Photographer Joe O’Donnell, 85, Dies--Was involved in Enola Gay controversy
As a presidential photographer, Mr. O’Donnell caught images of Harry S. Truman and Gen. Douglas MacArthur shaking hands at their meeting on Wake Island during the Korean War; Vice President Richard M. Nixon in his “kitchen debate” with the Soviet leader, Nikita S. Khrushchev; and President John F. Kennedy deciding whether to go ahead with the Bay of Pigs invasion.
And the O’Donnell photograph of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin became the most reproduced version of that memorable scene....
Mr. O’Donnell’s work was caught up in controversy in 1995, before the National Air and Space Museum exhibited the Enola Gay, the B-29 that had bombed Hiroshima. His images were supposed to demonstrate the bombs’ horrific effects, but veterans objected that the photos and the words others had written to accompany them gave an unbalanced view that neglected both Japan’s aggression and the bombs’ role in ending the war and saving American lives....
One of Mr. O’Donnell’s pleasures as White House photographer was the moments of intimacy that he got to share with presidents.
In the National Public Radio interview 12 years ago, he told of having summoned his courage to ask Truman, while walking on a Wake Island beach in 1950, if he had ever had second thoughts before the atomic-bombing of Japan.
“Hell, yes!” he recalled Truman responding. “And I’ve had a lot of misgivings afterwards.”
Mr. O’Donnell was too shy to ask for clarification.
“I don’t know what he meant,” he said.
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History