Like the revisionist position the traditional view suffered from major falla

Like the revisionist position the traditional view

This preview shows page 11 - 13 out of 25 pages.

Like the revisionist position, the traditional view suffered from major falla- cies. In contrast to Truman’s critics, who gave little attention to the difficulties and drawbacks of ending the war by pursuing approaches other than the atomic bomb, traditionalists underestimated the possibility that the alternatives could have forced a Japanese surrender before the invasion began. By failing to con- sider seriously evidence that suggested that an invasion was not inevitable and that the war could have ended without either the bomb or an invasion, they oversimplified a complex and crucial issue. In light of the documentary evi- dence, their insistence that Truman faced a stark choice between dropping the bomb and authorizing an enormously costly invasion is superficial, reduction- ist, and unpersuasive. In the summer of 1945 , the president and his chief advis- ers never weighed a decision between the bomb and an invasion as an either/or proposition. This was a postwar construct that followed the dichotomy drawn by Stimson, Truman, and other policymakers in their explanations for using the bomb. During the last weeks of the war, they were keenly aware of alternatives to an invasion other than the bomb. Traditionalists generally disregarded the critical question of why the use of the bomb seemed to be the best of the avail- able options. Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision : 321 20 . Gar Alperovitz and Robert L. Messer, “Correspondence: Marshall, Truman, and the Decision to Drop the Bomb,” International Security 16 (Winter 1991 / 1992 ): 204 14 .
Image of page 11
Traditionalists dismissed too lightly the possibility that the war could have ended before the invasion was launched on 1 November 1945 . The conclusion that neither the bomb nor an invasion was necessary for a U.S. victory is, of course, unavoidably counterfactual. But so is the traditional interpretation’s heavy reliance on unprovable assertions about the need for an invasion and the number of casualties it would have caused. Much could have happened in the twelve weeks between the bombing of Hiroshima and the launching of an attack on Kyushu to bring about a Japanese surrender. In that period, the combina- tion of Soviet participation in the war, the continued bombing of Japanese cities with massive B- 29 raids, the critical shortage of war supplies, the increasing scarcity of food and other staples required for the sustenance of the Japanese people, and diminishing public morale could well have convinced the emperor to seek peace. The peace faction in his government was gradually gaining strength, and the emperor’s closest adviser, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Koichi Kido, was increasingly concerned that the greatest threat to the emperor’s position was not American troops but the loss of domestic support.
Image of page 12
Image of page 13

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 25 pages?

  • Fall '18
  • History, World War II, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture