The Bomb didn't beat Japan... Stalin did

Feb 2014
527
South Carolina, USA
Japan surrendered because their industry and economy had collapsed, the brutal firebombing campaign had destroyed public support for the war, two atomic bombs were dropped to be possibly followed by a third, and now they had a new enemy with the potential to easily undo all their gains on the Asian mainland. Even the stalemate in China and defeats in SEA no doubt played a small role, but the most immediate and decisive blows came in the form of two atomic bombs and Soviet intervention. Maybe the Soviets did play a more decisive role than the bombs, but it's irrelevant, the atomic weapons and the Soviets played a big part, without both they would've surrendered some weeks or months later.
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
"Creative diplomacy" when unconditional surrender has been demanded is a non sequitur.
We fudged the meaning of "unconditional surrender" to induce the capitulation of the Italian government in 1943. We could have tried it with Japan as well.

Most of the pro-negotiation coalition in Tokyo didn't want much more than a guarantee that the Emperor wouldn't be dethroned or degraded. If we'd offered them that, then there's a good chance they probably would have jumped at it.

It's a tragic irony that Truman - egged on by Acheson et al - was so adamant on precisely that point. If he'd been more flexible, the war might well have been shortened by months.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
The surrender decision ultimately came down to one man, Emperor Hirohito, as the Japanese Supreme War Council was deadlocked on the surrender issue.

Hirohito, in agreeing with Togo Shigenori (Japan's foreign minister) that the war must end, stated, "Now that such a new weapon has appeared, it has become less and less possible to continue the war."
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
Japan surrendered because their industry and economy had collapsed, the brutal firebombing campaign had destroyed public support for the war, two atomic bombs were dropped to be possibly followed by a third, and now they had a new enemy with the potential to easily undo all their gains on the Asian mainland. Even the stalemate in China and defeats in SEA no doubt played a small role, but the most immediate and decisive blows came in the form of two atomic bombs and Soviet intervention. Maybe the Soviets did play a more decisive role than the bombs, but it's irrelevant, the atomic weapons and the Soviets played a big part, without both they would've surrendered some weeks or months later.
I wouldn't say that it's irrelevant at all.

If the argument that the Soviet intervention was by itself sufficient to induce the Japanese surrender holds water - and I find it to be quite persuasive - then it has some massive implications. First, it would give strong weight to the widely argued view that in hindsight the dropping of the bombs was tragic and unnecessary. Second, it undercuts a great deal of the strategic thinking that has related to nuclear weapons and their utility - based on the narrative about the supposed success of the bombs in bringing a speedy end to the Pacific War.
 
Feb 2014
527
South Carolina, USA
We fudged the meaning of "unconditional surrender" to induce the capitulation of the Italian government in 1943. We could have tried it with Japan as well.

Most of the pro-negotiation coalition in Tokyo didn't want much more than a guarantee that the Emperor wouldn't be dethroned or degraded. If we'd offered them that, then there's a good chance they probably would have jumped at it.
Japan wanted surrender, just conditional surrender, this is obvious enough. Everything I've read though has directly stated the Japanese were still clinging to Formosa, Korea, and Manchuria, obviously conditions more unacceptable than just retaining the Emperor. Is there any real controversy over this?
 

OpanaPointer

Ad Honoris
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
Japan wanted surrender, just conditional surrender, this is obvious enough. Everything I've read though has directly stated the Japanese were still clinging to Formosa, Korea, and Manchuria, obviously conditions more unacceptable than just retaining the Emperor. Is there any real controversy over this?
They also wanted to keep their military and no war crimes trials would be held, as well as no occupation of Japan. They wanted 1941 back.
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
Japan wanted surrender, just conditional surrender, this is obvious enough. Everything I've read though has directly stated the Japanese were still clinging to Formosa, Korea, and Manchuria, obviously conditions more unacceptable than just retaining the Emperor. Is there any real controversy over this?
That was the line which was taken by the militarist hard-liners, who at that point were in control of the government.

There was a substantial body of politicians and industrialists who were convinced that continuing the war was a folly, and who were prepared to accept pretty much any surrender conditions that didn't degrade the Emperor, or significantly imperil them in a prospective occupation (as Soviet involvement certainly would have).

If the U.S. had held out an offer in the right way, there is a good chance that the chain of events which culminated in Hirohito's intervention (which he would not have taken without considerable political backing for his decision) would have been accelerated.
 
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
They also wanted to keep their military and no war crimes trials would be held, as well as no occupation of Japan. They wanted 1941 back.
That was what the military and their adherents wanted. There was a significant other presence in the Japanese body politic - whose support eventually proved essential for the decision for surrender.
 
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EmperorTigerstar

Ad Honorem
Jun 2013
6,398
USA
How a defeat of just Manchukuo compared to the victories in the Pacific on land and sea and the obliteration of two cities instantly via atomic weaponry and every other major city by fireboming is somehow the one that resulted in Japanese defeat is not something that makes sense. It was a last nail in the coffin as opposed to the cause of death in the first place.