Saturday, August 5, 2017

Once Again: Were the A-Bombs Necessary?

Largely because of the response received to my May article about Harry Truman (see here), I decided to consider once again the question repeatedly raised since the first atomic bombs were dropped: were they necessary for ending the war with Japan?
The Majority Opinion
Undoubtedly, most USAmericans since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945, have firmly believed that they were justified.
Moreover, most people in the U.S. seem to think that the bombs were not only necessary but that they also were “good” because of the lives saved.
Thinking Friend Tom Lamkin in North Carolina wrote: “A member of one of my churches had a father on the troop ships on the way to Japan for the invasion when the bombs were dropped. They were called back when news came Japan had surrendered. That was one family glad to see the bombs fall.”
Similarly, local Thinking Friend Joe Barbour said, “I dislike war but we live in a world where anything goes it seems. So as I think of the loss of life that those bombings of the Japanese at home experienced, they saved far more lives than were lost. It had to be a hard decision but [Truman] made it and ended a terrible war.”
These views are in agreement with what ethicist Joseph Fletcher propounds in his book Situation Ethics (1966). He writes about the “agapeic calculus,” which seeks “the greatest amount of neighbor welfare for the largest number of neighbors possible.” (p. 95).
While it is only a “test case” with no solution explicitly given, Fletcher ends his book with a brief summary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—with the suggestion, I think, that the agapeic calculus means that the dropping of the atomic bombs should be considered right or “good.”
While making no reference to Fletcher, historian Michael Bess agrees with what I call the majority opinion. Chapter Ten in Bess’s excellent book Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II (2006) is “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb.”
Bess asserts that “it is a fair conclusion that the bomb’s use probably saved an enormous number of lives—far more Japanese than Allied” (pp. 230-1). 
An Opposing View
One of many places where an opposing view can be found is in the television mini-series “The Untold History of the United States” (2012) and the accompanying book by that title written by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.
The fourth chapter of Stone & Kuznick’s book is titled “The Bomb: The Tragedy of a Small Man.” They are probably much too critical of Truman, but they may be right in their clear implication that the bombs were most likely not necessary—especially if better decisions had been made earlier.
For example, in all probability the bombs would not have been necessary if Truman had taken Herbert Hoover’s advice. In Chapter 76 of Freedom Betrayed, the 2011 book that contains Hoover’s writings about WWII and afterward, Hoover tells how in May 1945 he advised Truman to drop the demand for unconditional surrender and to assure Japan that the Emperor could remain as the spiritual head of the nation.
If Truman had taken Hoover’s suggestion soon thereafter, Japan would most likely have surrendered much before August 6, 1945.
What about Now?
The historical events of 1945 cannot be changed, of course. But we humans should be able to learn from history.
One essential thing that we need to learn the most is that there is always a better alternative than war—and certainly there is always a better alternative than using nuclear weapons.


  1. I quite agree with your conclusion, Leroy. And I'm in full agreement with a number of critics that the bombs were not necessary, that the American demand for absolute surrender (which they changed anyway) was the hold up, but in any case dropping the bombs was fully a violation of any just war doctrine I've ever read which includes not targeting noncombatants. I've also read somewhere that a few of our leading generals at the time opposed the use of the bomb. World War I seems to have so traumatized the West that all sense of proportion in war, developed over centuries of struggle for such, were abandoned during WWII, not to be reinstated until the horrors of WWII were realized, however briefly and conveniently.

    I don't have my Fletcher with me here in Iowa, but, as I recall, Fletcher did not take a clear stand on the examples of situational thinking raised towards the end of his book, but left them as cases to examine. I'm not sure some of his examples were even all that consistent with his core argument.

    1. None of our leading generals at the time opposed the bomb. Generals opposing the use of atomic bombs on Japan is an urban legend that certain writers have perpetuated and is actively circulated on the internet. Eisenhower claimed many years afterward that he opposed the atomic bomb, but there is no contemporaneous proof for this. Also , Eisenhower told conflicting stories about this. You should also bear in mind that Eisenhower never protested the Anglo American bombing of Dresden when Soviet armies were only some 70 miles from Berlin. When the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan the Allies were in Okinawa, some 300 mile off the Japanese mainland .

