Nuclear Newsreel

An independently produced international news report featuring coverage of popular protest and civil disobedience in response to the nuclear arms race.

0:00Copy video clip URL Shots from what appears to be a street parade. Demonstrators hold up anti-nuclear signs. Nuclear Newsreel intro plays.

0:28Copy video clip URL Bernard Mayes explains the global controversy concerning nuclear weaponry. Mayes narrates over footage of an anti-nuclear movement in Tokyo, Japan advocating for the absence of American nuclear weaponry in Japan. Demonstrators march through the streets, carrying with them posters, banners, and even a cardboard-constructed Godzilla. 

1:42Copy video clip URL Makoto Ichikawa, a union leader, addresses the crowd about “unity between organized labor and the peace movement,” Mayes explains. An aboriginal protester from Australia, Shorty O’Neal, traces the movement and creation of Australian nuclear weapons, pointing out that “Between 1952 and 1968, the British government and the Australian government tested twelve atomic tests on aboriginal land in Australia.” 

2:27Copy video clip URL Demonstrators sing along to live music accompaniment. Mayes emphasizes inter-national sentiment against nuclear weapons.

3:06Copy video clip URL Mayes speaks on the lingering impressions on the consistency and unpredictability of violence brought on by the two world wars, as well as the worry of increased nuclear weaponry provoking rather than discouraging war. 

3:43Copy video clip URL Robert Dean, Under-Secretary of State, emphasizes that the United States’ approach to nuclear weaponry “is one of nuclear deterrance.” Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon strategic analyst, speaks on the effectivity of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) in the cold war, as well as plans for more powerful nuclear weapons such as the MX (now known as the LGM-118 Peacekeeper) and the Pershing II. Roy Woodruff, Deputy Director, Nuclear Weapons Design at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, claims that international affairs have “reached a balance of terror,” though, due to nuclear weapons’ destructive potential, they will likely have little actual military utility.

5:35Copy video clip URL Kathleen Lawton, a correspondent, introduces West Germany’s role in the threatened nuclear war: should this nuclear war, in fact, break out, West Germany stands as the first to be affected by it. She stands in front of the city of Bielefeld, one of the very first cities to be potentially destroyed due to its proximity to the border with East Germany.

5:56Copy video clip URL A resident of Bielefeld calls for nonviolent resistance. “I’m not only afraid of the Americans, but I’m afraid too of the russians. I think both sides have a very big armament, and we must try to stop the race– the armament race– on both sides. I think we could start here, in West Europe, to stop it.” An older German woman, blinking away tears, decries efforts for nuclear war. Having lost her father and brother in World War II, she expresses her fear of impending war, as does a younger German woman, a Christian, who speaks after her. 

7:00Copy video clip URL Lawton describes the resistance efforts occurring in Germany and signs off.

7:21Copy video clip URL The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War hold their annual congress in Amsterdam. Dr. Adeoye Lambo, deputy director of the World Health Organization, speaks to a listening audience, painting a picture of the danger contained in continual escalation.

8:01Copy video clip URL A missile launches, shooting upward into the sky. Roy Woodruff speaks in favor of the European introduction to the Pershing II as well as the ground launch cruise missile, arguing that they are necessary to respond to Soviet nuclear activity and do not change the already-set balance of power in any way. Woodruff states that he would prefer the use of the cruise missile rather than the Pershing II to avoid preemptive strikes.

8:42Copy video clip URL Mayes provides the perspective of anti-nuclear activists. As opposed to Woodruff, Mayes explains, activists see the ground launch cruise missile as something which has the potential to change the balance of power because it can be easily concealed, making it a potential first strike weapon.

9:08Copy video clip URL The Puget Sound Women’s Peace Camp gathers to protest the Boeing company’s activity building cruise missiles, following in the tradition of the Women’s Peace Camps in Britain. A member of the Peace Camp argues for the importance of women-led spaces in peace demonstrations. 

