Segment 28a: Introduction
This fine lecture could just as well be termed "The Age of Brinkmanship."
Brinkmanship is a word for the practice of letting situations come as close to disaster as possible,
hoping that one's own side would get the better of the other side.
The United States, the Soviet Union, and their respective allies practiced brinkmanship during the Cold War.
I think that Molly Hatchet's term "flirting with disaster" is much more appropriate.
Even though hindsight and historical research demonstrate
that the Western bloc had far more firepower than the Eastern bloc at the time, nobody knew that for sure.
A generation of kids grew up with the concept of mutually assured destruction, or MAD,
the knowledge that the entire world could be destroyed in mere hours.
And there was a time when it nearly happened.
Segment 28b: A Farewell To Empires, treats the postwar fall of the French and British empires, and the resulting chaos.
Both nations hoped to maintain at least part of their colonies, but they'd been so battered by the war they could hardly hold their own at home.
The British managed to let India and Palestine go their own way without too much trouble,
but the French had more trouble getting out of Indochina — especially out of Vietnam.