Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The U.S. realism on the decision to use the atomic bomb

George F. Kennan to McGerge Bundy, December 2. 1947
I am afraid that if these statement were now to appear in an official biography of Mr. Stimson, a part of the reading public might conclude that the hope of influencing Russia by the threat of atomic attack had been and probably remained, one of the permanent motivating elements or our foreign policy page 472

I was going to sum up the book "The decision to use atomic bombs" by Gar Alperroviz, but I've found several sites that introduce, support or criticize his work.
So I'll just cite the link.

One implication of Alperroviz's theory is that Truman killed women and children just to intimidate Russia when there were militarily alternatives to end the war. *1I think that is one reason why his theory is embarrassing to some of Americans.

Anyway, I envy the fact the dabates over the decision to use the atomic bombs have been carried out without calling the opponent Holocaust Deniers, and without being politicized between the countries concerned.


Stephen R. Shalom

Personally I've found Shalom's article best.
I couldn't find Barton Bernstein's important article *3on the subject, but we can guess its content from the the following site.
Truman's decision to use the A-bomb/ Barton Bernstein."Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory" Diplomatic History Spring 1995. cash
(Alperoviz shed doubt on drawing the conclusion from the interviews with Japanese after the war.)

The followings are also interesting.

The Decision to Risk the Future: Harry Truman, the Atomic Bomb and the Apocalyptic Narrative

Peter J. Kuznick

linkHiroshima Didn't Have to Happencash
Atomic Bombing Of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
By Matin Zuberi
The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
by Father P. Siemes

Truman was a war criminal

By John Catalinotto
Published Aug 5, 2005 11:30 PM


Encyclopedia Britannica can be said to be relatively neutral.
The decision to use the atomic bomb by Alonzo L. Hamby/- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Cooper is critical of Alperroviz's position.
Truman’s Motivations: Using the Atomic Bomb in the Second World War/Cooper(pdf)

Documents on the decision to use the atomic bomb



See also Hirosima again

*1 To end the war, Truman could have threat Japan that Russian would join, could have waited until Runssian invaded North China to let Japan know she was sandwiched by the biggest countries. could have given clearer terms for surrender.
(The U.S. did know the Emperor was seeking peace though Russia.)

*3 for some reason his article "Atomic bomb reconsidered" is available in Japanese.

The Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: What Drove Japan's Decision to Surrender
The Winning Weapon?
The Winning Weapon? Ward Wilson
Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of
There is virtually no contemporaneous evidence that the U.S. use of a nuclear
weapon against Hiroshima created a crisis or that Japanese leaders viewed it as decisive.


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From nobody Wed Dec 31 09:48:41 2003
From: hycuqeuouv@moaeoou.org (Benedikt Brown)
Subject: Hiroshima 1945: Behind The U.S. Atom Bomb Atrocity
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Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003 22:58:35 GMT
Hiroshima 1945: Behind The U.S. Atom Bomb Atrocity
By Fred Halstead, The Militant, 14 August 1995

On Aug. 6, 1945, and again on August 9, the U.S. government dropped the first and second atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tens of thousands of people died instantly, with thousands more dying later. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that atrocity.

The following article appeared in the Jan. 25, 1965, issue of the Militant under the headline What the Record Shows: U.S. Guilt at Hiroshima. The author, Fred Halstead, was a longtime leader of the Socialist Workers Party.

As the SWP's candidate for president in 1968, Halstead took a trip around the world, visiting Japan, South Vietnam, India, Egypt, West Germany, France, and Britain. In Japan he attended several peace conferences, addressing a session of the Japan Conference Against A- and H-Bombs on August 6 in Hiroshima.

That Japan was truly making sincere requests for peace, before and at the time of the Hiroshima A-bomb, is an undisputed fact of history. It is so well established that even popular history books and standard reference works recently published in this country cannot ignore it.

The obvious implications of the fact are so damning to the moral position of the American capitalist power structure and so unpleasant to the American people generally, however, that the fact is not often squarely faced in this country, even by many pacifist critics of the government's nuclear warfare policies. In the popular histories and reference works, it is generally glossed over with the briefest, most off-hand mention—after the style of West German textbook references to Nazi crimes—as if the unpleasant fact could somehow be buried and forgotten if it is given the low-key treatment.

