25 General George Marshall also argued for a warning demonstration of the bomb

25 general george marshall also argued for a warning

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25 General George Marshall also argued for a warning demonstration of the bomb in May of 1945, and after accepting the decision not to do so, urged that atomic bombs should be used only on strictly military targets. 26 President Truman appeared to agree with Marshall on selecting military targets in both private writings and public statements at this time. He wrote in his diary on July 25 (during the Potsdam Confer- ence) that “This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10. I have told the secretary of war, Mr. Stimson, to use Admiral William Leahy, the Chairman of the joint chiefs, was particularly appalled at the radiation effects of atomic bombs and argued that they were both unnecessary and immoral and would, like other weapons, be used by future enemies in a reciprocal way. Admiral William Leahy. Photo source: Truman Presidential Library.
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23 ers continued to refuse to surrender unconditionally. 32 It does not seem credible to assume that Truman, despite his public and private pronouncements, was not aware of the true nature and significance of the targets ultimately selected by his authorized agents. A third controversy involves the Soviet declaration of war against Japan. Hasegawa argues that the shock of the Soviet attacks on Japan were a greater influence on the Japanese Army leaders than the atomic bombings in inducing them to accept an unconditional surrender. He speculates that even without the atomic bombings, the Soviet attacks, combined with continuing American naval blockades and saturation bombings, would most likely have induced a surren- der before the scheduled November American invasion of Kyushu. 33 If this is the case, Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been spared, but the Soviets might also have claimed more territory in the Far East and more scope in the occupation of postwar Japan, and many more civilians would have died in further conventional bombings of Japanese cities. A fourth controversy surrounding the decision to use atomic bombs against Japan stems from the argument that Japan’s leaders might have been willing to surrender earlier (and without either an invasion or an atomic bombing) if offered terms other than uncondi- tional surrender. At least three of the president’s top advisors made exactly this kind of case with Truman. Joseph Grew, who had served as ambassador to Japan from 1931–1941 (and who was acting Secretary of State in early 1945), approached Truman on May 28, 1945, with a proposal to modify the unconditional surrender terms offered to Japan with a statement that offered explicit protection of the Emperor’s status in postwar Japan. He argued that such a propos- al might well sway the die-hard militarists in the Japanese Supreme Council to accept defeat, and that it would be necessary to retain the emperor in the postwar period anyway to preserve order.
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