Return to Transcripts main page
Christianity In America Declines; Interpreting Islam; Karen Armstrong, Author, "The Lost Art of Scripture," Is Interviewed About Islam; Brendan Simms, Author, "Hitler: A Global Biography," Is Interviewed About The Life Of Hitler; Sukhinder Singh Cassidy Is Interviewed About The Ticketing Business. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 1, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN ARMSTRONG, AUTHOR, "THE LOST ART OF SCRIPTURE": People don't read the Quran, they recite it. And so, reading the bible or reading scripture
is very like reading the libretto of an opera. You are missing a lot of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Karen Armstrong, the former nun who's become our most important interpreter of religion. I speak with her about her new book, "The Lost
Art of Scripture."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENDAN SIMMS, AUTHOR, "HITLER: A GLOBAL BIOGRAPHY": So, it's a trauma for him and that's what then drives this quest for living space in the East.
He says, we need space like the Americans have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A new biography brings fresh revelation about Adolf Hitler's rise to power. What it means in our current era of nationalism. I speak
with the author Brendan Simms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, Founder, THEBROADLIST: They use it first order network. And if this first order networks are white and male, well, then,
how do you find trusted people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Taking on structural discrimination in corporate America. Our Hari Sreenivasan sits down with the president of StubHub, Sukhinder Singh
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
We live in irreligious time so often defined, nonetheless, by religion. In the United States, Pew Research estimates that the number of Americans who
identify as Christians has declined 12 percentage points in the past decade along to about 65 percent.
And yet, religion has an incredible on impact of our lives, from the American Evangelical Movement and its role in politics to the rise of
militant groups like ISIS.
Enter Karen Armstrong, the religious scholar is, herself, a former Catholic nun who left the (INAUDIBLE). She rose to popular prominence after 9/11
when she was able to do when few others would or could, that is explain Islam to an angry and terrified West.
Her new book is called "The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Text." And I've been speaking to her about her amazing life story and how
she's traveled from religious nun to secular scripture whisperer.
Karen Armstrong, welcome back to the program.
ARMSTRONG: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I just want to start by asking you because you really did become very, very prominent after 9/11 because you were there to interpret
essentially Islam. Then and now, does this seem sort of ironic or weird or just unbelievable that while former Catholic nun, a woman was the only
person really that the world sort of gravitated towards to understand is Islam?
ARMSTRONG: I think there were many, many people in the United States who would have been able to do this. And at the time, I was a resident Harvard
University where there were scholars galore. The problem with some scholars is that they can't make things simple enough for the average
listener or viewer. They get stuck in a small academic foundry (ph), and they weren't able to say -- just give people grassroots facts. And they
also said it was helpful that I wasn't an American for some reason.
AMANPOUR: Now, that's interesting.
AMANPOUR: But I wonder whether -- because it is counterintuitive, a woman explaining a religion that is highly patriotic, for a start, and a
Christian woman. But you also happen to have written several books. But you had written just before 9/11, the book that was your exploration of
Islam. What brought you first, what made you sit up and take notice of that religion?
ARMSTRONG: First of all, my visit to the Middle East. Years before when I was doing a television program actually with an Israeli film company on
Simpul (ph). But in Jerusalem, for the first time, I met both Judaism and Islam. And I began to explore those religions because -- and I -- at that
point, I'd had enough fake Catholicism and Christianity. But I began to see in these faiths things that I could relate to and they've helped me to
see my own tradition differently.
So I -- and at the time of the Rashidi (ph) crisis.
AMANPOUR: That's Saman Rashidi (ph), the novelist who the Iranian put a famous (INAUDIBLE) against?
ARMSTRONG: Yes, exactly. And there was awful -- but I was also worried about the fact that the greater -- the good here in this country,
novelists, philosophers were coming in print and saying that Islam was an evil and violent religion environment. And I thought we can't have this.
This is how Hitler began with a media campaign in the 1930s. We can't afford this.
And so, I wrote my biography of the prophet. And I didn't expect Muslims to read it, but they did read it because many of them are westernize. So,
they have the same kind of questions and want the same kind of answers as I have, and it speaks to them in a way that some of the traditional texts
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting because I find it fascinating that you came [14:05:00] to Islam with your visit to the Middle East but also by
seeing and absorbing this vilification of a religion. And yet, you don't shy away from criticizing --
AMANPOUR: -- the way it distorted religion and the way it used religion as a tool for justifying or enabling terrorism and extremism.
ARMSTRONG: Well, some have -- do that and others use the tradition to counter that. But all our traditions are flawed. All our traditions are
patriarchal. And women are beginning to make a comeback. And we're beginning to -- because we are a violent species, and our scripture
reflects us. We are the only species, I believe, that kills its own kind and we've got devised -- with our huge brains, we've devised
extraordinarily, effective and horrible ways of killing people or mass.
And so, the scriptures reflect us. They are not just all holy. Every single scripture, it contains violent passages as well as those that speak
AMANPOUR: Yes. Because in your new book, "The Lost Art of Scripture," and this comes after your 2009 book, "The Case for God," I mean, you've really,
obviously, been digging into this so seriously. But you do talk about equal opportunity problems, if I can put it that way, with extremes in all
the major religions.
