August 6: Hiroshima atomic bomb, 69 years ago today


[Still true, from last year, with minor edits.]

A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Japan

A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Japan Wikipedia image

As a Utah Downwinder, I fight depressing ideas every August 6, and August 9.

The first atomic bomb used in war was dropped by my nation on August 6, 1945.  The second, on August 9.  Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, were the targets.

I know the arguments, both ways.  I feel certain my Uncle Leo B. Stewart’s life was saved by the bombs — and the lives of probably two or three million more Americans, and five or ten million Japanese.  And still I am troubled.

I’m troubled that there seems to be so little attention paid to the anniversary in the U.S.  Year by year, it gets tougher to get news out of remembrance ceremonies in Japan.  Here are some Twitter notes on the day.  I may be back with more, later.

This comes from a pseudo-Truman, but it’s an accurate reflection of the angst Truman went through; once he made the decision, he did not have doubts that it was the right one.

Fortunately, in 68 years since, no other nuclear device has ever been used in war. May we have a planet that never sees their use in war, again.

More:

This is an encore post.

This is an encore post.

43 Responses to August 6: Hiroshima atomic bomb, 69 years ago today

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Now I’ve been through the museum at Los Alamos. I think remembering is a better solution. But we need to remember it from all sides, and dwell on details.

    Like

  2. Black Flag® says:

    Did this guy actually do any research?

    “Why two and not three or four?”

    …because there were only three… period. That was it. Two Fat man and One Little Boy

    One was the test at Trinity – Fat man (plutonium implosion bomb)

    Fat man was far more complicated, as you noted in your Trinity post – implosion wave required millisecond precision.

    They used Little Boy first over Japan, untested. (“Gun-type” with Uranium split at its core) and that used up all their fission Uranium stock. They were confident that this bomb would work untested as it was pretty basic in its design and theory – two parts of near critical material separated until brought together by a shape charge to into super-critical mass.

    Then the last Fat Man. Ain’t no more for about a year til Operation Crossroads.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Looking over the comments, sometimes I wonder whether some commenters read the post, first.

    Like

  4. Black Flag® says:

    Why do you keep saying it was what they wanted to avoid, when in fact they agreed to it a month before the bombs.

    What they wanted and what they got was that the Emperor was the authority upon the Japanese people. MacArthur would give such directives to him for him to enforce.

    MacArthur, for all his faults, was incredibly wise in regards to his treatment of Japan, no question there.

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  5. Black Flag® says:

    “That was what the Japanese had hoped to avoid, as a condition of surrender”

    No, that is what they agreed to, month before, as already documented below – save the Emperor.

    Quote:
    The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26th, 1945, but save the Emperor.

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  6. Black Flag® says:

    They would have fought for the Emperor – but as the assessment said – it was unnecessary to even invade, so what military force is arrayed against the invasion is moot.

    They would have been near starved to death of food, fuel and supplies.

    Can’t fight without food. Can’t shoot without bullets. Can’t fly without fuel.

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  7. Black Flag® says:

    Hohoho!

    It’s my nature ;)

    Like

  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Included in the instruments of surrender executed on September 2, 1945, aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Harbor, was this clause:

    ‘The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender’.

    That was what the Japanese had hoped to avoid, as a condition of surrender.

    In essence, Gen. Douglas MacArthur became emperor of Japan for a few months. For better or worse, among other actions, MacArthur dictated a constitution for Japan, one that gave women rights, and one that required Japan to refrain from having an army or navy outside a small defense force — intended to be sure that Japan could not conduct any imperialistic war campaigns for the foreseeable future.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Truman, as I noted earlier, was focused on casualty counts. After 4.5 years of war, Americans were tired of war. The War in the Pacific was particularly grueling.

    American Experience has a summary discussion:

    In 1943, Allied forces began a long series of Pacific battles against the Japanese. Month after month, on islands like Tarawa, the Marshalls, the Marianas, Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, the enemies fought with fierce determination. Surviving soldiers and civilians would describe horrifying bloodshed, and staggering numbers of people killed and wounded.

    As American forces won territory ever nearer to Japan, military planners on both sides used casualty figures to construct their strategies. The Japanese intended to resist at all costs, deploying pilots as suicide missiles and expecting civilians to face invaders with sharpened bamboo sticks. Numerous Japanese citizens would be sacrificed, in this plan, to achieve better terms for peace.

