This film is part of Free

Atomic Power

This is probably the most notable of the post-war March of Time films: a gripping account of the development of the atomic bomb featuring the men and women responsible.

Documentary 1946 19 mins


In this fascinating film, the scientists and officials who had been involved in the development of the atom bomb, recreate, for the March of Time cameras, the momentous events that led to the destruction of Hiroshima. From Einstein writing his famous 1939 letter to President Roosevelt, to Oppenheimer in the control centre at Alamogordo for the first atom bomb test, the film is perhaps the ultimate expression of the March of Time’s unique approach to journalism.

The fact that the March of Time was able to persuade almost all the main participants to re-enact the key events in the story of the development and creation of the atomic bomb not only testifies to the sense of responsibility they felt, but also to the reputation which the March of Time had at the time. The likes of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Vannevar Bush, Enrico Fermi, Dean Acheson, Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein knew that the film would reach a large audience in the USA and Great Britain, so that although the acting is wooden and the dialogue stilted, the end result is a unique historical document.