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Original Child Bomb
August 2, 2005 11:04 AM   Subscribe

The main reason it was classified was...because of the horror, the devastation. US military crews and Japanese newsreel teams shot color and black & white footage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped. The newsreel footage was suppressed for 25 years; the US military footage was hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. Some of the newsreel footage "might have disappeared forever if the Japanese filmmakers had not hidden one print from the Americans in a ceiling." This August 6 and 7 the Sundance channel is showing Original Child Bomb (review, QuickTime trailer), a documentary that combines the newsreel and military footage. The title is inspired by Thomas Merton's poem. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha (54 comments total)

 
Lieutenant Daniel McGovern, a filmmaker for the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), and Akira Iwasaki, the chief producer of one of the Japanese film crews, used some of the footage in the documentary The Effects of the Atomic Bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (This page has links to many of the memos from the late 1940s about classifaction of the footage.) McGovern was instrumental in preserving the US military footage and secrely made a print of the Japanese newsreel footage that ended up being the only surviving copy.

Related: The site of retired Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., who flew the Enola Gay on the mission over Hiroshima, has a text ad for "a unique hot sauce offer in collectible decanter."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2005


This is similar to George Weller's newspaper reports which were also suppressed. Discussed here (although the original links are no longer working).
posted by caddis at 11:09 AM on August 2, 2005


Somewhat relevant: Check out these Jacob Lawrence prints, which originally appeared in Hersey's Hiroshima

http://www.a-r-t.com/jlawrence/HiroshimaWeb/

If there are any Ann Arborites, check out the original prints at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
posted by John of Michigan at 11:10 AM on August 2, 2005


The original Mainichi links from the George Weller post have changed to: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
posted by caddis at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2005


A personal anecdote: two years ago I was visiting a distant cousan of my wife, an 80-ish photographer who took photographs of Hiroshima in the days after the bomb (and suffered lifelong health consequences as a result). His photographs were classified - he was supposed to have turned everything over to the British Army. He told us that he still had copies of the photos, but he wouldn't show them to us (not sure I could have stomached them anyway).

He just died two months ago. His whole studio will be going to his nephew - what he did with the photos before he died is anyone's guess.
posted by louigi at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2005


Time to recommend the book "Hiroshima" by John Hersey for theose interested in this subject. It makes you feel ashamed and dirty to know the US would do such a thing. The book contains first person accounts of the bombing and it's aftermath.
posted by nofundy at 11:36 AM on August 2, 2005


I know that despair is passe, and all, but doesn't the transparency of these motives seem a bit ridiculous after awhile? Are we purely a culture of love-the-meat-but-don't-want-to-see-the-cow?
posted by dreamsign at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2005


Good links.

Semi on-topic:

Saturday was the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the battle cruiser which delivered the components for "Little Boy":
At 12:14 a.m. on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder, about 900 men, were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and most with no food or water. The ship was never missed, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later only 316 men were still alive.

The ship's captain, the late Charles Butler McVay III, survived and was court-martialed and convicted of "hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag" despite overwhelming evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm's way, despite testimony from the Japanese submarine commander that zigzagging would have made no difference, and despite that fact that, although over 350 navy ships were lost in combat in WWII, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialed. Materials declassified years later adds to the evidence that McVay was a scapegoat for the mistakes of others.
McVay committed suicide in the late 1960s, still receiving letters year after year from families blaming him for the sinking.



It makes you feel ashamed and dirty to know the US would do such a thing.

I've read the book and felt neither ashamed nor dirty. I think the bombings were necessary in stopping the much greater violence which would have occurred when Allies began invading the main island of Japan. I'm sure you know this, but more died in the firebombings of Tokyo than Hiroshima + Nagasaki, but then, they didn't receive warnings:

"Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.”

Leaflet image here
posted by jenleigh at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2005


It makes you feel ashamed and dirty to know the US would do such a thing.

Not me. Sure, it was the horrific beginning of a new era. But it certainly saved more lives at the time, than it took.
posted by Necker at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2005


Perhaps. But it's hard to deny that the two bombs represent the original and greatest terror attacks on civilians in world history.
posted by lathrop at 12:06 PM on August 2, 2005


Sure, it was the horrific beginning of a new era. But it certainly saved more lives at the time, than it took.

Not entirely true. The Japanese were probably close to surrender, albeit not unconditionally most likely. And with the Russians preparing to invade Manchuria, the speed of the Japanese coming to a surrender probably would have lessened the need for a complete invasion. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded at the time, "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." This report was largely ignored, however.

