WGBH Openvault

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Jupiter Buildup in Italy

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Footage of the Jupiter missile being transported in Italy. Arial shots of facility.

License Clip

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Education of Robert McNamara, The
Program Number



Jupiter Buildup in Italy

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

In the 1960’s Secretary of Defense Robert Mcnamara confronts the possibility of nuclear war and changes his views on questions of strategy and survival.

McNamara was Secretary of Defense for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961 to 1968. By the 1960’s the Soviets’ increased nuclear capabilities raised disturbing questions. What would the United States do if attacked? American strategy had been “massive retaliation.” But, as McNamara explains, it became increasingly apparent to the Soviets that the US was unlikely to respond. If the United States did launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, the remaining Soviet forces would destroy the US. McNamara’s Defense Department developed a new strategy. “Flexible response” was based on a “ladder of escalation” from conventional to nuclear options. But by 1967, McNamara, who tried to create rules for limited nuclear war, concluded, “The blunt fact is that neither... can attack the other without being destroyed in retaliation. And it is precisely this ... that provides us both with the strongest possible motives to avoid a nuclear war.”



Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type


Jupiter missile
Military weapons
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Rights Summary

In perpetuity ; Public Domain Rights Holder: NAFB

Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Jupiter Buildup in Italy,” 01/01/1960, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 21, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E5429412AE64BD683209FB15F2CB6B9.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Jupiter Buildup in Italy.” 01/01/1960. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 21, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E5429412AE64BD683209FB15F2CB6B9>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Jupiter Buildup in Italy. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_7E5429412AE64BD683209FB15F2CB6B9
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.