After World War II, the Marshall Islands were entrusted by the United Nations to the care of Uncle Sam, who generously staged some 66 nuclear tests in this Pacific paradise. This documentary focuses on Operation Bravo, an explosion over 1,000 times bigger than Hiroshima, detonated in (the film claims) full knowledge that winds would carry radiation straight to two of the atolls. Navy officials stood by in specially insulated ships as kids played in the nuclear 'snow'; US propaganda films crowed over the 'stupendous blast' and the (quote) 'happy, amenable savages' providing 'valuable data' on the bomb's hideous long-term effects. Drawing on recently declassified US Defense Department footage, O'Rourke presents his case with textbook clarity and intelligence. The fallout from this blast from the past lingers on, and the breathtaking cynicism of the Americans in the whole affair should, at the very least, give pause to ponder the speed at which our own sceptred isle is turning into Airstrip One.
Cast and crew