August 2013 marks the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki: the unleashing of nuclear bombs on a civilian population that killed an estimated 210,000 men, women and children.
The world witnessed the horrific destruction. Could it happen again?
Back in the 1980’s, when the Soviet Union and the United States were in a nuclear arms race, the world was close to the possibility of a nuclear war. Governments were planning nuclear war contingencies, and people were concerned but many felt powerless to stop it. It was in that era that the documentary Living Double Lives was released.
Living Double Lives examines the denial that largely existed, and the measures ordinary Americans were taking to help prevent a nuclear war.
Since then there has been a lot of progress reducing the threat including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signaling the end of the cold war.
But the world is still vulnerable to the unthinkable. Stockpiles of thousands of nuclear warheads exist and there are threats from new places. North Korea acquired nuclear weapons and continues to test missiles, and Iran is developing a nuclear weapons facility. The potential for catastrophic nuclear terrorism is also a threat.
In this environment, we need continued vigilance and action to prevent a possible nuclear attack.
Living Double Lives, is about the resilience of the human spirit, and the hope and imagination necessary to struggle against the threat of nuclear war. The program hosted by the late Colleen Dewhurst, and features psychiatrist Robert J Lifton was broadcast by PBS in 1985, some 40 years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was produced by Arlen Slobodow and directed by Robert Uth.