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Hiroshima and Nagasaki – Anniversary

Commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a line up of programmes this August.

The Day They Dropped The Bomb

It was a day that changed the course of history – a watershed moment that hastened the end of World War II and cast the shadow of potential nuclear destruction over the Western world. It was also a day which started a debate about the morality of using the bomb that still continues.

The Day They Dropped The Bomb commemorates the events at Hiroshima and their effect on us all, through the story of what happened on that tragic day. Using rarely-seen archive film, news reports and radio bulletins and the personal memories of people who were there, it relives the events which took place, casting fresh light on the British and Americans’ wartime race to get the bomb ahead of the Nazis and its effect on the Japanese surrender.

Race For The Superbomb

In July of 1945, President Harry Truman met Joseph Stalin at Potsdam, Germany. “I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of unusual destructive force,” Truman wrote later. “The Russian Premier showed no special interest.” But Stalin was already aware of the atomic bomb thanks to Soviet spies lodged at the heart of the American bomb project in Los Alamos. Soviet scientists were scrambling to catch up.

The new weapon was revealed to the world a few weeks later when a single atomic bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima. Stalin’s reaction was immediate. “Speed things up,” he reportedly ordered.

As an unpredictable Cold War settled in, several U.S. scientists argued for an all-out effort to build an even more powerful weapon: a hydrogen bomb. Edward Teller, an émigré physicist, pushed for a program to build what he called “the Super”-hydrogen fusion bomb. “If the Russians demonstrate a Super before we possess one,” said Teller, “our situation will be hopeless.”

Andrei Sakharov, a brilliant young Russian physicist, had also been given the task of designing a fusion bomb for the Soviet Union. Thanks to the Soviet spy Klaus Fuchs, Sakharov was familiar with Teller’s design, but he soon decided on a different approach.

By 1952 the Super was ready for its first test. The fireball of the first H-bomb grew to a diameter of three miles and vaporized an entire island in the Pacific atoll of Eniwetok. The H-bomb’s yield was ten megatons, a thousand times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Eighteen months later, Sakharov and his team exploded the first Soviet H-bomb. The nuclear arms race had begun.

Hiroshima: The Real Story

The nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima heralded the dawn of a new era. Its detonation not only killed over 100,000 people but also signified both the final chapter of World War Two and the beginning of the nuclear age. Armed conflict, international politics and the security of all mankind would never be the same again.

Through a detailed retelling of the circumstances leading up to the dropping of the bomb, the events on the day and its aftermath, this film unravels the compelling story of one of the 20th century’s defining moments and reveals the far-reaching consequences of the explosion, both in Hiroshima itself and for the world at large.

From the rooms of the world’s most powerful leaders, both Allied and Japanese, to inside the planes sent on the fateful mission to the devastated streets of Hiroshima in the hours after the attack, it explores the crucial moments, the key locations, and the pivotal players.

Using stunning archive, cutting-edge visual techniques, CGI, rich primary sources and powerful testimony from the last remaining protagonists and witnesses, this is an authoritative and in-depth examination of the bombing.

Survivors who have never talked before relive the consequences of the bomb at ground-level – orphans being sold to the sex trade, criminal ‘ yakuza’ groups running the city and the crime wave that swept the city as people struggled to survive.

And with access to previously unreleased government and military material, and unseen footage from the archives of NHK, Hiroshima also explores the diplomatic story leading up to the detonation and the devastating impact of the blast from the Japanese perspective.

A Short History of Nuclear Folly

In the spirit of Dr. Strangelove, a blackly sardonic people’s history of atomic blunders and near-misses revealing the hushed-up and forgotten episodes in which the great powers gambled with catastrophe. The film tells stories such as that of the accidental drop of a nuclear weapon on the house of train conductor Walter Gregg, the perilous shoot of a John Wayne movie in a radioactive canyon and the loss of four hydrogen bombs in Greenland.

Birth of The Bomb

This fine documentary tells one of the most fascinating stories of all time; the making and testing of the first atomic bombs. In includes much colour archive material that is rare and some that was previously classified as top-secret by the US authorities. When shown in Britain the London Times rated it “the best record of the worst weapon”.

For most of us the dawning of the Nuclear Age was as much surprising as it was frightening, as much breath-taking as bewildering. New phrases such as ‘splitting atoms’ and ‘going critical’, new words like ‘fall-out’ and ‘megaton-death’ entered our everyday speech without our really appreciating just what they actually signified.

The background story to the A-Bomb is traced onwards from the secret early nuclear experiments in Nazi Germany just before the Second World War to the eventual establishment of the multi-million dollar ‘Manhattan Project’ in the USA. It encompasses moments of near farce in France while Hitler’s armies were threatening, and occasions of deep frustration in Britain during the Blitz. At times it has the feel of a conundrum as the pieces come together – a disused racquets court in down town Chicago, a set of pipes leading up a Norwegian hillside, a sandy waste on the banks of the Columbia River, a work-bench in a dismal laboratory in Berlin, and a former ranch school on an isolated plateau in New Mexico.