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5 things to know about Japan's World War II surrender

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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But it took more than two decades for Japan to normalize diplomatic ties with some of its wartime Asian foes. It restored ties with South Korea in 1965, and with China in 1972,

SK was not Japan's wartime Asian foe, wasn't present in San Francisco in 1952 for the peace treaty. As for the PRC, Japan went ahead to normalise ties with the ROC (Taiwan) who represented "China" at that time.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

At noon on Aug 15, days after the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima on Aug 6 and Nagasaki on Aug 9,

Someone tell me again how the atomic bombs were unnecessary. It’s painfully obvious they weren’t given it only took Japan nine days after the first and six days after the second to announce it would surrender.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

They allied with Nazi Germany. This is their legacy and can't be swept under the rug. Is this presented in Japanese school textbooks?

19 ( +28 / -9 )

MilesTegToday  05:00 pm JST

They allied with Nazi Germany. This is their legacy and can't be swept under the rug. Is this presented in Japanese school textbooks?

You need to go further in depth. Not just the plain history written by victors who don't teach you and "filter" anything inconvenient to their cause of war.

Japan was allied with Germany, but Japan was against antisemitism.

Yousuke Matsuoka, helped Jewish people to move/live in Manchuria under Japanese rule, and promised them Japan would not let Nazi harm Jewish people. He said this is the message from Japanese emperor.

Matsuoka was arrested after a war as a Class A criminal, and after his death he was honored in Yasukuni.

See Book, "Under the shadow of rising sun", page 59, Meron Medzini,

(Japan and the Jews of Manchiria Beginning in 1931)

Try and search keyword,

Fugu plan

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

Historian Stephen E. Ambrose noted that "The Japanese presentation of the war to its children runs something like this: 'One day, for no reason we ever understood, the Americans started dropping atomic bombs on us.'"

11 ( +16 / -5 )

It also launched a seven-year U.S. occupation that lasted until the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect in April 1952,

Let's get this part straight! The occupation lasted until May 15th 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japan!

History books only talk about the San Francisco Treaty, however Okinawa was and is an integral part of Japan, and the history books in the US are 100% incorrect when they state that the US occupation was only 7 years!

It was a 27 year occupation!

People talk about Abe "whitewashing" Japanese history, well the US does it too!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

hachikouToday  05:37 pm JST

It was not based on anti-semitism but rather on economic and political strategies. The Japanese gov't at the time could've cared less about the Jews from a benevolent perspective. It was their political influence that was the main motivation along with the ability to help with Japanese infrastructure and industry in Manchuria. The majority of the Japanese population had no idea who the Jews were. Japan sided with Nazi Germany. Period.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

They toughed it out in okinawa’s prettiest isles, apart from the snakes and bullets it was paradise, this people forgot. I wander what all the soldiers thought about that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan is one of the greatest accomplishments of the US in its entire history. Something to be proud of.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

The defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan is one of the greatest accomplishments of the US in its entire history. Something to be proud of.

i think you'll find the US wouldn't have defeated the Nazis without the help of the soviets

10 ( +14 / -4 )

MilesTegToday  05:50 pm JST

It was not based on anti-semitism but rather on economic and political strategies.

If any political pressure there, that would be not upsetting Nazi Germany by saving Jewish people.

There are many Japanese folks involved in saving Jews from Nazi, and friendly group photos with Japanese and Jewish people.

This is not about strategy thing, simply a conscience.

Japan was not an evil.

It was a country with different values and ideas from westerns.

Another example, the testimony from African American, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, who wrote the article in Pittsburgh Courier about how he was treated same as white guests by Japanese at hotel in Tokyo.

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1128&context=cibs

Pls search your own.

We are living with an internet.

Nothing can filter information and prevent us from knowing.

You will find so many historical facts you wouldn't dream of and probably find this JT article boring.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

hachikouToday  06:31 pm JST

Japan was not an evil.

Atrocities against civilians throughout Asia, against POWs, institutionalized prostitution, Unit 731, etc, etc. It is you who needs a history lesson. Japan sided with the Nazis. You can try to whitewash it all you want but the fact remains.

Their plan for the Jews was based on politics and economics not human rights.

One person's account means nothing.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Japan was not an evil.