For instance, one of the quotes from the book you write, "Militant atheists have condemned the bible as a pack of lies, while Christian fundamentalists
have developed a creation science. Jihadis cite passages from the Quran to support their acts of criminal terrorism. Religious Zionists quote "proof
texts" to assert their claim to the holy land and justify their enmity towards the Palestinians."
So, it's these constant crosscurrents of claiming sort of ownership over the texts for whatever. I guess, political gains.
ARMSTRONG: But there are also those that insist that this is wrong and we can't do that. I was interested when I was researching this, for example,
to find the so-called Jihad texts, which are quoted so often by Islam expert, also by critics of Islam, did not figure at all in the first four
centuries of Muslim life.
The leading (INAUDIBLE) say that these effects don't -- these verses like slave and wherever you find them, for example, these reflected unique
events in the prophet's life that were no longer applicable. And so, they were never -- they didn't bother -- they did this that they were not worth
considering, they are no longer relevant.
They became relevant, however, when Islam became under threat from the crusaders from the West who committed hideous atrocities in the name of
Christ and the Mongols from the East, who took massive, whole swayed of Muslim territory, and that's when you begin to find these militant texts
used for the first time.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you because it's obviously not the same, and we always have to say this, you can't create a moral or a factually
equivalence. But there are quite a lot of texts that are used, even by American Christians, American evangelicals to justify what we might find,
you know, really appalling issues.
So, Jeff Sessions, who was Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in June of 2018 used the bible to justify separating children from their parents at
the U.S./Mexico border. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, THEN-U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would cite, due to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws
of the government because God had ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent fair
application of laws is in itself a good moral saying and that it protects the weak, it protects the lawful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, I don't know whether you remember it at the time. But, you know, it got a lot of Christians upset actually --
AMANPOUR: -- because they saw what was happening. And, you know, many, many, you know, analysis have said that that book, that chapter was used
also to justify slavery in the United States. What do you think when all religions use these extremes?
ARMSTRONG: Well, because they're just using it to further their own policies. But you've got -- if you look at the whole St. Paul (ph), he's
very much almost an anarchist. He does not believe in government. And what he's doing here in Romans, he said to obey the government. But in the
whole context of his work, what he's saying is, don't mess things up because Christ is coming back very, very [14:10:00] soon. So, just stay
quiet for a while, he tells the Thessalonians. Love one another but we wait for Christ, he's coming to change everything.
AMANPOUR: Your book, "The Lost Art of Scriptures," why -- what is lost and what is the art?
ARMSTRONG: When you read "Pride and Prejudice," you are not particularly disturbed to discover that Mr. Darcy or Mr. Bingley never existed. But it
is still a form that is telling you something very profound about the human condition and helping us to live in that condition fully.
And scripture has its own art form. First of all, it was a performative art. It was always sung or recited. The Quran means recitation. People
don't read the Quran, they recite it. And so, reading the bible or reading scripture is very like reading libretto of an opera. You're missing a lot
Secondly, scripture was not attempting as with the issue from "Pride and Prejudice" to write writing history. The writing of history, accurate
history, was just not possible until the 18th century when we developed modern archeology and developed our knowledge of ancient languages.
AMANPOUR: So, let me talk about your life experience. I mean, you grew up in Birmingham. And I think at the age around 17, you told your parents,
and you were in a Catholic family, you are a Catholic obviously, that you wanted to become a nun.
And you write in your first book, "Through the Narrow Gate," "My parents could not really understand my decision. They were Catholics and knew that
if I had a religious vocation, it was their duty to let me go. But for them, religion meant Sunday morning mass and a decent morality. They were
bewildered by my decision to abandon all the good things of life and embrace an asceticism that they could only see as impoverishing."
How did you explain to your parents and why do you think you chose that role?
ARMSTRONG: Oh, it's a complicated thing. It's never a whole thing. I --
AMANPOUR: But as a woman and now, delving in also to -- we've just talked about women in Islam and how their reality has been prescribed as a modern
patriarchy rather than the book. And this -- Catholic women are very frustrated too, that they don't get equal treatment.
ARMSTRONG: Yes. And I remember my mother telling me quite late in her life, this is a man's world and you just have to deal with it. And in a
sense, I wanted to extricate myself from that because all the women that I could see were dusting and cooking and cleaning, looking after men.
And the irony is that when I got into the convent, all I did was sew, cook and clean for -- but I expected it to make me calm, serene and Buddha-like
and spiritual. And, of course, it didn't quite happen that way. But I don't regret it because I wouldn't be here today. It has put me on a
AMANPOUR: It certainly has. I mean, you also then write about how some, for instance, Buddhist traditions, whether it's yoga, whether it's
mindfulness, these were spiritual religious traditions and actions in Buddhism.
But now, you write that they sort of been taken by a modern consumer stressed out society as almost self-help wellness, that whole doctrine
that's going around right now.
ARMSTRONG: One of the things that all the scriptures say is that you must lose yourself. And actually, I had to let my ego go and -- in the signs of
compassion, to go with the other. And a lot of these mindfulness, for example, I am sure it doesn't do anybody any harm. When Buddha devised
this for his monks, the whole object of it was you discovered you didn't have a self at all. But the self was a fiction because you realize how
many thoughts and impulses actually thrown through your heart and mind in the course of a single minute, and you should let all of this go.
