70th anniversary of V-J Day: Kiss a nuke

posted at 6:01 pm on August 14, 2015 by Allan Bourdius

Seventy years ago today on August 14, 1945, the Japanese Empire announced their surrender to the Allies and the end of World War II. The day (August 15th in Japan) is generally known as “Victory over Japan Day” or “V-J Day”. The official Japanese surrender was signed 19 days later on September 2, 1945, on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay.

During the afternoon of this day seventy years ago, joyous Americans took to the streets to celebrate the end of the war. In New York City’s Times Square, a United States Navy sailor grabbed a woman, a “nurse” (she was actually a dental assistant) he didn’t know, and kissed her right in the middle of the street, the moment captured by two different photographers. It is the iconic image of V-J Day and the end of World War II.

Instead of a nurse, it would have been more fitting if he could have kissed a nuclear weapon. The life he later lived was undoubtedly made possible because of them.

Japan’s surrender was expedited by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). Had Japan not announced their surrender, the United States would have had the next nuclear strike ready for August 19th, and another in September.

Then, still absent Japan’s surrender, Operation Downfall would begin; the invasion of the Japanese home islands in two parts.

November 1, 1945, “X-Day”, was the scheduled date for Operation Olympic, a landing by 14 American Army and Marine divisions in the initial attack on the island of Kyūshū.

Operation Coronet would follow on “Y-Day”, March 1, 1946 – landings directly into the Tokyo plain on the island of Honshū. Twenty-five divisions. Many more would be ready to reinforce them. Many of the Coronet soldiers would have been those retrained and redeployed after defeating Nazi Germany. Victory in Europe wouldn’t have spared them from more fighting to defeat Japan.

All in all, well over two million American servicemen would have taken part in the invasion of Japan. The United States also had plans for the tactical use of nuclear weapons during the attack, anticipating having an additional seven ready bombs on X-Day.

They would have faced a Japanese enemy who correctly predicted where the landings would take place. They would have faced a Japanese enemy who had changed the training for Kamikaze pilots so they would focus on attacking troop transports and landing ships rather than warships.

Estimates of casualties were wide ranging; the Joint Chiefs of Staff predicted in April 1945 that Olympic alone would cost 456,000 casualties, 109,000 of which would be killed or missing in action.

The same study said the entire campaign – Olympic and Coronet – would result in 1,200,000 total casualties, 267,000 killed or missing.

Total American casualties for all of World War II combined: 1,079,162 (407,316 killed/missing and 671,846 wounded). Contemplate that.

Perhaps the best estimate was the number of Purple Heart medals the War Department ordered to have on hand for the invasion: 500,000. Those medals were kept in inventory. They were enough for all the casualties suffered in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and minor engagements in between and since. They were enough that in 2003, the Department of Defense still had about 120,000 of them remaining in stock from the Japan invasion preparations in 1945. Our servicemen killed or wounded since September 11, 2001 have all been receiving Purple Hearts minted for their grandfathers or great-grandfathers.

And what of the Japanese? Once the Allies landed in the home islands it is very unlikely Japan’s surrender would have happened before the Japanese defenders were largely annihilated.

There were approximately four million uniformed defenders in the Japanese home islands. Based on Japan’s Pacific War record of fighting to the death rather than surrendering, we can surmise that 90 percent or more of them would have been killed.

But that isn’t the real human cost Japan would have suffered. Up to 28 million civilians, including teenage boys and girls, could have been used as militia to resist the invasion. They were armed mainly with improvised weapons like bamboo spears and bomb vests.

They were expected to charge the American invaders in human waves and would have been mowed down and massacred by the tens of thousands.

General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters estimated that the invasion could cost ten million Japanese lives. Using the 1945 Battle of Okinawa as a benchmark, some also predicted simply that civilian casualties during the invasion of Japan could be similar to Okinawa.

The population of Okinawa before the American invasion on April 1, 1945 was approximately 300,000. The United States Army acknowledges 142,058 civilian deaths occurred during 82 days of combat.

The population of Japan in 1945 was approximately 72 million. If the invasion was indeed similar to Okinawa, that means up to 34 million Japanese civilians could have perished from military action, disease, famine, or mass suicides (as had been seen on Okinawa).

