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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. Akram, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Agha Ibrahim Akram was a lieutenant general who served in the Pakistan Army during the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. The interview Akram conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age concentrates on the history of tension and conflict between Pakistan and India. He reviews the three wars: the devastating bloodshed that followed partition in 1947, the pride he felt in 1965 as chief of staff of an infantry division along the West Pakistan border, and his bitterness toward India over the Bangladesh war in 1971. Despite the persistence of tension between Pakistan and India, Akram recognizes circumstances in which their perspectives and geopolitical positions meet. For instance, he fully supports India’s critique of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: that the major nuclear powers only selectively enforce and adhere to its provisions. He wishes that South Asia could be a nuclear-weapons-free zone but is willing to settle for India and Pakistan’s interdependence: “The two countries—we are the protagonists of South Asia. We’ll actually cross the threshold together or not cross it at all.” Akram also recalls 1974 as the watershed year when India detonated a nuclear explosive and took one step toward becoming a nuclear power in hopes of enhancing its global status. That moment also coincided with skyrocketing oil prices, which stiffened Pakistan’s resolve to develop nuclear energy for electricity and, if need be, weapons.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
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Interview with A. I. Akram, 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

Media Type


Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Nuclear energy
Gandhi, Indira, 1917-1984
United States
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Nuclear weapons
International relations
Nuclear-weapon-free zones
Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
Soviet Union
Nuclear arms control
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Akram, A. I. (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. Akram, 1987,” 02/09/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. Akram, 1987.” 02/09/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. Akram, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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