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1/1995. In the last section of this article, this historian points to a "redefinition of morality" with the dropping of the bomb: "it was that redefinition of morality [regarding "mass killings by bombing civilians"] that made Hiroshima and Nagasaki possible and ushered in the atomic age in a frightening way."
"The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered," by Barton J. Bernstein, Foreign Affairs, Jan 1995, 135ff. [SFX]
1/1995. The American Legion keeps the fires burning: "Justice is what this controversy is all about. Justice to the memory of the WW II veterans. Justice to the generations we leave behind. And justice to a nation that nurtured and sustained us over the past 50 years."
"Watchdog for Veterans," American Legion, Fall 1994, 20, 68 (written in November 1994). [SFX]
"The Proposed Enola Gay Exhibit, Is It An Accurate Portrayal of History?" by Julie A. Rhoad, American Legion Auxiliary National News, Jan-Feb 1995, 12-15. [SFX]
1/1995. Historians Committee for Open Debate on Hiroshima forms.
[ Archived]
For a general view of historians under fire, see also: "Who Owns History?" by Karen Winkler, Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 20, 1995, A11, 18: "a lot of the critics of history today are scared of students who ask questions. They don't necessarily want to see an informed electorate, but a compliant one." [SFX]
1/1995. Heyman writes about the challenge of interpretive exhibits: "Interpretation has an important role to play in a national museum involved in education as well as in the simple display of objects. . . . But controversy can also be destructive to learning and to perceptions of a museum's integrity. . . . We at the Smithsonian are seeking to undertand when controversy is productive, when destructive, and how to assure that our integrity and reputation for balance and fairness do not suffer."
"Smithsonian Perspectives," by I. Michael Heyman, Smithsonian, January 1995, 8. [SFX]
1/1995. Japanese perspective:
Michio, Saito. "Yomigaeru borei Enora Gei: Sumisonian tenshi ronso" [Reviving the Dead Spirit of the Enola Gay: The Controversy over the Smithsonian Exhibit]. Chuo Koron January 1995: 44-55. [SFX]
1/1/1995. Air Force Magazine publishes its fifth major article. The letter is revealing: "The purpose of the National Air and Space Museum is to display articles of hardware. The purpose of the Air and Space Museum is not to editorialize (on anything) nor to teach social righteousness."
"Doctored History," by Jerry W. Faust, Air Force Magazine, 01/95, 7. Letter. [SFX]
"Air and Space Museum Hit by Academic Backlash," by John T. Correll, Air Force Magazine, 01/95, 13. [SFX]
1/1/1995. Nine letters to the editor in Los Angeles: "Were the Japanese defending their unique culture when they bombed Pearl Harbor?" "About 30 guys I went to school with are still in those and other islands [Iwo Jima and Okinawa]. Underground."
"Debate Rages over Hiroshima Bombing and Exhibition," Los Angeles Times, 01/01/95, E5. [SFX]
1/4/1995. The American Legion recommends a "final position" on the proposed exhibit.
1/9/1995. Director Harwit changes the "invasion casualty" number agreed on with the American Legion to a much lower 63,000.
1/18/1995. The American Legion calls for cancellation of the exhibit and director Harwit's firing.
1/19/1995. The American Legion writes again to President Clinton.
1/20/1995. AFA press release: "it is time to cancel this exhibit."
"AFA Blasts the Air and Space Museum on Enola Gay Reversal" []
1/23/1995. "Open Letter" from the NASM curators to Heyman drafted by Gregg Herken but unsent apparently at Harwit's wish: "We believe that a decison to cancel 'The Last Act' would not only lend credence to the mistaken impression of bias in the exhibit, but it would, even more importantly, stifle the free expression of differing viewpoints on a critical episode in modern American history."
"An Open Letter to the Smithsonian Secretary and Council from the Curators of the National Air and Space Museum," 01/23/95. [PDF]
1/24/1995. 81 members of the House call for director Harwit's resignation and for congressional hearings on the exhibit: "In effect, Mr Harwit's actions were a slap in the face to all the parties who contributed their time and expertise in creating an exhibit that best reflects the contributions that all Americans made to the culmination of World War II.
1/25/1995. Editorial in the American Legion's home town vigorously calls for Harwit's firing: "Americans who love their country are increasingly disgusted with the carping of elitists dedicated to tearing down national morale, insulting national pride and debasing national achievements."
"History and Hokum," by Rose Kennedy, Indianapolis Star, January 25, 1995: A12. [SFX]
1/1995. Sampling of coverage in January by major media before the cancellation.
