War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 1986 
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
McGeorge Bundy was special assistant for national security affairs to U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1966. On October 16, 1962, Bundy told President Kennedy that CIA photo interpreters believed that Soviet launch sites for ground-to-ground offensive missiles were under way in Cuba. In his interview conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age, Bundy describes the two weeks of intensive closed-door debate on how best to get the missiles out of Cubaa situation that had caught him and his colleagues by surprise. As the members of the Executive Committee (ExComm)the presidents handpicked group of nineteen men who advised him through the Cuban missile crisisdebated scenarios, Bundy saw his role as ensuring that all sides would be considered. He recalls balancing the needs to debate and to act, the presidents focus on maintaining political control over delicate decisions that could lead to a military escalation, unexpected events along the way, the worst day of the crisis, and Nikita Khrushchev's October 28 decision to withdraw the missiles. The interview closes with Bundys commentary on Berlin, the other nuclear crisis that marked this period; Defense Secretary McNamaras flexible response strategy; and the United States survivable strategic force as a vital deterrent to anybodys first strike.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Europe Goes Nuclear
- Program Number
Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 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
France and England rush to acquire their own nuclear weapons, NATO worries about the threat from the East, and Europe becomes the most nuclear-saturated place on Earth.
British and American scientists worked side by side to build the first nuclear bombs. “There was a strong desire on the British side for that collaboration to continue into peacetime. There was no such desire on the part of the United States,” recalls British diplomat Roger Makins, Lord Sherfield. Britain decided to proceed on its own and in 1952 joined the US and the Soviets in what pundits would call “the nuclear club.” General Charles De Gaulle, president of France, wanted to join the club, too, and not rely on the US for nuclear protection. Prestige was also an issue. In 1960, France exploded its first atomic weapon. Since World War II the Soviet Union had had a superiority in conventional forces in Europe. NATO countered by deploying thousands of nuclear weapons. “They were accepted as being perfectly reasonable weapons to use in a tactical battle in continental Europe,” said Sir Richard Powell of the British Defense Ministry.
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- United States. Air Force. Strategic Air Command
- First strike (Nuclear strategy)
- Nuclear survivability
- Kaysen, Carl
- Nuclear warfare
- Nuclear weapons
- Great Britain
- Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
- United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Single Integrated Operational Plan
- United States
- Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
- Flexible response (Nuclear strategy)
- Nuclear weapons -- Testing
- Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
- Castro, Fidel, 1926-
- Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
- Deterrence (Strategy)
- Soviet Union
- LeMay, Curtis E.
- Mutual assured destruction
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
- McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
- Nuclear arms control
- Berlin (Germany)
- New York City, NY
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Bundy, McGeorge (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 1986 ,” 03/20/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_53FC9FAF7F3A4292ADC51F0E1A4C6127.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 1986 .” 03/20/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_53FC9FAF7F3A4292ADC51F0E1A4C6127>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 1986 . Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_53FC9FAF7F3A4292ADC51F0E1A4C6127