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Historians rethink key Soviet role in Japan's defeat in WWII

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Yes the backstabbing Russians were able to achieve a victory against the defeated Japanese Empire. This shows the value of treaties with Russia, or in other words none. Why make an agreement with the Russians when they will break it at their convenience?

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Russia was one of the Allied Powers, while Japan was part of the Axis. As such, Russia had an obligation to join the fight in defeating an already weak Japan.

Besides, Russia would be granted Japanese territory through victory. That's why Japan will never get back it's former Northern Territories.

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mushroomcloud, never will there be a peace treaty and next time Russia falters, no help from Japan. We should of let them fall.

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The only way those a-bomb apologists can save face is by keeping the Soviet contribution in the Far East in the footnotes of WWII history.

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I have believed for many years that the role of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria has been understated in the West. However I do not believe that it played a "much greater role". Rather, I think they were equal to that of the bombings (plus the imminent invasion from the Americans that the Japanese were preparing themselves for). And most definitely they would rather deal with the Americans.

With all of the participants in the decision now gone, perhaps a way to measure the relative weight of the bombings verses the Soviet invasion would be to estimate what percentage of time the Japanese government was spending on both problems in the final weeks and days of the war.

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This argument is not new. Perhaps this American historian is only looking for fame.

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... arguing that fear of Soviet invasion persuaded the Japanese to opt for surrender to the Americans, who they believed would treat them more generously than the Soviets.

Japan would be a very different country right now had Russia been the occupying force.

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We lost the Kurile islands. If we surrender later maybe the entire Hokkaido can be russian. If we surrendered even later, half of the country can be like North Korea. But some people still talk like the Soviet Union dont was a factor.

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Agree with sourpuss, this is nothing new many books cover this already. As to what percentage the A bombs and the soviet invasion had in Japans surrender, we will never know and can only speculate. Maybe it was just Hirohito trying to save his own ass, knowing the Soviets would execute him while the Americans might save his ass.

But the Soviet invasion was a brilliant not traitorous at all considering Japans use of sneak attacks without declarations of war. 1905, 1937, 1939, 1941

I would like a book on the Japanese communist party and its early leadership about their popularity and their attempts to transform Japanese society after WWII. Had it not been for the CIA Japan could be a very different country

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Japan would be a very different country right now had Russia been the occupying force.

Like..Hokkaido will still be a hole, except the farms there will be run by some form of Kolkhoz administration? :P

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Hasegawa sounds like a revisionist. Many other scholars do not agree with his conclusions arguing instead that the Soviet entry into the war was only the last straw on an already collapsing Japanese empire.

It clear that the Japanese wish to diminish the importance of the two nuclear weapons as a part of their desire to be seen as victims in WWII. But the facts remain that it was American men, material and persistance that put an end to Japan's vision of empire in Asia. And it was the two nuclear weapons that finally made the Emperor of Japan see the futility of the war and act to save his people and their future.

Revisionism just doesn't hold water against the facts of the war.

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I always believed the Russian intervention into the Japan War was in order for Russia to grab as much Japanese land as possible - and to appear on the Allied side when splitting the spoils. This article sheds new light on Stalin's decision for me.

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Beware of people who bandy about the word "revisionist." Sign of a weak argument.

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Stalin was aware that the US had a working model of an atomic bomb. He was in no rush to start a 2nd front against Japan until after the first A bomb was used. He was aware that it's use might end the war soon after and he couldn't claim any territory or spoils unless he declared war.

Did the invasion of Stalin's troops convince the Imperial military to agree to an UNconditional surrender sooner than they might otherwise have done? Probably.

This is NOT new information.

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Beware of people who bandy about the word "revisionist." Sign of a weak argument.

Yes. Tkoind2 is under the impression that Japan had youtube at that time.

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nigelboy - What?!? Make an argument if you can and not nonsense.

Revisionism is a valid argument dear Tokyoapple. I don't see your argument here at all while I clearly stated mine.

There is considerable interest to revise history to fit the political needs of the present. This has and always will be a risk. Japan has had strong interests in painting herself as the victim nation in WWII. Unlike Germany who have acknowledged their role and made considerable strides in making sure that the people of Germany know and remember their history.

Japan has leveraged the nuclear weapons as an example of her suffering during the war while failing to fully acknowledge everything from Batan to comfort women and the treatment of non-combatant prisoners. Now there is a desire to displace the role the two bombs played in ending the war with the threat of Soviet aggression. This is utter nonsense and clearly revisionsist history.

The words of the Emperor alone validates that the weapons, as horrible as they were, put and end to Japan's vision of resistance. The Soviet entry into the war was, as I have argued before, just one more straw on the breaking camel's back.

So waiting for Tokyoapple and Nigel boy to write something meaningful in response.

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Many writers in previous articles already pointed out that the Soviets took advantage of an opportunity to make a land grab in Asia just as the Soviets did in Europe. For baseball fans, it is like not watching the player on third base after a steal sign is given.

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Make an argument if you can and not nonsense.

Well. I sort of did in "Tkoind2 is under the impression that Japan had youtube at that time."

