tv Rick Atkinson on V-E Day 75th Anniversary CSPAN May 16, 2020 10:30am-11:31am EDT
unconditional surrender of its armed forces, bringing an end to hostilities in world war ii european theater. c-span was alive to mark the anniversary with pro -- prolix -- anniversary with pulitzer prize winner rick atkinson. the program begins with an from may, 1940el five, showing the signing of the surrender and a statement by president harry truman. ♪ >> throughout the world, throngs of people hailed the end of the war in europe. deathull of suffering and and sacrifice. is, the war against germany
won. a grateful nation gives thanks for victory. hundreds of thousands crowd into american churches to give thanks to god. ♪ and -- president truman announced the surrender. >> this is a solemn but glorious our. i wish that franklin d roosevelt had wished -- had lived to see this day. general eisenhower informs me that the forces of germany have surrendered to the united nations. the flags of freedom fly all over europe. for this victory, we join in offering our thanks to the providence which has guided and sustained us through the dark
days of adversity and into light. much remains to be done. the victory one in the west -- the victory won in the west must now be one in the east. the whole world must be cleansed of the people from which half of the world has been freed. nationsthe peaceloving have demonstrated, and the west, that their arms are stronger by far than the might of dictators or the tyranny of military cliques that once called us weak. our people to defend themselves against all enemies will be proved in the pacific war as it was proved in europe. ♪ >> historic pictures of the last days of the war in europe show american and russian troops as
they join on the river elbe, splitting german armies into -- in two. generals meats, a meaning that spells out certain -- a meeting that spells out certain german defeat. seese germany, the allies the stadium of nuremberg, the scene of countless nazi. rallies with the capture of this city, the american flag clouds out the swastika. in a symbolic gesture, american troops destroyed the nazi party emblem. [explosions] >> american history tv and "washington journal are marking
the end of world war ii. the 75th anniversary of the end of world war ii in the european theater. ve day. we welcome author and historian rick atkinson, whose final book in the liberation trilogy was published in 2013. the book focusing on the years 1944 and 1945. to get our conversation started on ve day, just a timeline of where things were and how they came from june 6, 1944. the liberation of paris in august 1944. the battle of the bulge in december of that year into 1945. and then to ve day. take us back to may 7 and a of 1945. how did the war and in europe? -- in and in europe?
>> it ended with the germans deciding, hitler's having killed himself more than a week earlier, that there was no profit in dragging it out with the russians in berlin. the russians murdering civilians, killing soldiers by the hundreds of thousands. that tryingdecided to make peace with the western allies, the americans in particular, was their best that. they would get a better deal from the western allies than they would get from the soviets. so eisenhower had his headquarters in the french town of roan in northeastern france. delegation.sent a there was a lot of palaver about what the conditions would be. they were told in no uncertain
terms that unconditional surrender were the only terms by which the war would end. general who is the operations chief of the german armed forces showed up at eisenhower's headquarters, which was at a technical college, a red brick building. reporters and photographers were there. onwas 2:00 in the morning may 7, 1945. the articles of surrender had been boiled down to early 200 words. the whole ceremony with cameras rolling lasted only about 10 minutes. the general signed. eisenhower told him he would personally be held responsible for ensuring that the terms of the capitulation were honored. and that was that. it was going to go into effect the next day.
to give time to alert german u-boats in the land take and german detachments in norway. the soviets felt it was important to have a surrender ceremony on german soil. they did not want the germans to be able to say that they had never been defeated, never capitulated in germany proper. they insisted there be another surrender ceremony in a suburb of berlin, which happened on may 9. russians,s, now the considered that to be ve day. for the rest of the world, the surrender went into effect, aid -- effect on may 8. there was still lower in the pacific. that had a moderating effect on the jubilation that would have
taken place otherwise. d-day,hat timeline from did the final victory in europe, based on your research of u.s. forces, did that happen sooner or longer than they thought? it took longer in the sense that after the battle of the bulge ended at the end of january, 1945, there was widespread understanding that the germans could not recover from this catastrophe, that they had lost the war. what no one in the west could understand is why they would not give up, why they continued to fight, why one little town, one medium-sized city, continued to resist. there were 10,400 american soldiers killed in april, 1945
in germany. that is almost as many as were killed in june, 1944, the month of invasion. it was all virtually to the last gunshot. there wasquence, great consternation about whether they were going to surrender, whether every last german soldier is going to have to be killed, whether more german civilians were going to have to die, and of course whether more allied soldiers were going to have to die. i think there had been hope that the war would end sooner. our guest is rick atkinson. it is the 75th anniversary of ve day. we would love to hear from you. here's how the lines are broken out -- up. (202) 748-8000 for eastern and central time zones.