And so -- and yoga, too, was a devastating assault on the ego. It wasn't about sort of an aerobic exercise. So -- but we don't to let our egos go,
we want mindfulness to make us more so. And indeed, I think a lot of religiosity, certainly a lot of my early Catholicism was all about getting
into heaven and avoiding hell or polishing my soul and we were always thinking about my thoughts, where as they are not important.
And religion is about a loss of ego. It's not about ensuring its surviving in heaven in optimum condition forever. And so, once you got that idea of
letting the ego go, you begin to see the texts in a different way. That's why the Muslims bow there to the ground [14:15:00]. It's a sign to let
that promising ego that's constantly preening itself and drawing attention, let it go and tuck your head to the ground like a servant.
AMANPOUR: You talk about how television presenters are often presenting, some of the most difficult aspects of our human culture at the moment. And
you say, "Television presenters now seemed to be required to warn viewers that spectacles on the evening news may be distressing, giving them the
chance to close their eyes or switch to another channel lest they see yet more disturbing footage from war-torn Syria or Yemen. We have become
expert in refusing to allow the suffering of the world to impinge on our cocooned existence."
Well, obviously, I find that very relevant and I don't like warning people. I never used to have to do when I was in the field. And I also feel that
it's a convenient message to turn away.
ARMSTRONG: Yes. You see the scriptures tell us that they're not just about me, they all tell you,again, Chinese, Indian, the monotheisms, you
must go out and work for a better world. In the monotheisms, they emphasis is on equality, justice.
The prophets of Israel had no time for people who said their prayers nicely in the temple but neglected the plight of the poor and the oppressed.
Jesus, those who come into the kingdom are those who fed the hungry and looked after the poor, visited those sick and imprisoned. The Quran is
simply a cry for a just and decent society where poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect.
And so, it demands that we act and that we see such inequity in our world at the moment. In London, here, 25 percent of Londoners are living in
poverty in one of the richest countries in the world, record numbers of people are sleeping in the streets. I don't hear the archbishop of
Canterbury crying out against this injustice.
Now, in the -- so, it's a very relevant thing because we -- in the old days, the aristocracies kept their wealth to themselves. The poor people
never saw their beautiful homes and wonderful riches. Now, we advertise them, everybody sees how we live, our privilege and they want it.
But the other great problem we're looking at at the moment is climate change. And the Chinese and Indian, particularly from the very beginning
insisted on the fragility and sacrality of the cosmos and said that we must work with it. This was an essential thing. And the group of Chinese
people who now call themselves the New Confucianists, philosophers who've studied all the Western philosophies said that our contribution from our
Chinese Confucian scriptures is to emphasize the importance of climate change.
AMANPOUR: So, it's really interesting because -- let's just finish back in the United States where you say you have a better reception there because
of the seriousness with which so many take their scriptures and their religion.
A lot of climate denial has come from the religious right, from the evangelicals. Now, yes, they've done this creation signs but they also
have accepted as a person who they supported, a president who flaunts --
AMANPOUR: -- his own privilege, his own, you know, status, as he puts it, pretty much above everything else, not to mention the moral issues that
we've all been reporting on. How do you explain that?
ARMSTRONG: Because they're thinking all about themselves. Again, it's self, self, self. Ego. They're thinking of their comfort, their central
heating, their oil, their cars, their airplane rides, their convenience. And anyway, it's all supposed to be a lie anyway they say, it's not true.
So, it's a massive denial.
And similarly, the -- there's also -- but also worrying is a new sort of an anti-racial thing too. Remember when the Berlin Wall came down and there
was dancing in the streets. And now, there was cheering at the prospect of a wall between Mexico and the United States.
After the Brexit referendum in London hate crime increased by 48 percent. And again, the scripture speak out against this kind of -- this behavior,
and honor the stranger. Reach out to all tribes and nations, says the Quran. This is not a popular message. And I think it may be a sign in the
West of a society in decline, a society that's lost its way because these are -- this is such massive denial of facts that are staring us in the
face. And the scriptures do [14:20:00] speak to us and they do jolt us out of our certainly, of our selfishness. But only if we let them.
We can easily find some texts because the scriptures are very multifarious to cocoon us in our little -- in our world that is -- it's comfortable for
us at the moment but doomed.
ARMSTRONG: On that note, that's a good place to end, Karen Armstrong, thank you so much indeed.
ARMSTRONG: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: We turn now to a historian of a darker period of our past, no less relevant to our world today. How could a man as demonstrably evil as
Adolph Hitler come to power? As population around the once again turn to authoritarian leader, the question is not academic.
Brendan Simms is out with a new book, "Hitler: A Global Biography." And I've been speaking to him about how it's not just the times that could give
rise to the worst type of leader.
Professor Simms, welcome to the program.
AMANPOUR: So, look, there have been a lot of biographies on Hitler, but yours and a couple of others are creating, you know, new interests and some
headlines, of course, and some awareness because you are writing about this dastardly figurine history at a time where we're seeing rising anti-
Semitism, increasing authoritarianism and some of economic conditions. Why did you think now was the time to revisit this figure?
SIMMS: Well, because I think that the American dimension through his thoughts has been completely overlooked. I think the question of
migration, which is now obviously very current is central to his thinking. And I think that international capitalism is a world view, which was
something that he challenged, is also very much under threat today.
AMANPOUR: So, just describe that. When you say the American dimension to his thinking, what did you mean?
