June 1945 there were already divisions within the Japanese Supreme Council

June 1945 there were already divisions within the

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June 1945 there were already divisions within the Japanese Supreme Council discussing how to end the war with the Americans with the largest reservation being the desire to retain the national polity by allowing the Emperor Hirohito to remain on his throne. In fact, in July 1945 the U.S. intercepted a Japanese cable from Japan’s Foreign Minister Togo to Japan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union which stated that Japan wanted to end the war and that the major impediment to Japanese surrender was the insistence on unconditional surrender by the U.S. Concurrently, the U.S. was also deliberating offers of surrender for the Japanese. Secretary of War Stimson, aware of the Japanese regard for the Emperor, was adamant that the offer include the provision that the Emperor would be able to remain in power. However, he was continually overridden and even with the knowledge that such a modification could prove amenable to the Japanese government, the U.S. chose not to include it. The third alternative of waiting for the Soviet Union to enter the war, presents an interesting issue in that it actually occurred and it remains unclear what effect this had on the Japanese decision to surrender. President Truman himself remarked in his diary on July 17, 1945, “Fini Japs when that [Soviet entry into the war] comes about.” Between when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and before the Japanese had decided to surrender, the Soviet Union entered the war by invading Japanese-held Manchuria from the north, routing the Japanese army there. Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa argues that it wasn’t until the Soviet invasion that the Emperor “was finally convinced that the moment had at last arrived to end the war.” If this is true, then it could mean that in connection with the bombing of Hiroshima, the Committee’s assumption that a Soviet invasion would be helpful but not decisive was correct, or instead, that it was just the opposite and that the Soviet invasion was the decisive act to facilitate a Japanese surrender. Additional Considerations In terms of dropping the bomb, there were also various ideas for how it should be used against the Japanese. This included the argument that it could be used specifically for targeting a military objective such as a collection of factories and that the civilians around the target area should be warned before its use. Similarly, the idea was suggested that an outside demonstration be made to the Japanese so that they could witness the power of the weapon before suffering its use. However, neither Oppenheimer nor the military planners believed that a demonstration of the weapon would be sufficient to create a Japanese surrender. More so, they worried that any warning of the weapons usage would undermine the U.S. position if the weapon eventually failed to work.
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  • Fall '16
  • MARK ESTANISLAO

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