Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The exhibit that bombed : the Enola Gay controversy and the culture wars in the United States
Author: Eken, Mattias
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 2245
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This dissertation seeks to place the so-called Enola Gay controversy of 1994-5 into the wider context of the culture wars in the United States. The controversy surrounded the preparations for an exhibit of the Enola Gay - the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima - at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II. The resulting dispute has traditionally been understood as a clash between commemorative and critical voices in the US. Although this is certainly part of the story, there has been no serious attempt at establishing the location of the controversy within the wider cultural battles in the US. This dissertation therefore seeks to understand how the controversy related to, and had had an impact upon, other debates in the culture wars such as those surrounding provocative art, sexual orientation, and the teaching of history in US schools. This dissertation will argue that the controversy, as part of the wider culture wars, helped lead to a rejection of such notions as compromise and settling disputes through reasoned debate in American political and cultural discourse. Instead, the culture wars have given rise to a new climate for debate, one in which personal conviction based on strong emotions far outweigh any well-reasoned argument based on logic and dispassionate research. The eventual cancellation of the proposed exhibit should therefore be understood as indicative of far wider ideological battles in US culture. The cancellation set a worrying precedent for future debates in the US as it showed that some aspects of the nation's history are beyond question and should not be challenged.
Supervisor: De Groot, Gerard J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Enola Gay ; Culture wars ; 20th century US history ; Smithsonian Institution ; Liberalism ; Conservatism ; 1994 mid-term elections ; National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ; National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) ; World War II ; Commemoration ; Museum exhibits ; National Air and Space Museum (US) ; D767.25H6E6 ; Enola Gay (Bomber)--Exhibitions--Political aspects ; Hiroshima-shi (Japan)--History--Bombardment, 1945--Historiography ; Culture conflict--United States