Madeleine Albright's Personal Story of Remembrance and War

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discusses the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia—the country where she was born—and the events of World War II that shook her life before she turned twelve. Her memoir Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War: 1937–1948 draws on the memories of her and her family, her parents' written reflections, interviews, and newly available documents to give an account of the most tumultuous 12 years in modern history.


Madeleine Albright

Comments [14]

What I'm more interested in is why she couldn't do more to prevent 1 million Rwandans from being hacked to death with machetes.

May. 16 2012 09:41 AM


You are one, very sick individual.

May. 16 2012 09:39 AM

jgarbuz: I have a very different political/philosophical viewpoint than you and the majority of NPR listeners have, so I am not going to get into a long back-and-forth with you on this subject. My previous comment on this thread stands.

May. 15 2012 03:26 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To David

In 1990 I was sitting in a sealed room with my 5 year old son, both with gas masks on, while Saddam was sending Scuds into Israel. Instead of restraining Israel, the US should have let Israel NUKE Saddam then. That would have ended Saddam and also ended all nuclear programs in Iran, etc. There would have been no sanctions, no Saddam, and no Iranian nuclear program. That was how we changed Japan in 1945, with two nukes on two cities.

May. 15 2012 01:55 PM

Jawbone, you are correct. Murdering innocent people (in this case, through sanctions), in order to allegedly save others is still murder. The people in the U.S. government who ordered those sanctions are just as much murderers as Adolf Hitler or any other mass murderer.

And if sheeple still want to believe the nonsense that Iraq was or Iran is going to attack us with nuclear weapons, what can I say? The military-industrial complex in this country thanks you.

May. 15 2012 01:49 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

This is actually a very boring interview, I'm surprised because she has an interesting background. Yawn...

May. 15 2012 01:46 PM
John from Fanwood.

Leonard, either the author of that book, or a researcher for him did a good amount of the genealogical research on Secretary Albright across the street from your studios on Varick Street. The National Archives in NYC held the passenger lists, naturalization records and census schedules that helped solve the mystery of her background. I work there when the research was done.

May. 15 2012 01:39 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jawbone

You are blaming Albright for the sins of Saddam Hussein? There was no choice; either sanctions or war. We put on sanctions, but in end we go war with Iraq anyway. Are you sad to see Saddam gone? It was a hard choice, and we are making same choice with Iran. If sanctions don't stop them, there will have to be war. Iran with nuclear weapons means everybody with nuclear weapons.

May. 15 2012 01:34 PM

oops! I was wrong - she was four.

May. 15 2012 01:33 PM


She was 14 when the family converted. AND SHE CLAIMS SHE DID NOT KNOW THAT SHE WAS JEWISH????

May. 15 2012 01:27 PM

Can you please ask Ms. Albright if she ever regrets saying that the Iraqi deaths resulting from the US and Western sanctions against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the deaths of perhaps 500,000 (or more?) innocent Iraqis, especially infants, children, the elderly, and the immunity impaired, was "worth it."


Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

--60 Minutes (5/12/96)


I've always cringed at that comment, and felt somewhat sickened by the attitude inherent in the remark, much as I liked and admired Ms. Albright. I have not forgotten that approach to human life, and, it seems, we're now a fully formed empire, where "collateral damage" is simply part of the price of enforcing that empire and our power.

Does she ever rethink what she said? What was done in all our names?

How does she feel about Obama's extension and increase of drone strikes, killing both the wanted, possible terrorist and many others? Even killing American citizens without trial or even indictment?

Where are we going as nation and are we losing our sense of morality?

What could we do that is not casting the pall of death in red mist so very wide?

May. 15 2012 01:14 PM

I second jgarbuz - while Madeleine Albright claims that she thought she was Slavic, all she had to do is to look in the mirror - she has a typical Jewish face.

There are many historical inconsistencies and conclusions in her book. For lack of space I would challenge only one.

In her book she is sceptical about the claim that it was the Soviet Union that defeated Nazi Germany. Would she acknowledge the simple fact that 80% of Wehrmacht losses in both material and personnel occurred on the Eastern front? And if she does, would not that point to where the victory in WWII was forged?

May. 15 2012 01:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I don't buy her story. I believe she tried to obfuscate, obscure and hide her Jewishness, as many Jews had to do, because indeed it was an impediment to advancement at the time, especially in the State Department which was pretty anti-Israel. Kissinger was the guy who broke through that barrier. But being a woman too was a definitely a double whammy at that time. Her story is almost pathetically transparent, so I doubt she actually fooled anyone as much as she may have believed. She was only fooling herself. Thankfully, things have changed and there are no longer any bastions of power reserved for any group in particular. Hopefully, meritocracy will prevail at last.

May. 15 2012 12:29 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Does she still feel that it was " acceptable" for a certain number of Iraqi children to die from the American boycott of Iraq during her tenure?

May. 15 2012 12:26 PM

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