Thirty-four million.

Highest estimate of civilian deaths for all nations during the entire rest of World War II combined, from all causes including the Holocaust? About 58 million.

An invasion of Japan would have been a human slaughter on a scale and ferocity that is entirely incomprehensible. Can you imagine what the mental toll would have been on our servicemen after such carnage?

Total killed by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The high estimate for the two combined is just 249 thousand.

There are today (March 31, 2015) 183,519 Hibakusha – known survivors of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki – still living and recognized by the Japanese government. Only one percent of them (under 2,000) are considered to be suffering from radiation-induced illnesses tied to the attacks.

With those simple numbers, the correctness, the justification, for the United States’ use of nuclear weapons against Japan is settled. We did not save thousands of lives. We saved millions.

If you, the reader, had a relative who was in uniform on August 14, 1945 and would have been involved in the attack on Japan, you might be here reading because the invasion never happened.

If you are Japanese or are of Japanese descent, imagine one-half fewer Japanese today in Japan or elsewhere.

And for all those and the rest of us: nuclear weapons have saved the world from continental- or global-scale war for seventy years. Were it not for nuclear weapons, do you really think we would have gone the entire Cold War without the United States and the Soviet Union getting involved in a direct armed conflict? How many tens of millions would have been killed in that war?

Today, we have a nuclear adversary – Russia – undertaking a strategic modernization while President Obama dreams of a nuclear weapon-free world and thinks militant Islamists like Iran can be trusted to just drop their nuclear ambitions.

Will we make it another seventy years without global conflict and its resulting carnage?

Kiss a nuke today, and hope and pray we do.


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Comments

Is the Queen of England still alive?

DFCtomm on August 14, 2015 at 6:04 PM

Who are U Allen?

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2015 at 6:04 PM

I never knew this about the planned invasion.

On Marshall’s orders, Major General John E. Hull looked into the tactical use of nuclear weapons for the invasion of the Japanese home islands, even after the dropping of two strategic atomic bombs on Japan (Marshall did not think that the Japanese would capitulate immediately). Colonel Lyle E. Seeman reported that at least seven Fat Man-type plutonium implosion bombs would be available by X-Day, which could be dropped on defending forces. Seeman advised that American troops not enter an area hit by a bomb for “at least 48 hours”; the risk of nuclear fallout was not well understood, and such a short amount of time after detonation would have resulted in substantial radiation exposure for the American troops

Oil Can on August 14, 2015 at 6:07 PM

Different than JV Day. Obama will own JV Day forever.

RBMN on August 14, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Kiss a nuke? Not every believed that dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary

~~~DWIGHT EISENHOWER

“…in [July] 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. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

“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. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

– Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380

In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:

“…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

~~~ADMIRAL WILLIAM D. LEAHY

(Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)
“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 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.”

– William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.

~~~HERBERT HOOVER

On May 28, 1945, Hoover visited President Truman and suggested a way to end the Pacific war quickly: “I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a shortwave broadcast to the people of Japan – tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists – you’ll get a peace in Japan – you’ll have both wars over.”

Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 347.

On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal publisher Colonel John Callan O’Laughlin, “The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul.”

quoted from Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 635.

“…the Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945…up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; …if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs.”

– quoted by Barton Bernstein in Philip Nobile, ed., Judgment at the Smithsonian, pg. 142

Hoover biographer Richard Norton Smith has written: “Use of the bomb had besmirched America’s reputation, he [Hoover] told friends. It ought to have been described in graphic terms before being flung out into the sky over Japan.”

Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 349-350.

In early 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.”

Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 350-351.

~~~GENERAL DOUGLAS MacARTHUR

MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur’s reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: “…the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.”

William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 512.

Norman Cousins was a consultant to General MacArthur during the American occupation of Japan. Cousins writes of his conversations with MacArthur, “MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed.” He continues, “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.”

Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70-71.

~~~ALBERT EINSTEIN

Einstein was not directly involved in the Manhattan Project (which developed the atomic bomb). In 1905, as part of his Special Theory of Relativity, he made the intriguing point that a relatively large amount of energy was contained in and could be released from a relatively small amount of matter. This became best known by the equation E=mc2. The atomic bomb was not based upon this theory but clearly illustrated it.

In 1939 Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt that was drafted by the scientist Leo Szilard. Received by FDR in October of that year, the letter from Einstein called for and sparked the beginning of U.S. government support for a program to build an atomic bomb, lest the Nazis build one first.

Einstein did not speak publicly on the atomic bombing of Japan until a year afterward. A short article on the front page of the New York Times contained his view:

“Prof. Albert Einstein… said that he was sure that President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”

Einstein Deplores Use of Atom Bomb, New York Times, 8/19/46, pg. 1.

Regarding the 1939 letter to Roosevelt, his biographer, Ronald Clark, has noted:

“As far as his own life was concerned, one thing seemed quite clear. ‘I made one great mistake in my life,’ he said to Linus Pauling, who spent an hour with him on the morning of November 11, 1954, ‘…when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification – the danger that the Germans would make them.'”.

Ronald Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, pg. 620.

~~~GENERAL CARL “TOOEY” SPAATZ

(In charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific)
General Spaatz was the person who received the order for the Air Force to “deliver its first special bomb as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about 3 August 1945…”(Leslie Groves, Now It Can Be Told, pg. 308). In a 1964 interview, Spaatz explained:

“The dropping of the atomic bomb was done by a military man under military orders. We’re supposed to carry out orders and not question them.”

In the same interview, Spaatz referred to the Japanese military’s plan to get better peace terms, and he gave an alternative to the atomic bombings:

