There are dates that divide history in half, dates at which it can be said the world could be understood one way the day before, and completely differently on every day after. The birth of Christ. The signing of the Declaration of Independence. The moon landing. One of these dates is July 16, 1945. This is not a date famous in the popular imagination; you can be forgiven for having no idea why it’s important. But it is important. It’s the day humanity first unleashed the destructive power of the forces of creation. It’s the date we exploded the first atomic bomb.
The Bomb tells the story surrounding that fateful day. It begins in 1938, when German scientists first discovered the destructive potential of nuclear fission. The implications were felt around the world, and there began a race between the allied powers and Nazi Germany to see who would harness that power first. We are told the story of the Manhattan Project, and the military leaders and scientists whose job it was to beat the Nazis at all costs.
The Bomb uses recently declassified archival footage which has been newly remastered to bring us into the heart of the story. Coupled with testimony from experts, historians, and people who were actually there, it provides a new perspective on the events. We are taken through of the very human story of those who worked on the science, and those whose provenance was the politics, of the bomb. The latter half of the documentary deals with the consequences of the bomb, through the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the cold war with the Soviet Union and the days of Mutually Assured Destruction.
We see how close the world came, at times, to total cataclysm, and how it was brought back from the brink. And we look at modern times: who has the bomb now? Who’s most likely to use it? What can we do to prevent it?
As the documentary states, “The bomb may have receded in the popular imagination, but it’s still there.” This gives us a good look at how we got here, and what we can do now.
The Bomb debuts Tuesday, July 28th at 8:00 p.m. on KIXE Channel 9.