(202) 748-8001 mountain and pacific. for those of you who are world war ii veterans or family of them, we ask you to call in on (202) 748-8002. in your book, the guns at last -- it is is a worm alarming to read the death tolls. in one story you read -- you write about the training for ve day alone -- for d-day alone. there was an accident. looking at the stick six of how many people died overall, 417,000 u.s. deaths. side, 8.8 million to 10.7 million soviet soldiers. that is not just civilian deaths. host: yeah -- no. the soviet union had 190 million
people. the total deaths were estimated at 26 million. that is a staggering percentage of their total population. our losses were bad enough. we had 291,000 killed in action. more than 400,000 all deaths. that is about one third of 1% of the american population of 130 million during world war ii. staggering as those numbers are for us, they are monumental for the soviets in particular. the germans lose about 7 million people. about 60 million deaths worldwide in world war ii. that is a death every three seconds for six years. that gives you an idea of the magnitude of this. it is the greatest catastrophe, self-inflicted catastrophe, and human history. -- the warorld
ending three weeks or so after the death of fdr. harry truman the president on ve day. what was the effect stateside when that news came? guest: it was a great shock. anybody looking at the newsreel footage could see that president roosevelt was not a healthy man. he had been dying for months. he had a very arduous trip to malta for a conference with churchill and then they flew to yalta for a conference with stalin, the soviet leader. anyone who looks at those pictures can tell that here is a man who is dying. his blood pressure was in the stratosphere. he had all kinds of health problems. so he has a cerebral hemorrhage at his cottage in georgia april
12, 1945. it is right after lunch. the word spreads quickly. virtually all americans are aware of it by the afternoon. it is a shock to everyone. he has been president for more than 12 years. he is our war presidents. -- president. he is the president through the darkest days of the depression. there were young men in uniform who really had very little memory of a time when roosevelt was not their leader. and now their commander-in-chief. so no one knew who harry truman was for the most part. he was an obscure senator from missouri. he had been a chaplain in the old tillery -- in the artillery and world war i. he is a cipher to most americans. fill going to step in and these shoes is something people
have difficulty comprehending. host: we have lots of calls waiting for you. let's go to larry in gallup, new mexico. good morning. >> good morning. my father was in the south pacific. knowdition, i wanted to how much of the american indians, particularly the comanches and the hopis, how much of your research have you done on them, if any? what was their role during the war? >> thank you for the call. thanks to your dad. american indians were important. first of all, they had a tradition of being warriors. when you'retical trying to put together an army. language.heir own
it was assumed that if a navajo was talking to another -- another navajo on the radio that even if the japanese could eavesdrop and hear that conversation, which they could, they would not be able to decode it because very few japanese spoke navajo. so the code talkers were important for operational security. there was also a sense that with part of theians as force that it was a comprehensive american force. we wanted all ethnicities to be -- byented by 1945 aired 1945. it is a painful process getting there, acknowledging there is a rightful role in combat units for black americans, that black americans can be excellent
the teskelots as airman and alabama showed. airmen in alabama showed. they was a feeling that would get some practical skills and a second that it is an affirmation that this is a pan-american war. host: salvatori in annapolis, maryland. welcome. caller: my dad fought in the pacific. he had four brothers who also fought in world war ii. uncle -- and another uncle who fought. my dad is a second-generation italian american. it appears the prejudice against italian americans was much less than it was against japanese americans. why? second question.
