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tv   The Presidency FDR Ike Relationship  CSPAN  November 23, 2021 1:39pm-1:53pm EST

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c-span now, access top highlights, listen to c-span radio and discover new podcasts, all for free. download c-span now today. >> the director of the fdr library, today we're going to talk about fdr's leadership and one of the amazing skills he had was picking the right person for the right job at the right time, particularly among his military leaders. he put together an extraordinary team during world what are two sometimes ignoring protocol about how to do it. we're going to look at fdr and dwight eisenhower and what was it that allowed fdr to select him for these incredibly important roles. joining us today to answer that question is the director of the eisenhower library.
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dawn, welcome. >>ly, paul. thank you so much. what a delight to be here with you today. >> so what do you think? what was the -- eisenhower presented that made rows vilt choose him for the invasion of south africa and then the invasion of -- >> i think it makes sense to point out that ice haur had an amazing relationship with general fox connor and fox connor took him under his wing and helped him develop some of his mirlt less arons or his military knowledge. fox corner mentions general marshall and marble introduced eisenhower to fdr, as well. >>. >> they have a complicatesed
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relationship. >> they have a complicated relationship, but i don't think fdr felt he could do without marshall at that time. marshall was an incredible administrator. >> one of the first important meetings between them took place after the north africa invasion and it was a difficult time for eisenhower. he wasn't sure whether he was going on get fired or whether he was going to get promoted. >> yeah. it was quite a show for the americans after the invasion of africa, don't you think? >> i wonder what it was like for eisenhower as he was going into that room with churchill and roosevelt and all the military leaders on both sides and having to justify everything that had happened up until then. >> one of the things i had been amazed about eisenhower is his ability to remain calm. don't get me wrong. he could lose his temple like the best of men. but when he really needed to be
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calm and smooth with his delivery, he was masterful. i bet he displayed himself in an amazing way. >> i think one of eisenhower's most successful characteristics was his ability to get along with a wide range of people and probably why he was given the title of supreme allied commander for the d-day invasion. he had very, very difficult people to work for like bernard montgomery, george patten and winston children ill. and once he was in england planning for the d-day invasion, wins done churchill was in his fait face quite a bit. how did eisenhower manage to balance all of these competing egos and competing agendas and launch the most ambitious an fib yuls attack in the world? >> number one, it was an incredibly humble man. he knew his talents. but he didn't have a big ego about it. but i think the -- that he was
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able to establish this sort of a diplomatic relationship within all of the other layers, all the other allied commands, churchill himself. i think his innate diplomacy showed well during this time for him. >> you have a new permanent exhibit at the eisenhower presidential library museum. one of the things you highlight there is directly connected to d-day. do you want to talk about that? >> we do, sure. we did a major renovation of our exhibit galleries recently. it just opened to the public last fall. and we were able to sort of reimagine how we interpret d-day and eisenhower's involvement in the d-day planning. we have at the eisenhower presidential library, we care for three pretty amazing objects related to d-day. one is one of the d-day planning tables. another is in case of failure,
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note that eisenhower penned or penciled and stuck in his pocket and then the third is the model of the mullberry harbor. the model of the mulberry harbor is the model that was used to explain the concept to churchill. churchill gave the model to president roosevelt and the roosevelt presidential library then transferred it to the eisenhower president equal library. so we are still very proud to share this with our public. thank you. i think that the table, the planning table is one of those objects where you realize the history that happened right there, that men sitting around, the decisions they were making, tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance and that is eisenhower would handwrite on note saying if anything goes wrong it's my fault, it is so dramatic. >> and you know that he wrote the wrong date on that piece of paper. he wrote july 5th. no one really knows why. we don't know if it was nerves or -- we just don't know.
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but to see that piece of paper, to see that graphite on the paper and know that it was written by his hand, from his heart, it's an incredibly powerful piece of paper. >> what is your favorite part of this new exhibit. >> i think for me, the most important piece of our development is to share this story with a new group of people who don't have a personal connection to world war ii. how do we explain the whole time period that the warren compeaned to figure that out was important to us at the presidential library. we have a film, two really great
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films. we have one film that's more of a graphic that shows the expansion and contraction of the land mass that is occupied by the allies or the axis powers. all of the battles. there's video within it to show some of the battles. and i think that's a real visual representation of a global war. and how long it actually took because this film starts with mancheria. so i think it's been a great way for us to reimagine how to tell this tale, how to tell this incredible epic story to people who really just don't remember it. >> we find the same challenges with the roosevelt era that is ancient history to so many people today. of course, many of the issues that they faced then we're once again facing now, upheaval, income inequality, environmental catastrophe. so it's very interesting that, you know, the issues that our presidents were dealing with 75,
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80 years ago are once again confronting our leadership. but now i realize you're closed now, like we are, but what about the public response when you first opened? >> we had so many amazing comments. thank yous from veterans, families of veterans, just delighted to see this story retold. a lot of our teacher guests told us we hit the mark for a lot of our education pieces. we had a lot of gratitudes. but those people who came up to us and said thank you, thank you for doing this, those were really the meaningful comments. >> the question i always have about people when they're deeply immersed in one live, especially these historic figures, is what is the part of his personality,
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what is the part of his story that you most relate to? >> the general knowledge that we all have about this man, he was astounding. he was amazing. but when i learned this very human aspect, it made him touch my heart more. he was not a very good student, not when he went to west point. he graduated west point in the bottom middle of his class and he graduated with a lot of demerits because eisenhower had a playful streak. and so when he graduated, world war i begins and he doesn't progress in his rank as often or as quickly as some of his classmates. and we believe that he recognized and equated it with perhaps i didn't do very well in school and then he was never any less than number one in his class. so when he went on to war
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college, when he went on to the command and general staff college, he was never less than number one in his class. and to me, that's really a very human moment of, you know, we can change things in our lives. we can recognize that i might not like whatever is going on and i can fix it. and i can fix it. >> that's great. i want to end with one of my favorite photographs of roosevelt and eisenhower. and there aren't that many photographs of the two of them together. it's very interesting. but at the teran conference the big three conference with churchill and stalin said who is the supreme commander. they hemmed and haws and said we haven't selected one. he said it's non-sense until you select a supreme commander. fdr says i got to make a decision and he flies to north africa and meets with eisenhower and the photograph of two in the
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jeep and the investigation on their faces is so classic. and then this was one of these historic moments. i mean, you know, the fate of the war hung in the balance as to who is the commander. you look at the picture and see the two men realizing they gave everything for their country. this is a moment that really captures it. >> i know that photograph well and i love their faces. >> well, dawn, thank you very much for joining us here at home with the roosevelts. i can't wait to get out and see your permanent new exhibit. >> please do. always waiting for you. >> president george washington gave his fare well address in 1796. tonight historians and authors revisit the warnings against threats confronting the young nation in a discussion hosted by mount vernon. watch at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cspan3. >> krp offers a variety of podcasts, something for every listen perup weekdays washington
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