  2. So many points and counter-points to consider, and their repercussions even to this day. I lived in Independence at the time of Pres Truman's death, with many vivid memories of that time. Before the final exit, Truman had been asked what epithet he would like on him tombstone. His quick response was "Give'm Hell". The phrase pre-dated Japan, but was always linked to that final decision. That phrase seems appropriate to him, but it has also continued into our culture and even current politics related to Hillary's "enemies", with intentional thoughts of Harry's curse on the Japanese.

    The Japanese emperor was a bold war-monger and tyrant with intentions of world domination. It is good the war ended the way it did with an "unconditional" surrender. Today we are faced with a couple of other very rogue nations with nuclear weapons and the means to use them. Once again a perilous time for the world. If one of the rogues threatens or initiates, we (or one of our allies) may be forced to use nuclear weapons once again. Thankfully, Pres Obama initiated a modernization of our nuclear weaponry.

    (It must also be noted that not all nuclear weapons are massive - the micro-bombs are designed for pin-point destruction with a big, localized pop. Something to take out hardened nuclear facilities.)

    As a final note, I would recommend Oliver Stone's series on the Presidents. He is not kind to any of them. These should be taken with a grain of salt, but Americans are frequently weak on alternate views of history which need to be considered.

    1. Thanks for reading and responding early this morning, Anton.

      As Ron kindly posted a little later in the morning, there were a number of military men who definitely made negative statements about the military necessity of the atomic bombs.

      As perhaps I did not stately clearly enough, Fletcher did not state his position to the "test case" about the dropping of the a-bombs. What I wrote was my interpretation of what I think he would have said--in agreement with what I have read others say about that.

    2. I must make two statements in response to questionable/false statements made in the second paragraph above.

      It is certainly true that the Japanese militarists fought in the name of the Emperor, but I think it is highly questionable that the Emperor himself was a "bold war-monger and tyrant." It is debatable how much he agreed with the war efforts, and certainly he didn't do anything to stop the war until right at the end. But I think his greatest "sin" was his inaction before and during the war, not his personally being an active warmonger.

      Secondly--and the main reason I mentioned the Hoover advice that Truman didn't take--at the end "unconditional" surrender was not demanded by the U.S. The Emperor was not brought to trial as a war criminal and was allowed to continue as Emperor and the "spiritual" head" of the nation until his death, decades later. Until August 1945 the unconditional surrender demand included the strong probability that the Emperor would be treated as a war criminal and possibly executed. I am convinced that if that threat had been dropped in June or July, and August a-bombing would not have been necessary.

  3. Thanks for reminding us of this perennial question, Leroy. I scanned the web and found strong arguments for use of the bomb, in particular the stubbornness of the Japanese military despite staggering losses.

    Then I found this on Quora, which seems to me the best way to leave the discussion. To have so many US military leaders who were actively involved and knew the dynamics far better than armchair philosophers many decades later, decisively condemn use of the atomic bombs on Japan, is hard to refute:

    Phil Boettge, Military history enthusiast.
    Re: “Would dropping an atomic weapon over an uninhabited area have caused Japan to surrender during WWII?”

    After the War in the Pacific ended, President Harry Truman ordered a survey of strategic bombing’s contribution to the war in the Pacific Theater as President Roosevelt had done for the War in Europe. The resulting US Strategic Bombing Survey Summary Report (Pacific War) was published on 1 July 1946. The survey concluded the following:

    “Based on 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.”

    United States Strategic Bombing Survey Summary Report (Pacific War), Washington, D.C. 1 July 1946 p. 26 para. 8.

    The testimony of history is that neither atomic bombs — on population centers or not — nor invasion of the Japanese mainland were necessary to force Japan’s surrender.

    Every single top American military commander in WWII criticized or condemned President Truman’s decision to employ atomic weapons against Japan.

    Admiral William D. Leahy, the President's Chief of Staff: "[T]he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan."

    Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet: ""The atomic bomb played no decisive part ... in the defeat of Japan."

    Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander U.S. Third Fleet: "The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment. . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it."

