Monroe W. Hatch, Jr.
September 27, 1994
Dr. Martin Harwit
National Air and Space Museum
Washington, D.C. 20560
I am writing in response to your letter
of September 21. While your August 31 script was an
improvement over the May 31 script, there are serious
lingering structural, contextual and ideological issues
that still must be addressed.
As you know, I presented our main
concerns in a detailed letter dated August 24, 1994. I
am enclosing that letter as an attachment to this, since
most of the problems I outlined there in reference to
the May 31 script still exist. I also want to restate
that I believe you would be better served if you
expanded the charter of the military curators you have
assigned to work on the new addition to the exhibit and
let them help you modify the entire exhibit.
I believe by now it is evident that
veterans’ groups, including the Military Coalition,
members of Congress, military historians, and many
others are not satisfied with your August 31 script. I
am not their spokesman, but I believe all would agree
that your new addition fronting the exhibit will help
add balance, although using the “American Perspective”
in the title of this section is an obvious mistake. A
number of your critics believe that sections 100, 200,
and 300 are salvageable with detailed line-in, line-out
work (refer to my August 24 comments). However, sections
400 and 500 must be changed significantly. The lighting
change in section 400 is welcome, but the section itself
should be subdivided as described below. In the
remaining “Ground Zero” portion, another 25 photos
should be deleted to meet your original direction to
reduce this section by two-thirds. Section 500 also
needs to undergo major change. We recommend discarding
everything beyonhd page 16 and replacing it with the
material described below.
Let me summarize again our broad
structural, contextual and ideological comments as they
apply to your August 31 script revision.
- Begin the War in the Pacific section with 1931
instead of 1937 and chronicle the Japanese march from
Manchuria onward and the drive to establish the
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
- Eliminate the anti-American speculation, including
material from the previous “Historical Controversies”
that is now camouflaged under new subheadings. In both
sections 200 and 500, the curators continue to cast
doubt upon and question American decisions while
taking Japanese actions at face value.
- Present the casualty issue in greater context. The
casualty toll in the Pacific was rising at the rate of
900 a day. There are many credible estimates of the
casualties of a lnad invasion of Japan put forth by
prominent historians that are far higher than those
cited by your curators.
- Present military actions as such. The curators
tend to emphasize sociological versus military aspects
of warfare. The B-29 bombing campaign (conventional
and nuclear) was military in nature. It should be
portrayed in that context.
- Reduce and subdivide section 400. We recommend the
Imperial Japan: Definant
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