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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Andrei Kokoshin, 1987 [1]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Andrei Kokoshin spent much of his career at the USA and Canada Institute (1973-1992) before moving into a series of senior government, parliamentary and academic posts. The interview begins with a review of the early years of the Reagan administration and Soviet responses to U.S. military developments, which took the form of the SS-18 missile, civil defense, and other systems. He recalls disparagingly Ronald Reagan's "anti-Soviet" rhetoric and in particular the SDI proposal, which he describes at length. This leads to a discussion of the shift in strategic thinking from Brezhnev to Gorbachev. He notes along the way the Soviets' declaration of non-first use in 1982, denying the implication that a first-use approach obtained before then. He comments on the importance of the Warsaw Pact's new defensive military doctrine, announced in 1987, which was based on the experiences at Kursk in World War II. In his view, recent changes in Reagan administration attitudes toward the Soviets are partly due to fatigue with the persistent levels of tension. Stepping back, he reviews some of the dynamics in the relationship immediately after the war and explains why Stalin did not trust Truman.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age

Interview with Andrei Kokoshin, 1987 [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



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Sokolovskii, Vasilii Danilovich, 1897-1968
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953
Nuclear weapons
Gorbachev, Mikhail
International relations
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Strategic Defense Initiative
Soviet Union
Reagan, Ronald
Minuteman (Missile)
Great Britain
Brezhnev, Leonid Il'ich, 1906-1982
Ogarkov, (Marshal) Nikolai Vasilyevich
Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Iazov, D. T. (Dmitrii Timofeevich)
Ustinov, Dmitriy
Nuclear warfare
United States
Civil defense
Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965
MX (Weapons system)
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Antimissile missiles
World War II
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Kokoshin, Andrei Afanasevich (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Andrei Kokoshin, 1987 [1],” 12/18/1987, GBH Archives, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Andrei Kokoshin, 1987 [1].” 12/18/1987. GBH Archives. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Andrei Kokoshin, 1987 [1]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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