“If we were to go ahead with the plans for a conventional invasion with ground and naval forces, I believe the Japanese thought that they could inflict very heavy casualties on us and possibly as a result get better surrender terms. On the other hand if they knew or were told that no invasion would take place [and] that bombing would continue until the surrender, why I think the surrender would have taken place just about the same time.” (Herbert Feis Papers, Box 103, N.B.C. Interviews, Carl Spaatz interview by Len Giovannitti, Library of Congress).

~~~BRIGADIER GENERAL CARTER CLARKE

(The military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables – the MAGIC summaries – for Truman and his advisors)
“…when we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.”

Quoted in Gar Alperovitz, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 359.

antifederalist on August 14, 2015 at 6:15 PM

If your KIA today in Iraq/Afghanistan/etal the carnage is up close and personal already.

The fat and happy Washington Friday drinking clubs are not so big a danger.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 14, 2015 at 6:19 PM

Kiss a nuke? Not every[one] believed that dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary

They were necessary to keep Harry Truman from being impeached, if not lynched, if Americans ever found out he had it and didn’t use it to maximum effect.

RBMN on August 14, 2015 at 6:19 PM

Who are U Allen?

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2015 at 6:04 PM

You can find me twice a week over on Vigilant Liberty Radio. Mondays at 10pm Eastern is my Their Finest Hour program (link to corresponding blog). Tuesdays at 10pm Eastern I co-host The Roundtable of Extreme Liberty with Krystle Schoonveld (Twitter: @TarheelKrystle)

I’m on Twitter as @allanbourdius

I got hooked back into blogging and more sometime during 2011 when I started hanging out in the chatroom for Ed’s show.

Thanks!

Allan Bourdius on August 14, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Obama kissed U S goodbye by handing the nut job Islamic Muhammadans of terror nukes.

The carnage will be the tail of this evil act.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 14, 2015 at 6:24 PM

In New York City’s Times Square, a United States Navy sailor grabbed a woman, a “nurse” (she was actually a dental assistant) he didn’t know, and kissed her right in the middle of the street, the moment captured by two different photographers. It is the iconic image of V-J Day and the end of World War II.

In related news, the Depart of Justice has filed sexual assault charges against the perpetrator of the attack. Sadly, he neglected to obtain informed, continuing consent for his sexual advances upon the poor, unsuspecting victim.

xNavigator on August 14, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Sadly, the sarcasm of my post is extremely close to the truth. Anyone want to bet what would happen to a member of the military caught on camera kissing a stranger over the successful end of a war today? Yeah…you know as well as I do what would happen.

xNavigator on August 14, 2015 at 6:26 PM

Today’s Leftist Downer about That Picture:

Feminist’s are decrying the “male privilege” exhibited by the sailor and say it is a “unwanted sexual advance”.

Hey, don’t rag me. I’m just reporting here…

Enjoy the Decline!

Bruno Strozek on August 14, 2015 at 6:28 PM

It is 100% sure the mad Muhammadans of Iran will use nukes.

Most likely on U S and the Jews the same moment in time.

100% sure unless we dis-arm them now.

The millions who die will know who and where the bright light came from.

That we have not halted the evil acts of Obama will be our shame and disgrace for all of history.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 14, 2015 at 6:29 PM

Coward Nation.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 14, 2015 at 6:32 PM

I’m a Naval Nuke. Females are welcome to kiss my person.

MSimon on August 14, 2015 at 6:36 PM

I’m a Naval Nuke. Females are welcome to kiss my person.

MSimon on August 14, 2015 at 6:36 PM

President Clinton, is that you?

RBMN on August 14, 2015 at 6:42 PM

Allan Bourdius on August 14, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Welcome!

Gird your loins for the first 6 months. The HotAir crowd are a good bunch, but a rowdy bunch.

portlandon on August 14, 2015 at 6:45 PM

RBMN on August 14, 2015 at 6:42 PM

Clinton was NEVER in the US Navy.

MSimon on August 14, 2015 at 6:47 PM

Clinton was NEVER in the US Navy.

MSimon on August 14, 2015 at 6:47 PM

Easy mistake to make, given that Bill Clinton is an expert on semen.

Happy Nomad on August 14, 2015 at 6:56 PM

Antifederalist’s nonsense about Eisenhower & others opposing the a-bomb
(Kiss a nuke? Not every believed that dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary)
is of course the usual pacifist fact-free opining utterly oblivious to how the requisite follow up “mop up” operation would have still been painfully onerous, no matter Eisenhower’s emotional outburst (why Patton & MacArthur were better real generals, which Truman stupidly failed to realize in Korea) since so many would have been able to evade a bombing and employ hara kiri to monstrously murderous effect, but pacifists can’t handle reality so that’s no surprise.
Will we make it another seventy years without global conflict and its resulting carnage? NO. Read C.S. Lewis’s frighteningly prescient Space Trilogy!

russedav on August 14, 2015 at 7:16 PM

Clinton was NEVER in the US Navy.

