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WWII and Japanese attempt at surrender?

 
 
Heywood
 
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 03:07 pm
Hi all, kinda new here, nice to meet 'cha.

I figured you history buffs might be able to shed some light here. I was watching a program on the History channel about the end of WWII and the Atomic bomb.

It was incredibly facinating, and something was shown that I never knew about before. They claimed that the Japanese were preparing to surrender (I believe with the assistance of the Russians), but Truman did not play along, as the Atomic Bomb had just been developed and he essentially wanted to demonstrate its power to the world.

Why haven't I ever heard about this before? I assume it must be at least partially true, especially if an entire program on the History channel aired it.

Can anyone point me in the right direction here? Website? Book? Whatever? I want to know what, when, and how this came about in more detail...

Please don't make this a political thing or anything. I just want to know the truth.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 04:51 pm
You are unlikely to get the "truth". Some believe Japan would have surrendered and the use of atomic weapons was for a Russian audience and some don't.

Personally I believe it was a bit of both. What I mean was that the use of the bombs on Japan was used as a test of the bomb's capabilities in addition to whatever other reasons. The cities were carefully chosen and two bombs (when one was more than enough) were dropped for a reason (to test the damage to level terrain and terrain that isn't).
RicardoTizon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 04:22 am
having read a lot of history books related to the subject, As early as 6 months before the bomb was dropped the Japanese military are factionalized with a small minority of Japanese general wanting to make peace with America but the word surrender was totally unheard of. What they wanted was a peace pact of non-aggression. The Emperor at that time although leaning towards the peace pact does not have the balls to stand up against the Generals and so nothing was done about it. Their code of Bushido makes it more shameful to surrender that to die in a futile battle.

Sorry, cannot remember the sources.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 09:07 am
Ricardo_Tizon, i mostly agree with what you have written, as a cogent analysis of the "mind" of the Japanese military, but wish to take exception to something you wrote. In Prange's book, At Dawn, We Slept, he shows Hirohito in a light which i consider correct based upon an understanding of the position of emperor which has been the reality for nearly a millenium. The emperor is and has since 11th century been no more than a figurehead, and with less real influence than say, the Queen and the House of Lords. Hirohito protested Japan's war plans, snubbed the War Minister Tojo, and initially refused to ratify the Pearl Harbor attack. To say that Hirohito had no balls is a gross slander, although i suspect that was not your intent. MacArthur showed a true understanding of the Japanese, and true courage when he landed on Honshu with just his staff, armed only with 45 automatics. He was himself unarmed, and when they spent the first night in a hotel near Yokohama, he was offered a steak by the staff, in a nation near starvation. His staff suggested that he not eat it, because it might be poisoned. MacArthur knew the Japanese well (he had gone to Japan for the first time in 1903, after graduating the USMA), and he responded that that was nonsense, and that the steak looked good, and he then ate it with relish. The word got around very quickly. MacArthur acted the benevolent conqueror, and the Japanese respected him for it. At the same time, young Japanese were vowing suicide by combat, and there were even alleged plans by young military cadets to seize the emperor. MacArthur discretely asked for an audience. Hirohito not only agreed, but agreed to a public meeting with photograhers present. This was a true act of courage on his part, there were no lack of Japanese extremists who might have been willing to assassinate him. His action was a true gamble, as it could have been seen as shameful, and could have ended the empire altogether. The overwhelming majority of the nation had never seen their emperor. Hirohito's gamble paid off, and peace descended over the nation as though there had never been war. When MacArthur's car passed in the street, people stopped and bowed low in a mark of respect to the conqueror who had respected their institutions, especially in the person of the emperor.

The History channel, in my experience, bears the same relationship to history as christian science does to science. About half the time, they get it partially right--many times, they are a platform for dodgy historical theories, which i would suggest arises from a lack of material. When they do simple narrative of events, you will notice that they often have "dramatizations" which they play over and over again during the broadcast. They seem to have a low budget, and few materials to choose from.

