The Horrifying Hollywood Movie That Determined U.S. Nuclear Policy

Operation Ivy Provoked Such Controversy That Future Nuclear Test Films Were Kept Secret From the Public

On a hot June day in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sat down in the cool confines of a White House screening room to watch a horrifying movie. Produced by government-backed Hollywood filmmakers, it recounted the recent test of an American thermonuclear bomb in the South Pacific. Part documentary, part disaster pic, Operation Ivy featured Hollywood actor Reed Hadley and footage of the complete annihilation of a Pacific island as large as Washington, D.C.

Eisenhower was stunned. But there was one thing he knew for sure after watching it: all …