Enola Gay 

The Enola Gay Controversy

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The following World Wide Web document is the product of a collaborative effort by students in the College of Library and Information Services. It focuses on the controversy created by the Smithsonian's exhibit on the Enola Gay, the first airplane to drop an atomic bomb.

In 1994, an almost 50 year debate on what to do with the Enola Gay came to an explosive head. This project is not an opinion on whether the Smithsonian was correct to cut out major parts of its planned exhibit, but a look at the history of the plane and the atomic bomb, up to and including the controversy that took place over the exhibit.

We have delved into many facets of the plane's existence, starting with the events in World War II which led up to the dropping of the atomic bomb, the bomb's development, and the actual decision to drop the world's first atomic bomb. From there, we have traced the effects the dropping of the bomb had on the citizens of Hiroshima, as well as nuclear proliferation from 1945 until the present day.

In focusing on the recent controversy, we have shown some of the Congressional Record as well as internal Smithsonian decisions about the exhibit. We have also included press articles and releases, as well as reactions from Veteran's groups, who felt that the original plan for the exhibit made the United States out to be the aggressors and the Japanese the victims. This perspective is discussed in a section on revisionist history. Listserv discussion threads on both the historical and the museum controversy have been pulled together.

Included within this site is a collection of relevant photographs that were collected to illustrate the pages, as well as a bibliography.

This is the homepage of the Enola Gay Perspectives site; initiated as a group project in Spring 1995 for a class offered by the College of Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland, College Park.
For a list of the people responsible for the creation of this project, please take a look at the credits page, and send any questions or comments to enola@oriole.umd.edu.