Martin Harwit is a Czech-American astronomer, author, and was director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1995. His scientific work on Infrared astronomy as a professor at Cornell University is notable.
In 1994 he became embroiled in public debate when his work on the Enola Gay exhibit, celebrating 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, and for presenting an exhibit script that critics alleged "depicted the Japanese as victims of a United States motivated by vengeance."
Two of the lines about the war in the Pacific became infamous: â€œFor most Americans this war was fundamentally different than the one waged against Germany and Italyâ€”it was a war of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism.â€ 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 Paciï¬c. Thus began a wider conï¬‚ict marked by extreme bitterness." Those lines, in turn, were immediately preceded by the following statements: