Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Fat Man mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rises 18 km (11 mi, 60,000 ft) into the air from the hypocenter
The atomic bomb was more than a weapon of terrible destruction; it was a psychological weapon.

—Former U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, 1947[1]

The debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki concerns the ethical, legal and military controversies surrounding the United States' atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 August and 9 August 1945 at the close of the Second World War (1939–45). Some debaters focus on the presidential decision making process, and others on whether or not the bombings were the proximate cause of Japanese surrender. Over the course of time different arguments have gained and lost support as new evidence has become available and as new major studies have been completed. However, a primary and continuing focus has been on the role of the bombings in Japan's surrender and the U.S.'s justification for them based upon the premise that the bombing precipitated the surrender. This remains the subject of both scholarly and popular debate.

In 2005 in an overview of historiography about the matter, J. Samuel Walker wrote that "the controversy over the use of the bomb seems certain to continue."[2] Walker stated that "The fundamental issue that has divided scholars over a period of nearly four decades is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war in the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States."[2]

Supporters of the bombings generally assert that they caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of Japan: Kyūshū was to be invaded in October 1945 and Honshū five months later. Those who oppose the bombings argue that it was simply an extension of the already fierce conventional air raids on Japan[3] and, therefore, militarily unnecessary,[4] inherently immoral, a war crime, or a form of state terrorism.[5]



Preferable to invasion

There were those who considered that the atomic bomb should never have been used at all. I cannot associate myself with such ideas… I am surprised that very worthy people—but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves—should adopt a position that rather than throw this bomb we should have sacrificed a million American and a quarter of a million British lives…

Winston Churchill, leader of the Opposition, in a speech to the British House of Commons, August 1945[6]

A map outlining the Japanese and U.S. (but not other Allied) ground forces scheduled to take part in the ground battle for Japan. Two landings were planned:
(1) Olympic—the invasion of the southern island, Kyūshū,
(2) Coronet—the invasion of the main island, Honshū.
March 1946's Operation Coronet was planned to take Tokyo with a landing of 25 divisions, compared to D-Day's 12 Divisions.

Those who argue in favor of the decision to drop the atom bombs believe that massive casualties on both sides would have occurred in Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan.[7]

The U.S. side anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. U.S. President Truman stated after the war that he had been advised that U.S. casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men.[8] In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April 1945, the figures of 7.45 casualties per 1,000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities per 1,000 man-days were developed. This implied that the two planned campaigns to conquer Japan would cost 1.6 million U.S. casualties, including 380,000 dead.[9] A later study by the Joint War Plans Committee, who provided planning information to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated that an invasion of Japan would result in 40,000 U.S. dead and 150,000 wounded. Delivered on June 15, 1945 after insight gained from the Battle of Okinawa, the study noted Japan's inadequate defenses due to the very effective sea blockade and the American firebombing campaign. Generals George C. Marshall and Douglas MacArthur signed documents agreeing with the Joint War Plans Committee estimate.[10]

In addition, millions of Japanese military and civilian casualties were expected as a result of such actions.[11] An Air Force Association webpage states that "Millions of women, old men, and boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears and strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tanks."[12] The AFA noted that "[t]he Japanese cabinet had approved a measure extending the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixty and women from seventeen to forty-five (an additional 28 million people)."[13]

Supporters also point to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on 1 August 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied prisoners of war, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place.[14]

The US military had nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals manufactured in anticipation of potential casualties from the planned invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the 60 years following the end of World War II—including the Korean and Vietnam Wars—have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock.[15] Because of the number available, combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.[15]

Speedy end of war saved lives

Supporters of the bombing argue that to have waited for the Japanese to surrender would also have cost lives. "For China alone, depending upon what number one chooses for overall Chinese casualties, in each of the ninety-seven months between July 1937 and August 1945, somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 persons perished, the vast majority of them noncombatants. For the other Asian states alone, the average probably ranged in the tens of thousands per month, but the actual numbers were almost certainly greater in 1945, notably due to the mass death in a famine in Vietnam. Newman concluded that each month that the war continued in 1945 would have produced the deaths of 'upwards of 250,000 people, mostly Asian but some Westerners.'"[16]

The end of the war liberated millions of laborers working in harsh conditions under a forced mobilization. In the Dutch East Indies, there was a "forced mobilization of some 4 million—although some estimates are as high as 10 million—romusha (manual laborers)...About 270,000 romusha were sent to the Outer Islands and Japanese-held territories in Southeast Asia, where they joined other Asians in performing wartime construction projects. At the end of the war, only 52,000 were repatriated to Java."[17][clarification needed]

The firebombing of Tokyo had killed well over 100,000[18][19][20][21] people in Japan since February 1945, directly and indirectly. Because the USAAF wanted to use its bombs on previously undamaged cities in order to have accurate data on nuclear-caused damage, Kokura, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Niigata were preserved from conventional bombing raids. Otherwise they would all have been fire-bombed.[22]Intensive conventional bombing would have continued or increased prior to an invasion. The submarine blockade and the United States Army Air Forces's mining operation, Operation Starvation, had effectively cut off Japan's imports. A complementary operation against Japan's railways was about to begin, isolating the cities of southern Honshū from the food grown elsewhere in the Home Islands. "Immediately after the defeat, some estimated that 10 million people were likely to starve to death", noted historian Daikichi Irokawa.[23] Meanwhile, fighting continued in The Philippines, New Guinea and Borneo, and offensives were scheduled for September in southern China and Malaya. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria had, in the week before the surrender, caused over 80,000 deaths.[18]

In September 1945, nuclear physicist Karl T. Compton, who himself took part in the Manhattan Project, visited MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo, and following his visit wrote a defensive article, in which he summarized his conclusions as follows: "If the atomic bomb had not been used, evidence like that I have cited points to the practical certainty that there would have been many more months of death and destruction on an enormous scale".[24]

Philippine justice Delfin Jaranilla, member of the Tokyo tribunal, wrote in his judgment:

"If a means is justified by an end, the use of the atomic bomb was justified for it brought Japan to her knees and ended the horrible war. If the war had gone longer, without the use of the atomic bomb, how many thousands and thousands of helpless men, women and children would have needlessly died and suffer ...?"[25]

Lee Kuan Yew, the Former Prime Minister of Singapore concurred:

"But they also showed a meanness and viciousness towards their enemies equal to the Huns'. Genghis Khan and his hordes could not have been more merciless. I have no doubts about whether the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary. Without them, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Malaya and Singapore, and millions in Japan itself, would have perished."

Lee witnessed his home city being invaded by the Japanese and was nearly executed in the Sook Ching Massacre.

Part of total war

Chinese civilians massacred during Japan's campaign of total war in Xuzhou.

Supporters of the bombings have argued that the Japanese government had promulgated a National Mobilization Law and waged total war, ordering many civilians (including women and children) to work in factories and military offices and to fight against any invading force. Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo's Catholic University, and an eyewitness to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima wrote:

"We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians."[26]

Supporters of the bombings have emphasized the strategic significance of the targets. Hiroshima was used as headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army, which commanded the defense of southern Japan with 40,000 military personnel in the city. Hiroshima was a communication center, an assembly area for troops, a storage point and had several military factories as well.[27][28] Nagasaki was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.[29]

An article published in the International Review of the Red Cross notes that, with respect to the "anti-city" or "blitz" strategy, that "in examining these events in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property."[30] The Blitz was not one of the charges against Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, at the Nuremberg Trials.[31]

On 30 June 2007, Japan's defense minister Fumio Kyuma said the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan by the United States during World War II was an inevitable way to end the war. Kyuma said "I now have come to accept in my mind that in order to end the war, it could not be helped (Shikata ga nai) that an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and that countless numbers of people suffered great tragedy." Kyuma, who is from Nagasaki, said the bombing caused great suffering in the city, but he does not resent the U.S. because it prevented the Soviet Union from entering the war with Japan.[32] Kyuma's comments were similar to those made by Emperor Hirohito when, in his first ever press conference given in Tokyo in 1975, he was asked what he thought of the bombing of Hiroshima, and answered: "It's very regrettable that nuclear bombs were dropped and I feel sorry for the citizens of Hiroshima but it couldn't be helped (Shikata ga nai) because that happened in wartime."[33]

Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue protested against Kyuma, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized over Kyuma's remark to Hiroshima A-bomb survivors.[34] In the wake of the outrage provoked by his statements, Kyuma had to resign on 3 July.[35]

In early July, on his way to Potsdam, Truman had re-examined the decision to use the bomb. In the end, Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. His stated intention in ordering the bombings was to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction, that was sufficient to cause Japan to surrender.[36]

In his speech to the Japanese people presenting his reasons for surrender, the emperor referred specifically to the atomic bombs, stating that if they continued to fight it would result in " ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation..."[37] In his Rescript to the Soldiers and Sailors, delivered on 17 August, he focused however on the impact of the Soviet invasion, omitting any reference to the atomic bombings.

Japan's leaders refused to surrender

Some historians see ancient Japanese warrior traditions as a major factor in the resistance in the Japanese military to the idea of surrender. According to one Air Force account,

"The Japanese code of bushido—"the way of the warrior"—was deeply ingrained. The concept of Yamato-damashii equipped each soldier with a strict code: never be captured, never break down, and never surrender. Surrender was dishonorable. Each soldier was trained to fight to the death and was expected to die before suffering dishonor. Defeated Japanese leaders preferred to take their own lives in the painful samurai ritual of seppuku (called hara kiri in the West). Warriors who surrendered were not deemed worthy of regard or respect."[13]

Japanese militarism was aggravated by the Great Depression, and had resulted in countless assassinations of reformers attempting to check military power, among them Takahashi Korekiyo, Saitō Makoto, and Inukai Tsuyoshi. This created an environment in which opposition to war was a much riskier endeavor.[38]

According to historian Richard B. Frank,

"The intercepts of Japanese Imperial Army and Navy messages disclosed without exception that Japan's armed forces were determined to fight a final Armageddon battle in the homeland against an Allied invasion. The Japanese called this strategy Ketsu Go (Operation Decisive). It was founded on the premise that American morale was brittle and could be shattered by heavy losses in the initial invasion. American politicians would then gladly negotiate an end to the war far more generous than unconditional surrender."[39]

The U.S. Department of Energy's history of the Manhattan Project lends some credence to these claims, saying that military leaders in Japan

".... also hoped that if they could hold out until the ground invasion of Japan began, they would be able to inflict so many casualties on the Allies that Japan still might win some sort of negotiated settlement."[40]

While some members of the civilian leadership did use covert diplomatic channels to attempt peace negotiation, they could not negotiate surrender or even a cease-fire. Japan could legally enter into a peace agreement only with the unanimous support of the Japanese cabinet, and in the summer of 1945, the Japanese Supreme War Council, consisting of representatives of the Army, the Navy and the civilian government, could not reach a consensus on how to proceed.[38]

A political stalemate developed between the military and civilian leaders of Japan, the military increasingly determined to fight despite all costs and odds and the civilian leadership seeking a way to negotiate an end to the war. Further complicating the decision was the fact that no cabinet could exist without the representative of the Imperial Japanese Army. This meant that the Army and the Navy could veto any decision by having its Minister resign, thus making it the most powerful posts on the SWC. In early August 1945 the cabinet was equally split between those who advocated an end to the war on one condition, the preservation of the Kokutai, and those who insisted on three other conditions:[41]

  1. Leave disarmament and demobilization to Imperial General Headquarters
  2. No occupation of the Japanese Home Islands, Korea, or Formosa
  3. Delegation to the Japanese government of the punishment of war criminals

The "hawks" consisted of General Korechika Anami, General Yoshijirō Umezu and Admiral Soemu Toyoda and were led by Anami. The "doves" consisted of Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki, Naval Minister Mitsumasa Yonai and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shigenori Tōgō and were led by Togo.[38] Under special permission of the Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), the president of the Privy council, Hiranuma Kiichirō, was also a member of the imperial conference. For him, the preservation of the Kokutai implied not only that of the Imperial institution but also the continuation of the emperor's reign.[42]

Japan had an example of unconditional surrender in the German Instrument of Surrender. On 26 July, Truman and other allied leaders issued The Potsdam Declaration outlining terms of surrender for Japan. The declaration stated that "The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction." It was rejected. The Emperor, who was waiting for a Soviet reply to Japanese peace feelers, made no move to change the government position.[43] In the PBS documentary "Victory in the Pacific" (2005), broadcast in the "American Experience" series, the historian Donald Miller argues that in the days after the declaration, the Emperor seemed more concerned with moving the Imperial Regalia of Japan to a secure location than he was with "the destruction of his country." This comment is based on the declarations made by the Emperor to Kōichi Kido on 25 and 31 July 1945, when he ordered the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan to protect "at all cost" the Imperial Regalia.[44]

It has sometimes been argued that Japan would have surrendered if simply guaranteed that the Emperor would be allowed to continue as formal head of state. However, Japanese diplomatic messages regarding a possible Soviet mediation—intercepted through Magic, and made available to Allied leaders—have been interpreted by some historians to mean that "the dominant militarists insisted on preservation of the old militaristic order in Japan, the one in which they ruled."[39] They also faced potential death sentences in trials for Japanese war crimes if they surrendered.[45] This was also what occurred in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and other tribunals.

