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Japanese main reason for surrender?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I hope that more will be coming out about this. It will be interesting to find out what all the archives have to say about it.

    Historian will speak at EIU about research on the end of WWII

    By the JG/T-C
    editorial@jg-tc.com

    CHARLESTON — Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s 1995 book, “Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Atomic Bomb,” compelled historians to re-think the end of World War II.


    "Hasegawa, a specialist in modern Russian/Soviet history and the Cold War, promises to present a revised understanding of the end of the war in the Pacific. The conventional understanding has been that the Japanese surrendered as a consequence of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

    "Hasegawa’s investigation into the Japanese, Soviet and American archives — itself ground-breaking, since very few historians of the period have working knowledge of all three languages — and Soviet archives (which have only been accessible since the 1990s) revealed that the Japanese responded less to the threat of atomic bombs than to the threat of the Soviet invasion and rapid advance into Chinese territory. "

    http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2008/10/23/news/doc48ffdc59157fc337099776.txt
     
  2. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Oh I see,

    I thought it was because they were running low on Geishas.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I always found it curious that Emperor Hirohito mentions both the "bomb" and the Soviets, but never in the same rescript. On the 14th of August he points out the "new and most cruel bomb", and on the 17th (three days later) he mentions that the "Soviet Union" has now joined the war against Japan.

    But not one and then the other in the same speech or radio broadcast.
     
  4. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    It is my understanding that the Japanese were not surprised at all in that the Soviets had joined in the war against them. IIRC much of the Japanese leadership actually were willing to surrender but were unwilling to accept the unconditional surrender. They wanted a guarantee that the emeror would remain the emperor. In the end he did, but no one was willing to make that promise. They still though a great victory was possible to end the war on better terms. The atomic bombs just convinced them otherwise.
     
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  5. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Richard Frank, in his book "Downfall", makes a very compelling case that the Japanese wanted much more than just a guarantee that the Emperor would retain his position as ruler of Japan, although that, of course, was one of the central concerns of the small ruling clique. The people in power, especially the military, wanted to remain in power and for that to happen, the Emperor had to retain his sovereignty. When the Japanese government finally accepted the Potsdam Declaration, that was the one condition they put upon their surrender. But the US firmly rejected that condition, saying that the Emperor would be subject to the decisions of the Commander of the occupation forces (i.e. he would no longer be the sovereign ruler of Japan).

    As for the Soviets, their attack should have come as no surprise, as the Japanese intelligence services had been predicting it for over a month. Professor Hasegawa's claim that the Soviet entry into the war was the main reason for Japan's surrender has more to do with his area of interest than actual historical fact. Frank's careful reconstruction of the sequence of events in the Japanese decision-making process reveals that the news of the Soviet attack arrived after the decision to surrender had been made by Hirohito, though the political formalities still remained to be observed. Hirohito himself, in his written monolog released after his death, attributes his decision to the atomic bombs, and the threat of civil instability brought on by the war and resulting pending famine
     
  6. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    I wouldn't say convinced but gave them no other option.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  7. Mr. V

    Mr. V Member

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    Surely the notion that the city of Tokyo, the Emperor, and all of Japan could be vaporized without any means to defend against it weighed heavily in the decision making process.

    The threat from Russian was not nearly as imminent and as close to home as was the bomb.
     
  8. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I would agree. And the Japanese had reason to believe that Tokyo was the next target. An American fighter pilot had been sot down over Japan and captured. He had no knowledge of the atomic bomb, but was interrogated about it anyway. To avoid torture, he made up a convincing story, which held up until Japanese experts reviewed it. In the meantime, he was asked what the next Atomic bomb target would be, after a moment's hesitation he replied, "Tokyo".

    The immediate Soviet threat was to Manchuria, which a month before the Japanese had been willing to put on the table as a bargaining chip with the Soviets. They obviously were not as worried about the Soviet entry into the war as they were about the very real possibility that Tokyo, the Emperor, his palace, and the Scared Regalia might be destroyed in flash, and as soon as tomorrow.
     
  9. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    Japan had numerous tunnels planned and some built, creating bunkers where they would move the leadership into while they sacrifice the general public to the destruction of the Allied weapons. Their plan was to create an underground fortress that would make it too costly for the Allies to maintain its demands. The atomic bombs took that planning away. Time had run out and they could not hope that the bunkers would be enough protection.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    It seems there´s always people ready to keep on fighting until the final end whatever the price...

    "On August 12, 1945, the Emperor informed the imperial family of his decision to surrender. One of his uncles, Prince Asaka, asked whether the war would be continued if the kokutai (national polity) could not be preserved. The Emperor simply replied "of course."[21] On August 14, the Suzuki government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration. On August 15, a recording of the Emperor's surrender speech was broadcast over the radio signifying the unconditional surrender of Japan's military forces (known as Gyokuon-hōsō).

    Objecting to the surrender, die-hard army fanatics attempted a coup d'état by conducting a full military assault and takeover of the Imperial Palace. The physical recording of the surrender speech was hidden and preserved overnight, and the coup was quickly crushed on the Emperor's order."