*It was a country with *different values and ideas from westerns

Values and ideas that allowed it to slaughter innocent civilians and POWs in some of the cruelest ways imaginable. Sounds pretty evil to me.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Fun fact: unlike the Nazis, the Japanese fascist military government had a couple of weeks before the American occupation to destroy hundreds of tons of incriminating documents, millions of pieces of evidence that could confirm detailed Japanese plans for their criminal wars of aggression in Asia and damn them for a myriad of war crimes. Even after the Americans took "control" of the country the language barrier allowed the Japanese to run rings around the hapless and naive Americans pulling the wool over their eyes by playing their violins and their anti-communism card.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Japan was certainly not fighting for freedom and human rights...

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I'm amazed that JT have published this article.

You got my respect as a reliable and objective source of information.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

RecklessToday  05:55 pm JST

The defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan is one of the greatest accomplishments of the US in its entire history. Something to be proud of.

Not at all,it was mainly and Allied victoryand from a historical point of view by years in conflict and human lives lost it was the Soviet Union the major victor.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan was not an evil.

You mean some Japanese were not evil. I know you very much wish Yousuke Matsuoka represented all of Japan but he didn’t and doesn’t.

I’m sure you’ll find that not all Germans were anti-Semitic. That doesn’t dismiss the Nazi regime.

Your argument is flawed, like saying the psychopathic murderer is not evil because he once saved a helpless kitten in a tree. You have to answer to the killings. No one is saying helping Jews is an evil act

When evaluating Japan, please provide an explanation for the conservative estimate of 20 million lives killed.

Your answer to 20 million killed is a number of Jews were helped by Japanese people. Thank you for helping the Jews but that hardly accounts for Japan’s evil actions, which cannot be erased.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

noriahojanen:

It restored ties with South Korea in 1965, and with China in 1972.....As for the PRC, Japan went ahead to normalise ties with the ROC (Taiwan) who represented "China" at that time.

Yes, that would explain why the 1972 Japan–China Joint Communiqué was signed in Beijing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan was certainly not fighting for freedom and human rights...

well, it was fighting for its own freedom and 'human rights' depends on which side of the history book you are on really

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I think most are confusing Japan itself with the imperial army leaders who were at the time in control. Most of the citizens were suppress and force into labors to support the war and force conscription when soldiers were dying like flies around the world. They even dare to revolt when the Emperor wanted to surrender.

Secondly it was already been revealed that the US wanted to drop a total of 12 nukes in Japan for experiment. What they did not expect was that the Emperor decided to stop after the second one. Between 6aug and 9aug you already can see that US barely allow Japan to react and only have 3 days to decide.

Thirdly Japan only sign a treaty with Germany was because in 1940 most of Europe was in the hands of Hitler and they were winning the war, so Japan who fighting in Asia can only choose them after US stop providing oil for their war effort.

And lastly Japan already made a pact with Soviet Union in 1941, but US offer them the Kuril islands, so Russia declare war on Japan in 1945 aug 8 when the Imperial army was on it's last leg.

Just stating the facts. Not that i agree with war nor with how the imperial army handle the situation in that era. But let be honest. By 1945 the Imperial army lost their navy, air force and barely have any bullets left. Most soldiers were force into banzai charges because they have no ammunition. Reason why US drop the bombs was a show of force to the Soviet Union and to conveniently try out their toys to see it's effect.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

The US only had two bombs ready, but Truman wrote in his diary that he would not use any more atomic bombs after getting the reports of the destruction.

He also wrote that he was certain Japan would surrender when Russia declared war on Japan. The Russians agreed to not declare war before August 9th.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

i think you'll find the US wouldn't have defeated the Nazis without the help of the soviets

It would have taken longer but the Allies would have still defeated Hitler. Russia could not have prevailed against Hitler without considerable American material support including all those Bell Aircobras sent to the Soviet Air Force to chew through German tanks. Germany never had anything close to the economic might of the US. Convoys from US east coast ports to Murmansk kept the Soviets in the fight when the Germans threatened to over run them. Even before the US entry into the European side of WWII the RAF had won the Battle of Britain. There was no possibility of Germany taking Britain and Sweden was secretly supporting the Allies, allowing the British intelligence to cross the Swedish Norwegian border and permitting the RAF to operate over Sweden to attack the KMS Tirpitz in her Norwegian redoubt.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not a single word about Poland? As a Pole, I feel offended.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Someone tell me again how the atomic bombs were unnecessary. It’s painfully obvious they weren’t given it only took Japan nine days after the first and six days after the second to announce it would surrender.

