Skip to main content

tv   Reel America The Road to the Wall - 1962  CSPAN  November 18, 2017 8:00am-8:36am EST

8:00 am
it did not look like what the warren commission concluded. >> american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, only on c-span3. >> november 7 marks the centennial of the birth of the soviet union in 1917 when bolshevik revolutionaries seized lenin,red by vladimir seized power from a provisional government that had been in place since the overthrow of the russian monarchy earlier that year. ," from "reel america 1962, "the road to the wall,"
8:01 am
narrated by actor james cagney. this army film presents a critical history beginning with the 1985 failed revolution up to the construction of the berlin wall. this half-hour film was nominated for a 1963 short subject documentary academy award. ♪ james: at the road's end, the wall. these are the people who move along the road. some walk, some ride. some are well-shod, some are barefoot.
8:02 am
some are so young, they must be carried -- or so old. of the hundreds of millions who take this road, some do so willingly. others hope that the road leads to bread for the hungry, peace for the weary, land for the landless. some protest openly. it doesn't matter. some were born on the road. many will die along the way. havana, cuba, january 1959. this road leads to this wall. red china, september 1960. this road, this wall. berlin, december 1961.
8:03 am
this road, this wall. ♪ in the beginning, the road exists in the mind of a 19th century philosopher and scholar, karl marx, who maintained only that only through a system he calls communism can the worker and farmer avoid starvation and exportation. "we declare openly," marx writes, "that our ends can only be attained with the forcible seizure and overthrow of social conditions." thus the road begins. many who walk the road know its
8:04 am
origins well. many do not. some things must be learned about the road by those who do not travel it. this is a one-way street. the signposts along the way do not describe the true desinations, and those who sets forth on this road goes all the way to the end. there are few exits. dangerous escapes. this man is a resident of east berlin. his right to free passage into west berlin is guaranteed by international agreement, but on august 13, 1961, this right has been set aside. to cross into west berlin, he then swims the canal that at one point divides the zones. on reaching the western bank, he takes his first few steps into freedom and is promptly shot
8:05 am
down by rifle fire from a border guard on the communist side. to know why he was shot down across an artificial border by a man who bore him no personal malice, we must look at the road. we must go back many miles and many years. back from berlin 1961, to havana 1959, to budapest 1956, coyocan 1940, 1921. st. petersburg, czarist russia.
8:06 am
sunday, january 22, 1905. under the czar, it is absolute power. the workers and peasants of st. petersburg are not here to protest against the autocracy but to appeal to the autocrat. under the leadership of a priest, they have come to present a petition to the czar. >> we, the working men and inhabitants of st. petersburg, come to thee, sire. james: one quarter of a million people stand before the winter palace, but the czar is in fact not there, nor is it his will the petition be received. instead -- [gunfire] there is the czar, nicolas ii. >> my autocracy will be unchanged. james: said the father gaspon. >> we no longer have a czar. long live the fight for freedom. james: the bearded young man is
8:07 am
v.i. ulyanov. party name, lenin. the czar will never be a ruthless autocrat. he does not even look the part, and he is busy. busy with elaborate or ammonium that no longer had people. busy with his family including , including his son who bleeds every time he cuts himself and is kept alive, according to his mother, by the occult powers of grigory rasputin. rasputin is a holy man. he says so himself. ♪ world war i may be hell in the west. it is pure hell 10 times over for the russians. for them, no glamour, no airplanes. divisions without artillery, companies without rifles. rifles without bullets.
8:08 am
the russian casualties from typhus alone exceed the total casualties of the germans. defeat, disorganization, and lonely death. at home, starvation and poverty exceeding even previous russian experiences. finally in march 1917, a demonstration in st. petersburg starts over a simple demand for higher bread rations and gets out of hand. includes a new demand. transfer of power from the czar to an elected power. the czar turns his troops on the demonstrators, but something goes wrong. the army joins the people. the people react. they put their faith in a young lawyer. many parties are represented. >> the revolution belongs to the people.
