An exhibit on the atomic bombing of Japan will balance the destructiveness of the bomb and the need to use it, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution says.
Robert McC. Adams wrote to two dozen members of Congress who expressed concern the coming exhibit will give the impression Japan was an innocent victim of the atomic bomb dropped by the B-29 bomber known as the Enola Gay."The world was forever changed by the release of (the) bomb, and the proper task of the Smithsonian is neither to apologize for nor to celebrate this change but to account for it," he said in his letter, dated Tuesday.
The exhibit, still in development, is scheduled to open next year and will include part of the Enola Gay.
The lawmakers had heard the exhibit would include 84 pages of text and 97 photographs on Japanese suffering but less than one page and only eight photographs on pain inflicted by Japan on others between 1930 and 1945.
The Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing or injuring 160,000 people and destroying more than four square miles. A second atomic raid, on Nagasaki three days later, led to Japan's surrender.
Adams said exhibits are constantly revised during development and many of the concerns were based on early versions of the script.
"The development of the atomic bomb took place in a hugely destructive war that the United States had no part in initiating," Adams said.