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Excellent and meticulously researched quasi-document about the first operational use of a nuclear weapon
on 1 March 2013
I found those Canadian-Japanese miniseries excellent, I spend a very good moment watching it and even if I was already a little bit familiar with the story, I still learned a lot. Some limited SPOILERS below.
"Hiroshima" tells the story of the circumstances in which president Truman decided to drop the first atomic bomb on a Japanese city. The story begins immediately after the death of president Franklin D. Roosevelt, when Truman is briefed about the existence of project "Manhattan" - indeed on Roosevelt's orders the secret surrounding this project was such, that even the vice-president of Unites States was left in the dark. The story progresses then to show the whole story of how the decision to use the new weapon was debated and ultimately taken - it also shows how Hiroshima ended being the first primary target (with the city of Kokura being the secondary or "replacement" target, if Hiroshima couldn't be reached).
Although the whole story happens mostly in the offices of White House or other similar places, it is as dramatic and tense as any war movie. Amongst the best moments (to my taste) were Truman's meeting with Stalin at Potsdam in July 1945, the debate following Japanese rejection of Potsdam declaration and Truman's voyage back from Europe to USA on board of heavy cruiser USS "Augusta". This last moment is maybe the most touching part of the film and helps to understand better than anything else why Truman stopped hesitating and ordered the attack on Hiroshima...
As it is not fully explained in the film, it is not exactly a SPOILER to say something about the scene in which, at Potsdam meeting, Truman tells Stalin about the existence of the atomic bomb - in fact Stalin already knew about project "Manhattan" BEFORE Truman, as Soviet spies (extremely active in USA during the WWII) managed not only to learn about this super-secret project already in 1944, but even to some degree infiltrate it!
All actors did a great job in "Hiroshima" but the greatest performance is that of Canadian actor Kenneth Walsh, who plays president Truman.
Those miniseries last 180 minutes, but frankly I didn't even notice the time passing. "Hiroshima" is an excellent quasi-document, very well made, very dramatic and worth every penny spend on it. I am so keeping this DVD for a future re-viewing and later for my children (when they are big enough to watch it). Warmly recommended.