MSimon on August 14, 2015 at 6:47 PM

Easy mistake to make, given that Bill Clinton is an expert on semen.

Happy Nomad on August 14, 2015 at 6:56 PM

True. The way he hands out samples you’d think he was selling the stuff.

RBMN on August 14, 2015 at 7:27 PM

“Will we make it another seventy years without global conflict and its resulting carnage?”

I have news for you:
We have been in a global conflict with its resulting carnage for fourteen years.

Somewhat smaller scale, and most of the people at home not sacrificing like during WWII but it is indeed global, and with much carnage. And it is soon to get worse. Much Worse.

LegendHasIt on August 14, 2015 at 7:46 PM

antifederalist – You are wrong. Very wrong. You mistakenly believe the Emperor was in control of the military. It was always the way around.

Let’s look at the facts and the history that enfolded.

First this:

Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan’s top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans. This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army. These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.

In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.
In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan – “One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation” – were prepared to fight to the death. Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.

The attempt to negotiate a peace via the Soviet Union came to nothing. There was always the threat that extremists would carry out a coup or foment other violence.

And that fear was well placed.

On the night before the recording of the voice of the Emperor was played to the nation, what took place was called The Kyūjō incident. The Kyūjō incident was an attempted military coup d’état in Japan at the end of the Second World War. It happened on the night of 14–15 August 1945, just before the announcement of Japan’s surrender to the Allies. The coup was attempted by the Staff Office of the Ministry of War of Japan and many from the Imperial Guard of Japan to stop the move to surrender.

The officers killed Lieutenant General Takeshi Mori of the First Imperial Guards Division and attempted to counterfeit an order to the effect of occupying the Tokyo Imperial Palace (Kyūjō). They attempted to place the Emperor under house arrest, using the 2nd Brigade Imperial Guard Infantry.

So you see antifederalist, even if we did allow the Emperor to remain on the throne and he asked for peace, the army – as it proved on the night of August 14 would have overthrew the Emperor and continued the war with all the slaughter written in the article.

WC on August 14, 2015 at 8:30 PM

….The Kyūjō incident….
WC on August 14, 2015 at 8:30 PM

Interesting. My education on that topic was sorely lacking. Thanks for posting.

LegendHasIt on August 14, 2015 at 8:40 PM

Sorry. Wrong tags DOH!!! meant to quote.

LegendHasIt on August 14, 2015 at 8:41 PM

antifederalist on August 14, 2015 at 6:15 PM

I’m sure you could fill just as many blog comments with lists of people who were for or against dropping the bomb.

First thing to do, is throw out all opinions offered in hindsight.

None of those people you listed would have had to disembark from a landing craft.

Weak list anyway. Cripes, Ike was in Europe, the rest were in the states, except Douglas “What Chinese Troops Massing?” McCarthur.

reaganaut on August 14, 2015 at 8:57 PM

McCarthur

Ya … MacArthur.

reaganaut on August 14, 2015 at 8:58 PM

no. because a bunch of [email protected]@ds gave Greek fire away, much like you libtards do the fission fire.

WryTrvllr on August 14, 2015 at 10:00 PM

….The Kyūjō incident….
WC on August 14, 2015 at 8:30 PM

Interesting. My education on that topic was sorely lacking. Thanks for posting.

LegendHasIt on August 14, 2015 at 8:40 PM

Ditto here — thanks for posting. Fascinating history that I knew very little about.

PatriotGal2257 on August 14, 2015 at 10:16 PM

Allan I am very interested in history and I know a lot about WW2. You had a great analysis of the Pacific Theatre. Its a wonder if the nation ever again could face an enemy and have the will to fight it to the finish. This was a war of survival and the USA was much blessed on the deaths we suffered compared to the Soviet Union, Germany, UK, and others. We can at the time thank the oceans that protected us from aerial bombardment. We don’t have that luxury anymore. My dad was about to be shipped to the Pacific when VE day ended. He had pretty easy duty in the South Atlantic patrolling for Nazi subs and shipping. He said often that he may not have survived the Olympic or Coronet attacks. It must have been a great day and wish I could have been alive to witness it. Thanks for writing.

garydt on August 14, 2015 at 10:40 PM

I’ve always been a student of history, but the amount of historical information on this thread gave me a lot more insight. Thank you for a great compendium article, Allan and thanks to all who posted these historical tidbits that I never knew.

Three thoughts come to mind:
1. The Japanese mindset wasn’t all that far removed from islam.
2. If not totally conquered, Japanese mindset would still be the same.
3. We aren’t America anymore.

AppraisHer on August 14, 2015 at 10:52 PM

Fantastic piece of work, Allan. If we hadn’t dropped the bomb, my grandfather may or may not have fought the Japanese if the war had continued. He was shot 3 times in the back and fell in a lake while fighting in Belgium. A buddy pulled him out and he spent months recovering in a hospital in England. He lived to be 88 with 6 grandchildren.