"American Legion - approved Atomic Bomb exhibit," editorial cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, January 1995. [SFX]
"Why We Dropped the Bomb," by William Lanouette, Civilization, Jan-Feb 1995, 28-39. "As rational people, we like to think that momentous decisons are based on reason and conviction or . . . 'mature consideration.' Hiroshima reminds us that fear and doubt are every bit as important as reason and conviction. Whatever the verdict on the bombing of Japan, one thing is certain: It was not done after 'mature consideration.' At a time when humanity has developed weapons powerful enough to destroy the planet, that failure may be the most important legacy of the Pacific war." [SFX]
"Political Correctness Comes Out of the Attic at the Smithsonian," by Stephen Goode, Insight, January 2, 1995: 30-32. (See Heyman's response below.) "The single aim of the politically correct exhibits? To make viewers feel that as Americans, they are guilty of promoting devastation, pillage, and other crimes." [SFX]
"The Enola Gay Exhibit a Mainstream Victory," Mobile Register, 01/06/95, 6A. "If the Enola Gay battle is any measure, conservatives have not only found their voices, they've also got their wits about them." [SFX]
"As a Generation Fades, So Does The Awareness of a War Gone By," by John Shaughnessy, Indianapolis Star, 01/11/95. "[Young people] haven't been given the education they need, which is a problem with the revisionism in history we have going on." [SFX]
"The Voices of Vets on the Atomic Bomb," by Joan Beck, Indianapolis Star, 01/12/95. "Distorting history while those who lived it are still alive is infuriating. Just ask the veterans who fought the desperate, deadly battles of World War II." [SFX]
"Enola Gay Exhibit Loses Legion's Aid," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 01/19/95, A3. "As the exhibit stands now, it ought to fall. . . . We think it has no place in the nation's capital." [SFX]
"Don't Mark War Anniversary with Stamp Backing Big Lie," by Patrick G. Coy, Washington Post, 01/19/95. "Our commemorations ought to be solemn, sensitive and above all truthful. We owe the vaporized dead, some of whose shadows are burned into the concrete of Hiroshima, nothing less." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Stands Firm on A-Bomb Exhibit," by Eugene L. Meyer, Washington Post, 01/19/95, C1. "Smithsonian officials had no comment after the terse 10-minute meeting, but National Legion Commander William M. Detweiler described it as "disappointing.' 'I expressed our concerns and reasons for getting involved,' he said. 'I thought we'd have an open discussion.' Detweiler said Heyman told him he could not cancel the exhibit. 'He said, "I guess there's nothing else to talk about." [SFX]
"Group Seeks to End Enola Gay Display at the Smithsonian," New York Times, 01/20/95, A25. "The American Legion demanded today that the Smithsonian Institution cancel an exhibit on the Enola Gay. . . . The Smithsonian had no comment." [SFX]
"The Enola Gay Explosion," Washington Post, 01/20/95, A20. "The fuselage of the Enola Gay is an emotion-soaked artifact and a piece of historical heritage that the American people deserve to get a look at. They also deserve a historical presentation worthy of the subject and of the standards the Smithsonian Institution unaccountably let slip in this chaotic case." [SFX]
"Vets Blast A-Bomb Exhibit," by Andrea Stone, USA Today, 01/20/95, 1A. "To try to appease the political correctness of the academic types is wrong." [SFX]
"This Is One Mission That Should Be Scratched," by Sandy Grady, San Jose Mercury News, 01/22/95. "Memory is still too raw. Wait a generation. Wheel the Enola Gay back to its hangar and let the old bird rest in peace." [SFX]
"Benson's View," Arizona Republic, 01/25/95, B4. Editorial cartoon ("First we obliterated Hiroshima and vaporized 140,000 Japanese non-combatants") [SFX]
"Fallout at the Smithsonian," by Ken Adelman, Washington Times, 01/25/95, A16. "Today's Enola Gay episode shows the difficulty of reaching certainty in history." [SFX]
"Museum Director's Job on the Line," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 01/25/95, A1. "House Republican leaders were among 81 lawmakers yesterday to demand the firing of [Harwit] accusing him of bungling a planned exhibit on World War II." [SFX]
"Dismissal Sought over Enola Gay," by Mike Feinsilber, Philadelphia Inquirer, 01/26/95, A3. "But Smithsonian secretary I. Michael Heyman is standing behind the director, Martin Harwit." [SFX]
"80 Lawmakers Demand Ouster of Director of Air Museum," by Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 01/26/05, A12. "More than 80 Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives have demanded the dismissal of [Harwit] over a disputed exhibit about the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb." [SFX]