the dropping of the atomic building -- of the atomic bomb. i am wondering what impact that had on the outcome of the war. call.nk you for the thatnk it is fair to say the prejudices against italian americans were considerably less than they were against japanese americans. of course ourere adversary until 1943 when they switched sides. but the italians had not launched the kind of attack that had occurred at pearl harbor. i think there is also a racial component to it, frankly. asians,asier to dislike and the japanese specifically. they were treated dreadfully. we were just talking about
native americans in the force. there were of course japanese americans who fought valiantly in italy and france during world war ii. they were exceptionally capable, ferocious fighters. they had something to prove because, back home, there had been tens of thousands of --anese interned in camps interred in camps. with respect to the atomic bombs, yes, i think the fact that the two atomic bombs dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki in early august, 1945 brought an end to the war in the pacific. it probably saved hundreds of thousands of american lives. on 1945, 1 ofcurs the reasons the jubilation is not more frenetic is that the
battle for okinawa is occurring precisely then. it is a bloodletting. this foreshadows what the toll is going to be in attacking the japanese home islands directly. there were estimates that merrick and casualties could estimatesch is -- that american casualties could rise to as much as one million. when ve day occurs in may of 1945, no one knows about the atomic bomb except a small group of physicists and others in new mexico. no one is certain whether it is going to work. so those bombs, horrible as they were, in my estimation brings the war to an absolute truncated end. appropriately, it saves many american lives. it saves even more japanese lives. the russians were getting ready to come in.
the war was going to expand in the pacific. the russians had agreed to be part of it, so the atomic bombs saved a lot of heart ache. host: we are talking about world war ii. -- ong us is world war ii the world war ii veterans line is heath from oklahoma. caller: hello. thank you. on may thethere sixth 1945. 15tht on a ship on may the heading for the pacific. we stopped by the united states. we were flying be 20 fours. -29sere going to train on b and go to the pacific. during that time is when they
dropped the bomb that ended the war in the pacific. we bombed all of europe from a b-24 base in italy. host: great to have you with this this morning. thank you for your story. how quickly was the military able to pivot to focus on the pacific theater? >> the commanders in europe had been thinking about how to take a good portion of that force and move it to the pacific, how you would do that and who would go. was it fair for those who had been fighting in north africa in 1942, for them to have to go fight in the pacific? there were plans that have been put together. -- had been put together.
they were getting ready to retrain for the assault on the japanese homeland. mentioned was a four engine -- was the newest of four engine long-range bombers, which have been doing extraordinary work devastating japan. b-29s were used to drop those atomic bombs. so there was a belief that you are going to have to take a good portion of that european force, leaving some behind is an army of occupation -- as an army of occupation, but the majority was going to end up in the pacific. host: in your piece on the wall street -- in the wall street journal, there is a photo of eisenhower flashing a v for victory pin. in your first book, you said that in a different photograph
of eisenhower, it reflected a certain buoyancy of spirit that served him well. you write in your final book that his fellow commanders, some of the others, were not confident that eisenhower was necessarily the commander type. host: -- >> there were frictions, no doubt. the british in particular had doubts about eisenhower, not all of them. he had difficulties through the entire final year of the war with field marshal montgomery, the senior british commander and a fairly difficult character it must be said. there were those who had doubts about eisenhower. there were those who had doubts about him when he became the theater commander in the mediterranean in 1942. he had never heard a shot fired he missed world war i.
he had not been deployed. so there was a feeling of, who is this guy and why is he the one to be the supreme commander? -- i have lived metaphorically with eisenhower for 15 years, and my admiration for him grew every year during that span. he was an extraordinarily capable leader. he was an extremely capable political general and that his primary job -- in that his primary job was to hold together this ally coalition. there were more than 50 countries and what franklin roosevelt called the united nations fighting with united states. eisenhower was brilliant at holding together that coalition against all the centrifugal forces that tried to pull apart every wartime coalition.
morals at the end of the -- laurels at the end of the war were earned. he showed himself to be a capable commander. smile of his, which his subordinates said was worth waseast in army corps, fairly earned. .ost: let's hear from tom caller: hello. the reason i'm calling is i often wondered who engineered the end of the war. the german admiral? did he believe that his losses in the atlantic were not caused and, thirdly,-- what happened to him at the end of the world -- or? -- war?
