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Your View: Truman's decision an act of barbarism?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Spartanroller, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo to the Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato
    very secret Tokyo, July 11, 1945—3 PM
    urgent
    890. Re my telegram No. 884.
    The foreign and domestic situation for the Empire is very serious, and even the termination of the war is now being considered privately. Therefore the conversations mentioned in my telegram No. 852 are not being limited solely to the objective of closer relations between Japan and the U. S. S. R., but we are also sounding out the extent to which we might employ the U. S. S. R. in connection with the termination of the war.
    Our readiness to promise long-term mutual support for the maintenance of peace, as mentioned in our proposal, was also intended for the purpose of sounding out the Soviet attitude toward Japan with reference to the above. The Soviet Union should be interested in, and probably will greet with much satisfaction, an abandonment of our fishery rights as an amendment to the Treaty of Portsmouth. With reference to the other items, the manner of answering the arguments would be to meet fully the demands of the Soviets according to my telegram No. 885. Therefore, although we of course wish the completion of an agreement from the Malik-Hirota negotiations, on the other hand, sounding out the Soviets as to the manner in which they might be used to terminate the war is also desired. We would like to learn quickly the intentions of the Soviet Government regarding the above. As this point is a matter with which the Imperial Court is also greatly concerned, meet with Molotov immediately whether or not T. V. Soong is present in the U. S. S. R. With the circumstances of the earlier part of this telegram in mind, ascertain as best you can their intentions and please answer by telegram immediately.
    Source: Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference) 1945, I: 87-4-878, II: 1250-1251.
    As you are skilled in matters such as this, I need not mention this, but in your meetings with the Soviets on this matter please bear in mind not to give them the impression that we wish to use the Soviet Union to terminate the war.
    The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo to the Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato
    secret Tokyo, July 11, 1945—7 PM
    urgent
    891. As it has been recognized as appropriate to make clear to Russia our general attitude concerning the termination of the international war despite the last paragraph in my telegram No. 890, please explain our attitude as follows, together with the substance of the above telegram, and let me know of your progress with Molotov by telegram as soon as possible:
    "We consider the maintenance of peace in Asia as one aspect of maintaining world peace. We have no intention of annexing or taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying as a result of the war; we hope to terminate the war with a view to establishing and maintaining lasting world peace."
    Please confer with Mr. M. within a day or two.
    The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo to the Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato
    secret Tokyo, July 12,1945-8:50 PM
    urgent
    893. Re telegram No. 891 and others.
    Not having seen the telegram regarding the meeting with Molotov, I feel as though I am sending troops out without sufficient reconnaissance. Much as I dislike doing so, I find that I must proceed at this time and would like to have you convey to the Soviet side before the Three-Power Conference begins the matter concerning the Imperial wishes for the termination of the war. The substance of the following should be borne in mind as appropriate in your direct explanation to Molotov:
    "His Majesty the Emperor is greatly concerned over the daily increasing calamities and sacrifices faced by the citizens of the various belligerent countries in this present war, and it is His Majesty's
    heart's desire to see the swift termination of the war. In the Greater East Asia War, however, as long as America and England insist on unconditional surrender, our country has no alternative but to see it through in an all-out effort for the sake of survival and the honor of the homeland. The resulting enormous bloodshed of the citizens of the belligerent powers would indeed be contrary to His Majesty's desires, and so it is His Majesty's earnest hope that peace may be restored as speedily as possible for the welfare of mankind.
    "The above Imperial wishes are rooted not only in His Majesty's benevolence toward his subjects but in his sincere desire for the happiness of mankind, and he intends to dispatch Prince Fumimaro Konoye as special envoy to the Soviet Union, bearing his personal letter. You are directed, therefore, to convey this to Molotov, and promptly obtain from the Soviet Government admission into that country for the special envoy and his suite. (The list of members of the special envoy's suite will be cabled later.) Furthermore, though it is not possible for the special envoy to reach Moscow before the Russian authorities leave there for the Three-Power Conference, arrangements must be made so that the special envoy may meet them as soon as they return to Moscow. It is desired, therefore, that the special envoy and his suite make the trip by plane. You will request the Soviet Government to send an airplane for them as far as Manchouli or Tsitsihar."
    The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toco to the Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato
    very secret Tokyo, July 12, 1945—2:20 am [sic]
    urgent
    894. Re my telegram No. 893.
    When you convey this matter to them, please make it understood that the subject should be treated as absolutely secret. I realize that I am being presumptuous in saying this; I mention it merely to be sure.
    The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo
    very secret Moscow, July 12, 1945—11:25 PM
    urgent
    1. Your telegrams No. 890 and 891 were received on the 12th immediately after my reply No. 1381 was sent. I take it that the purpose of your telegram was to sound out the possibilities of uti-