You do realize that beginning of 1945, U.S. increased their aerial bombing of Japan's cities right?

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%9C%AC%E5%9C%9F%E7%A9%BA%E8%A5%B2

Notice that there were additional 8 bombing campaigns AFTER Nagasaki.

The point being here is that to actually asess the damage of each campaign, it took months and sometimes years. There were a lot of bombing campaigns in which the Japanese government didn't even know about until after the war. So imagine what kind of information were relayed to the headquarters at that time and how the decision makers assessed those info.

For Hiroshima reported to the headquaters on August 10th. (after Nagasaki BTW)

イ)彈種、通常ノ爆藥又ハ焼夷劑ニ非ズ 原子爆彈又ハ威力之ト同等ノ特殊爆彈ナルモノト認ム (ロ)爆發位置 護國神社南方三〇〇米、高度五五〇米 (ハ)爆壓、爆心地上ニ於テ六粁/平方糎程度ト推定スルモ 尚檢討ヲ?ス (ニ)火傷原因 光線ノ影響ナルモ尚β線及X線ノ影響アルベシ、光線ノ持續時間ハ瞬間ニ非ザルモノノ如シ (ホ)火災ノ原因 熱線ニ依リ引火シ易キ物質(藁、黒幕等)發火シ火災ノ原因トナルコトアリ (ヘ)投彈法 必シモ落下傘ヲ伴ハズ

Not saying much except for the fact that it was an nuclear bomb or similar new type of bomb.

Now, the correspondence between Soviet and Japan are well documented. And when it was apparent that the negotiations are going to fail, the total despair is clearly indicated. So imagine when the Soviets declared war on Japan, it must have been catastrophic in the mind of the top officials.

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As mentioned, the Soviets were influenced to invade Japan sooner rather than later precisely because the USA used the bomb on Japan. The Soviet Union wanted to make sure they got what was promised to them at Potsdam and hoped they could get more like the rest of the Korean peninsula and Hokkaido. For this reason, the use of the Atomic bomb most certainly did speed the end of the war by showing Stalin that he needed to enter the war and crushing any deluded hopes the Japanese military powers still had of being able to hold onto mainland possessions.

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Push the submit button by mistake.

to continue, based on the reports to the headquarters above along with the previous bombing campaign by U.S. and subsequent to Nagasaki, I sincerely doubt that the top officials really could differentiate the enormous devastation difference between the atomic bomb and the conventional incendiary bomb and/or napalms used in Tokyo.

And BTW, using words like "Batan" "comfort women" or "Germany" in your argument make you sound desparate along with "revisionist".

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Nigelboy. At what point did I directly address communications or suggest something as absurd and youtube.

I have, in previous articles posted considerable information about the firebombing of Japan arguing that the campaign had considerable influence over the Empire's ability to consider carring on with the war.

It is still clear from the Emperor's statement that the bomb was at the center of their thinking with regard to the inhumanity that faced Japan. While I agree the Soviet entrance into the war was a factor, the bombing campaign by the Allies was clearly the slab of stone that broke Japan's will to fight.

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YuriOtani: "Yes the backstabbing Russians were able to achieve a victory against the defeated Japanese Empire. This shows the value of treaties with Russia, or in other words none. Why make an agreement with the Russians when they will break it at their convenience?" The start of the war in Europe, should've been the writing on the wall for the Japanese, regarding the Soviets, and their track record of keeping treaties/deals/promises. Although, as a member of the Allied powers, the Soviets owed Japan nothing, as they were enemies, and members of the Axis powers.

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tkoind2, how do you reckon that? there is no clear evidence either way.

btw this is hardly a revisionist argument since it has been around for so long. it's just another historian trying to sell a few books.

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At what point did I directly address communications or suggest something as absurd and youtube

You didn't. Or to put it a better way, you didn't factor in how slow and how inaccurate the information was relayed back in those days. That is the flaw in your argument.

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The flaw in your argument is under guessing the role of the bombing campaigns on Japan. Plus how do you then explain the Emperor's statement?

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Interesting, but records indicate the big six were very aware of what had happened and the level of damage.

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Is it THAT important to know how the war actually ended?

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It is important that Japan find a way to come to full terms with her history. This is for Japan's benefit far more than for anyone else. Why? Because the past defines who we are today, but it also helps us to prevent repeating dangerous mistakes. Germany has done a great job with this thinking and keeps her right wing movements well in check.

Japan lives under many illusions of what the war was, how it concluded and who was in the right or wrong. A more honest appraisal would lead to greater understanding across Asia which does not share Japan's victim perspective on the bombs. Asia saw Japan as an aggressor nation that the bombs put and end to.

So is it important. Yes and it should be widely taught and help serve Japan as an emissary of peace. Denial of her history does disrepect for the people who died in Asia during the war, including Japanese soliders. The truth must and should help define Japan as a leader in the world against violence, against war and for peaceful problem resolution.

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To all those who say it was Americans whho won the war in the Pacific. Allied forces lost hundteds of thousands of troops. Britain alone lost 30,000, 12,500 lost whilst POW`s and the Royal Navy was part of the planned invasion of Japan.

