Martin Harwit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Martin O. Harwit)
Jump to: navigation, search

Martin Harwit (born 9 March 1931 in Prague) is a Czech-American astronomer, author, and was director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1995. He is known for his scientific work on Infrared astronomy, as a professor at Cornell University.[1]

Enola Gay controversy[edit]

In 1994 Harwit became embroiled in public debate when his work on the Enola Gay exhibit, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1945 Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was accused of being "revisionist history" for including Japanese accounts of the attack and photographs of the victims,[2] and for presenting an exhibit script that critics alleged "depicted the Japanese as victims of a United States motivated by vengeance."[3]

Two of the lines about the war in the Pacific became infamous: “For most Americans this war was fundamentally different than the one waged against Germany and Italy—it was a war of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism.”[4] The immediately preceding two sentences did acknowledge that "in December 1941, Japan attacked US bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and launched other surprise assaults against Allied territories in the Pacific. Thus began a wider conflict marked by extreme bitterness." Those lines, in turn, were immediately preceded by the following statements:[5]

Japanese expansionism was marked by naked aggression and extreme brutality. The slaughter of tens of thousands of Chinese in Nanking in 1937 shocked the world. Atrocities by Japanese troops included brutal mistreatment of civilians, forced laborers and prisoners of war, and biological experiments on human victims."

The controversy led Harwit to resign as director of the National Air and Space Museum in May 1995.[6]



Named after him



External links[edit]