A fiery controversy ensued that demonstrated the competing historical narratives regarding the decision to drop the bomb. There its wings began to rust and vandals even damaged the plane. In , the Enola Gay was fully disassembled and moved to the Paul E. In the s, members of the th Composite Group asked for a proper restoration of the aircraft. Their motivations, at this time, stemmed primarily from the poor condition of the aircraft.
Truman's Enkla to use atomic weapons. The current controversy continues Older women young boy stories acrimonious debate about exhibiting the Enola Gay that began in Explore the collection. The planned exhibition was replaced by a simple display of the fuselage of Enola Gay with little historical context. Their motivations, at this time, stemmed primarily from the poor condition of the aircraft. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Glenn L. The two-letter code represented the plant at which Enola gay museum aircraft was built, in this case, Martin in Omaha. The bomb, code-named " Little Boy ", was targeted at the city of HiroshimaJapan, and caused the near-complete Enola gay museum of the city.
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HarwitDirector of the National Air and Space Museum, was compelled to resign over the controversy. United States Army Air Forces. Insects and birds then gained access to the aircraft. Archived from the original on 24 June Hoddeson, Lillian; Henriksen, Paul W. It also asks the museum to cosponsor a Enpla on the history of nuclear weapons. Main article: Gau bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jeppsonremoved the safety devices 30 minutes before reaching the Enola gay museum area. President's Secretary's File, Truman Papers". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Martin O. Retrieved 3 August
On 6 August , during the final stages of World War II , it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb.
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- On 6 August , during the final stages of World War II , it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb.
A fiery controversy ensued that demonstrated the competing historical narratives regarding the decision to drop the bomb. There its wings began to rust and vandals even damaged the plane.
In , the Enola Gay was fully disassembled and moved to the Paul E. In the s, members of the th Composite Group asked for a proper restoration of the aircraft. Their motivations, at this time, stemmed primarily from the poor condition of the aircraft.
Restoration efforts by the Smithsonian started on December 5, Linenthal, who was on the advisory board of the Enola Gay exhibit. His vision for the museum diverged from previous directors. This vision included his conscious decision to display the Enola Gay. In , NASM had begun discussing the need for bigger buildings to house larger modern aircrafts, and in , the museum had surveyed candidates for the future annex and decided upon the Dulles Airport. This proposed annex would solve the hassle of disassemble and reassemble larger aircrafts.
The Enola Gay had recently finished being renovated and the museum had been concerned about transportation and reassemble fees; therefore, the proposed annex appeared to be a fitting location. They decided to exhibit the Enola Gay at the annex, with an accompanying message about the dangers of strategic bombing and escalation. Hatch Jr. If anything, incredibly, it gives the benefit of opinion to Japan, which was the aggressor…Japanese aggression and atrocities seem to have no significant place in this account.
For a detailed timeline of the controversy, see here and here. Veterans and military groups, such as the American Legion, also began voicing their dissent. They felt that the exhibition dishonored veterans by discussing the controversy over the decision to drop the bomb and displaying graphic photos of atomic bomb victims.
But the unrelenting media attacks and criticisms led Harwit to consult military historians, and on their recommendations, the museum produced a revised script.
During the revision process, the section on the legacy of the bomb shrank dramatically, which angered Japan. The section on Japanese wartime atrocities was expanded. These revisions, however, did not fully satisfy the opposing groups and sparked a new wave of criticism.
Ultimately, the script would be revised up to five times. On January 30, , Smithsonian Secretary Michael Heyman announced the decision to replace the exhibition with a smaller display and made the following statement:.
They were not looking for analysis, and, frankly, we did not give enough thought to the intense feelings such an analysis would evoke. On May 2, Harwit resigned. The planned exhibition was replaced by a simple display of the fuselage of Enola Gay with little historical context.
It was accompanied by a video presentation that included interviews with the crew before and after the mission. The text describing the display was limited to the history and development of the Boeing B fleet.
The other part of the exhibition described restoration efforts. While the simplification of the exhibit was intended to quiet most of the criticism, especially those of the American Legion, the final exhibit did not satisfy everyone. Numerous historians and scholars, many from the "revisionist" side of the debate over the use of the atomic bombs , protested the exhibit in a letter to the Secretary of the Smithsonian on July 31, Meanwhile, the artifacts on loan from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the graphic photos of victims were relocated to the American University Museum.
