The Soviet Nuclear Weapons Program, The: The History and Legacy of the USSR's Efforts to Build the Atomic Bomb
Date: August 2019
Duration: 2 hours 16 minutes
Tens of millions died during World War II as the warring powers raced to create the best fighter planes, tanks, and guns, and eventually that race extended to bombs which carried enough power to destroy civilization itself. While the war raged in Europe and the Pacific, a dream team of Nobel Laureates was working on the Manhattan Project, a program kept so secret that Vice President Harry Truman didn't know about it until he took the presidency after FDR's death in April 1945.
With this success, word reached President Truman, who was then attending the Potsdam Conference, and while there, he presented the news to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Stalin feigned surprise; in an ironic twist of fate, espionage missions had revealed American nuclear research to the Soviets before it had even reached Vice President Truman. For their part, Stalin's regime had been working on a nuclear weapons program since 1942, relying greatly upon successful Soviet espionage to help lead the way. With intelligence sources connected to the Manhattan Project, Stalin was able to keep abreast of the Allies' progress toward creating an atomic bomb, so that by 1945, the Soviets already had a working blueprint of America's first atomic bombs.
On August 29, 1949, the Soviets successfully tested an atomic bomb, and with that, the Soviet Union became the second nation after the U.S. to develop and possess nuclear weapons. The nuclear age itself was still in its infancy, but within a few short years the advent of nuclear war loomed over the world and the prospect of a malign dictatorship possessing nuclear superiority kept Western leaders awake at night.
The Soviet Nuclear Weapons Program: The History and Legacy of the USSR's Efforts to Build the Atomic Bomb examines the Soviets' race to reach the ultimate goal during and after World War II, and how they went about their objectives.