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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Moshe Milhstein, 1986 [1]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Moshe Milhstein was an officer in Soviet military Intelligence, the GRU. In this interview, the discussion ranges from the general’s recollections of the early nuclear era, to questions about the missile gap and window of vulnerability, to his views on how rocket technology took precedence over bombers in the Soviet Union. Moving to the McNamara era, he discusses massive retaliation, flexible response, the Ann Arbor speech, and the evolution of Soviet thinking about ABMs.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Weapon of Choice, The
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Interview with Moshe Milhstein, 1986 [1]

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

The United States and the Soviet Union, former allies, become adversaries in a “Cold War,” and nuclear weapons become the weapon of choice for both sides.

From 1947 to 1953 the threat to use nuclear weapons became the principal currency of conflict. During the Korean War, Texas Congressman J. Frank Wilson said, “We are dealing with mad dogs ... we must treat them accordingly. I urge the atomic bomb be used if it can be used efficiently.” Against this background, President Harry Truman made crucial decisions that affected the history of the Nuclear Age. The United states deployed the B-36, a huge intercontinental bomber. It started mass production of atomic bombs. In 1952, the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb, a quantum leap in destructive force. Less than a year later, the Soviet Union exploded its own hydrogen bomb.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
Antimissile missiles
Nuclear weapons
Soviet Union
McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
World War II
Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953
Nitze, Paul H.
Flexible response (Nuclear strategy)
Nuclear warfare
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
United States
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Baruch Plan (1946)
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
Nagasaki-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Moscow, Russia
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Milhstein, Moshe (Mikhail M) (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Moshe Milhstein, 1986 [1],” 03/31/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Moshe Milhstein, 1986 [1].” 03/31/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Moshe Milhstein, 1986 [1]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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