and is unhappy truman has continued the bureaucracy that was begun under fdr. he is thinking, who should he support in 1952?
ronald reagan is still a democrat. he telegrams to dwight eisenhower and urges him to seek the presidency. and he becomes, officially, a democrat for ike. a few things about that time period. he famously says i will go to korea and assess the strategy and tactics. that is what he does when he enters the oval office. and, fighting stops in no small part because behind-the-scenes, dwight eisenhower threatens communist china with nuclear weapons. that, as well as the death of stalin and other reasons, the fighting stops. now he is president and in 1953, dwight eisenhower delivers and all but forgotten speech at the united nations. he offers to turn over america's nuclear arsenal to an international agency headed under the u.n., but there is a caveat. the soviets have to agree to turn over their nuclear missiles. they refuse. that is the end of that. in the 1950's, another hot topic, terms you never have heard of, these were two offshore islands of taiwan.
called then formosa. twice during the 1950's, red china threatened to invade taiwan and shell those islands. president eisenhower had the seventh fleet and said, they will have to crawl over the seventh fleet. that never happened. around the time of the korean or, actor ronald reagan made and all but forgotten film called "prisoner of war." he plays a u.s. army captain who is parachuted in to north korea because of what we hear, america hears is happening to american prisoners of war. they are being tortured and horrendous things happening to them. at the end of the filming, actor reagan tells the press all of the dialogue is made from us -- u.s. army survivors of that torture. that will be important for his mind later.
in 1960, that is the year where richard nixon runs against john f. kennedy and john f. kennedy wins. two years later, nixon decides here in california, he is going to seek the governorship of california. he runs against pat brown, the father of jerry brown. pat brown will win, nixon will lose. during the campaign, reagan is nixon's california cochair and ronald reagan becomes a republican at that time. dwight eisenhower spends his winters in california at palm desert, but he spends the summers in gettysburg, pennsylvania. if you ever visit gettysburg national battlefield please , visit the eisenhower home there. it's on adjacent land. eisenhower decides the democratic party has much better marketing efforts than the republican party and hosts a symposium at his gettysburg farm with gop leaders to try to see,
how can the republican party better market itself, the result of that has never been known to history before. i probably say until i found it. that is this record called mr. lincoln's party today. its of recording. that is the technology of the era. here is the back cover. famous pictures and faces of that era. in the upper left former , president eisenhower out of the white house for two years. richard nixon, running for the governorship of california two years ago, he was ike's vice president. on the left is barry goldwater, conservative republican of arizona. in the middle right is nelson rockefeller. on the lower left is the man who just became a republican ronald , reagan. clearly, him being chosen as the narrator of this important
republican party record was approved by dwight eisenhower. i have listened to the record many times. i have for you a slight little recording of it. it emphasizes the themes of the republican party to today. individual freedom, small government and at the republican party has a wide inclusive tent. it can accommodate conservative republicans as well as liberal republicans like nelson rockefeller. listen to the voice of ronald reagan from 1962. >> now we hear from one who has served his country all his adult life. crowning that service with two terms as president of the united states, dwight d. eisenhower. >> thank you, mr. reagan. dr. kopelson: that is 1962. a lot happens. the next year is the john f. kennedy assassination. his vice president lyndon johnson becomes president.
now it is 1964. lyndon johnson is running for the presidency. the republican candidate is barry goldwater. it is now a week before that general election. barry goldwater is not doing well. the polls do not look good. it is going to probably be and -- an lbj landslide. reagan being the famous actor, he has crisscrossed the country for a long time delivering speeches as the spokesperson of general electric because he was the host of general electric theater. the public knows him as the actor and speechmaker for ge. this is the first time he will be seen from the american public as delivering a political speech. it is called "the time for choosing." if you have never seen it, go to youtube and watch it.