And indeed the general impression still exists in this country (but not abroad) that somehow the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan caused the end of the war and eliminated a bloody invasion of the Japanese home islands, thus saving more lives than the A-bombs themselves snuffed out. This is a lie manufactured and spread in the first place by President Truman and British prime ministers Churchill and Attlee, who took responsibility for the decision to drop the bombs. It is nothing but the official trumped-up alibi for one of the most shocking and unjustified war crimes in all human history.

What are the facts? This is what the Encyclopedia Britannica (1959 edition) has to say: After the fall of Okinawa [on June 21, 1945], [Japanese Prime Minister] Suzuki's main objective was to get Japan out of the war on the best possible terms, though that could not be announced to the general public... Unofficial peace feelers were transmitted through Switzerland and Sweden... Later the Japanese made a formal request to Russia to aid in bringing hostilities to an end.

The Britannica then completes its coverage by saying that Russia rebuffed the Japanese overtures because it didn't want the war to end before it was scheduled to invade the northern areas occupied by Japan. What the Britannica fails to mention is that these Japanese overtures were known to Washington because the dispatches between Foreign Minister Togo in Tokyo and Japanese Ambassador Sato in Moscow were intercepted by the United States.

The entire affair is documented in the Hoover Library volume Japan's Decision to Surrender, by Robert J.C. Butlow (Stanford University, 1954). Butlow quotes the dispatch that was received and decoded in Washington on July 13, 1945:Togo to Sato...Convey His Majesty's strong desire to secure a termination of the war...Unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace. These requests continued through July.

Butlow documents that Washington knew the one condition insisted upon by the Japanese government was the continuation of the emperor on his throne and the symbolic recognition this implied of the Japanese home islands as a political entity. As it turned out this was exactly the condition that was granted when the peace was finally signed after the A-bombings August 6 and 9.

If the U.S. government knew as early as July 13 that the leading circles in Japan were seeking peace on those terms, why didn't it pursue this possibility for peace instead of ignoring it and proceeding with the A-bombings? There is simply no satisfactory answer to this question from the point of view of the military demands of ending the war—even on U.S. imperialist terms—and saving soldiers' lives.

Twice guilty As Hanson W. Baldwin, the New York Times military analyst, said in his book Great Mistakes of the War (1949):

Our only warning to a Japan already militarily defeated, and in a hopeless situation, was the Potsdam demand for unconditional surrender issued on July 26, when we knew the Japanese surrender attempt had started. Yet when the Japanese surrender was negotiated about two weeks later, after the bomb was dropped, our unconditional surrender demand was made conditional and we agreed, as [Secretary of War] Stimson had originally proposed we should do, to continuation of the Emperor upon his imperial throne.

We were, therefore, twice guilty. We dropped the bomb at a time when Japan already was negotiating for an end of the war, but before these negotiations could come to fruition. We demanded unconditional surrender, then dropped the bomb and accepted conditional surrender, a sequence which indicates pretty clearly that the Japanese would have surrendered, even if the bomb had not been dropped, had the Potsdam Declaration included our promise to permit the Emperor to remain on his imperial throne.

Why, then, did the United States drop the bombs? One of the few writers who claims to believe the official alibi is Robert C. Batchelder, author of the well-documented The Irreversible Decision (1962). Even Batchelder admits: It seems clear that had the [U.S.] attempt to end the war by political and diplomatic means been undertaken sooner, more seriously, and with more skill, the decision to use the atomic bomb might well have been rendered unnecessary.

Batchelder explains the affair away by attributing it to U.S. diplomatic inefficiency and a tendency in U.S. leaders to deal with the war in purely military terms and neglect political aspects. But the evidence indicates the final A-bomb decision was made precisely for political reasons.

Indeed, some top U.S. military men—including Eisenhower and the chief of staff of the U.S. armed forces at the time, Adm. William D. Leahy—declined to support use of the bomb. In his book, I Was There (1950), Leahy says: 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.

It was my reaction that the scientists and others wanted to make this test [!] because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project. Truman knew that, and so did the people involved. However, the Chief Executive made the decision to use the bomb on two cities in Japan.
Live targets

This test on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cost, by the conservative American estimates, 110,000 dead and as many injured; and, by Japanese estimates, twice that many. The evidence strongly indicates that one major motivation of the A-bomb decision was precisely to test the bomb on live targets, so as to confront the postwar world with the proven fact of overwhelming U.S. military superiority. It also established the fact that U.S. imperialism not only had the bomb but had the ruthlessness to use it.

