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[Applause] hi it's a pleasure to be here and it's a pleasure to be here among people who are celebrating and hearing about the humanities I feel like this is a home
team so I wrote a book can I get them to turn on the air-conditioning I don't
know but I think the request has been conveyed I want to talk to you about a book that tries to see the history of the United States from a different angle
and to start I just want to start with one of the most familiar events in US history I think if you were to ask people in this country what three historical events can they name not just
say the year when it happened but they can actually say the day when it happens I think you'd probably get a list that had three things on it you'd get the Declaration of Independence July 4th
1776 you get September 11th 2001 al-qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington and then I think the other one that you'd get would be December 7th 1941 the date which will live in infamy
this is a big part of national history it's a big part of national mythology as well I checked at the Library of Congress to see how many books they had on Pearl Harbor and it was 350 different
books held in the collection and you know there's been a lot of movies made about it some really good ones like From Here to Eternity some a little less good like Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck but we you know there's some movies made
because people keep returning this because it's seen as such a pivotal event and it's a pivotal event when well when what happens the way we usually tell the story the way I heard this
story when I was growing up and when I was studying history was that Japan attacked the United States at the Pearl Harbor neighbor vase Naval Base in Hawaii in the territory of Hawaii and
that drew the United States into the Second World War but ironically it was the only time the United States was ever struck on its own soil in that war the only major strike on US soil and what I
didn't know and what the book still no we say in the movies don't always depict is what happened next because those of you who are world war ii buffs will know that that's not the only place japan
attacked that day that's not even the only u.s. territory that japan attacked that day within a matter of hours japanese forces struck hawaii that's the Pearl Harbor attack Wake
Island which is also a u.s. island it doesn't have an indigenous population but it did have a number of people thousands who were working on it preparing air air strips and such Guam
which is an inhabited u.s. territory the Philippines which is the single largest colony the United States has ever had holding millions of people at that point as well as the British territories of
Hong Kong and Malaya and the independent Kingdom of Thailand's that's what happened on the day now this issue of the day is a little confusing because as
you can see this happens on either side of the International Dateline but from a sunup to sundown perspective this is all happening within a matter of hours and within one Sun up to sundown by the way
the date aspect is really interesting because Japanese people understand this - all happened on December 8th because that's Tokyo's perspective on this on this event I want to draw your attention
however to one target particularly doesn't always get talked about which is the Philippines ah a very large colony containing millions as I said also that attack did enormous military damage to
the United States the US Army's official history of world war ii rates the damage done in the philippines on that day as as bad to the US as the damage done at
Pearl Harbor and it wasn't just what happened on that day in the Philippines in Pearl Harbor the attack was well it was just that it was an attack the Japanese attacked they did great damage
and they didn't come back that's not what happened in the Philippines there the Japanese attacked attacked again invaded occupied and held the
Philippines the u.s. is largest territory as Japanese occupied land for the bulk of World War two this was a major event in Philippine history and look even the day of it wasn't clear
exactly how to talk about this event all these things that happened all over the Pacific Ocean we have a term for it Pearl Harbor but that wasn't available to people at the time no one said
yesterday was Pearl Harbor it took a couple days for newspaper editors to settle on that as a good descriptor for everything that it just happens and until they had a stable descriptor for
everything that had just happens their ways of referring to this event headlines for saying what happened very a lot so you could have newspapers that would say yesterday the Japanese
attacked Guam and Hawaii or yesterday the Japanese attacked Hawaii and the Philippines it wasn't even clear where to locate this event Eleanor Roosevelt
gave a speech the night before to the day of the night before FDR's famous date which will live in infamy speech where she said this was an attack on our citizens in Hawaii in the Philippines and that pairing Philippines in Hawaii
Hawaii in the Philippines that's also how Sumner Welles FDR's trusted Undersecretary of state had it when he drafted the date which will live in infamy speech FDR took a look at that
draft decided he didn't like it and dictated his own and one of the really awesome things about being a historian of the United States in the 20th century is that sometimes you got the paper
trail and this is a speech where we have the paper trail we have FDR's first dictated copy we have his pencil markings as the edits we have the second draft we have the third draft we have the fourth
draft we have it all and you can see him thinking through how to talk about what just happens you can see him making edits this is the first draft with his pencil annotations first line yesterday
December 7th 1941 a date which will live in world history is how he originally had it crossed it out a date which will live in infamy that's a good edit
there's a few other edits that he makes and one I want to draw your attention to on the seventh line where he's describing what happened this is the moment where he actually has to narrate what happened the Japanese air squadrons