host: he was the commander of the german navy at the end of the war. there was not much of the german navy left to command at that point. the german submarine force had been almost completely destroyed by may, 1945. in terms of who engineered the end of the war, there were conversations among those still , actually to the northwest of berlin, about how to go about contacting the allies and how to go about bringing this catastrophe to a close. hitler, having -- having killed himself, had essentially tried to pull the temple down around him as he perished, but not everyone was -- not everyone was
suicidal. there had been an agreement that they would send a delegation to allied headquarters, to montgomery. then they end up at eisenhower's headquarters. all of this is catch as catch can. they are making it up as they go along. they are very aware that every day that passes there are more germans who fall under soviet control. this they are determined to avoid. they are trying to stall as long as they can to allow germans to flee westward. they are fleeing westward by the hundreds of thousands, eventually by the millions, in order to avoid being under soviet control. made,he final decision is ok, we are going to give up and exceed it to the allied demand
for surrender, at that point is a fate accomplish -- fait acc ompli. caller: i would like to make a comment. this gentleman knows that the war was decided on the eastern front. the western front was like a skirmish compared to the eastern front. if the germans prevailed on the eastern front, there would not have been a western front. there would have been a settlement. the most important issue i went to stay is the russian crime when they enter berlin. over 2 million german women were raped by those communist animals. i am a german animal -- in german-american. my father is a german-american who served in the italian campaign. host: we will get a response from rick atkinson.
>> thank you for the call. crimes of there first order committed by the soviets not only in berlin but through all of eastern europe, really, as they overran poland into the eastern precincts of what was then the german empire. the reason the soviets were doing that, besides a fatal lack of discipline, was the feeling that the depravity that the germans had visited on the soviet union, beginning with the invasion in 1941 and extending right on through the end of the german advance, was to be repaid in kind. so it was out of control in ways that no one can for see. this is a good example. -- atrocities that committed
the germans committed repaid, probably with interest, by the russians. i agree that the russians certainly carried the way of the it is estimated that soviet soldiers killed nine german soldiers for everyone who was killed by british and american troops combined. i mentioned 26th millions soviets dead. it was vital to have them remain as part of it. host: it is the 75th anniversary of v-e day. victory in europe day here on american history and washington journal we are joined by rick atkinson, the author of the liberation trilogy. it is a three book series on the war in the european theater. more of your calls and comments coming up momentarily.
we are joined next by senator roberts of kansas, chair of the eisenhower memorial commission. the senator from kansas, senator, we saw you yesterday on the floor with your i like ike button. you were a youngster when that happened. tell us about that. guest: actually, the button says i still like ike. we handed them out at the congressional lunch yesterday. they were a hot item. i think most of my memories came when i was 16 and i got to go to the republican convention in 1952 where eisenhower won on the first ballot as opposed to robert taft. and then again during the inaugural and those are the only times i personally met the man. that was back in kansas.
i remember that day as i was swinging on the front porch and my mom came in with tears in her eyes and she said we have defeated hitler. and i asked her, does that mean dad can come home? not at that time. he was in the pacific. he was a marine in iwo jima. at any rate, the one thing i remember about ike, you knew he came into the room even though your back was to him. he had that presence. he had a very ready face. a wonderful smile. host: we are talking about eisenhower's role in the victory in europe. we are talking to you about the eisenhower memorial. general eisenhower led the allies to victory in europe and served two terms as president.
