tv Three Days at the Brink FOX News October 20, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
come or when it will come. >> we would have been speaking joel german. >> what kind of people today think we are. >> it's okay to hold the hand. >> [inaudible] ♪ >> here at the world war ii memorial in washington these 50s six granite pillars, one for each u.s. state and territory, represent unity represent unity across america during the dark days of the
conflict. victory would take more than that. my new book, "three days at the brink", fdr's daring gamble to end world war ii is the story of how the leaders of the u.s., great britain and the soviet union, three. men with different strategic interests united a plan to defeat hitler and save western civilization. talking down to a high-stakes meeting. ♪ bret: for the first time pres. frankel and eleanor roosevelt, british by minister winston shelter and soviet leader joseph stalin that side-by-side. their unlikely location, the soviet embassy in tehran teran, iran. with the clock ticking they had to create a plan to defeat nazi germany area one thing was clear
as the conference got underway. the fate of western civilization depended on these three leaders over the next three days finding common ground and erasing a single strategy. >> [inaudible] this is a moment when they sit down and work out the strategy that will deliver victory. >> these were the most powerful men the world had ever known. they controlled the combined military source of more than 20 million soldiers. their armies and navies stretched from one end of the globe to the other. there was nothing they cannot have it published had they agreed on something. bret: a compromise would be difficult. the three leaders came from different corners of the globe and have very different visions for crushing nazi germany. bret: born in 1882 in this room of his parents sprawling estate
in hyde park, new york frank and roosevelt spent his youth under the watchful eye of his doting mother, sarah's been you have to think of the hudson valley is as natural disneyland that fdr loved. he loved wandering through the woods here. he hunted birds and sailed on the river and had an ice that he would sale when the river would freeze. >> he had free reign to almost 1000 acres of pristine hudson valley wilderness. it was a pitiful life for him and he enjoyed being outdoors. ♪ bret: his fifth cousin teddy became president in 1906. fdr had politics in his blood, too. in too. in 1910 he won a seat in the new york state senate despite running as a democrat in a heavily republican district. in 1913 he was assistant secretary of the navy and in 1920 democrats nominated him as
vice presidential running mate. the ticket lost but now a national figure with a bright future, fdr headed home to a his options. the wealth that fdr was born into in this home in hyde park, new york would ensure he would never want for anything materially but the counterbalance to a smooth destiny was polio. fdr was crippled just has his political life was gaining momentum. the devastating illness seem to enlarge him as a man. it gave him a depth of purpose that is not been noticeable before. >> i think polio completely change the way he looked at people who had problems. i think it gave him a degree of empathy and somebody for people who are struggling with the challenges. bret: encouraged by his wife, eleanor, was felt that back into politics and in 1928 he became the governor of new york.
four years later as great depression gripped the nation he won the democratic emanation for president. he defeated reporting and herbert hoover by 7 million votes. >> let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. bret: trouble was brewing abroad. it streamed nationalism was on the rise in japan and it all hitler was well on his way to seizing power in germany. in 1938 he was on the move in austria and occupying czechoslovakia. the next year he invaded poland. it's appeasement of hitler having failed great britain to winston churchill to lead them. >> you ask what is our and? i can only say one word. victory. victory at all costs. victory in spite of all terror. victory of a long and hard road
though it may be. we will have victory and without victory there is no survival. bret: eight years older than fdr churchill had also been born into a family of wealth and privilege. >> he was a young man in a hurry. he was born several weeks early and from that moment on seem to be racing through life. bret: he attended military college 14 keeper in the sudan and served as a correspondent in the boer war. he was first elected to parliament at 26 and served in a series of candidate positions including first lord of admiralty in world war i. he lost that job and much space after the failed gallipoli campaign which involved an amphibious landing against the ottoman empire. >> it's amazing to see as you look at history they both come from wealth but two very different personalities. >> churchill is deep in the victorian area and a product of the 19th century and great
believer in empire and monarchy and wants to see the british empire survived the second world war and roosevelt is different. roosevelt regards colonialism and imperialism as a thing of the past. ♪ >> fdr was the ultimate strategist. he maintained an credible level of control and how he expressed his emotions and how he interacted with people and was always thinking about the futu future. churchill was the most emotional leader you've ever encountered. he cried almost everyday at at one point or another but everything with a letter from his daughter or a terrible defeat in the field. he wore his emotions on his sleeve. bret: by august 1941 hitler invaded and occupied norway, sweden, denmark, holland, and france.