commence bombing in Oahu which is the island in Hawaii that's what it says now but if you look under this scratched out bed you'll see that that's not originally what it said originally it
talked about the Japanese who commence bombing in Hawaii and the Philippines so FDR had said that that was what he intended and then he thought about it crossed it out and made the speech just
about Hawaii he does that throughout the speech he edits the Philippines almost entirely out of the speech those of you who know the speech well may know that there's a back part of the speech where FDR lists the other targets but he gives
an indiscriminate list that mixes British and US targets and Thailand's and he doesn't explain they're mixed in order and he doesn't explain which belongs to which country so there's no sense you get that the Philippines is
really US soil so look here's a question why did he do that what was going through his head and there's a limit to how much we can know we don't know exactly what he was thinking at a time but I can make a pretty good guess
because we have opinion polls from right before Pearl Harbor where people in the United States are asked would they support US military defense of and various places are listed including the
far western territories of the United States to Philippines and Guam and for those places the numbers are really low it seems like a lot of people in the United States
when they look at the Philippines its US territory the people who live there are US Nationals FDR is their commander-in-chief the Stars and Stripes is their flag but nevertheless it seems that a lot of people in the United States when they look at the Philippines
they see a foreign lands they don't see Co Nationals they see foreigners and that seems to be reflected in the opinion polls it's same for Guam as well uh Hawaii is a little different
Hawaii has a much larger white population and it seems like that matters for how people a lot of people in the United States think about Hawaii and whether they think about Hawaii which is also a territory not a state
whether they think about it as being American or not even still though that could be a little bit of an open question Fortune magazine in 1940 issued one of
these opinion polls I talked about to its readers and asked its readers how many of them would support a defense of various countries and Hawaii was listed and the readers wrote in and what they said was fifty five percent of them
would support a US military defense of Hawaii officials in Hawaii hit the roof and I know this because I have their letters as they're writing to Fortune magazine terrified and angry and you can
kind of guess what they're angry about one thing they're concerned about 55% gosh that number seems low that number seems terrifyingly low in an age when it
looks very likely that Japan is gonna attack 55% are you kidding me but there's something else that ticked them off as well maybe you'll see it it's how the question was phrased which
countries should the United States defense which countries they said to Fortune magazine what are you talking about Hawaii's not a country who is part of the United States just like New York the fact that you're calling it a
country is setting us up for this answer and the fact that we have opinion polls giving this answer is setting us up for some very dangerous days ahead that was their concern I think FDR had a sense
that Hawaii itself was a little wobbly because he made one final edit to he made it between the last printed draft that we have where he's you know is edited he's made his markings and the
version that we we have audio recordings of him given so I imagine him kind of hesitating on his way to the podium and just thinking one more thing it's also to that line he describes the
attack is happening not on the island of Oahu but on the American island of Oahu and you kind of see what he's saying he needs to underscore the fact that Hawaii
is in all relevant senses American because if he doesn't get this over to his audience he's got a problem because the entire speech depends on this proposition the Empire of Japan attacked the United States of America and if
there is any doubt in his audience's mind about whether is the whole is Hawaii really the United States of America then this doesn't work as a call for war it's a big speech people
recognize it as a big speech at the time it's an important speech it does the trick but nevertheless even after this speech that question about Hawaii that
was still kind of open FDR also said not in this speech but in later speeches he also enjoined the nation to follow along as he would narrate the war in fireside chats he said follow along and I want
you to get maps and atlases everyone should have an atlas so when I tell you what's happening you'll know where it's happening this was a bonanza for cartographers and atlas publishers
including Rand McNally based here in Chicago we just started publishing wartime atlases left and right and selling them and doing really good business selling them and I found an account of a classroom of seventh grade
girls in Kalamazoo Michigan who are doing exactly what the president said who bought a Rand McNally wartime Atlas so published after Pearl Harbor and they've got it and they're using to follow along the war and they're very
excited about this and nevertheless one of them turns to a back page of that Atlas and she sees something curious it's the page that it's an index and it
lists foreign cities and places and what she sees on it Hawaii the Philippines and Puerto Rico and the girls talk about this and they
come up with this question how does this make any sense in what meaningful sense are these places foreign I thought the whole point was that Hawaii was part of the United States and they write to Rand
McNally the entire classroom of girls separate letters writes to Rand McNally demanding an answer and Rand McNally answers so this is the sound of Rand
McNally explaining to a classroom of seventh-grade girls in Kalamazoo Michigan why Hawaii should be listed as foreign although Hawaii belongs to the United States it is not an integral part of this country it is far into our
continental shores and therefore cannot logically be shown in the United States proper index I'll be honest I don't really know what that means
and the girls didn't either because they wrote back we believe this statement is not true [Applause]