    Hirohito - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  11. Army Man

    Army Man Member

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    I have often thought about this - I think that The Bomb was what pushed them over the edge, but I do believe that fear of a Soviet invasion was really what settled the issue.

    While I agree in full the the Red threat was not as imminent, and that the Japanese most surely must have thought that they could defend their land would it have come to that, the fact that the Yanks had put holes into their theory of "unbeatable positions and indomitable will" with far less men than the Sovs would be able to muster within 6 months.

    Someone in the Japanese high command surely was looking ahead. I mean yes, Hirohito did write that the bombs changed things - but wouldn't it have been dishonorable to admit otherwise?
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The US Army could, but could the Red Army invade the Japanese main islands and how long would it last to create the landing ships etc? Or would there be another way to take the main islands by the Red army?
     
  13. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Now this next is just my own take on the Japanese mind-set at this moment in time. As a non-Japanese, but a person who has a number of friends of Japanese decent. It would appear that the Japanese hard-liners in the military were more than willing to continue fighting any invasion, in the warped version of the bushido code of the "new" samurai.

    Somehow to their mind hopelessness in battle is no reason to surrender, and that personal honor was just as; if not more important than the survival of Japan’s way of life. The Soviet’s entry was a contributing factor, but I don’t think it was THE straw that broke the back of the Imperial Japanese hard-liners, nor the reason for the Emperor to step in and throw his weight behind the advocates for peace.

    The Japanese historically would and could fight any invader, they could face bullets, conventional bombs, imposed famine, and even fire-bombs were forces which they could fight as any other fire. They simply didn’t fight forces of nature, in fact one of them had saved Japan from invasion centuries before when Kublai Khan’s fleet was destroyed by a "divine wind". They didn’t fight tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, or any other force of nature. They waited for them to pass, and rebuilt.

    They especially didn’t fight the power of the sun, as their Emperor was the son of the goddess of the sun, and ruling over the people in the Land of the Rising Sun. Amaterasu (I think that is the spelling) is the central figure in the Shinto pantheon and the Japanese Imperial family claims descent from her, including Hirohito. She was (until late 1945) called the 'illustrious ancestress of the Emperor". At that time, the Japanese Emperor disclaimed any form of divine ancestry and polytheistic ancestor worship was no longer permitted. When that force of the sun, was turned against them, their entire religion and society was turned on its head, and it was far more acceptable and honorable to accept surrender. It wasn’t THAT the atomics killed thousands in one fell swoop, it was the make-up of the bomb itself and how it's power was related to Japan itself.

    In his August 7th press release, Truman used the words "atomic bomb", in this sentence, along with the words; "… It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. (emphasis mine)" This was of course heard by the Japanese, toward whom it was directed.

    From:

    Nuclear Files: Library: Correspondence: Harry S. Truman: Statement, August 7, 1945

    Here is another link to the press releases and the documents leading up to the dropping of the atomics on
    Japan.

    Truman Library: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb Online Research File

    Something else to keep in mind when discussing the Soviet’s entry into the Far East theater, they had promised to do so at the Yalta Conference, but the date wasn’t yet set as the Nazis had yet to be defeated. It wasn’t until the Potsdam Conference, on July 18th, that a date was set by Stalin for him to actually enter the war against the Japanese, and that was to be August 15th. This was when Stalin figured he would have enough of his forces transferred completely so as to guarantee success for the Red Army.

    Stalin was told of the atomic bomb six days after he had promised to enter the Far East, this was on July 24th. Of course his spy network had him quite well informed about its existence but NOT when it would be completed and ready for deployment. I’m sure he figured the time between a proof of concept device (the Gadget) and air-dropped bombs would be longer than it was. This might very well explain why Stalin didn’t seem too interested when Truman informed him of its successful test at Alamogordo.

    It was between the two atomics being used that Stalin changed the date for his declaration of war and his Red Army advancing into the fray. It’s use at that early date caused Stalin to advance his time-line as well. If Stalin had held to his original time-line, the war would have been over on that very day he planned to be in the battle, since that was when the Japanese announced they accepted the Potsdam accords. During the night of August 14–15, the final and largest single bombing raid of the entire PTO was launched. This, and not just the atomics themselves might have also been "messages" to Stalin. i.e. "see how far north our bombers can reach?

    Eight hundred bombers and two hundred fighters of the USAAF dropped over 6,000 tons of explosives and incendiary weapons on eight Japanese cities some 300 miles north of Tokyo on the northern tip of Honshu and just five hundred miles from Vladivostok. Even while the last of these bombers was landing, Truman announced the war was over.

    Even with that "end of the war" announcement, the Soviets continued to fight until early September on Sakhalin and in the Kuriles fearing they would be held to the lines upon which they were standing when Japan officially surrendered. As I mentioned at the start, just my take on this.
     
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  14. Firefoxy

    Firefoxy Dishonorably Discharged

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