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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; The Atom Soldier

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Support for the atomic soldier. Scenes of soldier's equipment and structures in operation.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Bigger Bang for the Buck, A
Program Number



The Atom Soldier

Series Description

The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.

In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989

Program Description

For the destructive power they deliver, nuclear weapons are cheap and efficient. In the 1950’s the United States begins to rely on nuclear, rather than conventional, weapons for its defense.

As nuclear policy evolved during the Eisenhower Administration, three factors combined to produce a new American reliance on nuclear weapons: pressure to control the federal budget (the “bigger bang” argument); competition as each branch of the American military adapted nuclear weapons to its mission; and Soviet bluffs that fueled American fears about a “bomber gap” and later a “missile gap.” On October 4, 1957, Sputnik, the Soviet satellite that was the first to orbit Earth, shocked Americans and delighted the Soviets. A month later, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2 with a dog on board. Both the Soviets and the Americans knew that a booster capable of carrying a dog into space could also deliver a nuclear warhead across a continent in 30 minutes.



Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type


Nuclear warfare
Military weapons
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Rights Summary

In perpetuity ; Public Domain Rights Holder: NAFB

Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; The Atom Soldier,” 01/01/1950, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 24, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_271EFF13FF7344C29D52E18ED4127647.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; The Atom Soldier.” 01/01/1950. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 24, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_271EFF13FF7344C29D52E18ED4127647>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; The Atom Soldier. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_271EFF13FF7344C29D52E18ED4127647
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