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For a period of thirteen days in 1962, the possibility for nuclear holocaust was all too real. The Cuban Missile Crisis, a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, was one of the most integral parts of the wider Cold War. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Martin Sherwin joins us for a groundbreaking look at how such a crisis arose, and why it ultimately didn’t happen, at the very last possible moment.
Sherwin has spent his career in the study of nuclear weapons, and now he presents this riveting, sometimes hour-by-hour explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis itself. In conversation with investigative journalist Eric Schlosser, Sherwin discusses the origins, scope, and consequences of the evolving place of nuclear weapons in the post-World War II world. He considers the original debate in the Truman administration about using the Atomic Bomb, the way in which President Eisenhower relied on the threat of massive retaliation to project US power, and how President Kennedy came of age during the Missile Crisis though he was unprepared to handle the Bay of Pigs. Join Sherwin for this incisive analysis of the role of nuclear arms in our history, and our future.
Martin Sherwin is the author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies, and coauthor of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006. He is a Professor of History at George Mason University.
Eric Schlosser is an investigative journalist and author. He is the author of Fast Food Nation and co-producer of the documentary Food, Inc. He is a former contributing editor at The Atlantic.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.