    On the U.S. side, President Harry Truman and his war advisers hotly discussed casualty estimates for a projected invasion. Congress and the public were solidly behind the war, but the president’s advisers disagreed over the proposal’s level of risk to human life, based on the number of Americans who had already been killed or wounded in the Pacific theater.

    US and Japan casualties in key WWII battles, American Experience

    Truman noted casualties were very high, closer to some of the meatgrinder battles of World War I — where Truman himself had seen action. Truman was wary of the high brass who told him casualties would be light. In particular, Iwo Jima had cost the U.S. more casualties than Japan, and Okinawa saw way too many deaths on both sides, including an unconscionable number of civilians who did what they thought the Emperor wanted, fighting with sticks or resisting surrender to death, taking as many Allies and Americans with them as possible.

    Months before, in early 1945, Truman had a low U.S. casualty estimate of 500,000 for invasion of the main islands. Then came Okinawa. Officially, Pentagon people said the invasion could be done with as few as a million more Americans dying, but at least 3 million Japanese (mostly civilians). Truman tracked down some infantry planners who said it was more likely the U.S. death toll would be 2 million, but that would inflate to 5 million if the defense were anything at all like Okinawa. Japanese dead would be 5 million minimum, but could easily zoom to 10 million.

    Los Alamos didn’t know what an atomic bomb would do, really. The bomb builders predicted 50,000 to 200,000 dead immediately from an atomic weapon.

    Weighing the high figures with atomic weapons, they win out against the low figures for an invasion. Yes, Japan was a zombie war machine by July 1945 — but like zombies, they kept fighting on, wracking up casualties on the Allies. Had Japan said, “Hey, we’re ready to surrender, just give us a few days,” Truman would have stayed the bombs. Japan made no such statement, and kept fighting.

    After Hiroshima, Japan specifically did not say they were ready to surrender, and kept fighting everywhere else (as your reports note, BF). After Nagasaki, even the pro-war members of the War Cabinet were ready to concede to the Emperor when he took from them the power to decide whether to continue the war, and announce a surrender.

    When the Emperor announced this on radio, it was the first time all but his closest associates had heard his voice. And the war was effectively, and in reality, over.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    https://archive.org/stream/summaryreportpac00unit#page/26/mode/2up

    Still not sure why the two texts vary so much.

    In the text you offer, let me call your attention to these notes.

    Page 10:

    At the time of surrender, the Japanese had more than 9,000 planes in the home islands availablel for Kamikaze attack, and more than 5,000 had already been specially fitted for suicide attack to resist our planned invasion.

    Not exactly a plan to wave the white flag and surrender.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Are you blocking me?

    Not sure how you do it — can’t find links or language that should trigger it — but you’ve managed to piss off Akismet again.

    Like

  12. Black Flag® says:

    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.”

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  13. Black Flag® says:

    Two posts (or more, lost count ;) are missing

    Like

  14. Black Flag® says:

    Are you blocking me?

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    I’d like to see the original of the document you’ve got. That site carries a transcription, versus Truman Library’s using images of the actual document.

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  16. Black Flag® says:

    January 1945 – MacArthur forwarded to the President a Japanese offer to surrender to which was exactly what we accepted 7 months later. Had it been accepted when first offered, there would have been no heavy loss of life on Iwo Jima (over 26,033 Americans killed or wounded, approximately 21,000 Japanese killed) and Okinawa (over 39,000 U.S. dead and wounded, 109,000 Japanese dead), no fire bombing of Japanese cities by B-29 bombers (it is estimated that the dropping of 1,700 tons of incendiary explosives on Japanese cities during March 9th-10th alone killed over 80,000 civilians and destroyed 260,000 buildings), and no use of the atomic bomb (200,000 killed).

    June 1945 – Both the US Army and Navy recommended to Truman that he clarify the US demands in regard to the Emperor. It was recognized that he was absolutely essential so he could order his men to lay down their arms. Without him, there would have been anarchy in Japan.

    11 July 1945 – Japan offered to surrender unconditionally, with one exception – they wished to retain their monarchy. They didn’t insist on retaining Emperor Hirohito. They were willing to replace him with his small son, for example. The US wouldn’t even talk to them

    July 11: “make clear to Russia… We have no intention of annexing or taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying as a result of the war; we hope to terminate the war”.

    July 12: “it is His Majesty’s heart’s desire to see the swift termination of the war”.