10:07Copy video clip URL Protesters gather in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the location of large research sites for nuclear weapons. A protester talks about Sandia Labs. A representative from the Navajo Nation, John Redhouse, speaks on the United States’ actions in extracting uranium from Navajo land. Says Redhouse, “There are still some 150 unreclaimed uranium mines on the Navajo reservation still emitting unacceptable levels of radiation and endangering the lives of people who live here today.” State legislator Judith Pratt talks about the extensive military spending in New Mexico.

12:09Copy video clip URL Mayes introduces the counter-protest in Alberquerque in support of weapons development. A counter-protester advocates for the American government needing support, questioning the lack of protest against Russia. Activist Phillip Berrigan, on the other hand, argues that anti-Russian sentiment is merely an excuse to reposition blame. Another protester points out that citizens living in the area of nuclear test sites deserve, at least, to know what is being produced in the place they live, as a shot of that very protester being dragged away by police officers plays. 

13:22Copy video clip URL Robert Dean says that the planned deployment of American nuclear weapons is in response to Soviet nuclear activity. Daniel Ellsberg says that the past Soviet creation of excess missiles was in response to American missile numbers. Mayes explains basic design and cost of the MX missile, introducing a demonstration attempting to stop the production of the MX missile, and goes over mixed messages from the US government on whether production of the MX missile will go through. Dean claims that creation of the MX missile is undeniable. 

15:06Copy video clip URL A shot opens on a ceremony for the commissioning of the USS Florida, an “underwater nuclear arsenal” and the second of thirty planned Trident submarines, according to Mayes. Both supporters and protesters gather at the event, including a sailing ship from Greenpeace, resulting in one hundred and twenty-six arrests. Senator Paula Hawkins from Florida speaks publicly in support of the USS Florida, saying that the submarine “will be a vital force for the preservation of peace and the American way of life.” A demonstrator talks about nonviolent protest. Hawkins states, “we must remember that we live in a very dangerous world, a world filled with violence and conflict between nations.” Nonviolent protestors talk about the importance of respect, even in ideological clashes or those between protestors and police. 

18:07Copy video clip URL Dean argues that arms control is “a means of managing and regulating the US-Soviet relationship” and helps control military posturing.

18:46Copy video clip URL Near the San Francisco Bay Area at Lawrence Livermore, where the majority of nuclear production begins, protesters hold a large demonstration consisting of almost three thousand people and a thousand arrests and consisting of people from a number of groups, such as doctors, parents, seniors, young people, and Catholics. Father Michael Park condemns the killing of civilians through nuclear weaponry, a stance that Roy Woodruff from Lawrence Livermore also takes up, though Woodruff adds that American policy does not contain such measures. “We see nonviolent civil disobedience,” says Park, “as a stand of faith which is also a form of political expression.” Protesters recite the Hail Mary.

21:59Copy video clip URL The police arrive as Mayes narrates, describing their almost ritualistic interaction with protesters. Sue Stephenson, a lab employee, speaks in favor of the lab’s work in keeping peace. Woodruff expresses both empathy and annoyance for the protesters, accusing them of being driven primarily by emotion rather than logic. Father Michael Park draws a connection to the original Apostles, arguing that they, as he does, thought it more important to follow the rules of God than those established by human communities, as well as Aquinas’s statement that “an unjust law is not a law.” A senior demonstrator and a teenager both speak in favor of civil disobedience, despite its illegal nature. “I’m under eighteen, and I have no way of making my voice heard in the government, and I think that civil disobedience is the best and most effective and a very important way of getting my voice heard by all those people who don’t want to listen to what I have to say.” Berrigan chimes in on the question of civil disobedience, saying that nonviolent resistance is a more human expression of the law. One final protester argues for the impact of his arrest as a more effective means of getting his voice across.

25:11Copy video clip URL Bernard Mayes closes out the newsreel, accompanied by footage of a nuclear explosion in reverse and the question of whether the progress that has been made may be undone.

26:20Copy video clip URL Credits. 



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