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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Fred Ikle, 1987 [2]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Fred Ikle was Undersecretary for Defense for Policy during the Reagan Administration, and Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1973-1977. In this interview he continues to discuss the nuclear policy of the Reagan Administration. He describes the ideology the new administration brought to Washington, the Republican’s control of the federal government, the military’s reaction to the new president, and other topics. He compares the military goals of President Carter and President Reagan, and argues that the build-up of U.S. military forces, which began in the last year of Carter, allowed for successful arms control negotiations. He describes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and its evolution from the time it was announced in 1983 to its current state, as a combined defensive and offensive strategy.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Missile Experimental
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Interview with Fred Ikle, 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

Does the United States really plan to use nuclear weapons? Or is their only purpose to deter others from using them? These questions fuel debate over the Mobile Missile known as the MX.

The MX was designed in 1975 to counter the threat of large accurate missiles being bult in the Soviet Union. General Russell Dougherty of the Strategic Air Command recalls, “We had to have some more warheads ... with more accuracy. That was the rational for ... the MX.” It faced ten years of difficult questions in Congress, withing the military and from civilians. Was the missile meant to deter a Soviet attack or to survive one? One question led to another. There was one practical question: where to put the 200,000 pound 100 foot long missiles? In 1983 Congress approved production of 100 MX Peacekeeper missiles and based the first 50 in existing Minuteman silos.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Reagan, Ronald
Allen, Richard V.
Strategic Defense Initiative
Civil defense
Soviet Union
Graham, Daniel Orrin, 1925-
Nuclear weapons
Nuclear arms control
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
United States
Political campaigns
United States. Congress
Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
Brown, Harold, 1927-
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Ikle, Fred Charles (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Fred Ikle, 1987 [2],” 11/24/1987, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 25, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C1A9B20A0E8841C8A2F0B2B14DC89790.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Fred Ikle, 1987 [2].” 11/24/1987. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 25, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C1A9B20A0E8841C8A2F0B2B14DC89790>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Fred Ikle, 1987 [2]. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C1A9B20A0E8841C8A2F0B2B14DC89790
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