First-ever documentary on legendary senator to premier on WGVU

Former U.S. Sen. Arthur Vandenberg
Former U.S. Sen. Arthur Vandenberg
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He was present at the creation of the United Nations and played a key role in the formation and adoption of the Marshall Plan. Arthur H. Vandenberg was a legendary U.S. senator from Michigan from 1928-1951. He played major roles in foreign relations, especially during and after World War II when he abandoned his previous support of isolationist policies and became an internationalist.

Vandenberg’s story is captured in a first-ever television documentary based on the forthcoming biography of Vandenberg written by Hank Meijer, a Grand Rapids historian, author and business leader.

“America’s Senator — The Unexpected Odyssey of Arthur H. Vandenberg” will premiere on WGVU TV, Grand Valley State University’s Public Broadcast Station on December 7, at 8 p.m., to coincide with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which had much to do with Vandenberg’s switch on policy.

The documentary will be shown during two public events:

December 8 – Ford Library in Ann Arbor, 7:30 p.m.

December 12 – Grand Rapids Public Library, 7 p.m.

Vandenberg was born and raised in Grand Rapids, where he rose from reporter to owner and publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald. A pragmatic politician, Vandenberg was often a bridge inside the Senate between the GOP’s progressive and conservative wings.

Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University, is serving as historical advisor to Hank Meijer, the film’s executive producer, and to Mike Grass, the program’s writer and producer.

The program is narrated by NPR’s Susan Stamberg.