An Exhibit Of The National Air And Space Museum

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In 1993, a plan to build an exhibit of the Enola Gay in the National Air and Space Museum received immense amounts of criticism from military historians, journalists, and veterans, as they felt that it didn’t correctly portray the Japanese and those in the American armed forces during the war. The book’s authors offer theories ranging from historical context, how Japan’s role in the war was interpreted, the American people’s discomfort regarding Truman’s order to drop the bomb, the mood of Americans during Vietnam, and the American lives spared as a result of the bomb. Edward Linenthal’s Anatomy of a Controversy conveys that Martin Harwit, the director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, wanted to transform the day of August 6. The anniversary of Hiroshima had previously been “a day of protest and recrimination,” and Harwit’s goal in mind was to turn the anniversary into one of reflection. If the exhibit was perceived in the wrong way, Harwit feared it could be interpreted as celebration (Linenthal, 19). Veterans who were aboard the B-29 airplane were the first to direct their criticism over the exhibit, arguing that the exhibit would not be displayed correctly. “It was an insult to every soldier, sailor marine and airman” by not clearly describing that Japan had actually caused the United States’ intervention in the war (Linenthal, 20). Following the first draft, a few historians felt as though the proposed draft did not adequately “do

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