The invasion of Okinawa was seen as a dress rehearsal for the invasion of Japan proper. The casualties in that campaign surprised the Allies. It saw the first widespread use of the Kamakazi and the naval losses were severe, the highest of the war for the US. Civilian casualties were even grimmer. Half the civilians were left dead by the end of that campaign. Six months just to take Okinawa. Projecting that level of carnage to the vastly larger campaign necessary to take the Japanese main islands led the Allies to project at least 1 million Allied casualties and tens of millions of Japanese dead. The Japanese Army was preparing for just such a campaign. You have to realize that there was no love of the Japanese at that point in the war and the Allies wanted it over as quickly and as painlessly for them as possible. Absent use of nuclear weapons, even with the Russians fighting Japanese forces in China the war would have gone on well into 1946 and another million Allied military personnel dead. Enough was enough.

Also consider that even after the atomic bombings the IJA was not willing to surrender. The emperor wanted the war over and there was a vigorous debate within Japanese leadership about this but Tojo and the IJA were resolutely against surrender. Hirohito had to hide from the IJA as they were trying to arrest him and prevent him from surrendering Japan to the Allies. Hirohito made his famous radio address from a hiding place even as the IJA was trying to find and arrest him. This is why Hirohito was not prosecuted and allowed to remain emperor of Japan after Japan's surrender.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fun fact: unlike the Nazis, the Japanese fascist military government had a couple of weeks before the American occupation to destroy hundreds of tons of incriminating documents, millions of pieces of evidence that could confirm detailed Japanese plans for their criminal wars of aggression in Asia and damn them for a myriad of war crimes. Even after the Americans took "control" of the country the language barrier allowed the Japanese to run rings around the hapless and naive Americans pulling the wool over their eyes by playing their violins and their anti-communism card.

We learned in the mid 1980s that not only did Japan have a nuclear weapons program during WWII but it was slightly ahead of the Manhattan Project for a time. How did we learn this? The Japanese suddenly declassified some documents they had hid from the Allies since the end of WWII. As it turns out, a B-29 bombing raid over Japan missed its intended target (very common occurrence, read the declassified US Air Force WWII Strategic Bombing Survey) and some errant bombs just happened to flatten one of Japan's nuclear weapons facilities and set them back just enough that the US was able to use nuclear weapons against Japan before they could use them against the Allies. Imagine and attempt to invade Japan against nuclear armed Kamakazis. That is what could have been but for the strange fortunes of war. But yeah, the Japanese hid those documents all those years until the mid 1980s.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

hachikouToday  05:37 pm JST

Japan was allied with Germany, but Japan was against antisemitism.

Right.... I mean, apart from the antisemitism, Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and rest of the Nazis were quite nice, weren't they? It's not as if they were engaged in any campaigns of wholesale extermination against anyone else-.... oh, wait a minute....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

He also wrote that he was certain Japan would surrender when Russia declared war on Japan. The Russians agreed to not declare war before August 9th.

Except the IJA refused to surrender, didn't they. Hirohito wanted to surrender but the IJA was against it and tried to arrest Hirohito before he could surrender Japan. Even with the Russians involved the Allies were still staring down the face of another million of their people dead and a year or more of war to defeat Japan. Those two atomic bombs saved the world more death and destruction than they caused. Some just cannot see that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There was never going to be an invasion of mainland. Everyone knew the war was over. The million dead number was made up by Truman years after the war ended during a speech at a hotel. He faced considerable criticism for the Okinawa campaign, as well as Iwo Jima, by the press and families of servicemen killed and wounded who thought both invasions were unnecessary. They could have just gone around Iwo Jima. It served no strategic or tactical purpose. Nothing could get in or out anyway.

Hirohito was allowed to remain because it was understood that throwing him off the throne would have made occupation more difficult, plus MacArthur insisted it was necessary. He complained bitterly that the terms of surrender were the exact same terms the Japanese offered in April and the war would have been over faster.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

tokyo-starToday  09:08 pm JST

well, it was fighting for its own freedom and 'human rights' depends on which side of the history book you are on really

Japan started a war to conquer other nations then decided to side with the Nazis. It was purely for political and economic reasons. How anyone can say it was for its freedom and human rights is beyond ludicrous. What did atrocities committed against civilians, POWs, institutionalized forced prostitution, Unit 731 (disgusting medical experiments like Dr. Mengele), etc have anything to do with freedom and human rights.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I don't know why we have this discussion. It's obvious that it was the Japanese and their imperialism that led to the outbreak of II World War in Asia.