Professor of history Robert James Maddox wrote that

Another myth that has attained wide attention is that at least several of Truman's top military advisers later informed him that using atomic bombs against Japan would be militarily unnecessary or immoral, or both. There is no persuasive evidence that any of them did so. None of the Joint Chiefs ever made such a claim, although one inventive author has tried to make it appear that Leahy did by braiding together several unrelated passages from the admiral's memoirs. Actually, two days after Hiroshima, Truman told aides that Leahy had 'said up to the last that it wouldn't go off.'

Neither MacArthur nor Nimitz ever communicated to Truman any change of mind about the need for invasion or expressed reservations about using the bombs. When first informed about their imminent use only days before Hiroshima, MacArthur responded with a lecture on the future of atomic warfare and even after Hiroshima strongly recommended that the invasion go forward. Nimitz, from whose jurisdiction the atomic strikes would be launched, was notified in early 1945. 'This sounds fine,' he told the courier, 'but this is only February. Can't we get one sooner?'

The best that can be said about Eisenhower's memory is that it had become flawed by the passage of time.

Notes made by one of Stimson's aides indicate that there was a discussion of atomic bombs, but there is no mention of any protest on Eisenhower's part.[46]

Maddox also wrote that "Even after both bombs had fallen and Russia entered the war, Japanese militants insisted on such lenient peace terms that moderates knew there was no sense even transmitting them to the United States. Hirohito had to intervene personally on two occasions during the next few days to induce hardliners to abandon their conditions."[46] "That they would have conceded defeat months earlier, before such calamities struck, is far-fetched to say the least."[47]

The fact that even after the triple shock of the Soviet intervention and two atomic bombs, the Japanese cabinet was deadlocked and incapable of deciding upon a course of action is telling both of the power of the Army and naval factions in the cabinet, and of their unwillingness to even consider surrender. Even following the personal intervention of the emperor to break the deadlock in favour of surrender, there were no less than three separate coup attempts by senior Japanese officers to try to prevent the surrender and take the Emperor into 'protective custody'. Once these coup attempts had failed, senior leaders of the air force and Navy ordered bombing and kamikaze raids on the US fleet (In which some of the Japanese Generals personally participated) to try to derail any possibility of peace. It is clear from these accounts that while many in the civilian government knew the war could not be won, the power of the military in the Japanese government kept surrender from even being considered as a real option prior to the two atomic bombs.[48]

Another argument by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is that it was the Soviet declaration of war in the days between the bombings that caused the surrender. After the war, Admiral Soemu Toyoda said, "I believe the Russian participation in the war against Japan rather than the atom bombs did more to hasten the surrender."[49] Prime Minister Suzuki also declared that the entry of the USSR into the war made "the continuance of the war impossible."[50] Upon hearing news of the event from Foreign Minister Togo, Suzuki immediately said, "Let us end the war", and agreed to finally convene an emergency meeting of the Supreme Council to end the war. The official British history, The War Against Japan, also writes that the Soviet declaration of war "brought home to all members of the Supreme Council the realization that the last hope of a negotiated peace had gone and there was no alternative but to accept the Allied terms sooner or later."

The "one condition" faction, led by Togo, seized on the bombing as decisive justification of surrender. Kōichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisers, stated: "We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war." Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945, called the bombing "a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war."[51]


The cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Park is inscribed with an ambiguous sentence: "Let all the souls here rest in peace; this mistake shall not be repeated" This construction, natural in the Japanese language, was intended to memorialize the victims of Hiroshima without politicizing the issue.

Fundamentally immoral

On 8 August 1945, Albert Camus addressed the bombing of Hiroshima in an editorial in the French newspaper Combat:

"Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests[...] This can no longer be simply a prayer; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason."[52]

In 1946, a report by the Federal Council of Churches entitled Atomic Warfare and the Christian Faith, includes the following passage:

"As American Christians, we are deeply penitent for the irresponsible use already made of the atomic bomb. We are agreed that, whatever be one's judgment of the war in principle, the surprise bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are morally indefensible."

The bombings as war crimes

A number of notable individuals and organizations have criticized the bombings, many of them characterizing them as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and/or state terrorism. Early critics of the bombings were Albert Einstein, Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard, who had together spurred the first bomb research in 1939 with a jointly written letter to President Roosevelt. Szilard, who had gone on to play a major role in the Manhattan Project, argued:

"Let me say only this much to the moral issue involved: Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?"[53]

A number of scientists who worked on the bomb were against its use. Led by Dr. James Franck, seven scientists submitted a report to the Interim Committee (which advised the President) in May 1945, saying:

"If the United States were to be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race for armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons."[54]

Mark Selden writes, "Perhaps the most trenchant contemporary critique of the American moral position on the bomb and the scales of justice in the war was voiced by the Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal, a dissenting voice at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, who balked at accepting the uniqueness of Japanese war crimes. Recalling Kaiser Wilhelm II's account of his duty to bring World War I to a swift end—"everything must be put to fire and sword; men, women and children and old men must be slaughtered and not a tree or house be left standing." Pal observed:

"This policy of indiscriminate murder to shorten the war was considered to be a crime. In the Pacific war under our consideration, if there was anything approaching what is indicated in the above letter of the German Emperor, it is the decision coming from the Allied powers to use the bomb. Future generations will judge this dire decision...If any indiscriminate destruction of civilian life and property is still illegal in warfare, then, in the Pacific War, this decision to use the atom bomb is the only near approach to the directives of the German Emperor during the first World War and of the Nazi leaders during the second World War."

