They risked their lives to capture on film hundreds of blinding flashes, rising fireballs and mushroom clouds.
The blast from one detonation hurled a man and his camera into a ditch. When he got up, a second wave knocked him down again.
Then there was radiation.
While many of the scientists who made atom bombs during the cold war became famous, the men who filmed what happened when those bombs were detonated made up a secret corps.
Their existence and the nature of their work has emerged from the shadows only since the federal government began a concerted effort to declassify their films about a dozen years ago. In all, the atomic moviemakers fashioned 6,500 secret films, according to federal officials.
Today, the result is a surge in fiery images on television and movie screens, as well as growing public knowledge about the atomic filmmakers…
Two new atomic documentaries, “Countdown to Zero” and “Nuclear Tipping Point,” feature archival images of the blasts. Both argue that the threat of atomic terrorism is on the rise and call for the strengthening of nuclear safeguards and, ultimately, the elimination of global arsenals.
As for the atomic cameramen, there aren’t that many left. “Quite a few have died from cancer,” George Yoshitake, 82, one of the survivors, said of his peers in an interview. “No doubt it was related to the testing.”
Long, reflective and cautionary tale. The sort of history the Pentagon, Congress and the corporations they pimp for would rather remain hidden.
RTFA. Interesting not only for the dangers many of us presume; but, for the dedication to craft and country of many cameramen who ended up losing their lives to inevitable cancers.
I was around nuclear manufacturing early enough to remember annual updates to advisories which announced that “last year’s” safety levels had been found to be unsafe. Again and again.