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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Operation Alert

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.

07/15/1957

100 cities across the country are hit by simulated atomic air raids in the 4th annual nationwide civil defense drill. In Washington, President Eisenhower is evacuated from the White House by helicopter, and in key "target" cities, streets are deserted as hundreds of millions take shelter.


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

103

Title

Operation Alert

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.

Duration

00:01:39

Asset Type

Stock footage

Media Type

Video

Subjects
Nuclear warfare
Civil defense
Fallout shelters
Genres
Documentary
Topics
Science
History
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Rights Summary

In perpetuity ; Public Domain Rights Holder: NARA

Citation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Operation Alert,” 07/15/1957, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 8, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_69EF209B6D3349C0AE97DC1DE15E4AC9.
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Operation Alert.” 07/15/1957. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 8, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_69EF209B6D3349C0AE97DC1DE15E4AC9>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Bigger Bang for the Buck, A; Operation Alert. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_69EF209B6D3349C0AE97DC1DE15E4AC9
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