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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Yuval Neeman, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Yuval Ne'eman was an Israeli theoretical physicist, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1962-1984, and Minister of Science from 1982-1984. In the interview he discusses Israel's nuclear program and policies. He describes the development of the nuclear program and the Atomic Energy Commission from the very beginning of the Israeli state in 1948, including a brief description of the country's cooperation with France. He describes official Israeli nuclear strategy in the context of defending the country against potentially nuclear-capable Arab states. However he does not see the benefit of a nuclearized Middle East because, with Israel's small size, it has a low probability of surviving a nuclear conflict. Furthermore, in his view, an Arab leader might be willing to have some Arab cities annihilated in return for the chance to get rid of Israel. While he is in basic agreement with official Israeli policy, he also finds certain alternative (non-nuclear) strategies appealing, arguing that Israel's nuclear deterrent is sometimes simply not credible, in part because of the country's size. He also describes Israel's position in the international arena, and explains its opposition to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
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Interview with Yuval Neeman, 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

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

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Begin, Menachem, 1913-1992
United States
Middle East
Hussein, Saddam, 1937-2006
Ben-Gurion, David, 1886-1973
Nuclear energy
Katzir, Ephraim, 1916-2009
Qaddafi, Muammar
Dayan, Moshe, 1915-1981
United Nations
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Nuclear weapons
Tel Aviv, Israel
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Neeman, Yuval (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Yuval Neeman, 1987,” 01/21/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Yuval Neeman, 1987.” 01/21/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Yuval Neeman, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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