The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (1959)

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The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (1959)

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From Command Decisions, Center of Military History, Washington DC: 1959/2000, pp. 493-518.

Part 1:
Chapter 23

The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb

by Louis Morton
(See Chapter One for information on the author.)

On 6 August 1945 the United States exploded an atomic bomb over Hiroshima and revealed to the world in one blinding flash the start of the atomic age. As the meaning of this explosion and the nature of the force unleashed became apparent, a chorus of voices rose in protest against the decision that opened the Pandora's box of atomic warfare.

The decision to use the atomic bomb was made by President Truman. There was never any doubt of that and despite the rising tide of criticism Mr. Truman took full responsibility for his action. Only recently succeeded to the Presidency after the death of Roosevelt and beset by a multitude of problems of enormous significance for the postwar world, Mr. Truman leaned heavily on the advice of his senior and most trusted advisers on the question of the bomb. But the final decision was his and his alone. [1]

The justification for using the atomic bomb was that it ended the war, or at least ended it sooner and thereby saved countless American-and Japanese-lives. But had it? Had not Japan been defeated and was she not already on the verge of surrender? What circumstances, it was asked, justified the fateful decision that "blasted the web of history and, like the discovery of fire, severed past from present"? [2]

The first authoritative explanation of how and why it was decided to use the bomb came in February 1947 from Henry L. Stimson, wartime Secretary of War and the man who more than any other was responsible for advising the President in this matter. [3] This explana-

[1] The study that follows was published in substantially its present form in Foreign Affairs, Vol. XXV, No. 2 (January, 1957). It is reprinted by special permission from Foreign Affairs; copyright by Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
[2] James Phinney Baxter, 3rd, Scientists Against Time (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946), p. 419.
[3] Henry L. Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's Magazine (February, 1947). The article is reproduced with additional comments in Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), Chapter XIII, and in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. III, No. 2 (February, 1947).

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tion did not answer all the questions or still the critics. During the years that have followed others have revealed their part in the decision and in the events shaping it. These explanations have not ended the controversy but they have brought to light additional facts bearing on the decision to use the bomb.

The Interim Committee

The epic story of the development of the atomic bomb is well known. [4] It began in 1939 when a small group of eminent scientists in this country called to the attention of the United States Government the vast potentialities of atomic energy for military purposes and warned that the Germans were already carrying on experiments in this field. The program initiated October of that year with a very modest appropriation and later expanded into the two-billion-dollar Manhattan Project had only one purpose-to harness the energy of the atom in a chain reaction to produce a bomb that could be carried by aircraft if possible, and to produce it before the Germans could. [5] That such a bomb, if produced, would be used, no responsible official ever questioned. "At no time from 1941 to 1945," declared Mr. Stimson, "did I ever hear it suggested by the President, or by another responsible member of the Government, that atomic energy should not be used in that war." And Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer recalled in 1954 that "we always assumed if they [atomic bombs] were needed, they would be used." [6]

So long as the success of the project remained in doubt there seems to have been little or no discussion of the effects of an atomic weapon or the circumstances under which it would be used. "During the
[4] The best semitechnical account of the development of the bomb is by H. D. Smyth, A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes ... (Washington, 1945). An excellent short account is in Baxter, Scientists Against Time, pp. 419-50. The best popular accounts are W. L. Laurence, Dawn Over Zero (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946) and J. W. Campbell, The Atomic Story (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1947). For a graphic account of the establishment of the Los Alamos Laboratory, see the testimony of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer in U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Transcript of Hearings Before Personnel Security Board in the Matter of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, 12 April-6 May 1954 (Washington, 1954), pp. 12-15, 28-29. For a vivid account of the bombing see Merle Miller and Abe Spitzer, We Dropped the A-Bomb (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1946), and Laurence, Dawn Over Zero, pp. 207-11.
[5]The one exception was the Navy's work in the field of atomic energy as a source of power for naval vessels, Hearings Before the Special Committee on Atomic Energy, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., Senate, S.R. 179, Part 3, pp. 364-89, testimony of Dr. Ross Gunn.
[6] Stimson, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 98; Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 33.