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Why is this seen as re-writing history. This is all well known fact.

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“The emperor and the peace party (within the government) hastened to end the war expecting that the Americans would deal with Japan more generously than the Soviets,”

Two of the most horreondous bombs were dropped on Japanese cities and the Emperor thought Americans are generous...How sad and how tragic.

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Britain alone lost 30,000, 12,500 lost whilst POW`s and the Royal Navy was part of the planned invasion of Japan.

Yesterday Britain celebrated 65th anniversary from the victory over Japan and the end of war. So British can celebrate victory over Japan but Russia cannot celebrate?

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Tkoind2

Read Books by Saburo Ienaga Japanese historian very good he argues that the soviet invasion played a major contribution in japans decision to surrender. Though the a bombs were destructive the fire bombings of individual cities tokyo Nagoya etc were more destructive than the a bombs and japan showed little interest apart from weak peace feelers through the Russians.

Please note people that russias invasion was because of an agreement to do so with Churchill and Trumen not just a land grab. Russia did not gain much land Manchuria was handed back to china.

IMO the Russians put the fear of god into the Japanese they knew the US wer not the devils they portrayed them as but the Russians were and they had a much bigger grudge against Japan than the US

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From my understanding, japan had hoped to play their relationship with the ussr into a better peace scenario. When they broke the non aggression pact and attacked that option was closed. Additionally, it was very clear that the soviets would sacrifice large numbers of troops, which the us was hesitant to do. I am sure the soviets had an impact on the decision.

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I am sure the Japanese were afraid of a few more "generous" American atomic bombs so they surrendered to the USA.

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LoveUSA, i mentioned nothing about Russia, are you paranoid?

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up until they day that the Soviet forces invaded the Japanese military leaders including Hirohito were in constant communication with the Soviets and believed that that they were still friendly. this JT news story (if I can even call it that) was extremely poorly researched. moreover this "historian" who thinks the Soviets played a key role in Japan's defeat needs to give up being a historian b/c when one gets their facts so blatantly wrong they deserve to be spanked. this is just one more petty excuse to say "why did the big bad Americans drop those 2 terrible bombs on us when we would have surrendered anyway because we were so afraid of the Soviets". and BTW the Soviets move was 100% a land grab.

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crazygaijin. Exactly.

I find a lot of Japanese apologists like to point to any other cause as the reason for the war ending rather than accepting that the combined nuclear weapons and firebombing campaigns were what truly broke Japan's back.

I also do not hear anyone here talking about the very real fact that the US and her allies did not want Russia in Japan any more than the Japanese did. And that the Japanese must have been equally aware of this fact if they had any intelligence capacity at all.

By the time the Soviets entered the Asian war the tension with the west was already well established and growing. The US would never have allowed a widespread occupation of Japan by Soviet forces. Stalin must have been very aware of this as well. He could not have wanted to invite a war with the Allies on the heels of all the death and expense at the hands of the Germans. Stalin was on a leash and he knew it. And I suspect Japan did too.

Further, there were other considerations that would have made Russian expansion unlikely. Everything from the message the nuclear weapons also sent to the Soviets to the very real break up of China that was under way.

I think it is naive to believe that Japan thought Russia would do to them what they had done to Eastern Europe. The deadlier fact was the ongoing fire bombings that were wiping out more Japanese than the atomic bombs by the tens of thousands.

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tkoind

one i'm hardly a japanese apologist i'm sure ossan and nige would be happy to state that. secondly to say it was all because of the US is extremely naive and uninformed.

As I stated and i'm sure any descent historian would recognise that the USSR invasion of Japan was not Just a land grab but a decision brought about by a allied request to stalin for him to attack Japan.

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I don't debate the facts of the Soviet decision to enter the war. Clearly those facts are that they were obligated to do so. But there is also some truth to the opportunistic benefits of doing so.

I do not think that the US is extremely uniformed. I was a student of political science and history. There are other views of the end of the war in Asia that are not voiced here. One includes the growing mistrust of Soviet intentions both in Europe and in Asia and it has been suggested that the nuclear weapons were as much a warning against Soviet expansionism as a means of ending the war in Japan.

But as the critical cause of Japan's surrender? Doubtful. I stand by the assertion that it was but one additional straw on an already broken camel's back. The firebombings, loss at Okinawa, impending Allied invasion and use of two nuclear weapons were more than adequate cause as illustrated by the content of the Emperor's speech.

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mummet "i`m sure ossan and nige would be happy to state that". That says it all really.

Soviets were not relevent to the bombings, even a simpleton can see that.

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As I stated and i'm sure any descent historian would recognise that the USSR invasion of Japan was not Just a land grab but a decision brought about by a allied request to stalin for him to attack Japan.

there was no request for stalin to attack Japan; it was more of a quasi-obligation stemming from a British-Soviet agreement. had the Soviets had any real intention of honoring that agreement they would have entered the war against Japan earlier, instead they waited literally until the final days when the writing was on the wall and then they made a land grab; nothing more, nothing less. they knew that the US and the UK were divvying up certain parts of Asia and they wanted to get something too.

