Introduction Back in the mid 1990s, as the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII and the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki approached, the nation’s museum, The Smithsonian, announced a special new exhibit displaying the Enola Gay, the bomber that was used to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The original plan was to place this object in context, with a measured and complex examination of the impact that it had on history.
What erupted was an epic political battle over history and how we remember and tell the story of how we ended the war. It was one of the most traumatic and emotional public debates of the 1990s that led to books, TV shows, and an incredible amount of impassioned debate and argument.
Eventually, the airplane would be displayed in a stripped-down exhibit with many changes. It was displayed for only three years, and then removed from the public museum.
Read these stories and look for more on your own. Feel free to take notes here as well. Then, answer the question below.
Your personal response When you finish your personal response (treat it like a journal entry- a few thoughtful paragraphs will be good), upload just the response itself below to turnitin.com. Here is a prompt to get you thinking:
How do you think the Enola Gay should have been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum on the 50th anniversary? How should the exhibit have been structured? Why do you think this exhibit inspired so much passionate debate? What does this story reveal about the importance of history, how we preserve it, and how we tell it? If the Smithsonian decided to bring the Enola Gay out again this year, for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and the dropping of the bombs, how would you want it handled?