This exhibition opened on July 9, with minimal protests. Officials from the University stated it was not intended as a replacement for the Enola Gay exhibition at the Smithsonian. Phil Budahn, a spokesman for the American Legion, stated in a New York Times article , "The Smithsonian is a Federal agency supported by taxpayer money, and rightly or wrongly, what it portrays is seen as the United States version of history. At American University, those constraints don't apply.
The exhibition of the fuselage ran from January to May Despite all the controversies, this exhibit drew more than a million visits in its first year alone, and a total of nearly four million visitors by the time it closed. It would be one of the most popular special exhibitions in the history of the Air and Space Museum. Udvar-Hazy Center. Located near Dulles Airport, it provides a permanent home for Enola Gay , as originally proposed back in In its two hangars, the Center displayed 80 aircraft on opening day, and today it holds In its first two weeks, the Center had more than , visitors.
It now averages one million visitors per year and is the most-visited museum in Virginia. The exhibition of Enola Gay, following its trend of controversy, also raised a new round of protests , from Japanese survivors and others.
Two men were even arrested for throwing red paint, which dented the plane, during protests on opening day. Gallagher, Edward. New York: Copernicus, Kohn, Richard H. Linenthal, Edward T, and Tom Engelhardt, eds. New York: Holt Paperbacks, Thelen, David. Browse our collection of oral histories with workers, families, service members, and more about their experiences in the Manhattan Project. Skip to main content. Controversy over the Enola Gay Exhibition.
History Page Type:. Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Monday, October 17, Related Video:. More Historical Resources:. Hirsch, Arthur. Hear the stories of the Manhattan Project Browse our collection of oral histories with workers, families, service members, and more about their experiences in the Manhattan Project. Support our efforts - visit our store!
The petition says that should the museum fail to respond, "we will join with others in this country and around the world to protest the exhibit in its present form and to catalyze a national discussion of critical nuclear issues. Crew B-9, commanded by Captain Robert A. It also asks the museum to cosponsor a conference on the history of nuclear weapons. Enola Gay became the center of a controversy at the Smithsonian Institution when the museum planned to put its fuselage on public display in as part of an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport, which will also feature other aviation artifacts too large for the main facility on the National Mall—such as the Space Shuttle Enterprise , an SR Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, and the Dash 80 prototype of the Boeing Edward T. New York: Copernicus.
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Enola Gay | National Air and Space Museum
Skip to content. Boeing's B Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Udvar-Hazy Center. This exhibition was on display in Gallery from June 28, to May 17, The historic Boeing B Enola Gay is shown here just after being restored and re-assembled in The airplane, which received the most extensive restoration in the museum's history, is on display at the Steven F.
Boeing's B Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Although designed to fight in the European theater, the B found its niche on the other side of the globe.
In the Pacific, Bs delivered a variety of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons. Three days later, Bockscar on display at the U. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions. Boeing's B Superfortress was the most sophisticated, propeller-driven, bomber to fly during World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments.
Boeing installed very advanced armament, propulsion, and avionics systems into the Superfortress. During the war in the Pacific Theater, the B delivered the first nuclear weapons used in combat. On August 6, , Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. Three days later, Major Charles W.
Sweeney piloted the B Bockscar and dropped a highly enriched plutonium, implosion-type atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. On August 14, , the Japanese accepted Allied terms for unconditional surrender. In the late s, U. Army Air Corps leaders recognized the need for very long-range bombers that exceeded the performance of the B Flying Fortress.
Several years of preliminary studies paralleled a continuous fight against those who saw limited utility in developing such an expensive and unproven aircraft but the Air Corps issued a requirement for the new bomber in February It described an airplane that could carry a maximum bomb load of kg 2, lb at a speed of kph mph a distance of at least 8, km 5, miles. Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed responded with design proposals. The Army was impressed with the Boeing design and issued a contract for two flyable prototypes in September In April , the Army issued another contract for aircraft plus spare parts equivalent to another 25 bombers, eight months before Pearl Harbor and nearly a year-and-a-half before the first Superfortress would fly.