england survived three half months of nazi bombardment in the battle of britain takes to the royal air force and churchill's leadership from his war rooms beneath the streets of westminster. the nation nation standing alone against the nazis. before the end of that year war would come to america, too. on december december 7, 1941 the japanese bombed pearl harbor. on december 11 germany declared war on the u.s. days later churchill made an extended visit to the white house. >> you know churchill lived in the white house for weeks on end and in fact there was this moment or churchill comes out of the bathroom on the second floor of the family residence totally naked and roosevelt ran into him and churchill says to roosevelt without missing a beat says mr. president, you can feed the premises or of england has nothing to hide. >> the front tip between
roosevelt and churchill is the most important friendship in american history. bret: then there was joseph stalin born into poverty rising through the ranks of the communist party using mass murder as a tool of statecraft. >> stalin is such an enigma and a fascinating figure. on one hand he's a brilliant military tactician and understands the levers of power in a way that few leaders did. bret: in 1939 he's done the best by west by entering into a nonaggression pact with hitler but in 19 for the one hitler attacked the soviet union anyway and effectively in allen greg heard the bloodiest battle in history. >> he had an activity when he would see what was going on and how to move the pieces on the chessboard but he was a murderous sociopath and kill anyone for any reason if it
♪ bret: franklin roosevelt, winston churchill, joseph stalin, three men, three countries, three different strategies for defeating nazi germany. could they agree on a single objective? the fate of the world hung in the balance. ♪ >> stalin almost did not care where it was. he wanted it in france but more than anything he wanted to step up. >> soviet dictator needed to take pressure off his own country which had already suffered the loss of millions. >> remember the second world war up to this point is largely fought on russian soil. 90% [inaudible] and stalin is desperate. despite the fact russia has survived.
♪ >> the idea was that combined with the russian independence on the front this is now going to put the squeeze on germany and ultimately destroy nazi germany. bret: rosebud and churchill had suggested to stalin that the allies may open a second front potentially in france but with focused on a different strategy. >> they are the western allies won their first victory. they swap out the victims. >> allies had landed in north africa and use that to springboard into sicily and italy and they were now taking the continents. spee1 churchill believed that was the path to winning the war. they were not ready to try a highly risky amphibious invasion into france. >> what churchill once for britain is he wants some leeway
from roosevelt and from stolen to allow a continuation of his favorite mediterranean campaign. yet he says he can build up the forces for invasion of france that will take time and it's pointless to sit back and do nothing for six months. we need to stay active in their huge advantages to be gained in the mediterranean. bret: american forces were fully engaged in war in the pacific against japan present roosevelt had a different calculus. he tended to agree with stalin on an invasion of france despite his match up with and with respect for churchill. by november is fdr tried to court stalin to meet it became obvious to the soviet leader that such an attack is not going
to happen anytime soon. >> churchill insisted they needed to weaken germany, first. >> he gets the news there would not be a second front and stalin's. spread so. he withdraws his abbasid or to london in washington and they never return. >> stalin is suspicious because he thinks that fdr and churchill are trying to beat down that red army. >> there was an intervention of the western powers in the soviet union right after the russian revolution. he never lost the fear that there would be the potential to hitler destroyed russia. bret: that might not have been so far from the truth and although fdr and churchill did not trust stalin either they knew they needed to work with him. >> he had to make an alliance. when people criticize he famously said if hitler invaded i would make a fable reference
to the devil. >> there's an old bulgarian saint which expands the okay this and having a relationship between roosevelt and stalin and churchill and stalin. in times of grave danger it's okay to hold and of the devil in order to get across the bridge. it's okay to hold stalin's hand. he was a part of our triumphant and part of the allies at that time so it's okay to hold hands with the devil as you cross the bridge but when you get to the other side it's time to start thinking again. ♪
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ceasefire which is in affect in north eastern syria. a tornado touching down in north dallas. police were urged to seek immediate shelter. there is damage but at this point there are no report of injuries. >> majority of north texas is under a severe weather watch. >> now back to three days at the brink. had ties to china but i'm aisha hasnie and i'll back to "three days at the brink". ♪ bret: by 1943 it was clear to the allies were to forge a strategy to win over to fdr, churchill and stalin needed to meet face to face but arranging such a comment was not easy. traveling long distances by ship or plane was dangerous during the war and physically demanding. especially for an ailing 61 -year-old like fdr.