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|quasi-obligation stemming from a British-Soviet agreement.

Check Wikipedia before doing such statements. Actually both US and UK asked USSR to attack Japan within 3 months after German defeat at Yalta conference and Soviets did that exactly 3 months later, on 8 Aug. Regarding the "land grab", it was already agreed by the big-three at the same conference: http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0852937.html#axzz0wkT8t4iL BTW, As a Mongolian I would like to add that agreement also included recognition of independence of Mongolia by US and UK. That's one of reasons Mongolia provided 16000 soldiers for the invasion to help Soviet Tran-Baikal army to cross deserts and mountains of Mongolia and Manchuria. I don't care if that invasion actually accelerated decision making at Japanese side at greater degree than A-bombing. But I am damn sure the world had became much much safer without Unit731 at least.

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From my understanding, japan had hoped to play their relationship with the ussr into a better peace scenario. When they broke the non aggression pact and attacked that option was closed. Additionally, it was very clear that the soviets would sacrifice large numbers of troops, which the us was hesitant to do. I am sure the soviets had an impact on the decision.

Saturday on the History Channel Japan, they were showing a marathon version of the World At War (1974). They were interviewing some of the cabinet officials that were in the Japanese government at the time, and if you watched closely, you could see how one moment they made comments that they wanted peace, but on the other hand they were still trying to broker a deal with Molotov and the USSR. Molotov had refuesed to speak to the Japanese Ambassador, and the US knew what was going on since we had broken the Japanese codes. True to their agreements, the USSR declared war on Japan 3 months after the defeat of Hitler.

The Japanese still had a large Army in China, but they were ill equipped compared to the Soviet troops that had just been sent west from Europe. I think the USSR's decision to join the fight, probably put the final nail in the coffin from Japan, since the minister that was interviewed believed that they would at least let the US and allies invade and inflict heavy casualties, and then try for a peace agreement, but the thought of losing land to the Soviet's made them come to the table.

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@hogehoge

Actually, I was referring to the Tehran Conference in November 1943 when I mentioned the quasi-agreement, not the Yalta Conference in February of 1945. If they wanted to the Soviets could have entered the war against Japan in 1943; but they didn't. You are however, correct that the Soviet attack against Japan began precisely three months after the German surrender on May 8th, however the attack began AFTER the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 6th. At that time Japan was already effectively defeated. Stalin knew this quite well, ergo, IT WAS A LAND GRAB PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Don't sass me you whippersnapper.

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"Racing the Enemy" was first published about 5 years ago. Why did this article present it as a newly published book?

Anyway, the "Reds in Manchuria caused Japan to surrender" argument has gained ground in recent years as a way of discrediting the impact of the atomic bombings. But would Japan still have surrendered on August 15, one week after the Soviet declaration of war, even if the US had never carried out those two atomic bombings?

Who knows. Even without the atomic bombings, perhaps Japan would have emerged from the war as the unitary, intact country that it is today. Or perhaps Japan would have held out until September 15, after Sapporo had been taken by the Red Army and renamed New Stalingrad.

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Read The Yalta agreement here http://www.taiwandocuments.org/yalta.htm It's full of "land grabbing" deals by the Big Threes and regarding Japan it states: Sakhalin, Kuril Islands,Dairen,Port Arthur etc. will be handed over to USSR provided USSR enters war within three months after Germany capitulates. So USSR invasion of Manchuria was a obligation towards the Allies and USSR got what they were promised. Nothing less nothing more.

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That's why the USA wanted to end the J-war quickly - the USA didn't want USSR on the J-negotiation surrender table. The USSR would have demanded "buffer areas" (well, they got North Korea) like they did when they never left in Eastern Europe, establishing the Iron Curtain.

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the US was terrified that Soviet communism would spread into Japan. that's why the occupation forces were primarily US, and that's also why the US's MaCarthur spearheaded the campaign to find Hirohito et al "not guilty" of war crimes. Finding him "not guilty" meant the US had a ready made puppet and could control the threat of communism spreading to Japan that much more easily.

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Well it is an interesting theory given that Japan did receive gentle treatment from the US--much much more gentle then they ever deserved. In my opinion in fact, Japan has yet to relent or repent its war-like ways which leads me to believe that they didn't get as much of the A-bombs as they may have needed. Furthermore, this "gentle" approach has caused unmeasured damage to the US and the world at large.

One need only look to China or Korea to get an inkling of what fate awaits any losing war with Japan. To the good fortune of the rest of the world, Japan does seem to have a habit of losing the wars it provokes. Maybe they should practice more before engaging an enemy.

That's my two cents worth, anyway.

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tkoind I pretty much agree with what you say but I tend to put more emphasis on the Soviet Invasion. Anyway I recommend that author to you, Nationalists in Japan sent him death threats for his views.

Steve...whats your point?

crazygaijin read be informed

Although the commencement of the invasion fell between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, on August 6, and Nagasaki, on August 9, the timing of the invasion had been planned well in advance and was determined by the timing of the agreements at Tehran and Yalta, the long term buildup of Soviet forces in the Far East since Tehran, and the date of the German surrender; on August 3, Marshal Vasilevsky reported to Stalin that, if necessary, he could attack on the morning of August 5.

