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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Was Japan Afraid Of The Atomic Bombs? No - So Why Surrender?

So... let's look at why Japan surrendered to end WWII, and discover the real reason ...

Did Japan surrender because of the U.S. dropping of two atomic bombs finally get through to Japan that they couldn’t win?

That has actually always bothered me.

If, after one bomb could destroy Hiroshima - and believe me, the Japanese government heard and even saw what the aftermath was… why not surrender then?

Why wait until a second bomb dropped, this time on Nagasaki?

Was this really the Emperor saying “enough is enough”?

Those bombs were dropped on August 6th, and 9th, respectively.

Approximately 130,000 people died from the initial blasts, with countless more from radiation sickness and cancer months, even years after the fact.

That’s a lot of people.

But… if we’re being fair, the U.S. bombed the crap out of Tokyo earlier on March 9-10, 1945, with regular bombs, killing a lowball estimate of 100,000 to 120,000, with some one million left homeless.

Charred remains of Japanese civilians after the firebombing of Tokyo. Ishikawa Kouyou / Wikimedia Commons
This conventional bombing run killed more people than either of the two atomic bombs.

During the summer of 1945, the Allies bombed 68 Japanese cities, with an estimated 300,000 dead, 750,000 injured and 1.7 million homeless. These are the combined numbers for damage against Japan, includes 66 regular, conventional bombing weapons AND the two combined atomic/nuclear bombs.

Japan already knew it couldn’t win the war, when it couldn’t adequately defend Tokyo… it’s also why the U.S. decided it needed to up the ante with atomic/nuclear weapons… because Japan wouldn’t surrender.

They still wouldn’t surrender after the first atomic bomb!

The U.S. wasn’t sure they would surrender after the second atomic bomb, and had a third one all ready to be deployed.

On top of that, the U.S. was then going to go in with ground troops, likely on November 1, 1945 to try and completely wipe out the Japanese resistance - if that was even going to be possible.

The Allies knew that the Japanese would never surrender if ground troops were deployed, as they were already in the process of arming (with non-ammo weapons) and training the remaining women and children and even elderly back in Japan to fight and die, if they must, to protect the Japanese homeland. Death before dishonor… it’s not a U.S. Marines code - at least not initially… it was a Japanese code from the Bushido… the Way of the Warrior.

So… did the atomic/nuclear bombings of two Japanese cites work? Did it cause Japan to surrender? It seems so… but did it really?

Hiroshima: One, Two, Three... what are we fightin' for?
On August 6, the first atomic bomb was dropped.

On August 9, Japan’s Supreme Council met to discuss surrendering.

They didn’t want to surrender - it was an unconditional surrender that the U.S. demanded… the Japanese were aware that the Allies were already convening war crimes tribunals in Europe.

No one in Japan wanted the same thing to happen to their Emperor… their God in human form… they were not willing to get rid of their Emperor, or their way of life… they had no real idea what the U.S. and her allies wanted to do to Japan.

It wasn’t the second atomic bomb leveling Nagasaki on August 9… that had already happened by the time the Supreme Council got together to discuss surrender later that afternoon.

If the two bombs were so devastating, there would be no need to DISCUSS surrendering… it would have been a simple “OMG, yes, we have to surrender, or more of our citizens will die horribly from more atomic weapons from those White Devils.”

I’ve already noted - and correctly - that Japan would allow its women and children to die rather than surrender (even before the two nuclear bombs)… so who cares if more bombs are dropped?

Death before dishonor.

The thing is… the Japanese Supreme Council was already meeting to discuss surrender when the Nagasaki bombing occurred in the morning of the 9th.

Nagasaki... you see this and think, why wouldn't Japan surrender?
Japan’s leaders did not, apparently, hear of this second bombing until the early afternoon. This was after the Supreme Council had already met and adjourned… in deadlock over whether to surrender or not surrender.

So… no… Nagasaki was not the swaying decision. And neither was Hiroshima. That was three days earlier… and it failed to convince the Japanese to surrender. Yeah, yeah… people die.

Death before dishonor.

But Andrew… couldn’t it be true that the Japanese leaders didn’t know how bad things were in Hiroshima (and Nagasaki), because of the great distance between them and Tokyo, where the leaders were?

Sure… but, the Hiroshima governor provided a report to Tokyo after the bombing on that very same day of August 6th. He reported that one-third of the Hiroshima city population had been killed, and two-thirds of the city destroyed.

So they knew that it was bad.

But… the official report on Hiroshima done by the Japanese Army was not delivered until August 10, 1945. A verbal report, however, was delivered on August 8.

So… they knew about Hiroshima… and it was no biggie.

Here's who was involved in the Supreme War Council at that time (surname first):
  • Prime Minister: Admiral Suzuki Kantarō;
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Tōgō Shigenori;
  • Minister of War: General Anami Korechika;
  • Minister of the Navy: Admiral Yonai Mitsumasa;
  • Chief of the Army General Staff: General Umezu Yoshijirō;
  • Chief of the Navy General Staff: Admiral Toyoda Soemu.
And, if one thinks that Japan didn’t know what a nuclear weapons’ program could do - they had their own… albeit quite a bit behind what the U.S. had. See HERE.