    Admiral Frank Wagner, in charge of air search-and-patrol of all the East Asian seas and coasts. "... that in all those millions of square miles there was literally not a single target worth the powder to blow it up ... ."

    1. Concerning the US Strategic Bombing Survey Summary Report: You are implying that you have read this report. Therefore, please also post the page numbers where said survey explains why the Japanese leaders would have surrendered by 1 November 1945. Please also inform us which Japanese leader's testimony this was based on. "Every single top American commander in WWII crirticized or condemned President Truman's decision to employ atomic weapon's against Japan." This is simply untrue. Shame on you!

  4. (Continued from the Quora quote):

    Rear Admiral L. Lewis Strauss, special assistant to the Secretary and later chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission: the use of the atomic bomb "was not necessary to bring the war to a successful conclusion".

    Ernest J. King, commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and chief of Naval Operations: "I didn't like the atom bomb or any part of it."

    Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces: “The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell.”

    Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, Arnold’s deputy: “Arnold's view was that it [the dropping of the atomic bomb] was unnecessary. He said that he knew the Japanese wanted peace.”

    Major General Curtis E. LeMay, commander of the Twenty-First Bomber Command: “the atomic bomb ‘had nothing to do with the end of the war.’ He said the war would have been over in two weeks without the use of the atomic bomb or the Russian entry into the war.”

    General MacArthur's pilot, Weldon E. Rhoades, noted in his diary: “General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster.”

    Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, commander of psychological warfare on MacArthur's staff: “Obviously . . . the atomic bomb neither induced the Emperor's decision to surrender nor had any effect on the ultimate outcome of the war."

    Brigadier Gen. Carter W. Clarke, commander of MAGIC intercepted cable summaries in 1945: “We brought them [the Japanese] down to an abject surrender through the accelerated sinking of their merchant marine and hunger alone, and 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.”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower when Secretary of War Stimson informed him the atomic bomb would be used: “… 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.”

    Some historical revisionists seek to justify employment of atomic bombs on Japan as necessary to compel Japan’s surrender. The recorded history of the military leaders and documentation of the time say otherwise.

    1. Thanks, Ron, for posting all of this pertinent information. I appreciate you including all of those important statements by important people. I had seen most of those statements but couldn't include them in a 600-word article. Thanks, again, for amplifying my point.

  5. I think Truman should have taken Hoovers advice and Not required unconditional surrender and let the people of Japan decide their form of government and NOT force it on them.

    Also, I don`t think they should have dropped the second bomb so soon after the first one and try other means of ending the war.

    Saving lives is a Good reason for dropping the bomb(s), but I think it would be better to loose lives of those in the Military than All those innocent children, women and men.

    Since JESUS is Love, I leave you with,"What would JESUS do?"

    1. Thanks for your pertinent comments, John Tim.

      I agree with you that the main ethical problem in the atomic bombings was the indiscriminate killing of civilians. As Anton wrote early this morning, "dropping the bombs was fully a violation of any just war doctrine I've ever read which includes not targeting noncombatants."

  6. Thinking Friend Truett Baker in Arizona shares the following comments:

    "Thanks for another thought-provoking blog. We live in a fallen world which creates moral dilemmas with poor choices. We can address preemptive war in general with the same questions.

    "There are so many scenarios that face us with hard moral choices. We used to use the example of the intruder who breaks into your house with a gun threatening you and your family. Do you just stand there and let him kill you and your family or do you resist to the point of killing the intruder?

    "I forgot what Hebrew I learned in seminary but I believe the word for 'kill' in the Ten Commandments is more accurately translated, 'murder.' Big difference. Knowing President Truman, the Missouri man that he was, I can't imagine the struggle he and his staff must have gone through to make that decision. I firmly believe that they did what they believed was best for our country."

    1. Thanks, Truett for commenting on the blog article I posted yesterday.

      The question you raised in the second paragraph is one pacifists, such as I, are often asked--and it is a question that has to be taken seriously. But in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the tens of thousands of noncombatants who were killed by the atomic bomb were nothing similar to intruders breaking into our houses. And in thinking of those who was not combatants, especially the little children, I am not sure there is any distinction that can be made in their case between "kill" and "murder."