Among the design's innovations was a long, narrow, high-aspect ratio wing equipped with large Fowler-type flaps. This wing design allowed the B to cruise at high speeds at high altitudes but maintained comfortable handling characteristics during slower airspeeds necessary during takeoff and landing. More revolutionary was the size and sophistication of the pressurized sections of the fuselage: the flight deck forward of the wing, the gunner's compartment aft of the wing, and the tail gunner's station.
For the crew, flying at altitudes above 18, feet became much more comfortable as pressure and temperature could be regulated in the crew work areas. To protect the Superfortress, Boeing designed a remote-controlled, defensive weapons system. Engineers placed five gun turrets on the fuselage: a turret above and behind the cockpit that housed two.
One of these turrets fired from behind the nose gear and the other hung further back near the tail. Another two. Gunners operated these turrets by remote control--a true innovation. They aimed the guns using computerized sights, and each gunner could take control of two or more turrets to concentrate firepower on a single target. Boeing also equipped the B with advanced radar equipment and avionics.
These systems were accurate enough to enable relatively accurate bombing through cloud layers that completely obscured the target. Bs also routinely carried as many as twenty different types of radios and navigation devices.
By the end of the year the second aircraft was ready for flight. Fourteen service-test YBs followed as production began to accelerate. Building this advanced bomber required massive logistics. Both Curtiss-Wright and the Dodge automobile company vastly expanded their manufacturing capacity to build the bomber's powerful and complex Curtiss-Wright R turbo supercharged engines.
The program required thousands of sub-contractors but with extraordinary effort, it all came together, despite major teething problems.
By April , the first operational Bs of the newly formed 20th Air Force began to touch down on dusty airfields in India. By May, Bs were operational. In June, , less than two years after the initial flight of the XB, the U. This mission longest of the war to date called for Bs but only 80 reached the target area.
The AAF lost no aircraft to enemy action but bombing results were mediocre. The first bombing mission against the Japanese main islands since Lt. This was also the first mission launched from airbases in China. However, they employed high-altitude, precision, bombing tactics that yielded poor results. The high altitude winds were so strong that bombing computers could not compensate and the weather was so poor that rarely was visual target acquisition possible at high altitudes.
LeMay ordered the group to abandon these tactics and strike instead at night, from low altitude, using incendiary bombs. These firebombing raids, carried out by hundreds of Bs, devastated much of Japan's industrial and economic infrastructure. Yet Japan fought on. Martin modified these Superfortresses by removing all gun turrets except for the tail position, removing armor plate, installing Curtiss electric propellers, and modifying the bomb bay to accommodate either the "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" versions of the atomic bomb.
As the Group Commander, Tibbets had no specific aircraft assigned to him as did the mission pilots. He was entitled to fly any aircraft at any time. He named the B that he flew on 6 August Enola Gay after his mother. In the early morning hours, just prior to the August 6th mission, Tibbets had a young Army Air Forces maintenance man, Private Nelson Miller, paint the name just under the pilot's window.
Enola Gay is a model BMO, serial number After the war, Army Air Forces crews flew the airplane during the Operation Crossroads atomic test program in the Pacific, although it dropped no nuclear devices during these tests, and then delivered it to Davis-Monthan Army Airfield, Arizona, for storage.
Later, the U. The bomber remained at Andrews in outdoor storage until August By then, concerned about the bomber deteriorating outdoors, the Smithsonian sent collections staff to disassemble the Superfortress and move it indoors to the Paul E.
Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland. The staff at Garber began working to preserve and restore Enola Gay in December This was the largest restoration project ever undertaken at the National Air and Space Museum and the specialists anticipated the work would require from seven to nine years to complete.
The project actually lasted nearly two decades and, when completed, had taken approximately , work-hours to complete. Udvar-Hazy Center, April 10, View Exhibition. Summary Long Description. Collection Item Summary: Boeing's B Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Collection Item Long Description: Boeing's B Superfortress was the most sophisticated, propeller-driven, bomber to fly during World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments.
Physical Description Four-engine heavy bomber with semi-monoqoque fuselage and high-aspect ratio wings. Polished aluminum finish overall, standard late-World War II Army Air Forces insignia on wings and aft fuselage and serial number on vertical fin; th Composite Group markings painted in black; "Enola Gay" in black, block letters on lower left nose.
Manufacturer Boeing Aircraft Co. Martin Co. Explore the collection.