8:09 am
i propose to defend it against any attack, whether from the left or the right. james: he arrests the czar and his family and announces that free elections are to be held. political prisoners are freed. within the country without experience in self-government, it is difficult to convince still-hungry people that their particular road leads to salvation. the war is unpopular. when it becomes clear that they need to continue, the german generals arrange for the return. lenin had been exiled to switzerland. leon trotsky arrives from canada. summer 1917, kerensky becomes head of the provisional government and proclaims russia a republic. universal suffrage, and elected constituent assembly. freedom of speech.
8:10 am
equal rights for women. lenin on the kerensky republic. lenin: a democratic republic, more free under war conditions than any other country in the world. james: but in november, trotsky, leader of an army worker union, calls for the destruction of the republic. trotsky: political questions are designed -- as a matter of fact they are designed by class war. james: the class war is quick and relatively bloody. they take railroad stations, telegraph lines, government officers, and declare themselves in business. this is the russian version of a great event in that war, the storming of the winter palace. look at armstrong opening the gate under fire.
8:11 am
the interesting thing is that it never happened. in actual fact the attack on the winter palace, it was pointed out, was in range of a rebel cruiser. it makes a nice picture. the real violence comes later. on november 25, the election was held under kerensky, who, to their amazement, lost it, 3-1. they meet under trotsky's red army. refuses for a time to turn over power to the soviet but finally leaves the building in disorder. the following day, a few thousand citizens gather outside to protest the dismissal of the assembly they have elected and are probably shot down by rifle fire by trotsky's red army. >> by class war. james: citizens of the soviet union still vote.
8:12 am
but not since november 1917 has more than one name for office appeared on the ballot. the assembly never reconvenes. power passes to the soviets, which lenin controls, and from there to the council of commissars, where lenin's power is absolute. >> this is dictatorship of the proletariat. the power won and maintained by violence. power that is unrestricted by any law. keep this well in mind. james: lenin makes peace with the germans, and now a genuine civil war breaks out. before it ends, the white russians rebel against the reds. allied troops fight to keep russia in the war. czarists try to restore the monarchy. the czar and his family are executed.
8:13 am
and the cheka, the first of many soviet secret police groups, become active. they arrest without charge, no trials, disappearance without explanation becomes routine. but lenin complains. >> there is still too little [indiscernible] not because we lack determination but because we do not know how to capture enough marauders. capitalists. james: however many they capture, they miss one. on august 30, 1918, a young lady named dora kaplan takes a shot at lenin. the motives are unknown. her marksmanship effective. lenin is only slightly wounded. that night in moscow alone, 500 anti-leninists are executed on suspicion of being with ms. kaplan's effort. the signposts along the road
8:14 am
read "peace, freedom, and bread. " because they understood these bread can only be there is when peace is attained. on march 7, 1921, they are in the streets asking for freedom and bread. at 6:45 in the evening -- [gunshot] james: trotsky, commander of the red army, who ordered the slaughter, gives the only explanation. trotsky: it was necessary. ♪ james: lenin and trotsky are firmly in power. the cheka is abolished. in its place comes the old gpu, or the political police. and there is the worker and peasant inspection group, who is
8:15 am
one joseph vissarionovich. party name, stalin. he disputes trotsky's position as the second in command. in the struggle, stalin is the chief of the communist international. the city leader of moscow, who could make you a judge, or send you to siberia. now with the civil war won, they get -- out of economic necessity, they issue new economic policy. emphasis is placed on consumer goods, but the state maintains control of heavy industry. private enterprise is permitted within limits. two new words for american aid enter the russian vocabulary. now the american relief administration under herbert hoover is feeding 10 million russians. ♪
8:16 am
but in march 1923, lenin suffers a stroke. the following january, he is dead. ♪ stalin and the others force trotsky into exile, then stalin turns on his associates and begins a new economic policy. in its place come three successive five-year plans that are all designed to emphasize productive capacity, including heavy industry and power output. ♪ from 1928 to 1941, russian industrial capacity rises nearly 300%.
8:17 am
hydroelectric output is up nearly 800%. agricultural production, however, lags and housing as is less than population increased. if you are an average russian, this means more work, not enough to eat, and less living space for family. if you don't work hard enough or if you complain, there are plenty of trains to siberia, where many hydroelectric dams are being built. on the other hand, if you work hard, you might become a stakhanovite. all you have to do do is break the production record of your machine and get a medal and small wage increase. that is better than a quick trip to the reindeer country. the years of the great executions.
