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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Roger Sherfield, 1986 [3]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Lord Roger Sherfield (Roger Makins) spent most of his career in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, serving as Ambassador to the United States from 1953-1956. He was Chairman of UK Atomic Energy Commission from 1960-1964. In this second interview, he begins with memories of the period of the Atoms for Peace speech and the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, including Britain’s role in assisting other countries – India in particular – with their programs. He specifically recalls the “upbeat” mood at the inauguration of the Trombay reactor in 1954, then discusses nuclear questions in the Third World more broadly. The interview ends with a detailed recollection of the uproar in Britain over President Truman’s implication that nuclear weapons might be used in Korea; the issue was resolved only after the president and Prime Minister Attlee were able to discuss the issue in private.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
Program Number



Interview with Roger Sherfield, 1986 [3]

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

President Carter comes to office determined to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and to improve relations with the Soviet Union. His frustrations are as grand as his intentions.

Carter had hoped the United States and the Soviet Union would reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons. He stopped production of the B-1 bomber. He believed the SALT II negotiations would be a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons. But his intentions were frustrated by Soviet actions and by a lack of consensus among his own advisors, including Chief SALT II negotiator Paul Warnke and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (who was dubious about arms control). Carter balanced Soviet aggression in Africa by improving American relations with China. He withdrew SALT II treaty from Senate consideration but its terms continued to serve as general limits on strategic nuclear force levels for both the United States and the Soviet Union.



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Raw video

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Nehru, Jawaharlal, 1889-1964
United Nations
Nuclear energy
Goldschmidt, Bertrand
Bhaba, Homi J.
Korean War, 1950-1953
Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967
South Africa
Chadwick, James, 1891-1974
Attlee, C. R. (Clement Richard), 1883-1967
Soviet Union
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
United States
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Nuclear weapons
International Atomic Energy Agency
Great Britain
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
London, UK
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Sherfield, Roger Mellor Makins, Baron, 1904- (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Roger Sherfield, 1986 [3],” 12/15/1986, GBH Archives, accessed June 18, 2024,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Roger Sherfield, 1986 [3].” 12/15/1986. GBH Archives. Web. June 18, 2024. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Roger Sherfield, 1986 [3]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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