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Opening slate: NET NY At Issue Nike X
NET animated graphics
Pan of peaceful countryside in Missouri. Farmland. A lake with grassy small hills behind. Birds chirping in the background. Shot ends on a huge slab of cement in the middle of this peaceful place. Underneath is Minuteman Missile poised for launch
Minutemen Missile underground.
Glass proof under ground capsule built under a wood framed block house in the middle of farm lands in Missouri. A man in protective gear yells to stand clear of the heavy door as it opens.
Two officers sitting exactly 11 feet apart look at control panels that care capable of launching the missile.
CU of hand turning a dial on the control panel. Another man removes a cover revealing a key hole where he inserts a key.
Interior of Missile vault. Exterior shot of large sliding concrete slab revealing the opening of the missile vault. A missile is launched into the are creating a lot of smoke.
CU of rough ocean water. A Polaris submarine drives by.
CU of missile being launched from a submarine and shooting out from the ocean.
Hydrogen Bomb carrying B-52's fly over head.
Huge missile launch
Bird's eye view of Nike X. CU of Nike X, anti-missile system. A computer monitored scanning device.
Nike X launch
Austin Betts 4:23
the Nike X system as it is now being designed will in fact perform as our studies have predicted. It could provide the level of effectiveness against ballistic missile attack that was described by Mr. McNamara in his recent posture statement. No invention is required in order to complete development of the system.
Nike X missiles. Exterior shot of Nike X domes.
US Senator Henry Jackson
Henry Jackson 5:07
will it save lives? Will it deter a general thermonuclear war? I think one has to say that this is a highly problematical thing. This is why we've not been able to come to a proper resolution in a timely way. We would certainly like to have a device that could stop practically all incoming missiles to save the civilian population of our country. And if we had this kind of capability, it would certainly tell the adversary look, it's no point and you're trying to start a general war, because you're not going to win.
Former presidential science adviser Jerome Wiesner
Jerome Wiesner 5:51
Well, my own judgment and that's based on experience to date it is that offensive power is so great nowadays, given the thermonuclear weapons. And that takes so few of these weapons to do the kind of damage that we certainly don't want to accept that the defense is at a tremendous disadvantage, and will always be both in cost and an effectiveness. This is a matter of judgment. And I'm giving you my personal opinion, which is, I think, based on as much experience as anyone in the business of working on defensive systems has had.
Birds Eye shot of hundreds of people slowly working their way through a roped off back and forth line outside of city building. A few people are interviewed about their opinion of the new missile and preparing for war.
Man sits in a chair in front of a control station with lots of buttons and beeping. Show's opening credits. At Issue - The Nike -X
A rocket launching Sputnik into orbit.
CU of rocket launching
People cheering as President Kennedy rides down a packed street in a convertible. Armed officers run along the side of the car for protection.
President Kennedy at a podium giving a speech to a large crowd.
Army tanker drives by. Military men launching missiles.
Army plane flies in the sky then comes down for a landing.
Kennedy chats with Secretary McNamara.
Minutemen missile in an under ground silo
Polaris submarine in the ocean
Bernard Brodie, Rand Corporation
Bernard Brodie 10:24
This is an enormously important change it make can make us be more relaxed about a great number of things, including, for example, limited war that is, when we get involved in the in the minor conflict, we don't have to worry so desperately about it's escalating into a major one as we once did. Where were the for example, six years ago, the the problem was one of worrying about whether you shouldn't get started and get off the ground while the getting was good or else you might not have you're forced left. Well, we don't have to worry about that anymore. And I think this can give our president in a period of crisis like the Cuban crisis or like the present crisis in Vietnam, it can give him a good deal more latitude of choice, good deal. More time make up his mind what he wants to do, and less fear about the consequences of what he may be doing.
missile launches high into the sky.
Various packed bustling city streets. Packed with cars and pedestrians.
Pencil sketch cartoon of "The Mexican Standoff." Men shake hands while holding runs at each other with their other hands.
President Kennedy rides in the backseat of an open convertible.
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev communist leader of the Soviet Union.
Huge ocean tanker with missiles aboard.
General de Gaulle
Pan of Pittsburgh city skyline. Birds eye view of buildings and traffic.
Animated rendering of how Nike X missiles would work to protect US cities.
POV of a car driving around the current Nike X site
General Austin Betts, US Army Chief of Research and Development.
Austin Betts 15:52
the army doesn't claim that a perfect defense is achievable against a massive Soviet attack. We do insist that the penalties they must pay to have a high probability of defeating the Nike X system would be severe. The fact is that an enemy would have to commit a significant fraction of his muscle Halo in order to penetrate the Nike X defense.
Missile launch in the dark
General Arthur Trudeau, former Chief of Army Research and Development holds up a metal fragment from the Nike Zeus. H is now president of The Gulf Research Operation.
Arthur Trudeau 16:51
So we're now approaching six years of advanced development on this missile, and for my money, it's time to produce it and deploy it and I think we need it. I also think there seems to be a philosophy to delay production just as long as possible, possibly due to this disarmament aspect. It is uppermost in some people's minds, and possibly because they consider the things we have are sufficiently on to our needs at this time. Both of these can be dangerous. I would rather see Zeus sprint or the Nike X system if you want to call it that. Be on station three years too early or five years too early, or I'd hoping nothing Whatever happened to it, then to be five minutes too late.
Univ of California's new San Diego extension. Dr. Herbert York, former Dir of Research and Development at the Dept of Defense.
Herbert York 17:55
let us say at a test ground where the missiles were fired by ourselves against our own defenses. The question of whether we could ever have one that would work under real conditions of surprise, using equipment that had never been fired in a real situation until that last second in which it had to work? is really a much different questions, though even then, even in the case of simple offense, to say nothing of how things would work out if the defense were specifically designed for penetration. If the offense were designed specifically for penetration of the defense,
Two students walk outside of a building on Princeton campus.
Interview with Oskar Morgenstern, Mathematician.
Oskar Morgenstern 19:02
Let's assume it will work. I mean, then I think the main problem would be apart from the great economic effort which is involved in this tremendous expense, but I would minimize that because if it were really absolutely successful, then surely the country could afford to put up any such defensive system. But the the real problem seems to me to be an organizational one, because the whole thing would only make sense, if it is at any moment, always at the possible pitch of needed performance. And I cannot see how one can organize a complicated thing of this kind in this manner, so that it will always at a moment's notice, be able to rise to the up to moment maximum of what is required of it. If nothing happens for many years, as we hope it wouldn't be it I mean, it wouldn't be a real problem to keep the thing at this high level pitch.
President Kennedy approaches a podium to make a speech. CU of framed photo of the late president Kennedy.
MIT Dean of Science, Jerome Wiesner
Jerome Wiesner 21:03
Well, we believe that the deployment of such a system by the United States and by the Soviet Union would accelerate the arms race which at the moment is relatively stable and quiet. And if one either one of us were to begin the large scale deployment of an anti missile system, the minimum that it would do would cause the other side to have to do that, and very likely all and that certainly might cause a rather considerable acceleration in the purchasing and deployment of offensive weapons as well. And in addition, the anti ballistic missile system requires whether a very substantial civil offense program shoulder program to be effective
Sociologist Amitai Etzioni at Stanford University
Amitai Etzioni 22:00
anti missile missiles look sometimes as if it is a defensive weapon. Actually, it is an aggressive weapon. That is sometimes difficult to understand in this nuclear age, the distinctions between offensive and defensive have been blurred in what looks sometimes like defensive, actually is quite offensive. In this particular case, let's assume we hear over the radio that the Russians informing their city, their citizens to vacate the cities to move out of the cities. This presumably would look as if it was only a defensive measure. The citizens are not about to attack us. But actually, we will be very suspicious, we will believe that such a move could be initiated on one condition. The Russian are considering attacking us first and removing the citizens out in order to protect them from our retaliatory blow in a very similar way very much the same fashion. The deployment of a massive anti missile system cannot bat look to the other side as a preparation for First strike. And this is the point to remind ourselves that United States has consistently refused to pledge itself never to be the first use nuclear weapons. Which father would make the other side suspect that this is what we had in mind. Doesn't matter that we all may know that we will never attack first with nuclear weapons. The other side doesn't. Therefore, we have to avoid about anything which will might look as if we are about to engage in nuclear war in a big way.
Small aircraft takes off outside of the Pentagon.
Man walks down hallway at the Pentagon towards the office of the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara.
Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff
Arthur Barber of the Department of Defense
Arthur Barber 24:37
I think we and the Soviet Union, understand that nuclear war cannot be an instrument of policy. Dean Rusk has recently said, we have understood this and we hope the Soviet Union has. And so on the one hand there seems to be somewhat a decrease of tensions between Moscow and Washington. On the other hand, we find a very aggressive belligerent Chinese power, who has recently acquired some very modest nuclear capability. And we certainly cannot, in any way, limit the ability of this nation to defend itself against the Chinese threat. And so I think that is why the ABM issue becomes extremely important that on the one hand, we don't wish to excavate our relations with Moscow. On the other hand, we absolutely must protect ourselves against the Chinese. It would be irresponsible, if we did not.
Chinese military men chant and cheer raising their rifles in the air in unison. Chinese leaders wave to a crowd. A massive crowd of Chinese men and women are gathered all holding weapons.
Uniformed Chinese military men holding rifles march in unison. Chinese women in white dresses holding bouquets in one hand and swinging their arms with the other march in unison. Groups of Chinese people dressed in traditional clothing march together.
Man studies a map on the wall then winds it back up and sits at his desk. Herman Kahn, leading nuclear theorists.
Herman Kahn 26:33
the Chinese, tend to spend Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, trying to persuade us that they're absolutely insane. The Russians spent full time trying to persuade to the same point. And for various reasons, as the Soviet threat has tended to decrease, people wanted to replace it. So we have Americans doing the same thing. That result is a really full scale campaign against the Chinese. One, by the way, which is almost completely not shared by the scholarly community, in the terms of the estimates or their rationality, many of their objectives, intensity, and so on. Nevertheless, it is clear that many Asiatic nations most importantly, the Chinese and the Indians, will feel that US guarantees are more credible, more reliable, that we can defend ourselves from Chinese retaliation. In other words, the Asians may or may raise the same problem with regard to us credibility in Asia, that the Golan has raised in Europe. Will the United States be willing to risk or actually trade, Los Angeles for Tokyo, San Francisco for Calcutta. If we can therefore protect the cities from Chinese attack, we can then also protect Tokyo and Calcutta more reliably, because if the Chinese tried to attack these cities, we can then very credibly threaten to retaliate against China without fearing Chinese retaliation against major US cities. It is this that is one of the major arguments, though that the sole argument for a low level deployment of ABM.
Various shots of high rise buildings in large metropolitan cities.
Various shots of Fallout Shelter signs on large buildings in various cities.
Arthur Trudeau 29:00
The difference in having this system is the difference between about 140 and 70 million lives. Well, if you can save 70 million lives for $25 billion, which is $350 per person. I think it should be done. I consider my life worth at least that much.
Jerome Wiesner 29:21
A simple fallout shelter program requires first of all very major expenditure. Secondly, it requires, I believe, the kind of excitement of the unknown fear inducing a fear in the population to generate a willingness to have these great changes in our general society and the way we live that you have to portray a situation which is very much worse than it really is and the danger which is more imminent and greater than it is. and this in itself, I think, helps make a war more likely than many people are concerned about this as you recall during the Kennedy administration, we came to the conclusion, that small amount of shelter preparation was was desirable and that in fact, the administration would be irresponsible if it didn't take those quiet moderate steps, that would give some follow up protection to the population in the event of a nuclear war. But even to get an acceptance of that required a degree of public relations and scare mongering that no one had anticipated and the consequences of that, as you will recall, or a debate in the country, which was really very upsetting and very frightening and which, when the President saw what was necessary and what the consequences were he backed away from it.
Exterior shot of very tall high rise building in New York City. Interior shot of people entering and exiting through a revolving door. People getting on and off the elevator. Several locals are interviewed about their opinion of fall out shelters and the possibility for a bomb attack.
New York Telephone Company windowless 21 story building with generator in the heart of Manhattan.
A L Russell, Security Administrator of Standard Oil. Iron Mountain - Atomic Storage Corp. Interior shots of this massive fallout shelter.
A L Russell 33:03
In 1963, we took a study to see whether we were up to date and determined that a underground facility for emergency operating would be more in keeping with present circumstances. And after a survey we developed our facility which you saw and Iron Mountain.
