GBH Openvault

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Vladimir Lomeiko, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Vladimir Lomeiko was head of Press Department of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1984-1986. He was a key spokesman for the ministry and also for President Mikhail Gorbachev. In the interview, he describes the differences between Western and Soviet attitudes toward the German question after World War II. He recalls the formation of NATO and asserts that the six-year delay before the creation of the Warsaw Pact was a sign of the USSR’s desire not to produce a split in Europe. He disputes the Western rationale for forming its alliance. He recalls that the introduction of nuclear weapons in Britain met with “the usual regretful reaction” in the USSR. Similarly, France’s acquisition of the bomb was significant even though the two countries traditionally had more in common. He recounts his memory of being in Berlin during that crisis in the early 1960s. The interview then switches to nuclear issues, with Mr. Lomeiko assessing the massive retaliation doctrine and commenting that it is based on the “myth” of a Soviet threat. To his mind, the underlying explanation for the arms race in Europe is the military-industrial complex, an idea he explores at length.

License Clip
Got it
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Europe Goes Nuclear
Program Number



Interview with Vladimir Lomeiko, 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

Raw video

Media Type


Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953
Nuclear weapons
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Soviet Union
World War II
United States
Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965
Nagasaki-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Potsdam Conference (1945 : Potsdam, Germany)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Great Britain
Massive retaliation (Nuclear strategy)
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Deterrence (Strategy)
Sinai Campaign, 1956, Israel--History--Suez Campaign, 1956
Military-industrial complex
Nuclear disarmament
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945
Berlin (Germany) -- History-- Crisis, 1961
Personal Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Nuclear warfare
Gorbachev, Mikhail
Moscow, Russia
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Lomeiko, V. (Vladimir) (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Vladimir Lomeiko, 1986,” 12/12/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Vladimir Lomeiko, 1986.” 12/12/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Europe Goes Nuclear; Interview with Vladimir Lomeiko, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.