Xanatos90 on August 14, 2015 at 10:54 PM

If the bomb had not been used, my beloved father-in-law, and the remnants of the 442nd would have been pressed into duty in the precarious and highly dangerous task of being battlefield translators. His survival would have been unlikely, as he put it “it was bad enough, taking fire from one side in Europe!”

Now my youngest, his youngest grandson, is training as a USN nuke. A strong defense is the surest protector of the peace.

Scribbler on August 14, 2015 at 11:02 PM

Thanks!

Allan Bourdius on August 14, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Thank you. Nice meeting you.

Nothing against you, or anyone, but intros and announcements are not of HA :)

Best to you with all endeavors.

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2015 at 11:18 PM

In fairness, are not common…they do happen sometimes.

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2015 at 11:19 PM

It is 100% sure the mad Muhammadans of Iran will use nukes.

Most likely on U S and the Jews the same moment in time.

100% sure unless we dis-arm them now.

The millions who die will know who and where the bright light came from.

That we have not halted the evil acts of Obama will be our shame and disgrace for all of history.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 14, 2015 at 6:29 PM

I swear to God if Iran ever uses nukes on someone I will disown and never talk to anyone that voted for that POS. Cause blood will be on their hands as much as Obama’s.

The Notorious G.O.P on August 14, 2015 at 11:53 PM

Thank you. Nice meeting you.

Nothing against you, or anyone, but intros and announcements are not of HA :)

Best to you with all endeavors.

Schadenfreude on August 14, 2015 at 11:18 PM

They don’t usually do them until somebody becomes a more permanent fixture. Most of us new faces are not (yet, hopefully) so it hasn’t made much sense to do introductory posts.

But who knows, if you all like one or more of us enough to keep us around, perhaps The Powers That Be will hear from you and things can be arranged. ;-)

C.T. Rex on August 15, 2015 at 12:14 AM

Three thoughts come to mind:
1. The Japanese mindset wasn’t all that far removed from islam.
2. If not totally conquered, Japanese mindset would still be the same.
3. We aren’t America anymore.

AppraisHer on August 14, 2015 at 10:52 PM

And the Japanese mindset was not as insanely belligerent about killing heretics by which the Islamic militants mean everyone including other Muslims not of the right theology, or just inconveniently located (Islam’s mindset is, perhaps, closer to American HOAs).

AesopFan on August 15, 2015 at 12:21 AM

But who knows, if you all like one or more of us enough to keep us around, perhaps The Powers That Be will hear from you and things can be arranged. ;-)

C.T. Rex on August 15, 2015 at 12:14 AM

You’re a keeper (but the Salem powers don’t care about the commenters, who don’t care about it either; it’s a strange relationship).

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2015 at 12:42 AM

Kiss a nuke? Not every believed that dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary

antifederalist on August 14, 2015 at 6:15 PM

With all due respect, there’s a lot of after-the-fact moral posturing (and one well known revisionist activist) in that pool of quotes – a lot of it by commanders whose military arms were now suddenly in danger of being considered obsolete by advent of the Bomb, by men who simply did not have access to all of the intelligence about Japanese intentions that Truman did.

The possibility that the Japanese were on the brink of surrendering on August 6, 1945, if only they had been clearly offered the retention of the imperial office (and possible the person of the regnant emperor himself, Hirihito) by Truman is simply not borne out by the evidence we now have.

Historian Richard B. Frank tackles the question more directly in an essay he contributed to a recent collection of reassessments of the Japanese surrender decision, “Ketsu-Go: Japanese Political and Military Strategy in 1945,” in The End of the Pacific War: Reappraisals (ed. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa), Stanford University Press, 2007. His key point:

Quote:

“The available record shows that the Bix Six [of the Japanese Inner Cabinet] never on their own volition agreed to end the war on any terms the United States and its allies could or should have accepted. As late as the morning of August 9, 1945, after years of military defeat, months of blockade and increasingly devastating bombardment by air and sea, two atomic bombs, and Soviet intervention, the Big Six refused to capitulate unless the Allies met four terms. These were not simply a guarantee of the preservation of the imperial institution, and perhaps the incumbent emperor, but also that the Allies agree to three further conditions: Japan’s repatriation of its own armed forces; Japan to have sole jurisdiction over “so-called” war crimes trials, and no occupation of the homeland. These terms aimed to assure the continuance of the old order in Japan and the possibility of future military resurgence.

Only the intervention of Emperor Hirohito broke the deadlock among the Big Six.