a lot of the issues he discusses are quite relevant to the year 2020. i would like to highlight just one aspect of it. in it, he castigates the west that we never open up our mouths , about the millions trapped behind the iron curtain. ronald reagan knows all about the evils of communism and socialism. many of you know the speech. that is termed the speech. that night, not far from here in los angeles, a number of his friends got together. they were financial people in business and said, i think the republican party is running the wrong person in 1964. it should not have been goldwater. it should have been ronald reagan. let's convince ronald reagan to enter politics for the future. in fact that very night in michigan forms the very first ronald reagan for president club. millions at home watching reagan deliver that speech, but so is dwight eisenhower at home. he immediately calls his former attorney general and says, what
a fine speech actor ronald reagan just delivered. he calls his special assistant and says what an excellent speech ronald reagan just delivers. a week later, it is a massive lyndon johnson landslide. the republican party with a few highlights has suffered greatly at the polls. everyone is depressed on the gop side. ronald reagan decides maybe he will enter politics, but how can he do this? he is an actor. through a mutual golfing friend, six months later, this golfing friend calls dwight eisenhower at his home and says, general eisenhower - ike liked to be called general after he left the white house. he says our mutual friend ronald reagan is thinking about entering politics. what advice can you give him?
the next day, dwight eisenhower pens a thoughtful, multipage, multistep plan for ronald reagan to follow should reagan decide to enter politics. twice in that letter, dwight eisenhower uses the term, 'common sense.' it originates during the american revolution with thomas payne. dean peterson also famously uses -- it has been part of the common sense theme not long ago. reagan will use his advice to the letter. reagan announces he is going to seek the governorship of california. he wins the republican primary, he becomes the nominee. the very first thing he does june of 1966 is travel east. the first person he meets is dwight eisenhower, the man who had been mentoring him. if you do visit gettysburg, you will see a logbook. mamie eisenhower had every person who entered the home and left including her family sign the logbook in and out.
there, on june 15, 1966, is the signature of ronald reagan about to meet dwight eisenhower for the first time. this is the first of four meetings they hold. they both like to play golf. those of you who are golfers know it is not a five minute visit and then you take some publicity photos. you are together for hours in the golf cart, with your golf clubs planning strategy. you will learn all they discussed. but it is a shame neither of them took notes of their meetings because these meetings were very critical for world history. they met four times. reagan is running for the governorship of california. if you were here driving the california freeway, there was much less traffic then, you will see billboards of the smiling picture of ronald reagan
bringing common sense solutions to california. he created for himself the same kind of lp record that he mailed out to the public like the republican party had done four years earlier. he used the term he got from eisenhower's letter, common sense. behind the scenes during that first campaign, ike did a lot more. eisenhower in 1952 called himself the citizen soldier. reagan in 1966 called himself the citizen politician. in 1968, when he sought the presidency, he called himself the citizen governor. ike studied reagan. he did not feel he was a hard-line extremist. he advised reagan on polling, to emphasize rural areas and northern california. he also advised reagan when two times reagan was accused of
being anti-semitic, ike advised him how to fight the false charges. the accomplished actor and speaker is actually mentored by ike on speech delivery technique. in a poignant letter, he thanks eisenhower. ike has not only been spending a lot of time advising reagan on the campaign but he also donates money. this i feel is the origin of reagan democrats. several times, ike tells reagan via letter and other communications, get the disaffected democrats. seek out independents. reagan is a success at this. it is not out of the clear blue in 1980, when suddenly reagan democrats appear. it started 15 years earlier. in california, ronald reagan wins the governorship almost one million votes. here is the telegram dwight
eisenhower sends to reagan at his house a few miles behind us in pacific palisades congratulating reagan on the victory he just achieved. now it is only two weeks later. eisenhower, the titular head of the republican party, sends a letter to the republican chairman offering to host a luncheon for all prospective presidential candidates two years hence in 1968. ike is already thinking two years ahead. this is the list ike sends to ray bliss. nixon, former vice president even though he lost in 1962 for the governorship of california. romney, this is george, the father of mitt. he is the governor of michigan. percy of illinois. rockefeller and hatfield, a senator from oregon. this is ike's order. i highlighted reagan's name.
