Thursday, August 10, 2006

Secret Cities of the A-Bomb

Airing again this Sunday and Monday evening on the History Channel is a program called Secret Cities of the A-Bomb. From the website:

In 1939, a group of scientists--Albert Einstein among them--warned FDR of the possibility that Hitler's Germany might be close to producing an atomic bomb. Roosevelt issued an order--the US had to be the first to develop an atomic bomb and within three years they were well on their way to creating a hidden world of secret cities and classified nuclear facilities. Six decades later, we return to the once-classified sites where the course of history was decided. In top secret cities and nuclear facilities, we uncover and rebuild this lost world in three top-secret cities in isolated parts of Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington State. This was to be the most costly and labor-intensive engineering program ever undertaken. Using classified material, eyewitness testimony, and cutting-edge graphic technology, we recreate the secret world of the Manhattan Project.

The Lost Worlds series has been pretty good so far. The episode after the nuclear urbanism is Hitler's Supercity:

Hitler caused more death and destruction than anyone else in history. But he also planned to build on a massive scale and place a new Germany on a par with ancient Greece and Rome. Our investigators piece together a picture of how Hitler wanted Germany to look from the ruins of what was built and from plans of his architect Albert Speer. In Nuremberg, we recreate the Zeppelin Tribune: where 60,000 people could overlook a parade ground. We reveal the real purpose of the stadium Speer planned to hold the Olympic Games--with seating for 405,000 people. And we rebuild, with computer-generated images based on Speer's plans, the monuments Hitler planned for himself: the Triumphal Arch--twice the height, and four times the width of Paris's Arc de Triomphe--and the People's Hall--a structure so big the Eiffel Tower could fit inside it. Monstrous, intimidating, built on slave labor--this is the Lost World we'd now inhabit if WWII had gone differently.

So, if you find yourself stuck in front of the tube in the next week for some reason, say you are nursing a severe back injury or something (like I am right now), then tune in. At least for some of the more worthwhile tube-surfing to be had these days...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading "The Edifice Complex" by Deyan Sudjic, very intimate stories of the architecture of autocrats throughot the 20th-century. Chapter 2 focuses on the plans to rebuild Berlin as "Germania" and how those plans came about. An excellent book so far.

Eli Pousson

11:12 AM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

yeah, i've wanted to check that book out for awhile. especially now that you have mentioned that chapter.

cool, i will look into it.
the Lost Worlds TV series just aired another good episode on Churchill's bunkers in London. keep your eyes out.


4:36 PM  

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