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early days of the project," one scientist recalled, "we spent little time thinking about the possible effects of the bomb we were trying to make." [7] It was a "neck-and-neck race with the Germans," the outcome of which might well determine who would be the victor in World War II. But as Germany approached defeat and as the effort to produce an atomic bomb offered increasing promise of success, those few men who knew what was being done and who appreciated the enormous implications of atomic energy became more and more concerned. Most of this concern came from the scientists in the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where by early 1945 small groups began to question the advisability of using the weapon they were trying so hard to build. [8] It was almost as if they hoped the bomb would not work after it was completed.

On the military side, realization that a bomb would probably be ready for testing in the summer of 1945 led to concrete planning for the use of the new weapon, on the assumption that the bomb when completed would work. By the end of 1944 a list of possible targets in Japan had been selected, and a B-29 squadron was trained for the specific job of delivering the bomb. [9] It was also necessary to inform certain commanders in the Pacific about the project, and on 30 December 1944 Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, head of the Manhattan District, recommended that this be done. [10]

Even at this stage of development no one could estimate accurately when the bomb would be ready or guarantee that, when ready, it would work. It is perhaps for this reason-and because of the complete secrecy surrounding the project-that the possibility of an atomic weapons never entered into the deliberations of the strategic planners. It was, said Admiral William D. Leahy, "the best kept secret of the entire war" and only a handful of the top civilian and military officials in Washington knew about the bomb. [11] As a matter of fact, one
[7] Hearing Before the Special Committee on Atomic Energy, Part 2, p. 302, testimony of Dr. John A. Simpson.
[8] Ibid., p. 303; Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 33, Leo Slizard, "A Personal History of the Bomb," The Atlantic Community Faces the Bomb, University of Chicago Roundtable 601, September 25, 1949, p. 14; Arthur H. Compton, Atomic Quest (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1956); Alice Kimball Smith, "Behind the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: Chicago 1944-45," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, XIV, No. 8 (October, 1958), pp. 288-312.
[9] Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Forces in World War II, Vol. V, The Pacific, Matterhorn to Nagasaki (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 705-08.
[10] Memo, Groves for CofS, 30 Dec 44, sub: Atomic Fission Bombs, printed in Foreign Relations of the United States: The Conferences at Malta-Yalta, 1945 (Washington, 1955) (hereafter cited as Malta-Yalta Conferences).
[11] Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, I Was There (New York: Whittlesey House, 1950), p. 434.

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bright brigadier general who innocently suggested that the Army might do well to look into the possibilities of atomic energy suddenly found himself the object of the most intensive investigation. [12] So secret was the project, says John J. McCloy, that when he raised the subject at a White House meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 1945 it "caused a sense of shock even among that select group." [13] It was not until March 1945 that it became possible to predict with certainty that the bomb would be completed in time for testing in July. On March 15, Mr. Stimson discussed the project for the last time with President Roosevelt, but their conversation dealt mainly with the effects of the use of the bomb, not with the question of whether it ought to be used. [14] Even at this late date, there does not seem to have been any doubt at the highest levels that the bomb would be used against Japan if it would help bring the war to an early end. But on lower levels, and especially among the scientists at the Chicago laboratory, there was considerable reservation about the advisability of using the bomb. [15]

After President Roosevelt's death, it fell to Stimson to brief the new President about the atomic weapon. At a White House meeting on 25 April, he outlined the history and status of the program and predicted that "within four months we shall in all probability have completed the most terrible weapon ever known in human history." [16] This meeting, like Stimson's last meeting with Roosevelt, dealt largely with the political and diplomatic consequences of the use of such a weapon rather than with the timing and manner of employment, the circumstances under which it would be used, or whether it would be used at all. The answers to these questions depended on factors not yet known. But Stimson recommended, and the President approved, the appointment of a special committee to consider them. [17]

[12] Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), pp. 347, 348n.
[13] John J. McCloy, The Challenge to American Foreign Policy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953), p. 42. See also Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King and Walter Muir Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King (New York: Norton, 1952), pp. 620-21; James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), p. 257.
[14] Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, page 98, prints the memorandum Stimson prepared on this conversation; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, page 621, indicates the status of the project and the optimism of the period. See also, Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 258.
[15] Hearings, Before the Special Committee on Atomic Energy, Part 2, p. 303ff, testimony of Dr. Simpson.
[16] His memorandum of this meeting is printed in Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's pages 99-100.
[17] Ibid., Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, Vol. I, Year of Decisions (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1955), pp. 10-11; William Hillman, ed., Mr. President (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1952), p. 249; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 259. President Truman actually first learned about the bomb from Byrnes.

