WGBH Openvault

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; MX... In Perspective

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


This film explains what the MX missile program and discusses the minimal land use the silos would occupy.

License Clip

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Reagan's Shield
Program Number



MX... In Perspective

Series Description

The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.

In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989

Program Description

President Reagan introduces the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative, an idea he believes will make nuclear weapons”Impotent and Obsolete.”

In 1983 President Reagan envisioned a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that could intercept and destroy Soviet strategic ballistic missiles before they reached the United States. Skeptics dubbed the idea “Star Wars.” It was hard for Reagan to accept the idea of deterrence based on mutual destruction. He believed SDI offered a solution. His science advisor George Keyworth says SDI was “thoroughly created and invented in Ronald Reagan’s own mind and experience.” According to defense scientist Ashton Carter, “The concept is fine. What is not fine is implying to the public that the solution to the nuclear puzzle is at hand.” SDI became the focus of a national debate about nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy, and a stumbling block in strategic arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. The final months of the Reagan Administration brought a drastic reduction in the scope and size of SDI efforts.



Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type


MX (Weapons system)
Guided missile silos
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Rights Summary

In perpetuity ; Public Domain Rights Holder: NAFB

Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; MX... In Perspective,” 01/01/1980, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 25, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2331D9A4F53C4E2295B7070059EE55E5.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; MX... In Perspective.” 01/01/1980. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 25, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2331D9A4F53C4E2295B7070059EE55E5>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; MX... In Perspective. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_2331D9A4F53C4E2295B7070059EE55E5
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.