The Time for Propaganda

15 May 2018

History | Politics | War and Conflict

Create Not a Handful of Ashes. Digitised from the archives of the British Film Institute (BFI).

During this Age of Information (or should I say Too Much Information?), it’s difficult to log onto any social media site and avoid the turbulent disorder that is the world’s political stage. We’re constantly being exposed to some kind of political scandal or conflict that we simply must be aware of to stay well-informed. And so, with the waves of Wi-Fi reporting on nuclear deals gone wrong and the world on another precipice, I thought I’d serve up the AMD Special: a film from the archives of the British Film Institute.

Found amongst the reels of the Socialism on Film Module I Wars & Revolutions collection, Create Not a Handful of Ashes is a film on what could be learned from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the Chernobyl disaster. It is an argument for disarmament and the terrible consequences of any future war. The film also considers the long-term impact on the genetics of any surviving humans, and the consequences of a nuclear winter on our planet. It's the kind of propaganda we can all get behind. The kind that gives a message of hope that’s worth remembering: We’ve been on the brink before and we stepped away. So maybe we can step away again?

Below are a few clips from the 1987 film produced by the Kiev Popular Science Film Studios, including interviews with various academics on the threat they faced during the formative years of the Cold War, a year after history's largest nuclear disaster. 

A commentary on the bombing of Hiroshima:

An interview with academician Moiseev on the event of a nuclear winter:

An interview with Dr Theoktistov on nuclear and non-nuclear war:

Socialism on Film Module I: Wars & Revolutions is available now! For more information, including free trial access and price enquiries, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


About the Author

Julia Kovnat

Julia Kovnat

Since joining the AMD team as an Editorial Assistant in August 2016, I've had the opportunity to research many different time periods. My days can jump from 17th-century documents of the East India Company to 20th-century newsreels from the Soviet Union. A time traveller's dream!