Iron Mountain is located 125 miles from New York City driving time two and a half hours. Mr. Russell described standard oil's facilities.
A L Russell 33:35
Our criteria said that a facility should have a possibility of low Fallout effects or it should give us adequate shielding from any fallout effects. And we believe that Iron Mountain meets these requirements. We do not refer to this as Fallout Shelter, but as an emergency operating center. I might say that it has its own independent inside power, water and other facilities. We would propose to follow as what's referred to as a DEF CON, the fence condition notices where we would take a few people on an early warning, a few more at an additional warning and we would fully manage our staff at an appropriate warning period. I'm reliably informed that there was DEF CON notices during the Cuban crisis. And I would say that this is a type of situation I think would cause us to take a hard look at putting in at least our preliminary Manning. We believe that to be realistic. We have to keep in step with the government and this is the way we're informed they are going to man their counterparts to our emergency center. We have approximately 90,000 square feet in Iron Mountain. And this provides us an opportunity or capability for emergency operating gives us a stamp of approval. optimally 60 of our operating personnel and our management, along with necessary office staff, with their families to come underground and to help the company carry out their coordination and work during emergencies. We think maybe we're one of the few or one of the first to include family members. And this was done after a great deal of thought to assure ourselves of having responsive people that could do the job. This provides sleeping accommodations for these people. To the extent possible and family units have small bedrooms, we have a few dormitories for those who are there alone, we have a capability for feeding, hopefully keeping them at an efficient state. During this period, we have food for 200 people for 30 days, which we believe is more than a period of time, we would need to be underground. Actually, our friends in government, both the Office of Civil Defense, the Office of Emergency Planning, and other agencies have indicated probably 14 to 15 days would be a maximum that we would have a fallout hazard severe enough to keep us underground. Communications obviously is one of the points that we have the greatest need for because to be responsive to government requirements. During these periods we must be able to communicate, we're continually trying to improve our communications capabilities with our far flung worldwide organization.
"Computing Facility - Air Conditioned - Keep Door Closed" sign on door of a Think Factory at The Rand Corporation in Santa Monica California. People at work inside - Filing, talking on the phone at desks, CU of hands typing on an old typewriter, lockers with dial locks.
Young man sits at his desk working and smoking a cigarette.
Young men sitting at desks working. Talking on the phone.
Hallway inside of the Rand Corp. Computing Facility sign on office door.
2 Economists and a Mathematician at the Rand Corporation analyze the Nike Z project. They discuss how many lives the system might save.
Intense looking young man with dark rimmed glasses smoking a pipe sitting at a table with two other men talking about fatalities.
Exterior shot of The Rand Corporation, spawned by the nuclear age.
Exterior shot of the buildings in mountains of Colorado housing the Air Force Academy. Air Force fighter jet. Uniformed men marching in unison. Uniformed med playing drums.
Several Air Force Academy cadets walk on campus carrying their school books.
Chairman of the Department of Political Science at the Air Force Academy, Colonel Wesley Posebar talks to cadets
Colonel Wesley Posebar 41:38
Gentlemen, we are about to take part in this game, as you know, which is an integral part in your course here at the Air Force Academy, and international relations and defense policy. The purpose of this game this exercise is to imitate the long range planning process, as you might encounter it in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, or perhaps in the Kremlin peeking or some other future capital of the world, which would make this kind of military decision. Now the basic structure of the game is that each team is given a budget a national budget, and your task is to allocate this budget among various strategic programs available to you, such as man bombers, interceptor missiles, strike missiles, active defenses, passive defenses, you can even purchase intelligence with certain risks, that it is not accurate. In this game, by using part of your budget, you may invest in research and development programs, with varying probabilities of being successful. Now, when you are so making these program decisions, you should be acting in accordance with your own team strategic concept, your appraisal of the 10 year or 15 year strategic posture. That might be for example, in terms of targeting, planning for counter force, or for counter value, what sometimes it's called City hostages. Strategy, I would point out, I would stress that this is only a game, it is only a simulation. And it is such it is at best, a very poor representation of the real world, let's say of the Department of Defense. And what we're trying to accomplish here is only an educational function.
An Air Force Academy instructor leads a discussion with a group of Air Force cadets.
Various Washington DC landmarks. The White House, The Pentagon, Capital Building, Capital Hill.