8:18 am
how many people are permanently removed from circulation, nobody knows. in some provinces, as much as 4% of the population. the people who helped stalin seized power are quickly disposed of. to have been a friend of them is now a crime, and for this and related activities, over half of the top communist leadership and thousands of lesser officials vanish as do most of the army officers. very few are given trials. some of the trials are remarkable. for example, several defendants are convicted of conspiring with trotsky in 1936 in the hotel bristol in copenhagen. in actual fact, in 1936, the hotel was no longer in business. next case. in 1938, this judge himself is
8:19 am
purged along with many purged judges, labor camps, and the like. ♪ new mexico city, august 20. a young man comes calling on an attractive secretary. paying her little heed, he plunges a mountain climber's axe into an old man's skull. leon trotsky is dead. in the west meanwhile, another dictatorship arose. with infallible leader, secret police, and cattle car that carried men and women to their grave or worse. >> [speaking german] james: this is the time of the popular front. all common courts against the fascist are welcome, but even as
8:20 am
the pickets march, the populace front is changing. on august 21, 1939, the germans and the russians undertake to divide the world between them . ♪ on september 1, eight days after the nazi-soviet pact is signed, the germans crossed the polish frontier, and the world learns the meaning of the german word blitzkrieg. on september 17, the red army crosses poland. on october 5, poland has disappeared. germans and russians shake hands . >> the scum of the earth, i believe. the bloodiest fashions of the
8:21 am
workers, i presume. james: germany gets more with from the impact with the dismemberment of poland. russia clears the way for cruisers. they get a naval base and vast amounts of war materials. french communists sabotaged the electrical systems on french fighter planes. with the fall of france, hitler decides the pact has served its purpose and ends it by invading the territory of the recent partner, russia. ♪
8:22 am
the turning point of the german invasion of russia comes at volgograd, which was then called stalingrad. when the war ends, russia acquires, as the the spoils of war, eastern poland, besarabia, east prussia, northern sakhalin, and portions of finland. latvia, lithuania, and estonia are incorporated as soviet republics, and much of their native population is deported. there are zones of russian occupation pending final peace treaties in germany, austria, and north korea. the russians have the right to maintain garrisons in poland, hungary, and bulgaria. how did we get from here to there, to the present situation? with an iron curtain dividing europe and communist outposts through much of the world?
8:23 am
what is the secret of communism's postwar expansion? what method do they use? the answer is -- they use them all. occupying troops remain until political domination is achieved in poland, romania, and in hungary. zones of occupation become zones of continuing occupation and control with east germany and north korea. along with the political and psychological effort, economic trade agreements spread the soviet influence in africa and the middle east. force is avoided whenever possible, but when it is needed, it is used. the expulsion from the mainland of the chinese nationalist government is a military exercise complete with artillery, tanks, infantry, amphibious operations, casualties, and refugees. subversion is of course an
8:24 am
important technique of communist conquest. czechoslovakia 1948 is an established democracy in eastern europe. communist deputies pound their desks as the street demonstrations reach riot proportions. police brutality in putting down the riots is charged, and the communists take over the police. on february 25, informed that the alternative is civil war, and aware of unmistakable threats of invasion from the soviet union if he does not capitulate, the president accepts a communist cabinet. but the son of the country's greatest hero will not go along. he remains in the power in office. is weeks later, his body discovered. whether he was murdered or killed himself is not known to this day. ♪
8:25 am
three months later, a constitution, soviet-styled, is adopted by parliament. the president refuses to sign it and is forced from office. before the year is over -- ♪ czechoslovakia, like its hero, is dead. and eastern europe? in the words of winston churchill, the adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line, lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern europe. behind the iron curtain, it is easy to express contentment with
8:26 am
your lot and difficult and dangerous not to. but human freedom dies hard. uprising and strikes in east germany in 1953 and in poland in 1956 are put down by local police, augmented by russian soldiers. in poland, concessions are made so that poland today though it is communist has a degree of freedom unheard of in the old iron curtain. they can criticize government decisions if they do so discreetly. an occasional political joke is allowed, but loud laughter is not recommended. you might disturb your neighbor, and he might be the law. budapest, october 1956. these demonstrators are not anti-communist.