behind the scenes, eisenhower had mentored ronald reagan from a novice politician into a potential president of the united states. what did ike think of possibly someday having reagan occupy the oval office that ike had held for eight years in the 1950's? after each of their meetings, they hold a press conference. at the one in june, 1966, a reporter asked if reagan is qualified. ike says he is certainly presidential timbre. a reporter asked eisenhower, what will you do next summer at the republican convention at miami beach if the convention nominate ronald reagan as the nominee? ike grabs the microphone and says, i will enthusiastically endorse reagan.
a number of times, he urges reagan to run as california 's favorite son. now i'm going to switch gears into the second part of my talk. that is world affairs of that era. vietnam is the main subject i want to discuss. it was lyndon johnson who placed american boots on the ground in vietnam. he brought in eisenhower as a hidden advisor. other historians feel it is obvious why lbj did that. in case things went wrong, lbj could blame ike. eisenhower urged johnson to do certain things to try to actually win the war. to mine the harbor in vietnam where they got most of their supplies. ike had an official committee recommending things to johnson. do not stop the bombing. it is having a great effect to threaten behind the scenes to use atomic weapons. there was no indication anyone thought those would be used. it was the threat that was
important. that was how 15 years earlier ike had succeeded in stopping the fighting in korea. ike wanted the american navy moved off the coast of north vietnam to threaten an amphibious invasion. he wanted the north vietnamese quaking every night wondering what america and the south vietnamese would do to them next. of all of the 1968 candidates for the presidency, it was only ronald reagan who espoused publicy those same plans. he learned all of that from dwight eisenhower. it is now december of 1966. reagan has not assumed the governorship yet. here is another communication between eisenhower and reagan where eisenhower reminds reagan he would like to continue the discussion on world affairs they are having. in 1967, reagan's first campaign for presidency is in full gear. what he does is every free
weekend, he leaves sacramento and travels to the critical republican cities he will need in 1968. oregon, nebraska, etc. he delivers not only speeches where he is bringing solutions to california, but at press conferences, he is asked about world affairs. he always brings up eisenhower. eisenhower advised me on this, eisenhower and i spoke about that. that is actually some of the origin of my research and book. i still repeat what ike says a while ago. our great mistake was assuring the enemy in advance of our intention not to use them. you do not draw a redline and not follow through or tell the enemy in advance when you are going to withdraw our troops. you can think for yourself, what would eisenhower and reagan say
when things were handled differently a few years ago? now we get to the two great shocks of 1968. the tet offensive. those of you who may have heard the term probably associate it with some kind of american military disaster. it was actually the reverse. our troops and the south vietnamese troops were caught by surprise for a little bit but turned it all around very quickly. they had the north vietnamese army surrounded, but you would not know that from the u.s. media. famously, walter cronkite delivered the news for cbs. there were only three networks then. he viewed this as a major defeat. and it handed the communists a major psychological victory. if that was not bad enough two , weeks later, north korea enters the vietnam war. the uss pueblo is an intelligent ship of ours.
north korea in international waters. the cruise imprisoned and tortured. sound familiar? president johnson is paralyzed with indecision. there was seemingly no public response. ronald reagan said he was deeply ashamed of its handling. we are now going to hear ronald reagan's critique of how the uss pueblo incident was handled by the kennedy-johnson team. but he is also going to mention something else. during the eisenhower years, ike relied on massive retaliation with nuclear forces. when jfk assumed office in 1961 he wanted more flexible military response with nonnuclear methods. here was the perfect test case. kennedy-johnson teams doing the pueblo was hijacked? a will start out calling this
play with a seven-year run. he is horrified how the bay of pigs was handled and now the uss pueblo in 1968. listen to the voice you know so well talking from an earlier era. >> the seven-year run beginning with the bay of pigs. closing with the humiliating theft of one of our ships. explanation for the pablo is that -- equipped only for nuclear retaliation. hasn't that been the most persistent claim of this administration? moved at a cost of over $500 billion in the last few years. the bomb would've given us a flexible response we got no response at all. >> no response at all.
