Conflict in the Pacific began well before the official start of World War II. There were battles and military posts in surprising places. Whether or not the atomic bombs should have been dropped is a topic that is still debated. At the outset, three possibilities were envisioned: radiological warfare, a power source for submarines and ships, and explosives. National Security Agency Mandatory declassification review release. This photo was taken from the Red Cross Hospital Building about one mile from the bomb burst. The U.S. reply, drafted during the course of the day, did not explicitly reject the note but suggested that any notion about the prerogatives of the Emperor would be superceded by the concept that all Japanese would be Subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. The language was ambiguous enough to enable Japanese readers, upon Hirohitos urging, to believe that they could decide for themselves the Emperors future role. At the beginning of the discussion, Eisenhower made a significant statement: he mentioned how he had hoped that the war might have ended without our having to use the atomic bomb. The general implication was that prior to Hiroshima-Nagasaki, he had wanted to avoid using the bomb. On December 15th, 1945, he delcared that the A-bomb had save one-quarter million American lives. Historians have used this item in the papers of Byrnes aide, Walter Brown, to make a variety of points. The bomb ended the war. The question is: The Untied States decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a diplomatic measure calculated to intimidate the Soviet Union in the post-Second-World-War era rather then a strictly military measure designed to force Japan's unconditional suuender. The notion that the atomic bombs caused . Interested readers will continue to absorb the fascinating historical literature on the subject. Moreover, the role of an invasion of Japan in U.S. planning remains a matter of debate, with some arguing that the bombings spared many thousands of American lives that otherwise would have been lost in an invasion. [4]. Evaluate this . Intimidation to the brim On August 1945, America dropped an atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. Atomic diplomacy refers to attempts to use the threat of nuclear warfare to achieve diplomatic goals. Brown recounted Byrnes debriefing of the 10 August White House meeting on the Japanese peace offer, an account which differed somewhat from that in the Stimson diary. At Potsdam, Stimson raised his objections to targeting Japans cultural capital, Kyoto, and Truman supported the secretarys efforts to drop that city from the target list [See Documents 47 and 48]. Hiroshima bomb may have carried hidden agenda | New Scientist [74]. In a progress report, Bush told President Roosevelt that the bomb project was on a pilot plant basis, but not yet at the production stage. After a successful test of the weapon, Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese government, warning of prompt and utter destruction. Eleven days later, on August 6, 1945, having received no reply, an American bomber called the Enola Gay left the Tinian Island in route toward Japan. This diary entry has figured in the argument that Byrnes believed that the atomic bomb gave the United States a significant advantage in negotiations with the Soviet Union. . [7]. Initialed by President Roosevelt (VB OK FDR), this may have been the closest that he came to a formal approval of the Manhattan Project. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on the people of Hiroshima. Drawing on contemporary documents and journals, Masuji Ibuses novelBlack Rain(Tokyo, Kodansha, 1982) provides an unforgettable account of the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. Barton J. Bernstein has suggested that Trumans comment about all those kids showed his belated recognition that the bomb caused mass casualties and that the target was not purely a military one.[64]. The material reproduced here gives a sense of the state of play of Foreign Minister Togos attempt to secure Soviet mediation. Meiklejohn recounted Harrimans visit in early October 1945 to the Frankfurt-area residence of General Dwight Eisenhower, who was finishing up his service as Commanding General, U.S. Army, European Theater. Did America Have To Drop the Bomb?Not to End the War, But Truman Wanted Still unaware of radiation effects, Truman emphasized the explosive yield. August 4, 2015 A few months after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Dwight D.Eisenhower commented during a social occasion how he had hoped that the war might have ended without our having to use the atomic bomb. This virtually unknown evidence from the diary of Robert P. Meiklejohn, an assistant to Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, published for the first time today by the National Security Archive, confirms that the future President Eisenhower had early misgivings about the first use of atomic weapons by the United States. 