War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Cecil Garland, 1987
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Cecil Garland was an environmentalist who became widely known for his opposition to the MX basing plan for Utah in the early 1980s. In the interview he describes his first awareness of the program and his realization of how fundamentally it would have affected his life (and his livelihood) as well as those of his neighbors. He sharply denies that his opposition was in any way unpatriotic, describing the MX as being more about self-promotion for the Air Force and the military-industrial complex than about national defense. In his view, the Carter administrations concerns about lagging behind the Soviets in terms of nuclear weapons capability were overdrawn, and in any event, for reasons he explains at length, the MX program was far too vulnerable to be useful. Mr. Garland describes the atmosphere and the issues that were raised during various public meetings, and spares little in his criticisms of some of the personalities representing the government on the issue. At other points, he recalls his delight at President Reagans decision to stop the MX program, and responds to questions about alternative defense systems.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Reagan's Shield
- Program Number
Interview with Cecil Garland, 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
- MX (Weapons system)
- Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
- Intercontinental ballistic missiles
- Nuclear weapons
- Hecker, Guy L.
- Military-industrial complex
- Moyers, Bill D.
- United States. Presidents Commission on Strategic Forces
- Mormon Church
- Chayes, Antonia Handler, 1929-
- Reagan, Ronald
- War and Conflict
- Global Affairs
- Garland, Cecil (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Cecil Garland, 1987,” 11/15/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 9, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE8680602650404FA82139D0A136842E.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Cecil Garland, 1987.” 11/15/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 9, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE8680602650404FA82139D0A136842E>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Reagan's Shield; Interview with Cecil Garland, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_EE8680602650404FA82139D0A136842E