So… Japan’s not frightened of conventional bombs… not scared about the atomic bombs… not even scared about a possible homeland invasion by the U.S.

But they were scared about the USSR (Soviet Union) invading them.

People always tend to forget about the fact that the USSR was a partner with the U.S. in its war against Germany - an unlikely Allied partner, but a partner nonetheless, even though it was neutral.

Because Japan had signed a neutrality pact with the USSR in 1941, and knew that the five-year treaty would expire in 1946, Japan wanted to use the USSR to try and negotiate a deal with the Allies to perhaps NOT have Japan face any war crimes tribunal.

Yeah... Japan wasn't stupid. They knew they had been bastards to a lot of people during the war (and before), and they knew there was a good chance that they would eventually lose the war - especially without Germany keeping the Allies off their back... so using the neutral USSR for help would be a keen diplomatic coup.

By trying to do so, Japan reasoned that the USSR would ensure that they (Soviets) wouldn't get ripped off by the enemy USA, figuring that American influence in Asia would be detrimental to the USSR and its plans for Asia.

A group consisting mostly of civilian leaders and led by Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo (surname first) was going to go to the USSR to convince Stalin that this was a good idea.
USSR's Josef Stalin making his point.
Plan B was a military one, and led by Army Minister of War General Anami Korechika and other military dudes - a simple plan... engage the U.S. in a ground war when they attacked Japan and by inflicting heavy losses on them could convince the U.S. that just getting Japan to surrender, rather than unconditionally surrender would be best for all involved.

Japan correctly guessed that the U.S. was not interested in inflicting heavy ground troop losses in a war with Japan... so maybe?

However, the ben (that's a Japanese word for you-know-what)  hit the fan on August 8, 1945 at 11PM, when Soviet foreign minister Molotov told Japan ambassador Satō that the Soviet Union had declared war on the Empire of Japan, and that from August 9, 12:01AM the USSR would consider itself to be at war with Japan.

They gave Japan one hour and one minute.

The USSR plan wasn't to invade Japan proper, rather it would invade Manchuria and Sakhalin Island.

With no chance of Stalin acting as mediator between Japan and the U.S., Japan was screwed.

USSR handling the defeated Japanese soldiers in Manchuria.
The Russians easily took Manchuria, easily defeating Japan's Kwangtung army in Manchuria, as most of its best military units had previously been transferred to Japan.The Russians only stopped their invasion when they ran out of gas for their tanks.

However, the Soviets also attacked the southern portion of Sakhalin Island, with plans to be done there within two weeks and get ready to invade Hokkaido, which was also undermanned by the Japanese who were situated on the east part of the island. The USSR was going to invade from the west.

So... Japan was left reeling, knowing that it could all go to hell in a hand basket within a few weeks time.

Back in June of 1945 the Japanese Supreme Council had already determined that the USSR's entry into WWII "would determine the fate of the (Japanese) Empire."

With naught else to do, the Japanese Emperor realized the jig was up, and offered up Japan's unconditional surrender.

The fact that everyone believed it was because of the two atomic bombs worked in Japan's favor.
  1. If the war was lost not because of mistakes but because of the enemy’s unexpected miracle weapon, then the institution of the emperor might continue to find support within Japan.
  2. International sympathy... the bombs helped reshape Japan as a victim of a horrendous new weapon. Perhaps Japan would not be punished as harshly by the world via war crime tribunals.
  3. Claiming that they were surrendering because of the two atomic bombs would satisfy the Americans. It would also help strengthen America's might in Asia - saviors and all that.
  4. Claiming that the Japanese were surrendering because of the USSR's invasion, would cause the Soviet's to say they were stronger than the U.S., ending the war in four days as opposed to the Americans who could not do it in four years, and give the USSR bragging rights in military power.
So... why did Japan surrender to end WWII? Was it the constant U.S. bombardment of all its cities? No.

Was it the two atomic bombs devastating Hiroshima and Nagasaki? No.

Was it the possible invasion of the Americans? No. 

It was the fear of the USSR. Oh, those Russians.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Andrew, this is exactly the reason the Japanese surrendered; the Russians. The A-Bombs were not. This is a fact and is well documented in the Japanese National Archives of correspondences and orders from the time. Exhaustive writing and research. Well done.

    1. Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated. I read about your denial and booze last week... fight the demons, brother.
      But really... I appreciate teh compliment on this story - especially coming from you, because I hold your opinion in such high regard. remember... you are one of the key reasons why I chose to write every single day, and have been doing so on this blog for five plus years now. So... thanks.

  2. Soo the Russians pushed back the Germans and won and they also made Japan surrender to end WWII? We are learning the wrong things in school and in general media.

    1. It's true... but... history is always written by the winner of the wars. Even working as a newspaper reporter, I can safely say that you only read the news we have room to print, and even then, the news that fits a political ideology. Sometimes, the news has to fit the program.
      With that in mind, the media can still be manipulated by gov'ts... Japan is facing that right now... perhaps a story on that is forthcoming when I have many hours...

  3. Every one forgets Tokyo and all the other cities set alight.

    1. I'm sure it was big news at the time, but when an atomic bomb is used, it's like no other weapon was even required before it.