76 (copy from microfilm), Physicists Leo Szilard and James Franck, a Nobel Prize winner, were on the staff of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, a cover for the Manhattan Project program to produce fuel for the bomb. Because the Japanese population was far from surrendering and would fight to their death, so an invasion would be costly in human lives. Hiroshima - view of Hiroshima Castle and surroundings; The bombings were the first time that nuclear weapons had been detonated in combat operations. Did Truman authorize the use of atomic bombs for diplomatic-political reasons-- to intimidate the Soviets--or was his major goal to force Japan to surrender and bring the war to an early end? Two days later an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated . In 1945, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why did The United States used the bomb to end the war with Japan, which began in 1941 when Japan launched an unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor. This document is General Curtis LeMays report on the firebombing of Tokyo--the most destructive air raid in history--which burned down over 16 square miles of the city, killed up to 100,000 civilians (the official figure was 83,793), injured more than 40,000, and made over 1 million homeless. That the original copy is missing from Berias papers suggests that he may have passed it on to Stalin before the latter left for the Potsdam conference. Why we dropped the Atomic Bomb The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 was a definite turning point in the Pacific War of World . [59a], Takashi Itoh, ed., Sokichi Takagi: Nikki to Joho [Sokichi Takagi: Diary and Documents] (Tokyo, Japan: Misuzu-Shobo, 2000), 923-924 [Translation by Hikaru Tajima]. The first paragraph mocks the Japanese press for exaggerating the aftereffects of the explosion, for giving in to popular rumor that takes press reports to absurdity. The Soviet report suggests that the exaggeration of the Japanese press stemmed from Japans attempt to save face in light of the defeat. The contacts never went far and Dulles never received encouragement to pursue them. That possibility would be difficult if the United States made first military use of the weapon. But it was the opposite, Truman caused the Cold War the moment he dropped the atomic bomb. [66], Takashi Itoh, ed., Sokichi Takagi: Nikki to Joho [Sokichi Takagi: Diary and Documents] (Tokyo, Japan: Misuzu-Shobo, 2000), 926-927 [Translation by Hikaru Tajima], As various factions in the government maneuvered on how to respond to the Byrnes note, Navy Minister Yonai and Admiral Tagaki discussed the latest developments. Dbq help!! [15]. Women and children had been taught how to kill with basic weapons. Washington's biggest test blast was 1,000 times as large. Historians Herbert Feis and Gar Alperovitz raised searching questions about the first use of nuclear weapons and their broader political and diplomatic implications. Were there alternatives to the use of the weapons? By contrast, Herbert P. Bix has suggested that the Japanese leadership would probably not have surrendered if the Truman administration had spelled out the status of the emperor. Alperovitz, 281-282. Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bard joined those scientists who sought to avoid military use of the bomb; he proposed a preliminary warning so that the United States would retain its position as a great humanitarian nation. Alperovitz cites evidence that Bard discussed his proposal with Truman who told him that he had already thoroughly examined the problem of advanced warning. Japan, sensing conflict was inevitable, began planning for an attack on Pearl Harbor by April, 1941. [79]. At 10:50 a.m., he met with the leadership at the bomb shelter in his palace. The final decision to drop the atomic bomb, when it was made the following day, July 25, was decidedly anticlimactic. 5g (copy from microfilm), As director of Los Alamos Laboratory, Oppenheimers priority was producing a deliverable bomb, but not so much the effects of the weapon on the people at the target. That the Soviets had made no responses to Sato's request for a meeting was understood as a bad sign; Yonai realized that the government had to prepare for the possibility that Moscow might not help. The intention was to force Japan to surrender, thus avoiding a long war in the Pacific. Both agreed that the possibility of a nuclear partnership with Moscow would depend on quid pro quos: the settlement of the Polish, Rumanian, Yugoslavian, and Manchurian problems.. An importanton-line collection focuses on the air-raids of Japanese cities and bases, providing valuable context for the atomic attacks. Besides Truman, guests included New York Governor Thomas Dewey (Republican presidential candidate in 1944 and 1948), foreign ambassadors, members of the cabinet and the Supreme Court, the military high command, and various senators and representatives. As he argued in this memorandum to President Truman, failure on our part to clarify our intentions on the status of