Certainly Truman's administration wanted to overawe the Soviets, who had tried to bully him at Potsdam. But there is little doubt in my mind that the attack on Nagasaki was dictated by the lack of an official response from Japan to the summons issued to them after Hiroshima. And that was a gamble, as well. Had they called our bluff, we didn't have a third bomb ready. The conventional wisdom of the day, which informed the decisions which Truman made in close consultation with General Marshall, was that an invasion of the home islands would have been a blood bath. This was based upon the horrible slaughter they willingly endured on Saipan and Okinawa. On Saipan, women and children committed suicide by jumping from cliffs, and when they would not willingly do so, they were driven off the cliffs by soldiers weilding bayonets. Wounded soldiers and marines would strap grenades to their bodies under their tunics, with strings through the pins, in the hope of taking as many Americans with them as possible. Just or not, the view was that the Japanese would rather die than surrender, and that they would kill as many Americans as possible when they did. It is now popular to second guess Truman, or to ascribe cynical motives to him. I know of no reliable support for such positions, however.
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RicardoTizon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 10:19 pm
I agree that Hirohito at some point in time much later in the war finally decided to be vocal about his desire for peace. I believe however based on my own analysis that he could have been more vocal about it much earlier. He did finally stood up to the bullies.

You were right to say that Hirohito was very much a fugure head but a figure head with the respect of the whole country whose opinions can easily move people to obey him. The fact that he allowed himself to be a pawn for a period of time by the Generals gives him a low mark in scoresheet
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mike d arnold
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 10:17 am
agree
Hey all,
I agree with this guy. The History channel is mostly right with this one. The Japanese did try to surrender but you know old USA we just had to go and kill more people. We were trigger happy when we had developed the atomic bomb, so the pres. wanted to see if it actually worked and
BAAAAAAAM!!! The Japanese were toast. SO you are right.
0 Replies
 
louisfreehopusdeivaticans
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 01:38 am
Nagasaki & Hiroshima
I was of the understanding that both cities selected to be bombed had the highest concentration of Christians in Japan. Anyone know otherwise?
0 Replies
 
Monger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 02:22 am
What's the relevance, Louis?

By the way, "highest concentration" http://www.chem.qmul.ac.uk/iupac/greek/NOTEQ.GIF "large amount"
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louisfreehopusdeivaticans
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 08:58 pm
Relavance
You're right, I should have said both cities that were bombed had the highest population of Christians in Japan. The relevance being that not only did the US not have to drop the bomb since Japan was ready to surrender, but they also made sure that the cities picked had the highest populations of Christians.

In other words, two good reasons not to drop the bomb were already known by the powers that were but they went ahead and did it anyways showing that our government or more specifically, certain elements within our government, had ulterior motives in both respects.

Same with experimenting with nuclear fallout on our troops, doing LSD experiments on our troops, Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome and the many other clandestine and not-so-clandestine CBR experiments our government has carried out on our troops and civilians over the years. Standard procedure before and after discovery: suppression of evidence, denial, admission only after undeniable proof, apology (many years later), pass the blame with no prosecution of those responsible, minimal or no compensation to the victims, then on to the next experiment. Even our history of sub-standard care of disabled vets is probably an experiment.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 09:17 pm
Re: Relavance
louisfreehopusdeivaticans wrote:
In other words, two good reasons not to drop the bomb...

The fact that there were Christians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a good reason not to drop the atomic bombs? That's about the most absurd thing I have ever heard on this list -- and I've debated Italgato and Maliagar!

Were the Japanese Christians more "innocent" than the non-Christians? Did Christians deserve to live more than the non-Christians? Were the Christians less of an enemy than the non-Christians? Did the U.S. have a policy of not bombing Christians? Did the U.S. have a duty, or an announced aim, of killing as many non-Christians as possible, while sparing as many Christians as possible?
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RicardoTizon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 09:22 pm
by the way Nagasaki was a secondary target only. when all primary targets has low visibility, the bomber selects from a list of secondary targets.

The only place that the US does not want to bomb in Japan is the Imperial Palace for fear that this will solidify the resolve of the Japanese not to surrender.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 09:32 pm
I've always believed that the selection of Nagasaki had more to do with it's terrain (first a flat city then a not-so-flat city to compare the results) than anything else.

The Christians angle is really out there. The following is from Truman's diary:

Quote:
We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Anyway we "think" we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom. An experiment in the New Mexico desert was startling - to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new.

