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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Cyrus Vance, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Cyrus Vance was the Secretary of the Army from 1962-1964, the Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1964-1967, and the Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1977-1980. In the interview he discusses SALT II and international relations during that time. He describes President Carter's commitment to a "deep cuts" approach to arms control. He also describes the Soviet's involvement in Africa, Cuba, and Afghanistan and the American normalization of relations with China. He argues against Dr. Kissinger's idea of linkage between arms control and foreign policy, which he thinks unnecessarily complicates negotiations and risks significant progress. He describes the failure of SALT II and the reasons behind it.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Haves and Have-Nots
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Interview with Cyrus Vance, 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

A case study of the dynamics of nuclear proliferation: China triggers India and India triggers Pakistan in the competition to have their own nuclear weapons.

In 1953 President Eisenhower announced the Atoms for Peace program. This marked a total reversal of American foreign policy. Americans would give material to allow countries to build reactors. “So overnight we passed from nuclear middle age to nuclear renaissance,” recalls French atomic scientist Bertrand Goldschmidt. The Soviet Union started its own program and helped China learn to build a bomb. The first Chinese nuclear blast was in 1964. Indian defense expert K. Subrahmanyam recalls that a nuclear China prompted India to set off a “peaceful” nuclear explosion in 1974. “There is no such thing as a peaceful nuclear explosion,” responds General A. I. Akram of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. “’74 was a watershed. It brought the shadow of the bomb to South Asia, and that shadow is still there.”



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Raw video

Media Type


Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
Warnke, Paul C., 1920-2001
Gromyko, Andrei Andreevich, 1909-1989
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Nitze, Paul H.
Nuclear weapons
Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-
MX (Weapons system)
United States
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Brown, Harold, 1927-
Horn of Africa
Pipes, Richard
Soviet Union
Neutron bomb
Schlesinger, James R.
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Dobrynin, Anatoly, 1919-2010
Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Nuclear arms control
Committee on the Present Danger (U.S.)
New York, NY
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Vance, Cyrus R. (Cyrus Roberts), 1917-2002 (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Cyrus Vance, 1987,” 01/29/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Cyrus Vance, 1987.” 01/29/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Cyrus Vance, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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