still, stalin pushed for the meeting to be held 6000 meetings from washington in tarrant. >> he wants a home game as much as he can get. >> for him it made sense. first of all he wants to recommendation in the field and second of all it's stages making them come to him. one of the sensitivities of the russian was wanting to be treated as equal. ♪ bret: another problem was fdr and churchill had to be around to do with congress and parliament. they were not dictators like stalin. >> every time churchill or stalin tried to look at the political limitations they had roosevelt had the constitution and congress and churchill had this thing called parliament and every time they came up with these to make decisions stalin thought they were lying and thought they were just refusing.
>> stalin was the one that was critical to victory in the second world war. without stalin and the red army there was no way americans and those in the pacific would win this foreign war. >> the back and forth between where they would meet, when, where was no becomes gated and shows both stalin brilliant chest plane and fdr's commitment to meeting face-to-face. bret: on november 12, 19431943 under a veil of secrecy president roosevelt ordered this ship, the uss iowa from his presidential yacht at the mouth
of the potomac river headed for one of the most important meetings in history of the world. he was joined by his advisor terry hopkins and his joint chief of staff. ♪ >> the idea that the president of the united states would get on a ship across the atlantic ocean in the middle of world war ii seemed amazing to me. remember, german u-boats were everywhere in the atlantic. bret: the mission was to take the president of the united states to toronto and that's quite something. how is it done secretly connect. >> only the senior officers aboard new that the president was coming on board to conduct the top-secret mission and the crew since they were no when the presidential yacht pulled up next to the island they would have known so once he was on board they made the announcement to the crew and no one was going
to the port but going across the south atlantic so word would not be leaked out. bret: pretty unique mission to be taking this president across the sea. >> most definitely. it was pretty much the air force one of the day as i like to categorize it. this is where he stayed. bret: this is the captain quarters. >> right. bret: also inside, back in the bedroom, there was a bathtub installed for the president because of his polio condition. they tried to make it as comfortable as possible. as they failed the dangerous waters the biggest threat came from an unlikely place. they were worried about the facts but the real incident was friendly firing. >> yes, yes. one of the escorting destroyers was william d porter four months new with a brand-new crew which was common to a lot of warships coming into the war. to entertain the president was
out and they swung out their massive term pedal tubes and were going to do a simulated run as a chirpy note using iowa as the target and unfortunately one of the primers fired the torpedo and they launched a live torpe torpedo. bret: a live torpedo? >> with the president and joint chiefs of staff onboard. >> in a panic panic the porter broke radio silence and warned the iowa that a live torpedo was racing towards. >> iowa increase the speed and the torpedo exploded in the wake there was only about a thousand feet from the stern of the ship. while that was taking place the president was asked the secret service staff to wield his will tear to the edge of that railing so he could watch the events unfolded. bret: despite the mishap, iowa continued on with its 90 journey and reached north africa.