      One other thing: I agree that Pres. Truman and his staff no doubt did what they believed was best for our country. But that still doesn't make it right. And if our current President launches warlike activities against North Korea and/or Iran, he will do so, I assume, because of believing that it would be best for our country. But, again, his believing that won't make it so.

    2. Leroy... it seems we humans have NEVER learned from experience... so different looking back.. than assessing the situation at point 0.... we are electing people to high positions that you nor I would want to tread the process... So.. IMHO opinion this is what we get... -Gar

  7. Thinking Friend Eric Dollard makes the following pertinent comments:

    "Thanks, Leroy, for revisiting this difficult topic.

    "I recently read that the Japanese leadership was considering surrender, but there was no assurance from the U S that the emperor would be retained. I do not know if this is true, but if so, then it is tragic since the emperor was retained anyway. Perhaps thousands of deaths would have been saved.

    "I strongly suspect, although I have not attempted a tabulation, even if one is possible, that in the last 5,000 years more people have been killed by warfare than all natural disasters combined (except perhaps for epidemics). War is humankind's stupidest folly, yet our governments and politicians continue to play the nationalism/tribalism card. When will it end?

    "Peace (seriously!)."

    1. Thanks, as always, Eric for your reading the blog article and for posting thoughtful comments.

      Yes, I think it is true that the fear of the Emperor being indicted as a war criminal and possibly executed was certainly the main reason why the militarists were not willing to surrender earlier in 1945, since it had become clear that they were defeated.

  8. I received the following comments from Thinking Friend Thomas Howell, a history professor at William Jewell College, and I appreciate him giving me permission to post his comments here.

    "This is an issue that I confront and discuss regularly since I teach my WWII class every semester and Michael Bess’s book is a text. It’s generally good to get some debate going.

    "At various times in my life I have been on each side of the issue, while always realizing there was a case for the other side. In defense of Truman, whom you apparently believe missed a real opportunity in May, 1945, to avoid the bomb, there are at least two points to be made: (1) The only fair assessment deals with Truman knew or had been told at the time. He had been president about a month, having not even known about the atomic bomb program before FDR’s death. To expect him to listen to Hoover, a bitter and relentless critic of FDR and most Democrats, and reverse, on such short notice, a position consistently taken by his revered and able predecessor and agreed upon by most of the 'experts' at the time is simply unrealistic (2) any belief that this change of position would have ended the war early is, at very best, hindsight. Truman had no evidence that it would work. The Japanese were fighting suicidally in defense of Okinawa and planning a desperate defense of their islands even utilizing children and housewives.

    "The official government, much less the military, gave no message or indication that they would do anything but fight on no matter what, in the belief that eventually the U.S. Would get tired and allow Japan to keep its (or most of its) gains. There were some very secret contact by certain individuals in Japan to the Soviet Union (neutral at the time) but Stalin gave Truman no hint of this.

    "A more legitimate attack on Truman, to the degree that there is one, has to do with whether there were viable alternatives in late July that could or should have been tried before using the bomb. And even defenders of Hiroshima often can be found to balk at the quick second bomb at Nagasaki. But that’s another argument.

    "Stone and Kuzick have little ground to stand on in calling Truman a 'small man.' He was an imperfect man in a dreadful situation but small? No way. Top ten president? Close, at least. I wish to goodness we had that small man now."

    1. Dr. Howell, I much appreciate your taking the time to write such meaningful comments.

      First, let me say that I thoroughly agree with your last paragraph.

      Concerning your first point: Yes, Truman was suddenly thrust into a terribly difficult situation when Roosevelt died in April. I am certainly sympathetic with the heavy load he was forced to bear and the difficult decision he had to make.

      Still, according to the Hoover book, it was Truman who called upon Hoover for advice. As you say, it is not surprising that he did not take Hoover's advice, but it was not given unsolicited. And my point was simply this: since the Allies ended up not demanding unconditional surrender, what a shame they (Truman) didn't take that option sooner.