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This special committee, known as the Interim Committee, played a vital role in the decision to use the bomb. Secretary Stimson was chairman, and George L. Harrison, President of the New York Life Insurance Company and special consultant in the Secretary's office, took the chair when he was absent. James F. Byrnes, who held no official position at the time, was President Truman's personal representative. Other members were Ralph A. Bard, Under Secretary of the Navy, William L. Clayton, Assistant Secretary of State, and Drs. Vannevar Bush, Karl T. Compton, and James B. Conant. Generals Marshall and Groves attended at least one and possibly more of the meetings of the committee. [18]

The work of the Interim Committee, in Stimson's words, "ranged over the whole field of atomic energy, in its political, military, and scientific aspects." [19] During the first meeting the scientific members reviewed for their colleagues the development of the Manhattan Project and described vividly the destructive power of the atomic bomb. They made it clear also that there was no known defense against this kind of attack. Another day was spent with the engineers and industrialists who had designed and built the huge plants at Oak Ridge and Hanford. Of particular concern to the committee was the question of how long it would take another country, particularly the Soviet Union, to produce an atomic bomb. "Much of the discussion," recalled Dr. Oppenheimer who attended the meeting of 1 June as a member of a scientific panel, "revolved around the question raised by Secretary Stimson as to whether there was any hope at all of using this development to get less barbarous relations with the Russians." [20]

The work of the Interim Committee was completed 1 June 1945, [21] when it submitted its report to the President, recommending unanimously that:

1. The bomb should be used against Japan as soon as possible.

2. It should be used against a military target surrounded by other buildings.

3. It should be used without prior warning of the nature of the weapon. (One member, Ralph A. Bard, later dissented from this portion of the committee's recommendation.)
[18] Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 100; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 259; Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 34; Smith, "Behind the Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb: Chicago 1944-45," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, pp. 296-97.
[19] Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 100.
[20] Oppenheimer Hearings, pp. 34, 257, testimony of Drs. Oppenheimer and Compton; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 260-61; Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, pp. 100-101.
[21] Stimson "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 101; Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 419. Byrnes mistakenly states that the Interim Committee made its recommendations on 1 July. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly.

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"The conclusions of the Committee," wrote Stimson, "were similar to my own, although I reached mine independently. I felt that to extract a genuine surrender from the Emperor and his military adviser s, they must be administered a tremendous shock which would carry convincing proof of our power to destroy the empire. Such an effective shock would save many times the number of lives, both American and Japanese, than it would cost." [22]

Among the scientists working on the Manhattan Project were many who did not agree. To them, the "wave of horror and repulsion" that might follow the sudden use of an atomic bomb would more than outweigh its military advantages. "It may be very difficult," they declared, "to persuade the world that a nation which was capable of secretly preparing and suddenly releasing a new weapon, as indiscriminate as the rocket bomb and a thousand times more destructive, is to be trusted in its proclaimed desire of having such weapons abolished by international agreement." [23] The procedure these scientists recommended was, first, to demonstrate the new weapon "before the eyes of representatives of all the United Nations on the desert or a barren island," and then to issue "a preliminary ultimatum" to Japan. If this ultimatum was rejected, and "if sanction of the United Nations (and of public opinion at home) were obtained," then and only then, said the scientists, should the United States consider using the bomb. "This may sound fantastic," they said, "but in nuclear weapons we have something entirely new in order of magnitude of destructive power, and if we want to capitalize fully on the advantage their possession gives us, we must use new and imaginative methods." [24]

These views, which were forwarded to the Secretary of War on 11 June 1945, were strongly supported by sixty-four of the scientists in the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory in a petition sent directly to the President. At about the same time, at the request of Dr. Arthur H. Compton, a poll was taken of the views of more than a hundred and fifty scientists at the Chicago Laboratory. Five alternatives ranging from all-out use of the bomb to "keeping the existence of the bomb a secret" were presented. Of those polled, about two thirds voted for
[22] Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 101. The same idea is expressed by Winston S. Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1953), p. 638-39.
[23] "Report of the Committee on Social and Political Implications," signed by Professor James Franck of the University of Chicago and submitted to the Secretary of War, 11 June 1945, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 1, No. 10 (May 1, 1946), p. 3; Smith, "Behind the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: Chicago 1944-45," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, pp. 299-302.
[24] Ibid, pp. 3-4.

