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Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 729
Joined: 2005
Surrender of Japan
3/11/2021 8:02:16 AM
Hi everyone,

An interesting topic arose on the 'This Day in History' thread on the general history forum that I think merits further discussion. The firebombing of Tokyo, and the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is accepted by many as the final straws that forced Japan's unconditional surrender.

Are there any of you who disagree with this? Was Japan already on the path to surrender? Was the use of fire bombing and atomic weapons necessary? Or was it a choice between these acts or a horrendously costly invasion?

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/11/2021 8:59:51 AM
A great topic, Colin. And possibly an incendiary one when opinions differ.

At the time of Hiroshima bombing, I believe that the islands of Japan were blockaded and cities had been bombed without much opposition.

Has there been a study done about the condition of the regular people of Japan at that time? Were they starving and did Japan have sufficient food stuffs in storage to withstand the siege?

As well, was there any dissent showing among the people? What I am suggesting is that a starving and angry public may have been ready to rebel against the military with more time allowed.

There are any number of articles that suggest that Japan was ready to surrender before the proposed November invasion date. Other articles dismiss that view as revisionist.

There are many comments from senior US military officers suggesting that they felt that the atomic bombs were unnecessary and that the decision to drop the bombs was a political one. If so, what was the rationale behind the decision?

Quote:
“the Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.”

source: Gen. "Hap" Arnold, commander US Army Air Force, Aug. 17, 1945.

Quote:
“the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan.”

source: Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.

The usual argument is that the atomic bombs didn't kill that many Japanese and that an invasion would have killed millions and wasted the lives of countless allied soldiers. What is not mentioned is that that invasion may not have been necessary had the Japanese been given the opportunity to surrender.

It concerns me that the decision to bomb may have been a message to the USSR rather than a strategy to end the war.

I used to argue with my Dad over this. He was on his way to the Pacific after the European war ended and he always said that if those bombs saved one allied life then he was fine with their use. He didn't seem to care that those bombs killed civilians and did little to diminish military assets in Japan.

Cheers,

George
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5021
Joined: 2004
Surrender of Japan
3/11/2021 4:27:51 PM
Rather a horrible end than endless horror.

Imagine the recriminations after a fight for the Japanese homelands, entailing several hundred thousand US and Commonwealth casualties, and millions of Japanese deaths, if it subsequently became apparent that those bombs had been available, but had not been used.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 970
Joined: 2005
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 11:32:41 AM
The Japanese were not in agreement across the board for surrender with military and political members on both sides of the fence for war and surrender. Had the Emperor been stopped from announcing his message, it seemed to me the war would have continued and those who convinced the Emperor to do so removed from his circle of influence.

I always look back at what Japan was doing in regards to war management, which they continued to proceed with. Terms for surrender were clearly stated by the Allied powers, that Japan chose not to accept into the summer of 45 meant the continuation of war, based on their choice.

Was the atomic bomb necessary? I say absolutely so; it was a weapon of war and the dead scattered across the expanse of the Pacific region provided proof Japan wanted to kill and die hard (no Bruce Willis pun intended). Peace was necessary and ending the war by not fighting was never going to happen.

That civilians died is everything that war is, it's a lesson the defeated and the victors have ignored throughout mankind. An invasion of Japan in November 45 and March 46 would have only heightened civilian deaths, even Captain Obvious would agree. IMO, I believe Japan wanted that in a manner such as when Hitler turned his maniacal rage against the German people, it is as if Japan had the mentality that we will kill as many of them as we can while sacrificing ourselves because that is our only capability.

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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6440
Joined: 2006
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 1:05:20 PM
Hi Dan,

I had mentioned this on another thread. So I concur with you entirely, there definitely was a group of War Hawks at the top of the Japanese military who wanted the war to continue, for who knows how long!? Does anyone have the specifics on this group, & to what lengths they were willing to go??

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 2:45:29 PM
How much did the atomic bombs affect the ability of the Japanese army to wage war?

How much did the Japanese surrender have to do with the threat of a Soviet invasion from the north rather than the shock of the atomic weapons?

I'm not trying to be controversial but I have read numerous times that the Japanese were ready to surrender before November 1945 which was the proposed time frame for the allied invasion. We will never know for sure but was there evidence that the Japanese and the Emperor were ready to surrender without more blood shed on the home islands?

Cheers,

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 2:49:38 PM
How much did the atomic bombs affect the ability of the Japanese army to wage war?