it is an alibi instead of an explanation they wrote back and then by the way whoever their teacher was I feel so grateful - no wait wait because then
they sent the entire thing to the Secretary of the Interior and asked for adjudication which is how I got this so in the records of the Department of the
Interior is this entire correspondence and is also the Department of interiors response where they say yeah the girls are totally right why is part of the United States but
look that question is Hawaii part of the United States what about the Philippines what about Puerto Rico Guam American Samoa these are questions that haunt US history because I think if you ask most people in the United States to imagine
what the country looks like on a map I mean don't think about it very hard to sort of map it in your head I think the portrait that you would get would be something like this the political scientist Benedict Anderson called it
the logo map you know in the sense that if the country had a logo it might be this he's not entirely wrong about that but here's the thing about that logo map
its borders aren't right I mean any historian will tell you well okay that's not how the United States always looked and in the 18th century it was much smaller and then throughout the 18th the 19th century through a series of
purchases and conquests and Wars and dispossession and of indigenous people finally the it took a while for the United States to expand in fact it wasn't until 1854 with the ratification of the Gadsden Purchase that final
little sliver of lands between what was now the United States and what was then Mexico that's when that shape finally solidified 1854 okay fine but here's something that we don't
always talk about those borders held for three years there are three years where these are the right borders of the country 1854 18 57 in case you're curious because right
after that the United States started expanding overseas first it took a series of uninhabited islands and by its by series I mean almost a hundred in the Pacific and in the Caribbean known as
the guano islands for the nitrate rich fertilizer that they contains quickly after that it annexed Alaska in 1857 from Russia and then in the end of the 19th century the United States went to
war with Spain while Spain was in the middle of a colonial crisis and ended up as a result of that war taking from Spain Puerto Rico the Philippines and
Guam and then in a fit of Imperial enthusiasm why not also taking the non Spanish lands of Hawaii and American Samoa the United States by the end of the nineteenth century had a really
large overseas Empire territories places that were not States and that we're gonna be ruled differently from the States you can't always see these on maps and I got frustrated as I was
researching this how hard it was to actually get a picture in my mind of what this looked like so I learned to make maps myself and one of the maps that I wanted to make was the country on
the eve of Pearl Harbor but the country the whole thing all the land under US jurisdiction and I wanted that land to be shown not like it's usually shown with you know Alaska scrunched down into
a tiny box but I wanted to show to see all the parts right sighs so I wanted to map them to scale with an equal area projection and so this is the map this is the United States in 1940 but the
full thing and it's shown the right size that's what it looks like and look that familiar shape which we so frequently call the United States we have to call that something different because that's
not the entire United States it's a part of it it's a big important large privilege part a lot of people live there but it's not the entire thing so what should we call it a lot of people
overseas territories call it the mainland's right a big part of the country but not the entirety of the country and when you look at this map you see that the mainland isn't the whole of the thing in fact if you were to take Alaska and to overlay it on the
mainland it would stretch from coast to coast a thing that Alaskans often like to mention in fact that's often that's that's almost true of Hawaii as well if you take the Hawaiian Islands not just the eight main islands but the entire
Hawaiian island chain and you put that over the mainland that almost stretches to coast to coast from coast to coast as well the Philippines is huge we've got were to reco and right next to it the US Virgin Islands over here American Samoa
Guam the only parts of this map that I've shown not to scale are the clusters of island in the lower right and lower left these are uninhabited islands most of them had been claimed as guano
islands and they are small enough that if I were to map them they would be very hard to see so I made them larger see you can see them but every all the inhabited parts are mapped to scale and it's not just the size of the land the
acreage that I want to draw your attention to we should also pay attention to how many people live in these spaces because it turns out a lot of them do this is the US Census count in 1940 and I won't go
through every figure but I just want to draw your attention to something we're talking about millions of people many of them in the Philippines but there are a number of other large territories Puerto Rico Hawaii Alaska as well in fact if
you add up everyone who's living in a u.s. colony at this time you get nearly 19 million people that's a lot that's a lot that's about one in eight people who
live in the United States one in eight people who live in the United States meaning the whole thing live in the overseas territories are colonized if you live in the United States in 1940 you are more likely to be colonized than
you are to be black that's how many colonized people live in the full United States if you live in the United States in 1940 you are more likely to be colonized than you are to be an immigrant that's how many colonized people there are in the United
States and that's this jumping off point for this book I've written how to hide an empire a history of the greater United States that term the greater United States was one that a few people around the turn of the 20th
century used to refer to the whole thing and so what I wanted to do was to retell US history not just as a history of the mainland but as the history of the entire thing the greater United States and what I'd