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a preliminary demonstration, either on a military objective or an uninhabited locality; the rest were split on all-out use and no use at all.

These views, and presumably others, were referred by Secretary Stimson to a distinguished Scientific Panel consisting of Drs. Arthur H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, E. O. Lawrence, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, all nuclear physicists of the first rank. "We didn't know beans about the military situation," Oppenheimer later said. "We didn't know whether they [the Japanese] could be caused to surrender by other means or whether the invasion [of Japan] was really inevitable.... We thought the two overriding considerations were the saving of lives in the war and the effect of our actions on the stability of the post-war world." [26] On 16 June the panel reported that it had studied carefully the proposals made by the scientists but could see no practical way of ending the war by a technical demonstration. Almost regretfully, it seemed, the four members of the panel concluded that there was "no acceptable alternative to direct military use." [27] "Nothing would have been more damaging to our effort," wrote Stimson, "than a warning or demonstration followed by a dud-and this was a real possibility." With this went the fear expressed by Byrnes, that if the Japanese were warned that an atomic bomb would be exploded over a military target in Japan as a demonstration, "they might bring our boys who were prisoners of war to that area." [28] Furthermore, only two bombs would be available by August, the number General Groves estimated would be needed to end the war; these two would have to obtain the desired effect quickly. And no one yet knew, nor would the scheduled ground test in New Mexico prove, whether a bomb dropped from an airplane would explode. [29]

Nor, for that matter, were all those concerned certain that the bomb would work at all, on the ground or in the air. Of these doubters, the greatest was Admiral Leahy, who until the end remained unconvinced. "This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done," he told Truman after Vannevar Bush had explained to the President how the bomb worked. "The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." [30]
[25] Ibid., p. I; Szilard, "A Personal History of the Bomb," University of Chicago Roundtable 601, p. 15. See also P. M. S. Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb (New York: Whittlesey House, 1949), pp. 114-16.
[26] Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 34.
[27] Quoted in Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 101. The Scientific Panel was established to advise the Interim Committee and its report was made to that body.
[28] Ibid.; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 261.
[29] Ibid.; Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 163, testimony of General Groves.
[30] Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 11. Leahy in his memoirs frankly admits this error.

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President's civilian advisers on the use of the bomb. The arguments of the opponents had been considered and rejected. So far as is known, the President did not solicit the views of the military or naval staffs, nor were they offered.

Military Considerations

The military situation on 1 June 1945, when the Interim Committee submitted its recommendations on the use of the atomic bomb, was distinctly favorable to the Allied cause. Germany had surrendered in May and troops from Europe would soon be available for redeployment in the Pacific. Manila had fallen in February; Iwo Jima was in American hands; and the success of the Okinawa invasion was assured. Air and submarine attacks had all but cut off Japan from the resources of the Indies, and B-29's from the Marianas were pulverizing Japan's cities and factories. The Pacific Fleet had virtually driven the Imperial Navy from the ocean, and planes of the fast carrier forces were striking Japanese naval bases in the Inland Sea. Clearly, Japan was a defeated nation.