There is also some debate over the casualty estimates. The estimates of 500,000 men, which would certainly have been worse than the two bombs, were fabrications from Truman. Nearly all of the casualty estimates for the invasion were around 40,000 or less. And there is a distinct possibility that there would have been zero casualties, because the military planners believed that Japan would have surrendered before we even would have been ready for the assault.

Please, read up on the subject Necker. The belief that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs saved lifes is nothing but a myth.
posted by shawnj at 12:09 PM on August 2, 2005


It makes you feel ashamed and dirty to know the US would do such a thing.

Not at all. But it *does* make me dirty and ashamed to know that there are people who would joyfully celebrate these deaths rather than sadly acknowledge them as something we probably had to do, though would really rather not have done.

But it's hard to deny that the two bombs represent the original and greatest terror attacks on civilians in world history.

The firebombings of Tokyo and other cities probably killed more civilians than the nuclear weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
posted by Slothrup at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2005


Good point on the firebombings of other cities.
Sorry for those who don't agree with my sentiments but they are mine and genuine.

A bit of an aside, I'm certain many have seen the bumper sticker that declares "If there hadn't been a Pearl Harbor there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima." False comparisons would you say?
posted by nofundy at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2005


(leaflet text) "...in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people..."

Nuclear bombs with safety precautions, this is soo nice...

I guess the origins of humanitarian bombings can now get retro-dated to WWII, and with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no less. I thought they'd only started in the nineties with "collateral damage".

*sigh*
posted by funambulist at 12:23 PM on August 2, 2005


"If there hadn't been a Pearl Harbor there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima."

"If there hadn't been American bases in Saudi Arabia, there wouldn't have been a 9/11."
posted by Slothrup at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2005


lathrop writes "But it's hard to deny that the two bombs represent the original and greatest terror attacks on civilians in world history."

It's probably a mistake to use the words "terror attack" to describe a military action taken by a state. It's confusing, given the current meaning of these words. You'd be better off using the words "aerial bombardments": they're more accurate.

As for "original" and "greatest".... There was a lot of bombing in World War II, all of it taking place prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs, and much of it causing many more civilian casualties per event. Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly had the most per-device casualties, but that's an unusual metric, I think.

jenleigh writes "I think the bombings were necessary in stopping the much greater violence which would have occurred when Allies began invading the main island of Japan."

No doubt an invasion of the mainland would have been incredibly bloody, but what's the argument against using an initial demonstration bomb against an unpopulated target? I don't understand why it wouldn't have been at least worth a try, especially given that two devices were available.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2005


Are we purely a culture of love-the-meat-but-don't-want-to-see-the-cow?

I'd say absolutely. Why else would we not see the flag covered caskets of our war dead today? Why else would the media NOT cover the atricities that happen every day in war? War is cruel and awful, not glorious and patriotic as the banter of the 101st keyboarders presents it, and needs to be accurately presented as such if we are to avoid war.

Watching Shrek the other night and Lord Farkquad says many knights must necessarily die to rescue the princess but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make. Reminded me of our own Farkwad in the White House today, someone else makes the sacrifice.
posted by nofundy at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2005


The Men Who Dropped the Bombs -- four U.S. servicemen aboard the planes that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- in their own words.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on August 2, 2005


Sort of a digression, but this "oh-so-poetic/charming/mystical" Original Child Bomb name is a good example of the annoying tendancy some people have of making literal character-by-character translations of Chinese or Japanese words because they are supposed to be profound.
The name "original child bomb" was not "given to it by the Japanese people, who recognized that it was the first of its kind," as this page claims.
The word for "atom" is simply made of two kanji (Chinese characters), one meaning "original" or "basic" and one being a general diminutive that, yes, sometimes also means child. That is the way new Chinese words are formed, by putting together two or more characters in a way that makes sense, like "small basic thing" in the case of "atom." The translation is "atom bomb," OK? not "original child bomb," and there's no way that the people who coined the word meant it in any deeper sense. I'm sure this is an interesting movie, and I'd like to see it, but the Asian exoticism dripping off the title makes me want to gag.
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:28 PM on August 2, 2005


Thanks for that info, banishedimmortal. I also find this super-obnoxious.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:34 PM on August 2, 2005


Re: my last comment, after further research and in the interests of full disclosure, this comment, from this page.

"A note on the film's title: "original child bomb" is a coinage derived from the Japanese term for the atom bomb, genshi badukan. Genshi, which literally means "atom," consists of root characters in Japanese which, if rendered individually, could be taken to mean "original" and "child." Merton's poem opens with the claim (reiterated at the beginning of the film) that the Japanese called the weapon dropped on Hiroshima "original child bomb" because it was the first of its kind the world had ever seen. This rather arresting interpretation turns out to be an instance of extravagant poetic license. A native Japanese speaker would regard the translation of genshi into "original child" as an unnatural semantic contortion, and it is unlikely that any Japanese person ever embraced this construal--one which appears to have originated with John Hersey, who rendered genshi badukan thus in Hiroshima.

