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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Valentin Falin, 1986 [1]

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Valentin Falin was an influential career Soviet diplomat, and later journalist, who specialized in European and particularly German affairs for most of the Cold War. In this interview, he recalls the onset of the Cold War whose roots, he believes, are to be found in World War II itself. He cites the Soviets' concerns about threatening views they believed were held by influential figures in the U.S. government as early as 1943, calling for Washington to control Europe after the war and to turn German power against the Soviet Union for that purpose. He points to the impact of nuclear weapons and the arms race, among other factors, on the development of these attitudes, which he says resulted in a divided Europe by the time the superpowers could agree on conditions for reducing tensions. World War II, he notes, helped create a broad international coalition of leftist forces, including the communists whom he calls an important "corrective element" in the bourgeois system. He discusses events in Greece and Austria in the war's aftermath as well as the Suez crisis of 1956 and its implications for future events in the region. As a participant in the 1961 Vienna summit, he offers his recollections of the meeting and the atmosphere at the time, then comments on the Cuban missile crisis before turning briefly to the question of MAD, of which he says the Soviets were always critical.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Weapon of Choice, The
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Interview with Valentin Falin, 1986 [1]

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

The United States and the Soviet Union, former allies, become adversaries in a “Cold War,” and nuclear weapons become the weapon of choice for both sides.

From 1947 to 1953 the threat to use nuclear weapons became the principal currency of conflict. During the Korean War, Texas Congressman J. Frank Wilson said, “We are dealing with mad dogs ... we must treat them accordingly. I urge the atomic bomb be used if it can be used efficiently.” Against this background, President Harry Truman made crucial decisions that affected the history of the Nuclear Age. The United states deployed the B-36, a huge intercontinental bomber. It started mass production of atomic bombs. In 1952, the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb, a quantum leap in destructive force. Less than a year later, the Soviet Union exploded its own hydrogen bomb.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


U-2 (Reconnaissance aircraft)
Berlin (Germany) -- History -- Blockade, 1948-1949
World War II
Mutual assured destruction
Cold War
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
Soviet Union
Photographic reconnaissance systems
Berlin (Germany) -- History-- Crisis, 1961
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Sinai Campaign, 1956, Israel--History--Suez Campaign, 1956
Great Britain
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
United States
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Powers, Francis Gary, 1929-1977
Donovan, William J. (William Joseph), 1883-1959
Moscow, USSR
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Falin, V. M. (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Valentin Falin, 1986 [1],” 04/07/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Valentin Falin, 1986 [1].” 04/07/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Weapon of Choice, The; Interview with Valentin Falin, 1986 [1]. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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