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Round Five - The Wake of the Controversy: June 28, 1995, to January 2004

It is important to be clear about what happened at the Smithsonian. It is not, as some have it, that benighted advocates of a special interest or right-wing point of view brought historical power to bear to crush and distort the historical truth. Quite to the contrary. Narrow-minded representatives of a special-interest and revisionist point of view attempted to use their inside track to appropriate and hollow out a historical event that large numbers of Americans alive at that time and engaged in the war had witnessed and understood in a very different — and authentic — way. -- Washington Post, February 1, 1995.

Round Five is mainly a collection of post-mortems, retrospects, and analyses of the exhibit broadening out to controversy over the actual dropping of the bomb itself as the August 6, 50th anniversary arrived. But of especial interest are Harwit's final defenses and the ABC television shows by Peter Jennings and by Ted Koppel that essentially take different stances on how to remember the end of the war. In Round Five the controversy over how the Enola Gay should represent history gradually becomes history itself.

But, then, for a brief period, almost a decade later, history repeats itself, with a reverse twist. As the National Air and Space Museum prepares to open its new museum at Dulles Airport, the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy forms to challenge plans to exhibit the Enola Gay solely as a "magnificent technological achievement" when the plane goes on permanent display there in December 2003. In addition, some Japanese register negative sentiments about the way the plane is labeled, and there is even an act of vandalism directed at the plane by a few other protestors.