How much did the Japanese surrender have to do with the threat of a Soviet invasion from the north rather than the shock of the atomic weapons?

I'm not trying to be controversial but I have read numerous times that the Japanese were ready to surrender before November 1945 which was the proposed time frame for the allied invasion. We will never know for sure but was there evidence that the Japanese and the Emperor were ready to surrender without more blood shed on the home islands?

Cheers,

George
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 970
Joined: 2005
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 6:20:32 PM
When the Soviets began attacking Japanese forces after Hiroshima, and on the same day as Nagasaki, I doubt not many Generals where if not overwhelmed and defeatist, understood that the war had now completely changed.

Yet, even after this there were many who wanted to delay the process of surrender; "Gen. Korechika Anami, Japan’s minister of war, called for conditions that the world wouldn’t have recognized as surrender.

Anami wanted retention of the emperor, self-disarmament, no foreign occupation, and trial of any Japanese war criminals by Japan itself, according to “The Rising Sun,” John Toland’s 1971 Pulitzer Prize-winning history of Japan’s war empire."


[Read More]
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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 7:37:24 PM
Thanks for the Stars and Stripes article Dan. I enjoyed the perspective of Professor Hasagawa.

There was one interesting comment that seemed to imply that the Emperor had considerable power to end the war at any time. I understand that the military hawks attempted some sort of a misguided coup but most of the military listened to the Emperor.

Cheers,

George
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/12/2021 7:38:00 PM
d
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 141
Joined: 2008
Surrender of Japan
3/15/2021 11:00:32 PM
Put yourself in President Truman's position.

The U.S. had already lost over 300,000 killed in battle. Okinawa was a bloody fore taste of what an invasion of the Home Islands would be.

From the vantage point of upper U.S. military leadership Japan was broken and defeated.... yet did not appear to be ready to quite. Did the U.S. have any indications the Japanese were ready to surrender. Supposedly the Japanese had approached the USSR's ambassadors about possibly seeking peace, but this information was not passed on.

I know it is not a comical situation but in August 1945 Japan was like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail. Its navy and air force were in horrible shape. It was cut off from supplies. Large swaths of its major cities were burned out. But they continued to resist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs

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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5021
Joined: 2004
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 4:07:14 AM
Look no further than that harrowing film footage of women - with their children - committing suicide by jumping to their deaths from the cliffs of Saipan. They perished on the jagged coral banks below. If that was happening on Japanese islands at a distance from the mainland, then what, in the name of humanity, was the reaction going to be in the event of an invasion of that mainland ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 8:29:05 AM
I think that the speculation is over whether the bombs and/or an invasion would be necessary. The USAAF had no opposition and were bombing at will.

Allied navies had the IJN and the ports blockaded. According to the article below, the IJN was immobilized because of lack of fuel and maintenance problems. Those ships did present a formidable contribution to anti-aircraft defence of the ports to which they were restricted but there was some debate as to whether it was even necessary to attack them. Attacks on military vessels in Japanese ports took place right until the surrender however. Even on Aug. 9, allied aircraft were attacking Japanese ships at anchor.

[Read More]

So I do wonder whether a siege of indeterminate length would have brought the Japanese to the table, eventually, and without an invasion. Am I being naive or misunderstanding the mindset of the average Japanese?

Cheers,

George

Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5021
Joined: 2004
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 11:05:03 AM
George,

You, naive.....? Never !

...a siege of indeterminate length...

Not a palatable prospect for the war weary nations, who, after several years of high intensity conflict , wanted an end as soon as possible ; especially if their menfolk were languishing in vile- and too often fatal - captivity at the mercy of the Emperor and his military fanatics.


Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 729
Joined: 2005
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 11:53:00 AM
Hi everyone,

Thank you for the thoughtful and measured responses so far.

I find myself genuinely torn on this. On one hand, I do believe a lengthened 'siege' of Japan, with continued bombing attacks on military targets and heavy industry would have rendered the Japanese completely incapable of striking back (unless, of course, the Allied forces attempted an invasion). Whether such a siege would have compelled the military elite to surrender is another thing; some seemed quite willing to fight to the last child.

On the other hand, I think of the Allied POWs (and civilians) languishing in what were becoming bona fide death camps and wonder what retribution would have been meted out to them in retaliation for the Allied attacks on Japan? How many POW lives were saved by a relatively early end to the war? How many lives were saved on both sides by an invasion not going ahead?