The haste with which the bomb was used indicates that the U.S. purposely ignored the Japanese peace requests (which were known in Washington on July 13) in order to drop the bomb before the war ended. No one was sure the bomb would work until July 18 when it was tested in New Mexico. The only other two bombs in existence were quickly dispatched to the Pacific base and were dropped on August 6 and 9. This haste is unexplained by combat problems. By that stage of the war U.S. bombers and ships encountered no serious resistance and no U.S. troop attacks were scheduled until November 1, so the haste was not necessary to save American lives.

One of the most thoughtful works on the subject is that by the British nuclear scientist, P.M.S. Blackett, entitled Fear, War and the Bomb (London, 1949). Blackett points out: If the saving of American lives had been the main objective, surely the bombs would have been held back until (a) it was certain that the Japanese peace proposals made through Russia were not acceptable, and (b) the Russian offensive, which had for months been part of the allied strategic plan, and which Americans had previously demanded, had run its course.

Bomb aimed against Soviet Union This last is the final piece in the puzzle. It is Blackett's well-founded thesis that one reason for the haste was to drop the bomb before the Russians entered the war against Japan. The allies had already agreed at Yalta that the USSR would attack Japan three months after Germany surrendered. Stalin had notified the United States that the Russian armies would be ready for that attack on schedule, that is, August 8. The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima August 6.

In another book by Blackett, Atomic Weapons and East- West Relations (London, 1956), the scientist discusses the later feelings of some of his American colleagues who had been involved in the decision to use the A-bomb:

The opposition between 1949 and 1951 of so many atomic scientists to the H-bomb program must, I think, be taken as the price the American Government paid for lack of candor in 1945. If the scientists had been told that Japan had been essentially defeated and was suing for peace, but that the dropping of the bombs won for America a vital diplomatic victory, since it kept the Soviet Union out of the Japanese peace settlement and so avoided the difficulties and frictions inherent in the German surrender, I expect most would have accepted, however reluctantly, the practical wisdom of the act. They were not told this, but they were told that the bomb saved untold American lives. When they later learnt that this was rather unlikely, many of them must have begun to fear that their government might not be able to resist some future temptation to exploit America's atomic superiority...

To sum up: That Japan was defeated and suing for peace before the bombs were dropped is a fact established beyond doubt. The motivations of U.S. rulers in dropping the bombs anyway is, of course, a disputed question. But the evidence utterly fails to support the official alibi that it was done to avoid costly battles. On the contrary, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were murdered, not to end World War II, but to launch what later came to be known as the cold war.

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From nobody Tue Mar 4 16:38:18 2003
From: auvoazrc@veefydvf.org (Aurelia Keene)
Subject: A-Bomb: Part Of U.S. Imperialist War Drive Today
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Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 17:13:36 GMT
Why America dropped the atomic bomb, by Ronald Takaki
Reviewed by Patti Iiyama, 9 October 1995

Why America dropped the atomic bomb
by Ronald Takaki
pp. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1995.
$16.95 paper.


Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination
by Joseph Gerson
203 pp. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1995
$19.95 hardcover.

At 8:15 on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, a U.S. bomber dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Some 70,000 people, many of them school children who had been mobilized to build firebreaks, died instantly. Birds in flight ignited. The heat of the blast kindled a raging fire that seared the city. It was followed by a black rain. More than 60,000 died within months from burns, radiation poisoning, and shock. Another 70,000 died by 1950.

The 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August, revealed a deepening debate in this country over why the U.S. government dropped this new, horrible weapon. The big-business press launched a campaign to defend the use of the bomb.

On one hand most editors, commentators, and politicians have argued that the bomb helped save lives by making a U.S. invasion of Japan's main islands unnecessary.

On the other hand, a recent Gallup poll cited in Newsweek shows that people over the age of 50 narrowly approve the use of the atomic bomb, and that most younger Americans, especially those under 30, believe that using the atomic bomb was wrong. Moreover, an increasing number of historians and academics say the traditional accounts of the bombings, based on the government's version, should be revised. They argue that dropping the bomb was militarily unnecessary.

