The Humanity Beneath the Bomb

A Most Terrible Weapon - A podcast by Usha Sahay


In the final episode of the series, Usha takes a closer look at the people behind the nuclear arms race. At the 1955 Geneva Summit, the superpowers tried to manage the dangers of the Cold War through face-to-face diplomacy, dealing with each other as people rather than as faceless nuclear arsenals. Yet Khrushchev's frosty reception of Eisenhower's Open Skies proposal showed just how far the two sides still had to go. Usha interviews several experts who stress that, decades later, empathy and respect are still critical -- and, right now, conspicuously absent -- elements of U.S.-Russia nuclear diplomacy. Meanwhile, in the secretive atomic communities built for plutonium production, the human toll of nuclear competition was becoming painfully clear. From Eisenhower and Khrushchev to factory workers in the atomic cities to morally conflicted scientists like Andrei Sakharov, every human being with a role in the nuclear Cold War had to wrestle with the physical and emotional costs, the moral dilemmas, and the irresolvable contradictions of this most terrible weapon.   Guests: Alexandra Bell, Dr. Anya Fink, Dr. Kate Brown, Dr. Olga Oliker