Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years

  1. It’s 1982 and President Ronald Reagan has selected George Shultz to replace Alexander Haig as Secretary of State. “Ronald Reagan could not stand personal confrontation and Haig lived on personal confrontation,” says author and historian Richard Reeves. “So it’s a miracle he lasted even a year and a little more. George Shultz had the most impressive resume in the country when Reagan called him.”

    Episode One introduces the new Secretary through the details of his early life, his service as a U.S. Marine, his academic career as a free market economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as Dean of the Business School at the University of Chicago and his early cabinet posts as Secretary of Labor and Treasury under President Nixon. Following his resignation from the Nixon cabinet, his experience as President of worldwide engineering and construction firm Bechtel gives Shultz extensive international contacts and diplomacy skills, critical experience for what lay ahead.

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  2. A ceremonial welcome greets Shultz and Reagan on their first trip together to Japan, but as they arrive back in the U.S. Philippine dissident Nimoy Aquino is assassinated and this important island nation is thrown into turmoil. Reagan views Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos as a friend and ally in the fight against Communism, while Shultz increasingly sees Marcos as a cunning politician who is allowing his country to fail. In September 1982 Marcos teeters on the edge of defeat.

    Inside the White House, Cabinet members continue to vie for the President’s attention, putting forth competing tactics to achieve the administration’s goals. Reagan is taken with the Contras, a group of rebels fighting the Communist government in Nicaragua. While Congress had ruled out the use of Defense Department or CIA funds to help the rebels, some advisers keep bringing the issue to Reagan’s attention. “Reagan loved the Contras because they’re the kind of guys who are the good guys in the movies,” says Reeves. “And he really believed that they were something like the men who came down the hill and conquered. And beyond that, it was almost all kind of romantic imagination in his mind.”

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  3. As the Iran-Contra scandal grows, a summit meeting continues in Iceland as these two leaders meet each other face to face for a second time to determine the future of a nuclear world. Tempers flare as Shultz realizes that Reagan will not give up the Star Wars Space Defense Initiative even if Gorbachev agrees to destroy all Soviet nuclear weapons. Gorbachev says, “If we could agree to ban research in space, I'd sign in two minutes. It's laboratory or nothing!” Reagan scribbles a note to Shultz asking: “Am I wrong?” Shultz replies: “No, you are right.” As the two world leaders part in dejection Gorbachev says: “I don't know what more I could have done.” Reagan replies: “You could have said yes.” Still, out of the disappointment, Reykjavik leads to the most significant nuclear arms reduction pact of the Cold War and is the pinnacle of Shultz’s career in government service.

    In January 1989, George Shultz leaves the State Department. He returns to the world of ideas as a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His committed search for peace and security continues as he travels the world as a passionate advocate for nuclear disarmament.

    Through the memories of George Shultz, other cabinet members, journalists and historians, viewers will relive the gripping tensions of these times; the fear of war in the Middle East, the shock of the barracks bombing that killed 220 Marines in Lebanon, the fall of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and the presidency of Corazon Aquino and the delicate manipulations of summitry that helped determine the future of peace on the planet. For the first time these programs will reveal Shultz’s dedicated efforts to protect his President and expose those in the White House who plotted the illegal Iran/Contra scheme. Throughout, George Shultz’s relentless determination combined with his use of national strength made him one of the most effective secretaries of state in the nation’s history. The series will offer George Shultz’s remarkably vivid portraits of the major players on the national and world stage in the latter years of the twentieth century. But Shultz’s most remarkable and revealing portrait will be of Ronald Reagan himself. This new three-hour PBS series will be full of high drama and living history.

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    Shop for related products here: freetochoose.net

    Stream from FreeToChoose.TV here: freetochoose.tv

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Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years

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Through the memories of George Shultz, other cabinet members, journalists and historians, viewers will relive the gripping tensions of these times; the fear of war in the Middle East, the shock of the barracks bombing that killed 220 Marines in Lebanon,…


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Through the memories of George Shultz, other cabinet members, journalists and historians, viewers will relive the gripping tensions of these times; the fear of war in the Middle East, the shock of the barracks bombing that killed 220 Marines in Lebanon, the fall of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and the presidency of Corazon Aquino and the delicate manipulations of summitry that helped determine the future of peace on the planet.

For the first time these programs will reveal Shultz’s dedicated efforts to protect his President and expose those in the White House who plotted the illegal Iran/Contra scheme. Throughout, George Shultz’s relentless determination combined with his use of national strength made him one of the most effective secretaries of state in the nation’s history. The series will offer George Shultz’s remarkably vivid portraits of the major players on the national and world stage in the latter years of the twentieth century. But Shultz’s most remarkable and revealing portrait will be of Ronald Reagan himself.

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