War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Interview with Jerome Wiesner, 1986 
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Jerome Wiesner was a Science Advisor to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson and an arms control advocate. In the interview he discusses the U.S. and Soviet development of ballistic missiles, including the Air Forces early reluctance to emphasize missiles over bombers. He comments on studies from the 1950s of U.S. vulnerability to Soviet bomber attacks, notably Gen. Curtis LeMays reactions, and he describes the discovery that despite official U.S. policy, the Air Force was maintaining a first strike capability. He also discusses Eisenhower and Kennedys views on nuclear weapons, general concerns about the growing arms race, and the role of the science advisors as advocates for curtailing the nuclear competition under Eisenhower.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Bigger Bang for the Buck, A
- Program Number
Interview with Jerome Wiesner, 1986 
- 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
For the destructive power they deliver, nuclear weapons are cheap and efficient. In the 1950’s the United States begins to rely on nuclear, rather than conventional, weapons for its defense.
As nuclear policy evolved during the Eisenhower Administration, three factors combined to produce a new American reliance on nuclear weapons: pressure to control the federal budget (the “bigger bang” argument); competition as each branch of the American military adapted nuclear weapons to its mission; and Soviet bluffs that fueled American fears about a “bomber gap” and later a “missile gap.” On October 4, 1957, Sputnik, the Soviet satellite that was the first to orbit Earth, shocked Americans and delighted the Soviets. A month later, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2 with a dog on board. Both the Soviets and the Americans knew that a booster capable of carrying a dog into space could also deliver a nuclear warhead across a continent in 30 minutes.
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
- LeMay, Curtis E.
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
- Sprague, Robert C. (Robert Chapman), 1900-
- United States. Air Force. Strategic Air Command
- United States
- United States. Air Force
- United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff
- World War II
- Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
- Soviet Union
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency
- Nuclear weapons
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
- Korean War, 1950-1953
- Edicia Sputnik
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Wiesner, Jerome B. (Jerome Bert), 1915-1994 (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Interview with Jerome Wiesner, 1986 ,” 03/27/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DD3A084107E94632B6AD7D428A966304.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Interview with Jerome Wiesner, 1986 .” 03/27/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DD3A084107E94632B6AD7D428A966304>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Interview with Jerome Wiesner, 1986 . Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DD3A084107E94632B6AD7D428A966304