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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Edward L. Rowny, 1986 [2]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Edward Rowny was the Joint Chiefs of Staff representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) from 1972 to 1979. From 1981 to 1984 he was chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). In the interview he discusses SALT I and II. He describes the motives of the United States and Soviet Union going into the SALT process, resulting in SALT I and the ABM Treaty. He also describes Kissinger’s proposals during the SALT II process, which he says made sense at the time, but also sees the flaws in hindsight. He praises Scoop Jackson’s ability to intuit what the Soviet’s were actually planning, and compares the accuracy of his predictions against those of Kissinger.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
One Step Forward
Program Number



Interview with Edward L. Rowny, 1986 [2]

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

Soviet and American nuclear forces reach rough nuclear parity in the 1970’s. Each side, pursuing its own interest, negotiates the first successful arms control agreement, SALT I.

In May 1972 President Nixon found himself in Moscow delivering a message of peace and friendship. Nixon announced the first major superpower arms control agreements, SALT I and the Anti-Ballsitic Missile (ABM) treaty. Nixon described his feeling about negotiating with the Soviets. “I didn’t trust the Russians. But I recognized that ... there was no alternative but to have some relationship of ‘live and let live’ between the two superpowers.” Two years after the historic meeting in Moscow, Nixon was forced to resign due to Watergate. ABM silos in the United States were shut down but the production of ballistic missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads (MIRV’s) contributed to a massive increase in weapons in both the United States and the Soviet Union.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
Brown, Harold, 1927-
Soviet Union
Nuclear weapons
United States
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Antimissile missiles
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
Nuclear arms control
Jackson, Henry M. (Henry Martin), 1912-1983
Washington, DC
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Rowny, Edward L., 1917- (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Edward L. Rowny, 1986 [2],” 12/04/1986, GBH Archives, accessed June 25, 2024,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Edward L. Rowny, 1986 [2].” 12/04/1986. GBH Archives. Web. June 25, 2024. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Edward L. Rowny, 1986 [2]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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