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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Henry Genrikh Aleksandrovich Trofimenko, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Soviet historian Genrikh "Henry" Aleksandrovich Trofimenko served for many years as chief analyst at the Institute for the U.S. and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Science. The interview Trofimenko conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age: "Dawn" provides a historical overview of breakthroughs and setbacks in superpower diplomacy. After World War II, the United States wanted to impose Pax Americana, perceived peace dominated by U.S. military and economic power; the Soviet Union rejected it. Trofimenko asserts that serious talks about European security began in 1955 at the multinational conference in Geneva, but diplomats reached an impasse over the fate of a divided Germany. Diplomacy between General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower was derailed by the 1960 U-2 affair, although over time, periods of tension between the two countries these men represented have become more short-term. The next phase Trofimenko describes is detente. Early in Ronald Reagan's presidency, Trofimenko observes, diplomacy was interrupted by an acceleration of the arms race as the United States sought to regain superiority. He describes the Soviet view that the United States' decision to pursue the MX missile, the Trident submarine, and the Strategic Defense Initiative were that country's further attempt to gain military superiority. Trofimenko also explains the futility of expecting Soviet and U.S. military programs to be "mirror images." The pace, pattern, and modernization of military force structure, he points out, are governed by each nation's own strategic analysis. Once again, though, arms talks resumed and culminated in the historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed in December 1987. Trofimenko assesses the modern-day challenges: the Soviet Union must withdraw from Afghanistan and continue to restructure international relations on the basis of cooperation. As for the United States' duty, he sees Star Wars' potential to instigate a new arms race, but he hopes and rightly predicts that it will "peter out."

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Visions of War and Peace
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Interview with Henry Genrikh Aleksandrovich Trofimenko, 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.



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Strategic Defense Initiative
Gromyko, Andrei Andreevich, 1909-1989
Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971
Trident (Weapons systems)
Reagan, Ronald
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
MX (Weapons system)
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Yalta Conference (1945)
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Potsdam Conference (1945 : Potsdam, Germany)
United States
Iran Hostage Crisis, 1979-1981
World War II
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Warsaw Treaty Organization
International relations
Brezhnev, Leonid Il¿ich, 1906-1982
Nuclear arms control
Andropov, Y. V. (Yuri Vladimirovich), 1914-1984
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1972 May 26 (ABM)
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Soviet Union
Geneva Conference (1954)
Soviet Union. Treaties, etc. United States, 1987 December 8
Schmidt, Helmut, 1918 Dec. 23-
Chernenko, K. U. (Konstantin Ustinovich), 1911-1985
Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953
Nuclear weapons
Moscow, Russia
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Trofimenko, G. A. (Genrikh Aleksandrovich) (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Henry Genrikh Aleksandrovich Trofimenko, 1987,” 12/24/1987, GBH Archives, accessed June 17, 2024,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Henry Genrikh Aleksandrovich Trofimenko, 1987.” 12/24/1987. GBH Archives. Web. June 17, 2024. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Visions of War and Peace; Interview with Henry Genrikh Aleksandrovich Trofimenko, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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