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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; At the Brink; Interview with Vladimir Bogachev, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Vladimir Bogachev was a Soviet TASS Correspondent during the 1950s and 1960s. In the interview he discusses his reactions to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 – including believing that in the end reason had prevailed – and the differing views on nuclear strategy between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He describes his reactions, as a Soviet and as a reporter, to the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. He also explains his views of the American people’s impressions of Khrushchev and the Soviet Union. He shares his sense of American nuclear strategies and compares them to the USSR’s. He does not agree with the American notion of counterforce, which he sees as an impossible way for nuclear war to play out. He is adamant about the need for nuclear parity to create deterrence (one of the lessons he draws from the Cuban missile crisis), and explains that the American idea of “mutual assured destruction” and the Soviet idea of “equal danger” are essentially the same concept. He closes by asserting that the Soviet military sees its role strictly as providing deterrence.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
At the Brink
Program Number



Interview with Vladimir Bogachev, 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 October 1962, the Soviet Union and the United States are at the brink of nuclear war, the 13 most harrowing days in the nuclear age.

“I remember leaving the White House at the end of that Saturday and thinking that might well be the last sunset I ever saw,” recalls former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara of Black Saturday, the day the Cuban missile crisis pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war. Aleksandr Alexseev, Soviet ambassador to Cuba at the time, recalled, “We and the Cubans decided that, in order to avoid a United States invasion, we should supply Cuba with missiles.” The US effort to overthrow Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs was an expression of President Kennedy’s disbelief about the missiles in Cuba while it surprised Soviet leader Khrushchev according to his speechwriter,Feodor Burlatsky. Major General William Fairborne, speaks about how “We loaded whole blood and a hundred coffins onto the carrier Iwo Jima.” Looking back on those 13 days, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk reflects, “...we’ve got to find some way to inhabit this speck of dust in the universe at the same time.”



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Castro, Fidel, 1926-
Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961
United Nations
United Nations. Security Council
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
United States
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Nuclear weapons
Soviet Union
Nuclear arms control
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
Nuclear warfare
Moscow, Russia
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Bogachev, Vladimir (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; At the Brink; Interview with Vladimir Bogachev, 1986,” 04/01/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; At the Brink; Interview with Vladimir Bogachev, 1986.” 04/01/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; At the Brink; Interview with Vladimir Bogachev, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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