Many books have been published on this 50th anniversary. Among those defending the revisionist school are: Ronald Takaki's Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb and Joseph Gerson's With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination. Both summarize the facts that show the bomb was not needed to force Japan's military regime to surrender.

Takaki and Gerson point to Washington's anxiety about Soviet domination in China and other Asian countries, as well its occupation of eastern Europe. The dropping of the atom bomb, they say, was primarily a political warning to the Soviet Union and heralded the beginning of the Cold War.

The truth, however, is more complex. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the opening shot in a new hot war Washington was preparing: to crush the massive revolt against colonial oppression from China to India beginning to sweep the world, prevent the spread of the socialist revolution, and to move toward rolling back the conquests working people had won in the Soviet Union in order to restore capitalism there. The U.S. rulers boasted that they were launching the American Century.

In spite of its initial monopoly of this new and terrible means of mass destruction, however, Washington quickly ran into insurmountable roadblocks in its war drive. It was forced to retreat to conducting what it called a cold war.
Origins of Pacific War

In order to understand why the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sacrificed, it is important to know why the war in the Pacific was fought. Washington said the Japanese military regime's aggression in Asia had to be stopped and the bombing of the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, had to be avenged.

The real driving force behind the war in the Pacific, however, was the fight between the profit-hungry predators in the United States and Japan over, as Gerson states, the expansion and maintenance of empire in the Pacific and Asia.

Since capitalism developed relatively late in Japan, its rulers were not able to participate in the earliest imperialist divisions of Asia. But with the 1895 Sino- Japanese War, Tokyo began to wrest colonies from other imperialist powers by seizing control of Taiwan, Korea, and parts of northern China. In 1932 the Japanese imperialists invaded Manchuria and established a puppet government there.

Their major rival for control of Asia was the capitalist ruling class in the United States, who had long been eyeing China as a huge market for selling goods and investing capital. In the 1930s, the growing protectionist trade barriers imposed by the U.S. and European governments fueled the Japanese drive to conquer China and Southeast Asia in order to obtain oil, rubber, iron ore, and other raw materials.

By the spring of 1942, Tokyo, in a series of stunning victories, had conquered Indonesia, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaya, and Burma. Its troops were at the threshold of invading Australia, India, and Laos and controlled most of eastern China. But by the end of 1942, the tide was beginning to turn.

The overwhelming industrial and military might of the U.S. capitalists crushed their Japanese rivals. By the end of 1944 oil shipments from the East Indies had almost stopped, imports had fallen by 40 percent, half of Japan's merchant fleet and two-thirds of her tankers were destroyed.

On March 9, 1945, the U.S. military began firebombing Japanese cities, starting with Tokyo. City after city came under attack. Virtually every industrial center was destroyed. A report by the Japanese cabinet acknowledged that the steel and chemical industries were about to collapse, the railway system would soon cease functioning, and shipping was insufficient even to maintain transportation between the main islands of Japan.

Recognizing that the war was lost, Tokyo began to send out peace feelers to governments in Europe. Then, in early July, the Japanese government requested the Soviet Union, which had not yet entered the Pacific war, to mediate between Tokyo and Washington to end the war. The only condition the Japanese officials placed on their surrender was that Hirohito and the emperor system be preserved.

In spite of a recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the cabinet that the U.S. government accept conditional surrender, U.S. president Harry Truman and British prime minister Winston Churchill rejected the Japanese government's efforts to end the war. Instead, they issued a joint statement on July 25 saying that they would accept only un-conditional surrender from the Japanese regime.

Three weeks later, Washington accepted the Japanese surrender on the same terms that Tokyo had proposed in July. The only change was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As early as 1946, two U.S. government studies concluded that the bombings were not a military necessity. In addition to the recently discovered War Department Operations Division study, the official U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey judged that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945 [the date of the planned Kyushu invasion], Japan would have surrendered even if the bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

Takaki points out that Tokyo exhorted Asians to unite in a race war against the white brutes, wild beasts, and hairy savages of Europe and the United States. This demonization of the enemy justified atrocities like the infamous Bataan Death March, which occurred in 1942 after 76,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered to the Japanese in the Philippines. On the 65-mile forced march to their internment camp, 7,000 were bayoneted or clubbed to death or buried alive when they fell behind.