like to do today is just tell you I mean look the book is 22 chapters every one of them is riveting but I I don't want to walk you through every one but I just want to give you a sense of one episode
a kind of episode that that I think about a lot that seems like a profound episode that gives you a sense and gave me a sense when I was researching it of how different US history looks when the object that we have in view in the
United States that we're doing a history of isn't just the mainland it's the greater United States but on my way to getting to that episode I'll just say something about the title of this book it's how to hide an empire and the
reason I call it that is that the United States is kind of distinctive among countries that have had large empires in that it really doesn't have a long history of talking about its Empire it's hard to find maps of the United States
that have Puerto Rico on them in fact it wasn't until I started doing this research that I even saw such maps and that makes it I think different from other kinds of countries and just to give you a sense let me quickly compare it to Britain
Great Britain also had an empire and this wasn't a secret the brief the British talked about it openly in fact they had a holiday to celebrate it called Empire Day and it was started out
in the schools and it became official in 1916 so officially celebrated and you know schoolchildren would dress up in national costume burma india you know ghana that kind of thing or not called ghana at the time and then they would
you know sort of talk about the national cuisines and they would gaze at the map on the wall of the classroom which had all the little parts painted pink indicating that these were parts ruled by the british empire this was a very
public thing the united states interestingly also had a patriotic holiday that has exactly the same chronology it starts in the schools it becomes an official holiday in 1916 but
it had a different character it wasn't to revere the empire it was called Flag Day and it was explicitly about the nation talking about the nation not the empire and the thing that schoolchildren
looked at or venerated wasn't the map of the world with all the colonies painted on it it was rather the flag something that has a star for every state but no representation at all for the
territories this fact about the United States the hiddenness of its empire in matter it made a historical difference it was consequential and one way it was consequential was during the run-up to
World War two as it became very clear that Japan was likely going to expand and as anyone who looked at a map could tell if it expanded it was very likely going to carve out space out of the United States as Pacific Empire
Washington didn't really do anything about that there was very limited military buildup to fortify the likely targets of attacked partly because it was a time of pinched budgets and isolationism but a lot of it
was the fact that people outside of you know military planners didn't really know a lot didn't think a lot and didn't care a lot about these far western territories these places that just sort of seemed to shade into the blurry
periphery of the national consciousness in fact the one big thing that the United States did to prepare its far western territories for war for the possibility of war was set the Philippines on the course for
independence it started this in the 1930s part of the reason was economic a fear that Philippine Commerce was interfering with mainland commerce too much but part of it was also military on
the logic that as long as the Philippines is the u.s. territory technically the United States is obliged to defend it but the second the Philippines becomes independent it's a foreign country what happens in the I
mean that's your problem not mine was the logic from Washington the Philippines was put on a transition to independence and that it got a new government called a Commonwealth government in in 1935 and there would be
a sort of 10 year countdown to independence after that the president of it was this man named Manuel Quezon and I'll just give you a flavor of how that happened what it felt like when at the
start of the Commonwealth so Manuel Quezon is going to be inaugurated as the president of the Philippine Commonwealth and he asks for in his honor a 21-gun
salute fitting for a head of state and FDR responds you may have a 19-gun salute because you aren't a head of state don't get it twisted that's not
what you are you are like a state governor you're not independent stop pretending that you are that will come later if it comes at all you get a 19-gun salute Kazon was insulted and
threatened war and then he threatened to boycott his own inauguration and then eventually he just sort of agreed to it and went through with it with 19 guns resenting the lack of the additional -
and I think that's kind of a good symbol because too few guns was gonna be an enduring theme in the years to follow in Philippine history oh I'm sorry I got a little twisted with my slides there um
Philippines got invaded by Japan predictably and the Philippines predictably was unable to repel Japanese forces and so Kazon is there General Douglas MacArthur is there with him there in the Philippines as Japan just
starts taking city after City going up and down the archipelago and Kazan demands military aid FDR now is the time now you know yes today was the time to send battleships but by God now is the moment right now
and it becomes very clear as he requests aid and painfully little arrives that he's sort of bumped up against one of the hardest facts about US military strategy in the war which is that the
United States has fastened on a grand strategy for this war called the Europe first strategy the United States is fighting a two-front war in the Pacific and in Europe but it's clear that one of
those fronts matters a lot more and Washington is explicitly said so it's going to prioritize the European theater and take a beating from Japan and then once it can regather once Hitler is in
hand then it will turn its attentions to to Asia look that's a strategy and war is about hard choices I'm not saying you know if we thought through it fully that that's exactly the wrong strategy but nevertheless from a Philippine
