5.12 The war goes nuclear

By 1941 the Second World War had gone truly global with the major powers of the USA and Japan entering the conflict. The fighting in the Pacific was brutal and was brought to an end when the most terrible weapon in the history of the world was used. The films on this page show the desperate measures of Japanese bombers, a discussion of what dropping the nuclear bomb meant in human terms and the Japanese response to defeat.

17 MINS 14 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1965

Key Section - 08:06 to 10:56.

A very good vintage documentary on the use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima during the Second World War. It covers not only the physical destruction but what dropping the bomb meant to the people of Hiroshima.


7 MINS 8 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1945

Key Section - Beginning to 03:20.

Thousands of Japanese suicide bombers, called kamikaze, flew planes packed with explosives into American ships. This newsreel gives us a good glimpse of such pilots and their planes. We also see the results of their efforts - the deaths of American servicemen aboard aircraft carriers hit by kamikaze.



3 MINS 27 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1945

People celebrate on the streets of London upon hearing the news that Japan is ready to surrender.

Sir John Anderson speaks about the atomic bomb at the close of the newsreel: The coming of this new weapon will affect profoundly all ideas of military strategy. But we must pray that the statesmen of all nations will see here not a terrifying addition to the panoply of war, but a compelling reason for working out new safeguards for world peace and security.

This newsreel was released in cinemas on 13 August 1945. The surrender of Japan was announced two days later.

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