    July 13: “I sent Ando, Director of the Bureau of Political Affairs to communicate to the [Soviet] Ambassador that His Majesty desired to dispatch Prince Konoye as special envoy, carrying with him the personal letter of His Majesty stating the Imperial wish to end the war” (for above items, see: U.S. Dept. of State, Potsdam 1, pg. 873-879).

    July 22: “Special Envoy Konoye’s mission will be in obedience to the Imperial Will. He will request assistance in bringing about an end to the war through the good offices of the Soviet Government.” The July 21st communication from Togo also noted that a conference between the Emperor’s emissary, Prince Konoye, and the Soviet Union, was sought, in preparation for contacting the U.S. and Great Britain (Magic-Diplomatic Summary, 7/22/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files, RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).

    July 26: Japan’s Ambassador to Moscow, Sato, to the Soviet Acting Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Lozovsky: “The aim of the Japanese Government with regard to Prince Konoye’s mission is to enlist the good offices of the Soviet Government in order to end the war.” (Magic-Diplomatic Summary, 7/26/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files, RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).

    Japan Message to US
    10 Aug 1945

    … the Japanese Government several weeks ago asked the Soviet Government, with which neutral relations then prevailed, to render good offices in restoring peace vis-a-vis the enemy power. Unfortunately, these efforts in the interest of peace having failed, the Japanese Government in conformity with the august wish of His Majesty to restore the general peace and desiring to put an end to the untold sufferings entailed by war as quickly as possible, have decided upon the following:
    The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26th, 1945, by the heads of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China, and later subscribed by the Soviet Government with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.

    The Japanese Government sincerely hope that this understanding is warranted and desire keenly that an explicit indication to that effect will be speedily forthcoming.22
    [441]

    —Again, Ed, the Emperor’s status was not nor ever would be negotiable—

    In response, the US accepted this – no where in the declaration did the US demand the abdication of the Emperor.

    ________________________________________
    On 11 August, the United States, acting on behalf of the United Nations, transmitted a reply which stated:

    … From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.
    The Emperor will be required to authorize and ensure the signature by the Government of Japan and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters of the surrender terms necessary to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Declaration, and shall issue his commands to all the Japanese military, naval, and air authorities and to all the forces under their control wherever located to cease active operations and to surrender their arms, and to issue such other orders as the Supreme Commander may require to give effect to the surrender terms.
    Immediately upon the surrender, the Japanese Government shall transport prisoners of war and civilian internees to places of safety as directed, where they can quickly be placed aboard Allied transports.
    The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.
    The armed forces of the Allied Powers will remain in Japan until the purposes set forth in the Potsdam Declaration are achieved. 23

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  17. Black Flag® says:

    January 1945 – MacArthur forwarded to the President a Japanese offer to surrender to which was exactly what we accepted 7 months later. Had it been accepted when first offered, there would have been no heavy loss of life on Iwo Jima (over 26,033 Americans killed or wounded, approximately 21,000 Japanese killed) and Okinawa (over 39,000 U.S. dead and wounded, 109,000 Japanese dead), no fire bombing of Japanese cities by B-29 bombers (it is estimated that the dropping of 1,700 tons of incendiary explosives on Japanese cities during March 9th-10th alone killed over 80,000 civilians and destroyed 260,000 buildings), and no use of the atomic bomb (200,000 killed).

    June 1945 – Both the US Army and Navy recommended to Truman that he clarify the US demands in regard to the Emperor. It was recognized that he was absolutely essential so he could order his men to lay down their arms. Without him, there would have been anarchy in Japan.

    11 July 1945 – Japan offered to surrender unconditionally, with one exception – they wished to retain their monarchy. They didn’t insist on retaining Emperor Hirohito. They were willing to replace him with his small son, for example. The US wouldn’t even talk to them

    July 11: “make clear to Russia… We have no intention of annexing or taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying as a result of the war; we hope to terminate the war”.

    July 12: “it is His Majesty’s heart’s desire to see the swift termination of the war”.

    July 13: “I sent Ando, Director of the Bureau of Political Affairs to communicate to the [Soviet] Ambassador that His Majesty desired to dispatch Prince Konoye as special envoy, carrying with him the personal letter of His Majesty stating the Imperial wish to end the war” (for above items, see: U.S. Dept. of State, Potsdam 1, pg. 873-879).