Let me be clear it wasn't Emperor Hirohito himself who forced poor and harmless Japanese nation to invade other countries and do experiments on people in China (Unit 731 experiments on people worst than Nazies did). It was the Japanese nation as a whole who was responsible.

Several commanders had a trial and were convicted, but only few got death penalty.

Last one. Yeah I know they paid a lot of money into war reparation, but how many resources and cheap labour they got in return so they could build Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's known how Japanese-Americans were treated during WW2 in detention camps; and how war prisoners and occupied countries civilians were treated...... but how many foreigners ( Americans and Allies ) were trapped in Japan when when broke out? And how were they treated during the war, and during the various bombing?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He also wrote that he was certain Japan would surrender when Russia declared war on Japan. The Russians agreed to not declare war before August 9th.

Not exactly!

Roosevelt was urging the Soviet Union to enter the war against Japan, and this was discussed at Tehran in 1943 and at Yalta in Feb. 1945. Stalin agreed to declare war 3 months after the German surrender. The Soviet Union actually set preconditions for doing this. It delivered on its promise practically to the day.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Larr FlintToday  11:12 pm JST

Let me be clear it wasn't Emperor Hirohito himself who forced poor and harmless Japanese nation to invade other countries and do experiments on people in China (Unit 731 experiments on people worst than Nazies did). It was the Japanese nation as a whole who was responsible.

You raise an interesting point. I always hear from Japanese that the civilian population was forced to go along with the military and didn't support the war. But I really wonder if this was the case. Was it more a situation where when the military started the war, the vast majority of civilians wholeheartedly supported the war but once they started losing and eventually lost the war, claim that they were forced to support the war under threat of death so had no choice?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Except the IJA refused to surrender

Uh, Japan surrendered. Did you hear the news?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Peter Neil

The Japanese offered to surrender in April? That is complete nonsense.

I can only suppose you are referring to the abortive plan hatched by some members in the Japanese oligarchy to approach Stalin with the idea that he might facilitate "negotiations" (NOT surrender) with the US.

They envisioned something like "OK, we've won a few, you've won a few, let's wind this thing down. How bout this: you can have the Philippines and Indonesia back, but we keep Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria. And of course the Army and emperor retain total control here at home. That sounds fair, don't you think?"

To be clear; No One in the amorphous Japanese leadership even considered giving up all conquered territory, much less consenting to letting the US remove them from power, try them for war crimes, and turn Japan into a democracy. And please, don't take my word for it, they are all on record saying exactly this, time and time again throughout the final months of the war.

There never was a Japanese offer of surrender, nor anything even resembling one, prior to the atomic bombings and Soviet declaration of war, no matter how much some people with ulterior motives would like to imagine there was.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

hachikouSep. 2  06:31 pm JST

Japan was not an evil.

*It was a country with *different values and ideas from westerns.

Indeed... one of those different ideas being that one's misdeeds in life don't matter at all if you're enshrined at Yasukuni for serving Japan in wartime, meaning that torture, murder, rape and whatever other horrific atrocities you might care to mention are all... well, kind of okay. I quite like the idea in other religions that there are consequences for these kinds of things. You know... burning in hell, being reincarnated as a slug, that kind of thing.

You will find so many historical facts you wouldn't dream of and probably find this JT article boring.

Where are you getting your historical facts from, just out of interest? Your sources wouldn't be of a Japanese right-wing nationalist bent, by any chance?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Capt USA:

Probably the person closest to Truman, from the military standpoint, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Leahy, and there was much talk that he also deplored the use of the bomb and had strongly advised Truman not to use it, but advised rather to revise the unconditional surrender policy so that the Japanese could surrender and keep the emperor.

Leahy's views were later reported by Hanson Baldwin in an interview that Leahy "thought the business of recognizing the continuation of the Emperor was a detail which should have been solved easily." Leahy's secretary, Dorothy Ringquist, reported that Leahy told her on the day the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, "Dorothy, we will regret this day. The United States will suffer, for war is not to be waged on women and children."