The more I read into it, the more I believe the atomic bombs did little to move the Japanese position. Rather, it was the threat of invasion by the Soviet Union that closed the last door on Japanese hopes for an negotiated end to the war. I'm not sure whether even fifteen atomic bombs dropped in succession would have changed their minds if the Soviet Union wasn't also engaging in the total war engulfing the Japanese realm.

Cheers,

Colin



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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 1:53:57 PM
Quote:
George,

You, naive.....? Never !

...a siege of indeterminate length...

Not a palatable prospect for the war weary nations, who, after several years of high intensity conflict , wanted an end as soon as possible ; especially if their menfolk were languishing in vile- and too often fatal - captivity at the mercy of the Emperor and his military fanatics.


Regards, Phil




Good point about the POW, Phil. I am sure that they were elated to have survived and to have been liberated.

I remember watching a short documentary about an airman from Newfoundland and he had been taken prisoner at Singapore and was sent to work in a shipyard in Nagasaki. He witnessed the explosion and felt the heat and the pressure of the air. He felt that the POW were saved by the series of hills between them and the place of the explosion.

The documentary addressed his time in Nagasaki and his visit, many years later, to the city. What struck me was that this man with every reason to hate the Japanese was also able to lament the use of the atomic bombs on civilians. He had nothing good to say about the Japanese guards but he regretted the harm done to civilians. His hope was that these weapons would never be used again.

I found the documentary. The man's name was Jack Ford from Port-aux-Basques, NFLD. The first READMORE is a two minute short taken from the longer documentary of 22 minutes which is the second READMORE.

It gave me pause to think that a man who was very close to the explosion and had all reasons to hate the Japanese was able to recover his humanity in the years that followed.

[Read More]

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5021
Joined: 2004
Surrender of Japan
3/17/2021 3:35:34 PM
George,

Thanks for those links.

I shall open them in a quiet moment later.

In the meantime, I know that some British prisoners felt that the bombs literally saved their lives. They saw the atomic flash, and felt deliverance.

I visited Hiroshima in 2003 and was profoundly upset by what I saw in the museum there. No one with a grain of humanity in his soul could do anything but recoil in horror.

I reckon that as the generations move on it will be more and more reviled as an atrocious act, and, I daresay, an unwarranted one.

I know that for my Mum and Dad, both actively involved in the conflict , it was something to be welcomed as salvation from a nightmare that had dominated their lives for six years.

My daughter, who lived and worked in Japan for a year, refused to speak to me for a couple of days because I said that it was the right thing to drop those bombs.

And I’m sure that her children feel the same way as she did then.

I’ll speak to her again about this, and see if she’s changed her mind. Bearing in mind the prevailing sentiment about the sins of western civilisation , I reckon she’ll repudiate my stance.

On second thoughts. I daren’t broach the topic with her !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Khufu
N. Carolina NC USA
Posts: 6
Joined: 2021
Surrender of Japan
3/20/2021 9:28:51 AM
Hello Colin. I believe Japan's fate was sealed with the sinking of the Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu at Midway but it was far from the final straw of course. It was just that they were on the defensive ever since Midway. I believe the atomic bomb was the correct choice because it not only saved allied lives but many hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilian lives as well. They were prepared to fight to the bitter end using civilians, even children with bamboo spears.
George
Centre Hastings ON Canada
Posts: 11714
Joined: 2009
Surrender of Japan
3/20/2021 11:02:29 AM
Hello Khufu and welcome to the forum.

Regarding whether Japan was ready to surrender before the bombs were dropped, there are two polar opposite views. The traditional view is that the Japanese would never surrender and that the bombs actually saved Japanese and allied soldiers' lives. The number of lives saved seems to vary with the source so we don't know how many would have been saved.

And of course, if an invasion had taken place, there certainly would have been a loss of lives, both civilian and military of both sides. The question of whether that invasion would have been necessary had the Japanese been given the opportunity to surrender with conditions, the primary one being the retention of the Emperor in power is moot. We know that that happened anyway. MacArthur saw that his retention was important to the Japanese and to the reconstruction process.

The revisionist history, often dismissed by those who support the traditional view, is that the Japanese were ready to surrender and the fact that they were imploring the USSR to intervene is offered as proof. It seems that they did not know that the Soviets were already committed to war against them.

The revisionists also offer up a survey by the US Strategic Bombing Survey that indicates that the Japanese were ready to call it quits before Nov. of 1945. That is important because Nov. was the proposed date of the allied invasion.