perspective it was a terrifying strategy was a harrowing strategy it was a painful strategy to conquer to contemplate and it wasn't a secret because FDR would go on the radio and he'd bang on about the need to aid
England and those broadcasts they went to the Philippines - and Filipinos heard this and they thought what are you talking about England's England is a a foreign country and be an imperialist
why are we concerned about bailing out an imperial power when part of the United States is actually being attacked and invaded right now Kazon gave a sort of soliloquy about this that multiple
officers in the US military heard and recorded and it it uses strong language and it strongly felt that I'm going to share it with you I cannot stand this constant reference to England to Europe
I'm here and my people are here under the heels of a conqueror how typical American to ride in anguish at the fate of a distant cousin while a daughter is
being raped in the back room the back room is not the worst metaphor I've heard for the Philippines in World War two in fact it's not the worst metaphor I've heard for the u.s. treatment of its
own colonies case made a new demands he demanded independence on the grounds that the Philippines could become independent then he could negotiate a separate settlement with Japan maybe he wouldn't
have to fight Japan they could you know stationed their troops there and because he wouldn't have to fight over every every inch of ground FDR said absolutely not the Philippines cannot negotiate with Japan you're not a head of state in
fact the US flag will be defended to the death and you know those are stiring words but they're also portentous words and to get a sense of what that meant
and and how much leading US officials knew what that meant I want to turn back to Europe to a conversation that the Secretary of War Henry Stimson had with Winston Churchill Churchill asked
Stimpson and here I'm paraphrasing you know said something like Henry dear friends loved the Europe first strategy you guys have agreed on couldn't be happier just want to make sure Henry
that you know what the costs of this are gonna be and that you're willing to bear them because I see Japan invading the Philippines right now and I just want to know that you understand the full implications of this strategy lovely
strategy that you've agreed on and Stimson responds to him quite clearly thinking of the Philippines and says there are times when men have to die which is right I mean that's how war
Works war is extremely hard choices and this is the Secretary of War facing the implications of I'm sure not an easy choice that that they have made but nevertheless it's a choice that was clearly made with the differential sense
of whose lives mattered and whose lives needed to be prioritized Japan took over the Philippine Archipelago and held it and it was by all accounts a brutal occupation as the resource star of
Japanese basically try to shunt the entire Philippine economy into the war machine confiscating food confiscating anything that contain metal trucks take moving entire factories from the Philippines into Japan and leaving
Filipinos destitute destitute and and literally starving Filipinos fought back and when they did they met with a brutal repression massacres beheadings it was a very very hard time in Southeast Asia
there's no question about it the United States eventually the US military eventually returned in 1944 I'm you know two plus years later under Douglas MacArthur and as it did it started you
know now it was armed and ready for the fight it started moving its fort you know engaging the Japanese all over the archipelago but the big target was Manila and so many people in the Philippine countryside had been starving
that they had rushed into Manila in search of food and by that time Manila had swollen to have a million residents which made it at that time the sixth largest city in the United States to the
degree that could still be counted as Washington did counted as part of the United States the US and the Japanese had dealt with Manila in a different way that the United States had they had fortified it they prepared it for war
and so taking it back was gonna be difficult the United States started to retake Manila to liberate it as they called it or to recolonize it as some others have said started to retake
Manila by bombing it by bombing military to of course by bombing military targets from the sky to soften up the Japanese before the ground invasion not only did they drop bombs they also dropped
leaflets which I was able to find in my research in Manila here's one Filipinos American planes and bombs American planes are bombing and strafing this area remember we don't want to hurt
you but bombs cannot tell friend from foe and then it lists a number of military targets to stay away from that's right that's right both parts are right we don't want to hurt you that's absolutely correct
bombs can't tell friend from foe that's also true that's the painful logic of bombing and so it advises Filipinos to just stay away from all military targets but since military targets are like
roads that's a difficult thing to do after the United States bombs Manila then it proceeded in on the ground and the lead division was these 37th Infantry Division and it started
out that division did with a with a tactic which is that the Japanese had sort of pillboxes and were set up in buildings and men from the 37th Infantry Division would go in in the sort of artisanal small-batch way and try to
sort of dislodge you know one emplacement after another with small arms fire and you know getting in firefights and buildings and look that's dangerous that's hard getting a firefight in a building is difficult and very quickly within days like a very few
amount of days it became clear how difficult this strategy was going to be because a lot of uniforms mainlanders were losing their lives no not a lot as compared to the number of Filipinos who were losing their lives in Manila right
right then at the same time as they got caught in crossfire and as they got subject of Japanese retaliatory slaughter but nevertheless an unconscionable amount from the perspective of the military commanders
and so the 37th division and then this was followed by the other divisions switched tactics the new tactic was going to be any building that might contain the enemy should just be shelled until it is no longer a building anymore