Selden mentions another critique of the nuclear bombing, which he says the U.S. government effectively suppressed for twenty-five years, as worth mention. On 11 August 1945, the Japanese government filed an official protest over the atomic bombing to the U.S. State Department through the Swiss Legation in Tokyo, observing that:

"Combatant and noncombatant men and women, old and young, are massacred without discrimination by the atmospheric pressure of the explosion, as well as by the radiating heat which result therefrom. Consequently there is involved a bomb having the most cruel effects humanity has ever known. . . . The bombs in question, used by the Americans, by their cruelty and by their terrorizing effects, surpass by far gas or any other arm, the use of which is prohibited. Japanese protests against U.S. desecration of international principles of war paired the use of the atomic bomb with the earlier firebombing, which massacred old people, women and children, destroying and burning down Shinto and Buddhist temples, schools, hospitals, living quarters, etc. . . . They now use this new bomb, having an uncontrollable and cruel effect much greater than any other arms or projectiles ever used to date. This constitutes a new crime against humanity and civilization."[55]

Selden concludes that despite the war crimes committed by the Empire of Japan, nevertheless, "the Japanese protest correctly pointed to U.S. violations of internationally accepted principles of war with respect to the wholesale destruction of populations."[55]

In 1963 the bombings were the subject of a judicial review in Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State.[56] On the 22nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the District Court of Tokyo declined to rule on the legality of nuclear weapons in general, but found that "the attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused such severe and indiscriminate suffering that they did violate the most basic legal principles governing the conduct of war."[57]

In the opinion of the court, the act of dropping an atomic bomb on cities was at the time governed by international law found in the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907 and the Hague Draft Rules of Air Warfare of 1922–1923[58] and was therefore illegal.[59]

In the documentary The Fog of War, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara recalls that General Curtis LeMay, who relayed the Presidential order to drop nuclear bombs on Japan,[60] said,

"'If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals.' And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?"[61]

As the first military use of nuclear weapons, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki represent to some the crossing of a crucial barrier. Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, wrote of President Truman:

"He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species. It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity."[62]

Takashi Hiraoka, mayor of Hiroshima, upholding nuclear disarmament, said in a hearing to The Hague International Court of Justice (ICJ):

"It is clear that the use of nuclear weapons, which cause indiscriminate mass murder that leaves [effects on] survivors for decades, is a violation of international law".[63][64]

Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki, declared in the same hearing:

"It is said that the descendants of the atomic bomb survivors will have to be monitored for several generations to clarify the genetic impact, which means that the descendants will live in anxiety for [decades] to come. [...] with their colossal power and capacity for slaughter and destruction, nuclear weapons make no distinction between combatants and non-combatants or between military installations and civilian communities [...] The use of nuclear weapons [...] therefore is a manifest infraction of international law."[63]

Although bombings do not meet the definition of genocide, some consider that this definition is too strict, and that these bombings do represent a genocide.[65][66] For example, University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings states there is a consensus among historians to Martin Sherwin's statement, that "the Nagasaki bomb was gratuitous at best and genocidal at worst."[67]

The scholar R. J. Rummel instead extends the definition of genocide to what he calls democide, and includes the major part of deaths from the atom bombings in these. His definition of democide includes not only genocide, but also an excessive killing of civilians in war, to the extent that this is against the agreed rules for warfare; he argues that indeed the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes, and thus democide.[68] Rummel quotes among others an official protest from the US government in 1938 to Japan, for its bombing of Chinese cities:

"The bombing of non-combatant populations violated international and humanitarian laws."

He also considers excess deaths of civilians in firestorms caused by conventional means, such as in Tokyo, as acts of democide.

In 1967, Noam Chomsky described the atomic bombings as "among the most unspeakable crimes in history". Chomsky pointed to the complicity of the American people in the bombings, referring to the bitter experiences they had undergone prior to the event as the cause for their acceptance of its legitimacy.[69] [70]

In 2007, a group of intellectuals in Hiroshima established an unofficial body called International Peoples' Tribunal on the Dropping of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On July 16, 2007, it delivered its verdict, stating:

"The Tribunal finds that the nature of damage caused by the atomic bombs can be described as indiscriminative extermination of all life forms or inflicting unnecessary pain to the survivors".

About the legality and the morality of the action, the unofficial tribunal found:

"The (- - -) use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was illegal in the light of the principles and rules of International Humanitarian Law applicable in armed conflicts, since the bombing of both cities, made civilians the object of attack, using nuclear weapons that were incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets and consequently, caused unnecessary suffering to the civilian survivors".[71]

Militarily unnecessary

The 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey, written by Paul Nitze, concluded that the atomic bombs had been unnecessary to the winning of the war. After reviewing numerous documents, and interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, Nitze reported:

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 contemplated.[72][73]

This conclusion assumed that a conventional fire-bombing attack would have continued, with ever-increasing numbers of B-29s, and a greater level of destruction to Japan's cities and population.[74] One of Nitze's most influential sources was Prince Fumimaro Konoe, who responded to a question asking whether Japan would have surrendered if the atomic bombs had not been dropped by saying that resistance would have continued through November or December, 1945.[75]

Historians, such as Bernstein, Hasegawa, and Newman, have criticized Nitze for drawing a conclusion that, they say, went far beyond what the available evidence warranted, in order to promote the reputation of the Air Force at the expense of the Army and Navy.[76][77][78]

Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in his memoir The White House Years:

In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.[79][80]

Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General of the Army Douglas MacArthur,[81][82] Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials),[80] and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.[83]

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[73]
"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.[84]

Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings themselves were not even the principal reason for capitulation. Instead, he contends, it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories in Manchuria that forced the Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945,[85] though the War Council did not know the extent of the losses to the Soviets in China at that time.

State terrorism

Historical accounts indicate that the decision to use the atomic bombs was made in order to provoke a surrender of Japan by use of an awe-inspiring power. These observations have caused Michael Walzer to state that the incident was an act of "war terrorism". Walzer wrote, "... And, finally, there is war terrorism: the effort to kill civilians in such large numbers that their government is forced to surrender. Hiroshima seems to me the classic case."[86] This type of claim eventually prompted historian Robert P. Newman, a supporter of the bombings, to argue that the practice of terrorism is justified in some cases.[87]

Certain scholars and historians[attribution needed] have characterized the atomic bombings of Japan as a form of "state terrorism". This interpretation centers around a definition of terrorism as the targeting of innocents to achieve a political goal.[citation needed] As Frances V. Harbour points out, the meeting of the Target Committee in Los Alamos on 10 and 11 May 1945 suggested targeting the large population centers of Kyoto or Hiroshima for a "psychological effect" and to make "the initial use sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized."[88][89] As such, Professor Harbour suggests the goal was to create terror for political ends both in and beyond Japan.[89] However, Burleigh Taylor Wilkins has written that it stretches the meaning of "terrorism" to include wartime acts.[90]

Japanese nuclear weapons program undeveloped

Post war claims that the Japanese nuclear research and development efforts were near completion, and therefore justified an attack, were not true.[91][92][93] This position has been refuted by historians, who have found that the Japanese nuclear program was comparably undeveloped, even in comparison to the German nuclear energy project.[94][95]

A review of this theory by Department of Energy employee Roger M. Anders appeared in the journal Military Affairs:

Journalist Wilcox' book describes the Japanese wartime atomic energy projects. This is laudable, in that it illuminates a little-known episode; nevertheless, the work is marred by Wilcox's seeming eagerness to show that Japan created an atomic bomb. Tales of Japanese atomic explosions, one a fictional attack on Los Angeles, the other an unsubstantiated account of a post-Hiroshima test, begin the book. (Wilcox accepts the test story because the author [Snell], "was a distinguished journalist"). The tales, combined with Wilcox's failure to discuss the difficulty of translating scientific theory into a workable bomb, obscure the actual story of the Japanese effort: uncoordinated laboratory-scale projects which took paths least likely to produce a bomb.[96]

Nagasaki bombing unnecessary

The black marker indicates "ground zero" of the Nagasaki atomic bomb explosion.