    lizing the Soviet Union in connection with the termination of the war.
    In the unreserved opinion of this envoy and on the basis of your telegram No. 885, I believe it no exaggeration to say that the possibility of getting the Soviet Union to join our side and go along with our reasoning is next to nothing. That would run directly counter to the foreign policy of this country as explained in my frequent telegrams to you. It goes without saying that the objectives cannot be successfully attained by sounding out the possibilities of using the Soviet Union to terminate the war on the above basis. This is clearly indicated in the progress of the conferences as reported in my telegram no. 1379.
    Moreover, the manner of your explanation in your telegram No. 891—"We consider the maintenance of peace in Asia as one aspect of maintaining world peace"—is nothing but academic theory. For England and America are planning to take the right of maintaining peace in East Asia away from Japan, and the actual situation is now such that the mainland of Japan itself is in peril. Japan is no longer in a position to be responsible for the maintenance of peace in all of East Asia, no matter how you look at it.
    2. Although the Empire and its commanders have said, "We have no intention of annexing or taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying," what kind of reaction can we expect when in fact we have already lost or are about to lose Burma, the Philippines, and even a portion of our mainland in the form of Okinawa?
    As you already know, the thinking of the Soviet authorities is realistic. It is difficult to move them with abstractions, to say nothing about the futility of trying to get them to consent to persuasion with phrases beautiful but somewhat remote from the facts and empty in content. In fact, with reference to your proposal in telegram No. 853, Molotov does not show the least interest. And again in his refusal he gave a very similar answer. If indeed our country is pressed by the necessity of terminating the war, we ourselves must first of all firmly resolve to terminate the war. Without this resolution an attempt to sound out the intentions of the Soviet Union will result in no benefit. In these days, with the enemy air raids accelerated and intensified, is there any meaning in showing
    that our country has reserve strength for a war of resistance, or in sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of conscripts and millions of other innocent residents of cities and metropolitan areas?
    Concerning these important matters, we here do not have appropriate or accurate information relative to our present armament production and therefore are not in a position to judge matters correctly. To say nothing about the fact that it was only by chance hearsay what we learned of the Imperial Conference which began in early June, at which it was resolved to take positive steps. And, if worse comes to worst and the progress of the war following the conference turns extremely disadvantageous for our side, it would behoove the Government in this situation to carry out that important resolution. Under these circumstances, the Soviet Government might be moved, and the desire to have it mediate will not be an impossibility. However, in the above situation, the immediate result facing us would be that there will be no room for doubt that it will very closely approximate unconditional surrender.
    I have expressed my extremely unreserved opinion in the foregoing and I beg your pardon for such frank statements at this time. I have also heard that at the Imperial Court His Majesty is greatly concerned. I find these dreadful and heartbreaking thoughts unbearable. However, in international relations there is no mercy, and facing reality is unavoidable. I have transmitted the foregoing to you in all frankness, just as I see it, for I firmly believe it to be my primary responsibility to put an end to any loose thinking which gets away from reality. I beg for your understanding.
    The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo
    very secret Moscow, July 19, 1945—2:30 PM
    urgent
    1417. Re my telegram No. 1385
    On the evening of the 18th I received a confidential note from Lozovsky which reads as follows:
    "Moscow, July 18, 1945
    "His Excellency Naotake Sato, Envoy Extraordinary and Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Soviet Union "Excellency:
    "I have the honor to confirm that I am in receipt of your note dated July 13, and the message from His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
    "By order of the Government of the USSR, I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that the Imperial views stated in the message of the Emperor of Japan are general in form and contain no concrete proposal. The mission of Prince Konoye, special envoy, is also not clear to the Government of the USSR.
    "The Government of the USSR, accordingly, is unable to give any definite reply either as to the message of the Emperor of Japan or to the dispatch of Prince Konoye as special envoy mentioned in your note of July 13.
    "I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you my highest esteem. S. A. Lozovsky"[.]
    The Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union Sato to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Togo
    very secret Moscow, July 19, 1945—4:42 PM
    urgent
    1418. Re my telegram No. 1417.
    Concerning the matter of the dispatch of the special envoy, the Soviet Government has declined to accept such an envoy for the time being on the grounds that the mission is not specific. The above is indeed regrettable but just as I said in my humble opinion in my telegrams Nos. 1386 and 1392, and as again demonstrated this time, there is no way other than to present a concrete proposal when dealing with this government. Although your opinion expressed in your telegram No. 913-2 [913-1] has its point from the Japanese side, it does not at all conform to the atmosphere here. That you cannot achieve your objective of having them act in accordance with your hopes can almost be inferred from their attitude in rejecting the special envoy at this time.
     