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In the "Sixty years after Hiroshima" issue of the Weekly Standard, American historian Richard B. Frank points out that there are a number of schools of thought with varying opinions of what caused the Japanese to surrender. He describes what he calls the "traditionalist" view, which asserts that the Japanese surrendered because the Americans dropped the atomic bombs. He goes on to summarise other points of view.[17] Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's research has led him to conclude that the atomic bombings were not the principal reason for Japan's capitulation. He argues it was the swift and devastating Soviet victories on the mainland in the week following Joseph Stalin's August 8 declaration of war that forced the Japanese message of surrender on August 15, 1945.[18] Others with similar views include The "Battlefield" series documentary,[2] Drea,[14] Hayashi,[15] and numerous others, though all, including Hasegawa, state that the surrender was not due to any single factor or single event.

from wikipedia anyway so not a single event but multiple and either the A bombs or Soviet invasion was the deciding factor.

As agreed at Yalta, the Soviet Union had intervened in the war with Japan within three months of the German surrender, and they were therefore entitled to the territories of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands and also to preeminent interests over Port Arthur and Dalian, with its strategic rail connections. The territories on the Asian mainland were subsequently transferred to the full control of the People's Republic of China in 1955; the other possessions are still administered by the Soviet Union's successor state, Russia.

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Tkoind2, your stance on revisionism is on very shaky ground. The trouble is that you are assuming that all parties involved were being honest at the moment of the history, and therefore, what came down from them must be true. I believe you are smart enough to know that trusting in the politicians at any time is dangerous AT BEST, and most of the time, just foolish. It would be unreasonable to expect a fair accounting of the facts to be taught to those of the allied nations at the time or even for years after. OF COURSE American achievements were given more weight than anyone else's in America, as were America's atrocities downgraded. This fact is made stark in the fact that a film on the effects of the A-bombings made just after them was taken by the U.S. government and deemed top secret for 22 years. Also consider the Joint Chiefs of Staff's estimates of casualites for an invasion, which were 5 times higher than MacArthur's and twice that of Leahy. If the Japanese are trying to paint a nasty picture of bombs now, believe me, many Americans were trying to paint a rosy picture of the bombs back then!

Now let us consider the politics of the Emperor and his speech. Do you not think it would be smart, as a politician, to suck up to the people you want to surrender to? Nobody wanted to point out the effect of the Soviets declaring war at the time EXCEPT the Soviets. Considering politics, it is no surprise America would downgrade anything "good" about the Soviets and play up all the bad. And history clearly proves that besides. Historians can't just ignore that to avoid the charge of revisionism. Either they examine the politics so as to see through them, or they fall a victim to the politics same as elementary school kids reading crap textbooks.

You know, it is kind of amusing though when people say the Japanese were prepared to fight to the death of the last Japanese, yet, claim they surrendered when faced with certain death! It could be argued that a Soviet invasion would have been a fate worse than death in the mind of the Japanese at the time.

What I believe is that both events had an effect, but which the more, we will never know, not even if the emperor were alive to ask because I doubt we could expect a straight answer. As for what the Japanese people would have thought, they sure put up with a lot of bombing! The mass firebombings were just as horrible as the A-bombs. The horror of bombing was not new to Japan. The Soviet declaration of war was.

BTW, none of this takes away from my stance the war could have ended without the A-bombs or the butchering of civilians.

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I think the question that begs to be asked is why would any responsible government NOT surrender after the firebombing, the loss of the merchant marine, the continuing losses of combat trained pilots that could not be replaced, the sinking of the entire effective navy, the reduction of oil stocks to the point of near empty, the reduction of caloric intake by the population of the archipelago to near starvation levels, not to mention complete control of the air by the US air force. Answer, they aren't a responsible govt but in fact criminal. I think to debate the significant aspect of soviet force action against the forces of japan is important but to equate that with Japan's surrender is perhaps a bit too revisionist. The topic of the Soviet role in Japan's defeat is a subject worthy of numerous doctorates and debate, but Japan's defeat was foreshadowed many years before Stalin kept his word from the Yalta conference. As to when the surrender became "official" this is a matter for criminal courts since the alleged representatives of the people completely and utterly failed to carry out their duties as responsible human beings. I think this issue should be a matter discussed in Japan but denial and feelings of national sufferings completely mute it. A truly sad state of affairs.

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donpablo said: I think the question that begs to be asked is why would any responsible government NOT surrender after...

Because no terms were offered or accepted. That means anything goes to the victor. We know Japan was rebuild, but that is 20/20 hindsight. Even as a civilian, if you heard your government surrendered YOU unconditionally to a power you were told were so bloodthirsty they took no prisoners (hell, we did not take many even when they surrendered!) well, even after hearing about firebombings YOU very well might have been nervous, not only for you but your wife and kids too. You might think to yourself, "Damn. They could not get any terms...at all?!"

