On Dec. 13 a crew from the popular PBS summer TV series, “History Detectives,” will visit a Museum of Flight aircraft restoration facility in Seattle to shoot part of their investigation about propaganda leaflets dropped on Japan by U.S. bombers during World War II. The production will make use of the museum’s B-29 bomber, the same type used over Japan during the war.
At the B-29, “History Detectives” host Wes Cowan will interview Dr. Allison Gillmore, author of the book about psychological warfare against the Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific, “You Can’t Fight Tanks with Bayonets.”
The Museum’s B-29 is undergoing restoration in Seattle at a Boeing Field facility, and is not open to the public.
About this “History Detectives” episode, “The World War II Leaflet”: Going through her brother’s belongings in El Paso, Texas, a “History Detectives” fan came across a leaflet with Japanese writing and startling war images. A note taped to the box says, “This box contains an original propaganda leaflet dropped on Japan. I know the woman who did most of the artwork and printing for the U.S. propaganda leaflets.” The pictures are provocative: a clenched fist with people struggling inside its grasp, a soldier wielding a dagger against a civilian, planes flying over billows of smoke.
Did the U.S. military use this leaflet during World War II? Who was the artist? “History Detectives” host Wes Cowan travels to Texas Christian University to consult Professor Emeritus Paul Boller who prepared leaflets dropped over Japan during World War II. In Seattle, Cowen visits The Museum of Flight to get insights from Dr. Allison Gilmore, an expert on the psychological warfare of World War II. Finally he heads to the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle to meet with art historian Michiyo Morioka, who directs Cowen to an illuminating exhibit. The story will air during the summer of 2011.