problem solved and the commander expressed the logic this way to me the loss of a single American life to save a building was unthinkable which yeah
express like that I totally agree lives versus architecture I would choose lives to live seem more important than architecture but there's something tricky going on in that statement something that bite learn knows but
isn't saying which is this those buildings are inhabited those buildings are inhabited not just by suspected Japanese emplacements often real but by Filipinos who were in those buildings we're talking literally about hospitals
we're talking about connivance we're talking about refugee centers these are the buildings that are being described and these are the buildings that actually got shelled as in these firefights there's another tricky thing going on in this sentence and it has to
do with this phrase American life because when bite lers talking about American lives he's talking about uniformed soldiers he's talking about mainlanders there's no place in this sentence and in the larger tactical
logic for the US Nationals on the grounds Filipinos and I'm going to show you some pictures that I collected in Manila I'm not they're not grisly but they're
they're kind of upsetting in some deeper sense once you understand what's going on so these are these are some photographs that were taken during the month where the United States retook
Manila overall in a month of fighting fight lers logic works it worked in the
sense that US us lives American lives were preserved and only a thousand uniformed soldiers died which is a lot of people but it was fewer than might
have died but it also failed in a larger sense in that we think in this month a hundred thousand Manila residents died a hundred thousand Filipinos died that's a
tenth of the city that is a literal decimation that's what the word decimation means one in ten killed it's a decimation of Manila as major parts of the city are leveled and this is a not a
bad proxy for what happened up and down the archipelago in City after city in town after town as the United States engaged Japan either by air or on the grounds overall in World War two as far
as we can tell 1.1 million Filipino lives were lost and many were lost at the very end as they got caught in the crossfire between Japan and between the US military if you look at everyone who
died in World War two in the Philippines and so the other people who are non filip you know that that's mainly Japanese people but some u.s. mainlanders as well we're talking about 1.6 million people 1.6 million people is
two civil wars 1.6 million people is incontrovertibly the bloodiest thing that has ever happened in US history and I grew up learning that Pearl Harbor was the only part of US soil that got attacked during World War
in textbooks you can't US history textbooks this you can almost not find this at all when you colonized us you established English as the language of the instruction the schools so I and
everyone my age group grew up speaking English that's why I speak English and the GI says we colonized you and in his memoir Oscars like can you believe
like is unbelievable to me this guy has put it all on the line he's crossed the ocean to come here to come to a very dangerous situation he's been given maps he's been told whom to shoot and why and at no point like he's had to
think about this but at no point did it dawn on him that this is part of the US Empire he thought he was invading a foreign country and look this is a small
interaction and and it's almost comical it's almost a comical misunderstanding but it's one that I think about a lot because in some ways this interaction between this anonymous GI and Oscar that captures two different ways of seeing
the United States you know and for years I taught US history kind of the way the GI Syed you know and I would often be surprised I'm like oh yeah Puerto Rico is part of the United States right I kind of knew that vaguely in the vaguest
of senses and I think what I'm hoping for is that we can see US history not through the GI eyes but through Oscars we can see it not just as the mainland but as the greater United States thank
you and I'm happy to take questions thank you so much Daniel so we're going to start with our live Q&A we will have a mic circulating on either side please raise your hand if
you would like the mic a few things before we get started though please make sure to speak into the mic so that everyone can hear please keep your question to a very brief and also pose
it as a question not a statement thanks so much let's get started right back here or did you see someone go for start right back here hi thank you so much for that
that's great can you speak to the history of enlisted military service in the Second World War by American nationals in occupied
territories yeah I can so what the Second World War does is it shoots the United States out all over the planet by the end of the war it has operated two
thousand bases foreign bases just like all over and we're talking not just places where you think of the war happening but places where all the logistics are happening as well so you know moving you know supplies through
India on their way to China and you've got just bases dotting that entire route and it's a moment of opening horizons for the United States it's when a lot of people who never traveled out of their you know home County are suddenly you
know flying over Burma and thinking about that and it's a really interesting moment of sort of widening horizons and it's also a moment of conflict because at the end of the war Truman and the
chief of staff the army decide that the the end of the war needs is going to require the United States to take on a newly global role and to have millions of men in the Army stationed all over
the world in order to you know put down rebellions if things get spicy and Asia that kind of thing and we don't always talk about this but after the war the men's stage in insurrection and start
marching and start sometimes we have accounts of them burning the Secretary of War in effigy giving speeches and they demand to be brought home and partly they just want to come home I understand but when they're asked