it is too bad the american public did not hear that voice. this was only one obscure speech he gave during that era when he was seeking the presidency for the first time. people don't know he spoke out on these issues. now, we are going to hear reagan go through what he would recommend. ike and reagan wanted the american forces in vietnam to be given the tools to win or send them home. do not do what was occurring. he is going to mention the slow buildup of troops, that it took two years, and you will hear ronald reagan use the term "surge." we would not hear that term again until in general patreus years later. leaders, this great galaxy of leaders during world war ii, bradley, -- stopping the
efforts of -- [indiscernible] number two, they agreed on the necessity to invade, or to pin down the enemy force. is escalation. it is a specious argument. we have escalation. [indiscernible] -- same installation that took us two years. -- had it at the time the military was recommending it -- sudden surge. , >> reagan hoped that he would be entering the white house in january of 1969 and reassess all the strategy and tactics anew for vietnam, just like eisenhower had done when he entered the white house related to korea. in fact, reagan saw vietnam almost completely through the
lens of eisenhower in korea. we are now going to hear about reagan discussing how you negotiate with communists. please remember one thing, and i will add one thing. reagan had been the president of the screen actors guild in california. he was a very tough mcgough -- negotiator with the studios. he knew how to negotiate. you are going to hear how he applied that to korea. at this time, president johnson sent his ambassador to paris to begin discussions for peace. when that ambassador landed in paris, he held a press conference and announced to the world that he had rented an apartment for a year. ronald reagan was livid. he said that is not how you negotiate with communists, tell them you will be there for a year. you give them one week, a week and a half of the most and if , they are not serious, if they are using negotiations as a pretext to continue the war on their side, you escalate and
fight them harder. listen to them comparing what happened when they negotiated during korea to what was happening now in vietnam. >> my statements last week about what should be done at the negotiating table. according to marx from former president eisenhower. when you sit down and negotiate with communists, keep in mind that two years of negotiations in korea during that time more than 20,000 americans were killed. you have to recall president eisenhower brought in into the negotiations and settle the conflict by releasing the work that the united states -- regard -- review its options with regard regard to weapons, operation, manner of fighting, and so forth. thing and itame should be true. in these negotiations, if at a given time, the enemy has shown
no evidence or sincere desire to settle this conflict, to make peace, that they are not procrastinating, using negotiations, then we must be prepared to threaten them with force. the same conditions that present our heart -- president heightens eisenhower had are the same here. we are going to continue to fight this war in vietnam or on their own soil. the first two weeks of these negotiations, the death rate for americans and combat has gone up to 70 records for this entire long war. [indiscernible] ---- supported logistically by the united states like is required. in the meantime, the enemy should see preparation. the enemy must believe and assume you are willing to
--ilize forces to resolve result in evasion. invasion.in mr. kopelson: we are now going to hear the number one speech that reagan delivers during the campaign, attacking the foreign affair failures of the kennedy/johnson era. i clipped a short segment of it. you are going to hear reagan lament all the achievements of the eisenhower years that were squandered or never added upon. there was nothing new. interestingly, listen to how he begins his discussions, discussing and anti-ballistic missile shield. i get into all the details of that in my book. i do not have time right now to discuss it. this is the true origin of reagan's strategic defense initiative, not out of the clear blue in the early 1980's, but right here. >> where did we take a different course? they have been warm and friendly. i wonder if they are smiling or
laughing at us. we are ready to talk a nuclear weapon treaty that will stop us from protecting our cities as theirs are already protected by an anti-ballistic missile program. russian rockets are killing our young men and raining down on the innocent civilians of saigon. our national leaders indicate they believe we can enter into a treaty in spite of the fact that this nation has broken more than 50 treaties with this country and has indicated that it believes it is right to break a treaty anytime it suits its national purpose. lenin said -- [indiscernible] -- presently arms that we will fight and win. great society has brought forth little that is new. the truly commending weapons
found in american inventory were developed and brought forward during the eisenhower years. the ballistic rockets, the development driven to completion by a brilliant young missle man, general shriver, a miniaturized thermonuclear war had made possible by the genius of dr. tellar. the supersonic jet strike force a possible by general curtis lemay father of the strategic , air command and one of the greatest air geniuses of all time. the entire polaris concept missile and weapon technology , with a nuclear submarine. where are these men with their drive and determination now? having pulled america's chestnuts out of the fire in the 1950's, what do they have to say about american technology in this decade? mr. kopelson: you hear that voice so well from the 1980's but he is discussing those same critical issues.