the emperor will insure prolongation of the war and cost a large number of human lives. Documents like this have played a role in arguments developed by Alperovitz that Truman and his advisers had alternatives to using the bomb such as modifying unconditional surrender and that anti-Soviet considerations weighed most heavily in their thinking. The initial report, May 1941, showed how leading American scientists grappled with the potential of nuclear energy for military purposes. The Soviet source reported that the weight of the device was 3 tons (which was in the ball park) and forecast an explosive yield of 5 kilotons. After President Roosevelt died on April 12th, 1945, it became Harry Trumans job to decide how to end the war. To a great extent the documents selected for this compilation have been declassified for years, even decades; the most recent declassifications were in the 1990s. Some may associate this statement with one that Eisenhower later recalled making to Stimson. atomic bomb dropped to intimidate russia. Herbert P. Bix,Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan(New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 523. This report included an intercept of a message from Sato reporting that it was impossible to see Molotov and that unless the Togo had a concrete and definite plan for terminating the war he saw no point in attempting to meet with him. Targeting Germany was rejected because the Germans were considered more likely to secure knowledge from a defective weapon than the Japanese. While McCloy later recalled that Truman expressed interest, he said that Secretary of State Byrnes squashed the proposal because of his opposition to any deals with Japan. Both cities were leveled from the bombs and this, in turn, forced Japan to surrender to the United States. The bomb was dropped to impress the Soviets, and persuade them to relax their grip on eastern Europe. If that failed to persuade Tokyo, he proposed that the United States disclose the secret of the atomic bomb to secure Japans unconditional surrender. An account of the cabinet debates on August 13 prepared by Information Minister Toshiro Shimamura showed the same divisions as before; Anami and a few other ministers continued to argue that the Allies threatened the kokutai and that setting the four conditions (no occupation, etc.) 35+ YEARS OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACTION, FOIA Advisory Committee Oversight Reports, a helpful collection of archival documents, on-line resources on the first atomic test. Alperovitz and Sherwin have argued that Truman made a real decision to use the bomb on Japan by choosing between various forms of diplomacy and warfare. In contrast, Bernstein found that Truman never questioned [the] assumption that the bomb would and should be used. How familiar was President Truman with the concepts that led target planners chose major cities as targets? In fact, after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, the Japanese military's Information Division, in charge of media control, intended to announce that the bomb was an atomic one. Brown, special assistant to Secretary of State James Byrnes. Russia hurried in and the war ended., Truman characterized the Potsdam Declaration as a fair warning, but it was an ultimatum. Truman, already on his way to Europe, never saw the petition.[35]. For emphasis on the shock of the atomic bomb, see also Lawrence Freedman and Saki Dockrill, Hiroshima: A Strategy of Shock, in Saki Dockrill, ed.,From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima : the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific, 1941-1945(New York, St. Martins Press, 1994), 191-214. Richard Frank sees this as evidence of the uncertainty felt by senior officials about the situation in early August; Forrestal would not have been so audacious to take an action that could ignite a political firestorm if he seriously thought the end of the war was near., Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Papers of W. Averell Harriman, box 181, Chron File Aug 5-9, 1945, Shortly after the Soviets declared war on Japan, in line with commitments made at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, Ambassador Harriman met with Stalin, with George Kennan keeping the U.S. record of the meeting. In destructive power, the behemoths of the Cold War dwarfed the American atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. For a review of the debate on casualty estimates, see Walker (2005), 315, 317-318, 321, 323, and 324-325. A new body of scholarly work emerged, often based on hitherto unavailable documents, which countered revisionist arguments that the atomic bomb was primarily a diplomatic weapon in 1945, that Japan would have surrendered prior to the planned U.S. invasion had the bomb not been used, and that projected casualty figures for the anticipated invasion Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Papers of W. Averell Harriman, box 181, Chron File Aug 5-9, 1945. According to Frank, the actual total of deaths due to the atomic bombs will never be known, but the huge number ranges somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people. 