about the politics of that they say I don't envision an imperial mission for this country I am nervous about a country that thinks that it should have a large-scale army just permanently stationed all over the world so it's a
so that moment is both a moment when the United States sort of accepts a new political mission of managing politics everywhere but actually when a lot of the men who are in uniform reject that mission and that has a lot to do with
the shape of power that the United States has after the war we have a question in the back thank you thank you it's kind of a two-part question the
first part being the 18th century expansion when they were going to all these islands and especially the in uninhabited ones along with e we're not those almost exclusively military
objectives and getting coaling stations and so on and so forth that would keep it a little separate from thinking of these people as Americans and the second
thing is would you agree with William Manchester's assessment of MacArthur that it was his incompetence that lost Manila so the the first islands that the United
States takes in the 19th century interestingly you think they would be calling stations interestingly the concern is an agricultural crisis the United States is having transitioning to industrial agriculture it's fields are
not producing as much wheat as they used to and this substance is on these islands guano turns out to be really useful for making those fields spring back to life so it's that it's kind of like a oil crisis you know of the 1840s
but it's it's actually that that first impels the United States into overseas holdings and then it kind of says well you know now that we've got these places some of them would make lovely coaling stations and then the other question is
what was going on with that grave military damage that happen in the Philippines as you know basically the Air Force with you going to be policing the entire far-east got taken out within a matter of hours and one thing that's hard to
understand is that General Douglas MacArthur knew about the Pearl Harbor attack because it had happened before by every account should have gotten all of his planes in the air and like been halfway on the way to attacking Taiwan
by the time the planes arrived in the Philippines but instead locked himself in his room didn't come out and wouldn't talk to anyone for hours and when the Japanese arrived Japanese planes arrived
they'd been delayed even further by a fog bank they thought oh man we lost our moment like he's totally gonna know we're coming this isn't going to go very well and they fly over the airfields and they see all the planes parked in rows and they
just drop their bombs it's staggering but it's not why the Philippines got lost I mean there's larger structural things the Philippines was just not not ready to be defended and even if you
know that air fleet hadn't gotten lost very quickly there was just not an army in the Philippines that was prepared to repel Japanese forces let's go right
down here hello could you speak to tool or stool today yeah in Greenland and the various conversations about Greenland
yeah yeah I can so Thule is the name of a town it had been indigenously occupied and then with cooperation of the Denmark Danish
government the United States moved the entire population away relocated it so that it could build an airbase in Greenland and that airbase has been
extremely important to us geostrategy and during the Cold War the United States without the permission of the Danish government stationed its nuclear weapons there and it used to lay to overfly Greenland so that it would have
b-52s arms in the air and ready to attack the Soviet Union at any time if the Soviets got feisty if you've seen the movie dr. Strangelove that's what they're doing they're flying over Greenland ready for the command and
force some of these planes crashed with armed nuclear weapons one of them crashed since the Isolite 500 miles an hour which from a you know Greenland perspective is absolutely terrifying
from US perspective it's like well it's Greenland's it's it's foreign territory this strategy of having a base that becomes that I didn't talk about this in my talk but that's sort of what the
United States figures out how to do after World War two if before World War two and was expressing its power by taking more colonies and taking more territory after World War two it got very good at just taking limiting itself
territory and just taking a lot of military bases because if you've got this place in Greenland where you can store you nuclear weapons fly them in the air do all kinds of crazy stuff that's kind of all you need and so you
see a shift in the United States from having a colonial empire sort of familiar colonial empire to having you know eight hundred military bases foreign military bases today what I call
a pointillist empire looks like we've got a question right over there two things first of all wasn't a situation in Manila exacerbated because we cut off the Japanese retreat
and secondly could you comment on the racial aspects of empire for us yeah so the first thing you're absolutely right one of the is just kind of unfortunate tactics is as the United States was
engaging Japanese forces in Manila it first cut off all possible retreats and then basically forced the fight over minnow to be a battle to the death and that's one reason why things got so bloody and Manila could I comment on the
racial aspect yeah I mean I hope this is clear at the heart of empire is a differential sense of places some places that matter some places that matter less
a center and a periphery a Metropole and economy and the story I tell in the book is the story of a polity that is hierarchical in that way that has places
where what happens on it matters a lot and then other places where things don't matter as much from the perspective of Washington and I think that explains a lot of what happens in the Philippines if San Francisco had been threatened in
the same way that Manila was you would have seen a different response from the US government but this is just what happens in a polity where some lives matter and others matter less I believe
that we had a question in the back over here all the way to the right high so
I'm very ignorant of American history and this question is coming more from a place of other nests and how I perceive all this because this is premier to me why do you have the biggest issue with