8:27 am
many of them are communists who feel that as hungarians they have the inalienable right to determine how hungarian communism is to be administered. october 24, local party bosses decide they have had enough, and by law and order -- their law and their order, directly firing into the crowd. but the crowd does not melt away, even with russian garrison troops in the police. faced by an overwhelming mob, the russians make a strategic withdrawal, leaving the hungarian police to be slaughtered by their own countrymen. in november, it was hungarian hungarian communist speaking as the prime minister, declaring hungary neutral between russia and the west. the russians hesitate, hungarians celebrate. hesitation and celebration end soon. the entire russian army invades hungary and crushes the revolt.
8:28 am
he visits under a flag of truce to discuss surrender terms. june 7, 1958, his execution is announced. no flowers, please. for many cubans, the years before 1958 were hard. as in many other countries, the cuban peasants rarely owned the land they worked hard to till. life in cities was also bad. for most of the these poor cubans, the proletariat of marx, suffered their lot almost as if unaware there was no other way an other way to live. when fidel castro was ready to come out of the mountains, his support was for the middle class. ironically, it is the knowledge that formed the advance guard of the revolution, but when the pied piper calls for bread and
8:29 am
peace, the poor are there to listen. many believe. few doubt. the revolution is a success. fidel castro's brother, raul, is already a self-proclaimed communist. his close associate che guevara had participated in the unsuccessful revolution of guatemala. but a few cubans, even in the middle class, believe fidel castro will ever turn communist. at first, he promises free elections, acknowledges the traditions of the rights of citizens, and establishment of the government. but the elections never take place, and the government would become an instrument of coercion. the takeover is a success. ♪
8:30 am
berlin 1961. our road has almost reached the present. ♪ why have the russians built this wall? why are men denied the right guaranteed under international agreements to pass freely from zone to zone within berlin? the communist explanation is simplicity itself. according to them, west berlin was a base for intrigue and imperialist assault on east berlin and east germany, where a man had a chance to enjoy the finer things in life. ♪ but they were going the other way. east to west. so has every other casualty at the wall. no one can be sure of the real reason, but prior to the
8:31 am
election of the wall, almost anyone who could get into east germany would reach west berlin if his feet held up. many did. once in west berlin, you were outside the iron curtain. the free passage of people between east and west berlin was the only physical gap in the iron curtain, so the russians sealed it. the wall is a solid fact. ♪ and the wall remains. it stands in berlin today. it stands and will stand wherever the road of world communism leads. ♪ someday, according to its builders, it will surround not merely the world but the moon, the stars, outer space, the universe.
8:32 am
their objective is clear, and so is ours. they intend to put the world on their road. we intend that the world shall be free, each man and each country to choose the road that suits him best. to achieve our objective, we need, above all, to understand. each new threat must be met. force for force, as in korea. military action with military aid, as in greece and turkey. exploitation of economic weakness with economic aid and cooperation of the sort that has helped keep western europe independent. the choice is not red or dead. the choice lies between wisdom and ignorance, bravery and cowardice, freedom and slavery. ♪
8:33 am
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, today, the 7 70th anniversary of
8:34 am
the hearings on the house of american connectivity -- of un-american activities. >> what was your last employment? >> i just finished a picture called the "tall target." >> do you have connection with your employment? for 27ve been in theater years, sir. i think i well enough known for all of them. >> were you a member of the communist party 1942. >> i stand on the brown, the fifth amendment. the word communist is an wordonal, hysterical of the day, much like the word inich" in salem -- "witch" salem. >> it was about victory. victory, in so many ways,
8:35 am
celebrated in so many confederate monuments was the victory over reconstruction. theunday on "reel america," 1942 propaganda film on the north africa campaign. >> the gravity of the moment had brought them together. >> and at 8:00, on "the alexandra's uproot her talks about her book, 26 seconds, personal history of the's uproot her film. gradually, versions of the film began to leak out, and people began to see it. when they saw it, because of the way the film was, it is not like what the warren commission looted -- concluded. >> american history tv. >>


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on