The Enola Gay ControversyHistory on trial Main Page

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10/1/1994. New Secretary Heyman tries to strike a delicate balance in his first public statement about the controversy (though this was written in August, even before his 9/19 installation as Secretary): "Controversial issues arise from time to time from equally well-intentioned curatorial interpretations and can be especially testing for a Secretary-elect."
"Smithsonian Perspectives," by Michael Heyman, Smithsonian, October 1994, 9 [SFX]
Also: Letter to the Editor, "The PC Smithsonian," by Michael Heyman, U.S. News and World Report, 10/31/94 [SFX]
10/1/1994. Brief update by Correll in Air Force Magazine.
"Museum Promises to Change Enola Gay Exhibition," by John T. Correll, Air Force Magazine, 10/94, 16 [SFX]
10/3/1994. Draft #4 of the exhibit by NASM.
10/6/1994. Statement by Representative Gerald B. H. Solomon: threatens the Smithsonian with the "power of the purse" that Congress wields:
"Political Correctness: America through the Eyes of the Smithsonian," Congressional Record, 10/6/94, vol. 140, no. 144-Part II [PDF]
10/7/1994. Veterans respond to Alperovitz's Sept 13 article.
"The Carnage That Led to the Bomb," Wall Street Journal, 10/07/94. Letters to the editor. "One cannot help but suspect that many in the debate are more interested in advancing an agenda of today than in understanding the dilemmas of the past." "The Japanese held 400,000 slave laborers captive in August 1945 -- all had been sentenced to execution if American forces landed in Japan." "After spending two years in New Guinea and the Philippines we were convinced that this would be our last landing and that we would die on the beaches." [SFX]
10/11/1994. Peace group official weighs in: "The United States, as the only country in the world to use the atomic bomb, has a responsibility to recognize the significance of that act and to take the lead in insuring that it never happens again. We need honest reflection on the bombing and its enormous cost to humanity, not uncritical glorification of the American war effort."
"The Japanese Victims," by Jo Becker, New York Times, 10/11/94, A20. [SFX]
10/13/1994. The Organization of American Historians passes a resolution asking that the Smithsonian be freed from political interference: "The Organization of American Historians condemns threats by members of Congress. . . . further deplores the removal of historical documents and revisions of interpretations of history for reasons outside the professional procedures and criteria by which museum exhibitions are created."
[PDF]
10/14/1994. The American Legion affirms its watchdog role: "We see [the exhibit] as disseminating a deconstructed view of American history with the potential to undermine . . . our people's faith in our forefathers." (See also: Jan 1995)
"We're Making Sure that Smithsonian corrects Enola Gay Exhibit," by Hubert Dagley, Washington Times, 10/14/1994, A20 [SFX]
See also: "Rewriting Enola Gay's History," by Brian D. Smith, American Legion, November 1994, 26-28, 64-68 [SFX]
10/16/1994. Pro-Smithsonian historians responding and receive responses.
"The Curators Cave In," by Kai Bird, New York Times, 10/09/94, 4:15. "The Smithsonian should display history with all its uncomfortable complications, and not feel-good national myths," and not engage in self-censorship. [SFX]
"Why Hiroshima Still Haunts America's Psyche," by Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, New York Times, 10/16/94, 4:14. "It has never been easy to reconcile dropping the bomb with a sense of ourselves as a decent people." [SFX]
"Beyond the Smithsonian Flap: Historians' New Consensus," by Gar Alperovitz, Washington Post, 10/16/94, C3. "While it is impossible to defuse all the emotions around the Enola Gay exhibition, research findings of the last two decades can help clarify several basic questions." See Newman, 11/30/94. [SFX]
"Revisionist Historians Are Like Arm-chair Quarterbacks," San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/16/94, G3. Letter to the editor. "My blood boils when revisionist historians . . . challenge the views of history of those who actually lived it." [SFX]
U. S. Compassion," Newsday, 10/25/94, A35. Letter to the editor. "The promoters of the Enola Gay exhibit missed a great opportunity. They could have shown that American compassion is unique among nations." [SFX]
"'Only 46,000 Saved," Orlando Sentinel. Letter to the editor. "Oh, that these learned people would volunteer to be in the front lines when they talk of sending our young people to settle disputes in other countries." [SFX]
10/17/1994. Correll critiques the Oct 3 fourth draft: "Unfortunately, the built-in structural bias of the exhibit plan remains. It leads the visitor, step by step, to the 'Ground Zero' section where the curators pull their planned emotional trigger."
The Smithsonian's Interim Revision. [http://www.afa.org/media/enolagay/04-11.html]
10/19/1994. In his Oct 28 memo to Hatch, Correll mentions a three-hour meeting with NASM today.
10/20/1994. AFA press release.
"Enola Gay Exhibit Improved, but Significant Work Remains" [http://www.afa.org/media/enolagay/06-04.html]
10/25/1994. Nightline does a show featuring Heyman and American Legion Commander William Detweiler, who says, "We're concerned to see that the valor of the U.S. servicemen is properly represented and properly presented in the exhibit."
Nightline, 10/25/94, Transcript #3502 [SFX]
10/26/1994. Draft #5 of the exhibit by NASM: "The Last Act." This fifth version of the exhibit, now called "The Last Act," is the last draft the NASM did. "The Last Act" has six units as compared to the five in "Crossroads." A brand new Unit 1 called "The War in the Pacific" is followed by revised versions of the other five units in the original order, some with different titles.