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  2. scrounger

    scrounger Member

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    I agree with Alaskarat, Trueman's primiary motivation was to end the war with the least cost in allied lives as possible. Was there a political angle to it ? probibily but I don't think that was his only reason for authorising the bombs to be dropped . I'm not sure if it is true or simply a myth but I read someplace that the Japanese high command had ordered that if the allies were to invade all pow's held by the Japanese were to be put to death, even if it was only a rumour knowing the way Japanese treated their prisoners it must have been something Trueman had to consider. How does Trueman explain to widows and their children in America and the other allied countries that their fathers and husbands need not have been killed invading Japan , that he could have ended the most destructive war in human history by dropping the bombs. I do not envy President Trueman the decision to use the atomic bombs while knowing that they can kill 100,000 or more in a few seconds must have been one of the most difficult of his life. But when you consider the cost in lives and materiel in invading the Japanese Home Islands I believe he made the right choice
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    People seem to have a need to force a single purpose on the bombs. Anybody who has studied the matter knows the military application was paramount, but the political factors certainly mattered to some extent as well. Communism was seen as threat to the western way of life by many people, just as fascism had been. The totalitarian nature of Soviet Russia filled them with foreboding about the post-war era. Some hoped that we would be able to guarantee at least 20 years of peace due to being the sole holders of the bombs. That didn't happen, of course.

    A thought on the "let's drop the bomb on people to see what happens to them" school of thought. First off, this is more a reflection ont he proponents than the folks that actually used the bombs. To blithely attribute such motives to other people show an abyssal level of ethics, especially when the goal it to further the political goals of the speaker. We studied the results of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki because that's where they were used, not because we used them there to study the results. /ra

    /rant
     
  4. Sabanist

    Sabanist Member

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    I totally agree. After examining the exerpts from the truman diaries its pretty clear that those in charge knew the expected effects from the bomb.It is certainly debatable what truman's motives were. Was he being practical and figured the amount of lives the bomb took was fewer than the amount of lives taken without? Was he a maniacWho cared nothing of human lives and wanted to punish the japanese, was he a political animal and sent the first salvo in the cold war? My guess is he was none of the above and all of the above. Probably right in the middle of all that.I disagree with their use but im not going to label bim or others
     
  5. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    It's extremely important to try to look at these events through the eyes of the participants, not through our eyes, here in 2011.
     
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  6. arthur45

    arthur45 Member

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    The mere phrasing of the question indicates an illogical attitude. About the only difference between the results of the atomic bombs and those
    thousands of conventional bombs dropped during the preceding year or so was the number of planes and time required. There is no moral or ethical difference between the two results, since they were essentially identical. Anyone who speaks of ethics on this issue has a gross misunderstanding of what ethics are all about. The difference was purely psychological, which is what made the difference in the mind of Hirohito, whose change
    of view ended the war. You can argue the ethics of bombing essentially civilian targets, which occurred in both Germany and Japan, but there are obvious counterarguments - those civilians are apart of the enemy's war effort, since they make the weapons and ammunition, and therefore
    are not so innocent after all. Especially if they have the power to stop the aggressive war and don't do so. The ethical issues are nowhere near as simple as some believe. Such folks usually, quite naturally, have very simplistic arguments.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Civilians weren't the target.

    From my point of view it doesn't look much different. The bombs ended the war and saved far more lives than they took. What's more those that they took were far more merciful than the alternatives.
     

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