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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 [2]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Maurice Schumann was French deputy foreign minister from 1951 to 1954 and foreign minister from 1969 to 1973. In the interview he discusses the SALT I processes. He comments that although Kissinger was “a first-class agent,” it was always Nixon who led American foreign policy. He notes that Nixon was also much more open-minded toward Europe, and kept the French government better informed of the SALT I negotiations than Kissinger did. He also states that SALT was, if not a major step, at least a step forward in nuclear arms control, noting especially the ABM Treaty that came out of those negotiations.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
One Step Forward
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Interview with Maurice Schumann, 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


United States
Soviet Union
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
International relations
German rearmament
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Nuclear arms control
Pompidou, Georges, 1911-1974
Strategic Defense Initiative
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Schumann, Maurice (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 [2],” 11/04/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 2, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 [2].” 11/04/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 2, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Maurice Schumann, 1986 [2]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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