Japan therefore became a terminally ill patient faced with accepting a

Japan therefore became a terminally ill patient faced

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Japan therefore became a “terminally ill” patient, faced with accepting a desperate peace  (where it would have to give up gains in the Pacific) or fighting a desperate war. With the general belief that conflict was inevitable and that British and US forces were only  becoming stronger, the Japanese decided to strike first. As Prime Minister Tojo  proclaimed, “At the moment, our Empire stands at the threshold of glory or oblivion.” Traditional deterrence theory claims that deterrence only works with capability and  credibility—a credible  threat  and the capability to carry it out. Therefore, the potential  costs of war must be extremely high while the probability of victory is low. However,  deterrence—as shown by the situation with Japan—will not work when the costs of  not   going to war are even higher. The outbreak of the Pacific War can be seen as a country  that had made rational, calculated decisions, launching a war out of desperation. Kissinger, Diplomacy, Ch. 17: The Beginning of the Cold War (423-445). Potsdam was a failure. Stalin only understood territorial gain; Churchill recognized this and advocated a Realpolitik approach to defending against Russian expansion that was lost on Truman. "American negotiators acted as if the mere recitation of their legal and moral rights ought to produce the results they desired. But Stalin needed far more persuasive reasons to change his course…. No American statesman was prepared to issue the kind of threat or pressure which Churchill envisioned and which Stalin's psychology would have required." (436) For example, Stalin kept his troops in Eastern Europe for bargaining power and Truman refused (against Churchill's urgings) to keep allied troops as far east as they had gone in Central Europe for bargaining power. Stalin, in turn, installed Soviet puppets in Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania and exerted significant influence in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Finland. Truman insisted on trying to maintain the feeling of goodwill between
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the America and Russia that had existed during the war. When it became clear that Stalin was intractable, American opinion took the leap from "pure goodwill to indiscriminate suspiciousness" (444). This was the start of the cold war. Summary of NSC-68: This report was issued during the Truman presidency during the budding of the Cold War, and is though to have shaped government action in the Cold War for the next 20 years. It was de-classified in 1977. NSC-68 would make the case for a US military buildup to confront what it called an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony...
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