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Judgment at the Smithsonian: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Paperback – 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Marlowe & Company; 1st edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569248419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569248416
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to the book as a skeptic based on the contoversy over the exhibit as it had been portrayed in the media. I have studied World War II for over 20 years and have generally supported the decision to use the Atomic Bomb to end the war and save lives. I also speak from the perspective of the son of a WWII USAAF veteran who survived 65 combat missions in the Pacific Theatre, so any exhibit that hinges on the war ending mission of that conflict holds special significance for me and my family.
The way the proposed exhibit was portrayed in the media and from the criticisms presented by the AF Association and others made it appear that the Smithsonian's presentation would be biased toward those who were critical of the use of the Bomb. However, it is clear from the book that the proposed exhibit would have been a very balanced and effective one that would not have detracted from the reputations of the men and women who participated in this project and carried out the mission. I think the critics were objecting to individual portions of the entire presentation out of context and perhaps felt that any attempt to present opposing views would be seen as defaming the efforts of Paul Tibbets and the USAAF. I visit the Air and Space Museum several times per year, as well as the USAF Museum in Dayton OH, and have viewed the Enola Gay exhibit on a number of occasions. While I do like the current exhibit, I now feel somewhat 'cheated', knowing what could have been included if the original exhibit had been completed as planned. I think some of the critics would come to the same conclusion if they took the time to carefully read this entire volume.
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Format: Paperback
"Judgment at the Smithsonian" contains "the uncensored script of the Smithsonian's 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay", as well as an introduction by editor Philip Nobile, and an afterword by historian Barton Bernstein. The exhibit was cancelled after considerable controversy, mainly centered on a single sentence in the script which was quoted by several commentators. The sentence implied Japanese victimhood in that the war was fought "to defend their unique culture against Western Imperialism." However, the complete script was unavailable to the general public until the publication of this book.
After reading the script, it seems reasonable to declare that the criticism was unfair, and the media were guilty of what Nobile labels "biased reporting." But none of the critics can approach Mr. Nobile himself for one-sided journalism in his introduction.
To Mr. Nobile, anyone who does not consider the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as war crimes is either ignorant or contemptible, including those veterans who were assigned to the postulated invasion of Japan. At one point they are dismissed as "white American male intellectuals", and veterans who defend the bombing "wear their trunks too high."
For one of the more outrageous examples, Nobile labels an eminent historian and combat veteran, Paul Fussell, "the Robert Faurisson of Hiroshima denial." Faurisson is a notorious Holocaust denier, but this is not Nobile's slimiest comparison.
Any observer who does tag the bombings as an atrocity is automatically praiseworthy. A. J. Muste is not only a pacifist, he is referred to as "sainted." Linus Pauling is not just "late", meaning deceased, but also "great", because he felt that we should apologize to Japan.
Nobile ascribes no merit whatsoever to the "deniers.
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Format: Paperback

the original script of the censored Smithsonian Enola Gay

exhibit, a forward by Philip Nobile, the editor of the

volume, concerning the controversy over the exhibit and the

morality of the bombings, and an afterword by Barton

Bernstein, which summarizes the evolution, current state,

and relation to the script of historical writings on the atomic

bombings of Japan.

I was interested in this book because I wanted to know why

the opponents of the exhibit objected to it. The script treats a

number of controversial points, such as possible anti-Soviet

motivations for dropping the bomb, or the projected number

of American casulties in an invasion of Japan, by presenting

the various viewpoints expressed in the historical literature

without drawing any definite conclusions of its own. I did

not see what could be objectionable in summarizing what

others had written, nor what purpose would be served by

suppressing a text that was based on well known historical

scholarship, although the treatment of these controversies

was cited by some critics as a reason for their objections.

The fourth section of the script, Ground Zero, which

describes the effects of the bombs, seems to have been the

most objectionable section of the exhibit. Critics charged that

photographs and other evidence of these effects gave the

impression that the bombings were immoral, and that the

exhibit neglected to supply evidence showing that the

bombings were morally justified.
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