8). During a conversation with Joseph E. Davies, a prominent Washington lawyer and former ambassador to the Soviet Union, Truman said that he wanted to delay talks with Stalin and Churchill until July when the first atomic device had been tested. On the August 6, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, by the United States. To the extent that the atomic bombing was critically important to the Japanese decision to surrender would it have been enough to destroy one city? Leaflets Warning Japanese of Atomic Bomb | American Experience - PBS Social critic Dwight MacDonald published trenchant criticisms immediately after Hiroshima-Nagasaki; seePolitics Past: Essays in Political Criticism(New York: Viking, 1972), 169-180. Consistent with his earlier attempts, Stimson encouraged Truman to find ways to expedite Japans surrender by using kindness and tact and not treating them in the same way as the Germans. a. 5b (copy from microfilm), Two days after the bombing of Hiroshima, Groves provided Chief of Staff Marshall with a report which included messages from Captain William S. Parsons and others about the impact of the detonation which, through prompt radiation effects, fire storms, and blast effects, immediately killed at least 70,000, with many dying later from radiation sickness and other causes. An article that Bernstein published in 1995, The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered,Foreign Affairs74 (1995), 135-152, nicely summarizes his thinking on the key issues. Frank and Hasegawa divide over the impact of the Soviet declaration of war, with Frank declaring that the Soviet intervention was significant but not decisive and Hasegawa arguing that the two atomic bombs were not sufficient to change the direction of Japanese diplomacy. Since the end of WWII, the popular view in the U.S. has been that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precipitated Japan's surrender on August 15. With the Japanese surrender announcement not yet in, President Truman believed that another atomic bombing might become necessary. Barton J. Bernsteins numerous articles in scholarly publications (many of them are listed in Walkers assessment of the literature) constitute an invaluable guide to primary sources. At 8:15 am Hiroshima time, Little Boy was dropped. His estimate of 250,000 U.S. soldiers spared far exceeded that made by General Marshall in June 1945, which was in the range of 31,000 (comparable to the Battle of Luzon) [See Document 26]. In this entry written several months later, Meiklejohn shed light on what much later became an element of the controversy over the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings: whether any high level civilian or military officials objected to nuclear use. Those and other questions will be subjects of discussion well into the indefinite future. For early U.S. planning to detonate the weapon at a height designed to maximize destruction from mass fires and other effects, see Alex Wellerstein, The Height of the Bomb.. For reviews of the controversy, see Barton J. Bernstein, The Struggle Over History: Defining the Hiroshima Narrative, ibid., 128-256, and Charles T. OReilly and William A. Rooney,The Enola Gay and The Smithsonian(Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2005). Thousands more would die of radiation exposure. [57]. Interested in producing the greatest psychological effect, the Committee members agreed that the most desirable target would be a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers houses. Bernstein argues that this target choice represented an uneasy endorsement of terror bombing-the target was not exclusively military or civilian; nevertheless, workers housing would include non-combatant men, women, and children. (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-BT), The mushroom cloud billowing up 20,000 feet over Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945 (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC), The Enola Gay returns to Tinian Island after the strike on Hiroshima. Sato cabled Togo earlier that he saw no point in approaching the Soviets on ending the war until Tokyo had concrete proposals. Any aid from the Soviets has now become extremely doubtful.. The translations differ but they convey the sticking point that prevented U.S. acceptance: Tokyos condition that the allies not make any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler., Papers of Henry A. Wallace, Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa (copy courtesy of Special Collections Department). The U.S. Marine Band provided music for the dinner and for the variety show that was performed by members of the press. [41], RG 77, MED Records, Top Secret Documents, File 5e (copy from microfilm), An elated message from Harrison to Stimson reported the success of the Trinity Test of a plutonium implosion weapon. Frank, 273-274; Bernstein, The