the fact that the colonies were not considered part of the u.s. or the fact that they became colonies to begin with right you can imagine hearing this story
at least two different remedies one is well if the United States is going to as these place is going to make them territories it should make them States and the problem is the sort of second-class citizenship or in the case
of some of these places no citizenship at all being a US national but not being a US citizen that's the problem and if the United States had just extended full rights and full status and full standing and full regard throughout all of its
lands that would be okay that's one remedy another remedy you could imagine is Philippines should have been independent Puerto Rico should be independent Guam should be independent Hawaii should be independent and while we're at it Oklahoma should be
independent ah yeah those both I understand both and and you will find people now think because it's complicated right it's not just about rights and military protection it's also about identity and so you can find
people now Puerto Rico is where the status question gets I think discussed the most loudly who stand for a third option some kind of negotiated in between you know maybe reform of the system but not you know allowing Puerto
Rico to be a separate space but still you know making it part of the United States in some way I don't have a position on this because I don't think it's mine to have I do have one one view
which is that according to the Constitution territorial matters are ultimately up to Congress so all these status questions independence annexation Congress gets to decide that seems unfair I think the people who actually
live in the territory should be the one to make the decision and Congress should respect the binding decision that they make but the point of my book is not to argue for one status outcome or another it's just to observe that if you're
telling the history of the United States you've got to do it with the whole thing intact right you can't leave out these places we have time for about two more
questions yeah let's go right over here hi thank you so much for your work my question is you compare and contrast sort of the visibility and of the u.s. colonial system and the British colonial
system I wonder if you could do so as well for the the nature of that governance and then the legacy cuz this is all very new to me as well I have a narrative of the differences between you know Britta in belgium colonial rule and the
legacies of that left could you speak about the u.s. nature of that colonialism and its legacy briefly that one aspect of the visibility of empire within the British system is that the British were somebody's comfortable with
a hierarchical system that it wasn't that that wasn't a secret there were some there were subjects of the crown right as well as citizens and that and that and and the British understood that the United States has always been
uncomfortable and kind of therefore blurry mouse about what exactly is going on in its territories because it you know officially on paper this is a republic and there's a quality under law
and it extends everywhere you know from sea to shining sea and that's been the story of the mainland states they were territories some of them for quite a while but then they became States than they got equal footing under the law and there's less of an official policy about
what to do with spaces like Puerto Rico and and often they fall into these sort of legally anomalous grey zones and and what's interesting is that I think a lot of the damage that has been done to the
US colonies colonialism is colonialism is not the greatest system on earth for like running a polity and and it has done some damage to people who live in the in the territories but interestingly I think a lot of the damage that has
been done as in the example today has been done not as it was in the Belgian Congo from hyper exploitation although sometimes you see that but a lot of times has just been done by sort of neglect by allowing these places to
become sacrifice zones by having a back room that you don't really think about what's going on there and then stuff happens and you weren't prepared and if you thought about it hard you might have been but you weren't so life happens and I think that's a pattern that you see in
the u.s. colonial legacy that makes it a little different from what you see in places like the Belgian Congo or British India we have time for one final question afterwards please join Daniel
in the lobby for book signing see right down here how do you see this attitude historical attitude that you're talking about potentially manifesting
today and for example response to national disasters hurricanes assent yeah it's it's easy to see after two hurricanes and quick succession hit the US Virgin Islands in Puerto Rico and US
aid was so much less to the territories that have been hit than it was to Florida and Texas which also were hit in that in that hurricane season in 2017 it's easy to see a perpetuation of this
sort of disregard for the territories happening today and as usual with Trump he kind of says the quiet parts out loud so Trump has actually been very vocal about performing that disregard particularly for Puerto Rico he had one
thing that he said which I just thought kind of captured it very well right after the hurricane he said addressing Puerto Rico I hate to tell you but you've thrown our budget out of whack
and I just thought listen to the pronouns I hate to tell you you've thrown our budget out of whack so clearly you can hear there's a we there's an us there's of them there's a here there's our there I don't think
that's unique to Trump at all um you could Woodrow Wilson said of the of the territories that they fall outside the Charmed Circle of our national life that's kind of a more eloquent way of
saying the same thing but nevertheless we're seeing it just on you know in the headlines in a way that actually throughout history people in the mainland haven't usually seen the way the consequences of that of a space
where they're you know within a single country there was a here and there and then us in the net yeah thank you so much [Applause]
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