SIMMS: Well, Hitler was exercised by the fact that the German rise, German empire couldn't feed his population in the 19th century. And many of the
millions of them immigrated mostly to the United States. And Hitler was very worried that they came back as enemy soldiers in times of world war.
And I quote an incident which has not been spotted any of his biographers before, which is his encounter in July 1918 with the first American
prisoners. And later in the 1920s, he says, these are all blond blue-eyed German -- either German immigrants or the sons of German immigrants. And
so, these are people we've exported for decades and now, they're coming back to fight us. So, it's a trauma for him and that's what then drives
his quest for living space in the East. He says, we need space like the Americans have and then we won't need to export our population.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, one of the headlines that described your theory as a provocative departure is that Hitler was obsessed by the danger, in his
view, of Anglo-American capitalism even more than what history has generally thought was his big fear of Soviet communism.
SIMMS: That's correct. In fact, he saw Soviet communism and Bolshevism as a subordinate threat. He was obviously very concerned but he saw communism
as an instrument that international capitalism used to break down successful national economies.
So, his analysis of German's predicament was that Germany had a successful national economy but that's the powers of international capital by which he
meant both Jews and non-Jews, so people like J.P. Morgan, for instance, really the captains, the lords of industry and the lords of capital in Wall
Street and in London, that they were jealous of the German rise and therefore, you know, subjugated it in the first World War and then put
various subversive elements like trade unions or like communists on to disrupt Germany internally
AMANPOUR: So, this was his kind of distorted world view, very paranoia, that -- the whole sort of victim persona that he had. And you have said,
"The question that Hitler, inequality, migration, the challenge of international capitalism, they're as salient as they were when he set out
to provide his procurely, destructive and demented answers. In a very alarming and upsetting way, Hitler is actually less strange today than he
was 20 or 30 years ago."
SIMMS: Well, 20 or 30 years ago, the notion that the Jews around the world, which we'll now find all over the blogosphere, you'll find in
newspapers and media in the Middle East, for instance, but also in Eastern Europe, that notion 20, 30 years ago was much less current or the idea that
faceless international capitalist corporations are running around the world. Obviously, it was there. But even its stronger now than it was
So, a lot of the rhetoric that I quote Hitler as indulging in the book against international capitalism [14:25:00] is rhetoric you can find today
AMANPOUR: Well, let's just go to an immediate situation. You discussed at the beginning the rise of anti-Semitism and, frankly, around the world
including in the United States with the attack on synagogues there. We just saw one in Germany again. And we saw this past Sunday an election in
which yet, again, the AfD, the far-right Alternative for Deutschland, are showed very well. It got about a quarter of the vote in the regional
election. It didn't come first, but by a point, it beat Angela Merkel's CDU.
And he, the leader, Hocke, Bjorn Hocke, has been described by opponents as a Nazi, people have even compared him to Hitler. I mean, he obviously
denies that, but nonetheless. Give us the significance of him, AfD's continued presence in a significant way and the sort of Nazi parallels.
SIMMS: Well, the AfD's view is that Germany is in the grip of international powers, that Germany is not free, that Germany is run by
outside capitol. I wouldn't say it's anti-Semitic in every respect, but certainly people like Hocke and others have had made remarks, which one can
construe as anti-Semitic.
AMANPOUR: For instance, like the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, as he has said, is a -- I believe, a monument to shame.
SIMMS: For example.
AMANPOUR: But not shame because what they did to the Jews but shame to have put it up to commemorate that terrible crime.
AMANPOUR: So, that's way out there.
SIMMS: That is completely off the spectrum, particularly for Germany where this source of think has, for very good reasons, been put beyond the pale.
But what I think is particularly interesting is that this is coming as part of a general world view which is embedded within the idea that the Jews run
the world and that international capitalism runs the world. And this is something you find very strongly in AfD reference.
AMANPOUR: Can I just play a part of an interview that I had with Angela Merkel when I spoke to her about the threat to Germany and to other
democracies with this -- not just populism, the nationalism but also anti- Semitism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: We have always had a certain number of anti-Semite amongst us. Unfortunately, there is, to this day, not a single
synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German
policeman. Unfortunately, over the years, we have not been able to deal with this satisfactorily that we can do without this. But we have to face
up indeed to the specters of the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that was Chancellor Merkel admitting this terrible reality in Germany today. And, you know, you have said, "Hitler's long shadow is
therefore still with us. And we'll have to go on defeating him for some time to come." How does that work? What does that look like, this effort
to defeat him?
SIMMS: Well, I think what's really important is that this effort is not just directed to people like the AfD and those even further to the right
who were pretty open in their attitude. A lot of the problem is that anti- Semitic attitude persists among people who don't actually realize that their world view is structurally anti-Semitic. That if -- you know, they
find other phrases, for example, anti-Zionists or anti-capitalist or whatever, to support positions which are actually structurally anti-
And that, I think, means that a lot of intellectual broadcast (ph) to take place to combat that and to show its roots, how far this goes back in the
discourse of 20th century sort.
AMANPOUR: I am going to get to the specifics of Hitler and the mechanics that allowed him to become so successful in perpetrating his message and
his evil deeds. But I want to first ask you something, because you just talked about all different forms of anti-Semitism. I don't know whether
you've been watching, but in the impeachment hearings in the United States, a Colonel Vindman was testifying lately on Capitol Hill. He is the army
colonel who was on the call. He says he was on the call between the president and the president of Ukraine.