in fact, the president we know so well, he was there all along. multiple times he called for freedom for eastern europe, even beginning with the 1964 speech. and it was not mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall, in 1986 the first time ronald reagan in public called to tear it down. in fact, it was on may 15, 1967, when he debated vietnam against robert kennedy, and by the way, reagan won that debate hands down. at the end of the debate, the subject switched and ronald reagan called for the soviets to knock down the berlin wall. you heard him push to begin and -- begin an anti-ballistic missiles shield. he learned from eisenhower that the way to defeat the communists ultimately is to have a strong american economy and a strong american military. in the middle east, do not try to remain neutral. stand firm with our ally in democratic israel and do not go to the u.n. to seek major geopolitical solutions to the world's problem. the u.n. is not structured
correctly. he also learned how to deal with hostage crises. i get into a lot of that in my book. i cannot discuss that now. it is amazing to me that reagan, we know later he was here all along. now, we are going to get to the end portion of my book. my book stops with the convention in 1968 when reagan is dejected but he tells student supporters, i will be back. i will run again for the presidency sometime in the future, which of course he does, but i want to go over the continuing influence of dwight eisenhower. during the presidential years of ronald reagan and beyond. while reagan runs for the presidency for the third time in the late 1970's and during that era, one of the hot button foreign affairs topics for our nation was whether or not we turn the panama canal, which we built under theodore roosevelt, back to panama or not. reagan did not want to turn it back. others did. listen to his analysis of it.
this is nine years after dwight eisenhower has passed away. >> i also know the president was engaged in the problems and -- in panama. president eisenhower. president eisenhower told me the idea he had for the treaties and it was far different for anything contained in these treaties. as a matter of fact, he was toying with a very interesting idea of forming an international corporation, a shipping -- of shipping nations all the , nations in the world. a quasi-corporation for the panama and suez canal and thus, , with all participating and using those canals, there would be no possibility of one jumping the tracers. he told me that in the golf cart. mr. kopelson: they not only discussed politics, how to defeat communism, all the issues of that era, but even an issue relatively as obscure as panama during those four private meetings. world history was shaped by
eisenhower and reagan's meetings and the mentor ship of reagan that eisenhower did. governor reagan, after he's governor, running for the presidency, who is your favorite president? and the reporter asks him and he answers, mr. reported, the obvious choices are washington and lincoln, but people have forgotten eisenhower. he was a darn good manager. those were prosperous years. there is peace in the world. you know what, mr. reporter, reagan said, does anybody mastsu. kumoi and communist china, ike said they will have to climb over the seventh fleet. there was no war. to this day, they remained free. in fact, eisenhower is reagan's hero. michael deaver, one of his aides remembers that there was a photo of reagan and ike in every office that they worked for him. in pacific palisades at the
reagan home on top of that piano, where only family photographs with one exception, and that was eisenhower. in the oval office was a photo of ike behind reagan's desk, a bust of ike in the private study, and in the cabinet room, a towering portrait of general eisenhower. ronald reagan used to like to deliver speeches via index card. he did not use a teleprompter. one of his favorite quotes was what eisenhower said at his 1961 farewell address, the one known as the military-industrial complex speech. in it, eisenhower said the vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. basically peace through strength. reagan loved that aunt quoted that very frequently. in fact, prior historians have said that reagan's role model for the presidency was franklin roosevelt. my research did not find that at all. i went through the search engine at the reagan library, through
every public speech, press conference, everything he wrote officially as president, and tabulated how many times did reagan cite a prior president? well, teddy roosevelt, who he liked and admired, he only cited him 25 times over eight years. abraham lincoln, about 100 times. i did not put up fdr because fdr he only cited 50 times. the prior president who reagan cited the most was dwight david eisenhower. now, it is december 8, 1983. this is the 30th anniversary to the day of eisenhower's atoms for peace speech at the u.n. reagan is negotiating nuclear arms reductions with the soviet leader. this is before gorbachev appears on the scene. adropov leaves the meeting out
