The Soviets’ Dark Nuclear Romance


Once the Soviets got the nuclear arsenal Stalin had sought, they had to learn to live with the bomb – and all the dilemmas that came with it. This episode examines how the Soviet Union adjusted to the difficult new reality of being a nuclear power. Leaders like Khrushchev and Molotov struggled to resolve the contradictions of nuclear warfare, while the scientists felt burdened by the emotional impact of what they saw at the atomic test sites. Usha looks at how the Soviet military planned for nuclear war and tries to understand why the two sides continued to build up ever-bigger arsenals even after they had enough firepower to destroy the enemy several times over. For the Soviets, as for the Americans, living with the bomb was a never-ending struggle to prepare for nuclear war while trying to keep the nuclear peace.


Guests: Dr. David Holloway, Dr. Pavel Podvig, Dr. Olga Oliker