In 1956, Martin Harwit works as an Army physicist on top-secret hydrogen bomb tests in the Pacific Proving Grounds of the Marshall Islands. Witnessing a 3-megaton H-bomb vaporize half an island and reduce the remnants to rubble leaves an impression on his psyche that will later be called into question by members of Congress.
In 1994, Martin and his staff at the National Air & Space Museum must counter distortions of ”The Last Act“ exhibition script, written for the unveiling of the restored forward fuselage of the Enola Gay, which suggests that there may have been alternatives to dropping the atomic bomb to end WWII.
Attackers claim the exhibit portrays the Japanese as victims and dishonors war veterans with a new revisionist view of WWII. They want a tribute – nothing more. They want to stop the story when the bomb leaves the bomb bay. The exhibition exposes what happens to the Japanese after it detonates.
Controversy spills into living rooms across the nation while public and private protesters act to halt the full exhibit. Even under the threat of death, staff work diligently to erect the exhibit walls which present a visual history and set up WWII flashbacks interwoven throughout the film as gripping context for the arguments that occur fifty years later.
This dramatic reaction to the exhibition became recognized by many sociologists as the beginning of the American “culture wars.”
The extraordinary timeliness and relevance of “The Last Act” adds perspective and depth to the current tide of political upheaval permeating the nation from “cancel culture.”
United States Wartime Propaganda Poster
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