why has it taken so long for a memorial to be created in washington for president eisenhower? guest: it is amazing how many groups that you have to go through, the national capital planning commission and the fine arts council, etc. you have to raise the money and have federal funds. you have to have all members of the family on board. there were changes, i was the second chairman way back. the medal of honor winner from the senator from hawaii and senator ted stevens, two veterans who pushed very hard on this. if you take a look at the memorials, not many are built on a rapid basis. it takes step-by-step. the process is not simple. you have site selection, design approvals, construction, it is a
monumental undertaking. pardon that terrible pun. we are thrilled to see the hard work come to fruition. it is done and all we have to do now is wait until when social distancing will not be much of a problem. if it still is, we will have the dedication accordingly. host: it was supposed to be today on the 75th anniversary of v-e day. what were you going to say in that dedication? guest: i think i had four minutes. the president had accepted the invitation to speak. we had a flyover. basically the eisenhower family would have spoken. we had a number of world war ii veterans including bob dole, who
really helped raising money on the private side of it. i think this memorial honors not only an extraordinary man, but i think he served as a symbol for all generations of the promise of america and what our values made possible around the world. i think he really was the president that basically was president when we entered the world stage and especially when he was the supreme allied commander in europe. host: senior senator from kansas, we look forward to the dedication when that happens. thank you so much for joining us this morning on the 75th anniversary of v-e day. and back to our guest, rick atkinson, taking your calls and comments on this 75th anniversary. james is in south dakota. go ahead.
caller: retired air force, i was an iraqi war veteran post 9/11, saudi arabia, ground zero. i served one year in korea. i did a fundraiser with my dad, he was a world war ii veteran. he delivered coffins and there were a lot of them. he went to portland, oregon. in may of 1945, he graduated. i was calling to thank all the veterans and share a little history. host: thanks, james. rick atkinson, your dad served in world war ii and he was a
career military veteran. what was that experience in particular like, v-e day, when that would come up every year with your dad? guest: he enlisted in the army after he turned 18 in 1942. he went to ocs and became the second lieutenant and got to europe after the war ended. he was in the occupational force in bavaria with extraordinary police powers because germany was in ruins and anarchy was a big threat in bavaria and everywhere else. he came home in 1946. he went back into the army and liked it well enough to make it a career and he served for 30
years. he died 18 months ago at the age of 94. v-e day was not anything particular in his worldview. he marked veterans day, memorial day, fourth of july. these were important holidays for him as they are for many of us. v-e day itself, he was worried about whether or not we would end up in the pacific. fortunately for me and for him that was not necessary. my father having gone back into the army, went back to europe and was part of the army of occupation of salzburg and the army hospital happened to be in
munich and austria was still partitioned and he was part of the occupation of austria until 1955 when the russians and americans both left austria. the residual effects of the war have persisted in many ways and even 10 years after, we still had occupational forces in austria and to this day we have american forces in germany. they are not occupation forces because they are our allies now. the consequences of the war in military topography were profound and affected me personally and certainly my father. host: next up is robert calling from fort smith, virginia. caller: good morning, gentlemen. my grandfather served in both theaters. he was in the navy during the european conflict and when they decided they would call it
quits, v-e day, he transferred over to the united states marine corps so that he could go to the pacific theater. he actually saw action and thank god he came home to us. he served in two different branches of service and two theaters of war. host: any specific questions? caller: is it true that during the second world war they had a secret group of nazis to make a fourth reich after the war? i didn't hear that. host: a fourth reich guest: there were certainly good nazis who got away and escape
either the hangman or prison. some of them famously went to south america and there were a few who had ambitions of either reconstituting the german reich or keeping alive the spirit of hitler. this is a fringe group not to be taken seriously. those who may have had ambitions to pull together the tattered remnants of the german empire and reconstitute it in some fashion. in germany and elsewhere, it is not just germans by any means who feel that the spirit of the
third reich somehow should be honored. you cannot legally be a nazi in germany. the germans have been extraordinarily capable at educating all germans, particularly younger germans, about what had happened and who was responsible for it. but it is difficult to snuff out this virus of fascism. we see it cropping up in hungary and other places in eastern europe. we see sparks of it in portions of germany. it is very concerning. we see it wherever there is a populace who wants to take the route of fascism or neo-fascism. that is a greater concern than any residual of nazis from 1945.
host: you wrote in your last book about the discovery of a trove of treasures and manuscripts across germany in days of the war. how did allied forces prevent looting of that and prevent extra violence, revenge violence against germans who may have been prisoners or in pursuit of german troops? guest: the germans were great thieves. nazis had looted artworks and treasures of all sorts from individuals and galleries and museums all across occupied europe. we tried to discover that stuff and to get it back to the original owners is a process that goes on to this day. it was a great concern.
