War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Maurice Schumann was French deputy foreign minister from 1951 to 1954 and foreign minister from 1969 to 1973. The interview Schumann conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age sheds light on how nuclear weapons shape relations between both allies and adversaries. In the aftermath of World War II, he recalls, France resisted proposals to remilitarize Germany and ultimately rejected the proposal for a European Defense Community that emerged from the 1952 Lisbon conference. West Germanys renunciation of nuclear weapons was critical to Frances acceptance of the rearming of its neighbor. Threaded through this interview is Schumanns take on Frances dislike of relying on the United States for its national security. Schumann recalls his realization that Frances acquisition of the atomic bomb had, in the eyes of the world, restored its rank and prestige. He also makes an oblique reference to Britains assistance in Frances nuclear ambitions, before suddenly stopping himself from divulging more. The French welcomed Britain as a nuclear power since an additional deterrent diluted the United States exclusive protection. When the United States prepared to join the Soviet Union against Britain and France during the Suez crisis of 1956, Schumann recalls, French people resented [it] more bitterly than you can imagine. He also describes his failure to secure a United Nations Far East pact, which he hoped would end both the French-Indochinese war and the military conflict in Korea. General Charles de Gaulle concluded early on, Schumann recounts, that full partnership with his countrys powerful allies demanded that France become an independent and national nuclear power. Schumann, sent to Washington by now-president de Gaulle to explain Frances withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), skillfully reassured U.S. president Lyndon Johnson that France would continue to be a strong ally.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Education of Robert McNamara, The
- Program Number
Interview with Maurice Schumann, 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
In the 1960’s Secretary of Defense Robert Mcnamara confronts the possibility of nuclear war and changes his views on questions of strategy and survival.
McNamara was Secretary of Defense for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961 to 1968. By the 1960’s the Soviets’ increased nuclear capabilities raised disturbing questions. What would the United States do if attacked? American strategy had been “massive retaliation.” But, as McNamara explains, it became increasingly apparent to the Soviets that the US was unlikely to respond. If the United States did launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, the remaining Soviet forces would destroy the US. McNamara’s Defense Department developed a new strategy. “Flexible response” was based on a “ladder of escalation” from conventional to nuclear options. But by 1967, McNamara, who tried to create rules for limited nuclear war, concluded, “The blunt fact is that neither... can attack the other without being destroyed in retaliation. And it is precisely this ... that provides us both with the strongest possible motives to avoid a nuclear war.”
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Gallois, Pierre M. (Pierre Marie), 1911-2010
- International relations
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- United States
- Soviet Union
- Nuclear weapons
- Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
- MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964
- Schuman, Robert, 1886-1963
- Gaulle, Charles de, 1890-1970
- Korean War, 1950-1953
- German rearmament
- Mollet, Guy, 1905-1975
- Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
- Mendes France, Pierre, 1907-1982
- Edicia Sputnik
- Adenauer, Konrad, 1876-1967
- Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
- Great Britain
- European Defense Community
- Sinai Campaign, 1956, Israel--History--Suez Campaign, 1956
- Global Affairs
- War and Conflict
- Schumann, Maurice (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 ,” 11/04/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_31B1CB3DDC7B4180BF4209CFD3BF384E.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 .” 11/04/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_31B1CB3DDC7B4180BF4209CFD3BF384E>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Education of Robert McNamara, The; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 . Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_31B1CB3DDC7B4180BF4209CFD3BF384E