Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

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Aaron Richards
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Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

Postby Aaron Richards » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:55 pm

So popular opinion (central to post-war American identity) has it that it was the small but necessary evil of dropping not one, but two atom bombs (on Hiroshima and three days later on Nagasaki) that made the Inner Council finally see reason and agree to the unconditional surrender with the terms that had been established at the Potsdam Conference.

But I came across this article that offers points which make you believe it was the decision of the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan (something the Japanese had been dreading since at least March 1945) that convinced Japanese High Command that the war was lost, and that it would be impossible to fight a two-front war against the USSR and the USA with a wrecked navy and a badly mauled army on the Chinese mainland and the Japanese home islands at the same time.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/th ... talin-did/

The tl;dr version is: the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan, and its weeklong Blitzing of Manchuria is what made Japan surrender in September 1945, rather than the bombs dropped on them in early August.

Now if that is true, it would undermine 70 years of America's morality debate concluding the atom bombs ended WW II and saved hundreds of thousands of lives that would have been lost if the US had invaded the Japanese islands, wouldn't it?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.
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Re: Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

Postby TJrandom » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:52 pm

The Hiroshima memorial version, and that taught under our unified education curriculum, is that the bombs were dropped as a demonstration to Russia, having nothing to do with the war with the US. I suspect that multiple reasons were at play – demonstration, technology test, spite, and loss avoidance. As I have commented elsewhere here, there are many `caves` still visible in the countryside, dug into hillsides overlooking valleys. Regardless of the reasons for dropping the bomb – it is a good thing that an invasion wasn`t necessary – as it saved the lives of civilians who would have fought with sharpened sticks if necessary. That it also saved the lives of US and Japanese soldiers surely is a good thing – regardless of the reasons supporting the decision.

As an aside, a recently found memo touches on emperor Hirohito`s support for the attack on Pearl – the subject of some consideration when deciding whether to treat him as a war criminal or allow the system to continue.

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Re: Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

Postby Balmoral95 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:52 pm

I'm not sure that posing this as "either this or that" is the right way to frame the question.

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Re: Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

Postby landrew » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:37 pm

Someone's always trying to change the narrative to draw attention to themselves.
Just stop it.
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Re: Revisionism: What exactly made Japan surrender?

Postby TJrandom » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:21 am

Balmoral95 wrote:I'm not sure that posing this as "either this or that" is the right way to frame the question.


I certainly agree with that, as per my list. But that isn`t the way it is framed today in the US or in Japan, albeit with different conclusions. If the US would acknowledge that the mass incineration of civilians and cities, and Japan would acknowledge that emperor worship – was wrong, maybe these mistakes from the past won`t be foisted upon the future world. I won`t suggest future US actions, but I do know that we have nationalists who are having elementary children marching in uniforms and singing praise to the deity (emperor).


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