And Trump's backers, people who don't like this impeachment have cast dispersions on Vindman's credibility by saying that he's a Ukrainian, by
saying that he's Jewish. For instance, Vindman has been accused of Jew loyalties.
These are also classic anti-Semitic tropes, right? Does that concern you that this is even happening, you know, in a court of law, so to speak, in
the United States right now.
SIMMS: Very much so. And what's interesting is you find these tropes not merely in the United States on the old right, but also, of course, in this
country, particularly on the side of the Labour Party where you have Labour Party politicians being criticizes in very similar terms. And that shows
to my mind the ubiquity of this message. You find this, you know, on both sides of the Atlantic. You find it right and left.
And what holds it together is the sense of hostility towards something faceless and international which is controlling their lives.
AMANPOUR: So that brings me to another reason that your book and the book of a colleague, or a fellow writer, Peter Langridge (ph), both of you have
written this new tones on Hitler.
"It's not the case that dangerous development only stems from social movements or structural trends," said Langridge. "It can also be simply
that a person has the abilities to use a certain political situation to set a new agenda."
I find that fascinating. Because the mainstream or whatever you want to say, the centrist, over the last three years of this rising nationalism
within western democracies, as well as elsewhere, the move from freedom back to authoritarianism in the form of communist states, they're also
flagellating and sayings because of ours, it's because of globalizations because we've missed the boats, because we've kept people, you know,
uncovered and unprotected while a small, elite benefit.
But here in your book, you're saying that it's not just those facts. It is the people who professed to be the prophets to lead them out of that. Tell
me how Hitler did that. And then we get onto today's.
SIMMS: Well, it's an extraordinary story. Hitler's effectively discovered by the German army in 1919, probably works as a propagandist. Then he sent
along to monitor easing the small party, the German workers party, and then he takes that over, famously, builds it up, has failed put in 1923, it's
released, rebuilds the party.
And what he manages to do is to keep all the different wings of the different party and more or less in line with some difficulty and to
develop a message which was carefully calibrated, but essentially argues that I have a vision to rebuild Germany's position in the world.
Essentially, there's a reaction to the defeat of 1918. And that everything that's gone wrong in Germany since then, since oppressed by treason is the
fault of the last war. That's the reason why they are poor. And he manages to persuade Germans to vote for him on that basis. But he never
gets them beyond the anti-chamber of power.
He never gets more than 43 percent of the vote even in the halfway of free and fair election, actually to get power, he depends essentially on the
miscalculation of concerted elites around President Hindenburg (ph) who think they can use Hitler for his -- for his own -- for their own purposes,
and that's really where his political skill lies, that he's able to persuade them, to let them in, in a cabinet, which he initially dominates
but which he then takes over and the rest that we know.
AMANPOUR: And, again, there are many people who are very skillful, whether they have a certain voice and a certain pitch, and a certain what some
might call charisma for good or for bad. And they use technology incredibly carefully like we understand, that Goebbels (ph) made sure that
every household in Germany, at that crucial time, had this newfangled technology, which they called -- I think a vaults radio, it was a people --
AMANPOUR: There you go.
AMANPOUR: And it was specifically designed to impregnate Hitler's voice into people's minds. Talk a little bit about the use of that technology.
SIMMS: Well, Hitler was very much ahead of his time, in that sense. So for instance, he used the airplane to move between electoral meetings, that
was new at the time. Of course, he use amplification, that's less new. He tried to break into radio before he took over power. He didn't succeed.
And the Volksempfanger certainly had a strong propaganda dimension. But the radios were also, and I think primarily intended as items of
consumption. The idea was, you know, Germans should have radios because British and American people have radios, just like they should have cars.
So I think the propaganda and consumption worked together hand in hand, as best part of a vision of the new society which was often German people.
AMANPOUR: And when you see and you've written all of this, and you see what's happening around us right now, do you see a parallel or, you know, a
symbolic referral also to the use of the latest technology by some of those authoritarians and the like?
SIMMS: I think there are obvious -- there are parallels. But I think they're more superficial. That's what you expect to find that political
leaders will attempt to use new technologies.
What I find more concern is what we're talking about earlier, which was the revival of very old passion, but very potent passions of thoughts, of
conspiracy and world view. That's really where I think the lesson from Hitler lies rather than into technology, and then the charisma.
AMANPOUR: So the idea that a certain person would use these facts on the ground, these historical moments to benefit themselves or whatever their
agenda is. That could be a flipside to that. That could be people who have the same set of facts, the same set of historical realities, but don't
have evil intentions, and don't plan to just to people's fear and their lowest common denominators and fears and hatreds.
That could also have happened, right? It wasn't absolutely inevitable that Hitler would come to power and be this, you know, effective.
SIMMS: Yes, you're absolutely right. In fact, he was in some ways facing a situation where his tide was going out. He was losing between July and
November 1932. He lost a few million bucks in the two (INAUDIBLE) elections in 1932.
So he made his deal with the conservative elites around President Hindenburg, almost at the last moment when he could have done it. It's
perfectly possible had there been another election, free and fair election which was the one in March 1933, it was not. But even then, he didn't get
more than 43 percent of the votes.