    July 22: “Special Envoy Konoye’s mission will be in obedience to the Imperial Will. He will request assistance in bringing about an end to the war through the good offices of the Soviet Government.” The July 21st communication from Togo also noted that a conference between the Emperor’s emissary, Prince Konoye, and the Soviet Union, was sought, in preparation for contacting the U.S. and Great Britain (Magic-Diplomatic Summary, 7/22/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files, RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).

    July 26: Japan’s Ambassador to Moscow, Sato, to the Soviet Acting Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Lozovsky: “The aim of the Japanese Government with regard to Prince Konoye’s mission is to enlist the good offices of the Soviet Government in order to end the war.” (Magic-Diplomatic Summary, 7/26/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files, RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).

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  18. Black Flag® says:

    You ignore facts at your pleasure.

    The Japanese knew they could absolutely not prevail in the war, hence, why they were trying to surrender. Somehow you forget this.

    The question was not defending the islands, it was defending the Emperor.

    Even after the bombs, this did not change.

    Only when Truman, finally, accepted the condition of the Emperor did the Japanese surrender.

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  19. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Again you ignore the facts at your pleasure.

    The votes for continuing was not because the Japanese felt they could overcome the war.

    The lack of votes was always around the matter of the Emperor’s position.

    They would defend the Emperor.

    When finally Truman agreed to leave the Emperor alone, as MacArthur had repeated said to do, ONLY THEN DID THE VOTE SUCCEED.

    Not the bombs.

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  20. Black Flag® says:

    Funny you should point to Okinawa.

    The losses sustained by the Japanese were unrecoverable. They had expended almost their entire remaining fleet and aircraft – 7,800 Japanese planes destroyed, 16 fleet ships including the Yamato, hundreds of artillery lost.

    Further, the baseless assumption that an invasion was even necessary continues.

    As ample documentation shows, with no invasion and no atomic bombs, the Japanese would have completely collapsed no later then Dec 1945.

    Air power and naval blockade of the Japanese would have accomplished the goal with far less loss of life and risk – the Japanese knew it, hence why they already surrendered and were ready to sign.

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  21. Black Flag® says:

    Truman did not answer directly.

    It was political sop for the ears of Americans.

    This is what the terms were to the Japanese.

    For Japan, the terms of the declaration specified:[1]

    the elimination “for all time [of] the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest”
    the occupation of “points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies”
    that the “Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine,” as had been announced in the Cairo Declaration in 1943.[3]
    that “[t]he Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.”
    that “[w]e do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners.”

    On the other hand, the declaration offered that:

    “The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.”
    “Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to rearm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.”
    “The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established, in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, a peacefully inclined and responsible government.”

    The only mention of “unconditional surrender” came at the end of the declaration:[1]

    “We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”[1]

    Contrary to what had been intended at its conception, disenfranchising the Japanese leadership so the people would accept a mediated transition, the declaration made no direct mention of the Emperor at all. It did, however, insist that “the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest must be eliminated for all time”.[4] Allied intentions on issues of utmost importance to the Japanese, including whether Hirohito was to be regarded as one of those who had “misled the people of Japan” or even a war criminal, or alternatively whether the Emperor might potentially become part of a “peacefully inclined and responsible government” were thus left unstated.[5]

    The fact that the Japanese responded with acceptance of every point ADDING ONLY a direct clarification to the position of the Emperor and THAT offer was refused is telling.

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  22. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m not “pretending” anything. I only report what the officials of the U.S. said at the time, and after you made mention of this odd report, what the report actually said.

    I don’t deny that there was a peace faction working to get the war to end, from inside the Japanese War Cabinet.

    Nor do I pretend that this faction was a sure path to success on July 16, 1945, nor at any time prior to August 9, 1945. While many Japanese wanted the war to end, they could not muster the case to get the war cabinet to end it.

    It’s relatively well-known history that the cabinet met after the Hiroshima bomb. They had the July 16 ultimatum from Truman. They knew Russia was only days or hours away from entering the war against them. They knew they had lost Tinian, Okinawa and the Marianas, and they knew pretty well the price of those defeats, to both sides.

    And still, there were not enough votes in the cabinet to sue for peace, nor even to suggest that Japan might be ready to end the war on ANY terms.

    We also know one of the arguments made in cabinet discussion was that, with such a destructive device, there could not be more than one in the world. So Japan decided to war on, though still discussing how to end the war — something the existing peace faction wanted, and the military faction still adamantly opposed.