The second atomic bombing, on Nagasaki, came only three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, when the devastation at Hiroshima had yet to be fully comprehended by the Japanese.[97] The lack of time between the bombings has led some historians to state that the second bombing was "certainly unnecessary",[98] "gratuitous at best and genocidal at worst",[99] and not jus in bello.[97] In response to the claim that the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was unnecessary, Maddox wrote:

Some historians have argued that while the first bomb might have been required to achieve Japanese surrender, dropping the second constituted a needless barbarism. However, the record shows otherwise. American officials believed more than one bomb would be necessary because they assumed Japanese hard-liners would minimize the first explosion or attempt to explain it away as some sort of natural catastrophe, which is precisely what they did. In the three days between the bombings, the Japanese minister of war, for instance, refused even to admit that the Hiroshima bomb was atomic. A few hours after Nagasaki, he told the cabinet that "the Americans appeared to have one hundred atomic bombs . . . they could drop three per day. The next target might well be Tokyo."[46]

One day before the bombing of Nagasaki, the Emperor notified Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō of his desire to "insure a prompt ending of hostilities". Togo wrote in his memoir that the Emperor "warned [him] that since we could no longer continue the struggle, now that a weapon of this devastating power was used against us, we should not let slip the opportunity [to end the war] by engaging in attempts to gain more favorable conditions."[100] The Emperor then requested Togo to communicate his wishes to the Prime Minister.

Racism and dehumanization

Historian James J. Weingartner sees a connection between the American mutilation of Japanese war dead and the bombings.[101] According to Weingartner both were partially the result of a dehumanization of the enemy. "[t]he widespread image of the Japanese as sub-human constituted an emotional context which provided another justification for decisions which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands."[102] On the second day after the Nagasaki bomb, President Truman had stated: "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true".[103]

Impact on surrender

On the question of what role the bombings played in Japan's surrender, there are varied opinions, ranging from the bombings being the deciding factor, to the bombs being a minor factor, to the entire question being unknowable.[104]

That the bombings were the decisive factor in ending the war was the mainstream position in the United States from 1945 through the 1960s, and is termed by some the "traditionalist" view, or pejoratively as the "patriotic orthodoxy."[105]

Others argue that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was instead primary or decisive.[106][107][108][109] In the US, this view has been particularly advanced by Robert Pape and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, and found convincing by some,[110][111] while criticized by others.[112][113][114]

In Japanese writing about the surrender, the Soviet entry into the war is considered the primary reason or equal with the atomic bombs in many accounts,[115] while others, such as the work of Sadao Asada, give primacy to the atomic bombings, particularly their impact on the emperor.[116] The primacy of the Soviet entry as a reason for surrender is a long-standing view in the Japanese left, and has appeared in some Japanese junior high school textbooks.[116]

The argument about the Soviet role in Japan's surrender is connected to the argument about the Soviet role in America's decision to drop the bomb:[107] both emphasize the importance of the Soviet Union, while the former argues that Japan surrendered to the US out of fear of the Soviet Union, and the latter argues that the US dropped the bombs to intimidate the Soviet Union.

Still others have argued that war-weary Japan would likely have surrendered regardless, due to a collapse of the economy, lack of army, food, and industrial materials, threat of internal revolution, and talk of surrender since earlier in the year, while others find this unlikely, arguing that Japan may well have, or likely would have, put up a spirited resistance.[105]

More cautiously, historians such as Hasegawa and Asada argue that there was no single decisive external factor in the decision to surrender, the atomic bombings, Soviet invasion, weakened condition of Japan, and threats of internal unrest being contributing considerations, with the ultimate decision to surrender being a personal decision by the emperor, influenced by the peace-seeking wing of the Japanese political elite.[116][117]

A further traditional view, expressed by Japanese officials in interviews with Americans, is that the impact of the bombings is unknowable. Some have accepted this view,[citation needed] while others dismiss it as evasive and pandering.[111] Any analysis, however, cannot exclude the fact that the Emperor's speech to his nation initially announcing surrender specifically referred to the atomic bombings as a primary reason for ending resistance: "The enemy, moreover, has begun to employ a new most cruel bomb, the power which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation . . . but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save millions of Our subjects, or ourselves, to atone before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial ancestors? This is the reason We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the Powers."[118]

Atomic diplomacy

A further argument, discussed under the rubric of "atomic diplomacy" and advanced in a 1965 book of that name by Gar Alperovitz, is that the bombings had as primary purpose to intimidate the Soviet Union, being the opening shots of the Cold War.[119] Along these lines some[who?] argue that the US raced the Soviet Union and hoped to drop the bombs and receive surrender from Japan before a Soviet entry into the Pacific war. However, the Soviet Union, the US and Great Britain came to an agreement at the Yalta Conference on when the Soviet Union should join the war against Japan, and on how the territory of Japan is to be dismembered at the end of the war.[120]

Others argue that such considerations played little or no role, the US being instead concerned with the defeat of Japan, and in fact that the US desired and appreciated the Soviet entry into the Pacific war, as it hastened the surrender of Japan.[121]

W. Churchill was on vacation on Como's lake, Italy, when the bomb of Hiroshima was launched. Lord Moran, his personal physician, in his memoirs published in 1966 tells a conversation he had had with WSC. He saw the atom bomb as a way to keep Stalin in check.


