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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 387

The authors who have contributed chapters to History Wars are all concerned with the central theme of controversy over American history. Concentrating mainly on disagreements among American attitudes toward the end of World War II, they address the decision to drop the atomic bomb and subsequent changes in popular, academic, and military perspectives toward the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. One particular interpretative effort sparked their decision to write about this subject and contextualize it within attitudes toward other situations that they regard as similar. This was a planned exhibition about the bombings that would focus on the first attack when an airplane called the Enola Gay loosed its weapon onto Hiroshima. Facing strong opposition to a draft of the intended text, the National Air and Space Museum ultimately decided to scale the exhibition way back and put just part of the airplane and a single video on display.

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Because it seemed crucial to the planning team to help museum visitors reflect on the five decades that had passed since the bombing, the museum had expected the exhibit to coincide with the anniversary of the war’s end. However, they wanted to ensure that the attitude was not celebratory and that the victims of the bombing were not forgotten. The museum’ s director, Martin Harwit, also had to recognize that he had not anticipated that veterans and military experts would see their contribution had been shortchanged. Even more, the fissures in American society ran much deeper than he had realized. Finally, he resigned...

(The entire section contains 387 words.)

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