Air Force And The Atomic Bomb (1960)

This Cold War-era film chronicles the evolution of American airpower and the development of nuclear weapons, focusing on the shift from conventional bombing in World War II to the age of atomic and thermonuclear warfare. The film begins by reflecting on the massive bombing operations of World War II, quickly moving to the development of the atomic bomb, a weapon that rendered large bomber fleets obsolete. It discusses the first atomic bomb tests, notably Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in 1946, where numerous naval vessels were used as targets to understand the bomb’s effects. The film features various roles of the Air Force in these tests, including logistics, weather data collection, air photography, and cloud sampling with drone aircraft. It also details the scientific and military preparations for these tests, emphasizing the comprehensive nature of this experimentation. The film concludes by acknowledging the development of even more powerful thermonuclear weapons, signifying a new era of warfare and underscoring the Air Force’s readiness to use such formidable weapons if necessary.

We digitized and uploaded this film from the A/V Geeks 16mm Archive. Email us at if you have questions about the footage and are interested in using it in your project.

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