    Within hours of the second bomb’s falling on Nagasaki, the Emperor stepped in to end the war. Arguments that there could be no second atomic weapon were clearly wrong, and the Emperor didn’t want to see if maybe the U.S. arsenal of atomic weapons stopped at two.

    No document I can find suggests that Japan was not ready to defend the main islands, exactly as they had defended Okinawa. Death toll estimates Truman got indicated 1 million to 5 million U.S. troops dead, and 5 million to 10 million Japanese, mostly civilians. Yes, the peace faction argued against it — but the peace faction had not prevailed, and there is no indication they could prevail, until the atomic weapons were used.

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  23. Black Flag® says:

    They are different documents:

    Yours is June 19.
    Mine is July 1.

    I would suspect yours is a draft, given it is older.

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  24. Black Flag® says:

    The commentary you post is merely ANOTHER AUTHOR using the for his case the data and opinion of the Survey and ATTEMPT TO REFUTE THE DOCUMENT THAT HE USES TO SUPPORT HIS REFUTATION.

    Bloody stupid.

    The conclusion of the Survey is clear.

    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. “

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  25. Ed Darrell says:

    What does “unconditional surrender” mean?

    Interestingly, President Truman answered that question directly.

    28. Statement by the President Calling for Unconditional Surrender of Japan

    May 8, 1945

    NAZI GERMANY has been defeated.

    The Japanese people have felt the weight of our land, air and naval attacks. So long as their leaders and the armed forces continue the war the striking power and intensity of our blows will steadily increase and will bring utter destruction to Japan’s industrial war production, to its shipping, and to everything that supports its military activity.

    The longer the war lasts, the greater will be the suffering and hardships which the people of Japan will undergo–all in vain. Our blows will not cease until the Japanese military and naval forces lay down their arms in unconditional surrender.

    Just what does the unconditional surrender of the armed forces mean for the Japanese people ?

    It means the end of the war.

    It means the termination of the influence of the military leaders who have brought Japan to the present brink of disaster.

    It means provision for the return of soldiers and sailors to their families, their farms, their jobs.

    It means not prolonging the present agony and suffering of the Japanese in the vain hope of victory.

    Unconditional surrender does not mean the extermination or slavement of the Japanese people.

    Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.

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  26. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    No, YOU NEED TO READ THE WHOLE THING.

    First, you didn’t read the conclusion.

    Second, you didn’t read that the bombs made no change in the mind of the military

    Third, AT BEST, it improved the peace factions argument about the destruction of Japan WHICH THEY WERE ALREADY MAKING well before the bomb.

    You pretend the bomb instigated these arguments to seek peace by Japan. They did not.

    The fact, Ed, it was Truman and the Allies that prosecuted the war IN THE FACE OF SURRENDER terms by the Japanese.

    It was the US that wanted the war to continue, not the Japanese.

    Place the blame for the wanton slaughter were it belongs.

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  27. Ed Darrell says:

    I find it interesting that the Chuck Anesi version you use differs so dramatically from the version I offered before, from the Truman Library — even on the date. Does anyone know why?

    I would also hope readers would look at the full text BF offers, including this caveat:

    The USSBS reports do not state or even suggest that the use of the atomic bomb against Japan was unwise. On the contrary, a careful analysis of the USSBS findings supports the wisdom of using the bombs. For a full discussion, see How the United States Strategic Bombing Survey reports endorsed the use of the atomic bombs.

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  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Decision to surrender was taken in June, by the peace faction of the cabinet, which lacked a majority to get the whole war cabinet to accept it, and who feared the military would depose any peace advocates if they advocated surrender.

    Read the whole thing, please.

    MacArthur did NOT replace the Emperor, but he could have. Effectively, worship of the Japanese Emperor as a god was wiped out. That is part of what the military faction wanted to uphold.

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  29. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,
    Source:
    http://www.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm#teotab

    UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY
    SUMMARY REPORT
    (Pacific War)

    WASHINGTON, D.C.
    1 JULY 1946

    “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. “

    Like

  30. Black Flag® says:

    Ed
    Perhaps it is you who misread the report. It did not say what you infer.

    Quote:

    “The decision to surrender …. had been taken at least as early as June 26…”

    and

    “The bombs did not convince the military that the defense of the home lands was impossible”

    In other words, your arguments are upside down.

    Your claim that the Japanese were fanatics and would have died to the last man – but using the bombs to achieve this convinced the Japanese not to die to the last man.

