American Experience - Season 11, Episode 2 - Rotten Tomatoes

Race for the Superbomb

EPISODE:

Episode Info

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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