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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Arnie Alpert, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Arnie Alpert was a social organizer for the American Friends Service Committee and a supporter of the Nuclear Freeze Movement. In the interview he describes the development of the movement, starting in small New Hampshire and Vermont towns during the 1980 presidential election campaign. He explains the process of mobilizing locally-based peace groups, a process which was also adopted by other social opposition movements to build support. During the 1980 campaign, the nuclear freeze position was adopted by many Democratic candidates, making it a party issue. In his view, the legacy of the movement is that it helped organizers and social activists to see that they could make a difference from a grassroots level.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Missile Experimental
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Interview with Arnie Alpert, 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

Does the United States really plan to use nuclear weapons? Or is their only purpose to deter others from using them? These questions fuel debate over the Mobile Missile known as the MX.

The MX was designed in 1975 to counter the threat of large accurate missiles being bult in the Soviet Union. General Russell Dougherty of the Strategic Air Command recalls, “We had to have some more warheads ... with more accuracy. That was the rational for ... the MX.” It faced ten years of difficult questions in Congress, withing the military and from civilians. Was the missile meant to deter a Soviet attack or to survive one? One question led to another. There was one practical question: where to put the 200,000 pound 100 foot long missiles? In 1983 Congress approved production of 100 MX Peacekeeper missiles and based the first 50 in existing Minuteman silos.



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Raw video

Media Type


Reagan, Ronald
American Friends Service Committee
Nuclear weapons
New Hampshire
Peace movements
Mondale, Walter F., 1928-
Democratic Party (U.S.)
Antinuclear movement
Markey, Edward J.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1980
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009
United States
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Political parties
Concord, NH
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Alpert, Arnie (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Arnie Alpert, 1987,” 11/10/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Arnie Alpert, 1987.” 11/10/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Missile Experimental; Interview with Arnie Alpert, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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