of the clear blue. reagan is dejected. the press asks about this being the 30th anniversary and reagan says my administration endorses the view of dwight eisenhower completely. we are dedicated to achieving what dwight eisenhower could not. and that is critical for history. six months later, it is the 40th anniversary of d-day. ronald reagan is the first president to travel to normandy to honor our slain troops, and whose troops is he honoring? eisenhower's troops. he says in that speech, i will forever stand for d-day veterans. they are my heroes like they were his. well, there's more. off the coast of normandy, while reagan is speaking, is the aircraft carrier uss dwight d. eisenhower. it sends its aircraft over reagan to honor him while he is delivering his address. in return, at the end of his speech, president reagan boards marine one and flies over the
aircraft carrier. he says the heroic operation of d-day commanded by general eisenhower inspires heroic efforts on both sides of the atlantic, and in fact, the crew of the aircraft carrier on the deck spells out i-k-e. reagan grabs the microphone, is broadcast to the navy. "i love ike." that being the 1952 campaign theme of eisenhower. "i love ike." all the mentoring eisenhower had done it reagan. now, it is reagan's term to deliver his farewell address. please listen to what he says. he went into politics to rediscover what he was missing. he will use the term citizen politician .citizen politician. all heralding back to that mentor ship he got from ike, and
he again will be honoring ike's troops and other troops, which of course reagan commands in korea as well. but listen to him reflect back on why he enters politics. >> they called it the reagan revolution. for me, it seemed more like a rediscovery of our values and our common sense. common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, people produce less. when we cut the people's tax rates, the people produce more than ever before. common sense also told us that to preserve the peace, we would have to become strong again after years of weakness and confusion. so we rebuilt our defenses. not only have the superpowers begin to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons hopefully , more progress is right. i never meant to go into politics. it was not my intention, but i was raised to believe you had to pay your way for the blessings bestowed on us. there began it seemed
were more and more rules and regulations. the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom. i went into politics in part to put up my hand and say stop. i was a citizen politician. it seemed like the right thing for a citizen to do. the father down the street, for the family who lost someone at anzio. we have got to teach history. mr. kopelson: we have got to teach history. that is the lesson i would like to leave you with. reagan foresaw that we have to teach the next generations all about american history. they know the declaration of independence, the constitution, what's the difference between free-market capitalism versus socialism and communism. people of the younger generations may not know it as well as prior generations. this is the final photograph. there is president reagan, vice president bush, and the entire cabinet, and looking down with pride upon the man who he had
mentored from novice politician now to successful president of the united states and not just successful, dwight eisenhower, the man who defeated nazi germany, and ronald reagan, the man who without firing a civil -- single shot defeated communism, what a line of mentorship and young student, and i hope you read more about it, and i will meet you in the back. thank you so much. [applause] >> we have about 10 minutes for questions. mr. kopelson: yes. arnie, did not know that was you. >> one of the ironies of your talk of reagan's adoration for rickover. reagan was the only president capable of retiring rickover in 1982. he served 60 years, was the longest serving naval officer in
u.s. history, and i think he must have been the oldest person in service at the time, and no president had enough political clout to essentially retire him power, having single-handedly because he had so much power, having single-handedly developed nuclear submarines. the other point i wanted to add about pepperdine is when i was doing some consulting for pepperdine, having returned from washington in the 1970's, john mccarthy was a vice president of pepperdine, and john had been the point man at general electric who organized for the reagan speaking commitment. he was in charge of that and later came here at pepperdine. and edward tellar, he had met through arthur spitzer, a pepperdine donor, and that's, when you and i spoke on the phone, that is who i talked about. the other person was -- i cannot remember the name of the science fiction author here. jerry -- cannot remember his name. he was kind of an inspiration for star wars. henry salvatori fellow here.
