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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Glenn Seaborg, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Glenn Seaborg is a chemist and Nobel laureate, who chaired the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1961-1971. In the interview, he discusses the development of atomic weapons, along with its civilian uses, and the steps taken to ensure non-proliferation over the years. He describes the Atoms for Peace program and the Geneva conferences in the 1960s where he worked and shared information with scientists from around the world. He also touches on his relationship with several of those leading scientists, such as Homi Bhaba of India. Other topics include his role and interest in the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and his insights into the programs in India, Israel and China. He considers the NPT to be highly effective although he notes there were exceptions, including the programs just mentioned.

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



Interview with Glenn Seaborg, 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

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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Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Brezhnev, Leonid Il'ich, 1906-1982
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Hydrogen bomb
McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Soviet Union
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Goldschmidt, Bertrand
Nuclear weapons -- Testing
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986
Bundy, McGeorge
Nuclear nonproliferation
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Nuclear arms control
Great Britain
Rusk, Dean, 1909-1994
Bhaba, Homi J.
United States
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
Nuclear weapons
International Atomic Energy Agency
Nuclear energy
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984
World War II
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Seaborg, Glenn T. (Glenn Theodore), 1912-1999 (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Glenn Seaborg, 1986,” 10/30/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Glenn Seaborg, 1986.” 10/30/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Glenn Seaborg, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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