Visions of War and Peace

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The series’ final program, “Visions of War and Peace,” revisited the history of U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and its Western allies, the evolution of nuclear doctrine, strategy, and force structure, and the growth of nuclear stockpiles that ran concurrent with arms control negotiations and fears of nuclear proliferation. Many of the same critical issues still confronted the world. NATO continued to depend on the threat of first use of nuclear weapons to repel an attack by the Soviet Union. There was a slow, but still inexorable spread of nuclear weapons to new nations around the world. Nations continued to rely on the terror of the vision of war to keep the uneasy peace. Four and a half decades after the dawn of the nuclear age, though, there were signs that tensions of the Cold War might be dissipating. A new Soviet leader opened lines of communication hardly imaginable a decade before. The thaw raised hopes that the superpowers could work together to reduce the risk of nuclear war. With lots of weapons and very few answers, this remained the hope: to lessen the role of military power as the final arbiter and strengthen the mechanisms and will to secure the peace. Written and Produced by Carol Lynn Dornbrand, first broadcast April 17, 1989.