War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Stansfield Turner, 1987
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Stansfield Turner was the Director of Central Intelligence from 1977-1981. In the interview he discusses the ICBM modernization debate. He describes making intelligence reports to the White House about the Soviet trend toward more accurate weapons, which prompted the development of the MX Missile. He explains the American nuclear strategy, which is based on deterrence and does not forgo a first-strike capability. He goes into great detail about the MX basing modes, especially the multiple protective shelters, and provides alternatives he would prefer, including small ballistic missile submarines. He speaks passionately on the nature of nuclear warfare and the inherent differences between conventional and nuclear strategy.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Reagan's Shield
- Program Number
Interview with Stansfield Turner, 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 Reagan introduces the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative, an idea he believes will make nuclear weapons”Impotent and Obsolete.”
In 1983 President Reagan envisioned a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that could intercept and destroy Soviet strategic ballistic missiles before they reached the United States. Skeptics dubbed the idea “Star Wars.” It was hard for Reagan to accept the idea of deterrence based on mutual destruction. He believed SDI offered a solution. His science advisor George Keyworth says SDI was “thoroughly created and invented in Ronald Reagan’s own mind and experience.” According to defense scientist Ashton Carter, “The concept is fine. What is not fine is implying to the public that the solution to the nuclear puzzle is at hand.” SDI became the focus of a national debate about nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy, and a stumbling block in strategic arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. The final months of the Reagan Administration brought a drastic reduction in the scope and size of SDI efforts.
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Nuclear arms control
- MX (Weapons system)
- Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
- Multiple Protective Structures (Missile basing system)
- Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, Chornobyl, Ukraine, 1986
- Brezhnev, Leonid Il'ich, 1906-1982
- United States. Air Force
- Soviet Union
- Reagan, Ronald
- United States
- Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II
- National Security Council (U.S.)
- Gorbachev, Mikhail
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Nuclear weapons
- Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
- United States. Central Intelligence Agency
- Deterrence (Strategy)
- First strike (Nuclear strategy)
- Brown, Harold, 1927-
- Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1987 December 8
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Turner, Stansfield, 1923- (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Stansfield Turner, 1987,” 12/01/1987, GBH Archives, accessed June 27, 2022, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF6B3D7813E841FEA6428E096EEE2370.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Stansfield Turner, 1987.” 12/01/1987. GBH Archives. Web. June 27, 2022. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF6B3D7813E841FEA6428E096EEE2370>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Stansfield Turner, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DF6B3D7813E841FEA6428E096EEE2370