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The Red Bomb

Premier :: 1994-09-12

on Discovery

Genre :: Documentary

The Red Bomb poster


This film recounts the history of the Soviet atomic bomb project from the Russian perspective. Recognizing the threat that Hitler’s Germany posed to them, the Soviets organized espionage rings to obtain atomic secrets from Germany and the United States. The film asserts that espionage intelligence reports about atomic developments in Germany and the United States played a significant role in getting Stalin to begin the former Soviet Union’s atomic program. Interviews with members of the KGB, Soviet spies including the infamous Klaus Fuchs, Soviet physicists, and designers of the Soviet atomic bomb explain the political motivations to spy, and analyze the motivations behind the construction of the bomb. The film is the first in a three part series titled The Red Bomb detailing Soviet espionage efforts and the Soviet urgency to develop nuclear arms.

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 1 - Stolen Secrets
Aired - 14 February 2000

Episode summary:

It's 1945, and Soviet propaganda films are inviting all Russia to celebrate the glorious victory of communism. But the misery, poverty and devastation on the streets of Moscow tell quite a different story, while the defeat of Nazi Germany has only cleared the way for a new foe as Western antagonism towards communism grows. And – perhaps the greatest blow to Soviet pride – America has just won the race to produce the first atom bomb. The West can't afford to be complacent, however. In Russia, new and secret departments have sprung up to take on the USA's "Manhattan Project". Codenamed "Bureau 2", "Department S" and "Operation Enormous", their exact functions remaining mysterious even to insiders. While the NKVD intelligence network, under Beria, work round the clock to obtain the secret recipe from the Americans, starving gulag prisoners are forced down the mines in Tajikistan, while new metropolises are being built in sequestered locations for the sole purpose of nuclear research. An excellent overview of the project that harnessed all Russia's energies, culminating in the first Red Bomb – tested just four years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The sight of the first-ever Soviet mushroom cloud broke down the reserve of scientists and spymasters alike, as Igor Kurchatov crushed Lavrenty Beria in his ecstatic embrace.

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