Had there been another election in the free circumstances, he might well have lost even more votes, and then we wouldn't be having this
AMANPOUR: To what do you attribute, not only the -- what the authoritarian trends that we see today, but also 30 years since the fall of the Berlin
Wall, you see these former soviet states (INAUDIBLE) having gone from dictatorship to freedom and now back to authoritarianism. Not all of them,
but the trends are there, sometimes even more than trends, using democracy as the vehicle in fact.
SIMMS: Yes. I think a real opportunity was missed immediately after the fall of the wall, at the time of the enlargement of Europe, both in terms
of Nation European Union. Actually to create a full political union or mainland Europe.
Because what we now have is very fragmented stay and then it provides breeding ground for people like (INAUDIBLE) current government and Poland
to play on national spheres. Very often, with all issues of migration where the European Union has simply failed to guard the border, external
border, the union has failed to determine to lesson larger numbers of people which I can understand he would then have to have some kind of
mechanism to redistribute.
But one way or the other, we don't have a single European state, which would have made this possible. And I think this is a large part of the
story that prevails we have in Europe today.
AMANPOUR: The world's single European state will set Boris Johnson's hair on fire or the hardline of Brexiteers. But it looks like they're going to
get their project through and he's called for an election and finally he's managed to get one through parliament. It's going to be in the next couple
What do you think? What is your prediction where British politics is going?
SIMMS: I think the really interesting question will be, how will the United Kingdom play the role that it is historically played, over hundreds
of years in Europe after it has left the structures of the European Union?
So according to the European Union, that role will be greatly diminished or possibly zero. Now, anybody who studied the history of this country over
hundreds of year would find that surprising.
Has the world changed so much that the U.K. will be of no account? At the same time, I think this will be my message to Boris Johnson, if he were
listening. I think that notions of global Britain are actually exaggerators and thus, European Union will now be the newer abroad of the
Europe will be more important to the United Kingdom than it was before, because now, it has to find the way back into Europe, having left the
structures of the European Union.
AMANPOUR: Which means that Britain will be less important than it was before.
SIMMS: Well, it will be, in my view, important. But the problem is we don't have a mechanism to enable that road to be played. There's no
structure. We're in a totally new situation. So probably we need to develop some form of confederal structure, by which the European
continental will be co-managed after Brexit. But that's something that I don't think the British were thinking about and the Europeans want to count
AMANPOUR: Brendan Simms, author of "Hitler: A Global Biography," thank you for joining me.
SIMMS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And next, we turn to the effort to launch structural reform of corporate America. It is now widely accepted the diversity of gender,
race, and background is in itself a valuable goal, not just morally right but something that makes any organization perform better.
It's something that Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, president of the of the ticket marketplace, StubHub, has been thinking a lot about even finding a talent
recruitment forum, Boardlist.
She sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan to discuss how you increase that vital diversity.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS ANCHOR: You grew up in Canada, the daughter of a couple of doctors, what made want to go into business?
SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, STUBHUB: They talk about entrepreneurship running in families and I believe it. I say believe it
because although my parents are both doctors, my father-in-law is running a small business. So they had come from East Africa and resettled in Canada
late in life, they -- we had a medical practice together. But I mean, at 7 or 8, I was learning how to do his books.
You know, by 12 or 13, I knew how to do his taxes. My father always told me to work for myself. And he loved business as much as he loved serving
people, which he really did. I often tell people the story, I think he was, -- you know, and my father was older. So he was in his 70s when I was
in high school.
And I remember being 15 or 16 and he would call his broker and look at the paper every deciding what stocks to pick.
SREENIVASAN: Because you have to do that back then.
CASSIDY: Because I tried to do it. And his eyes (INAUDIBLE). So this gigantic magnifying glass and he would look at the paper, and I remember
his calls (INAUDIBLE) be like Tom, from RBC Securities. And he'd be like, "Tom, let's buy some AOL." I didn't even know what AOL was. But here is
my father in his late '70s who loved innovation, business, serving people, told me to work for myself.
And so you look back and I'm like going hindsight it's probably not a surprise. That by my mid-20s, even though I was in investment banking, I
was in London and I worked for BSkyB, which is part of news Corp. By my mid-20s, it's like, I want to start a business and I didn't know how.
But I really credit my dad. I sort of feel, I didn't grew up in an entrepreneurial family. And I feel like I saw it firsthand.
SREENIVASAN: How did you get to the StubHub? How did you get to this position intact in the bay area?
CASSIDY: You know, you grind for 20 years. I started a few companies, I spent the majority of my career building my own companies and the other
half helping to scale larger companies, so I ended up at Google early on and helped build their local maps business before building their
I went back to being an entrepreneur again. And so I think my career has been a journey of big and small companies that I was building. Serendipity
and a luck hopefully in there and awesome people will give me some good chances.
SREENIVASAN: As you got into these companies, what about -- it was kind of different glass ceilings. What did you find as you went from company to
CASSIDY: So it's interesting because I'm kind of -- I have this dichotomous fuse on this. On the one hand, over a long period of time, I
feel like Silicon Valley has been a place where I found my throne. I say that because I arrived. By my late 20s, I got to be a founder. I enjoyed
a relatively exciting career.
