Japanese World War II Balloon Bombs Collection, Acc. XXXX.0558, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
This collection was gathered by National Air and Space Museum curator Robert C. Mikesh for his publication on this subject, "Japan's World War II Balloon Bomb Attacks on North America." The collection consists of the following: magazine and newspaper articles on the Japanese balloons; manuscripts and independent articles; 83 photos Mr. Mikesh used in his book and 68 miscellaneous photos collected for research purposes; also photocopies of Japanese balloon illustrations and Japanese balloon propaganda reports. The collection also includes the working files of Kiyoshi Tanaka, the Supervisor Technical Lieutenant Commander for the Japanese Navy balloon project, and multiple copies of Mr. Mikesh's publication.
The collection is arranged as originally numbered and titled by Robert C. Mikesh. Additional folder title information has been added by the processing archivist in brackets.
Biographical / Historical:
During World War II the Japanese constructed nearly 10,000 lighter-than-air balloons for the purpose of carrying destructive pay loads to the U.S. Between November 1944 and April 1945 these balloons made use of the prevailing west-to-east jet stream over the North Pacific Ocean. Nearly 285 sightings and fragment findings have been recorded in North America, and 5 deaths resulted. This was the first and only attack upon the American continent directly from an enemy homeland.