Neil Johnson wrote:

When your choice is 1) sending THOUSANDS of troops to their death trying invade the Japanese home islands or 2) Trying out two new, not fully reliable, not fully understood weapons that, however, if they work, will save you from doing 1).

I think I know what my "ethical" choice a the time would have been.

But there was another choice:

3) Accept a conditional surrender from the Japanese.

Unfortunately, like Roosevelt before him, Truman insisted on unconditional surrender as the only thing he would accept. The Japanese were trying to negotiate a surrender, but wished to ensure that their emperor would retain his title as head of state (even if he had little actual power). Truman insisted there be no conditions whatsoever, and killed hundreds of thousands of noncombatants to get his way. The real irony is that the U.S. ended up granting the desired condition afterwards anyway.

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