“War and Peace in the Nuclear Age: Part III, A Bigger Bang for the Buck”

The film War and Peace in the Nuclear Age: Part III, A Bigger Bang for the Buck was jointly authored and released by WGBH television and Central Independent Television. The film was done in 1988 to highlight John F. Kennedy’s reaction and behavior towards the attack panic by the Americans from the Russians. The film is one hour long and is the third item from a thirteen part series giving a summary of the history on nuclear weapons, their spread and threat of use throughout the world and especially between Europe and America. The film War and Peace in the Nuclear Age: Part III, A Bigger Bang for the Buck traces the dramatic forty year history of the nuclear warfare, the policies employed then and the arms race control.

With a good cast and crew with the likes of Stanley Hoffman, McGeorge Bundy, Phil Morrison, William Fairborne, Feodor Burlatsky, Dean Rusk, and Richard M Nixon, the film captures the time frame in the late 50s. During this period, the Americans were in for a shock. As a first time during the entire nuclear era, the nuclear advantage of the American people was not perpetually guaranteed. The Soviet Union successfully launch a missile named Sputnik resulting to fears of a bomb gap which later grew to a missile gap. The missile gap refers to the disparity between the power and numbers of the armory in the Soviet Union and the United States missile arsenals at the prime of the cold war. This gap was largely exaggerated by various committees and the air force giving the US an advantage far beyond the real count. Almost every intelligence office provided wrong estimates resulting in a massive exaggeration of their superiority. This gap is known to have been an illusion even from the start but the government used it as a political tool.

A deeper insight of the film reveals several key points. This period highlights massive technological achievements and also deep political games. There is a deep desire for control and dominance revealed by Russia’s release of Sputnik and the American hoax for political gains. Strained relationships and threats are also evident as key issues in this film. As the title of the film suggests, a country with more money (bucks) is in for a rude shock (bang) which may translate to bombing.