He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful...

Truman quoted in Robert H. Ferrell, Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (New York: Harper and Row, 1980) pp. 55-56. Truman's writings are in the public domain.


BTW Monger, it's an emoticon now. I've been meaning to make it one. But there is a character for it too: ≠. I just don't remember how to make it (that's a C&P job) and am too lazy to look it up.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 09:35 pm
It is noteworthy that the United States Army Air Force had no qualms about bombing Christians to kingdom come in Ploesti, Roumania--ironically many were killed when they sought refuge at the Standard Oil refineries, thinking the Americans wouldn't bomb that facility; likely the result of someone's Protocols of Zion style propaganda about Jews and oil. We certainly had no qualms about bombing Christians who had the misfortune to inhabit an "open city," Dresden, which had been intentionally kept free of military targets precisely so that beautiful city would not be bombed. Nice little piece of in your face revenge work, that. Of course, we mustn't forget Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Essen, Regensburg, Schweinfurt, Cologne, and above all Berlin. How many towns unknown, unsung, long ago no longer mourned? As well, we showed our tender mercies to those ostensibly our allies. When Eisenhower's "Transportation Plan" had bombed all the bridges, causeways and railyards in Western France to rubble, and had run out of targets, they took to dumping their bombloads on any open intersection in Normandy, and many in Brittany. I don't know that anyone has ever definitively calculated how many thousand Normans and Bretons were casually slaughtered in that manner . . . good Christians all, i am sure.
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Monger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 10:07 pm
I'll second Joe's opinion of Louis' argument...absurd beyond belief. It's kinda funny though, I've heard people say the targets should've been avoided because of the Christians, others who've said the targets were actually chosen because of the Christians present, and still others who put down Christianity by saying the bomber crews for those missions were believers. Gimme a friggin' break Rolling Eyes
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louisfreehopusdeivaticans
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2003 02:13 am
Looking at it in hindsight I guess my argument was a wee bit absurb. Embarrassed After looking at the other posts/replies, it doesn't look like the US ever took/takes into consideration whether Christians are present or not before deciding to bomb.

The 10,000 Japanese Catholics (a mere handful compared to the other tens of thousands who also died) who died at Nagasaki were just collateral damage, nothing more, and the fact that the hypocenter of the bomb was the center of their neighborhood along with their largest longest-standing Christian church in Asia, mere coincidence. I stand corrected.

[quote="Ricardo_Tizon"] The only place that the US does not want to bomb in Japan is the Imperial Palace for fear that this will solidify the resolve of the Japanese not to surrender.[/quote]

Based on the bombing of the palaces in Iraq at the beginning of the current US war I guess U.S bombing policy does change.

[quote="President_Truman"]... The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians... Truman Speech, August 9, 1945 (excerpt)[/quote]

Do you think that Truman really thought that Hiroshima was a military base and not a city? Upon learning the news of the destruction of Hiroshima, Truman remarked, "This is the greatest thing in history."




0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2003 10:29 am
The Potsdam Conference has already been mentioned. The Potsdam conference was held in Potsdam, Germany (near Berlin), from July 17 to August 2, 1945. The participants were the United States, represented by president Harry S Truman, the Soviet Union, represented by Joseph Stalin, and United Kingdom, represented by Winston Churchill and later Clement Attlee. Toward the end of the conference, Japan was given an ultimatum threatening "prompt and utter destruction" without mentioning the new bomb, if they did not surrender. If the government of Japan, had responded with the surrender that the president and prime minister asked for, presumably the bombing would not have been carried out.

Perhaps because the warning was only a general statement, the Japanese govrnment responded with something approaching contempt. The prime minister chose to ignore it, employing the ambiguous word mokusatsu, which means literally "to kill with silence," although it carries a nuance of uncertainty. Tokyo radio used the word, saying the government would mokusatsu the declaration and fight on. The English translation became "reject," and the president took it as a rebuff. Years later he remembered, "When we asked them to surrender at Potsdam, they gave us a very snotty answer. That is what I got. . . . They told me to go to hell, words to that effect."
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Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 03:42 am
Re: WWII and Japanese attempt at surrender?
Heywood wrote:
I was watching a program on the History channel about the end of WWII and the Atomic bomb. ... They claimed that the Japanese were preparing to surrender (I believe with the assistance of the Russians), but Truman did not play along, as the Atomic Bomb had just been developed and he essentially wanted to demonstrate its power to the world. Why haven't I ever heard about this before? I assume it must be at least partially true, especially if an entire program on the History channel aired it.