      Concerning (2): Of course, anything we say about what might have been done differently is in hindsight. And Truman had no way of knowing what would work and what wouldn't. He didn't even know if the atomic bomb would "work." But he could have tried Hoover's suggestion sooner and then resorted to the bombs if that didn't work.

      Concerning the bombing of Nagasaki, which is another argument, I fully believe that even if the bombing of Hiroshima can be justified as a "necessary evil," there is no way the bombing of Nagasaki can be similarly justified.

    2. Dr. Howell responded by my reply with these further comments:

      "Thanks for your thoughtful (as always) response. I’m sure we will always have both agreement and disagreement over this situation.

      "Your point is correct if Japan would have agreed to surrender at that point. The contra is that it would have been at least as likely that it would have been taken as evidence that the Americans were at least beginning to weaken in their determination and that further resistance would bring further concessions--thereby strengthening the determination of the military and government to hold out.

      "I assume your response would be that then Truman could use the bomb and force surrender having at least made the effort. You say that the Allies ended up not demanding unconditional surrender—I assume you mean the Potsdam Declaration which can be reasonably interpreted that way. It did not lead immediate surrender, of course.

      "In fact the Japanese government response seemed to be a rejection. (I am aware of a difficulty with the translation of the word employed.) I don’t mean to keep going on this point. I am well aware that there are good arguments on all sides and none of us will ever 'win.' We are, after all, discussing a great and terrible tragedy, however the world got there and however the blame should be apportioned."

    3. Thanks, Thomas, for your further comments and for continuing this important discussion.

      As I understand it, the Potsdam Declaration was rather ambiguous, or at least not explicitly clear about the future of the Emperor. The Japanese militarists struggled with how to respond. But after the bombing and at the time of surrender, the Allies were able to interpret the Declaration as allowing the continuance of the Emperor, which, of course, is what happened.

      Of course, all of this is of no particularly importance now. Still, the great sadness remains because of what might have been much different had better (and clearer) decisions been made.

    4. Incorrect! There was no "continuance of the Emperor". After the war there was still a person who retained the title of "Emperor", but the prewar Emperor system was completely abolished. Also, there were no decisions by the Allies concerning the Emperor after the surrender. The SCAP decisions concerning the emperor were made by the Americans, much to the displeasure of the Australians and the Chinese.

  9. A local Thinking Friend wrote,

    "To ask whether the United States should have dropped the nuclear bombs is a non-historical question.

    "Should the United States government have invaded the Confederate states? Should the United States have entered World War I? Should Gerald Ford have pardoned former president Richard Nixon? Should the United States have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan? The answers cannot change the historical facts."

  10. As I wrote at the end of the article, "The historical events of 1945 cannot be changed, of course. But we humans should be able to learn from history." The only reason to study history is to learn from it.

    I did not intend to raise historical questions as such. My intent was to raise ethical questions pertinent to the present. Thinking about what the U.S. has done in the past, right or wrong, should help us determine what we are willing to support or oppose on what may soon develop into warlike activities against North Korea and/or Iran.

  11. Thanks for instigating and moderating a fascinating discussion—old as the discussion is, some aspects of that decision remain contemporary. What should be our position and how much attention and support should be given to continued development of the non-nuclear proliferation agreement? Not just for North Korea and Iran, but for the U.S. with its reduced but still developing nuclear arsenal?
    Persons who have not informed by the many factors brought forward in this discussion may have a wide diversity of opinion still. What is happening to the non-nuclear proliferation treaty ratification and further development today? What will the U.S. do to stop North Korea and Iran obtain nuclear military options? What is in actuality our policy about the killing of civilians, given current ISIS actions in Syria and ISIS-infiltrated areas where military mingles with civilians?
    Your last paragraph is very important and the information supplied about the thinking of military leaders at the time and about alternative options were very helpful. More than I think viewers get, I think, in visiting the decision room at the Truman library here in Independence where visitors are still being encouraged to endorse or balk at Truman’s action.