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Honestly, I'm glad that historians began to take a different perspective on this. It's pretty much obvious to me that Americans were well aware of the threat of Soviet Union even before the Cold War. They just didn't want their ally-turned-into enemy steal the stage.

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The flaw in your argument is under guessing the role of the bombing campaigns on Japan.

No. While it took a toll on the minds of some of the top officials, I believe the surrender of Germany and the potential fall out had more importance than the bombings taking place.

But the point I want to make is whether the atomic bombing had significant effect on the decision to surrender or not.

The decision to surrender subject to condition on 国体護持 was decided at early Augusut 10th (meeting concluded 2:30 am) The vague report that I cited above on Hiroshima was relayed to the government at 10:00 am. The confirmation that it was actually a nuclear bomb was relayed on August 15th from the August 10th investigation conducted by the six experts from Kyoto University as per request of the Navy.

Having said that, the fundamental flaw in your argument has been that you ignore the importance of 国体護持 to the Japanese government which was essential in maintaining order and civility which some U.S. officials knew but was never considered during which time the intention to surrender was known by U.S. For a guy that claims to be anti-war (in a different related thread), you sure don't exercize it in your posts.

Plus how do you then explain the Emperor's statement?

Considering that the decision to surrender took place despite not knowing the aftermath, I do not consider his statement on the 15th as the "reason" for surrender which was decided on the 10th.

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Japan and the U.S.A. have been jointly fixated on the 2 nukes, and their influence in ending the war. It is highly probable that as was stated earlier, it was the cumulative affect of the nukes, the Soviets, and maybe more details I am overlooking, that made Japan's surrender more palpable.

Through WW2, didn't Japan have an embassy in Moscow? If so, they would have had daily access to Soviet accounts of progress on the eastern front.

Also, as part of the axis, they had close ties with Germany, so one can assume Japanese diplomats in Berlin were sending reports of Germany's downfall through 1944 & 1945.

Given this access to information, I think the Japanese high command had a really good idea of what to expect from the Soviets. And it must have scared them.

*Japan had fought for years with their North and West flank protected. Perhaps the prospect of a total war on all fronts, combined with the Soviets impending invasion of Hokkaido, loss of future war materials from Manchuria, AND the 2 nukes all combined to make Japan want to surrender to the U.S., more than fighting it out, losing, and having their nation divided?

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Also, as part of the axis, they had close ties with Germany, so one can assume Japanese diplomats in Berlin were sending reports of Germany's downfall through 1944 & 1945.

Unfortunately, he was seding a wrong message to Japan.

大島による、なおもドイツ有利との誤った戦況報告を重用し続けた。ドイツを一方的に信じ続けた大島によるそれらの暗号電報は、全て連合国側に解読されており、米英の作戦遂行に有利に活用されていた。

Ooshima repeatedly sent message that Germany had the advantage. Carrying on this blind faith in Germany, his coded messages were deciphered by the allieds which gave significant advatage to the opponents (Allieds).

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%A4%A7%E5%B3%B6%E6%B5%A9

His misleading of Japan is well known. Hence, I stand my position that "I believe the surrender of Germany and the potential fall out had more importance than the bombings taking place. "

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@mummet read and be informed yourself before you start preaching to other people. It is a FACT that MacCarthur spearheaded a massive PR campaign to find Hirohito and the rest of the Royal family not guilty of war crimes that they committed. Read MacCarthur's memoirs. It is a FACT that most of the blame for Hirohito's own actions was laid squarely on Tojo's "willing" shoulders.

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Even when I double check things I give the wiki link. If you have any trouble with anything anyone posts from wiki, then say so, specifically, don't accuse all of wiki of being off. There is no perfect source for history. That being the case, wiki is pretty good, and provides a lot of accurate and detailed information about the surrender of Japan as well as hints on where to dig deeper. Like everything, it has a weakness. But nothing else has the strength of so many people watching. That is massive.

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crazygaijin i never said anything about that otherwise your arguing against the wrong person or creating an entirely new argument. Also please note that Tojo was prime minister only until July 1944. Cannot be the sole reason for Hirohitos actions for example his brother being in charge during the time of the Rape of Nanking...yeah I'm sure brothers never talk. You seriously gotta read a bit more dude.

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"You know, it is kind of amusing though when people say the Japanese were prepared to fight to the death of the last Japanese, yet, claim they surrendered when faced with certain death! "

Most Japanese were prepared to do what they were told to do. If Japanese were told to fight to the death of the last Japanese, most of them would have.

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nigelboy: well formed argument. I concur.

MistWizard: I compared English & Japanese wiki pages on things like Pearl Harbor, and found huge differences. The J Wiki immediately goes off on a tangent about how Japan was baited into the attack. So while I generally like wiki, I do not always trust the different language versions - they are too vulnerable to editing.