  1. ^ "Least Abhorrent Choice", Time magazine, 3 February 1947
  2. ^ a b Walker, J. Samuel (April 2005). "Recent Literature on Truman's Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground". Diplomatic History 29 (2): 334. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.2005.00476.x. 
  3. ^ Ward Wilson. The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima. International Security, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Spring 2007), pp. 162–179
  4. ^ The Collins Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, BCA 1994, page 1308
  5. ^ Stohl, Michael (1988). "National Interest and State terrorism". The Politics of terrorism. CRC Press. p. 279. ISBN 9780824778149. 
  6. ^ Foreign News: Loyal Opposition, TIME magazine, August 27, 1945
  7. ^ (Hasegawa 2005, pp. 298–299)
  8. ^ Giangreco, Dennis M. (1998-02-16). "Transcript of "Operation Downfall [U.S. invasion of Japan]: US Plans and Japanese Counter-Measures"". Beyond Bushido: Recent Work in Japanese Military History. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  9. ^ Frank, Downfall, p. 135–7.
  10. ^ Carroll, James (2007). House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 48. ISBN 0618872019. 
  11. ^ Paulin, Joseph H. (May 2007). "America's Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan" (PDF). Louisiana State University. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  12. ^ "The Mission". The Smithsonian and the Enola Gay. U.S. Air Force Association. Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  13. ^ a b Correll, John T. (1994-03-15). "The Smithsonian and the Enola Gay". U.S. Air Force Association. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  14. ^ The only existing original copy of this general order was found by Jack Edwards after the war, in the ruins of the Kinkaseki prisoner of war camp. (Edwards References Page 260)
  15. ^ a b Giangreco, Dennis M. & Moore, Kathryn, "Are New Purple Hearts Being Manufactured to Meet the Demand?"; History News Network (December 1, 2003), Retrieved December 4, 2006
  16. ^ Frank, Downfall, p. 163.
  17. ^ Library of Congress, 1992, "Indonesia: World War II and the Struggle For Independence, 1942–50; The Japanese Occupation, 1942–45" Access date: 9 February 2007.
  18. ^ a b Hanson, Victor Davis (2005-08-05). "60 Years Later: Considering Hiroshima". National Review. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  19. ^ Freeman Dyson. Part I: A Failure of Intelligence. Technology Review, November 1, 2006, MIT
  20. ^ David McNeill. The night hell fell from the sky. Japan Focus, March 10, 2005.
  21. ^ Rhodes, Richard. "The Making of the Atomic Bomb". p 599. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (1984) ISBN 0-684-81378-5.
  22. ^ Groves, Leslie (1962). Now it Can be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-306-70738-1. OCLC 537684. 
  23. ^ Frank, Downfall, p. 351; citing Irokawa, The Age of Hirohito: In Search of Modern Japan (1995), p. 37.
  24. ^ Karl T. Compton, "If the Atomic Bomb Had Not Been Used" The Atlantic Monthly, December 1946 Italics in the original.
  25. ^ John Dower, Embracing Defeat, p. 473
  26. ^ "The Avalon Project : The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki". Retrieved 6 August 2005. 
  27. ^ "Hiroshima Before the Bombing". Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  28. ^ Hiroshima: Hubertus Hoffmann meets the only U.S. Officer on both A-Missions and one of his Victims Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
  29. ^ The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
  30. ^ International Review of the Red Cross no. 323, p. 347–363, The Law of Air Warfare (1998)
  31. ^ Stein, Stuart D. (2001-10-28). "Judgment of International Military Tribunal on Hermann Goering". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  32. ^ "Japanese Defense Chief: Atomic Bombing 'Couldn't Be Helped'". Fox News. 30 June 2007.,2933,287453,00.html. Retrieved 9 July 2007. 
  33. ^ H. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of modern Japan, p. 676; J. Dower, Embracing Defeat, p. 606
  34. ^ "Japan's Abe apologizes to Hiroshima A-bomb survivors over defense minister remark". International Herald Tribune. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2007. 
  35. ^ Japan News Review "Kyuma steps down over A-bomb gaffe" 3 July 2007
  36. ^ Allen, Thomas; Norman Polmar (1995). Code-Name Downfall. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 266–270. ISBN 0684804069. 
  37. ^ "Emperor Hirohito, Accepting the Potsdam Declaration, Radio Broadcast.". 14 August 1945. Retrieved 9 July 2007. 
  38. ^ a b c The Pacific War Research Society (2005). Japan's Longest Day. Oxford University Press. p. 352. 
  39. ^ a b Frank, Richard B. (2005-08-08). "Why Truman Dropped the Bomb". The Weekly Standard 010 (44). Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  40. ^ Rezelman, David; F.G. Gosling and Terrence R. Fehner (2000). "Japan Surrenders, August 10–15, 1945". The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History. U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  41. ^ H. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2001, p. 512.
  42. ^ Bix, ibid, p. 513
  43. ^ Bix, Herbert (1996). "Japan's Delayed Surrender: A Reinterpretation". In Michael J. Hogan, ed.. Hiroshima in History and Memory. Cambridge University Press. p. 290. ISBN 0-521-56682-7. 
  44. ^ Kido Koichi nikki, Tokyo, Daigaku Shuppankai, 1966, p. 1120–1121
  45. ^ Rising, Gerry (2001-11-08). "Book review: Downfall [by Richard B. Frank, 1999]". ArtVoice of Buffalo. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  46. ^ a b c Robert, James Maddox (May–June 1995). "The Biggest Decision: Why We Had to Drop the Atomic Bomb". American Heritage. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  47. ^ Maddox, 1995, p. xvii.
  48. ^ Richard Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Penguin, 2001), pg 331.
  49. ^ John Toland, The Rising Sun (Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2003), .p.807
  50. ^ Edward Bunting, World War II Day by Day (Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2001) p.652
  51. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (2003-08-05). "Blood On Our Hands?". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16. [dead link]
  52. ^ Albert Camus in Combat newspaper, 8 August 1945, available in French here
  53. ^ "Leo Szilard, Interview: President Truman Did Not Understand.". U.S. News and World Report: pp. 68–71. 15 August 1960. Retrieved 9 July 2007.  (republished at [1], reached through Leo Szilard page at [2])
  54. ^ John Toland, ibid, p. 762.
  55. ^ a b The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Mark Selden, Kyoko Selden; M. E. Sharpe, 1989
  56. ^ Shimoda et al. v. The State, Tokyo District Court, 7 December 1963
  57. ^ Falk, Richard A. (1965-02-15). "The Claimants of Hiroshima". The Nation.  reprinted in Richard A. Falk, Saul H. Mendlovitz eds., ed (1966). "The Shimoda Case: Challenge and Response". The Strategy of World Order. Volume: 1. New York: World Law Fund. pp. 307–13. 
  58. ^ Boyle, Francis A. (2002). The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence. Atlanta: Clarity Press. p. 58. 
  59. ^ Falk, op. cit., p. 308.
  60. ^ Narvaez, Alfonso A. (2 October 1990). "NY Times: Gen. Curtis LeMay, an Architect Of Strategic Air Power, Dies at 83". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  61. ^ Carroll, 2007, p.533
  62. ^ "Hiroshima bomb may have carried hidden agenda". 21 July 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2006. 
  63. ^ a b November 1995 Public Sitting, in the Case of Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflicts at La Hague International Court of Justice
  64. ^ See also 1995 Peace Conference, by Takashi Hiraoka, Mayor of Hiroshima
  65. ^ Frey, Robert S. (2004). The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond. University Press of America. ISBN 0761827439.  Reviewed at: Rice, Sarah (2005). "The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond (Review)". Harvard Human Rights Journal 18. 
  66. ^ Dower, John (1995). "The Bombed: Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japanese Memory". Diplomatic History 19 (2). 
  67. ^ Cumings, Bruce (1999). Parallax Visions. University Press of Duke. p. 54.  Sherwin, Martin (1974). A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance. 
  68. ^ "Statistics of democide, ch. 13: Death by American bombings and other democide". Charlottesville, Virginia: Center for National Security Law, School of Law, University of Virginia. 1997. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  69. ^ "The Responsibility of Intellectuals". The New York Review of Books. 23 February 1967. Retrieved 19 February 2009. 
