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

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
I should be noted that the Red army destroyed more Japanese forces (meaning killed more Japanese soldiers) during Manchurian Operation than the USA had done for the whole war. The most Japanese soldiers were killed by Chinese by the way. Japanese historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - Wikipedia claims that the Pacific war ended not due to nuclear bombings, but because to the entry of the Soviets. Also the fate of the last Russian monarch and his family at the hands of reds and prospects for a punitive red occupation influenced the surrender. Neither Soviets defeated Germans alone nor USA did the same with Japanese. The Allies defeated Japan and Germany.
Actually, the US killed far more. The Soviets only killed around 21,400 Japanese, in the Battle of Okinawa alone the US killed around 70,000 Japanese troops. Japanese historians frequently lie and revise WW2 history, as can be seen in their denial of the existence of Comfort Women, and the repeated attempts to revise Japanese history books. Little credence can be give to what Japanese historians said. Hasegawa's claims are flatly refuted by the very explanations given by the Emperor himself when announcing the Japanese surrender. The words of the Emperor, at the time of the Japanese surrender, carry far, far, far, far more weight than what a historian said many decades later, especially from a country that is known for revising its history and refuting well known facts.

Casualties and losses Soviet Union:
12,031 killed
24,425 wounded[5][6]
300+ tanks destroyed[7]
72 killed
125 wounded[8]
21,389 killed
20,000 wounded[9][a]
unknown captured in combat Soviet invasion of Manchuria - Wikipedia

Here is the Emperor's surrender speech:

After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.
We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.[2]

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors, and which We lay close to heart. Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to secure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandisement. But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by every one -- the gallant fighting of military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people, the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest. Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb,[3] the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects; or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.
.Imperial Rescript on Surrender - Wikisource, the free online library
Note in the bold and highlighted portion that the Emperor specifically makes mention of the atomic bom, and gives it as a reason for surrender. The emperor said Japan was surrendering not only to save Japan, but prevent the total extinction of civilization as well. Japanese historians like Hasegawa can lie all they want, just like they lie about the existence of Comfort Women, but we don't have and shouldn't repeat their lies or give them any credence. The speech, made at the time of the surrender, not many decades, SHOWS THE ATOMIC BOMB WAS THE REASON FOR THE SURRENDER.

Japan was indeed undoubtedly on its last legs by 1945, and a sizeable coalition of politicians and industrialists in Tokyo recognised that.

However, in the absence of creative U.S. diplomacy that might have exploited the situation, something was needed to override the obstinacy of the militarist die-hards (in large part by persuading the Emperor to openly force the issue). The evidence seems persuasive to me that it was fear of the Russians that provided that tip of the scales.
Japanese civilians were throwing themselves off cliffs at Okinawa rather than surrender, and 90% of the Japanese troops at Okinawa died before surrender. at Okinawa! Given the US experience at Okinawa, there is no reason to assume that the Japanese would behave in a rational manner, and not commit suicide as a nation rather than surrender the sacred lands of the Japanese.

And given the Japanese actions in Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese were engaging peace negotiations while its fleet was sailing to launch a sneak attack on the US, there was absolutely no reason for the US to trust the Japanese in anything other than an unconditional surrender. The Japanese could have at least tried to offer to the US some terms if the Japanese were sincere about surrendering, but they did not, because the Japanese were not considering surrendering. Before the atomic bombings, the Japanese were looking at some kind of truce or negotiated settlement where they would not have to surrender.

At Okinawa.
Casualties and losses
14,009 dead[5] to 20,195 dead[6][7][8]
  • 12,520 killed in action[9]
38,000 wounded[10] to 55,162 wounded[6][7][11]
12 destroyers sunk
15 amphibious ships sunk
9 other ships sunk
386 ships damaged
763[12]–768[13] aircraft

From 77,166 killed[14] to 110,000 killed (US estimate)[15]
More than 7,000 captured[15]
1 battleship sunk
1 light cruiser sunk
5 destroyers sunk
9 other warships sunk
1,430 aircraft lost[16]
27 tanks destroyed
743–1,712 artillery pieces, anti-tank guns, and anti-aircraft guns[17]
40,000–150,000 civilians killed out of some est.300,000[15] Battle of Okinawa - Wikipedia


Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
I think that you and a few others in this thread who have made similar comments are misunderstanding the point of the argument.