Alarming Japanese Buildup on Southern Kyushu, Growing U.S. Beginning in September 1940, U.S. military intelligence began to decrypt routinely, under the Purple code-name, the intercepted cable traffic of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The author recommended issuing the declaration just before the bombardment program [against Japan] reaches its peak. Next to that suggestion, Stimson or someone in his immediate office, wrote S1, implying that the atomic bombing of Japanese cities was highly relevant to the timing issue. [29]. The cost of invasion, they knew, would be high. For a useful discussion of the firebombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombings, see Alex Wellerstein, Tokyo vs. Hiroshima,Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog,22 September 2014. And the U.S. bombings hastened the Soviet Unions atomic bomb project and have fed a big-power nuclear arms race to this day. Over 200,000 people were killed. With direct access to the documents, readers may develop their own answers to the questions raised above. Sean Malloy, `A Very Pleasant Way to Die: Radiation Effects and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb against Japan,Diplomatic History36 (2012), especially 523. If Putin goes nuclear, Biden has a stark menu of options - NBC News [38], Record Group 457, Records of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, Magic Diplomatic Summaries 1942-1945, box 18. David Holloway, Barbarossa and the Bomb: Two Cases of Soviet Intelligence in World War II, in Jonathan Haslam and Karina Urbach, eds.,Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014), 63-64. With the devastating battle for Okinawa winding up, Truman and the Joint Chiefs stepped back and considered what it would take to secure Japans surrender. In his 1948 memoirs (further amplified in his 1963 memoirs), Eisenhower claimed that he had expressed the hope [to Stimson] that we would never have to use such a thing against an enemy because I disliked seeing the United States take the lead in introducing into war something as horrible and destructive as this new weapon was described to be. That language may reflect the underlying thinking behind Eisenhowers statement during the dinner party, but whether Eisenhower used such language when speaking with Stimson has been a matter of controversy. That there may be a difference between the two sources becomes evident from some of the entries; for example, in the entry for July 18, 1945 Brown wrote: "Although I knew about the atomic bomb when I wrote these notes, I dared not place it in writing in my book., The degree to which the typed-up version reflects the original is worth investigating. See also Alex Wellersteins The Kyoto Misconception. When the Foreign Minister met with the Emperor, Hirohito agreed with him; he declared that the top priority was an early end to the war, although it would be acceptable to seek better surrender terms--probably U.S. acceptance of a figure-head emperor--if it did not interfere with that goal. Was the Hiroshima atomic bomb a measure to intimidate - Russian Best His implicit preference, however, was for non-use; he wrote that it would be better to take U.S. casualties in conquering Japan than to bring upon the world the tragedy of unrestrained competitive production of this material.. Marshall was not sure whether that was so although Stimson privately believed that the atomic bomb would provide enough to force surrender (see entry for July 23). According to a Joint Chiefs of Staff report on Japanese target systems, expected results from the bombing campaign included: The absorption of man-hours in repair and relief; the dislocation of labor by casualty; the interruption of public services necessary to production, and above all the destruction of factories engaged in war industry. While Stimson would later raise questions about the bombing of Japanese cities, he was largely disengaged from the details (as he was with atomic targeting). [19]. [7], Documents 2A-B: Going Ahead with the Bomb, RG 227, Bush-Conant papers microfilm collection, Roll 1, Target 2, Folder 1, "S-1 Historical File, Section II (1941-1942), The Manhattan Project never had an official charter establishing it and defining its mission, but these two documents are the functional equivalent of a charter, in terms of presidential approvals for the mission, not to mention for a huge budget. By contrast, Richard Frank takes note of the estimates depiction of the Japanese armys terms for peace: for surrender to be acceptable to the Japanese army it would be necessary for the military leaders to believe that it would not entail discrediting the warrior tradition and that it would permit the ultimate resurgence of a military in Japan. That, Frank argues, would have been unacceptable to any Allied policy maker.[33], Record Group 59, Decimal Files 1945-1949, 740.0011 PW (PE)/7-1645. The nuclear age had truly begun with the first military use of atomic weapons.
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