Nevertheless, "original child" serves as an effective conceit, and in Schonegevel's skilled hands, provides one of the film's central motifs: the strange, unmistakable, morally exigent relationship between children and the dawn of the nuclear age."


Whatever, I still think it's pretentious and annoying.
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:35 PM on August 2, 2005


Great post, great responses. I'm learning a lot.

Speaking from a purely cinematic perspective, did anyone else find the trailer, well, a bit wanting? For such a powerful film, that I think lots of Americans could benefit from seeing, I'd like to see a stronger preview
posted by hifiparasol at 12:42 PM on August 2, 2005


Sorry for those who don't agree with my sentiments but they are mine and genuine.

That was never in doubt.

I'm of two minds about the A-Bomb. Yes, it is quite possible to make a convincing case that by bringing the war to an end, they ultimately spared more lives than they took. However, it also began the arms race and reign of fear of armageddon that defined our existence for the next 50 years.
posted by jonmc at 12:45 PM on August 2, 2005


mr_roboto : "...what's the argument against using an initial demonstration bomb against an unpopulated target? I don't understand why it wouldn't have been at least worth a try, especially given that two devices were available."

When Hiroshima was bombed Japanese scientists investigated and determined that there wasn't much chance the Americans had enough material for more than a few bombs. Even after Nagasaki the majority of Japanese generals wanted to fight to the bitter end....

So, for better or worse; the argument says that a demonstration wouldn't have convinced the Japanese to surrender, and we didn't have enough bombs to waste on the slight off-chance that that assessment was wrong.
posted by Shutter at 12:51 PM on August 2, 2005


jonmc writes "However, it also began the arms race and reign of fear of armageddon that defined our existence for the next 50 years."

If you want to be speculative about the whole thing, you could actually take this a step further, and say that the nuclear arms race and mutually assured destruction prevented an all-out hot war between the United States and the Soviet Union: a World War Three that would have lasted for years and years, devastating Europe, Asia, and (potentially) North America.

It's easy to feel ambivalent about nuclear weapons....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:51 PM on August 2, 2005


I wonder what would have happened if the bomb hadn't been developed in time, and the US had to use other means to pacify Japan, but then developed the bomb well after WWII? Would we have "tested" it in another conflict?
posted by hifiparasol at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2005


At the Vermont Film Festival last year I saw some footage from the immediate aftermath of the Nagasaki bombs which was part of a documentary called My Wife's Features which details, over decades, growing older with his wife who was gradually and slowly dying from thyroid cancer as a result of the bomb. I'm not sure which was more horrific, watching the immediate devastation or the slow inexorable denoument of sickness and general dis-ease.
posted by jessamyn at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2005


Shutter writes "Even after Nagasaki the majority of Japanese generals wanted to fight to the bitter end."

It's my understanding that this is a significant point of contention. In fact, I was under the impression that the historical consensus is that the Japanese command structure wanted to surrender after Hiroshima, but that a series of international miscommunications and misunderstandings prevented this, leading to the bombing of Nagasaki.

I haven't read about it extensively, though. I imagine that you could (and that historians have) spend years studying this particular subject....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:56 PM on August 2, 2005


That documentaary sounds much like the stories in teh book I recommended earlier jessamyn.

First person stories about the horrors of war break the heart of any caring person.
posted by nofundy at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2005


Aargh! My fat fingering spelling errors! Apologies.
posted by nofundy at 1:02 PM on August 2, 2005


Speaking from a purely cinematic perspective, did anyone else find the trailer, well, a bit wanting?

Uh, yes. It suckkkkked.
posted by docpops at 1:04 PM on August 2, 2005


Please, read up on the subject Necker. The belief that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs saved lifes is nothing but a myth.

Why, I think I've learned just about all there is to know from your comment. Domo!
posted by Necker at 1:07 PM on August 2, 2005


Agreed. I don't know enough to know if I buy into the argument that Hiroshima was necessary. But I'm pretty sure that the argument that is given for it most is the one I outlined above.

I'd like to hear the argument for why the Americans chose to demonstrate on civilians? Were there no suitable military targets? My assumption has always been that Hiroshima was chosen because of trivial air defense that would allow a mere trio of Allied planes to make it overhead un-mollested. But I am a far cry from an expert.
posted by Shutter at 1:09 PM on August 2, 2005


"Were there no suitable military targets?"
Sort of a moot point, Shutter. We had already firebombed almost everything including Tokyo into worthlessness (remember Dresden?).
All that remained was the implied "die to the last man" resistance to an invasion.