meeting tellar was one of the most intimidating experiences of my life because it was like talking to a machine and he hated to be called the father of the h-bomb but you ask him a question. you say, dr. tellar, he would pause for 10 or 20 seconds and say there are 14 reasons and go 1, 2, 3, 4 as if it was spitting out a computer. incredibly intimidating. but i think that your research has been amazing uncovering the connections here in terms of both what came to be known as star wars and the different interactions with the people here. terrific book. mr. kopelson: arnie steinberg appears in my book under a whole separate subject i have no time to discuss right now, and that is students for reagan. reagan was more popular with the young than how popular he was with the adult population. and it started way back in these
early runs and i go over students for reagan, of which arnie and his friends were an important part of east coasters and west coasters and those in between and all the times he appeared on college campuses, and i wrote an op-ed not long ago that i forwarded recently to dean peterson, that some of the issues reagan faced are so relevant to today. he was invited to yale to be a fellow. some of the liberal faculty did not want him to be allowed to speak. but he was allowed to speak, and with his charming personality, and how he discussed things, he won over major people, and his major final speech was at yale political union. he delivered this theme to other universities later. the purpose of professors is not to indoctrinate. you give students all different points of view and let them decide for themselves. i wish there were more universities who know that, like
pepperdine does, compared to the problems conservatives -- those of you who support israel -- republicans have, not being allowed to speak on many of today's campuses. >> question? yes. >> of all your exploration and discovery, what are the two top discoveries that really shocked to and perhaps changed your perspective on your understanding of ronald reagan, number one? number two, who were ike's greatest mentors? was meantpanama toward by general down there for several years. he learned an awful lot about military strategy and tactics so , much so that in the height of world war ii, eisenhower was still writing letters to that retired general asking advice.
and had ike not died in march of 1969 and perhaps had lived into the years of the reagan presidential years, i wonder and think likely that reagan would have continued to speak to eisenhower. one of the major new things i learned is that the origin of the strategic defense initiative occurred during this era. and the second major thing is how -- had history turned out differently, i think in the fall of 1968, one of the most intriguing ideas is that had robert kennedy not been assassinated and lived, had he been the democrat nominee, and that is not clear, the person he likely would have had the most trouble facing would have been ronald reagan. when in fact during 1966, reagan is running against pat brown, and of course, reagan wins. pat brown is having trouble
during his campaign and he sent for robert kennedy, senator from new york, to fly in and help him. robert kennedy, who attracts the world's youth, everybody who is young loves him, he lands in california and is greeted by bobby kennedy, go home. you are a carpetbagger. this is ronald reagan country. we do not want to. and he is shocked. i think it would have been a major reagan victory had it been reagan versus robert kennedy in 1968. >> i actually organized that demonstration. mr. kopelson: ok. [laughter] >> [indiscernible] -- we went to salvatori, who is a very, very wealthy guy. and he said we want to do this demonstration. call the carpetbaggers. in those days, college students
-- that's ok. i will pay for it. the demonstration was in lakewood, california, actually. mr. kopelson: i wish i had known pat i could have expanded upon that and made it a whole chapter. >> it got tremendous press because the tv cameras showed these placards on there. mr. kopelson: there's almost nothing at the robert kennedy section of the jfk presidential library in boston about any of this. in fact, the debate on vietnam, 1967, is just blank as if nothing happened that day. >> i encourage some of the students here who want to be active in politics, incredibly upward mobile because this was in the 1966 -- i'm sorry. and then, 1968. kennedy was assassinated on june 5 of 1968 at the ambassador hotel here, and two years -- charlie gerdau, the father of the nfl commissioner, was appointed to fill that seat in
new york after kennedy was assassinated, and two years later, i found myself at a very young age in new york helping put together the senate campaign for that seat that jim buckley won. the moral of the story is that, you know, strange things happen in politics, which is i think the most upwardly mobile that there can be. i would never have dreamed that this person i picketed against there -- that i would eventually have a role in filling that senate seat. so i encourage people here who want to be active, there is an opportunity to move up extraordinarily quickly in ways you cannot foresee. mr. kopelson: study history. >> do you have any student questions? mr. kopelson: please.
