Old Anti-nuclear Movie from FAS

The Federation of American Scientists was formed just a couple of months after the dawning of the nuclear age by scientists as who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the world’s first nuclear weapons. In the fall of 1945, there was tremendous interest in the new atomic bomb: what it was, how it worked, and its effects–and not just direct effects but the effect this invention would have on the military balance and politics of the world. FAS organized a group of its members, which it called the National Committee on Atomic Information, to talk to the public, the press, and political leaders, and to produce media materials for distribution. (Sixty two years later and we still seem to be at it…)

Jeff Aron here at FAS recently came across this amazing little film on YouTube called One World or None. It was produced by FAS and the National Committee. I have to admit, no one currently at FAS knew about it, it predates anyone’s memory here, and we are ourselves doing some research on its origins and asking our long-term members what they know. (If any of our blog readers can provide any information, please let us know.) Presumably, it was released in conjunction with the release of the first publication of the Federation, also called One World or None, a collection of essays by great scientists of the day, including Albert Einstein, that was first published in 1946. One World has recently been reprinted by the New Press in New York and is available through bookstores, Amazon, and the FAS website.

The film is clearly a bit dramatic, but the dangers of nuclear weapons are dramatic. By today’s standards, the graphics are Stone Age but the message is as important today as it ever was and doesn’t depend on fancy graphics. I can’t say you should enjoy this little film–not much to enjoy when discussing nuclear dangers–but I hope you take it to heart. The Federation is still working to reduce the global threat of nuclear weapons.

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  1. Plutonium Page March 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    Fascinating video! What a find, and, as you said it’s still so relevant (think: RRW).

    I’m always trying to remind people that there are lessons that we can still learn from the Cold War. While reading blogs, I’m always coming across statements like “we’re gonna nuke Iran”… casual, off-the-cuff remarks, indicating that the true meaning of “nuking” has been lost as part of popular culture, at least for those who did not grow up during any part of the Cold War.

    Hope that made some kind of sense.

    Thanks for the post, Dr. Oelrich.

    p.s. I think the html is sort of screwy. The video is way over to the right side, not aligned with the post, and it’s hard to find the comment section. Just FYI.

  2. kestasjk March 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm #

    War is terrible, but couldn’t you argue the bomb at Hiroshima ended the conflict which would have killed even more if it had gone on conventionally?

    Imagine the millions of Russians that would have been saved, and all the unneeded trench warfare, if the European side of the war could have been ended with one terrible explosion over Berlin.

    Maybe conventional warfare is less likely with non-conventional threats.

    I’m sure these points have been brought up and you have well reasoned objections

  3. HMB March 17, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    Great find !!

    Currently, I am reading that same book, ONE WORLD OR NONE, so the ‘flicker’ did peak my interest although I had seen it before. Like the film and the book itself, what I am finding out when reading on the history of nuclear weaponry, is that although not as polished in in the 21st century, is that the message reamins the same.

    If you are going to play with fire; you will get burnt.

    -HMB

  4. HMB March 17, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    kestasjk Says:

    War is terrible, but couldn’t you argue the bomb at Hiroshima ended the conflict which would have killed even more if it had gone on conventionally?

    Yes, you could argue that the bomb [ Gadget ] at Hiroshima ended the conflict but you be up against some fairlt staunch history that really has disproven that fact. One book that comes to mind, and you may want to search out is called:
    The Decision To Use The Atomic Bomb by Gar Alperovitz, which disects that very same ‘theory’ on why it was dropped at all. Hiroshima, as a matter of fact,ended nothing IMO.

    On the contrary, it started something.

    -HMB