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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Vladimir Petrovsky, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Vladimir Petrovsky (Petrovskii) is a Soviet diplomat who rose to the post of First Deputy Foreign Minister from 1986-1991. Earlier in his career, he served for a number of years in the U.N. Secretariat, later (1992) becoming Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. In this interview, he disagrees with the notion that the superpowers are in fundamental conflict, commenting that although their interests may be different there is no conflict of interest as such. At the same time, he acknowledges that every area of U.S.-Soviet relations is in need of a new approach, although he is confident that opportunities exist to deal successfully with regional and other problems. Asked to offer some assurances to European governments of Soviet good intentions, he notes that a number of proposals are currently on the table – for reducing armaments and troop levels, for example. He believes the most important objective for the superpowers should be to build mutual confidence, to do away with images of the enemy, and above all to take practical steps to resolve conflicts at all levels.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Visions of War and Peace
Program Number



Interview with Vladimir Petrovsky, 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

Even in the best international atmosphere, the superpowers face continuing differences about hot to reduce the risk of nuclear war. This final episode analyzes the continuing themes of the nuclear age.

- American attitudes toward nuclear weapons are intertwined with American anxieties about the nature of the Soviet State. - NATO relies on a threat of first use of nuclear weapons in response to an attack even by conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact. - To date, there is no defense against nuclear missiles. - More and more nations are acquiring nuclear technology. - Many people confuse arms control with disarmament.

The challenge of the Nuclear Age is to find a new way for nations to resolve disputes so they will no longer resort to force.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
United States
Soviet Union
Nuclear disarmament
Nuclear arms control
International relations
Nuclear weapons
Moscow, Russia
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Petrovskii, Vladimir Fedorovich (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Vladimir Petrovsky, 1987,” 12/25/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Vladimir Petrovsky, 1987.” 12/25/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Vladimir Petrovsky, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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