War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Gregory Canavan, 1987
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Gregory Canavan served as Director of the Office of Inertial Fusion at the Department of Energy and Personal Assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff, both in the 1970s. He began working at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1981. He relates his work on the Packard Committee, formed in 1982 to study MX vulnerability. Prior to that he had worked on the same issue in the Air Force. He describes how difficult the task was on a purely technical level. He recalls President Reagans Star Wars proposal as a nice speech and his surprise at how rapidly opposition to it built up. His understanding of Reagans message was that the work might take as long as 50 years but should at least be started immediately. He describes his inadvertent role in the public debate about SDI, offering insights into the political dimensions of such disputes. He then addresses extensively some of the criticisms about SDIs feasibility and expense, adding a commentary on how different groups can arrive at very different conclusions about a program based on the same information. He acknowledges that he is very impressed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and comments on some of the defense-related activities occurring in the USSR. He sees the possibility of moving away from the current stand-off to a point of greatly reduced nuclear threat. Asked about the morality of his work on strategic defense, he terms it impeccable, unimpeachable.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Interview with Gregory Canavan, 1987
- 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
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Soviet Union
- United States
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Strategic Defense Initiative
- Nuclear weapons
- Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
- Carter, Ashton B.
- Gorbachev, Mikhail
- Packard, David
- Weinberger, Caspar W.
- Reagan, Ronald
- United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment
- American Physical Society
- Global Affairs
- War and Conflict
- Canavan, Gregory H. (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Gregory Canavan, 1987,” 12/08/1987, GBH Archives, accessed April 22, 2021, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_19E432267D9745EE8DD678E612858E16.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Gregory Canavan, 1987.” 12/08/1987. GBH Archives. Web. April 22, 2021. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_19E432267D9745EE8DD678E612858E16>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Gregory Canavan, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_19E432267D9745EE8DD678E612858E16