we saw that in a concentration camp not far from munich and when american soldiers liberated the concentration camp and saw tens of thousands in emaciated conditions and thousands who had died, corpses strewn around the grounds of the camp, there were american soldiers who lost control and discipline broke down and there are an estimated several dozen german camp guards who were murdered either by the americans, in one case they put them up against the wall and murder them with a machine gun or they were murdered by inmates who got into a frenzy until order was restored. there was concern about this for
the most part, discipline obtained, there were a number of revenge killings by american troops and western allied troops. discipline was admirable. about the soviet troops coming from the east, that was part of the price and the pain of victory. host: let's go back to calls and hear from lawrence in minnesota. caller: what a great opportunity. i will be quick. two comments. i always admired eisenhower for having to pull in citizens from the town near the concentration camps so that they could witness what the nazis did, but that is not my question. my question is studying world war ii is so impactful for understanding where we are today from a political, military, and social perspective. you can count on that particularly as it relates to the politics involved in making the atomic and hydrogen bombs.
thank you for the opportunity and i look forward to hearing your comments. guest: thanks for the call. the consequences of world war ii are extraordinary, socially, politically, militarily. socially in this country argues views on gender and racial equality are shaped by the experiences in world war ii. there were black americans, hundreds of thousands of them, who served in the war mostly in all-black units. it was a segregated military. many of them had a double v campaign. victory against fascism overseas and the victory against racism at home. the dignity, the empowerment, the sense of service and cohesion that that experience
brought to black on area -- black america was a propulsion system for the civil rights movement after the war. the same for gender equality. we have 19 million american women working outside of the home during world war ii, many of them went back to the homemakers after the war. but you do not keep that genie back in the bottle for long. it showed women that they had an opportunity to do whatever men could do, that they could do things that men could do as well, if not better. whether it was working in a science lab, teaching in college, whatever. these very large social imprints that come out of the war are with us to this day and shape the culture and the society, the economy in extraordinarily profound ways that we still see 75 years later. host: we will put our viewers
and listeners to rick atkinson's modern-day reflection on v-e day in a wall street journal in a piece, v-e day, a photo worth defending. a soldier wounded in belgium standing near grand central station on may 7, 1945. holly springs, north carolina is next. linda, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have an aunt and uncle from northern italy who told stories about resistance by many italians and how irated they were on liberation day. our current family reminds us on april 25, there liberation day and how sad they are that many of their elder survivors passed away due to covid-19. they feel like they are in battle again. my question is what were the
italian terms of liberation and were they are still germans in italy fighting at that time? guest: yes, there were germans in italy until may of 1945. the italians you may know from family history in 1943 had decided after making an alliance with the germans, the pact of iron and steel that mussolini and hitler put together. in 1943 there were negotiations between the americans, british, and italians. in 1943 the italians switched sides. not all of them switched sides. there was a rump state that prevailed in northern italy supported by the germans. the fighting in italy which had began with our invasion of
sicily would continue right to the very end of the war. it lasted almost until this day 75 years ago. the italians eventually surrendered after the germans had agreed to surrender. it was the germans occupying italy, fighting in italy, propping up that state of the italian pseudo-government who had to throw in the towel. that occurred may 2, 1945. the war was in italy until the very end also. host: next in illinois, you are on. caller: good morning. i hope the fellow from new mexico is still listening. we had a navajo on our local radio station being interviewed
and that fellow sang the marine corps hymn in navajo. the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. the question i have is if franklin roosevelt still lived in august, would eleanor have let him use the bombs? and semper fidelis for america. guest: roosevelt was not directing war policy before april.r he was interested in the manhattan project. he saw it as a way to shorten the war and save lives. americans and allies, and to save japanese lives also. he was less concerned about that by 1945.