Though defeated in a military sense, Japan showed no disposition to surrender unconditionally. And Japanese troops had demonstrated time and again that they could fight and inflict heavy casualties even when the outlook was hopeless. Allied plans in the spring of 1945 took these facts into account and proceeded on the assumption that an invasion of the home islands would be required to achieve at the earliest possible date the unconditional surrender of Japan-the announced objective of the war and the first requirement of all strategic planning. [31]

Other means of achieving this objective had been considered and, in early June, had not yet been entirely discarded. One of these called for the occupation of a string of bases around Japan to increase the intensity of air bombardment. Combined with a tight naval blockade, such a course would, many believed, produce the same results as an invasion and at far less cost in lives. [32] "I was unable to see any justification," Admiral Leahy later wrote, "for an invasion of an already thoroughly defeated Japan. I feared the cost would be enormous in
[31] For an account of the strategic plans evolved for the defeat of Japan, see The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan: Military Plans, 1941-1945 (Department of Defense Press Release, September 1955), pp. 28, 62-67, and passim, Cline, Washington CommandPost, Ch. XVII; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 383-85; Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. V, p. 702, and passim.
[32] The alternatives to invasion were outlined by General Marshall for MacArthur in a message of 12 April 1945, reproduced in The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 54-55.

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both lives and treasure." Admiral King and other senior naval officers agreed. To them it had always seemed, in King's words, "that the defeat of Japan could be accomplished by sea and air power alone, without the necessity of actual invasion of the Japanese home islands by ground troops. " [33]

The main arguments for an invasion of Japan-the plans called for an assault against Kyushu (OLYMPIC) on 1 November 1945, and against Honshu (CORONET) five months later-are perhaps best summarized by General Douglas MacArthur. Writing to the Chief of Staff on 20 April 1945, he declared that this course was the only one that would permit application of the full power of our combined resources-ground, naval, and air-on the decisive objective. Japan, he believed, would probably be more difficult to invade the following year. An invasion of Kyushu at an early date would, moreover, place United States forces in the most favorable position for the decisive assault against Honshu in 1946, and would "continue the offensive methods which have proved so successful in Pacific campaigns." [34] Reliance upon bombing alone, MacArthur asserted, was still an unproved formula for success, as was evidenced by the bomber offensive against Germany. The seizure of a ring of bases around Japan would disperse Allied forces even more than they already were, MacArthur pointed out, and (if an attempt was made to seize positions on the China coast) might very well lead to long-drawn-out operations on the Asiatic mainland.

Though the Joint Chiefs had accepted the invasion concept as the basis for preparations, and had issued a directive for the Kyushu assault on 25 May, it was well understood that the final decision was yet to be made. By mid-June the time had come for such a decision and during that period the Joint Chiefs reviewed the whole problem of Japanese strategy. Finally, on 18 June, at a meeting in the White House, they presented the alternatives to President Truman. Also present (according to the minutes) were Secretaries Stimson and James V. Forrestal and Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy. [35]

General Marshall presented the case for invasion and carried his colleagues with him, although both Admirals Leahy and King later
[33] Leahy, I Was There, pp. 384-85; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, p. 598. See also H. H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949), pp. 595-96; Major General Charles A. Willoughby and John Chamberlain, MacArthur, 1941-1951 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954), pp. 287-88.
[34] This message is reproduced in The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 55-57.
[35] For a summary of this meeting, see The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 77 85. See also, McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, pp. 42-43; Walter Millis, ed., The Forrestal Diaries (New York: Viking Press, 1951), pp. 70-71; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 383-85; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, pp. 598, 605-06.

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declared they did not favor the plan. After considerable discussion of casualties and of the difficulties ahead, President Truman made his decision. Kyushu would be invaded as planned and preparations for the landing were to be pushed through to completion. Preparations for the Honshu assault would continue, but no final decision would be made until preparations had reached the point "beyond which there would not be opportunity for a free choice." [36] The program thus approved by Truman called for:

1. Air bombardment and blockade of Japan from bases in Okinawa, Iwo Jima, the Marianas, and the Philippines.

2. Assault of Kyushu on 1 November 1945, and intensification of blockade and air bombardment.

3. Invasion of the industrial heart of Japan through the Tokyo Plain in central Honshu, tentative target date 1 March 1946. [37]

During the White House meeting of June 18, there was discussion of the possibility of ending the war by political means. The President displayed a deep interest in the subject and both Stimson and McCloy emphasized the importance of the "large submerged class in Japan who do not favor the present war and whose full opinion and influence had never yet been felt." [35] There was discussion also of the atomic bomb, since everyone present knew about the bomb and the recommendations of the Interim Committee. The suggestion was made that before the bomb was dropped, the Japanese should be warned that the United States had such a weapon. "Not one of the Chiefs nor the Secretary," recalled M0r. McCloy, "thought well of a bomb warning, an effective argument being that no one could be certain, in spite of the assurances of the scientists, that the 'thing would go off.'" [39]

