The Atomic Caf

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Cameron Elliott

The Atomic Café Review
The Atomic Café is a 1982 documentary that portrays the beginnings of the nuclear era through a conglomerate of television and radio programs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs from the era among other forms of media. It begins during the mid-1940s with the dropping of the first two A-Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II and runs through the early 1960s. The atomic bomb and its effect on American life is the overall theme, while the ‘don’t panic’ idea force-fed to the public by the media regarding the bomb is a clear example of American propaganda at work. America, while it transitioned into an age where a devastating new weapon was in the hands of both the United States and Soviet Russia proved to penetrate every aspect of American life, which is the film’s overall theme. The media’s overwhelming focus on the atom bomb made it an inescapable part of American life. This new power proved to be terrifying to most Americans, so the government decided to use propaganda techniques and blatant misinformation to try and convince the public that the bomb is not threatening to their safety. This is seen numerous times in the film. One of these instances is seen during the briefing of American soldiers that would be subjected to a simulated nuclear attack from a fictitious enemy. The bomb is described to the soldiers as “one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man” when observed from a safe distance in spite of its great destructive power. It is also said to be more dangerous because of the blast and heat than for the radiation it gives off. This radiation is later talked about during the footage of the test, saying that it cannot penetrate the skin and is only harmful to a person if it enters through a person’s nose, mouth, or a break in the skin, which is completely false. Another propaganda technique used to lull the American public into a false sense of security was the...
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