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'The Bomb' | Watch Now

In 1938, two German chemists accidentally discovered how to split the nucleus of the uranium atom: nuclear fission. Thus began a chain of events that would lead inexorably to Hiroshima, the nuclear arms race, the hydrogen bomb, the Cuban Missile Crisis and some of the greatest fear and tension ever in world history.

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The Bomb explores how what started as simple scientific curiosity ultimately resulted in a weapon capable of ending civilization. The invention, says historian Richard Rhodes, “Was a millennial change in human history: for the first time, we were now capable of our own destruction, as a species.”

The program recounts the bomb’s history, as well as the successes, failures and moral dilemmas of the personalities who created it. We learn how it was developed and how it quickly changed everything, from international relations to politics, culture, even sex.

The Baker Day explosion, part of Crossroads Atomic Testing.

No less than the discovery of fire, the bomb marks a dividing line in human history between all that came before it, and everything that follows. For the first time, humans acquired the ability to destroy themselves, and we are still struggling to learn how to live with this awesome power. Decades after it first appeared, the bomb has receded in the public consciousness — but it continues to shape our lives.

We hear from scientists, weapons designers, pilots who dropped nuclear bombs, former Secretaries of Defense and State who wrestled with the bomb’s impact on international diplomacy, witnesses to nuclear explosions, historians, and ordinary men and women who have lived and worked with the Bomb.

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The Bomb was produced by Lone Wolf Media.



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watching this right now and loving it.

When will this be on again? - had some power problems and missed over half.

There are not any immediate plans to re-air this program, but the full show is available online:

I live in Victoria, BC, Canada and can't watch this from your website. I missed it last night.
Are you able to find out if the "right restrictions" are put in place by KCTS or by my internet provider?


rgraves's picture
Hi Matt, Unfortunately, copyright restrictions affect online viewing of some PBS programs in Canada. We regret not being able to offer all of our online content to viewers, and apologize for the double standard it creates. We encourage you to specifically mention your support of KCTS 9 should you choose to contact PBS about geo-filtering: As a PBS member station with wide viewership and support in neighboring Lower Mainland BC, KCTS 9 is aware of current restrictions on online programs for Canadian viewers. We have made it clear to PBS that we believe Canadian supporters deserve online access to the same programs they see on our air. We, here in the States, face the same frustration when trying to stream programs via Knowledge Network, BBC, and ITV. PBS is sympathetic, but as a distributor rather than producer, their rights are limited and generally confined to distribution within the United States. While our television programs reach beyond US borders, online video is subject to geo-filtering, which restricts PBS content to geographic boundaries. PBS is legally obligated to ensure that each program does not exceed its granted rights, which eliminates international streaming ability for some PBS programs in Canada. We have suggested to PBS that they look into password-protected online access for Canadian viewers, but that will ultimately depend on the agreement of program suppliers. Geo-filtering remains a complicated issue that affects many viewers, but falls outside of our control. We have more control over our locally produced programs, as well as some of the programs we acquire from sources outside PBS. Whenever possible, we make them available for online viewing in Canada. We continue to lobby PBS to pursue the options described above for the programs they distribute. I have passed on your comments about this issue to our programming staff, which relies on viewer input like yours when making future decisions. Thanks again for writing.

I grew up in Richland. I was stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey during the Cuban ,missile Crises where Jupiter missiles were steaming, ready to be launched toward Moscow. There are unguarded hydrogen bombs there now. When will this insanity end? If scientist are so smart, why are they so careless? Keep up the good work and play it again soon.