Bret Bair is the Chief Political Anchor and host of Special Report on the Fox News Channel. I had the chance to meet him last week during the Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate at Otterbein University. We talked briefly about his new book, Three Days at the Brink, which is out today (click here to buy from Amazon). As a history buff, I was fascinated by the story of Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt secretly meeting in 1943. The Tehran Conference would set in motion a path to Allied Victory in WW II. We talked more about the book on yesterday's show -- click here to listen with our free iHeartRadio app.
ABOUT THE BOOK: THREE DAYS AT THE BRINK
by Bret Baier, with Catherine Whitney
Discover the forgotten secret meeting that changed the course of World War II: Bret Baier, bestselling author and award-winning anchor reveals the lost history of the 1943 Tehran Conference, where Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin plotted the war's endgame, including the D-Day invasion. November 1943: With the fate of World War II in doubt and Nazi assassins rumored to be on his trail, President Roosevelt traveled in secret to Tehran for a clandestine meeting that plotted the war’s victorious endgame. Though now overshadowed by Yalta and later summits, those critical three days at the edge of the desert forever altered the path of history. This is the subject of an extraordinary new reappraisal of the Tehran Conference—and of FDR’s leadership. Bret Baier, chief political anchor for Fox News Channel and bestselling author, has provided fresh perspectives on key moments of diplomatic crisis with his acclaimed histories Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (2018) and Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission (2017). In THREE DAYS AT THE BRINK: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II (William Morrow; October 22, 2019; $28.99), Baier recounts the remarkable secret meeting in Iran—now all but forgotten—between the Allied leaders that not only set the course for the final victory against Hitler but also shaped the map of Europe and geopolitics for the Cold War and beyond.
“The circumstances that placed the President of the United States in Tehran for a meeting with Churchill and Stalin was a crisis point in the Second World War,” Baier explains. “After more than four years of fighting, the free world was at the brink. Hitler’s armies surged across Western Europe, and into Russia and the Mediterranean. The Allies had fought hard, and in the last year they had scored some important victories …. But the successes felt piecemeal in the larger scheme of things. It might have seemed that the Germans were finally on the defensive, but overconfidence was a mistake. The Allies could not afford to miscalculate against an enemy so undaunted by defeat, so relentless in the face of overwhelming odds. They needed the kind of decisive win that would put the Nazis on their heels.
The Tehran Conference, where Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met together for the first time, was fraught with behind-the-scenes drama even before it took place in late November 1943. The choice of venue itself was hotly contested, with Roosevelt hesitant to travel so far from Washington, but Stalin digging in his heels. FDR capitulated, realizing how important it was that he and Churchill—who had already forged a strong alliance—be in the same room with the Soviet strongman. Wary of Stalin’s long-term agenda, the American and British leaders nonetheless recognized the necessity of appeasing their slippery ally. Stalin, who felt his country and his military had taken the greatest beating at the Nazis’ hands, demanded that the Allies open up a second front in the West, and the preliminary plans for the invasion of Normandy the following year were hammered out over those climactic three days in Tehran. Yet this historic clash of these three titans embraced more far-reaching matters as well, especially questions of which victor would control which spoils at war’s end. Churchill and Roosevelt both balked at Stalin’s not-so-hidden agenda to lay claim to Poland, but Roosevelt remained cagier in his diplomatic gamesmanship, seemingly more trusting of Stalin’s motives. The three argued over how a defeated Germany would be punished and divided and they laid rudimentary plans for a post-war organization that would become the United Nations. These very different leaders signed the Declaration of the Three Powers, declaring themselves—and their nations—“friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose.”
Baier has unearthed new details in rarely seen transcripts, oral histories, and declassified State Department and presidential documents from the FDR library. He paints vivid and empathetic portraits of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin that explore the strengths, weaknesses, and nuances of each leader—the goals they shared as well as how they differed in temperaments, ideologies, and their approaches to leadership. He explores how Roosevelt, a collaborative leader who, as the sole leader of a democracy, and without the baggage of empire or a totalitarian principle to preserve, would become the lead strategist for the globe’s future. With THREE DAYS AT THE BRINK, Baier once again brings history alive with an essential book about crisis and leadership.
About BRET BAIER
Bret Baier serves as chief political anchor for Fox News Channel (FNC) and anchor of "Special Report with Bret Baier," the number one news program on cable (6-7 p.m. ET). Before assuming this role, which he took over for Brit Hume in January of 2009, Baier served as chief White House correspondent, where he reported on presidential activities on a national and international level from 2006-2009.
Prior to being named chief White House correspondent, Baier served as national security correspondent and reported on military and national security affairs, as well as on defense, military policy and the intelligence community from the Pentagon from 2001-2006. Baier has reported from Iraq 12 times and from Afghanistan 13 times most recently in March 2011. He has traveled the world with various administration and military officials and on his own – reporting from 74 different countries.
Most recently he co-anchored Fox News 2012 election night coverage alongside Megyn Kelly – a night where Fox News Channel had more than twelve million viewers and finished second among the entire broadcast and cable networks in the ratings. Baier covered the 2012 campaign extensively – taking his show, Special Report, on the road to nine battleground states; anchoring the three Presidential and one Vice Presidential debates and the Republican and Democratic conventions.
Throughout his career, Baier has secured numerous exclusive interviews with government officials. He had the only interview with President Obama during the week leading up to the historic health care vote in the House of Representatives in March 2010. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan called it, “The most revealing and important broadcast interview of Barack Obama ever.” Additionally, Baier has interviewed President George W. Bush many times during his Presidency and afterwards; Vice President Cheney; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and his successor General Peter Pace. He has also interviewed many world leaders – including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in anticipation of key peace talks at the United Nations, Polish President Lech Kaczynski days after the U.S. decision to abort missile defense plans in Poland, and Georgian President Mikheul Saakashvili after the Russian invasion of Georgia. In addition, Baier had an exclusive sit-down with General David Petraeus, which was his final interview as the head of U.S. operations, live from Iraq in September 2008; and conducted General Petraeus’ only interview leading up to his Congressional testimony about the Afghanistan troop decisions in March 2011.
Bret BaierBaier has also anchored several political specials on FNC, including one-hour specials on the stimulus package, the bank bailout, the housing crisis, cap-and-trade legislation, the first year of the Obama presidency and the importance of Iowa in 2012. Additionally, he anchored numerous election specials throughout the 2008 campaign from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, as well as election night coverage from New York. The Midterm election coverage in 2010, anchored by Baier and his colleague Megyn Kelly, was the most watched election coverage of any television channel-cable or broadcast. In early May of 2011, Baier moderated the first Republican Presidential debate in South Carolina as well as four additional Fox debates throughout the 2012 campaign season. Baier anchored 2012 primary coverage for Fox News and reported live from both the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. Baier and colleague Megyn Kelly anchored live from the presidential and vice presidential debates as well as on Election Day in New York.
Baier joined FNC in 1998 as the first reporter to be based in the Atlanta bureau. As the network's Southeast correspondent, Baier covered stories ranging from the 2001 Timothy McVeigh execution to the 1999 Elian Gonzalez story. He also provided a series of reports from Cuba and covered more than a dozen hurricanes, including stories filed from the centers of the storms.
Prior to joining FNC, Baier worked for WRAL-TV (CBS) in Raleigh, NC, WREX-TV (NBC) in Rockford, IL, and WJWJ-TV (PBS) in Beaufort, SC.
A graduate of DePauw University, Baier has a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English. He and his wife, Amy, reside in Washington, D.C. with their two young sons.