In response to a request from me today, he has just sent this list of links.
A brief resume of the historical position of japan at the end of WWII.
An impressive list of quotes from US generals and politicians who disagreed with the decision.
The orthodox position, that the bombings were necessary to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of allied troops fighting against a fanatical enemy, is not as sound a position at it seems.
Here is the text of the brief resume link above:
"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima
and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan.
The Japanese were almost defeated and ready to surrender...in being the
first to use it, we...adopted an ethical standard common to the
barbarians of the Dark Ages."
---Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy,
Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II
January 1945 - MacArthur forwarded to the President a Japanese offer to
surrender to which was exactly what we accepted 7 months later. Had it
been accepted when first offered, there would have been no heavy loss
of life on Iwo Jima (over 26,033 Americans killed or wounded,
approximately 21,000 Japanese killed) and Okinawa (over 39,000 U.S.
dead and wounded, 109,000 Japanese dead), no fire bombing of Japanese
cities by B-29 bombers (it is estimated that the dropping of 1,700 tons
of incendiary explosives on Japanese cities during March 9th-10th alone
killed over 80,000 civilians and destroyed 260,000 buildings), and no
use of the atomic bomb (200,000 killed).
5 April 1945 - Japan appointed Prime Minister Suzuki Kantaro who was
known to be a peace advocate.
8 May 1945 - Japan tried to surrender through the Soviet Union.
June 1945 - Both the US Army and Navy recommended to Truman that he
clarify the US demands in regard to the Emperor. It was recognized that
he was absolutely essential so he could order his men to lay down their
arms. Without him, there would have been anarchy in Japan.
11 July 1945 - Japan offered to surrender unconditionally, with one
exception - they wished to retain their monarchy. They didn't insist on
retaining Emperor Hirohito. They were willing to
small son, for example. The US wouldn't even talk to them - the bomb
was dropped on them without the US ever responding to any of their
peace feelers. Since we let them keep their monarchy (they never
unconditionally surrendered - the US offered assurrances to the Emperor
on August 11 after both bombs were dropped, when they had the
assurrences they surrendered), there was no difference between this
offer and what happened on August 14. Every death after July 11, both
US and Japanese, was a war crime
Japan was totally helpless and was being shelled from sea and air.
Japan had been bombed back to the stone age. Its population was facing
imminent starvation. Much of the Japanese Army was stranded in China or
scattered across islands like the Philippines or New Britain. The
Japanese Navy had, capable of unaided movement, two aircraft carriers
most damaged to some degree, and 59 submarines. There were 829 vessels
incapable of movement, some lying on the bottom in shallow water, some
floating upside down, some listing, others awash.
Here are a few of the Japanese attempts to end the war in July:
July 11: "make clear to Russia... We have no intention of annexing or
taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying as a result
of the war; we hope to terminate the war".
July 12: "it is His Majesty's heart's desire to see the swift
termination of the war".
July 13: "I sent Ando, Director of the Bureau of Political Affairs to
communicate to the [Soviet] Ambassador that His Majesty desired to
dispatch Prince Konoye as special envoy, carrying with him the personal
letter of His Majesty stating the Imperial wish to end the war" (for
above items, see: U.S. Dept. of State, Potsdam 1, pg. 873-879).
July 18: "Negotiations... necessary... for soliciting Russia's good
offices in concluding the war and also in
negotiations with England and America." (Magic-Diplomatic Summary,
7/18/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files, RG 457,
Box 18, National Archives).
July 22: "Special Envoy Konoye's mission will be in obedience to the
Imperial Will. He will request assistance in bringing about an end to
the war through the good offices of the Soviet Government." The July
21st communication from Togo also noted that a conference between the
Emperor's emissary, Prince Konoye, and the Soviet Union, was sought, in
preparation for contacting the U.S. and Great Britain (Magic-Diplomatic
Summary, 7/22/45, Records of the National Security Agency, Magic Files,
RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).
July 26: Japan's Ambassador to Moscow, Sato, to the Soviet Acting
Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Lozovsky: "The aim of the Japanese
Government with regard to Prince Konoye's mission is to enlist the good
offices of the Soviet Government in order to end the war."
