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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Richard Perle, 1987 [2]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Richard Perle was an aide to U.S. senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson from 1969 to 1980 and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1987. In the interview he discusses Senator Jackson’s position during the SALT I and II negotiations. Although Jackson vote for SALT I and the ABM Treaty in Congress, Perle notes that he did not support them completely, and goes on to point out the flaws with both. He argues against Nixon and Kissinger’s policy of detente, which he felt was unsound. He disputes claims that Jackson has authority over firing the SALT I team or hiring the SALT II team. He discusses the Jackson-Vanik amendment, including Kissinger’s reaction to it. He also criticizes Kissinger handling of SALT II. He discusses the MIRV ban proposal, and it’s failure.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
One Step Forward
Program Number



Interview with Richard Perle, 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

Soviet and American nuclear forces reach rough nuclear parity in the 1970’s. Each side, pursuing its own interest, negotiates the first successful arms control agreement, SALT I.

In May 1972 President Nixon found himself in Moscow delivering a message of peace and friendship. Nixon announced the first major superpower arms control agreements, SALT I and the Anti-Ballsitic Missile (ABM) treaty. Nixon described his feeling about negotiating with the Soviets. “I didn’t trust the Russians. But I recognized that ... there was no alternative but to have some relationship of ‘live and let live’ between the two superpowers.” Two years after the historic meeting in Moscow, Nixon was forced to resign due to Watergate. ABM silos in the United States were shut down but the production of ballistic missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads (MIRV’s) contributed to a massive increase in weapons in both the United States and the Soviet Union.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
Allison, Royal Bertram
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Nuclear weapons
Jackson, Henry M. (Henry Martin), 1912-1983
Nuclear arms control
United States
Soviet Union
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Antimissile missiles
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
United States. Congress
Washington, DC
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Perle, Richard Norman, 1941- (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Richard Perle, 1987 [2],” 01/16/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Richard Perle, 1987 [2].” 01/16/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Richard Perle, 1987 [2]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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