70 years ago, a USAAF B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, another bomber dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. Five days thereafter, Japan surrendered unconditionally, thus bringing World War 2 – by far the bloodiest and most destructive conflict in world history – to an end.
Since then, many leftists have harshly criticized the US for dropping these atomic bombs. They have falsely claimed that it was inhuman and unnecessary. Some leftist propagandists, such as Ward Wilson (an ardent and ignorant anti-nuclear hack at the Monterey Institute) even falsely claim that it was Soviet entry into the war against Japan, and not the atomic bomb, that caused Tokyo to surrender unconditionally.
But these leftists are blatantly lying. Their claims are utterly false. In this article, on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings, CDN provides you with an exclusive, thorough analysis of why the use of the atomic bomb was fully justified, and why it was the Hiroshima bombings, and NOT the Soviet entry into the war in the Pacific, that spurred Japan’s unconditional surrender.
Japan Was Preparing to Fight to the Death – Not To Surrender
Let’s start with the historic background first.
At the end of July 1945 – and even as early as the spring of 1945 – it was clear that Japan had utterly lost WW2, just like Germany had. It had lost everything except Manchuria, parts of mainland China, Korea, Sakhalin, the Kuriles, and the main Japanese islands. The US and its allies were marching from victory to victory. By June 22nd, American troops had completely overrun the strategically important island of Okinawa (an ideal base to jumpstart a invasion of the main Japanese islands).
In addition, as Wilson himself admits, Japan was starved of resources due to an absolute Allied naval blockade and successful US submarine sinkings of Japanese merchant ships, had sustained enormous casualties in the last several years, and had suffered massive conventional firebombings (notably with the use of napalm) by the USAAF. Yet, none of that was able to cause Hideki Tojo’s government in Tokyo to surrender.
Immediately after Germany surrendered unconditionally, the Allies urged Japan to do likewise, or it would suffer horrible consequences. Yet, Japan stubbornly refused. The most it was willing to do was to surrender conditionally. And what conditions did it demand? That, for one thing, it be allowed to keep China and some of the other lands it had conquered. (Yes, the same China where they had committed war crimes on a scale unheard of in human history, even in German-occupied Europe.)
Yes, you’ve read that correctly: even with their backs against the wall, even with their cities being firebombed and their navy on its knees, the Japanese were STILL deluding themselves that they could keep China and their other takings in mainland Asia. They were STILL refusing to surrender unconditionally as of August 5th, 1945.
It was not until the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the Japanese warlords and Emperor Hirohito finally understood how hopeless their situation was. On August 14th, they communicated to the US government their willingness to surrender unconditionally.
No, The Soviet Union Did Not Cause Japan To Surrender
Wilson and some other anti-nuclear propagandists falsely claim that it was the Soviet Union’s entry into the war on Japan, not the atomic bombings, that caused Japan to surrender. But they’re dead wrong, as always. The Soviet Union did not cause Japan to give up; the atomic bombings did.
Let’s recount the chronology and the basic facts here.
On August 6th, the US bombed Hiroshima. On August 8th, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan but did not actually begin hostilities yet. It did not do so until the next day, August 9th – by which time the US had already dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
It’s a simple chronology:
August 6th: the US drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Japan doesn’t surrender yet.
August 8th: the USSR declares war on Japan. Tokyo STILL doesn’t surrender yet.
August 9th: the US drops the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Emperor and the government realize the massive destruction of these two cities.
August 14th: the Japanese government announces it’s willingness to surrender without conditions. President Truman accepts Japan’s surrender.
Seeing the destruction of these two towns – unequalled by anything else in history – the Japanese warlords finally understood how hopeless their situation was, and on August 14th, they surrendered. By that time, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was still in its beginning stages and was barely producing its first results; it continued until August 20th.
Armchair General Wilson and other anti-nuclear propagandists claim that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, Korea, Sakhalin, and the Kuriles was the decisive factor because, supposedly, these areas were of more strategic importance than Okinawa and the main Japanese islands or the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki located on these islands.
This is one of the most ludicrous claims ever attempted. How ignorant of military matters and how stupid does one have to be to claim that the loss of Okinawa and the defense of the main Japanese islands was of lesser importance than Sakhalin, the Kuriles, Korea, and Manchuria?
Such claims only prove Ward Wilson’s utter ignorance of military matters and his unlimited stupidity (rivalled only by his unbrindled arrogance).
To realize just how important Okinawa is to the Japanese, compared to Sakhalin and the Kuriles, just remember this: after WW2, the US took sovereignty of Okinawa (which is an ideal base for military operations anywhere in East Asia). The Japanese continually pressured the US to restore Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty until, in 1972, Washington agreed. (The US still keeps several military bases on the island, because it’s an ideal base to conduct any operations against any opponent in East Asia, be it North Korea, China, or anyone else).
On the other hand, the Japanese have, since 1945, made only weak, half-hearted pleas to Moscow asking to get the Kuriles back – and are not even asking for Sakhalin. They are able to live without these islands quite well and are in no hurry to get them back.
