Dwight David Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Joe Mccarthy Joe Mccarthy discussed on John Bachelor


I'm John Batchelor. William Hitchcock's new book is the age of Eisenhower. And I must be careful not to go too deep into the professors careful research because we have a huge story to tell professor about I interrupted you in Eisenhower's opinion of a man, we now know as a future, president of the United States, and the centerpiece of an enormous enormous rupture with between the American people and its government in the nineteen seventies. I'm talking about Watergate, that's haunts us today. So this relationship is critical to understand Nixon saw is in how a father figure. How did Eisenhower seed Nixon? Well, I don't think Eisenhower ever fully, trusted, Richard Nixon. And it's curious that he put him on the ticket in nineteen fifty two to begin with. But the reason that he put him on the ticket in nineteen fifty two was because Nixon had a reputation as a young hungry anti-communist. Nixon was the guy who had unmasked the Soviet spy Alger hiss, and Nixon was a hard charging aggressive well-spoken Republican conservative and ethic communist, and he came from an important state of California. So the Republican leaders of the party put Nixon on the ticket. Eisenhower didn't really know Nixon at all. And he accepted him on the ticket very soon. After though it became clear that the distance between these two men too bad of enormously different backgrounds and experience at age, of course, was really significant and they never really they never really came to terms with one another next somewhat somewhat intimidated by by is an hour. And I've never felt the Nixon was never comfortable. In his own skin. He was never easy. He was ever comfortable. He he was he was an anxious man sort of very self conscious man as vice president. And I think I think to be honest. I think Nixon made is now feel a little uneasy and they never became close. They never they never shared social events together. And Eisenhower really didn't didn't give Nixon major duties in the administration. Joe McCarthy is dominating this period between the Truman administration and the Eisenhower administration making accusations about communism and communists in the government. Dwight David Eisenhower is opinion of communism. How did he see it as the devil as a rival economic system as invading Europe? What was his vision of communism because I'm I'm I'm convinced that he was against it. But I did not. I do not have one version of why opposed it so vehemently. I would say the reason that he saw communism as a threat to America was because he had come out of the second World War when the fear of Nazism as an ideology that could take over all of Europe was very very real. It wasn't hypothetical theoretical. It was real Nazism had already taken over all of Europe and America had to expend such energy to push it back and destroy it. Now, along comes another totalitarian ideology, the Soviet-backed, communism, and Americans are just as afraid that this ideology is gonna take over all of Europe and all of Asia, and in nineteen forty-nine, China goes communist, and it looks as if the communists are on the March and then. Fifty the Korean war began. So I didn't our looks at those events through the lens of the second World War. This is a time when terrible terrible. Ideologies are walking the earth and are really posing very serious threat. Not just to America, but to the other democracies, so he has a very hostile view of communism. And it doesn't make him a a a small minded man or a or a or a man who thought, you know, who who has a prone to conspiracy theories American leaders of the early nineteen fifties felt that the communist threat was real and it was global. So he was one of those who took it very very seriously the meeting in Bermuda nineteen fifty three when he meets Winston Churchill who again has been returned to government, although he's much older than Eisenhower. There's an exchange a scene that you record through the notes of another man who attended in which is in Hauer declares in a vulgar metaphor what communism is he calls. It a whore. That's what he calls it. And he has color. For language. This was a moment when Churchill was seeking to knit together the old allies of the war. Did Eisenhower regret rejecting Churchill's offices at this as at this time because it's right after Stalin's death. Yes, that's right after Stalin dies and Winston Churchill the old warrior is coming back into power. He's been out of power for awhile. And he's hoping he's hoping that there could be a great summit great summit between the new Soviet leaders. Eisenhower and Churchill all of them together. And that they can end the Cold War. They can reunite Europe. Reunited, Germany and the Cold War, shake hands and be done with it. And of course, Churchill wants all of the laurels accompanied with this idea now is now her comes along and he throws cold water on this. And he says it doesn't matter who is running the Soviet Union communism and the Soviet Union is a is the same old woman of the streets wearing a different dress. That's how he puts it to Churchill. So he's the one who's much more hawkish much more rigid than Churchill was at that meeting in nineteen fifty three. And he says, you know, communism is communism. It just because they've changed the leaders at the top doesn't mean that they've changed their ideology. So I don't know that he regretted that he missed that opportunity, although some scholars have gone back and said if Eisenhower had been more supple more open to compromise. It's