War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Arthur Schlesinger, 1986
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Arthur Schlesinger was a prominent historian and a close adviser to President John F. Kennedy and later Robert F. Kennedy. Schlesinger discusses the Cuban missile crisis at length in this interview. He provides some context by addressing President Kennedy's absorption with Cuba starting with the Bay of Pigs, and he describes the covert operations plan known as Operation Mongoose. Kennedy's main concern during the crisis was not that the Soviets might launch a nuclear war, since they were at a significant military and nuclear disadvantage, but that something might go wrong, precipitating uncontrollable consequences. During the interview, he assesses Robert Kennedy's role at high-level discussions as well as his views, and he touches on other subjects such as President Kennedy's American University speech [of June 10, 1963], and the ill effects of the myth of the missile gap. Returning to the crisis, he describes the president's reactions the day after its resolution and draws the principal lesson that presenting a tough veneer to the enemy was not enough, it required a mix of power and diplomatic resourcefulness. "[A]rms and diplomacy must go hand in hand."
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Europe Goes Nuclear
- Program Number
Interview with Arthur Schlesinger, 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
- Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
- Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
- Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
- United Nations
- United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Salinger, Pierre
- Alsop, Stewart
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961
- LeMay, Curtis E.
- Castro, Fidel, 1926-
- Macmillan, Harold, 1894-1986
- Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
- Dobrynin, Anatoly, 1919-2010
- Cousins, Norman
- Ball, George
- Dillon, C. Douglas (Clarence Douglas), 1909-2003
- United States
- Burke, Arleigh A., 1901-1996
- Nuclear weapons
- Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
- International relations
- Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
- Anderson, George Whelan, 1906-1992
- Taylor, Maxwell D. (Maxwell Davenport), 1901-1987
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
- Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency
- Nuclear arms control
- Harlech, David Ormsby-Gore, baron, 1918-
- McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
- Sorensen, Theodore C.
- Kaysen, Carl
- United States. Dept. of Defense
- Bundy, McGeorge
- Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963)
- Betancourt, Romulo, 1908-1981
- Operation Mongoose
- Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
- United States. Navy
- Soviet Union
- Reagan, Ronald
- Pen'kovskii, Oleg Vladimirovich, 1919-1963
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007 (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Arthur Schlesinger, 1986,” 03/07/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_796750C2392A439F8E9F9F0E1D08DF18.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Arthur Schlesinger, 1986.” 03/07/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_796750C2392A439F8E9F9F0E1D08DF18>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Arthur Schlesinger, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_796750C2392A439F8E9F9F0E1D08DF18