>> so i am kind of interested in reagan's switch from being a democrat to republican and how that impacted and affected his campaigns going forward and whether or not he experienced political backlash from that and basically what the long-term impact was and if there was any disaffected parts of the party. mr. kopelson: he had been a democrat for a long time. he loved one of the early fdr's speeches. i do not recall if it was his first state of the union. fdr, franklin roosevelt, said he wanted to slash the federal budget to downsize government, and of course, fdr ends up doing the exact opposite. for a long time, ronald reagan hoped that at some point those wishes will be fulfilled. and it took him a long time. he saw in the 1950's, as i alluded to, that things were getting worse. harry truman was mishandling the korean war, and the federal bureaucracy was growing and growing and growing. and it finally took 1962, when
he was speaking to a group here in california, and a woman yelled from the back, "well, are you a republican yet? you keep talking about small government but you're still a democrat." reagan said he did not have the time to do it, so she runs up on stage with the paperwork, and reagan then signs and becomes an official republican, but he had been espousing small government, individual freedom ideas for a long, long time. so i am somewhat chagrined he did not do it earlier, but i am certainly glad he did when he did, and the rest is history, that that is what he became, of course, famous for as governor and then as president, and the policies continue in his successors to this day. >> thank you for joining us this evening.
that was great. al of us have been given is to look at reagan with and understand his early political run and his mentoring relationship with eisenhower. i thought about another quotation that eisenhower farewell address and i was thinking about it, this talk gave me a new lens upon which to look about it as it relates to the connection between eisenhower and reagan. i want to quote this. the 1961 eisenhower address and there is a little more nuance to that. here, this other line in it is only scientific research and discovery in respect, we should also be alert to the
equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become a captive of a scientific technological elite. those sound like words that reagan can say. they are certainly words we take seriously at pepperdine. a program obviously formed by people like reagan, michael have, and others who formed and shaped the program to be one that takes seriously the human's role in public policy. tonight has really been great to hear leaders who have taken that seriously and put those into practice as leaders of our great country. i want to thank c-span for joining us here this evening. very excited about the fact that an international audience will be able to hear your words in this presentation. please stay around, stick with
us here in the room. we have plenty of food. that, we are adjourned. good night from pepperdine. [applause] >> this is american history tv on c-span 3. each week in, we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. this sunday, historian and author talks about his book first martyr of liberty. here is a preview. mainstream society paid little attention to the role of
rispus --attic -- c textbooks tell children, this is what you need to know. this is the true story of the nation. i have not been able to find a single reference to him in american history textbooks between the 1880's and the 1950's. african-americans ramped up their own efforts to promote black history and critique black omission from curriculum. as well as the demeaning images. african-american historical writers countered the omission with the heroic.
one problem with those attempts to tell his story was that practically nothing was known or can be known about the man. writers made, stuff up to suit their purposes. 1880's and 1930's, some of the stories generated by black writers had grown downright preposterous. william wells brown, and william j simmons invented a person who , wellod looking, literate read in political philosophy, a man who was a good friend of paul revere and sam adams. he became a rallying cry. he was clearheaded and loyal hearted, a man who saw himself as an american citizen and was determined to avenge oppression. all of this is fabrication or conjecture with no connection to
any historical evidence. sunday atore this 6:45 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. >> historian michael schaefer looks at the life of thomas wallace cawley who served in the confederate first virginia cavalry in the civil war. discusses the experience at key battles such as bull run and antietam as well as his severe wounding in 1960 -- 1863 and the amputation of his left foot year later. he examines his postwar life and writings detailing his struggle with what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder. >> thank you again for the invitation to speak here in the old dominion home. i want to take just a couple of co