Quote:
"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."
. source: US Strategic Bombing Survey

The report is found below. It's quite a detailed analysis of events in Europe and in the Pacific. The section on the destruction of Japanese ground forces begins on page 75.
The conventional air attack on the home islands begins on page 82 and the effect of that bombing on the economy and production capabilities of Japan is notable.

Quote:
One of the important factors inducing Japan's leaders to accept unconditional surrender was a realization that the Japanese armed forces had lost their ability to protect the people and that
under the impact of direct air attack and lowered livelihood their confidence in victory and determination to continue the war were rapidly declining.


There is an interesting section on the Health and Morale of the Japanese Civilian Population Under Assault beginning on page 92.

Quote:
By the summer of 1945 itwas about 1,680 calories per capita.Coal miners and heavy industrial workers
received higher-than-average rations, the remaining populace, less. The average diet suffered even more drastically from reductions in fats, vitamins and minerals required for balance and adversely affected rates of recovery and mortality from disease and bomb injuries.
Undernourishment produced a major increase in the incidence of beriberi and tuberculosis . It also had an important effect on the efficiency and morale of the people, and contributed to absenteeism among workers.


Quote:
By December 1944 air attacks from the Marianas against the home islands had begun, defeats in the Philippines had been suffered, and the food situation had deteriorated; 10 percent of the people believed Japan could not achieve victory.By March 1945, when the night incendiary attacks began and the food ration was reduced, this percentage had risen to 19 percent. In June it was 46 percent, and just prior to surrender, 68 percent.


Quote:
It is probable that most Japanese would have passively faced death in a continuation of the hopeless struggle, had the Emperor so ordered. When the Emperor announced the unconditional surrender the first reaction of the people was one of regret and surprise, followed shortly by relief.


Quote:
Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.


A section called, "Japan's Struggle to End the War", begins on page 103. There seems to have been a significant breakdown in the solidarity of the Japanese government coinciding with the US successes on Saipan.



So I do not know what to believe. You have said that the Japanese were prepared to fight to the last man, woman and child but I do not know whether there is proof of that or if the concept of mass suicide in combat was only a thought in the heads of the radical members of the military and unsupported by the civilians.
This survey seems to indicate complete dominance of the Japanese air space and that the people of Japan were suffering greatly before the bombs were dropped. It seems that the government was in turmoil and that only the radical elements of the military were keeping the Japanese in the war.

If the US Strategic Bombing Survey has been proved to be incorrect in some of its analysis, then I would like to hear about that.

US Strategic Bombing Survey

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 970
Joined: 2005
Surrender of Japan
3/20/2021 2:10:08 PM
Quote:
It was just that they were on the defensive ever since Midway.


I disagree.

The defeat at Midway, hot on the heels of the defeat at Coral Sea, did not end Japanese offensive actions which was clearly shown at Guadalcanal, Eastern Solomons and the battle of Santa Cruz. Each of these battles were near victories for Japan. At Guadalcanal, the Battle of Savo Island was a bludgeoning of American Naval power that reverberated for decades afterwards. IJN battleships, nearly ended the US occupation at Guadalcanal when they bombarded Henderson Field.

The battle of the Eastern Solomon's was again a near decisive victory for.., Japan. But again, as demonstrated throughout Japanese naval leadership, they retreated at the moment had they pushed forward, victory was awaiting them.

Japan was far from defeated after Midway but they were in a precarious situation yet, they still had the punch to take on offensive actions which they demonstrated actively in the Guadalcanal Campaign.

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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
Emanon
Gibsonia PA USA
Posts: 36
Joined: 2014
Surrender of Japan
3/24/2021 3:52:56 AM
It is a little known fact that the US not only had a third atomic bomb ready to be dropped in late August 1945, but was geared up to produce an atomic bomb every ten days.

IOW, the US was going to not only continue to fight in the style of WWII, it was about to start fighting what we today would call a small-scale version of WWIII against Japan in late 1945 and early 1946.

The document linked below contains the phrase "Every ten days" on page 2. It's actually quite terrifying to contemplate three atomic bombs being dropped every month for the rest of 1945, for a total of 13 more, or 15 total, in 1945, and then continuing into 1946 if there was any effective resistance left in Japan by then.

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//nukevault/ebb525-The-Atomic-Bomb-and-the-End-of-World-War-II/documents/087.pdf
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3724
Joined: 2004
Surrender of Japan
3/25/2021 8:09:03 PM
Emanon, you lead me to a couple of points.

