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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Dawn; Interview with Akihiro Takahashi, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Akihiro Takahashi was a survivor of the atomic blast at Hiroshima in 1945. In the interview he recalls the day the bomb was dropped while he was standing in the schoolyard with his friends, and that originally he thought it was just like all of the other bombs that had been dropped during the war. He is frustrated with the way people think about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings now, and says that people need to remember, “The present is a result of the past” and not just consider the bombings a part of history, but rather “an endless alarm for the future of mankind.” He calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, and is angered by their continued proliferation, disagreeing with the “defending peace with nuclear weapons” sentiment of the United States and Soviet Union. Mr. Takahashi explains that he originally felt that there was no possible peaceful use for atomic energy. However, with more distance since the end of WWII, he is no longer completely opposed but hopes that countries will examine other alternatives first. He concludes by directly addressing his American audience to say that the United States and Japan (among others) need to move beyond their hatred from WWII if they are ever to attain true peace.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
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Interview with Akihiro Takahashi, 1987

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

Amid the violence, fear and desperation of World War II, nuclear weapons are created and used for the first time.

“Dawn” traces the development of the first atomic bomb, from 1932 with the ominous rumblings that led to World War II and the ground-breaking scientific experiments that led to the bomb. Atomic physicist Victor Weisskopf explains, “we did not think at all that this business would have any direct connection with politics, or with humanity.” The frantic rush by American scientists who feared the Nazis were ahead of them and the first nuclear explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945 are described by eyewitnesses. Physicist Philip Morrison was ten miles away from the blast and will never forget the heat on his face. “Dawn” concludes with the failure of the first attempts to reach agreement on international control of atomic weapons after the war.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Peace movements
Nuclear arms control
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945 -- Personal narratives
Nuclear nonproliferation
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japan -- Hiroshima-shi
United States
Soviet Union
Nuclear energy
Nuclear weapons
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Takahashi, Akihiro (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Dawn; Interview with Akihiro Takahashi, 1987,” 02/26/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Dawn; Interview with Akihiro Takahashi, 1987.” 02/26/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Dawn; Interview with Akihiro Takahashi, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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