The Norman Transcript


March 12, 2013

Second annual Teach-In focuses on Great Depression, WWII



Kennedy compared Rouen, France, Stalingrad, Russia and Washington, D.C., to establish how the United States’ reliance on strategic air raids was the innovative secret to success.

Joking that his students describe history as “one darned thing after another,” Kennedy said, “I want all of you today to understand that for the U.S., WWII was hardly ‘one darned thing after another’ but a series of very shrewd decisions that ultimately won the war.”

Kennedy also analyzed the importance of sage leadership in WWII, juxtaposing Hitler’s and Churchill’s reactions to Pearl Harbor to indicate the respective shortsightedness and accurate perception of the United States’ military potential.

“An eyewitness reports that Hitler expressed excitement that Germany had an ally in Japan, whom he said had not been defeated in 1,000 years. Churchill writes in his memoir that he went to bed that night knowing the U.S. would join the war and slept the sleep of the saved,” Kennedy said.

To solidify his attribution of the U.S.’ victory to its ability to harness resource and strategy to forge new tactics and technology, Kennedy closed with a metaphorical image of a rudimentary Japanese balloon bomb passing a fleet of U.S. bombers — each with thousands of horsepower — in the jet stream.After lunch, inside the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall at Catlett Music Center, Harvard law professor Noah Feldman discussed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s relationship with the Supreme Court.

He said Roosevelt’s gathering of industry, labor and financiers in an attempt to repair the economy was controversial. It afforded tremendous power to the president.

“Critics said that was fascism but, of course it wasn’t fascism,” Feldman said.

When the Supreme Court didn’t back Roosevelt, he sought to pack the court with his like-minded appointees, even to the point of adding justices.

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