had franklin roosevelt lived beyond april 12, 1945, i don't have any doubt that he would have made the same decision that harry truman did which was to go ahead and use this terrible weapon in hopes of bringing the total war to a complete and final end which happens with the japanese surrender in tokyo on tokyo bay on the uss missouri on september 2, 1945. host: we touched on this at the beginning. bob asked this, who are the germans signing for the german country? i suppose he is referring to the allied signing and not the russian signing. guest: it was the operations chief for the german military, he had been designated and given the authority by the residual german government.
he had an appointment after that signing with the hangmen. he was one of those executed for war crimes. host: you probably get this question a lot. you are working on another trilogy about the revolution with your first book coming out on that last year. have you considered a book about the pacific theater in world war ii? guest: i thought about it. it was obvious to pivot to the pacific and try to do for that theater what i have done for the mediterranean and western europe. i decided not to. 2013 is when the final volume came out. i decided not to in part because i am a europeannist. i lived in europe, i was born in europe.
more important, just out of fascination and even fixation with that earlier war, the war of our independence that gave us the republic that we have to this day. i am working on volume two of the american revolution trilogy. it will take me a while. i do not anticipate being around to take up the pacific. host: berlin, illinois. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a question for mr. atkinson. i wonder what he thinks about mexican americans in american wars. more than 500 mexican americans were in the war. guest: thank you for the question. as with the other ethnic contributions that we talked about earlier, native americans, blacks, and others, the hispanic
contribution, take the texas national guard after it was federalized or the 45th division which had been the oklahoma and new mexico national guard. you go down the roster of the names of the soldiers of those units and you see lots of hernandez's and gonzales's. there are many hispanic names and their contribution is significant. their role in making those units into fine fighting units. the 36th and 45th both fought in italy. the hispanic americans have every reason to be proud of their role and their contribution to that 16.1
million men and women force that made the united states military in world war ii. host: there was a photograph in the bbc today, queen elizabeth to lead the 75th anniversary event speaking to the nation on television there as an army jeep driver, what was the role of the royal family back during the war? guest: their role was to keep the british in the fight and to keep focused on ambitions of the entire british nation which was basically to prevail and withstand the pressures from hitler and his fascist thugs. when v-e day occurred, there were huge crowds in london and crowds that gathered outside buckingham palace. they sang patriotic songs, people weeping.
they chanted, we want the king. the king came out and appeared on the balcony of buckingham palace six times. he brought with him the queen and the two princesses including elizabeth who was still a young girl. she has been queen for a long time and there is no one better equipped to speak on behalf of britain and what they accomplished during the war. host: rick atkinson, we appreciate you joining us and we always appreciate your appearances on book tv as well and good luck on the continuation of your series on the american revolution. guest: thank you so much for having me this morning and remembering the day. announcer: if you like american, keep up with us on facebook, twitter, and youtube. learn about what happened this day in history and see clips of
upcoming programs. follow us at c-span history. jefferson is temporarily closed to the public but is hosting weekly live streams and virtual tours. this sunday we featured two presentations by their resident onerpreter, bill barker, gardening and the declaration of independence. here's a preview. recall when john adams and i had a conversation about when the american revolution actually began. mr. adams said he recalled it began for him by bearing witness to the protests of his cousin, sam adams, in boston. the snap protest of act in march of 1765. the lad replied, i remember at the same time march of 1765 in
williamsburg, virginia. the protests of patrick henry. me as is then looked at looked at him and we realized the american revolution had lexingtonears before and concord had begun in the minds of americans. >> we had a question from benjamin asking what your favorite plant was. >> my favorite plant. you asked me something that i don't think i can give you an immediate answer for so much of nature's wonders are my favorite. flowers,te plants and i continue to enjoy the hollyhock. i enjoyed the snowball that you see behind me. namedk one is properly one of my favorite flowers, the foxglove.
it may be used medicinally to slow down rapid heartbeats benjamin, i wish i had known that during my younger years when i was first called. announcer: join thomas jefferson and monticello this sunday at 3 p.m. pacific here on american history tv. next on the presidency, a discussion at philadelphia's national constitution center with three contributors to c-span's book, the presidents. noted historians ranked the best and worst chief executives. we hear from jeffrey rosen, michael gerhardt, and robert strauss. his book is about james buchanan.