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9/1/1994. Air Force Magazine publishes its second major article: "The Enola Gay exhibit still lacks balance and still is emotionally charged, but the Smithsonian says the plans are final."
"The Last Act at Air and Space," by John T. Correll, Air Force Magazine, 09/94, 58ff. []
9/6/1994. Poignant protest letter to Harwit from Jesse Brown, Secretary of Veterans Affairs: "Most of the many hardened combat veterans I know make peace with their enemies. Some go so far as to meet and embrace their former adversaries as if to say we are all one in the eyes of God. No one is suggesting that we turn our backs on the victims that all war creates. But we cannot allow the Enola Gay exhibit to become judgmental in any way. To do so would impugn the motives of people whose service to this nation, and to the human race for that matter, was honorable in every sense of the word." It is just one of a collection of protest letters from early summer through the end of the year by such organizations as American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, American Ex-Prisoners of War, 20th Air Force Association, The Military Order of the World Wars, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Exchange Club of Capitol Hill, Retired Enlisted Association, American Legion, Daedalians, Retired Officers Association, Confederate Air Force, Jewish War Veterans.
first batch: [PDF]
second batch: [PDF]
9/9/1994. Correll's detailed response to the third draft: "the museum still has an attitude. . . . taken overall the exhibition still lacks balance and context."
MEMO TO: Publisher, Magazine Staff []
9/10/1994. Veterans respond in letters to the editor:
"Hiroshima Bomb Display Still Distorts History," New York Times, 09/10/94, 1:18. "The exhibit should be a celebration." [SFX]
"They Would Have Fought to the Death," Wall Street Journal, 09/12/1994, A17. "[The exhibit] is an insult to all veterans." "They [Japanese women and children] were armed with bamboo spears, bows and arrows, and kotchas, a kind of lethally shaped garden hoe." [SFX]
9/11/1994. AFA Resolution: "But further improvements can and must be made in the main exhibit. In other words, the 'American perspective' must be incorporated throughout."
9/12/1994. AFA press release.
"AFA Says Enola Gay Revisions Must Go Further" []
9/12/1994. Veteran-Congressman blasts the exhibit: "In 1943, I left the United States for the Pacific theater as an 18-year-old Army Air Force recruit prepared to defend my country against one of the most brutal aggressors of our time. Fifty years later, I find myself again defending our country from another surprise attack, this time from American scholars attempting to rewrite history."
"Defending America from Scholars," by Tom Lewis, Air Force Times, 09/12/94, 33 [SFX]
9/13/1994. A pro-Smithsonian historian attacks the issue of the projected number of invasion casualties, challenging the "conventional wisdom" that the bomb was needed to offset a million American casualties.
This is the classic and now controversial post-war political explanation for dropping the bomb by the Secretary of War -- the source of the high casualty estimate that was a continual bone of contention: "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb," by Henry L. Stimson, Harper's Magazine, February 1947: 97-107. "We estimated that if we should be forced to carry this plan to its conclusion [invasion of the mainland], the major fighting would not end until the latter part of 1946, at the earliest. I was informed that such operations might be expected to cost over a million casualties, to American forces alone." [SFX]
Relevant to read at this point might also be: "Was the Hiroshima Bomb Necessary? An Exchange," by Joseph Alsop and David Joraysky, New York Review of Books, October 23, 1980: 37-42. [SFX]
"We Didn't Have to Drop the Bomb," by Gar Alperovitz, Wall Street Journal, 09/13/1994, A19. [SFX]
For a handy summary of the debate among historians about dropping the bomb: "Pro and Con on Dropping the Bomb." []
9/19/1994. Michael Heyman takes office as the new Secretary of the Smithsonian replacing Adams as Harwit's boss: "Our first script for the exhibition was deficient," he says immediately.
"Head of Smithsonian Institution Is Quitting after 10 Years at Helm," by Irwin Molotsky, New York Times, 09/14/93, A20. [written last year when Adams announced retirement] [SFX]
"Storming the Castle," by Larry Van Dyne, Washingtonian, August 1994. [the process and politics of hiring] [SFX]
"Smithsonian Secretary Robert McCormick Adams Looks to New Horizons," by Michael Kernan, Smithsonian, September 1994, 12-14. [SFX]
"Big Man on Mall Campus," by Jeffrey Staggs, Washington Times, 09/19/94, C11. [SFX]
"Michael Heyman, Airing the Nation's Attic," Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post, 09/20/94, D1. [SFX]
9/19/1994. Correll writes to military groups about "further action," making, in effect, a list of demands.