    Either they were fanatics or they were not, Ed. Pretending that the manner in their death in defense changed their minds is very strange argument.

    Lastly, the bombs were wholly unnecessary to affect a surrender. The conditions the Japanese placed on surrender, months before, “Do not touch the Emperor” still held after the bombs – the Japanese did not waiver.

    Only after Truman agreed to that term, the war was over. If he agreed to it in June, the war would have been over then.

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  31. Black Flag® says:

    If you find yourself making claims about all the American lives saved and about the Japanese intransigence in the face of certain defeat you can probably thank McGeorge Bundy, Henry Stimson, and James B. Conant. But if you want the facts, read pp. 448-497 of Alperovitz.

    Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995

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  32. Black Flag® says:

    James,

    “There is ample evidence that the Japanese government was willing to surrender months before Aug. 6 if only it could keep its emperor. Much of this evidence is given in Alperovitz’s book and much in Dennis D. Wainstock, The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996). Wainstock (pp. 22-23) tells of many attempts by the Japanese to clarify the terms and to make clear their willingness to surrender if they could only keep their emperor untouched. For example, on April 7, 1945, acting Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru asked Swedish Ambassador Widon Bagge in Tokyo “to ascertain what peace terms the United States and Britain had in mind.” Shigemitsu emphasized that “the Emperor must not be touched.” Bagge passed the message on to the U.S. government, but Secretary of State Edward Stettinius told the U.S. ambassador in Sweden to “show no interest or take any initiative in pursuit of this matter.”

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  33. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    Your Truman was a vengeful, monster.

    “Careful scholarly treatment of the records and manuscripts opened over the past few years has greatly enhanced our understanding of why the Truman administration used atomic weapons against Japan. Experts continue to disagree on some issues, but critical questions have been answered. The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisers knew it.”

    The author of the above quote: J. Samuel Walker, chief historian of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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  34. Black Flag® says:

    James,

    One other comment.

    If you were so concerned over the lives of your uncles, then you should be appalled and outraged that the US, by its “unconditional surrender” doctrine, refused to accept surrender by any other means.

    This caused the deaths of untold millions – and this was the true risk to your uncles, not some fantasy of “not ending the war by not using the atomic bomb”

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  35. Black Flag® says:

    “Truman understood the brutality of war on the ground, and wished to inflict that on no one.”

    Nonsense.

    He did inflict it on women and children on non-military targets. It is merely disengious to claim “I have no wish to hurt” and then go right ahead and do it.

    You could have been the script writer for “Mars Attacks!”, where while they are obliterating everyone, they say “We come in Peace!”

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  36. Ed Darrell says:

    BF, let me invite you to read the document you cited.

    First, James, as pointed out already, there was no need to invade.

    Further, you assume that such an invasion would have consumed your family. Given the Japanese were starving, ill-supplied and devastated by fire bombing, it more poignant an assumption it would have been a slaughterof the Japanese.

    I do not forget anything. Yes, it’s a curse.

    Then please remember the experience of the Allies in the invasion of Okinawa. While the falling of the island to the Allieswas absolutely assured, Japanese troops fought bitterly — no surrender. Civilians were convinced that it was better to suicide than be subject to Allied control, and thousands of families lept off the cliffs to their deaths. Civilians and military hid in caves, refusing to surrender. When even solitary soldiers were captured, they’d often detonate a grenade, killing themselves and taking Allied troops with them. When civilians refused to surrender, unsure of whether they were military or civilian Allied troops would use weapons to kill those inside, in more than one case discovering a group of schoolgirls or children. This scarred the hell out of the psyches of the Allied troops.

    Okinawa was starved, ill-supplied, and devastated by bombing. U.S. casualties were still much more like the Battle of the Bulge than an easy surrender. Slaughter of the Japanese was necessary to avoid even more slaughter of the Allies.

    Remembering the Allied experience on Okinawa and other islands, your suggestion that the Japanese were ready to surrender peacefully is countermanded.

    Casualties in the previous invasions were high on Truman’s concern list. He’d been in the trenches in World War I, but managed to return his entire unit to Missouri without a fatality. Truman understood the brutality of war on the ground, and wished to inflict that on no one.

    There is no doubt that there were factions willing to accept the utter slaughter of the Japanese people.

    Those factions had won out in the Japanese strategy discussions, prior to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima AND Nagasaki.