  12. Thanks for instigating and moderating a fascinating discussion—old as the discussion is, some aspects of that decision remain contemporary. What should be our position and how much attention and support should be given to continued development of the non-nuclear proliferation agreement? Not just for North Korea and Iran, but for the U.S. with its reduced but still developing nuclear arsenal?
    Persons who have not informed by the many factors brought forward in this discussion may have a wide diversity of opinion still. What is happening to the non-nuclear proliferation treaty ratification and further development today? What will the U.S. do to stop North Korea and Iran obtain nuclear military options? What is in actuality our policy about the killing of civilians, given current ISIS actions in Syria and ISIS-infiltrated areas where military mingles with civilians?
    Your last paragraph is very important and the information supplied about the thinking of military leaders at the time and about alternative options were very helpful. More than I think viewers get, I think, in visiting the decision room at the Truman library here in Independence where visitors are still being encouraged to endorse or balk at Truman’s action.

  13. Andrew Burnside is an active member, and regular worship leader, at Rosedale Congregational Church of Christ in Kansas City, Kansas. I met him when he was still in high school and now he is beginning his third year as a student at Rockhurst University.

    I have exchanged emails with Andrew since I preached at Rosedale Church on July 30 with Andrew as worship leader. I am pleased that he has given me permission to post his comments on this blog article.

    "I just read the article about the atomic bombs fired on H & N to end the conflict with Japan during WW2. I believe that it is, sadly, common of many Americans to defend the bombings without much thought involved about the matter.

    "I find that a theme present in the decision to force a total surrender of Japan to the American Empire was that of a strong sense of nationalism. It was present in many nations during the time, including Japan, especially leading to WW1. This strain continued into WW2, and was fired up in America after Pearl Harbor. This is evidenced by the amount of volunteers America had for its military following Pearl Harbor, and the decision to place many Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants into internment camps."

  14. Leroy, I read this while I was oversees, but it followed my having visited Monte Cassino, the abbey where St. Benedict founded the Benedictine Order in 529 AD. The abbey was bombed and completely destroyed by Allied (American) forces in WWII. The abbey is located on a low mountain outside the town of Cassino, which was on the road leading from the south of Italy to Rome. While the Germans were entrenched in the mountainside, intelligence suggested the Germans were in the abbey. So it was decided the abbey would be bombed. A message was sent saying bombing would happen, but without a timeline. The bombs fell two days later while the abbey was still occupied by monks and visitors. An American documentary done in 1952 suggested locals agreed there was no way to avoid the abbey being bombed. Our 20-something tour guide at the abbey suggested the Americans interpreted the intelligence incorrectly so they could bomb the abbey. She said many in her generation felt the Americans wanted it bombed in order to show their power.

    Because the abbey had archived so many photos of the abbey and still retained the building plans, the abbey was able to be completely rebuilt as it was before the bombing by 1963. It is a beautiful, peaceful place to visit. Today only 12 monks are active in this enormous abbey. I couldn't help see some parallels to your post on Hiroshima and Monte Cassino...mainly the question, was it truly necessary? Grateful that people in both places have been able to rebuild and move forward after such horrific events.

  15. I had a difficult time to say anything for I absolutely oppose nuclear bomb and I knew the two a-bombs stopped further killing. A difficult choice indeed.

  16. "at the end unconditional surrender was not demanded by the US " This statement is false. The United States never made any conditions or guarantees concerning the Emperor. The Australians and the Chinese would have vociferously protested this. Even more egregious is the claim that Emperor was allowed to remain the Emperor. This is not true at all. The only thing that the Emperor retained was his title. The emperor also did not remain the "spiritual head" of the nation until his death. Under the postwar constitution the Emperor is the symbol of Japan.

  17. After reading through these comments I should point out that not one person presented any Japanese documentation from the Japanese leaders themselves, that in August 1945 the Japanese government was planning to surrender any time soon. The comments from various Americans about the Japanese were going to do are essentially just hearsay and should be treated as such.

  18. Truman didn't have to depend upon the outside advice of Herbert Hoover to drop the unconditional surrender terms and achieve precisely the end in Japan that he got after the bloody battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the dropping of the two A-bombs. He was getting the same advice from his Navy secretary, James Forrestal. The main result in the needless delay in dropping the demand was the Communist takeover of China and half of Korea. See and