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mummet umm, you're making my point for me, thank you. i never said anything about Tojo being the sole reason for Hirohito's actions; far from it actually. Hirohito's actions were decidedly his own. what I said was that Tojo was railroaded into taking all the blame for war crimes perpetrated by Hirohito and other members of the royal family. and yes I was aware that one of Hirohito's relatives was "in charge" at the time of Nanking; hence the war crimes of which i spoke (although I'll have to double check b/c i thought it was his uncle not brother).

the original point of this post was that some historian is claiming that the Soviet attack on Japan was a large factor in leading to Japan's surrender. that idea is preposterous. after the first atomic bomb was dropped Japan was communicating with the Soviets and trying to get them to help Japan aquire better surrender terms; and the Soviets were playing Japan along like a fish, the whole time knowing that in a few short days they were going to attack Japan and get their land grab.

the Soviet invasion came AFTER the first atomic bomb had already been dropped, the Japanese were already defeated. the Soviet attack met minimal resistance and was merely the final nail in the coffin.

oh, and i've read and studied plenty about this so umm ... "thanks, dude."

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KevininHawaii said: I compared English & Japanese wiki pages on things like Pearl Harbor, and found huge differences.

Did you expect to find the same information, in the same order verbatim?

Wiki immediately goes off on a tangent about how Japan was baited into the attack.

I guess so! For some people, less is more. Those people tend to be dishonest.

Was the Hull note a fiction? I have been to led to believe it was backround to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Or is backround now unnecessary to understanding the events of Pearl Harbor?

There are revisionist I like and those I don't. I think you might be of the variety that I don't.

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the Soviet invasion came AFTER the first atomic bomb had already been dropped, the Japanese were already defeated. the Soviet attack met minimal resistance and was merely the final nail in the coffin.

oh, and i've read and studied plenty about this so umm ... "thanks, dude."

Yo, dude, if you "read and studied plenty about this" (I assume from those anti-Soviet sources that are targeted in the article), what do you call a "Soviet invasion"? Invasion of what? Of the territories outside of Japan invaded by the Japanese troops? :D

I believe you might need a little more research into this, and here's a delicate hint on the "minimal resistance" you mentioned - while the US safely bombed civil cities in Japan, the Soviets were fighting the actual Japanese troops elsewhere in Asia, and mind it, lost 12,000 soldiers.

As for all that rambling about how dropping the nukes was the "least abhorrent choice" - what a cute silly joke! Not only that at the time no one was sure of the scale of the A-bomb effects, the main reason for the A-bombing was to demonstrate to the Soviets the new power of American weapons. Had America not dropped the nukes, half of Japan would have become Russian territory now - those 1.6 million troops sent to the Far East would have provided the Russians with enough potential. Which was not exactly what the US wanted, as it was the only time when they could establish a power presence in the region (particularly important since the Soviet troops already took over Eastern Europe).

Obviously, the A-bombings succeeded in both scaring the Japanese into what today is easily seen as American occupation, and in stopping the Russians where they stopped. Since that time, Fear has become the main ingredient in American international politics as well as a good method to squeeze cash out of the genuinely patriotic American tax-payers.

.. and where it comes to Asia - just like 65 years ago, the US want to maintain their military power in the region. Over the decades, they have also perfected those methods based on fear - I'm still curious about that awkwardly well-timed sinking of the Cheonan exactly at the peak of the Futenma debate! :D Is there someone here who has "read and studied plenty" into that, perhaps? ;)

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The demonstration of power to Stalin was only one of many reasons for dropping the bombs.

Undeniably, the US wanted to end the war without an invasion, mostly out of concern for its own troops, but it's generally agreed that millions of Japanese also would have died, so what exactly is the "cute silly joke?" And by the way, between '41 and '45, the US fought a hell of a lot more "actual Japanese troops" than the Red Army did that week in August.

Anyway, from what I've read of the journals of Japan's wartime politicians, the US offer to Hirohito to let him stay on the throne is what REALLY convinced him to surrender, and the Soviet invasion is what convinced the generals.

Neither the emperor nor the generals could've cared less about the incineration of civilians. The atomic bombs just let them save face by pretending they surrendered for the good of the people.

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Undeniably, the US wanted to end the war without an invasion, mostly out of concern for its own troops, but it's generally agreed that millions of Japanese also would have died, so what exactly is the "cute silly joke?" And by the way, between '41 and '45, the US fought a hell of a lot more "actual Japanese troops" than the Red Army did that week in August.

Hm. The total number of Japanese military killed in the war was about 2 million, and that's over years. The number of killed Japanese civilians is about half-million, laregly attributed to the A-bombing and bombings of Tokyo. What "millions" are we talking about now? The war wouldn't have lasted for anoter 4 more to kill 2 more millions of soldiers, would it? Or were American troops kind to the japanese between '41 and '45, not killing too many? :)

What's "generally agreed" and by whom? Just like it was "generally agreed" that Soviet Union didn't participate in the victory in the East and everything was sorted out by the peace-making bombers? Com'on, being "generally brainwashed" is okay - we all suffer from that, but there's always time for question and reconsidering.

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The kind of fighting that would have taken place during an invasion of Japan - with just about the entire population (women, kids, etc) throwing themselves at US troops in human waves, cannot be compared to the kind of fighting that took place during the Pacific campaign up to that point, right?

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The kind of fighting that would have taken place during an invasion of Japan - with just about the entire population (women, kids, etc) throwing themselves at US troops in human waves, cannot be compared to the kind of fighting that took place during the Pacific campaign up to that point, right?

