The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan (It Was
Not To End the War or Save Lives)
by George Washington
Were Not Needed to End the War or Save Lives
Like all Americans,
I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese
But most of
the top American military officials at the time said otherwise.
The U.S. Strategic
Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the
air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded
a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the
testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the
Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945
and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan
would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped,
even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion
had been planned or contemplated.
later president) Dwight Eisenhower – then Supreme
Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created
most of America’s WWII military plans for Europe and Japan
were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary
to hit them with that awful thing.
Ike on Ike
1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters
in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop
an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there
were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such
an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful
bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for
my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.
recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling
of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings,
first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated
and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly
because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world
opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought,
no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was
my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way
to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’.
The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….
William Leahy – the highest ranking member of the U.S.
military from 1942 until retiring in 1949, who was the first de
facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who was at the
center of all major American military decisions in World War II
is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima
and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against
Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender
because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing
with conventional weapons.
possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening.
My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted
an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.
I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot
be won by destroying women and children.
(pg. 65, 70-71):
views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public
supposed …. When I asked General MacArthur about
the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had
not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have
been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the
dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks
earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later
did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.
declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally
or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur
was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their
emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would
be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to
Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender
did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation
of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed,
the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have
Assistant Secretary of War John McLoy noted
I have always
felt that if, in our ultimatum to the Japanese government issued
from Potsdam [in July 1945], we had referred to the retention
of the emperor as a constitutional monarch and had made some reference
to the reasonable accessibility of raw materials to the future
Japanese government, it would have been accepted. Indeed, I believe
that even in the form it was delivered, there was some disposition
on the part of the Japanese to give it favorable consideration.
When the war was over I arrived at this conclusion after talking
with a number of Japanese officials who had been closely associated
with the decision of the then Japanese government, to reject the
ultimatum, as it was presented. I believe we missed the
opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory
to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs.
of the Navy Ralph Bird said:
I think that
the Japanese were ready for peace, and they already had approached
the Russians and, I think, the Swiss. And that suggestion of [giving]
a warning [of the atomic bomb] was a face-saving proposition for
them, and one that they could have readily accepted.
my opinion, the Japanese war was really won before we ever used
the atom bomb. Thus, it wouldn’t have been necessary
for us to disclose our nuclear position and stimulate the Russians
to develop the same thing much more rapidly than they would have
if we had not dropped the bomb.
Really Won Before We Used A-Bomb, U.S. News and World Report,
8/15/60, pg. 73-75.
He also noted
(pg. 144-145, 324):
seemed to me that the Japanese were becoming weaker and weaker.
They were surrounded by the Navy. They couldn’t get any
imports and they couldn’t export anything. Naturally, as
time went on and the war developed in our favor it was quite logical
to hope and expect that with the proper kind of a warning the
Japanese would then be in a position to make peace, which would
have made it unnecessary for us to drop the bomb
and have had to bring Russia in.
LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force “hawk,” stated
publicly shortly before the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan:
The war would
have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing
to do with the end of the war at all.
The Vice Chairman
of the U.S. Bombing Survey Paul Nitze wrote
(pg. 36-37, 44-45):
that even without the atomic bomb, Japan was likely to
surrender in a matter of months. My own view was that
Japan would capitulate by November 1945.
the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it seemed highly unlikely,
given what we found to have been the mood of the Japanese government,
that a U.S. invasion of the islands [scheduled for November 1,
1945] would have been necessary.
of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias wrote:
the Japanese were ready to capitulate, we went ahead and introduced
to the world the most devastating weapon it had ever seen and,
in effect, gave the go-ahead to Russia to swarm over Eastern Asia.
decided that Japan had been given its chance and now it was time
to use the A-bomb.
that it was the wrong decision. It was wrong on strategic grounds.
And it was wrong on humanitarian grounds.
How We Bungled the Japanese Surrender, Look, 6/6/50,
Carter Clarke – the military intelligence officer in charge
of preparing summaries of intercepted Japanese cables for President
Truman and his advisors – said
When we didn’t
need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and
they knew that we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used
them as an experiment for two atomic bombs.
high-level military officers concurred. For
in chief of the U.S. 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 was reported to
have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that “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 . . . to 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 [the tiny handful of people
putting pressure on the president to drop atom bombs on Japan.]
were of the same mind. For example, General Sir Hastings Ismay,
Chief of Staff to the British Minister of Defence, said
to Prime Minister Churchill that “when Russia came into the war
against Japan, the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost
any terms short of the dethronement of the Emperor.”
that the atomic test was successful, Ismay’s private reaction was
one of “revulsion.”
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