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

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Harold Brown is an American scientist who served as Director of Defense Research and Engineering from 1961-1965 and the Secretary of Defense from 1977-1981. In the interview he discusses ICBM modernization, especially the MX debate. He explains the multiple protective shelters (MPS) system, which he supported, and which was approved by President Carter. He reacts to criticism of the MPS system, and describes its failure under the Reagan Administration. He explains the role the MX was designed to play in the strategic triad, and reviews proposed alternatives to the MPS system in light of that role.

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



Interview with Harold Brown, 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.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Pershing (Missile)
United States
Great Britain
MX (Weapons system)
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
United States. Dept. of Defense
Multiple Protective Structures (Missile basing system)
Soviet Union
SS-20 Missile
Nuclear weapons
Minuteman (Missile)
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Cruise missiles
Reagan, Ronald
Ustinov, Dmitriy
United States. PresidentÂ’s Commission on Strategic Forces
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
Midgetman Missile
Washington, DC
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Brown, Harold, 1927- (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Harold Brown, 1987 [2],” 11/30/1987, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 26, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A8FBF95F962D48D992051B6F1F07B09F.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Harold Brown, 1987 [2].” 11/30/1987. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 26, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A8FBF95F962D48D992051B6F1F07B09F>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Harold Brown, 1987 [2]. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A8FBF95F962D48D992051B6F1F07B09F
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