"The belief that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs saved lifes is nothing but a myth.'

Although I concede the horror of it and allow that an invasion may or may not have killed more people, and Iagree it started an arms race, the fact we used it I believe put the world in a whole different position than if we had not used it. Brinksmanship was (and is) dicey, but we got away with the "we'll never use them first" policy with the Russians because we in fact did use them.
Otherwise they'd never have believed we had the balls. Because again - it is pretty horrible.
It may have saved us from far greater horrors. Then again, maybe not. At least we're still here.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:32 PM on August 2, 2005


hifiparasol : "Speaking from a purely cinematic perspective, did anyone else find the trailer, well, a bit wanting?"

Seriously! For what sounds like an extremely interesting premise, they really dropped the ball on the sell.

What's up with the 5 seconds of black on the head and tail? Gee, thanks for adding to the download time for that... Lame!

Then the "meat" of the trailer was about as bland and dry as it could get, with no sort of resolution or "hook" at the end. The "rewind" to black after Bush just left me wondering if maybe the end didn't download correctly.

I've got trailers better than this in my stool.
posted by numlok at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2005


But it's hard to deny that the two bombs represent the original and greatest terror attacks on civilians in world history

Except for the firebombing of Tokyo (already mentioned upthread), the firebombing of Dresden (swollen with refugees, undefended, and of little-to-no military importance), the intentional spread of the Plauge to enemy cities in Medieval warfare...
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2005


"If there hadn't been American bases in Saudi Arabia, there wouldn't have been a 9/11."

That you hold this equivalent to Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima is disturbing.
posted by oaf at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2005


Would we have "tested" it in another conflict?

Probably. The discussions leading up to the dropping of the bomb are remarkably free of "should we do this?" and focused solely on the when and where in order to maximize the intimidation factor. It'd be nice to think that, had we not developed the bomb until the conflict over Korea or Vietnam, we wouldn't have used it in those situations, but I bet we would have. No amount of testing in the Nevada desert had really prepared us (or the world) for the weapon we'd built.
posted by junkbox at 1:43 PM on August 2, 2005


it's hard to deny that the two bombs represent the original and greatest terror attacks on civilians in world history

Original? Tell that to the Carthaginians or Trojans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:53 PM on August 2, 2005


There's a fair amount of arguing about the issue of military necessity here, triggered by Ger Alperowitz's book The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. Found this stuff looking for references to a tv programme (featuring Aperowitz) I dimly remembered on the subject: The Summer of the Bomb.

Documents on the subject here.

I must admit, I've always (rather cynically, I confess) thought that the idea of scaring Stalin was not unadjacent to Truman's mind.
posted by Grangousier at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2005


It's probably a mistake to use the words "terror attack" to describe a military action taken by a state. It's confusing, given the current meaning of these words. You'd be better off using the words "aerial bombardments": they're more accurate.

I think the basing the difference between terrorism and 'aerial bombardment' on whether or not the bomber is a legitimate state is pretty thin. What is a 'state', a member of the United Nations?

In any case the goal is to kill civilians for some political purpose.
posted by BuzzKill at 3:09 PM on August 2, 2005


A nice post, I got quite excited. But what a SHITTY trailer. They could have included some of the footage...and George W Bush? Can anyone make a documentary without including him these days?
posted by fire&wings at 3:11 PM on August 2, 2005


1st off, let me just say that I agree with all those that have said that trailer was bad.

It was. Just terrible stuff ... not sure who made it, but don't let them near a flat-bed again. It told me almost nothing about what the film was about, or about what the content would be.

Secondly, all that stuff about "The belief that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs saved lifes is nothing but a myth." and that 'the Japanese were going to surrender anyway' is inaccurate (to put it nicely).

Had the atomic bomb not been available, the first phase of Operation Olympic was going to be a massive gas attack on the southern island of the Japanese homeland.

500,000 might have been an over estimate, but 250,000 to 350,000 isn't exactly light either. And that's just the casualties on our side.

The Japanese were ready to surrender? Some of them were, sure. And even some within the government as well as a faction within the military.

But that's like saying some of the American Congress were opposed to the
Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The people who wanted to surrender in Japan in August of '45 had about as much sway on the levers of power as Wayne Morse did in '64.

Anybody who says otherwise doesn't know much about the subject.

It just so happens that I do, and I'll say this now, which is what I always tell people when this subject comes up:

I think every American should go out and read "The Making of The Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes. It tells you more than you'd probably like to know about Big Government, Big Science and Big Military.