on november 22 group made a nearly 1800-mile flight to cairo. amid the backdrop of camels, gardens overflowing the flowers fdr and churchill sat down with general [inaudible], leader of the chinese national force to talk about the progress of the war with japan. stalin made his way to to run with the soviet union, much shorter journey but one fraught with peril, to. >> stalin came to taryn with the real rate because he wanted his security guards every mile and half alongside that rail stalin was wearing his own people would assassinate him. bret: but word of another assassination plot threatens to upset the negotiations even before the big three set down at the table. ♪ [ music: instrumental which continues throughout spot. ]
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♪ bret: the big three made it to tehran before the comets begin stalin told roosevelt that churchill of a nazi plot to kill the leaders before they could reach the deal. ♪ bret: german and military intelligence broke a u.s. naval code and knew all about the secret meeting. hitler had signed off on operation long jump in which dozens of german paratroopers would drop into iran wearing red army uniforms and pose as part of stalin's security team. >> different assassins. shoot it into iran the intent of assassinating the three world leaders. the russians say they captured a greater number of them and
extracted information from them but had not captured all. bret: claiming he was still in danger, stalin employed roosevelt to stay at the soviet and busy offering him extra protection. william dimmick and lassiter to the soviet union was skeptical. >> there are some who believe the assassin story was a ploy to bring him inside the embassy grounds and i think it was real. i think they were concerned and made the right move and moving it to the embassy. >> he wanted to spend time alone with stalin. he wanted to show stalin that he had an independent relationship with him and he will not be maneuvered through churchill but
it was about gaining trust. bret: fdr ran the risk of undermining his relationship with his friend churchill. >> is not that he would throw churchill out but he understands the briton is important but in a sense that relationship is rocksolid and doesn't worry about moving beyond that. bret: stalin and his intelligence officers in gold for every edge they could get. >> as soon as a new roosevelt was coming they bugged every room inside the empty. >> there's an memo here in the library [inaudible] speak about things secretly because they anticipated there would be espionage. bret: asked for churchill he rejected advice to keep his cards close to the best. >> people were aware of the risks and had to constantly remind him of these risks. he tended not to ignore them but
there were normal responses [inaudible]. bret: once roosevelt was settled stalin appeared at his door. >> stalin was used to not having advice and when he got to tehran he was that kind of person a bit impatient and wanted decisions to be made rapidly on the very first date when he walked in and met roosevelt and said, let's start right now. >> inevitably churchill was worried at tehran when roosevelt seemed to be excluding churchill and it was inevitable that would lead to worries within the british like what were they talking about and discussing and what were they not telling us.
♪ bret: it was a remarkable feat of diplomacy bringing those leaders under the same roof but they soon learned how far apart they remained and the clash of the titans began. >> stalin did not trust churchill and churchill did not trust stalin. it's not a great point. churchill is also bringing bad news to stalin telling him remember how i promised you i would open up the second front, well we will not. >> he knew it was something that would have to happen but it needed to happen at the right time and there was a very real risk that if the allies would appear too early they might be defeated. >> result was concerned russia was taking this huge loss and could eventually given to germany or worse and join them. >> it was one of the key difference between churchill and roosevelt up when they should start the second front. it was roosevelt's great fear
that because of the horrific losses that the russian army was taking at the hands of the german army that they would create a separate and if they created a separate piece then germany could turn all of their forces against great britain and against the rest of the world and essentially create what would become known what. bret: roosevelt and stalin but thought opening a second front was the fastest way to defeat hitler believing france was germany's weakest spot. fdr also knew some pressure needed to be taken off the russian front. churchill felt sick with worry and depression. he had not expected his old friend and ally to take stalin's side. ♪ >> he was damaged between the great american buffalo and the russian bear.
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bret: after the first meeting, churchill was desperate for a one-on-one with fdr but his friend would turn him down. he met privately with stalin instead. >> concerned about churchill churchill was an emotional man it takes these things personal personally. he deftly gets excited. >> in the big picture it was a shifting in the u.s. was coming into its own and perhaps realizing the other powers could be the soviet union. >> absolutely. it's important to understand recognition of soviet power was what was driving roosevelt action and not only his actions but the actions of the joint chiefs of staff and they understood soviet power was a reality they would deal with that power after the war came to
an end. bret: during the improv to sit down roosevelt asked stalin to fight japan, a battled the u.s. was shouldering with little he help. stalin said no, not until hitler was defeated. this puts more pressure on the u.s. to agree to a cross channel in france. stalin turned his focus to the prime minister. >> stalin looked at churchill inside do you really want [inaudible] and churchill said after every bit of strength i have it to germany i want to weaken them first. he goes right back to his old argument i want to weaken the germans first and churchill is awkward but says i'll do that. bret: after days of disagreements, misunderstandings
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cerebral hemorrhage. the 32nd president was laid to rest at his home in hyde park, new york. two weeks later, as allied forces pushed into berlin, hitler took his own life, while holed up in a bunker. one month later, churchhill was defeated in the uk's general election. in august. the u.s. dropped world's first atomic bombs on the japanese cities of hiroshima and nagasa nagasaki. >> american awaiting word to go wild. >> the war was over, and everything churchhill warned about stalin, quickly came to
pass. >> it is difficult for the west to convince him to in a sense, follow a more democratic line. >> whum churchill accurate in assessment of stalin's long-term goals to control central europe, yes. of roosevelt com come radios cog that fact yes. plan. >> march 1946, churchhill returned to america and delivered a message for the world. >> he goes to missouri, makes the famous iron curtain speech he talks about everything he warned about the soviet union.