Race for the Superbomb

Race for the Superbomb

Series 1 - Episode 1



Mushroom cloud. Nuclear winter. Sunshine units. Duck and cover. Mutually Assured Destruction. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

There is a horrible poetry to nuclear war, much as an atomic explosion is the most beautiful man-made creation, the lighting of a new sun on Earth. This authoritative documentary about the quest to develop the monstrously powerful hydrogen bomb (there are degrees of Armageddon) never loses sight of the human element.

Manhattan Project scientists including Robert Oppenheimer lost their innocence with Hiroshima and campaigned against more destruction, but others saw it as a necessary check to Stalin’s totalitarianism. Caught in between was the terrified public, hiding under their desks or marching into the fallout to test the effects of radiation.

Just imagine it.


At the dawn of the Cold War, the United States initiated a top secret programme in New Mexico to build a weapon even more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Japan. A world away, on the frozen steppes of Siberia, the Soviet Union began a similar effort. The first of a two-part documentary reveals how a web of spies and scientists, intrigue and deception marked the race to develop the hydrogen bomb, a weapon that would change the world for ever.