President Roosevelt did not tell Congress or the American people the truth behind the Greer incident that led to US involvement in World War II. "I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war," FDR told a friend.
David McCullough [voice-over]: By the middle of 1941, Nazi U-boats had sunk over 1,500 British ships, all but cutting England's lifeline to America. Without telling the American people, Roosevelt issued secret orders to the Navy to escort British convoys and, if necessary, sink Nazi submarines. The President was willing to risk war with Germany.
Newscaster: On the morning of September 4th, the United States destroyer Greer was attacked by a submarine, a German submarine.
Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt: I tell you the blunt fact that the German submarine fired first upon this American destroyer, Greer, without warning and with deliberate design to sink her.
Robert Dallek, Historian: What he hides from the American public is the fact that the Greer had been tracking the German submarine to help a British seaplane which was going to try and sink it with depth charges.
David McCullough [voice-over]: Roosevelt knew that the Greer had deliberately stalked the Nazi U-boat and that the British plane had fired first. "You know, I'm a juggler," he would later tell a friend, "and I never let my right hand know what my left hand does. I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war." Roosevelt did not ask congress for a declaration of war, but he used the Greer incident to justify an undeclared war in the Atlantic where he was sure the real war would soon begin.
"The Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
A minute-by-minute account, on both sides of the Pacific, leading up to the surprise attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor.
In 1934, American polar explorer Richard Byrd became the first to experience winter in Antarctica's interior.
Head of the most powerful family in America, billionaire John D. Rockefeller's vast philanthropy changed his family's reputation.
American comandante William Morgan went to Cuba to help Fidel Castro return the country to a democracy. Instead, four years later, he was executed.
American prisoners of war in North Vietnam tell of their experiences at the Hanoi Hilton and other notorious prisons.
The story of a Vietnamese mother, the Amerasian daughter she sent away for adoption, and their reunion 22 years after the Vietnam War.
Accounting for America's most famous inventor and his role in America's future.