The "revisionist" position is not about who did the most to bring the Empire of Japan to its knees militarily and economically. It is essentially to argue that if the atomic bombs had never been dropped, it would have made no significant difference to the time that it took them to surrender.
I would have to say that neither you nor any of the authors you cite have any idea if your assertion is true.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
Questioning the utility of dropping the Bomb is not the same thing as "making the USA the bad guy".

Unless you think that men like Dwight Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, William Leahy, and Douglas MacArthur were blanket-condemning America when they said things like this:

"The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." - Leahy

"The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan." - Nimitz

"The dilemma [of using the Bomb] was an unnecessary one." - Ernest King

"The atomic bomb neither induced the Emperor's decision to surrender nor had any effect on the ultimate outcome of the war." - MacArthur

"Dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary." - Eisenhower

And as long as we're on the subject, in mid-May 1945, former President Herbert Hoover wrote a memorandum for President Truman, concerning his opinon...

"...that peace could be had with Japan by which our major objectives would be accomplished."

He later believed, that had his views been listened to at the time...

"...we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria."


One may of course disagree with the opinions of all these men - for reasons that have been elucidated by a number of posts throughout this thread.

However, here is what we should clear up: it is not just America-bashing revisionists and cranks who believe that we seriously bungled our policy toward Japan at the close of the war, and that dropping the Atomic bombs was a tragic error.
I think the salient point here is that none of these folks as far as I understand, even knew of the existence of the atomic bomb before one was dropped. That applies to Eisenhower, Macarthur, Nimitz and whoever else wasn’t “in the loop” (which was pretty much everyone). It was a surprise to them. I can readily understand their shock and wouldn’t be particularly surprised to learn that the shocking revelation of the existence of this weapon quite possibly threw the need to practice the business of large-scale war into question.

I don’t really know what these individuals were thinking at the time but it doesn’t take a genius to see that there have been no world wars or even very large regional wars in the world since 1945. The existence of nuclear weapons has made the kind of conflict seen in WW2 nearly impossible to imagine because of its destructive power on all involved parties. By the same token, small scale wars - “small” is a relative term, here - still occur in part at least because the major powers that have them don’t want to cause a global nuclear conflagration. With other countries continuing to jockey for position regarding the development of their own nuclear weapons, it is going to be increasingly difficult to keep the genie in its bottle, however.

I’m not very optimistic on this last point.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
Don't remember off hand, but I imagine after a token presence most non-US people would have been happy to go home and leave the Nippon Headache to the Americans.
I think the Australians and the British were there for a short time after the war. Britain was in bad economic shape after the war and were only too glad to leave. After all, they had bigger fish to fry trying to hold on to India. Not sure about the Australians but it was a relatively small country (in population) that had fought alongside the Americans (who could afford it) since the beginning of the Pacific War. Besides, the US didn’t really want any other powers permanently stationed in Japan.
Nov 2018
The Old Dominion
Secondary source. :yawn:
You expected a deep meta-analysis of this whole historical context from a primary source?

Very interesting thread. Japan was already decimated by fire bombs before the nukes were even dropped. For me the difficulty comes in trying to understand the very alien pre-war psychology of the Japanese people. How much punishment were they psychologically prepared to deal with?
Oct 2015
LOL, and what would the Soviets use for transportation to invade Japan with?
Do you think that President Truman would happily allow the Soviet Union to invade Japan? Remember, he was anti-communist. The Soviets took half of Europe to form satellite states. If Stalin had had his way, he'd have taken more. Stalin himself said, "Peter the Great got to Paris".


Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
At present SD, USA
Do you think that President Truman would happily allow the Soviet Union to invade Japan? Remember, he was anti-communist. The Soviets took half of Europe to form satellite states. If Stalin had had his way, he'd have taken more. Stalin himself said, "Peter the Great got to Paris".
Not Peter the Great... at least not in a way that would be relative to an army. Stalin's reference was more with regard to Alexander who took the Russian Army to Paris and ousted Napoleon I.

And while Truman wouldn't want Stalin to expand his area of influence in the world, that doesn't necessarily mean that Stalin was actually capable of getting to Japan from mainland Asia. And as poorly coordinated as the West/Soviet alliance was in Europe... like with Stalin denying the Allies rights to use Soviet airfields to assure their ability to supply the Polish Home Army's uprising in Warsaw... I wouldn't think that Truman would have given Stalin the naval assistance to cross the Sea of Japan. And in this, about all the Soviets could really managed would be small scale island hopping from the north in boats better served to crossing rivers rather than open ocean, which in turn limit how large of a force the Soviets could have landed on the Japanese home islands...

Similar History Discussions