The History Channel is a wonderful thing but it is half history, half entertainment. Not everything on it is true. They just spent a week playing the propaganda piece "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" in which a dufus says the French Mafia killed JFK. They also run Oliver Stone's "JFK" which is a pack of lies from front to back.

The Japanese government never attempted to negotiate a surrender before Nagasaki. The militarists in charge of the country believed even after Nagasaki that they could bleed the Allies so badly when we invaded that they could dictate terms of their surrender.

There were a few people in the Japanese government, not the faction in charge, who brought up the topic of an armistice, not a surrender, with the Soviet Union. However, this was so at odds with the prevailing sentiment in their government that the guys did it covertly for fear of assassination by their own people.

What you are hearing in the History Channel is the liberal revisionist interpretation of history, which is anti-American and pure nonsense.

The best book to debunk all the liberal propaganda about dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima is "Truman and the Hiroshima Cult" by Robert Newman, Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0870134035/qid=1070616788/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/002-6022916-4943206

Tantor
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 03:51 am
Ricardo_Tizon wrote:
I agree that Hirohito at some point in time much later in the war finally decided to be vocal about his desire for peace. I believe however based on my own analysis that he could have been more vocal about it much earlier. He did finally stood up to the bullies.


Hirohito was not for peace until the war threatened to kill him and his family. After Hiroshima, the Imperial family asked the Army for a bomb shelter to be built that would protect them against the new atom bomb. The Army rejected their request, saying the existing bomb shelter for the Emperor and his family was adequate. The Emperor's fear of death prompted him to give in to the Allies. The Bomb, according to the testimony and contemporary diaries of those present in the court, gave the fence-sitters a face saving way to side with surrender.

Hirohito did not stand up to bullies. He was a bully, a bully who gave the orders to slaughter millions. He was OK with all the slaughter until the Allies brought the war home to his doorstep.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 03:54 am
Re: Nagasaki & Hiroshima
louisfreehopusdeivaticans wrote:
I was of the understanding that both cities selected to be bombed had the highest concentration of Christians in Japan. Anyone know otherwise?


Pure nonsense. Religion was not a factor in any way.

It is also fallacious to present an absurd argument and lay the burden on others to disprove it. It is your burden to prove your argument. You have not. I challenge you to do so.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 04:10 am
louisfreehopusdeivaticans wrote:
Do you think that Truman really thought that Hiroshima was a military base and not a city?


Hiroshima was a military city, proud of its samurai tradition, and had been for a century. It was the headquarters of the 2nd Japanese Army, the uniformed soldiers of which composed an eighth of the population of the town. When the Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy at 9:15 AM, the entire 2nd Army was performing calisthenics on a huge parade field. They perished in the blast.

This is the first time you have heard this fact, isn't it? Ask yourself why. Why have you never seen a soldier in those Japanese films about Hiroshima nor heard mention of one. Why have the liberal accounts of Hiroshima said that the population was all women and children. Have they been honest with you? Can you ever trust them again?

The 2nd Army was the strategic reserve for the Japanese defense of Kyushu in the coming invasion. When the Japanese commanders saw where the Allies committed their troops, they would stage their own troops from Hiroshima to the appropriate contested beaches.

Much of the civilian population of Hiroshima were employed in war industries to support the military, including the 2nd Army. In Japan, war industry was organized differently than in Europe. Most of the small parts and subassemblies were built in small shops in private homes and delivered to local factories where they were assembled into final products. That made the private homes of Hiroshima a legitimate target.

You never heard that before either, did you? None of those Hiroshima blast victims mentioned that, oh by the way, I was working at home making boots or canned foods or bullets or uniforms to support the ultimate victory when The Bomb was dropped.

You have been fed a distorted story about Hiroshima that omits inconvenient facts to support a propaganda theme by the Left as part of its campaign against America.

Tantor
 

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