The Beginning or the End: A Discussion About the New Book and the Bomb

August 5, 2020
- 7:00 pm ET
Virtual Event

August 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the use of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Not long after the bombs were dropped in 1945, MGM set out to make a movie studio chief Louis B. Mayer called “the most important story” he would ever film based on warnings by the scientists: a big budget dramatization of the Manhattan Project and the invention and use of the revolutionary new weapon. That movie, The Beginning or the End, began as a cautionary tale would become little more than pro-bomb propaganda due to revisions and retakes ordered by President Truman and the military—for reasons of propaganda, politics, and petty human vanity (this was Hollywood).

Greg Mitchell’s new book The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood—and America—Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb chronicles the never-before-told story behind Hollywood’s historic flop, and the secret campaign to silence the scientists who tried to warn the world about a nuclear arms race.

On the eve of the anniversary of the devastation of Hiroshima, Greg Mitchell and Rod Lurie, director of this summer's #1 new film, The Outpost, discuss the MGM film The Beginning or the End, how it was subverted, and the political and media manipulations of the “Hiroshima narrative” that persist today.