  70. ^ "An Exchange on "The Responsibility of Intellectuals"". The New York Review of Books. 20 April 1967. Retrieved 19 February 2009. "And, quite properly, he turns the question back to us: To what extent are the British or American people responsible for the vicious terror bombings of civilians, perfected as a technique of warfare by the Western democracies and reaching their culmination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, surely among the most unspeakable crimes in history. To an undergraduate in 1945–46—to anyone whose political and moral consciousness had been formed by the horrors of the 1930s, by the war in Ethiopia, the Russian purge, the "China Incident", the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi atrocities, the Western reaction to these events and, in part, complicity in them—these questions had particular significance and poignancy." 
  71. ^ Judgement of the International Peoples' Tribunal on the Dropping of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  72. ^ "United States Strategic Bombing Survey; Summary Report". United States Government Printing Office. 1946. p. 26. Retrieved 28 July 2006. 
  73. ^ a b Freeman, Robert (6 August 2005). "Was the Atomic Bombing of Japan Necessary?". 
  74. ^ "United States Strategic Bombing Survey; Summary Report" (Transcription of original work). Report. United States Government Printing Office. 1946. p. 29. Retrieved 28 July 2006. 
  75. ^ Gentile, 2000, p. 116.
  76. ^ Gentile, Gian P. (2000-12-01). How Effective is Strategic Bombing?—Lessons Learned from World War II to Kosovo. NYU Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0814731352. Retrieved 2008-08-06. "Paul Nitze recalled in his memoirs that he believed in July 1945 that Japan would surrender [in a matter of months] "even without the atomic bomb." ... It was natural for Nitze to begin his analysis with a hypothesis concerning the effects of the atomic bombs on ending the war with Japan. Yet Nitze remained committed to that notion even when the evidence—the interrogations of Japanese officials—did not reasonably support his conclusions. And Nitze's bold statement that his conclusions on why Japan surrendered were based on "all the facts", after a mere three months of evidence gathering, stretches the limits of believability." 
  77. ^ Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. "The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan's Decision to Surrender?". Japan Focus. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  78. ^ Newman, Robert P. (2004-08-02). "Remember the Smithsonian's Atomic Bomb Exhibit? You Only Think You Know the Truth". History News Network. George Mason University. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  79. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1963). The White House Years; Mandate For Change: 1953–1956. Doubleday & Company. pp. 312–313. 
  80. ^ a b "Hiroshima: Quotes". Retrieved 6 August 2005. 
  81. ^ Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964, Dell, pg. 512
  82. ^ Norman Cousins writes of his conversations with Douglas MacArthur, "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor." Cousins, Norman. The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70–71
  83. ^ "Decision: Part I". Retrieved 6 August 2005. 
  84. ^ Leahy, William D. (1950). I was there. New York. p. 441. 
  85. ^ (Hasegawa 2005, p. 298)
  86. ^ Walzer, Michael (2002) (PDF). Five Questions About Terrorism. 49. Foundation for the Study of Independent Social Ideas, Inc.. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  87. ^ Newman, Robert (2004). Enola Gay and the Court of History (Frontiers in Political Communication). Peter Lang Publishing. ISBN 0-8204-7457-6. 
  88. ^ Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District, TS Manhattan Project File (1945-05-26). "Minutes of the second meeting of the Target Committee". Retrieved 2005-08-06. "It was agreed that psychological factors in the target selection were of great importance. Two aspects of this are (1) obtaining the greatest psychological effect against Japan and (2) making the initial use sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it is released. B. In this respect Kyoto has the advantage of the people being more highly intelligent and hence better able to appreciate the significance of the weapon. Hiroshima has the advantage of being such a size and with possible focussing from nearby mountains that a large fraction of the city may be destroyed. The Emperor's palace in Tokyo has a greater fame than any other target but is of least strategic value." 
  89. ^ a b Harbour, Frances Vryling (1999). Thinking About International Ethics: Moral Theory And Cases From American Foreign Policy. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 133f. ISBN 0813328470. 
  90. ^ Wilkins, Burleigh Taylor (1992). Terrorism and Collective Responsibility. Routledge. p. 11. ISBN 041504152X. 
  91. ^ Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: the Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0813121779. 
  92. ^ Snell, David (3 October 1946). "Japan Developed Atom Bomb; Russia Grabbed Scientists". Atlanta Constitution. 
  93. ^ Dees, pp. 20-21
  94. ^ Home, R.W.; Low, Morris F. (September 1993). "Postwar Scientific Intelligence Missions to Japan". Isis 84 (3): 527–537. doi:10.1086/356550. 
  95. ^ Grunden, Walter E. (1998). "Hungnam and the Japanese Atomic Bomb: Recent Historiography of a Postwar Myth". Intelligence and National Security 13 (2): 32–60. 
  96. ^ Anders, Roger M. (January 1986). "Review of Japan's Secret War". Military Affairs 50 (1). 
  97. ^ a b Polkinghorn, Brian (1994). "History Held Hostage: Learned Lessons from the Conflict over the Smithsonian Institute's Enola Gay Exhibit". George Mason University. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  References
    Okamoto, Mitsou. "War Memories or History: The Enola Gay Debate and the Peace Prayer Memorial". Peace Studies Association Conference, Tufts University, 10 March 1994.
  98. ^ Sherwin, M: "A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies", page 237. Stanford University Press, 2001.
  99. ^ Cummings, B: "Parallax Visions", page 54. University Press of Duke, 1999.
  100. ^ Togo, Shigenori: The Cause of Japan, page 315. Simon and Schuster, 1956.
  101. ^ James J. Weingartner (February 1992). "Trophies of War: U.S. Troops and the Mutilation of Japanese War Dead, 1941–1945". Pacific Historical Review 61 (1): 556. JSTOR 3640788. 
  102. ^ Weingartner, p. 67
  103. ^ Weingartner, p. 54.
  104. ^ "The Japanese leaders themselves do not know the answer to that question [whether Japan would have surrendered absent the atomic bombings], and if they cannot answer it, neither can I." (Butow 1954)
  105. ^ a b Frank, Richard B. (2005-08-08). "Why Truman Dropped the Bomb". The Weekly Standard 010 (44). [dead link].
  106. ^ Pape, Robert A. (1993). "Why Japan Surrendered". International Security (The MIT Press) 18 (2): 154–201. doi:10.2307/2539100. JSTOR 2539100. 
  107. ^ a b (Hasegawa 2005)
  108. ^ (Hasegawa 2007)
  109. ^ Wilson, Ward (Spring 2007). "The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in the Light of Hiroshima". International Security 31 (4): 162–179. doi:10.1162/isec.2007.31.4.162. 
  110. ^ Dominick Jenkins (August 6, 2005). "The bomb didn't win it". The Guardian (London).,,1543754,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  111. ^ a b The World Question Center 2008, Freeman Dyson, Edge – the third culture
  112. ^ Michael Kort (January/February 2006). "Racing the Enemy: A Critical Look". Historically Speaking: The Bulletin of the Historical Society. Boston University. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  113. ^ "Book Review: Racing the Enemy". The Journal of American History. June 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-23. "This is an important book, but it is also deeply flawed in its argumentation and unconvincing in its central argument relating to U.S. policy."  (Subscription required.)
  114. ^ "Roundtable Reviews: Racing the Enemy" (links to PDFs). January–February 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  115. ^ Review of Racing the Enemy by Gar Alperovitz in H-Diplo Roundtable Volume VII, No. 2, 2006, p. 2, footnote 1, citing research by Ayako Doi and Kimi Yoshida (bottom of page 7).
  116. ^ a b c TSUYOSHI HASEGAWA vs. SADAO ASADA: Debating Hiroshima, in the History News Network
  117. ^ Hasegawa, 86
  118. ^ James, David H. (1951). The rise and fall of the Japanese Empire. Allen & Unwin. p. 348. 
  119. ^ Alperovitz, Gar (1965). Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam. New York: Simon and Schuster. 
  120. ^ The Avalon Project: Yalta (Crimea) Conference
  121. ^ Kort, Michael (January/February 2006). "Racing the Enemy: A Critical Look". Historically Speaking: the Bulletin of the Historical Society VII (3). 

