Randall Hansen: Historian decries change to war museum exhibit

Historians in the News

Historian Randall Hansen is calling the Canadian War Museum's decision to amend an exhibit after veterans complained craven and appalling.

Mr. Hansen, a professor at the University of Toronto, this year testified before a Senate subcommittee investigating the historical accuracy of a text panel appearing on a Bomber Command exhibit entitled, An Enduring Controversy.

Mr. Hansen is one of at least five historians who found the 67 words of text were balanced and factually correct.

This week the museum stated that the exhibit would be changed and that the new wording is being considered.
"I think the decision is absolutely appalling both substantively and in terms of the process for making the decision," Mr. Hansen said Wednesday.

The panel states that Bomber Command and American attacks on Nazi Germany left 600,000 Germans dead, but did not halt German war production.

"The value and morality of the strategic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested," the panel reads.

"Bomber Command's aim was to crush civilian morale and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial installations. Although Bomber Command and American attacks left 600,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless, the raids resulted in only small reductions of German war production until late in the war."

Many veterans may not enjoy the conclusion that bombing of Nazi Germany in the Second World War had a marginal effect on the war's outcome, but it is historically accurate, Mr. Hansen said.
Read entire article at CanWest News Service

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