Senator Henry Jackson of the Armed Services Committee. And comments by Jerome Wiesner.
Henry Jackson 49:44
there would be those who would disapprove would not favor it. It wouldn't necessarily be a unanimous vote, as would be the case of, say an offensive system. I don't think there's any doubt that Congress would approve
What are the influences that are exerted by pressure groups that have a vested interest in a program like the Nike X, a man who saw these pressures from the inside President Kennedy's science adviser, Jerome Wiesner
Jerome Wiesner 50:12
The pressures come from a variety of sources, of course, the military who are paid to try whose job it is to try to provide the most effective possible defense for the country come in and make their recommendations. And I think rightfully so, there is a great deal of congressional pressure, which stems from a variety of sources, it stems from people who are interested in having maximum security there are a lot of frayed one has to admit economic pressures. Some of this comes in through the Congress a good deal of it comes in through political people, other walks of life, some of it comes from industry itself. In the case of Nike, Zeus, there was a great deal of public pressure that came from various ways from trade magazines from associations of people who had an interest and even the industry did something which I think was really not very proper, there was a very extensive advertising campaign in the public press and magazines and newspapers, advocating support and pressure on the president wasn't quite that right raising, but this was the effect. The decision was eminent and people, many of the manufacturers to large ads and many of the popular magazines advocating their particular system, so that there was a great deal of this kind of pressure. I don't think it has a great deal of effect on the President, at least, it didn't on President Kennedy, if anything that made him more curious and interested in precisely what all the issues were to find that there was such a tremendous pressure on him to make the decision that made him more thoughtful, I think about the decision.
Do you think that the same kinds of things are likely to happen with Nike X or are happening?
Jerome Wiesner 52:07
I don't really know, I think this is, we're at a different period in the history of these things. First of all, I suspect if anything, that pressure backfired a little. So some people will be a little more careful. Also, I don't believe the Defense Department now allows people who charge that kind of advertising against defense contracts, so they're probably a little more careful with their money. But I would imagine that a certain amount of this will go on. And I suppose one has to admit that a certain amount of advocacy is probably not a bad thing. It makes people conscious of the fact that there's a very important decision in the wind and makes them aware of it.
Dr. Herb, York, a former Director of Research and Development, at the Department of Defense
Herbert York 52:57
what happens is the people who live in this world come to believe that it is, you know, the whole world. And in the extreme form, I come to believe that the whole purpose of the United States is to maintain a deterrent, that that that that's the purpose of life, rather than merely one aspect of what our national life unfortunately has to be. In, again, in the most extreme situations, they develop a Messiah Complex about about their work. They use phrases like, how can you put How can you put the budget ahead of survival? How can you put a price on survival?
Herman Kahn 53:49
there are many reasons why people will object to these kinds of studies, I would judge at the most important is fear of self fulfilling prophecies. Now, this could be an analytical proposition in the classical form, that if one person is hostile and suspicious, to somebody, the other person notices it reacts the same way, the first person feels this suspicions are confirmed, and the thing builds off, and at certain kinds of operations can occur this way. But actually, most of the time to suffer funny proposition is not an analytical proposition. It's a magical proposition, which is very familiar among primitive tribes. But even in our own sophisticated society, we find many women who are afraid to be examined for cancer for fear they have cancer. Many men who refuse to buy insurance feel that when they sign the papers, they come up with their own death. There is a sense that we talk about shelters, you'll have to use that and repeat at the magical unconscious level.
Atomic bomb blasts off in a large open field. Huge cloud of smoke billows into the sky.
John Rubel a former assistant secretary of defense
John Rubel 55:07
science is embarrassed by war, scientists, most scientists didn't become scientists to invent ways to kill people, or to destroy thing. Engineers really many times feel embarrassed by war, I think the idea has some currency that one wants to be a builder, and not a terror down. And then we've used for war, all of our genius, to build our genius to organize, to direct to mobilize and harness the resources of our whole society. And I think one finds that least I have disturbing from time to time to think that you can see our scientific minds, our engineering skills, our organizational genius, our system of organizing, industry, and government all turn toward the systematic destruction of people. If you believe in the brotherhood of man, then you don't believe in destroying people anywhere.
CU of a missile launching into the dark sky.
At Issue closing credits stream over Nike X site.
NET animated graphics.
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