Mushroom clouds were a common sight in the Nevada desert and the Pacific Proving Ground between 1945 and 1962.
The US used the regions to carry out more than 200 atmospheric nuclear tests, before above ground explosions were banned in 1963.
Now, a team of nuclear weapon physicists is seeking to preserve decomposing footage of those tests by embarking upon a major digitisation project.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLLN) uploaded the first 64 declassified videos to its YouTube channel this week.
Greg Spriggs, a weapon physicist at LLLN, told Gizmodo: “I think that if we capture the history of this and show what the force of these weapons are and how much devastation they can wreak, then maybe people will be reluctant to use them.”
In a YouTube video introducing the project, Spriggs said they’ve uncovered about 6,500 of the 10,000 films made during that era of history.
“By looking at these films, we found a lot of different pieces of information that had not been analysed back in the ‘50s, and we’re discovering new things about these detonations that have never been seen before,” he said.