The Smithsonian has had on display, for the past decade and a half, an exhibit entitled A More Perfect Union. The many millions who have viewed it have been erroneously taught that, during World War II, America grossly mistreated her Japanese minorities, in spite of the “fact” that the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team racked up an unbelievable 18,143 medals (not counting an additional 20 Medals of Honor recently granted because of alleged “racism and biasness” during the war), while suffering 9,486 casualties. Many World War II veterans (including this writer) objected to the Smithsonian many times, all to no avail: The Smithsonian would not budge.
Lee Allen, president of Athena Press, and Sam Allen, investigative reporter, both of Provo, Utah, have now assembled an awesome array of facts demonstrating the falsities of the exhibit. At their request, Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah forced a hearing, which resulted in the Smithsonian agreeing to revise the exhibit. First presented in June 2001, the Allens’ critique challenged the use of the Smithsonian to propagate a particular interpretation of an important historical event using contrived and exaggerated facts and figures. (Incidentally, the Smithsonian accepted a very generous grant from the Japan Ship-builders Foundation, chaired by Ryoichi Sasakawa, a convicted war criminal, to help fund the exhibit.)
The National Museum of American History, under the directorship of Marc Pachter, has agreed to change the number of Purple Hearts awarded to the Nisei 442nd from 9,486 to “between 3,600 and 4,500.” In addition, the total number of medals supposedly awarded will be lowered significantly. The Smithsonian has admitted that, contrary to the exhibit’s “lost battalion” episode, the 442nd did not suffer 814 casualties on that rescue mission. The Smithsonian also admitted that posters claiming that the Nisei “Military Intelligence Service” (a title they somehow acquired after the war) shortened the war by two years and saved thousands of American lives are “indeed misleading” and agreed to modify them.
Lee Allen cites my article in Chronicles (“The Eternal Regiment,” Views, February 1995) as key to getting out the truth. He provides more information on the Smithsonian’s agreement to modify the exhibit on the Athena Press website (athenapressinc.com/smithsonian).