negotiated surrender, defeat - and the destruction of the Emperor system - became an imminent threat (Butow, pg. 193). The doves had run out of time; their religious devotion to the Emperor forced them to risk their lives to save his or, at the minimum, to save the position of the Emperor (Pacific War Research Society, DML , pg. 200). The only chance to save the Emperor was to surrender.
On August 8 - before the Soviets announced their declaration of war and before the Nagasaki a- bomb was detonated - Foreign Minister Togo met with the Emperor to tell him what he knew of the Hiroshima bombing. They agreed that the time had come to end the war at once (Pacific War Research Society, DML , pg. 300; Pacific War Research Society, JLD , pg. 21-22). The problem of Unconditional Surrender But unconditional surrender would still leave the doves' central issue unanswered: would surrender allow Japan to retain the Emperor? Japan's Prime Minister Suzuki spelled out the problem of "unconditional surrender" well for doves and hawks alike when he publicly announced on June 9, 1945, "Should the Emperor system be abolished, they [the Japanese people] would lose all reason for existence. 'Unconditional surrender', therefore, means death to the hundred million: it leaves us no choice but to go on fighting to the last man." (Pacific War Research Society, DML , pg. 127; Butow, pg. 69(44n)). From this time on, if not earlier, the Allies knew that the throne was the primary issue for Japan. While some of Japan's military leaders preferred additional conditions for ending the war, ultimately their control proved to be secondary to the desire of the Emperor - and Japan's doves - for surrender. Much has been written about the vagueness of the Allies' call for "unconditional surrender". This vagueness, combined with many hostile references to Japan's leaders (Henry Stimson & McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service In Peace and War, pg. 626; Butow, pg. 136), contributed heavily to the conclusion by many in Japan that unconditional surrender could mean the end of their Emperor. Even Foreign Minister Togo, one of the leaders of Japan's doves, noted in a July 12, 1945 message to Sato, Japan's Ambassador to Moscow, "as long as America and England insist on unconditional surrender, our country has no alternative but to see it [the war] through in an all-out effort". The telegram was intercepted by the U.S., decoded, and sent to President Truman (U.S. Dept. of State, Potsdam 1, pg. 873, 875-876). Robert Butow has aptly portrayed the feelings the Japanese had for the Emperor, in noting, "The one thing they could not do was sign a death warrant for the imperial house", and if it appeared that the Allies would take steps against the Emperor, "then even the most ardent advocates of peace would fall into step behind the [pro-war] fanatics" (Butow, pg. 141). To demand unconditional surrender, without comment as to the Emperor's fate, meant a choice, Truman thought, between an invasion of the Japanese mainland or the use of atomic bombs on Japan, or possibly both. Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall thought that even after using A-bombs on Japan the invasion would still
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 17 pages?