History of Nuclear Defense: Surviving Atomic Attack

Watch History of Nuclear Defense: Surviving Atomic Attack

  • 1969
  • 1 Season

The show History of Nuclear Defense: Surviving Atomic Attack from A2ZCDS is a comprehensive look at the evolution of nuclear defense strategies and technologies over the course of the Cold War. The series is comprised of a series of expert interviews, archival footage, and detailed animations that explain the science behind nuclear weapons, the history of nuclear defense, and the strategies that the United States and other nations developed to mitigate the effects of a nuclear attack.

The show begins with an overview of the development of nuclear weapons during World War II, including the Manhattan Project and the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From there, the series moves on to the early days of the Cold War, when both the United States and the Soviet Union developed large stockpiles of nuclear warheads and began testing them in the desert and in the atmosphere. We learn about the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the United States and Soviet Union nearly went to war over the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Throughout the series, viewers are introduced to key figures in the history of nuclear defense, such as Robert McNamara, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and who famously advocated for a policy of mutual assured destruction. We hear from engineers and scientists who worked on developing nuclear weapons and on devising ways to mitigate their destructive effects, such as protective shelters and early warning systems.

One of the key themes of the series is the idea of deterrence: both the United States and Soviet Union believed that the sheer power of their nuclear arsenals would deter the other side from launching a first strike. However, as the series shows, this doctrine was not foolproof, and there were a number of close calls in which nuclear war seemed imminent. We hear about a number of false alarms, such as when a computer error erroneously reported a nuclear attack on the United States in 1979.

Despite the emphasis on deterrence, the series also explores efforts by both the United States and Soviet Union to develop defensive technologies that could protect against a nuclear attack. We learn about early warning systems that could detect incoming missiles, as well as missile defense systems that could shoot down enemy warheads before they reached their targets. The series also delves into the development of emergency response plans, including the government's civil defense programs and the creation of fallout shelters in public buildings and private homes.

Throughout the series, the dangers of nuclear war are made abundantly clear. We see the devastation wrought by the atomic bombs in Japan, and learn about the destructive power of the hydrogen bomb, which can produce an explosion many times more powerful than even the largest atomic bomb. However, the series also emphasizes that nuclear war is not inevitable, and that there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict. Viewers are encouraged to learn more about the history of nuclear weapons and to advocate for policies that reduce the likelihood of their use.

Overall, the show History of Nuclear Defense: Surviving Atomic Attack from A2ZCDS is an informative and thought-provoking look at one of the most important issues of our time. The series provides a comprehensive overview of the history of nuclear defense, from the early days of the Cold War to the present day, and investigates the technologies and strategies that have been developed to mitigate the dangers of nuclear war. Through expert interviews, archival footage, and detailed animations, viewers will gain a deeper understanding of the science behind nuclear weapons and the complex political and social factors that have shaped their development over the past several decades.

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A Day Called X
9. A Day Called X
A dramatized evacuation of Portland, Oregon after an atomic attack. Glenn Ford narrates this excellently paced film. It has well thought out tempo and narration. There is a sense of mounting tension as the evacuation gets underway.A well-oiled atomic evacuation plan of Portland, Oregon, in the heyday of nuclear preparedness. The main point of the film is that there is nothing to fear here!
The House in the Middle
8. The House in the Middle
Cleanliness is next to godliness! With this film, atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds show the effects of a blast on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. It asserts that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increased survivability.
Duck and Cover
7. Duck and Cover
This is the one and only famous civil defense film for children where Burt the Turtle shows what to do in case of atomic attack! It features many similar scenes to the previous track - including lots of images of children huddling against the walls of their school. The turtle makes this by far the least scary of all of the films on the set.
Atomic Alert (Elementary version)
6. Atomic Alert (Elementary version)
A frightening civil defense procedure film aimed at Cold War era elementary school students. We focus on Ted and his little sister Sue, who are home alone when the bomb falls. Sue calmly closes the Venetian blinds before they go crouch in the basement. We see lots of scenes of schoolchildren interrupting their play to huddle against buildings.
Hanford Science Forum
5. Hanford Science Forum
This track is a television program sponsored by General Electric for residents of the Richland, Washington area. There is an interview with Dr. Richard F. Foster, manager of the Aquatic Biology Division at the Hanford plutonium plant. Also featured is an interview with "science student of the week" Doyle Burke, senior at Columbia High School.
The Atom and Biological Science
4. The Atom and Biological Science
Moving on, this track describes some of the biological effects of high-energy radiation on plant and animal cells. It explains how radiation experiments are conducted and demonstrates some of the protective measures required. The film tells us of the many ways the atom is used to benefit agriculture, disease and other pesky problems.
The News Magazine of the Screen
3. The News Magazine of the Screen
This track is a collection of newsreel stories reformatted for classroom presentation. In one, President Auriol of France visits the United States. Another takes you inside the Chalk River atomic plant. Later, General Douglas McArthur returns to the United States, visiting San Francisco and other cities. This film gives you a sense of the history that was going on while people were preparing.
Survival Under Atomic Attack
2. Survival Under Atomic Attack
Next is a film that explains the dangers of the atomic bomb, the effects of radiation, and how to protect oneself if caught in the open or at home. Most of the advice would not be taken seriously today and would only help if you were 30 or 40 miles away from ground zero. Producer: U.S. Office of Civil Defense. Sponsor: U.S. Office of Civil Defense. Year: 1951. Length: 00:08:46. Audio: Mono
Our Cities Must Fight
1. Our Cities Must Fight
The first track on the set is a civil defense film admonishing city dwellers to stay and fight in case of enemy invasion, rather than evacuate. It was filmed in New York, with shots of the Holland Tunnel and Penn Station. It suggests that you could help put out fires, clean up debris and aid your neighbor! It also says that radiation only stays in the air for a day or two.