-Steven quotes _The New American Magazine_- > This current display, therefore, repeats the notion that the > dropping of the bombs by the U.S. brought Japan to the peace > table and saved countless lives on both sides. But this > historical view, like the original commentary intended for the > exhibit, is not supported by the facts.
Just to be clear: If the net effect of dropping two atomic bombs was to kill 100,000 of the enemy and thereby save _one_ American life, it would have been the moral duty of the commander-in-chief to do so. I doubt you can convince me that Americans would not have died had the bombs not been dropped; therefore, in my moral calculus, at least, dropping the bombs was the only moral decision Truman could have made. > But in fact the Japanese had sent peace feelers to the West as > early as 1942, only six months after the December 1941 attack > on Pearl Harbor. More would come in a flood long before the > fateful use of the atomic bombs. I see. So, the enemy starts asking about "peace" twenty or so weeks after taking out your strategic harbor, and therefore you're supposed to believe they're sincere. Do I have that right? > Here was an enemy who had been trying to surrender for almost > a year before the conflict ended." Um, that would have been 1944. What happened to six months after Pearl Harbor? > In her book, Brown supplied abundant evidence about the > immense perfidy that kept the Japanese from surrendering until > such time as the Soviets were ready to enter the war against > Japan and the American forces had dropped the atomic bombs on > civilian populations. Yes, Mark presented a web site detailing this same evidence a few years back. Interesting reading, perhaps with some truth to it. But in the end, it's bogus. All Japan had to do was to broadcast their unconditional surrender and they would have been spared. Blockade or no, Japan struck first and picked the fight, committing unspeakable atrocities in the warfare. If they didn't want to "lose face" by open surrender, that is their own fault, no the US's. > Toshikasu Kase, an official of the Japanese Foreign Office, > delivered a highly confidential message to the interned > British ambassador, Sir Robert Craigi. It contained a > "discreet hint regarding the eventual restoration of peace." > Emanating from Japanese Foreign Minister Togo, this message > stated, "Should it happen that the British Government became > desirous of discussing or negotiating peace they would find > the Japanese Government ready to be helpful." Yet we mannerless Americans, with no grasp whatsoever of the subtle nuances of civilized etiquette, just went on ahead and bombed them, all because of a little misunderstanding over a Hawaiian naval base. Yes, I see your point. > In his 1952 book Fleet Admiral King, Admiral Ernest J. King > reported President Roosevelt's 1942 understanding that "by > the application of sea power, Japan could be forced to > surrender without an invasion of her home islands." This > attitude, shared by most of our military leaders, would > quickly be abandoned by the President. Instead, the costly > island-by-island advance of U.S. forces northward through > the Pacific continued. Hmmm. Might that be because Admiral King perhaps didn't witness the attempted taking of Italian peninsula, an Axis ally that actually had a lot of population who secretly sided with the Allies, and who in any case didn't plan to fight -- and that still resulted in a bloody campaign starting from the south and spanning the length of the country, a country roughly the size of Japan? If a comparatively "friendly foe" like Italy would be untakeable by naval forces alone and require extensive, bloody infantry warfare, why should the commander-in-chief have supposed that Japan, the original aggressor, a country whose pilots willingly sacrificed themselves to mess up carrier decks, would lay down and become docile under a similar situation? > The only unwavering stipulation sought by anyone in the > Japanese "peace party" was the retention of the Emperor and > the continuance of the monarchy. Perhaps the Japanese leaders ought to have realized that "unconditional" meant just that, and that they had long ago (say, 7 Dec 1941) forfeited any right to name the conditions of their surrender. This sort of post facto second-guessing lies somewhere between silly and offensive. If my son were fighting in the Pacific theater, I would demand his (and my) commander-in-chief to protect his life, even at the cost of the enemy's lives. That's the CIC's job, second in priority only to winning the war. As far as I can tell, nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki achieved both ends. To repeat: Japan could have broadcast their surrender at any time, even six months after Pearl Harbor. They could have broadcast an unconditional surrender in July 1945. They could have broadcast it after Hiroshima. They chose to wait. Whose fault is that? 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