Another important naval voice, the commander in chief of the US Fleet and chief of naval operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945 had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral.

Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, given in a press conference on September 22, 1945, was reported as: "The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia's entry into the war."

In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated, "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war."

It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower's assessment was, "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing….[T]o use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime." Eisenhower also stated that it wasn't necessary for Truman to "succumb" to Byrnes.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@quercetum

You mean some Japanese were not evil. I know you very much wish Yousuke Matsuoka represented all of Japan but he didn’t and doesn’t. 

I’m sure you’ll find that not all Germans were anti-Semitic. That doesn’t dismiss the Nazi regime. 

Your argument is flawed, like saying the psychopathic murderer is not evil because he once saved a helpless kitten in a tree. You have to answer to the killings. No one is saying helping Jews is an evil act 

When evaluating Japan, please provide an explanation for the conservative estimate of 20 million lives killed. 

Your answer to 20 million killed is a number of Jews were helped by Japanese people. Thank you for helping the Jews but that hardly accounts for Japan’s evil actions, which cannot be erased.

Couldn’t have said it better myself! Seriously, very well put.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And there’s one thing that is unequivocally true about Japan‘s surrender 75 years ago. It’s that it led to Japan that we know today, who is not currently a wartime aggressor, who’s not currently engaging in forced prostitution, and is not committing the kinds of other atrocities that they did in World War II.

Yes, what Japan did in World War II was horrible and inexcusable, but because of the allies victory over them, they were able to drastically reform. Yes, a lot of it was forced, but considering how they were in World War II, could you really blame the allies?

And this should also put Japan’s problem today really in perspective. Yes Japan definitely needs to fix some things, but as we saw in World War II, it could be a hell of a lot worse!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Probably the person closest to Truman, from the military standpoint, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Leahy, and there was much talk that he also deplored the use of the bomb and had strongly advised Truman not to use it, but advised rather to revise the unconditional surrender policy so that the Japanese could surrender and keep the emperor.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff were not established until the National Security Act of 1947. The position did not exist during WWII.

In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated, "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war."

The Japanese Foreign Minister made a peace offer in July 1945 whereby Japan would retain its pre-war empire and imperial system in exchange for peace. The Allies rightfully rejected that offer.

Any more revisionist lies you would like refuted?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The most important thing is to recognize that Roosevelt was the greatest war criminal in history.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You didn't refute a thing.

Read Truman's diary.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Peter Neil

He also wrote that he was certain Japan would surrender when Russia declared war on Japan.

Yes, but in the same entry he says he was confident the A-bomb alone would compel the Japanese to surrender. He added that if the event they didn't, then Russia's entry to the war would make it certain.

The emperor says clearly in his surrender speech that the nuclear weapons were one of 2 reasons he decided to call surrender, the other reason being that the war had been going badly for Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Let me be clear it wasn't Emperor Hirohito himself who forced poor and harmless Japanese nation to invade other countries and do experiments on people in China

This is one of my favorite defenses of Hirohito. It neglects to consider that he personally approved various military actions and somehow magically had the power to stop the war.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

“Someone tell me again how the atomic bombs were unnecessary. It’s painfully obvious they weren’t given it only took Japan nine days after the first and six days after the second to announce it would surrender.”

Something else we disagree on.

The Soviets were poised to invade Hokkaido from the north, where Japan had no defences.

Japan didn’t surrender immediately because the bombs weren’t the issue. They hoped to gain Soviet mediation.

Obviously with the Soviets hostile from Aug 9 that wasn’t an option.

The Japanese high command didn’t care a fig for the atom bombs, which did less damage than the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945.

But they did provide a convenient, face-saving smokescreen for surrender.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

“The emperor says clearly in his surrender speech that the nuclear weapons were one of 2 reasons he decided to call surrender, the other reason being that the war had been going badly for Japan.”

Well he wasn’t going to say “to avoid invasion by the Soviets” was he?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Peter Neil

One can indeed find high-ranking US officials who offered opinions years after the war that Japan was ready to surrender, or had even offered to do so. Presenting such quotes is a common approach to portraying the atomic bombings as unjustified.

