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Cold War History A Resource Guide: Documentaries



Prelinger Archives

"...collects, preserves, and facilitates access to films of historic significance that haven't been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many hundreds of important US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions."

Single Titles

45/85 : America and the world since World War II (Videodisc)

An oral/visual history of the U.S. goal of containing Communism from 1945-1985.

Atomic Cafe  VHS  DVD

A compilation of archival film clips beginning with the first atomic bomb detonation in the New Mexico desert. The footage, much of it produced as government propaganda, follows the story of the bomb through the two atomic attacks on Japan that ended World War II to the bomb's central role in the cold war. Shown along with the famous 'duck and cover' Civil Defense films are lesser-known clips, many of which possess a bizarre black humor when seen today"-

Children of the Left : a story about family & politics in America (VHS)

Follows the lives of five people whose parents were members of the American Communist party in the 1940s and 1950s.

Communism and the cold war (VHS)

Presents the major events of the Cold War, along with a wide selection of supporting resource material. It includes commentary by national leaders and decision makers, as well as prominent writers and scholars who witnessed the conflict from both sides. It then explores the impact of the Cold War in various regions of the world, and presents case studies of regional conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, Cuba, Central America, and South America) which reflected superpower rivalry.

Day after Trinity (DVD)

A documentary on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, focusing on his role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. Features archival footage and commentary from scientists and soldiers directly involved with the Manhattan Project.

Dong fang ju xiang (DVD)

This newsrell throws daylight on the difficult process of producing A-bombs, H-bombs and satellites in China and reflects the producing process of the unclear bombs (A-bombs, H-bombs), missiles and satellites. Narration in Mandarin Chinese with Chinese (simplified and traditional) and English subtitles.

Fall of communism (VHS)

Provides a brief history of the creation and growth of the Soviet empire followed by a survey events that occurred in 1989 and 1990 in the nations of eastern Europe and within some republics of the Soviet Union using new stories broadcast by ABC. Describes each country's efforts to revitalize its economy and democratize its institutions and then examines the impact of these changes.

From the barrel of a gun (VHS)

Describes the revolution began by Asia's political leaders following WW II. Shows how the Pacific war, the cultural revolution in China and the Vietnam War stem from the roots of nationalism. The end of colonial dominance and the subsequent rise of nationalism and communism are told through the lives of Ho Chi Minh, The Vietnamese revolutionary, and Sukarno, the founding father of Indonesia.

Great leap, 1949 (VHS)

A history of communism in China from the revolution in 1949 to the various reform and protest movements in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.

People's century : ordinary people, extraordinary times (VHS)

Series documenting the history of the twentieth century through the testimony of those who lived through it.

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Policy: A Video History, 1945-2004 (Web site)

Produced by Sandia Labs, this historical video documents the history of U.S. strategic nuclear policy. Interviewees include Robert McNamara, Brent Scowcroft, James Schlesinger and Last Strategic Air Commander-in-Chief Lee Butler

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