Subject: The Japanese Surrender
It is an overstatement to say that Japan was trying to surrender before
we dropped the atomic bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese civilian leadership
convinced Emperor Hirohito that Japan
should surrender, so he recorded a transcription disk (i.e., a
phonograph record) telling the Japanese
people that Japan would accept the Potsdam Agreement calling for
He recorded two copies of his speech to be sure that one would survive
to be broadcast.
Many Japanese military leaders were opposed to surrender. On the
evening of August 14, 1945,
as many as a thousand Japanese officers raided the Imperial Palace to
place the Emperor under arrest
and to find and destroy the recording The Emperor's
personal staff smuggled the recording out of
the palace in a laundry basket of ladies underwear. Another
attempt to prevent the broadcast was
thwarted and Hirohito's message of surrender was broadcast to the
nation the next day.
This attempted coup is known as the Kyujo Incident.
Based on this attempted coup, it is clear that many in the Japanese
military were opposed
to surrender and wanted to fight on.
It is also clear that the Allies were justified in expecting large
casualties if they invaded Japan.
Just before dropping the atomic bombs, the Allies fought The Battle of
Okinawa that resulted in
over 50,000 Allied casualties and over 100,000 Japanese casualties. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa.
Based on this experience, the Allies were justified in believing that
many more lives would have been lost in an invasion of Japan.
Harry Truman fought in the trenches of World War I and had first-hand
experience in close combat.
He believed that using the atomic bombs on Japan would save Allied
lives. If he had deferred using
the bomb and allowed the invasion to go forward, Truman would have gone
down as one of the biggest
cowards in history. Truman was no coward and he summarily put an
end to a war that the Allies did not start.
In my view, Harry Truman did the right thing.
On a personal note, my Dad was a Naval Aviator and was training for the
Japanese invasion when
the Allies dropped the atomic bombs. He was really happy that
Truman gave him a way to come home.
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