The problem is, even figures as authoritative as Leahy, King, and Nimitz can offer no evidence to support these opinions (not that they were pressed to by their interviewers). I don't know why they said these things. Perhaps they were, understandably, disturbed by the scenes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I think you'll agree that if one were trying to learn the intentions of the Japanese leadership regarding possible surrender, one should simply look to the the records and statements of (s

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

(surprise), the Japanese leadership.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It's telling that revisionists will always quote such remorseful US officials when seeking to show the Japanese were 'about to surrender'.

They will never present any Japanese evidence of such an intention. That's because none exists. All the records of meetings and even private discussions among the war council and the emperor show the opposite was true.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

A: At noon on Aug 15, days after the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima on Aug 6 and Nagasaki on Aug 9, Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcast a surrender message to his people on the radio.

INFURIATING! A lie of omission! Far more significant is the fact this was days after the Russians declared war right on schedule with the agreement at Yalta, and began invading Japan. The emperor knew his goose was cooked at that point and turned to the U.S. to surrender hoping for a possible exoneration or quick hanging. He knew, by watching the German surrender months earlier that the Russians would torture him to death over days and weeks, months or even years. But that sentence acts like it was about the bombs, as if Hirohito gave one fig about Japanese civilian mass death. He didn't. Firebombing Tokyo, Kobe, Hamamatsu etc. meant nothing to him. Neither did the nukes.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The Japanese offered to surrender in April? That is complete nonsense.

Japan was trying to negotiate surrender through the Russians since June. The U.S. knew of this because all Japanese messages were intercepted and all codes were cracked. Because the U.S. and Britain insisted on unconditional surrender (totally unreasonable) the messages were ignored. Meanwhile, the Russians stalled, not wanting to give away their intention to join the war against Japan. This went on for weeks and the U.S. government was well aware surrender with terms was possible before nukes were dropped.

July 21, speaking in the name of the cabinet, Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō:

With regard to unconditional surrender we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever. ... It is in order to avoid such a state of affairs that we are seeking a peace, ... through the good offices of Russia. ... it would also be disadvantageous and impossible, from the standpoint of foreign and domestic considerations, to make an immediate declaration of specific terms.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Cristopher Glen and Vanessa Carlisle

I'm with y'all on that one.  The biggest problem with the argument that the atomic bombs ended the war is that this presumes the leaders of Japan were that concerned with the lives of their citizens. There's little evidence they were.

After all that Japan had lost in the war up to that point, the lives of 100,000 civilians would not have altered their resolve.  Invasion by the Soviets was a far graver threat, and this weighed much heavier in the minds of the Army command, who held the real power.  And once Hirohito heard that he would be spared, that was enough to satisfy him.

After years of studying this, I too came to the realization that the atomic bombings merely did something like give them a public excuse to surrender.   

Could the surrender have been brought without the atomic bombs?  Would the Soviet invasion, and American concession to keep Hirohito on the throne, been enough?   

Japanese leaders, in post-war interviews, gave varying and contradictory opinions on this question.  Some said it could have happened without the atomic bombs, but most said it couldn't have.   

That's about the closest thing to a final answer we're ever going to get, I'm afraid.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And there’s one thing that is unequivocally true about Japan‘s surrender 75 years ago. It’s that it led to Japan that we know today, who is not currently a wartime aggressor, who’s not currently engaging in forced prostitution, and is not committing the kinds of other atrocities that they did in World War II.

Not a wartime aggressor, sure. But not by choice, it's because their wings are clipped with the ongoing US military presence. The kids still wear military uniforms at school and the state expects nothing but blind allegiance. Propaganda filling their text books. The people still weary of foreigners and believing they are of pure blood.

Slavery still continues, whether you are aware of it or not. The US should have done a lot more to reform Japan, post-war. But instead the US capitalists saw Japan as a massive chance to profit. Hence we have what we have today. A quasi democratic Japan still run by the descendants of warlords, ready to re-arm within days if the opportunity presented itself.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

SOME of Japan's leaders were considering "negotiations" (call them 'peace talks' if it serves one's purpose) on terms they found favorable given their situation. Namely, they insisted on retention of the Japanese polity, meaning they keep their grip on power.

Of course the allies found this unacceptable. And not unreasonably so.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

“A quasi democratic Japan still run by the descendants of warlords, ready to re-arm within days if the opportunity presented itself.”

This is true. Both with the avoidance by the emperor of any war responsibility, and the creation of the right-wing LDP

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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