War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Roswell Gilpatric, 1986 
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Roswell Gilpatric was the Deputy Secretary of Defense 1961-1964. In this interview he describes various aspects of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 from the point of view of the Department of Defense. He starts by describing U.S. attempts as covert actions to take down Castro before the crisis. He offers the opinion that the U.S. is not very good at dirty tricks. He goes on to provide recollections of the crisis, such as being informed of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, and attending a lunch meeting with Secretary McNamara at which the two sketched out a war-game on the back of an envelope and concluded that a blockade of Soviet shipping was the best option. Mr. Gilpatric also describes President Kennedys planning process, particularly the difficulty of dealing with General Curtis LeMay, who was set on attacking Cuba. He describes other tensions over command and control between Secretary McNamara and Admiral George Anderson, who was in charge of naval operations. Despite the frictions, Mr. Gilpatric never believed the military would seriously defy civilian authority. As far as lessons from the crisis, he concludes that having the presidents trusted advisors brainstorm before including the president was the best way to provide him with a well-reasoned assessment.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Europe Goes Nuclear
- Program Number
Interview with Roswell Gilpatric, 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
- United States. Dept. of Defense
- Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency
- United States
- Castro, Fidel, 1926-
- United States. Air Force
- Nuclear weapons
- Operation Mongoose
- McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
- Photographic reconnaissance systems
- Carroll, Eugene
- Sorensen, Theodore C.
- United States. Navy
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Dillon, C. Douglas (Clarence Douglas), 1909-2003
- LeMay, Curtis E.
- Jupiter missile
- Aerial photography
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Taylor, Maxwell D. (Maxwell Davenport), 1901-1987
- Anderson, George Whelan, 1906-1992
- Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
- Bundy, McGeorge
- Soviet Union
- Nuclear arms control
- Global Affairs
- War and Conflict
- Gilpatric, Roswell L. (Roswell Leavitt), 1906-1996 (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Roswell Gilpatric, 1986 ,” 03/07/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 2, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_811D901070AC4D8795327AC6431ABB1D.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Roswell Gilpatric, 1986 .” 03/07/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 2, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_811D901070AC4D8795327AC6431ABB1D>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Roswell Gilpatric, 1986 . Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_811D901070AC4D8795327AC6431ABB1D