The Genralissimo was tormented by the possibility that the war might be over before the Soviet troops crossed the Manchurian border. page 133 Racing the enemy.
Only July 16 Stimson wrote a memo to the president in which he noted that a warning to Japan, coupled with the possibility of Soviet entry into the war, would cause the Japanese to ponder "the great marshaling of the American forces." page 134 "racing the enemy
Mr. Byrnes recommended, and the Committee agree, that the Secretary of War should be advised that. while recognizing that the final selection of the target was essentially a military decision, the present view of the Committee was that the bomb should be used against Japan as soon as possible that it be used on a was plant surrounded by worker's homes;and that it be used without prior warning. (Notes of Interim Committee meeting, June 1, 1945) page 155 "The decision to use the atomic bomb)
Byrnes was alarmed by Japan's peace overtures to Moscow. he was concerned that the Soviet might gain territorial and other concessions from Japan to the detriment of U.S. interest. page 135 Racing the enemy
American military planners thought Soviet entry into the war would hasten Japan's surrender. But U.S. policymakers also pondered the political consequences of Soviet participation in the war. Thus they sough to bring about Japan's surrender, if possible , before the Soviet could join the fight. page 136 "Racing the War"
There is no reason to doubt that Truman initially welcomed the news that the Soviet intended to attack Japan in the middle of August. Stalin's assurance precluded the possibility of any deals between Tokyo and Moscow, thus removing one potential source of worry from Truman's mind. The Soviet would not take advantage of Japan's peace overtures to gain concessions at the expense of the United States and China, and they would not negotiate for Japan's surrender. ....The date Stalin gave for the Soviet attack on Japan---August 15----gave American policymakers a definite deadline to work for. if they were to force Japan to surrender without Soviet help, they would have to do so before that date. page 140
If Truman had came to Potsdam primarily to obtain Stalin's commitment to entering the war against Japan , it is strange that he did not actively seek that commitment. The best we can say about Truman's attitude toward this issue is that he was ambivalent. The president wrote in his memorialBy the time [the Potsdam Proclamation was issued, also we might know more about two matters of significance for our future effort: the participation of the Soviet Union and the atomic bomb. We knew that the bomb would receive its first test in mid-July. If the test of the bomb was successful, I wanted to afford Japan a clear chance to end the fighting before we made use of this newly gained power. if the test should fail, then it would be even more important to us to bring about a surrender before we had to make a physical conquest of Japan
At best, Soviet participation was an insurance policy. page 139
At three o'clock (July 17) .....Starlin revealed that he had received the Japanese request for mediation to terminate the war, and he showed the president's copy of Sato's note requesting the mediation in the emperor's name. Stallin explained that he had three alternative:"ask the Japanese for more details, ....ignore the overture, or send back a definite refusal. ...Stalin pointed out that the Soviet Union was not at war with Japan and that it might be desirable to "lull the Japanese to sleep". For that purpose, the first option would be best. Truman agreed.
page 142 "racing the enemy
Dutifully Stao obtained another audience with Lozovskii on July 25, in response to Lozovski's July 18 letter asking for clarifications on the Konoe mission ,,,,,The purpose of the Konoe mission was , he explained specifically and officially to request the mediation of the Soviet government to terminate the war. Prince Knonoe was personally chosen by the emperor to serve as his special envoy. He would bring to the Soviet government specific terms for ending the war, as well as concrete proposals for improving Soviet-Japanese relations during and after the war. page 144 "Racing the Enemy"
It is important to note that Handy's order to Spaatz, the only existing direct order to deploy atomic bomb against Japan was given on July 25, one day before the Potsdam Proclamation was issued. The popular myth... that Japan's rejection of the Potsdam Proclamation led to the U.S. decision to drop the bomb, cannot be supported by the fact. ...the rejection of the Potsdam Proclamation was required to justify the dropping of the bomb.
Why did Byrnes and Truman reject Stimson's recommendation to restore the provision allowing Japan to retain a constitutional monarchy? The July 24 entry of Walter Brown's diary gives the following account;JFB told more about Jap peace bid to Russia, Japanese Ambassador to Russia warned his government that same thing which happened to Germany would happen to Japan if she stayed in the war. Emperor had said they would fight to the last man unless there was some modification of unconditional surrender.page 157 "Racing the Enemy"
Walter Brown wrote in his diary on July 24 JFB still hoping for time , believing after atomic bomb Japan will surrender and Russia will not get in so much on the kill, thereby being in a position to press for claim against China.....In Byrnes's mind the atomic bomb, as the ace in the US hand, assumed primacy. The atomic bomb would force Japan to surrender and forestall Soviet entry into the war. Thus atomic bomb had to be used. page 158 "Racing the enemy"
I think Hasegawa's explanation is incomplete; It explained the motivation to use the atomic bomb before Russian's entry, but it does not explain why the atomic bomb acutally had to be used.
Since I think Frank's "Downfall" is of little help in this regard either, let's turn to Alperrovitz's "The decision to the use the atomic bomb"
Why did Truman and Byrnes decide to reverse the momentum of the policy development eliminate from the warning statement he kind of specific assuarances for the Emperor recommended by every other significan figure involoved? page 301 "The decisioin to use the atomic bomb" page 301
They feared political criticism if they were to show any "softness" toward Japan.
After citing numerous sources,
Such statements of military , political media and religious opinion [to clarify the terms} was not universal. page 231
An instructive and balance assessment is contained in a detailed internal government study, "Current Public Attitudes Toward the Unconditional surrender of Japan" prepared at this time. This pointed out that despite continued support for "unconditional surrender"Influential press and radio commentators are increasing calling for a statement to supplement---or to succeed---the "unconditional surrender Formula; and public opinion polls indicate considerable willing to accept less than unconditional surrender, since nearly a third of the nation would "try to work out a peace" with Japan on the basis of Japanese renunciation of all conquestpage 232 "decision to use the atomic bomb "
what has made Japan dangerous in the past and will make her dangerous in the future if we permit it, is, in large part, the Japanese cult of emperor worship.
Byrnes in 1952
When I became Secretary , I found in the Department a heated controversy, the left-wingers arguing that under no circumstances could we accept a surrender of the Japanese unless they agreed that Japan would no longer have an emperor. Without the emperor, we would have found it a more difficult task to secure the surrender....page 309 "the decision to use the atomic bomb"
←U.S. leaders were quite prepared to bomb European cities and Caucasian civilian populations as a matter of policy. page 655
The president was following the momentum of events.
←well defined choices were available and considered. ...All of Truman's top advisers except Byrnes urged a course of action which was specific---and the opposite of what one would expect if momentum theories were valid.(page 656)
They decided to used it to impress the Russia.
it is likely that Churchill and probably also Truman, conceived that besides bringing the war to a quick end,[use of the bomb] would improve the chances of arranging a satisfactory peace both in Europe and in the Far East. Stimson and Byrnes certainly had that thought in mind. For would not the same dramatic proof of Western power that shocked Japan into surrender impress the Russia?
page 317 "the decision to use the atomic bomb"