Turning History on Its Head

Turning History on Its Head

The Smithsonian script turned history upside down.

America was presented as the aggressor. For Americans it was ” a war of vengeance,” while the people of Japan were fighting ” to preserve their unique culture against Western imperialism. “

These are direct quotes, and they shock those of us who know our history- as well they should.

An opening panel does pay lip servi ce to the fact that “Japanese expansion was marked by naked aggression and ex treme brutality. “

But the staff had planned no illustrations for this panel, thereby removing the shock factor used so effectively throughout the rest of the exhibit- and also inviting the visitor to pass by this panel altogether.

Turning History on Its Head The script was as highl y emotional as it was one-sided.

Photographs of Japa- It should be noted that political activism,

no matter how laudable its purpose, is not an activity for which our national museum was chartered.

Turning History on Its Head nese suffering are used to e lic it the visitor’s utmost sympathy.

This is reinforced by two quotes from American soldiers expressing hatred for the Japanese.

There are no similar photos of Japanese atrocities-mass executions of Ph ii ippine civilians,

the bayoneting of Chinese babies, the Bataan death march, the beheading of captured Allied pilots.

One section reads “Americans were reluctant to take prisoners,” without mentioning the reason: that Japanese would often feign surrender,

then use grenades to kill both themselves and the Americans who were about to take them prisoner.

Beyond this, the script gives the impression through se lective quotes that the weight of military opinion was against the use of the atomi c bomb. This is simply not true.

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