War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Caspar Weinberger, 1987 
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Caspar Weinberger was the Secretary of Defense from 1981-1987. In the interview he discusses the Reagan Administrations national security policy. He explains the importance of having a strong offensive deterrent, which the Reagan Administration accomplished by rebuilding the triad of nuclear forces when they came into office. He also explains the research and development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which he called the ultimate deterrent. He defends SDI from criticism and explains how it will protect national security. He asserts that the Reagan Administration has made many contributions to U.S. national security, including SDI, and a military build up that resulted in the Soviet Union taking the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) seriously, thus lowering the level of nuclear forces required to maintain deterrence.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Reagan's Shield
- Program Number
Interview with Caspar Weinberger, 1987 
- 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
President Reagan introduces the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative, an idea he believes will make nuclear weapons”Impotent and Obsolete.”
In 1983 President Reagan envisioned a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that could intercept and destroy Soviet strategic ballistic missiles before they reached the United States. Skeptics dubbed the idea “Star Wars.” It was hard for Reagan to accept the idea of deterrence based on mutual destruction. He believed SDI offered a solution. His science advisor George Keyworth says SDI was “thoroughly created and invented in Ronald Reagan’s own mind and experience.” According to defense scientist Ashton Carter, “The concept is fine. What is not fine is implying to the public that the solution to the nuclear puzzle is at hand.” SDI became the focus of a national debate about nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy, and a stumbling block in strategic arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. The final months of the Reagan Administration brought a drastic reduction in the scope and size of SDI efforts.
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Nuclear weapons
- Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
- United States. Dept. of Defense
- Nuclear disarmament
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Strategic Defense Initiative
- Intermediate-range ballistic missiles
- United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Antinuclear movement
- Soviet Union
- Reagan, Ronald
- United States
- Nuclear arms control
- Nuclear warfare
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Deterrence (Strategy)
- United States. Congress
- Washington, DC
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Weinberger, Caspar W. (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Caspar Weinberger, 1987 ,” 11/12/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_68874174EEBB4E4396FFD194DF0EE934.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Caspar Weinberger, 1987 .” 11/12/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_68874174EEBB4E4396FFD194DF0EE934>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Caspar Weinberger, 1987 . Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_68874174EEBB4E4396FFD194DF0EE934