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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Boris Rauschenbach, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Boris Rauschenbach was a Soviet physicist and engineer who developed space vehicle control systems in the 1950s and 1960s. In the interview, he dates the beginnings of Soviet rocket technology to the pre-revolutionary period, then discusses developments through World War II and the influence of German rocket scientists after the war. Comparing differing American and Russian approaches to rocketry, he points to the latter's reliance on automation and the former's dependence on human operation of equipment. He then recalls the Sputnik launch. Asked about the Soviets' choice of liquid versus solid fuel, he asserts that his Soviet colleagues developed ways to roughly equalize launch times. Assessing the space competition between the two countries in the 1960s, he declares that the Apollo program was designed to exact "revenge" on the USSR for its previous "defeat[s]," and had no scientific value.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
Program Number



Interview with Boris Rauschenbach, 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

President Carter comes to office determined to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and to improve relations with the Soviet Union. His frustrations are as grand as his intentions.

Carter had hoped the United States and the Soviet Union would reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons. He stopped production of the B-1 bomber. He believed the SALT II negotiations would be a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons. But his intentions were frustrated by Soviet actions and by a lack of consensus among his own advisors, including Chief SALT II negotiator Paul Warnke and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (who was dubious about arms control). Carter balanced Soviet aggression in Africa by improving American relations with China. He withdrew SALT II treaty from Senate consideration but its terms continued to serve as general limits on strategic nuclear force levels for both the United States and the Soviet Union.



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Raw video

Media Type


Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
Korolev, Sergei Pavlovich, 1907-1966
Nuclear weapons
Soviet Union
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
Glushko, Valentin Petrovich
Project Apollo (U.S.)
World War II
Edicia Sputnik
United States
Moscow, Russia
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Raushenbakh, Boris Viktorovich (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Boris Rauschenbach, 1986,” 04/10/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Boris Rauschenbach, 1986.” 04/10/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Boris Rauschenbach, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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