You mean that's what they tolds us to justify the A-bombings? :)

To begin with, those would be mostly Soviet troops, not American.. But, do you really believe there was a guarantee that 2 A-bombings of civilians will be sufficient? If so, how come the Japanese troops in Asia were fighting to death after the bombings, 84,000 dying for the Emperor? And if so, how come that the 7 months of devastating American bombings of civil Tokyo didn't end the war earlier?

On a more general note, do you believe that by killing civilians in any country one can achieve victory over the nation? Say, if someone started killing civilians in your land [think 9/11 in NYC, for an American example], would you then immediately surrender to the agressor? Does it not sound absurd? <br><br><br>

I believe the only effect one can achieve by killing civilians is a national state of "sacred revenge" and that's very far from a victory of any kind. One doesn't need to explore American military history too far back to find good examples of that..

What I also believe is that it was the defeat of the Japanese army that ended the war, not the bombings of the civil cities in Japan. The A-bombs were entirely a demonstration of power to the Soviets and a hint to the Japanese about who has the scariest weapon (i.e. who to surrender to). Everything else is likely to be pro-American anti-Soviet propaganda of the Cold War origin..

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By all means don't take my word for it. Just search "Operation Downfall" for a picture of what was expected in the invasion of Japan.

Besides that, you address alot of issues I never said anything about, so I'm not sure who you're talking to.

I merely said Japan was compelled to surrender by a combination of three things: 1)the US offer to let Hirohito stay on the throne, which is all that fink cared about, anyway2)the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, which convinced the real holders of power -the generals- that the jig was up, and 3)the atomic bombings, which allowed all of them to save face [of paramount importance in this culture] by claiming they surrendered out of concern for the people, whose deaths, as you pointed out, never seemed to bother them before.

And I learned these things by reading the journals and records of Japanese leaders, not American, whom I think are the real authority on why Japan surrendered. But you're right, everything can, and should be questioned; keep up the good work!

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Sorry if my speculations seemed to be addressed personally to you, it was not the intention.. However, with all due respect and while I do believe that Japanese leaders are capable of thinking something "US-independent" after the war, I seriously doubt their ability to make that thinking public! Therefore the Japanese sources are likely to be biased.

We all know the facts:

July 26, 1945 - Potsdam Declaration (without USSR), declined by Japan.

August 6+8 - A-bombings of Japan.

August 8 - USSR joins Potsdam Declaration and declares war against Japan.

August 9 - At the meeting of Japan's Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, prime-minister Suzuki states that USSR entering war with Japan makes continuation of the war impossible.

August 10 - Japan announces they are ready to accept Potsdam declaration with a correction that the Emperor remains.

August 11 - the US officially accept the correction.

August 14 - Japan accepts the declaration as whole.

September 2 - Emperor signs the Instrument Of Surrender.

There's a lot more happening behind that simple calendar. But I believe to understand why the Japanese surrendered, it is important to remember the purpose of their war. It was by no means a defensive war, like that for the USSR. Japan intended to expand territory and invade Asia, to begin with. They had built about 4,000 fortifications along the Soviet border, and were secretly developing bacteriological weapons. At the Khabarovsk War Crime Trial general Yamada admitted that USSR entering the war and the unexpected efficiency of the Soviet troops in Manchuria put an end to the hopes of using bacteriological weapons on the land, subsequently eliminating the last hope in the war.

Back to the A-bombings: there's a remarkable document called US Strategic Bombing Survery from 1946, which attempts to justify the A-bombings by comparing the effect with that of regular bombings, supposedly required to end the war. However, I find the argument extremely misleading, as the document does not even take into consideration the most obvious forthcoming expansion of the Soviet troops onto the Japanese islands, which would most likely have followed if Japan did not surrender in time..

All in all, I'm sure there are many angles to look at the events from. But that's exactly my point! :)

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There's so much back and forth over the little details (and chewing over of well-worn arguments), but this article was certainly informative to me about the lesser known (but possibly almost as influential) impact that the Russians had in Japanese decision to surrender.

From my newbie point of view (which might be just as valid as all you informed but biased types), whatever exact amount of influence each antagonist country had in the surrender couldn't really be pinned down even if we were able to interview Hirohito and Tojo moments after the decision had been made. They had a million things going on at the time, the atomic bombings and Russian threat being part of a constellation of influences.

Their own interpretation of Bushido and possibly their concern for their own reputation could have played an even bigger part, but we'll never know, will we? All these attempts at retrospective penile measurement are futile and the pointless bickering will continue into eternity.

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selph - We all know the facts:

July 26, 1945 - Potsdam Declaration (without USSR), declined by Japan.

August 6+8 - A-bombings of Japan.

August 8 - USSR joins Potsdam Declaration and declares war against Japan.

The USSR was an active participant in the the Potsdam Declaration. They did not sign the demand for surrender because they were not at war with Japan at that time.

The first A bomb was detonated at 0815 on Aug 6th.

Stalin declared war on Aug 8th.

The second A bomb was detonated at 1102 on Aug 9th.

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