possible. There would have been a chance to grasp the hand of friendship from the new Soviet leadership the post Stalin leadership and soften the Cold War in some way. But you know, from Eisenhower's perspective, he's still in his first year in office and the domestic politics of of making friends with the Soviets would have been very very difficult. Let's go to the reason for that. It's Joe McCarthy Joe McCarthy making these accusations against everyone in government. And now that Eisenhower's in there. He's not falling back. You present. The fact that Eisenhower so far from having the hidden hand is in improviser when it comes to McCarthy and at first he ignores him, it doesn't work. So he sends Richard Nixon. I believe it's March of fifty four now sends Richard Nixon out to answer. Adly? Stevenson, who's charged that Eisenhower as weak and Eisenhower likes the way, Nixon handle sister. I read that correctly. Professor. Well, if there was one thing that Nixon was good at it. It was it was a kind of you might say dirty tricks and Nixon is now wants Nixon to go first. He wants them to approach McCarthy privately and say, look Joe, you know, come on. We're all in the same boat. We're on the same team, quit quit attacking us and of Carthy refuses. He says I'm gonna keep attacking because because basically it's good for McCarthy. So then is not as all right deck. You've got to do a public take it on publicly, and he goes on national TV to rebut MacArthur. Senator Senator McCarthy's charges, and he's absolutely brilliant doing it. And he says, well, we all know that when you when you go out shooting for for rats when you got shooting for routes, you have to shoot straight because otherwise, you might shoot your friends. And what are you saying is McCarthy is is is is is is wild and shooting spraying bullets in every direction. So Nixon is saying we're all anti communists. We all hate communism. We just don't want to be too derelict in the way, we handle these matters. So it would be better for the president to run the the the anti-communist program and leaves Senator McCarthy out of it. Now, the two parts of Eisenhower that don't ever go together. But they're separate tracks. One is the man who seeking peace atoms for peace peace in our time. The other one is a practices. What you call professor correctly. The dark arts he turns on the CIA to practice covert warfare everywhere in the world with the understanding that if they don't the communists will take over the. Country. I read here again. And again reluctance afterwards for Eisenhower having created a monster that he couldn't control at regionally. It was called the office of policy coordination. We know what is the CIA? He gives it to Allen Dulles, and they practice their their dark arts in Iran, and Guatemala and those burn sixty years later, those incidents burn did Eisenhower ever in his memoirs anywhere regret empowering, the CIA outside of the reach of congress and of the newspapers. Well, you know, he never really did a say that he regretted it on. And I don't think he lived quite long enough to see the long long term damage that some of these covert operations really caused if you look at Guatemala or Iran in two countries, where our covert operations overthrew the government there were civil wars in Guatemala that went on for decades afterwards in Iran. Of course, we know that the Shah was put into power he was a strong man and governed very ruthlessly and then in nineteen seventy nine the Iranian revolution came along. And they said we hate America in part because you put the Shah in power back in the Eisenhower years, so there's a long memory of American covert operations in places like Ouaga Malla, and and Iran, so I don't think Eisenhower ever quite saw that this was such a pernicious pattern. He again, viewed it as through the lens of the second World War, which was if you have an enemy you'll do anything to undermine. That enemy whether it's it's bombing them with your airplanes or it's secret operations to blow up a bridge or two wired cut down there there. Telegraph lines. You'll you'll do anything that you have any weapon. You have available is fair game. And I think that's how he viewed it. And in a way that was rather naive way of looking at things because the CIA grew into such a world straddling, you know, institution with its finger in in pies around the world, and I don't know that Eisenhower anticipated just how big and in some cases, how negative impact of that kind of behavior would be right. He approved the technology that becomes the U2. airplane again. And again this reads like a big novel professor because foreshadowing of of turning on the U2. and nine hundred fifty four and having it come back in one thousand nine hundred sixty however, we have other stories. Eisenhower liked the domino metaphor. And look at these dominoes that he deals with Vietnam after DNB on FU. And then there's. The matter of Formosa, which we call Taiwan today and China, he sees the domino theory. That was inherited by the sixties and the seventies. Was it real for him? Or was it just a speechifying because there's never been evidence that when one of these countries fell under the control of so-called communist agents that it wasn't anything other than opportunists nationalists such as in Vietnam did is our see that irony. Well, this is an area where his he was very sophisticated. I think publicly publicly what he said was it's a domino effect. And if one of these first Domino's goes, then the whole road is gonna fall down. So we have to make sure the first domino doesn't fall, but privately with his advisors..

Coming up next