American Experience : Race for the Superbomb (1999)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Military & War, Social History  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Brooke Hodess

This two-hour documentary uncovers the U.S.-Soviet race to build the hydrogen bomb and describes the fear of destruction that ensued. More powerful than the atomic bomb, the hydrogen fusion (or "super") bomb was used as a political weapon during the Cold War. This documentary also shows the tension among American scientists of the time: Inventor Edward Teller defended the bomb as a deterrent against Soviet attack, while Robert Oppenheimer denounced it purely as a weapon for mass destruction. It was the Americans who, in 1952, tested the first super bomb; its power a thousand times greater than the atomic bomb, it vaporized an entire island in the Pacific. Eighteen months later the Soviet team exploded their first H-bomb. The nuclear arms race had begun.

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Keywords

nuclear, race [competition], Russia, war, bomb, nuclear-holocaust, nuclear-weapon