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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Paul Nitze, 1987 [2]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


For nearly half a century, Paul Nitze was one of the chief architects of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, and a prominent member of the Committee on the Present Danger. In the interview he begins with his views that the Soviet Union has a grand design of expansion to spread communism. He also describes the evolution of Soviet and American nuclear strategy, often in response to each other. He discusses Paul Warnke’s nomination as chief negotiator at SALT II. He also expresses his views on the arms control agreements between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
Program Number



Interview with Paul Nitze, 1987 [2]

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 Carter comes to office determined to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and to improve relations with the Soviet Union. His frustrations are as grand as his intentions.

Carter had hoped the United States and the Soviet Union would reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons. He stopped production of the B-1 bomber. He believed the SALT II negotiations would be a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons. But his intentions were frustrated by Soviet actions and by a lack of consensus among his own advisors, including Chief SALT II negotiator Paul Warnke and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (who was dubious about arms control). Carter balanced Soviet aggression in Africa by improving American relations with China. He withdrew SALT II treaty from Senate consideration but its terms continued to serve as general limits on strategic nuclear force levels for both the United States and the Soviet Union.



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Raw video

Media Type


International relations
Middle East
Warnke, Paul C., 1920-2001
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Vance, Cyrus R. (Cyrus Roberts), 1917-2002
Nuclear disarmament
Lenin, Vladimir Il'ich, 1870-1924
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
MX (Weapons system)
Brown, Harold, 1927-
Jackson, Henry M. (Henry Martin), 1912-1983
Nuclear arms control
Horn of Africa
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Intercontinental ballistic missiles -- Mobile basing
Korean War, 1950-1953
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
United States. Congress
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
United States
Soviet Union
Deterrence (Strategy)
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
Nuclear survivability
Committee on the Present Danger (U.S.)
Nuclear weapons
Shulman, Marshall Darrow
Washington, DC
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Nitze, Paul H. (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Paul Nitze, 1987 [2],” 02/12/1987, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 16, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_63039E5DC8114E0B9B341ECB50ED83E8.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Paul Nitze, 1987 [2].” 02/12/1987. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 16, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_63039E5DC8114E0B9B341ECB50ED83E8>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Paul Nitze, 1987 [2]. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_63039E5DC8114E0B9B341ECB50ED83E8
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