So if you want to know how important these islands are to the Japanese, just ask the Japanese themselves.
Ward Wilson – probably realizing how weak and preposterous his claim is – has therefore recently claimed that the Soviet Union was about to invade the main Japanese islands.
But that claim is just as preposterous, because the Soviet Union simply had NO amphibious capability to mount any invasion of the main Japanese islands (or any islands) on any serious scale, and therefore could not even threaten to do so. Taking the almost undefended Kuriles and Sakhalin was one thing; ferrying hundreds of troops to, and invading, the main Japanese islands would’ve been something different altogether. The Soviet Army had NO capability to mount such an invasion; only the US military did. Emperor Hirohito knew it, the warlords in Tokyo knew it, the Truman administration knew it, Joseph Stalin knew it, everyone familiar with amphibious warfare and the Soviet Army’s capabilities knew it.
Even the US, British, and Canadian navies faced a daunting task in mounting an amphibious invasion of Europe in 1944, while also conducting an island-hopping strategy in Asia against Japan. This strained the world’s largest amphibious assault fleet to the limits. The Soviet Union had NO such fleet. It had NONE of the amphibious assets that would be required to mount a serious invasion of the Japanese islands – which would’ve required the ferrying of hundreds of thousands of troops, their weapons (including tanks), and their supplies across the sea of Japan. All of that under air cover from fighters operating off aircraft carriers… of which the Soviet Union had NONE at the time.
Even today, Russia doesn’t have an amphibious assault fleet that would be required for a major amphibious invasion of a foreign country. The Soviet Union never had built (and never even had the capability to build) such a fleet.
Wilson, however, persists in his utterly false claims by saying that Moscow’s entry into the war against Japan eliminated the Soviet Union as an “intermediary” who might’ve negotiated an honorable, conditional surrender for Japan (at least according to Japanese warlords’ hopes).
But the Soviet Union could have NEVER been an “intermediary” between Japan and an America stubbornly demanding Tokyo’s total and unconditional surrender – and going so far as to use nuclear weapons against Japan to obtain that surrender. There was never any chance for the USSR to “mediate” between Tokyo and Washington. America’s demand of Japan’s unconditional and total surrender was non-negotiable. The nuclear bombings disabused the Japanese warlords of any dream of the Kremlin succeeding in mediating betweek Tokyo and Washington.
Was It Immoral?
As for the claim that dropping the atomic bombs was immoral, it’s also a lie, for a simple reason: it was the Japanese who started the war in Asia (and against the United States) in the first place. They were the aggressors – not the US. And unlike the US, they committed massive war crimes, on a scale not seen anywhere else in all human history – not even in German-occupied Germany: massive slaying of entire villages, cities, and provinces, burying people alive en masse, and of course, massive rapes and massive use of sex slaves.
Not only that, but 70 years after the war, they STILL haven’t fullheartedly and clearly apologized for their war crimes, let alone paid any reparations or restitutions to the countries they committed aggression against or the victims of their war crimes and their families.
Not only that, but 70 years after the war, they STILL maintain a mausoleum (the Yasukuni shrine) where they worship the war criminals who organized these butcheries. Can you imagine Germany maintaining a shrine to Adolf Hitler and his fellow war criminals Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Reinhard Heydrich?
Not only that, but their current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, frequently visits the shrine to pay hommage to those war criminals (and he wonders why other East Asian countries are hostile to Japan). Can you imagine the German chancellor visiting the graves of Nazi war criminals? (Top Nazi war criminals don’t have a gravesite; their bodies were cremated and their ashes spread over a wide area to ensure they would never have a gravesite or shrine; Hitler’s body was cremated by the Germans and the ashes were dumped into sewers by the Soviets.)
And yet, the US – at its own expense – still defends Japan against countries that threaten it, including a nuclear-armed China and a nuclear-armed North Korea.
Last, but certainly not least, by using nuclear weapons, President Truman made sure that an Allied invasion of the Japanese islands would not have to happen. Before the atomic bomb was used, the Japanese were preparing to defend their main islands to the last man, woman, and child. They were teaching children how to fight and preparing them to strap TNT to their chests and walk up to Allied tanks to blow themselves up near them.
Allied strategists forecast that an invasion of the main Japanese islands would cost up to – or even more than – 1 million killed, wounded, and missing on the Allied side. No one even knew how many Japanese soldiers and civilians would die in such an invasion, but knowing the fanaticism of the Japanese and their willingness to sustain heavy casualties, the Allies assumed such casualties would be numbered in the millions.
Had there been a conventional invasion of the main Japanese islands, there would’ve been a repeat of the bloody battle of Okinawa, but on a much greater scale: massive body counts on both the Allied and the Japanese side.
Both the American and the Japanese people should be eternally grateful to President Truman for saving millions of American and Japanese troops, as well as millions of Japanese civilians. His decision was absolutely the right one – based on what he knew in August 1945, when he made that decision, and based on what we know today.