Further reading

Debates over the bombings

  • Allen, Thomas B. and Polmar, Norman (1995). Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan And Why Truman Dropped the Bomb. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684804069. 
Concludes the bombings were justified.
  • Alperovitz, Gar (1995). The Decision To Use The Atomic Bomb And The Architecture Of An American Myth. Knopf. ISBN 0679443312. 
Weighs whether the bombings were justified or necessary, concludes they were not.
  • Bernstein, Barton J. (Editor) (1976). The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues. Little, Brown. ISBN 0316091928. 
Weighs whether the bombings were justified or necessary.
  • Bird, Kai and Sherwin, Martin J. (2005). American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Knopf. ISBN 0375412026. 
"The thing had to be done", but "Circumstances are heavy with misgiving."
  • Butow, Robert (1954). Japan's Decision to Surrender. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804704600. 
Explains the conflicts and debates within the Japanese government from the onset of World War II until surrender. Concludes the bombings were justified.
  • Feis, Herbert (1961). Japan Subdued: The Atomic Bomb and the End of the War in the Pacific. Princeton University Press. 
  • Frank, Richard B. (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. 
  • Fussell, Paul (1988). Thank God For The Atom Bomb, And Other Essays. Summit Books. ISBN 0-345-36135-0. 
  • Grayling, A. C. (2006). Among the Dead Cities. Walker Publishing Company Inc.. ISBN 0-8027-1471-4. 
Philosophical/moral discussion concerning the Allied strategy of area bombing in World War II, including the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi (2005). Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-01693-9. 
Argues the bombs were not the deciding factor in ending the war. The Russian entrance into the Pacific war was the primary cause for Japan's surrender.
  • Maddox, Robert James (1995). Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0826215629. 
Author is diplomatic historian who favors Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs.
  • Newman, Robert P. (1995). Truman and the Hiroshima Cult. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 0870134035. 
An analysis critical of postwar opposition to the atom bombings.
  • Nobile, Philip (Editor) (1995). Judgement at the Smithsonian. Marlowe and Company. ISBN 1569248419. 
Covers the controversy over the content of the 1995 Smithsonian Institution exhibition associated with the display of the Enola Gay; includes complete text of the planned (and canceled) exhibition.
  • Takaki, Ronald (1995). Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb. Little, Brown. ISBN 0316831247. 
  • Wainstock, Dennis D. (1996). The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-95475-7. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — Part of the Pacific War, World War II …   Wikipedia

  • Atomic bombings of Japan as a form of state terrorism — For scholars and historians, the primary ethics debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, [See: ] Certain scholars who oppose the decision to use of the atom bomb, while they state it was unnecessary and immoral, do not claim it… …   Wikipedia

  • Bombardeos atómicos sobre Hiroshima y Nagasaki — Nube de hongo sobre Hiroshima después de haber soltado la bomba …   Wikipedia Español

  • Atomic Age — This article is about the historical era. For the comic book miniseries, see Atomic Age (comics). An early nuclear power plant that used atomic energy to generate electricity. The Atomic Age, also known as the Atomic Era, is a phrase typically… …   Wikipedia

  • National Atomic Museum — The National Atomic Museum is a national repository of nuclear science information chartered by the 102nd United States Congress under Public Law 102 190, [Text of Public Law 102 190 bin/bdquery/z?d102:HR02100:@@@L summ2 …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapons debate — Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have remained highly controversial and contentious objects in the forum of public debate …   Wikipedia

  • Military history of Canada during the Second World War — The military history of Canada during the Second World War began with a declaration of war on Germany on September 10, 1939 and encompassed major campaigns in Italy [Canadian War Museum [ e.html The… …   Wikipedia

  • Nuclear weapons and the United States — United States Nuclear program start date 21 October 1939 First nuclear weapon test 16 July 1945 …   Wikipedia

  • Allegations of state terrorism by the United States — Articleissues citationstyle = March 2008 POV = July 2007 original research = April 2008|The United States government has been accused of having directly committed acts of state terrorism, as well as funding, training, and harboring individuals… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the European Union — This article is part of a series …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”