As the editor, Hasegawa, notes, a lot of this reappraisal is built on the three principal works closely analyzing the Japanese decision, employing Japanese primary sources, published in recent years – Richard Frank’s Downfall, Leon Sigal’s Fighting to a Finish: The Politics of War Termination in the United States and Japan, 1945, and Asada Sadao’s article in the Pacific Historical Review 67, no 4 (1998). All essentially agree with Frank’s assessment above, although they differ on the importance assigned to the Soviet intervention versus the atomic bombs, Hasegawa and Sumio Hatano differing from Frank and Sadao in placing more emphasis on the Soviet attack, at least in reconciling enough of the Army leadership to surrender. But none thought that any consensus existed for surrender-with-imperial guarantee option until August 9.

As for Truman’s decision, Frank takes pains to note not only the MAGIC Diplomatic Summaries (repeatedly indicating express rejection of imperial-guarantee surrender by Inner Cabinet officials) Truman saw every day, but also the emerging intelligence in July that the Japanese were undertaking a frantic buildup of forces in Southern Kyushu, so serious such that even Charles Willoughby, MacArthur’s intelligence chief, was increasingly coming to share the view of Nimitz’s staff that the buildup was reaching a point where the success of OLYMPIC might soon be in doubt – and staff officers of the Joint Chiefs were coming to the same view as well. Truman saw these reports as well. Given all this information bombarding Truman, Frank concludes, it’s hard to understand how he, or any other president, could have made any other decision:

Thus, in the last weeks of the war American leaders faced the prospect that Ketsu-Go had made OLYMPIC not unnecessary but unthinkable. They were embroiled in the opening moves of a massive confrontation between the army and navy over the whole invasion strategy. Moreover, it is inconceivable that in the summer of 1945, any American president would have failed to use nuclear weapons in the face of this evidence.

In short, what the Japanese Inner Cabinet was seeking, right up to August 9, 195, was not a surrender, but a peace deal in which they avoid any Allied occupation, retain the inner empire, repatriate their own troops, and avoid any Allied war crimes trials – and Truman had plenty of evidence of that from the MAGIC intercepts he was reading every day.

And THAT simply was not going to fly. No way. No how.

The_Jacobite on August 15, 2015 at 1:16 AM

That picture is absolute proof. That sweet, innocent, young nurse was raped in Times Square by a horny sailor to celebrate our winning the war. /sarc

Old Country Boy on August 15, 2015 at 8:34 AM

Japanese civilians could have perished from military action, disease, famine, or mass suicides (as had been seen on Okinawa)

And lots of other places. The monuments on Saipan don’t even mention that the people were lied to about what American troops would do. They treat it as a matter of fact that the people jumping off those cliffs (with their babies in their arms, I might add) were doing the right thing. That sort of thinking is why the invasion of Japan would have been so horrific for the Japanese people.

The_Jacobite on August 15, 2015 at 1:16 AM

Excellent information.

Yes, dropping the bomb was the right thing to do. And it’s possible a couple of other times since then might have improved the course of history, as well.

GWB on August 15, 2015 at 9:13 AM

I enjoyed reading this. I hadn’t been sure what the alternatives to dropping the nukes were.

thuja on August 15, 2015 at 2:55 PM

I enjoyed reading this. I hadn’t been sure what the alternatives to dropping the nukes were.

thuja on August 15, 2015 at 2:55 PM

The third option was to carpet/shell/firebomb/gas the entire nation into oblivion, and while far more attractive in terms of minimizing US casualties, it got rejected fairly early on when high command realized that dug-in fanatic remnants could keep going for quite a while and the munitions production/shipping cost would be insane both in terms of material and fuel to get it over there.

That left us with Nukes or boots on the ground. And if the coup attempt had worked and the emperor had been offed, we’d have had to pick door #2.

LawfulGood on August 15, 2015 at 11:07 PM

“Seventy years ago today on August 14, 1945, the Japanese Empire announced their surrender to the Allies and the end of World War II. The day (August 15th in Japan) is generally known as “Victory over Japan Day” or “V-J Day”. The official Japanese surrender was signed 19 days later on September 2, 1945, on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay.”

Actually V-J Day IS September 2nd, you idiot.

SansJeux on August 16, 2015 at 3:54 AM

Oh, and we DID NOT have another nuke ready. Who is this moron reporter?

SansJeux on August 16, 2015 at 3:55 AM

Actually V-J Day IS September 2nd, you idiot.

SansJeux on August 16, 2015 at 3:54 AM

Oh, and we DID NOT have another nuke ready. Who is this moron reporter?

SansJeux on August 16, 2015 at 3:55 AM

Hi SansJeux, “moron reporter” here, although I’m not a “reporter”.

It is well documented that the next atomic bomb would have been ready for combat on August 19th (as mentioned in the piece), another one in September, and a potential seven availabe by X-Day (November 1, 1945).

On the date, this moron – or is it idiot? – tied the piece to the imagery of the famous “V-J Day” photographs from Times Square, which were taken on August 14, 1945. It is undeniable that the “official” V-J Day for the USA is 9/2 as I noted when I defended someone I don’t much like defending.

But anyway, thanks for commenting. I got a hearty laugh from your name calling.

Allan Bourdius on August 17, 2015 at 1:46 PM