I had read a slightly different version of your comments: there was another bomb ready to be dropped in 10 days, but then the US would produce one bomb each 14 to 16 days. At the same time, what do a few extra days between butcheries matter?

Of course, propaganda is propaganda. How much was said as implied threat to Japan, and how much as bullying of the USSR, is another matter. So is HST’s complicity in the decision to drop on 6 and 9 August. And I must say I’m certain Truman was under pressure from a number of sources to act one way or the other. General LeMay wanted to be the first AF commander to claim to have won a war without physical invasion. Nimitz and MacArthur were anxious to minimize the slaughter an invasion of the main islands of Japan might entail. The Manhattan Project folks were pleading the bomb not be dropped on a city, but in some uninhabited location as a demonstration of its might.

IMHO, it is patently absurd to argue that Japan had anything but the remnants of the capability to continue to war. Never a nation capable of sustaining itself without trade in some form, and certainly not a nation rich in resources, in the Spring of 1945 only the silent endurance of the people kept the nation from dying. If US military or diplomatic intelligence did not know that obvious fact, every active officer in Pacific intelligence units should have been dismissed.

By the late spring of 1945, Tojo was dismissed, or at least rendered impotent. Japanese forces were largely frozen in place, and were losing (after ferocious battle) each battle they faced. My reading of the tea leaves is that only one thing stood between continued war and Japanese capitulation: the continuation of the role of the Emperor. And the fact that eventually that was agreed to, it was refused under terms of an “unconditional surrender” demanded.

In the mean time, (a by-now, I assume) General LeMay continued to escalate his firestorms. He learned his trade at the feet of “Butcher” Harris, and adapted it to the Japanese.

As to what I see as your central point, it would be comforting to think that the US population at large would not have tolerated the timed and total destruction of a 3,000-year-old culture. My sense is that the first of the A-bombs was unnecessary, and the second a cultural statement about the US that is not flattering in any way. I’ve read the arguments. I cannot accept the post-facto arguments.

I think HST was playing beyond his depth, to be honest. He was not an international statesman or politician. He was three months into a job he was ill-trained for and ill-informed about. He wasn’t a stupid man, but he was on a massive learning curve. And while LeMay could worry about his place in history for carpet bmbing, Harry had to face an increasingly bleak post-war challenge.

I think that the fact he did opt to destroy two cities indicates how utterly unprepared he was to assume POTUS with FDR’s death. Even without hindsight, I believe his naivte is clear in thinking the A-bomb would come as a surprise to Stalin.

Emanon, thanks for your comments.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G



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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Emanon
Gibsonia PA USA
Posts: 36
Joined: 2014
Surrender of Japan
3/26/2021 5:20:55 AM
The atomic bomb was a secret held so closely that Vice President Truman was never told about the Manhattan Project until he became President. He had a steep learning curve to climb from April 1945 to August 1945.

The context of the conversation in the document linked above may clarify whether or not it was propaganda. It was a Top Secret telephone conversation between General Hull, a top aide to General Marshall, and Colonel Seaman, a top aide to General Groves. Marshall was the Chief of Staff of the US Army, which made him the highest ranking officer in the Army. Groves was the military commander of the Manhattan Project. Nobody outside of the innermost circle of the US military and the office of the President would have known about this until this was declassified decades later. Furthermore, in this context, Groves is effectively promising the person in charge of the US Army that he will deliver these bombs every ten days, starting in September - there were three delivered or ready to be delivered to the Army in August, of which two were used and the third one was held up by the order of the President. This conversation was on August 13, 1945, two days before Japan signaled a willingness to surrender. Nobody in their right mind would promise the top general in the US Army anything this important unless they were confident that they could actually do it. That is career suicide if you are another general in the US Army. The claim of "Every ten days" is very credible in the context of the conversation.

There were some interesting conversations in the upper ranks of the US administration about the selection of cities to target in Japan. Kyoto, the ancient capital and major cultural center of Japan, was on the target list until Secretary of State Stimson protested, after which it was removed in a rare display of compassion towards Japan during WWII. It was replaced by Nagasaki. The original target for the second bomb was Kokura arsenal, a target that was considered to be more military rather than civilian, but cloud cover forced the bomber's crew to switch to Nagasaki, and more cloud cover there forced them to target the industrial area slightly away from the center of the city, which somewhat reduced the number of civilian casualties.

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