Hiroshima officials threaten to pull out of bomb exhibit

September 28, 1994|By Chicago Tribune

TOKYO -- Officials at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Museum are threatening to withdraw from the Smithsonian Institution's atomic bomb exhibit if it is changed in a way that "does not reflect the feelings of the people of Hiroshima."

The U.S. Senate last week passed a resolution urging the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum to modify the exhibit to reflect the mood and concerns of American World War II veterans as well as victims of the world's first use of atomic weapons.

The exhibit as initially proposed cast the estimated 130,000 Japanese civilians and soldiers killed by the bomb, which fell on Aug. 6, 1945, as victims of an aggressive, ruthless U.S. consumed by vengeance and racism. The bomb destroyed 90 percent of Hiroshima.

That proposed portrayal of events drew protests from scores of U.S. veterans groups. Most Americans who lived through that era believe dropping the bomb saved thousands of GI's who otherwise might have died during an invasion of the Japanese islands.

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