CASSIDY: I was supported well. You know, I was giving tremendous opportunity everywhere, wherever I was, including at Google. Obviously, I
got to be a CEO. So I think for me to say this support me story on either being a person of color, a woman, feels like a fallacy.
However, and there is a big however, if I think back to my first job in the valley, I had arrived out of investment banking and News Corp, both of
which are aggressive cultures. Largely been award for my -- awarded for aggressiveness, right? Then promoted all I've gotten. Great projects.
And my very first job in the valley on the second day, I'm in the office in my late 20s. My boss tells me that I've scared the secretaries. I mean,
on day two, and I said, what do you mean I scared the secretary?
SREENIVASAN: By doing what?
CASSIDY: By doing what? Exactly. I didn't know. And of the ensuing six months, in my first job in the Valley, I become increasingly less confident
of my ability to succeed, despite having come from these hyper aggressive, male dominated cultures, and banking and media. I get told that I'm the
rookie on the team, even though I see this volatile, very senior male colleague, not my boss, but somebody else he managed who takes tantrums in
the office, who gets what he wants.
And I'm asking for more responsibility and I'm getting increasingly diminishing tasks. I mean, I'm writing marketing collateral, not that
there's anything wrong providing marketing collateral. You know, I've been used to being this like hot shot who gets to like, you know, help take
companies public and, you know, is trusted.
And I challenged him on that. Again, I kept getting these sort of rookie statements. By month six, I quit. And luckily for me, instead of leaving
the Valley, which I really thought about. I really thought, like gosh, maybe I'm just not meant to be here. I ended up at a start-up called
Junglee with five computer scientist founders, out of Stanford, all -- kind of the tribe of the Indian mafia at the time, right? They've all gone, be
And they gave me a shot at a job, at company called Junglee. And I think I hired as product manager by day two. They put me in the business
development job. And my very first day in the job, by the way, that was same job I had at the company that I just left.
Feeling very insecure. I've been going to the -- to start a start-up and like my career takes it off. They give me, again, incredible amounts of
responsibility, Amazon buys the company six months later. You know, I'm part of the key team that goes to Amazon. My reputation is built and a way
I go. And I have a very successful career as it trends out of business development before becoming a general manager.
SREENIVASAN: So tell me a little bit about Boardlist. Why did you start it?
CASSIDY: I came back to sort of an idea I had discussed with the D.C. like when they came to me and said, Sukhinder, how do we solve the women in tech
problem in a private conversation? I said, well, you guys always talk about this is the problem of women against them. I'm like, you realize,
you can solve a lot of problem without having to wait two generations.
I'm like, you've got every series B company and beyond and they don't even have a single woman on their board. So if you really wanted to change the
game, I said to VCX in question, why would you just declare and get your some fellow V.C.s (INAUDIBLE) and every series B company and beyond has a
woman on its board. You could change the culture right now and you could start at the top.
And the VC said in question, hey, that's a great idea. Six months later, it's like, did you do anything with that idea though? No. So maybe I
should just go straight to founders again and people I've respect and say, hey, why don't we just build a product that helps get more women on board?
And why don't we use technology to do it and the Boardlist was born from the idea that you can crowdsource a number of amazing women today and make
available a curated marketplace where people can discover great board talent that's diverse. And you can solve that sort of mythical problem
that there are not enough women for grade.
SREENIVASAN: So, how many women were in that network now?
CASSIDY: So the Boardlist today has about 14,000 members, organically built over the last three years.
SREENIVASAN: How do you get on the Boardlist?
CASSIDY: You have to be nominated by somebody with board experience. That network includes amazing endorsers, that's what we call them. People like
Reid Hoffman or Zander Lurie who runs SurveyMonkey. People who have board experience who nominate people they know from their networks to serve on
And then the other half of the marketplace is women who seeks to serve. Today, we've had 1400 different companies from private to large global
public companies use the Boardlist to find the first board talent. About almost 50 percent of the placements onto boards that are influenced by the
Boardlist of women who have never served on the board before. But who are imminently qualified, right? You just want to solve the problem of
SREENIVASAN: That's part of the problem is that most of these people in their personal networks don't include women in the first place.
CASSIDY: Well, it's not that founders are not intended. I don't even think it's the average board director is not intended. I think it's that
they use their first-order network. And if those first-order networks are white and male, well then, how do you find trusted people to bring into
your company or to your board?
SREENIVASAN: The S&P 500, there was a recent number that just about 25 percent of the composition of the S&P 500's boards are women. You still
CASSIDY: A long way to go.
SREENIVASAN: Right. And that's with something like the Boardlist that exist, that's with at least a national conversation about this bubbling --
CASSIDY: Yes. Without a national mandate, obviously, California has one. But on private companies, that number drops to about 11 percent of all
board seats, and that includes investors, right? If you have a female investor that counts towards the board seat versus independence.
The numbers are still low, you're right. And look, I think it's not just a question of making women, you know, great with female talent or the first
talent now. As you know, board tenure, it was a big part of the issue, right?
So if you look at the stats, what's encouraging is more recently, open board seats. You find, I think, a pretty significant number and when can
come back with the exact numbers of open board seats going to diverse talent. So that certainly kind of a portion of what's opened.
But the issue is if you don't have board terms and any requirement to refresh your board, and to bring in the skills that needs to be successful,
and the diverse perspectives, there's just no room.
