GBH Openvault

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Boris D. Pyadyshev, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Boris Pyadyshev (or Piadyshev) was a Soviet diplomat and spokesman for the Foreign Ministry who was active in the 1970s and 1980s. Here, he discusses the Carter period in U.S.-Soviet relations. The Soviets were greatly curious about how Carter would follow Nixon and Ford's detente policies. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's failed Moscow mission in 1977 was a negative early sign, compounded by the attitude of the likes of National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, whom he critiques in detail. Prof. Pyadyshev discusses a number of broad issues such as the Soviet concept of "correlation of forces," the trajectory of detente, the role of China in that process, and the achievements of SALT II. He offers interesting perspectives on the arms race that are thoughtful, albeit (not unexpectedly) strongly Soviet-oriented. For example, he places responsibility for every stage of the escalation of the arms race entirely on the U.S. and he rejects the charge that the Soviets exacerbated matters by expanding their forces in the 1960s and 1970s, retorting that simple "arithmetic" does not take into account other strategic considerations such as the proximity of Western forward bases to Soviet territory.

License Clip
Got it
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
One Step Forward
Program Number



Interview with Boris D. Pyadyshev, 1986

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


Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
Soviet Union
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1972-1975 : Helsinki, Finland). Final Act
Nuclear arms control
Vance, Cyrus R. (Cyrus Roberts), 1917-2002
Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-
Nuclear weapons
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
United States
Moscow, Russia
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Piadyshev, Boris Dmitrievich (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Boris D. Pyadyshev, 1986,” 12/16/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Boris D. Pyadyshev, 1986.” 12/16/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Boris D. Pyadyshev, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.