(Magic-Diplomatic Summary, 7/26/45, Records of the National Security
Agency, Magic Files, RG 457, Box 18, National Archives).
1945 Truman used atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima on
August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. Now generally considered a war
crime, at the minimum it was the murder of hundreds of thousands of
innocent civilians. There was no lack of military targets or a
demonstration in a remote place was possible, so the selection of
targets is indefensible, leaving aside the issue of whether the bombing
was justified in the first place. To make this decision Truman had to
wave aside concerns about postblast radiation, which was an unknown
quantity at that time, and even the possibility of an unstoppable chain
reaction in the atmosphere which would destroy the world. It was
pointed out to him that one bomb dropped on a city would have an effect
undistinguishable from and no greater than a big B-29 incendiary raid
of the kind already in progress, in terms of immediate casualties and
total damage. In other words, this was utterly senseless. And why the
second bomb? Whatever point Truman thought he was making was made with
the first one. Dropping the bomb to "end the war sooner" was a
falsification of history because Truman, in fact, lengthened the war in
order to drop the bomb. First he postponed the Potsdam Conference and
thereby the Russian declaration of war on Japan for two weeks until the
bomb was ready and then he had the language for assurances to the
Emperor deleted so the Potsdam Declaration would be unacceptable to the
Japanese. The US Strategic Bombing Survey explicitly stated that the
war would have ended sooner if they had chosen different targets -- but
the goal was not to end the war but to support an invasion . As to the
argument that the bomb saved American lives - it is spurious to assert
as fact that obliterating Hiroshima in August was needed to obviate an
invasion in November - the date we had planned. The April 30, 1946
study by the War Department's Military Intelligence Division concluded,
"The war would almost certainly have terminated when Russia entered the
war against Ja pan." This remains the only use of atomic weapons in
Before the bomb was dropped, some scientists of the Manhattan Project
produced the Franck Report which questioned the ability of destroying
Japanese cities with atomic bombs to bring surrender when destroying
Japanese cities with conventional bombs had not done so. It recommended
a demonstration of the atomic bomb for Japan in an unpopulated area.
Facing the long-term consequences with Russia, the report stated
"If no international agreement is concluded immediately after the first
demonstration, this will mean a flying start of an unlimited armaments
The report pointed out that the United States, with its highly
concentrated urban areas, would become a prime target for nuclear
weapons and concluded:
"We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for
an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable. If the United
States would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate
destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout
the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the
possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future
control of such weapons."
When Eisenhower was told of the bomb he said: "...the Japanese were
ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful
thing." - Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63
On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Herbert
Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal, "The use of the atomic bomb,
with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my
May of 1946 Hoover met with General Douglas MacArthur. Hoover recorded
in his diary, "I told MacArthur of my memorandum of mid-May 1945 to
Truman, that peace could be had with Japan by which our major
objectives would be accomplished. MacArthur said that was correct and
that we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the
entry of Russia into Manchuria."
The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman
to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946:
"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by
the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the
Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all
probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even
if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not
entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or
Why did Truman drop the bomb? The best explanation is a quote by Truman
and the thinking of his Secretary of State Byrnes. Brynes view was that
our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make the Soviets more
"managable" in Europe. Truman said, "If this explodes as I think it
will, I'll certainly have a hammer on those boys." indicating the
Russians - ch 19 page 239 of The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb by Gar
Alperovitz, NY:Knopf, 1995. Truman took a hardline in Potsdam because
he had the bomb. Another view is that Truman and some advisors like
Hopkins thought it would force countries into a world government. Some
aides may have been that far-thinking or pie-in-the-sky, but Truman
only graduated from high school. A joke idea is that he didn't want the
billions of dollars spent on the project wasted. General Groves, who
was in charge of the atom bomb project, wrote "The President did not
ever show any concern over the amount of funds being spent..."
1946-1947 Truman with the other allies sent more than two million
fugitives of the Soviet government to their deaths. The Gulag
Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, NY:Harper and Row 1973, chapter
2, page 85; Also The Last Secret by Nicholas Bethall, NY 1974.
Operation Keelhaul, Julius Epstein, 1973.
An excellent review of the evidence