MEMO TO: The Military Coalition and Associate Members []
9/19/1994. The executive committee of the Organization of American Historians writes the Smithsonian Board of Regents urging them to support the NASM staff: resisting the political pressure and censorship efforts is the issue.
9/20/1994. Peace groups meet with Harwit. Rev. John Dear submits ten suggestions and the Fellowship of Reconciliation issues a press release "The basic tone, we would argue, should be that the atomic bombing . . . was a grave mistake and that the only way to ensure that it never happens again is to dismantle every nuclear weapon and every weapon of mass destruction that we possess and learn non-violent ways to resolve international conflict."
10 suggestions: [PDF]
news release: [PDF]
9/21/1994. NASM starts revisions of draft #3 in direct head-to-head, across-the-table consultation with the American Legion. Harwit: "The only way we can try to understand each other's point of view and reach agreement is by sitting down and talking about our differences."
9/22/1994. Under the leadership of Senator Nancy Kassebaum, the US Senate overwhelmingly passes a "sense of the Senate" (non-binding) resolution against the proposed exhibit.
July 21: Kenneth Goss of the AFA to Senator Dole: "The Association recognizes and acknowledges that war against any nation for any reason is a grim prospect, hardly suitable for glamorization." [PDF]
August 18: Representative Stump to Adams: "Patriotic World War II veterans and their families are contacting me to express anger over this intellectually dishonest attempt at apologist history by academics in the Air and Space Museum." [PDF]
August 22: Steve Aubin of the AFA to Representative Blute: "Window-dressing and other minor technical fixes will not solve the problem here." [PDF]
September 8: Representative Skelton to Harwit: "I am outraged about the sympathetic manner in which Japanese imperialism is portrayed in the Enola Gay exhibit." [PDF]
September 9: Representative Lancaster to Adams: "I urge you to take personal responsibility to ensure that the final product accurately reflects the context of the Enola Gay's misssion." [PDF]
"Senate Resolution 257 -- Relating to the 'Enola Gay' Exhibit," Congressional Record -- Senate, 09/19/94, vol. 140, no. 131 [PDF]
September 20: Hatch to Senator Kassenbaum: "I am writing to commend you for bringing the Enola Gay exhibition issue to the attention of your colleagues on the floor yesterday." [PDF]
9/27/1994. Hatch to Harwit, criticizing the most recent draft and summarizing AFA's broad concerns: "there are serious lingering structural, contextual and ideological issues that still must be addressed."
9/1994. Sampling of coverage in September by major media.
"It's Time to Change from 'Politically Correct' to just 'Plain Correct,'" Aviation History, September 1994, 6. "Our national repository of things aeronautical is suffering from a terminal case of PCitis." [SFX]
"'Last Act' Curators Pushed Critical Text," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 09/01/1994, A1. "The curators . . . were determined from the start to present a show focusing on the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to dispute long-held views about why the weapon was used." [SFX]
"Air and Space Museum Falls for the Political Correctness Ruse," by Charles Spence, General Aviation News & Flyer, 09/01/94, 5. "Perhaps conditions today have changed. Fifty years is a long time and leaders change; goals, ambitions and actions of nations change. But history should not change." [SFX]
"Smithsonian's Second Look," Providence Journal-Bulletin, 09/01/94, A22. "Even the motives of ordinary Americans who served in the armed forces in the Pacific are derided by the Smithsonian's resident historians. Your tax dollars at work." [SFX]
"Enola Gay's Lessons Valuable Only If Complete Story Is Told," Austin American-Statesman, 09/02/94, A12. "History is often not pretty nor pleasant, but the only way we learn from it is if it is presented fully." [SFX]
"Atomic Tug-of-War," Indianapolis Star, 09/02/94, A16. "Sherman was right. War is hell. But it is nonsensical to find fault with an individual or a nation that uses all available means to avoid conquest or indefinite bloodletting by a ruthless enemy." [SFX]
"Hiroshima and the hectoring herd," by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Washington Times, 09/02/1994, A18. "It has taken decades for the Japanese to derive any benefit whatsoever from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now, however, thanks to the politically correct pinheads over at the Smithsonian Institution, some good has come from this otherwise dreadful event. The nuked cities have allowed the otherwise prosperous and decidedly conservative Japanese to qualify, along with so many other wretches, as victims of Yankee imperialism." With editorial cartoon by Paine: "I think the Smithsonian's getting carried away with this historical revisionism." [SFX]
"Cost of Hiroshima Will Never Be Fully Paid Off," by Robert Reno, Newsday, 09/02/94, A5. "[The Smithsonian] has been forced by a witless public controversy to revise its grim treatment of Hiroshima in ways that give greater emphasis to Japanese perfidy and American nobility of purpose. Maybe they'll bring in Disney people as consultants." [SFX]
"WW II Airmen Gather in Storm," by William Mullen, Chicago Tribune, 09/02/94, A1. "The men who dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 49 years ago were in Chicago, finding themselves still in the middle of a fight." [SFX]
"The Enola Gay and the 'Last Act' of World War II," Washington Times, 09/04/94, B2. Letters in response to various articles, including one by Harwit. "The Enola Gay exhibit will provide a valuable service if it provokes us to remember that there are limits to warfare that we must never transgress." "The only truly balanced exhibit would be one that shows the reasons we entered World War II and the effectiveness of the A-bomb in ending it." [SFX]
"Smithsonian and the Bomb," New York Times, 09/05/94, 1:16. "The Smithsonian would probably have worked its way to a more balanced exhibition without pressure from Congress. . . . That process was short-circuited by the protests, but it is not too late to get it back on track." [SFX]
"What Was Crueler Than 'Enola Gay'?" by Mario Battista, St. Petersburg Times, 09/05/94, 2. "Some people seem to possess a natural inclination to present historical facts in such a distorted manner as to discredit and defame our country in the eyes of the world." [SFX]
"On World War II, Truth Hurts," by Tom Teepen, The Ledger, 09/06/94, 9A. "The Hiroshima-Nagasaki lesson is brutal but forever apt. The business of war is killing. If you don't like that, don't start one." [SFX]
"Revisionists Shortchange History," By Roger Simon, Rocky Mountain News, 09/06/94, 30A. "If those who control the past really do control the future, then you can see why the fight over the Enola Gay is so important." [SFX]
"Defending America from Scholars," by Tom Lewis, Air Force Times, 09/12/94, 33. "The Smithsonian has the obligation to tell the truth to the American people. When I am convinced this exhibit fulfills this mission, I will again support my favorite museum." [SFX]
"Hiroshima and the Time Machine," by Lance Morrow, Time, Sept 19, 1994, 94. "To turn the Japanese into the victims of World War II, and the Americans into the villains, seemed an act of something worse than ignorance; it had the ring of a perverse generational upsidedownspeak and Oedipal lese majeste worthy of a fraud like Oliver Stone." [SFX]
"Heeding All the Lessons of Hiroshima," by Colman McCarthy, Washington Post, 09/20/94, D21. "A half-century is enough passage of time for apologies, forgiveness and reconciliation to replace the uselessness of rehashing. Both countries would be the better for that kind of exhibit." [SFX]
"Revisionists Need to Look at Real Record," Patriot News, 09/25/94. Letter to the editor: "Every year in August, when the misinformed, misguided who do not know, try to exculpate the Japanese and blame the Americans for the A-bomb, I remember the guy in that hospital bed 50 years ago ['not much more than a torso, with a head, parts of arms and legs']." With editorial cartoon by Beattie: "The Mushroom Anti-Defamation Society wants us to come up with a different term for the cloud." [SFX]
"At Ground Zero," by Ken Ringle, Washington Post, 09/26/94, A1. "2 views of history collide." [SFX]
"NY Protest of Bomb Exhibit," Susan Price, Newsday, 09/26/94, A8. "It is anti-American by not correctly including the circumstances of our getting in to the war." [SFX]
"Japanese Leery of Enola Gay Presentation," Chicago Tribune, 09/28/94. "If the exhibition becomes something that would not reflect our wishes, we will refuse cooperation." [SFX]
"Half-Baked History Deserves the Heat," by Marianne Means, The Oregonian, 09/30/94. "The original script was written by Vietnam-era staffers who did not consult military historians or World War II veterans." With editorial cartoon by Bok: "You Smithsonian people are nuts." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Bows to Critics," by Eugene L. Meyer, Washington Post, 09/30/94, A1. "Responding to a rising crescendo of criticism, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum said yesterday that it is overhauling its planned exhibit." [SFX]