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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) Alekseev, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Aleksandr Alekseev was the Soviet ambassador to Cuba from 1962-1968. In the interview he describes Cuba during the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959), and how taken he was by the revolutionary spirit and the overwhelming support for Fidel Castro. He explains his role in Cuba at the time, not as an ambassador, but as an observer, and details meetings he had about the revolution with Castro and Che Guevara, as well as Ernest Hemingway. In his view, American propaganda was a significant cause of the rift between the U.S. and Cuba, exacerbated by a series of American actions, including the explosion of the French Ship “Le Gouvre,” refusing to sell Cuba oil, blocking the import of Cuban sugar, and not least the Bay of Pigs (Playa-Giron) operation. All of these events, in his opinion, encouraged pro-Soviet feelings in Cuba. He describes when it became clear that the U.S. would try to dismantle the Cuban revolution at any cost, causing Cuban and Soviet leaders to begin working together to save the revolution, including supplying Cuba with missiles. He goes on to explain Cuban attitudes after Kennedy’s quarantine of Cuba. He states that Castro read and contributed to all of the exchanges between Kennedy and Khrushchev during the 1962 missile crisis, and that he played an “absolutely independent role” at key points in the crisis. He describes Castro’s well-known five points, which were not all addressed in the compromise reached between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and Castro’s distrust of American guarantees. Mr. Alekseev offers an assessment of the resolution of the crisis, which he attributes mainly to the resort by both leaders to common sense and compromise. He then describes the mood of Cubans and Russians on the island in the aftermath, which he believes was far less anxious than in Moscow or Washington because “we could not imagine that the impossible would happen ... a way out will be found.”

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
Program Number



Interview with A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) Alekseev, 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

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.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Castro, Fidel, 1926-
International relations
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Cuba History Revolution, 1959
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
Guevara, Che, 1928-1967
Nuclear weapons
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Soviet Union
Mikoian, A. I. (Anastas Ivanovich), 1895-1978
Military weapons
Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961
United States
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
Batista y Zaldivar, Fulgencio, 1901-1973
Moscow, Russia
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Alekseev, A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) Alekseev, 1986,” 04/07/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) Alekseev, 1986.” 04/07/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with A. I. (Aleksandr Ivanovich) Alekseev, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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