SREENIVASAN: So what's the kind of easiest business case that you can make? I mean, is it just that it's good for business to have a more
diverse set of leaders?
CASSIDY: Absolutely. I mean, look, I think that you and probably -- you've probably seen all the research. There's no doubt that diverse teams
outperform, both the executive level and the board level and there's plenty of data whether it's from capitalists or others that supports that fact.
That's the business case, right?
I think the -- I think the imperative for boards today goes far beyond that. You've got disruptions with technology. You've got a changing
consumer, right? Whether that's millennial consumer, whether that is the female and household being sort of the chief purchaser.
You've got a changing demographic of employees. So you can say that base imperative is business performance. But if you look at the level of change
that most companies are going through, and their customer-based, their employee-based, and technology, why wouldn't you rush to the doors, you
know, to create those sets of perspectives on your board?
SREENIVASAN: So last night, I went on the app, I tried to find some Lizzo tickets in D.C.
SREENIVASAN: And the Lizzo tickets was a pair of tickets -- I didn't even know that it was expensive to go to her concerts. But two tickets for her
are 150 bucks a piece, $300. And then all of a sudden, by the time I get to the very end of the transaction, it's $400, right? And that's one of
the concerns that people have had is that why isn't that greater transparency in the very beginning?
And I would know OK, if this is for $400, I can't afford it. So why not put the full all-in price up front in the transaction?
CASSIDY: Back in about 2013, I think it was 2013 and 2014, staff have, in fact, tried what you're suggesting. We took the all-in price of the
ticket, and we moved it all the way up to the beginning of what we would call our buy flip, right?
So very upfront, at the top of the flow you saw with the all-in price was. Unfortunately, the rest of the industry didn't follow. What does that
mean? It meant that for the customers, there was confusion. Because they looked at StubHub and they looked at other marketplaces. And, in fact, I
believe we were 20 percent more expensive than our competitors because we actually took the action to give them transparency first.
So for a feature like the one you're talking about to kind of work, we wanted to work for everyone. We would love to see all boats rise. We
would love to see every ticketer get to the same level of transparency and trust at the same time.
Because we live in an environment where the customer is comparing apples and oranges and isn't even aware. So today, you know, as you know,
everybody puts their buy fees towards the bottom of the funnel. If everybody in the entire industry went to the top of the funnel, that would
be a great way to make sure that the consumer was able to compare apples to apples. But that would need to happen across the industry.
SREENIVASAN: Well, this seems like a failure of the market to regulate itself. I mean, this seems like a case where somebody in the government is
going to step in with a piece of legislation based on a bunch of complaints and say, hey, enough. People are angry about this that as an industry,
you'll have to do it.
CASSIDY: Well, interestingly, that speaks to another point. We spend a lot of time in D.C. working, in fact, with regulators because we actually
do want to see a fair and equivalent marketplace for consumers for tickets. So there's the BOTS Act, which you may or may not be aware passed that
really was about consumer protection on one side. There's a proposed new piece of legislation called the BOTS Act which, in fact, you know, contains
thoughts around fan transferability of a ticket, which I noted earlier, is a really big and important issue, particular as tickets become more mobile.
Ideas like all-in pricing, what you're talking about. Do you move the kind of -- we're in our buy or flow. Do you show, you know, the all-in price of
the ticket, display fees and fees?
And in fact, I think the government does think about how to help this industry regulate itself. And we think of the most important thing is --
was what I talked about before, which is we offer higher standards, but we want those higher standards equivalently applied to every player in
SREENIVASAN: A lot of tickets are coming from Live Nation and Ticketmaster. What if those guys to say, you know what? If you want to
deal with tickets, it's really got to be our own marketplace. You can't buy it on StubHub.
SREENIVASAN: What happens?
CASSIDY: We believe any market, including ticketing, thrives when fans have choice of where they buy and sell. To your point, why do I worry
about how sellers might interpret our fees or on one side or the other?
CASSIDY: Because my entire reputation of this business is built on fan trust and transparency. So we know we are held to that standard every day.
And if we need to go back and figure out what else we need to do to create a better experience, I live and die by that sword.
CASSIDY: But when we talk about Live Nation and Ticketmaster, I think you point to sort of an important thing in this ecosystem, which is if you
control the venue, and you control the artists, and you control the ticketing or the place they get the original ticket. Now, you also have a
business that's competitive with StubHub because you also have a resale marketplace. Your ability to try and control the value chain is pretty
So I think when you ask -- sort of ask the question, well, what happens if Live Nation says, gosh, we want everybody to transact on our platform. I
would say, well, that's a pretty anti-competitive environment for the fans. And I would go at it the other way which says, you know, there are millions
of tickets that are being moved and bought and sold by fans everyday around the country.
And the, first and foremost, thing we node to insure is, they can take that ticket and transfer it and go to the venue they intended or I can sell it
to you and you ought not be turned down at a stadium by virtue of, you know, who controls everything in the ecosystem.
So we believed pretty strongly that whether you're Live Nation, and Ticketmaster, whether you're StubHub, the number one responsibility is the
right for fans to buy and sell what they choose, and to freely and safely, and trustedly (ph) interact, right? And be able to get into any stadium,
any concert venue, if they bought a legitimate ticket.
SREENIVASAN: Sukhinder, thanks so much for joining us.
CASSIDY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: What a fascinating career. But that is it for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com.
And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.