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  37. Black Flag® says:

    First, James, as pointed out already, there was no need to invade.

    Further, you assume that such an invasion would have consumed your family. Given the Japanese were starving, ill-supplied and devastated by fire bombing, it more poignant an assumption it would have been a slaughterof the Japanese.

    I do not forget anything. Yes, it’s a curse.

    There is no doubt that there were factions willing to accept the utter slaughter of the Japanese people.

    So what?

    The failure of the coup saved the Japanese people, not your family.

    You are mired in the myth and propaganda of the US self-justification of wanton slaughter of women and children.

    Hope you sleep well inside your lie.

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  38. JamesK says:

    Considering I have two uncles who would have probably died in an invasion of the Japanese home islands, BF…yeah it saved theirs.

    Or are you conveniently forgetting that there was a coup attempt by elements of the Japanese military?

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  39. Ed Darrell says:

    Forgiving, perhaps; but we forget out our very great peril.

    Some people worked so hard to forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the U.S. government turned around and did it again, to Americans — thousands of Utahns who were downwind of the Nevada Test Site (and, perhaps ironically, including the gully that now occupies the former Mountain Meadows where a Mormon group massacred a group of Arkansas immigrants).

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  40. onkelbob says:

    Do many Americans know about Sand Creek or Mountain Meadows? Those are minor events in the history of the US, but how often do we remember – dwell upon – the bad things we do? Now amplify that a bunch, do we have the societal wherewithal to contemplate something as large as Nagasaki. Such events do not fit in our self assessments and so do not attract much in the way of society wide discussions.
    While it is a shame we don’t look at these events and say: “you know, we should work to prevent those from reoccurring,” but the reality is we ain’t too bright as a society, and it just ain’t gonna happen. But… in my daze in Germany, they acknowledged their past atrocities,but didn’t don sackcloth and ashes about it. Namely they look back at the war as say, we were responsible and it won’t happen again. OTOH all the the Japanese I met all but denied any wrong-doing throughout the war and we were the bad guys, especially for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I guess I am saying that forgetting this is better for both sides.

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  41. Ed Darrell says:

    I think a more careful reading of the US Strategic Bombing Survey’s report gives a more nuanced answer — if a totally different answer can be said to be “nuanced.” The document is available on line at the Truman Library.

    See pages 27-29 (32-34 of the .pdf).

    Under “The Japanese Decision to Surrender,” the report states that a surrender movement had been working since at least the spring of 1944. The movement itself was divided, and the military was thought to have been ready to depose the cabinet, had the cabinet voted for peace. Ultimately, the cabinet was swayed when the peace faction brought the emperor into the discussion; the emperor asked for a plan for peace as well as a plan to defend the islands. See page 28 of the report

    The atomic bombings considerably speeded up these political maneuverings within the government. This in itself was partly a morale effect, since there is ample evidence that members of the Cabinet were worried by the prospect of further atomic bombings, especially on the remains of Tokyo. The bombs did not convince the military that defense of the home islands was impossible, if their behavior in government councils is adequate testimony. It did permit the Government to say, however, that no army without the weapon could possibly resist an enemy who had it, thus saving “face” for the Army leaders and not reflecting on the competence of the Japanese industrialists or the valor of the Japanese soldier. In the Supreme War Guidance Council voting remained divided, with the War Minister and the two Chiefs of Staff unwilling to accept unconditional surrender. There seems little doubt, however, that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weakened their inclination to oppose the peace group.

    The peace effort culminated in an Imperial conference held on the night of 9 August and continued into the early hours of 10 August, for which the stage was set by the atomic bomb and the Russian war declaration. At this meeting the Emperor, again breaking his customary silence, stated specifically that he wanted acceptance of the Potsdam terms.

    A quip was current in the high government circles at this time that the atomic bomb was the real Kamikaze, since it saved Japan from further useless slaughter and destruction. It is apparent that in the atomic bomb the Japanese found the opportunity which they had been seeking, to break the existing deadlock within the government over acceptance of the Potsdam terms

    Works for me.

    (Where in that report are the words you quote? I haven’t found them.)

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  42. Black Flag® says:

    It saved no American lives.

    Less than one year after the end of the war, the US Strategic Bombing Survey’s official report on the Pacific War appeared. The authors concluded that…

    “the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs did not defeat Japan….certainly prior to December 31, 1945 and in all probability prior to November 1, 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.”

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