I think every American should go out and read it ESPECIALLY if there's an election close by.

Shit , if it was up to me, I'd make it a graduation requirement for High Schools (I'd love to see the rights reaction to that).
posted by Relay at 3:14 PM on August 2, 2005


You're right Grangousier.

The decision to bomb Nagasaki was based, more than anything else, to "show the Russians" that we were not afraid to use this new weapon.

We had a point to get across to the Russians, and Nagasaki helped us make that point.
posted by Relay at 3:18 PM on August 2, 2005


Good call fire&wings. As if putting George Bush in the video is going to further the rewrite of history.
posted by buzzman at 4:30 PM on August 2, 2005


I thought the documentary sounded interesting, and it's gotten some good reviews, but I agree that the trailer was pretty lame. And, while I dislike him as much as just about anyone, I don't know what President Bush is doing in there.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:40 PM on August 2, 2005


"My God, what have we done?" - Robert Lewis, the co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb.
posted by ericb at 6:07 PM on August 2, 2005


Whenever I recall the atom bomb, I recall reading John Aristotle Phillips' book, "Mushroom: The True Story of the A-Bomb Kid," which chronicled how a term paper he wrote outlining the design for an atomic bomb similar to the Nagasaki weapon resulted in the FBI confiscating his term paper and a mock-up of the bomb that he had constructed in his dormitory room at Princeton.
posted by ericb at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2005


Damn - proper link for the book - "Mushroom: The True Story of the A-Bomb Kid."
posted by ericb at 6:17 PM on August 2, 2005


This shit is like Godwin, every single time you mention atom bombs and Japan you set off a near nuclear explosion of countering arguments. This is nothing. Wait until Darth Cheney gets his wish to nuke Iran.
posted by caddis at 7:09 PM on August 2, 2005


Not to derail this thread, but I'm currently reading "Tennozan" by George Feifer, which makes a pretty compelling case that the American experience with fanatical Japanese resistance in Okinawa had a compelling impact on the later decision to use the bomb. 21,000 Allied casualties; 91,000 Japanese and over 150,000 Okinawans - easily rivalling the fire-bombing of Tokyo or the later Hiroshima/Nagasaki (or for that matter Dresden or Nanking). Coming off the experience along the outer island chains we had reason to believe that thousands upon thousands would die trying to invade the home islands.

Not to say that the results of crossing the nuclear threshold weren't horrible and to be avoided at all costs in future, but secondguessing from this distance can only be an academic exercise. You won't convince most of the POWs suffering in Japanese labor camps, those who survived the Death March, or were on ships headed to Japan at the time that ending the war in that manner was the wrong decision. Despite our sympathy with the victims and dtermination not to repeat the experience, we also need to honor those viewpoints - they lived it also - we didn't.
posted by Pressed Rat at 7:58 PM on August 2, 2005


Mutually Assured Destruction as a peace keeping mechanism is really a bunch of naive posthock BS. Both sides of the cold war were focusing on nuclear 'warfighting' capability that involved flexible response escalation dominance within strategic and tactical theatres. In other words, MAD didn't exist beyond the 50's. A modern nuclear war would be fought with a mixture of conventional/nuclear weapons against counterforce/countervalue targets. I'm consistently surprised how many people look at MAD as some kind of strategic justification for nuclear weapons... It was a furphy.
posted by Thoth at 10:03 AM on August 3, 2005


Anybody who says otherwise doesn't know much about the subject.

And yet, all of the evidence I have seen has said the exact opposite. In May 1945, the Supreme War Direction Council, the group that was involved with the planning of the Japanese war effort, begun serious discussion about how and when to end the war and use Russia as a mediator in any discussion. On June 20th, the emperor called this same group into a conference and told them that it was necessary to end the war immediately, and had made plans to send an ambassador to Russia to work out the details (that trip was derailed because of Potsdam).

The Foreign Minister, Navy Minister, Prime Minister, and the Emperor all wanted to end the war. Of the War Direction Council, only three members wanted continued resistance.

Nearly everything that I've read on the subject seems to indicate that the politcal machine and a significant chunk of the military in Japan wanted to end the war and accept the inevitable, and that sustained air dominance, without the need for an invasion or a nuclear bomb, would have forced the Japanese to surrender by the end of the year.

Did Eisenhow not know what he was talking about when he said, "the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."? How about Assisstant Secretary of War John McCloy when he said years later, "I believe we missed the opportunity of effecting a Japanese surrender, completely satisfactory to us, without the necessity of dropping the bombs."
posted by shawnj at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2005


er, Eisenhower.
posted by shawnj at 1:02 PM on August 3, 2005


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