At the same time, Washington stereotyped the Japanese as loathsome buck-toothed little yellow savages. This racist dismissal of the Japanese as less than human was the propaganda used to get acceptance in the United States for Washington's war against Japan and for its bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Takaki puts forward the view that Truman's racism and psychological insecurities are the key to understanding why the U.S. government dropped A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman's policies were racist, but singling this out throws Takaki's book off balance. The U.S. capitalist ruling class had larger political considerations in mind when it decided to incinerate the populations of two Japanese cities.

Preparations for a `hot' war Soon after the Japanese government surrendered on August 14, President Truman halted all lend-lease shipments, including food, to the Soviet Union, one of its war-time allies. Takaki quotes Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew as saying, A future war with Soviet Russia is as certain as anything can be certain.

By October, Truman was attempting to rally the people of the United States for a confrontation with the USSR. There can be no compromise with the forces of evil....[The] atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki must be a signal, the president asserted.

The U.S. rulers were preparing for a new war. By dropping the bombs on human beings, they showed that they had no qualms about using this incredibly destructive weapon, over which they had a monopoly. One of their immediate aims was crushing the democratic revolution in China that they feared could overturn capitalist rule there. This was the prize for which they had waged a bloody war with their Japanese rivals for nearly four years. At the same time they wanted to drive the Soviet Union out of Eastern Europe.

Although Washington had started to put everything into place to fight another war, it was prevented from doing so for two reasons beyond its control: the refusal of Chinese workers and peasants to be cowed into submission, and the mass protests of U.S. troops after the war demanding, Bring us home now.

Thus, the U.S. warmakers were not able to launch the hot war to establish the American Century.

Since 1945 Washington has threatened or considered using nuclear weapons many times. Gerson details a few of these occasions: during the Korean war, at the end of the Indochina war in 1954; the 1962 missile crisis; the Vietnam War, and in the Middle East from 1946 through the Gulf War in 1991. It weighed the political price it would pay for using nuclear bombs in each instance and decided not to do so.

In the course of documenting the U.S. government's nuclear extortion over the last 50 years, Gerson aims his guns at the Cuban government for its contribution to the intensity of the [1962 missile] crisis. He states that during that crisis, Fidel Castro pressed Nikita Khrushchev to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against the United States in the event of a U.S. invasion of Cuba. Gerson repeated the same slander during the July 31-August 2 International Symposium in Hiroshima where he was a featured speaker. That gathering marked the 50th anniversary of Washington's A-bomb attacks on Japan.

Gerson fails to mention that the proposal to place missiles and tactical nuclear weapons on Cuban soil was not Cuba's, but the Soviet government's for its own foreign policy goals. At a January 1992 conference in Havana that brought together participants from Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the United States to discuss the 1962 missile crisis, Castro said: We were not too pleased with the missiles actually. If it had been a matter only of our defense, we would not have accepted the emplacement of the missiles here. This was not because of the dangers involved, Castro said, but rather because this would damage the image of the revolution....The presence of the missiles would in fact turn us into a Soviet military base and that had a high political cost.

Orlando Fundora López, the Cuban representative participating in the Hiroshima conference, refuted Gerson by explaining that the Cuban revolution has never relied on Soviet missiles or weapons, but the armed power of the Cuban people, for its defense. It was, in fact, the massive mobilization of the Cuban people during the missile crisis that convinced the Kennedy administration of the difficulties of invading the island and the political price that would be paid.

Neither Takaki nor Gerson, while agreeing that nuclear weapons must be banned and dismantled, can suggest a realistic solution, other than placing political pressure on the governments with nuclear weapons.

But the question of nuclear weapons and their use is connected to the drive of the capitalist rulers toward war. Today—as the competition between the capitalist profiteers has become more intense—political, economic, and military conflicts are growing. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the possibilities of a third imperialist world war are clearer.

Only if working people wrest power out of the hands of the capitalist exploiters and establish their own government can workers and farmers bring an end to horrible predatory wars for profits and get rid of all nuclear weapons.

Patti Iiyama is a member of Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Local 4227 in Houston, Texas. She had relatives who were killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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