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25General George Marshall also arguedfor a warning demonstration of the bombin May of 1945, and after accepting thedecision not to do so, urged that atomicbombs should be used only on strictlymilitary targets.26President Trumanappeared to agree with Marshall onselecting military targets in both privatewritings and public statements at thistime. He wrote in his diary on July 25 (during the Potsdam Confer-ence) that “This weapon is to be used against Japan between nowand August 10. I have told the secretary of war, Mr. Stimson, to useAdmiral 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 andwould, like other weapons, be used by future enemies in a reciprocal way.Admiral William Leahy. Photo source: Truman Presidential Library.
23ers continued to refuse to surrender unconditionally.32It 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 waragainst Japan. Hasegawa argues that the shock of the Soviet attackson Japan were a greater influence on the Japanese Army leaders thanthe atomic bombings in inducing them to accept an unconditionalsurrender. He speculates that even without the atomic bombings, theSoviet attacks, combined with continuing American naval blockadesand saturation bombings, would most likely have induced a surren-der before the scheduled November American invasion of Kyushu.33If this is the case, Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been spared,but the Soviets might also have claimed more territory in the FarEast and more scope in the occupation of postwar Japan, and manymore civilians would have died in further conventional bombings ofJapanese cities.A fourth controversy surrounding the decision to use atomicbombs against Japan stems from the argument that Japan’s leadersmight have been willing to surrender earlier (and without either aninvasion or an atomic bombing) if offered terms other than uncondi-tional surrender. At least three of the president’s top advisors madeexactly this kind of case with Truman. Joseph Grew, who had servedas 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 termsoffered to Japan with a statement that offered explicit protection ofthe Emperor’s status in postwar Japan. He argued that such a propos-al might well sway the die-hard militarists in the Japanese SupremeCouncil to accept defeat, and that it would be necessary to retain theemperor in the postwar period anyway to preserve order.