For a cyber-exhibit done by the Japanese using excerpted selections from "The Last Act," see "Cyber Exhibit: Enola Gay and the Atomic Bomb." [http://www.nhk.or.jp/nuclear/e/text/sumiso.htm Archived]
A side-by-side comparison of the first draft ("Crossroads") and last draft ("Last Act"). [http://nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/history/post-cold-war/smithsonian-controversy/index.htm]
Unit 1.1: The War in the Pacific (1-25) [PDF]
Unit 1.2 (26-53) [PDF]
Unit 2.1: A Fight to the Finish (1-23) [PDF]
Unit 2.2 (24-50) [PDF]
Unit 3.1: The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1-30) [PDF]
Unit 3.2 (31-62) [PDF]
Unit 4.1: Enola Gay: The B-29 and the Atomic Missions (1-26) [PDF]
Unit 4.2 (27-52) [PDF]
Unit 4.3 (53-83) [PDF]
Unit 5.1: Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1-26) [PDF]
Unit 5.2 (27-49) [PDF]
Unit 6: Japan Surrenders (1-22) [PDF]
10/1994. Sampling of coverage in October by major media
"Smithsonian Substantially Alters Enola Gay Exhibit After Criticism," by Neil Lewis, New York Times, 10/01/94, 1:10. "After months of criticism by veterans groups and members of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution has agreed to make major changes in its planned exhibit." [SFX]
"Wounds of War still color Enola Gay's place in history," by Andrea Stone, USA Today, 10/05/94, 7A. "In the battle between those who study history and those who live it, there are few weapons more powerful than memory." [SFX]
"Natural Born Killers" ["It bombed with the critics, so the Smithsonian has agreed to re-edit"] editorial cartoon by Paine, Washington Times, 10/7/94. [SFX]
"Dropping a Bomb of an Idea," by Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, 10/10/94, B2. "The Air and Space Museum meant to turn an exhibition of a weapon of war into a philippic not merely against war but against the United States." [SFX]
"The National Museums of PC," by John Leo, U.S. News and World Report, 10/10/94, 21. Also see Heyman's reply on the "Letters" page, Oct 31, 1994. "The same dark vision of America as arrogant, oppressive, racist, and destructive increasingly runs through the Smithsonian complex." [SFX]
"Legion in Hot Seat as Exhibit Is Retooled," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 10/11/1994, A1. "Although other veterans groups have complained formally, some World War II veterans grumble that Mr. Harwit sought to divide them by doing business face-to-face with only one group." [SFX]
"Smithsonian A-Bomb Display Distorts History," by William Craig, New York Times, 10/11/94, A20. "Is it not humiliating that veterans groups had to negotiate with the curators?" [SFX]
"Enola Gay Should Not Be Used as an Apology to Japan," The Leaven, 10/14/94. Letter by Ben Nicks. "No American soldier ever complained about the early end of WWII thanks to the Enola Gay." [SFX]
"Japanese Threaten to Cut Ties with A-Bomb Exhibit," by Joyce Price, Washington Times, 10/15/94, 1. "[A Japanese official] said that the [Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum] is worried the changes 'do not reflect the feelings and wishes of the people of Hiroshima [which include] a desire to convey the huge destructive power of nuclear weapons and the suffering these weapons bring about." [SFX]
"Dropping of Atomic Bomb Saved American and Japanese Lives, Reader Claims," Knoxville News-Sentinel, 10/16/94, F5. Letter. "It troubles me that they never mention the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor . . . the barbaric treatment of prisoners which included chopping the heads off downed flyers." [SFX]
"Our Boys or the Bomb? Truman's Agonized Appraisal of the Cost of Invading Japan," by Chalmers Roberts, Washington Post, 10/16/94, C3. "Truman's curiosity [about anticipated American casualties during an invasion of Japan] is relevant today as debate swirls over how to observe the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing." [SFX]
"Watching Rights," by Aryeh Neier, Nation, 10/17/94: 408. "The claim that hastening the end of the war justifies the means can be invoked by any combatant to legitimize any form of terror. If incinerating scores of thousands of civilians can be justified in this manner, what is beyond the pale?" [SFX]
"Death March Survivors Remember the Horror," by Janine DeFao, Sacramento Bee, 10/17/94, B1. "As a nation . . . we are collectively forgetting the atrocities of World War II, the suffering of our own prisoners of war." [SFX]
"No Peace for Enola Gay," by Eugene L. Meyer, Washington Post, 10/21/94, C2. "Veterans groups are pleased with recent changes and the promise of more. . . . But revisions intended to mollify one set of critics appear to have energized others." [SFX]
"Hiroshima Sends Gore an Enola Gay Protest," Japan Times, 10/21/94, 2. "The mentality that justifies not only the dropping of the atomic bomb, but also war itself, makes us, the citizens of Hiroshima, angry and sad." [SFX]
"Who's in Charge at Air and Space?" Washington Post, 10/25/94, A16. Letter Letter: "why was this controversy allowed to go on for so long?" [SFX]
"Snoopy at the Smithsonian," Wall Street Journal, 10/25/1994, A16. "It is clear that the cadres at the Smithsonian see themselves as missionaries to a great unwashed public steeped in ignorance and delusion." [SFX]