Japanese And German Media Visit Los Alamos

Los Alamos Historical Museum. Courtesy/LAHS


Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the former enemies of the United States are interested to learn how the community that played a significant role in ending the war portrays its own history.

This week, a reporter from the Chugoku Shimbun, a newspaper in Hiroshima, and a German documentary film crew both visited the Los Alamos Historical Museum.

“They both had thoughtful and even challenging questions,” said Heather McClenahan, executive director of the Historical Society. “I think, though, they were both pleasantly surprised at how we portray our history – not glorifying atomic bombs or even the war’s end but sharing the voices of the people who did the work and lived through the times.”

Yumi Kanazaki, the reporter from Hiroshima, is working on a series of articles about how atomic-related history is portrayed in the United States. She was especially interested to learn that the Historical Society is applying for a grant through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services that will facilitate a cultural exchange between the Los Alamos Historical Museum and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Her articles will appear starting in January.

Klaus Scherer, a reporter for NDR Fernsehen in Germany, is working on a documentary that focuses on the dropping of the bomb on Nagasaki. He has visited that Japanese city and interviewed numerous historians as well as one of the crewmembers of the Great Artiste, a support plane for the Nagasaki mission. In addition to filming in the museum, his crew interviewed local resident Bill Hudgins, who served as a member of the Special Engineer Detachment in Los Alamos during the war. The film will also come out next year.

With the television show “Manhattan” having a successful first season and interest in the pending Manhattan Project National Historical Park growing, the Historical Museum has seen a 9 percent increase in visitation this fall over the same time last year. That interest is likely to spike in the coming year with the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.