"Dense Smithsonian Merits Scrutiny," by Marianne Means, Knoxville News Sentinel, 01/26/95, A10. ["The Smithsonian] regards the display not as a symbol of American victory in the most deadly war in history but as a golden tax-payer funded opportunity for antinuclear propaganda." [SFX]
"Museum Director Backed by Boss," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 01/26/95, A3. "The secretary has said he will not be letting him go." [SFX]
"Real State of the Union," by George Will, Washington Post, 01/26/95, A25. "The Smithsonian Institution . . . is besotted with the cranky anti-Americanism of the campuses where the American left has gone to lick its wounds, rationalize its irrelevance and teach the humanities as an indictment of America as a blemish on Western civilization, which itself is considered a blemish on the planet." [SFX]
"U. S. Exhibit on Bomber Is in Jeopardy," by Karen De Witt, New York Times, 01/28/95, 1:8. "Mr. Gingrich said today that he welcomed the impending cancellation, saying the Smithsonian should not be a plaything for left-wing ideologies." [SFX]
"Enola Gay a Minor Exhibit?" Kansas City Star, 01/28/95, A12. Has editorial cartoon: "We've rewritten the war with Japan. Now I suggest that we rewrite the war with Germany from the Nazi point of view." [SFX]
"Whose Memory Lives When the Last Survivor Dies?" by Gustav Niebuhr, New York Times, 01/29/95, E5. "A site like Auschwitz and an artifact like the Enola Gay are seen as having moral lessons to impart, and not just to this generation. But to know what the lessons are, there must be explanations. With the stakes so high, there is bound to be controversy." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Elitists Distort World War II Facts," by Jack Powers, South Bend Tribune, 01/29/95, A20. "Scrub it. Scrap the whole damned, divisive idea at least until we recover common sense." [SFX]
"Tax Revenues vs. Historic Truth," by Philip Terzian, Providence Journal-Bulletin, 01/29/95, 11D. "This is not the first time the Smithsonian has mounted a tax-payer funded offense against historic truth." [SFX]
"Controversy over Enola Gay Comes to a Head," by David Dahl, St. Petersburg Times, 01/29/95, 1A. "President Harry Truman often said he had no second thoughts after deciding to drop atomic bombs on Japan and end the war in the Pacific. Not so with the Smithsonian Institution 50 years later." [SFX]
"Another Bomb for Enola Gay," by Thom Marshall, Houston Chronicle, 01/29/95, A29. "If the Enola Gay is exhibited it should be done without any of the 500 pages of comments, out of respect for all those who have their opinions based upon first-hand knowledge and experience." [SFX]
1/30/1995. Sample newspaper coverage on the day the Smithsonian Regents meet to decide the fate of the exhibit.
"Don't Rewrite History," by Robert K. Dornan, USA Today, 01/30/95, 14A. Representative Dornan: "Congress must ensure that the Enola Gay exhibit does not demean the sacrifices of our forces." [SFX]
"How they brought down the Enola Gay," by Stephen Robinson, Daily Telegraph, 01/30/95, 19. "The Smithsonian is a magnificent institution, but the briefest visit shows how public museums, like American universities, have become infected with political correctness." [SFX]
"Hijacking History," New York Times, 01/30/95, A18. "To reduce the complexities or painful ambiguities of the issue to slogans or historical shorthand is wrong. . . . To let politicians and groups with a particular interest frame the discussion and determine the conclusion is worse. . . . The real betrayal of American tradition would be to insist on a single version of history. . . . Historians and museums of history need to be insulated from any attempt to make history conform to a narrow ideological or political interest." [SFX]
"Politics has no place in the Enola Gay Exhibit," USA Today, 01/30/95, 14A. "Members of Congress should butt out and let the curators do their jobs." [SFX]
"Change in Size and Tone of Enola Gay Exhibit May Defuse Long Dispute: History Made Simple," by Arthur Hirsch, Baltimore Sun, 01/30/95, 1D. [SFX]
"The Kulchur Warriors Hit the Beach," Washington Times, 01/30/95, A20. "The elite . . . appears to be all but invincible, as long as the apparatus of cultural hegemony exists, and that ought to lead the new majority in Congress to the conclusion that it is now time to get on with winning the war against the elite once and for all." [SFX]
1/30/1995. An interview with Paul Tibbets on the day the Regents meet too.
"Man Who Dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima Wants Exhibit Scuttled," by Eugene L. Meyer, Washington Post, 01/30/95, D01. "I've never lost night's sleep over [dropping the bomb], and I never will." [SFX]
1/30/1995. Secretary Heyman announces the cancellation and replacement of the exhibit: "I have concluded that we made a basic error in attempting to couple an historical treatment of the use of atomic weapons with the 50th anniversary commemoration of the end of the war."
Also available at: []
See also Heyman's article under Feb 13.
Interview a few years later elicits some information about his decision: "An American Institution," American Legion Magazine, March 1998, 28-29, 52, 59: "[the exhibit] was flawed from a public relations sense. The original script, beyond any doubt, was not an adequate script." [SFX]
1/30/1995. Sample of immediate response to the cancellation:
"Enola Gay -- Mission Controversy," MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, 01/30/95, Transcript #5153. Heyman, Harwit, Tibbets, historians, American Legion, etc. [SFX]
"Smithsonian Pulls Planned World War II Exhibit," All Things Considered (NPR), 01/30/95, Transcript #1743-1. Heyman, American Legion, peace activist. [SFX]
"Smithsonian Agrees to Modify Exhibition of the Enola Gay," CBS Evening News, 01/30/95. Heyman, historian, American Legion [SFX]
"Smithsonian Exhibit of Enola Gay," ABC World News Tonight, 01/30/95, Transcript #5021-6. House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich: "I thought the Secretary showed considerable good judgment in deciding that the academics had overreached." [SFX]
1/31/1995. Sample reaction continued.
"The Trend of History," Wall Street Journal, 01/31/1995, A18. "With the Enola Gay exhibit thrown over the side, it's inevitable that we'll be hearing and reading a lot now about the dark, descending night of Republican intolerance and philistinism." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Scuttles Exhibit," Washington Post, 01/31/95, A1. "Heyman's action may be an exercise in damage control, but clearly it didn't satisfy everyone." [SFX]
"The Enola Gay Exhibit," Rush Limbaugh, 01/31/95. "That's what's gone wrong with history -- that it's open to discussion and political correctness." [LexisNexis]
"Smithsonian Scraps Exhibit on Hiroshima," by Eugene L. Meyer and Jacqueline Trescott, Chicago Sun-Times, 01/31/95, 6. "[Heyman] also expressed regret that the controversy has 'led some to doubt the value of historical inquiry by museums." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Plans a Stripped-Down Enola Gay Display," Star Tribune, 01/31/95, 1A. "The display will show only the fuselage of the B-29 that dropped the bomb -- without commentary." [SFX]
"Strangers to Our Own Past," by Mike Barnicle, Boston Globe, 01/31/95, 13. "How did we get to a point where we so glibly offend the reality of history in order to appease revisionists trying to look at 1945 through a ridiculously altered rear-view mirror?" [SFX]
"Hiroshima: A Controversy That Refuses to Die," by John Kifner, New York Times, 01/31/95, A16. "Fifty years after the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay was used to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the decision that ushered in the nuclear age is still the subject of fierce debate." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Scales Back Exhibit of B-29 in Atomic Bomb Attack," by Karen De Witt, New York Times, 01/31/95, A1. "This spring, when the Smithsonian Institution displays part of the fuselage of the Enola Gay . . . it will be accompanied only by a small plaque and perhaps a video interview with its flight crew." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Cancels Exhibit on Atomic Bomb," by Arthur Hirsch, Baltimore Sun, 01/31/95, 1D. "Bowing to pressure . . . the Smithsonian Institution agreed yesterday to junk its upcoming exhibit." [SFX]
"Exhibit Was 'Flawed,' says Smithsonian Chief," by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, 01/31/95, A1. "Mr. Heyman acknowledged he has left himself open to criticism he bowed to political pressure. But he said worrying about such charges should not stop him from correcting a mistake." [SFX]
"Smithsonian Says It Erred," by Richard Serrano, Los Angeles Times, 01/31/95, A1. "For veterans, led by national American Legion officials here, the victory was bittersweet." [SFX]
"Controversial War Exhibit Canceled by Smithsonian," by Craig Hines, Houston Chronicle, 01/31/95, A1. "Heyman's decision, in part, represents an attempt by the Smithsonian to cut its political losses in an era when Republican control of Congress portends trouble for federal spending in general and especially for any organization that appears in the thrall of left-leaning cultural elites." [SFX]
"Smithsonian - Enola Gay revisionism" [Smithsonian official riding the bomb a la Dr. Strangelove] editorial cartoon by Der, Houston Post, 1/31/95. [SFX]
"Smithsonian Bails Out on Enola Gay Exhibit," San Francisco Chronicle, 01/31/95, A18. "Despite the intense political pressures, the decision should have come down squarely on behalf of academic freedom and open, vigorous discourse. The fact that it did not is a telling comment, in itself, on America's inability to confront the full horror of atomic warfare." [SFX]