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Old 03-20-2020, 01:00 PM
11,189 posts, read 10,732,721 times
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Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
I've always felt that a "demonstration" explosion in an unpopulated area would have persuaded the Japanese to surrender. Of course, we'll never really know.

By the time the nukes were used it was not a question of whether to surrender. They wanted a conditional surrender with no occupation. The Americans wanted an unconditional surrender, and after two nukes, the Japanese agreed.
Who knows?

What causes me to be skeptical is that surrender itself was very tenuous even after the dropping of both bombs. Japan was governed by the Imperial cabinet. The role of the Emperor by 1945 was largely that of a figurehead. Hirohito largely believed that the role of the emperor was to "reign" not to "rule". Actual governing and ruling was to be done by the cabinet. There was a desire among the civilian cabinet members to achieve peace even though they knew that peace would require something very close to unconditional surrender. Prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs, President Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration. This statement explained to the Japanese that the USA was in possession of extremely destructive weapons and that it intended to use those bombs against the Japanese unless they surrendered immediately and unconditionally. The Japanese ignored the declaration. The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Almost simultaneously, the Soviet Army invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria. The Japanese knew they could not withstand the Soviet Army. The Japanese cabinet took a vote and came to a deadlock. All civilian ministers want to accept the Potsdam Declaration. All military ministers opposed surrender. It was at this point, the emperor gave up his silence and spoke. Hirohito broke the deadlock among the cabinet ministers and announced that the country would accept the Potsdam Declaration. This wasn't the end of it though. Before this could occur, there was an attempted military coup against Hirohito which failed.

I tend to believe without the dropping of the atomic bombs, without the invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union, without the attempted military coup failing, and without Emperor Hirohito breaking the deadlock in his cabinet the Japanese would have fought on. Of course, they would have lost. However, hundreds of thousands more of Americans and Japanese would have died.
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