Though the defeat of the enemy's armed forces in the Japanese homeland was considered a prerequisite to Japan's surrender, it did not follow that Japanese forces elsewhere, especially those on the Asiatic mainland, would surrender also. It was to provide for just this contingency, as well as to pin down those forces during the invasion of
[36] McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, p. 41. See also sources cited in preceding note.
[37] The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, p. 90; Leahy, I Was There, p. 385; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, p. 606; Malta-Yalta Conferences, pp. 388-400, 827-32.
[38] The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, p. 83; Joseph C. Grew, The Turbulent Era, edited by Walter Johnson, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1952), Ch. XXXVI; McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, pp. 42-43; Ltr, McCloy to Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. Foreign Affairs, 18 Jun 56.
[39] McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, p. 43. See also Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, pp. 70-71.

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the home islands, that the Joint Chiefs had recommended Soviet entry into the war against Japan.

Soviet participation was a goal long pursued by the Americans. [40] Both political and military authorities seem to have been convinced from the start that Soviet assistance, conceived in various ways, would shorten the war and lessen the cost. In October 1943, Marshal Stalin had told Cordell Hull, then in Moscow for a conference, that the Soviet Union would eventually declare war on Japan. At the Tehran Conference in November of that year, Stalin had given the Allies formal notice of this intention and reaffirmed it in October 1944. In February 1945, at the Yalta Conference, Roosevelt and Stalin had agreed on the terms of Soviet participation in the Far Eastern war. Thus by June 1945, the Americans could look forward to Soviet intervention at a date estimated as three months after the defeat of Germany.

But by the summer of 1945 the Americans had undergone a change of heart. Though the official position of the War Department still held that "Russian entry will have a profound military effect in that almost certainly it will materially shorten the war and thus save American lives," [41] few responsible American officials were eager for Soviet intervention or as willing to make concessions as they had been at an earlier period. [42] What had once appeared extremely desirable appeared less so now that the war in Europe was over and Japan was virtually defeated. President Truman, one official recalled, stated during a meeting devoted to the question of Soviet policy that agreements with Stalin had up to that time been "a one-way street" and that "he intended thereafter to be firm in his dealings with the Russians." [43] And at the 18 June meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the President, Admiral King had declared that "regardless of the desirability of the Russians entering the war, they were not indispensa-
[40] An excellent official summary of this subject which reproduces the most important documents is The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan. The subject is also well covered in Ernest R. May, "The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Far Eastern War, 1941-1945," Pacific Historical Review (May, 1955), pages 153-74. See also, John R. Deane, The Strange Alliance (New York: Viking Press, 1947); Statement of W. Averell Harriman in MacArthur Hearings, 82d Cong., 1st Sess. (Washington, 1951), Part 5, pp. 3328-42, William H. McNeill, America, Britain, and Russia, Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941-1946 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953).
[41] Ltr, Stimson to Grew, 21 May 45, reproduced in Grew, The Turbulent Era, Vol. II. p. 1458, and in The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 70-71.
[42] For expressions of this view, see Deane, The Strange Alliance, pp. 263-65; Leahy. I Was There, pp. 318, 339; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 207-09; Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, p. 78; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, p. 606.
[43] Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, p. 50, minute by Charles E. Bohlen dated 23 April 1945, Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 72.

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ble and he did not think we should go as far as to beg them to come in." [44] Though the cost would be greater, he had no doubt "we could handle it alone."

The failure of the Soviets to abide by agreements made at Yalta had also done much to discourage the American desire for further cooperation with them. But after urging Stalin for three years to declare war on Japan, the United States Government could hardly ask him now to remain neutral. Moreover, there was no way of keeping the Russians out even if there had been a will to do so. In Harriman's view, "Russia would come into the war regardless of what we might do." [45]

A further difficulty was that Allied intelligence still indicated that Soviet intervention would be desirable, if not necessary, for the success of the invasion strategy. In Allied intelligence, Japan was portrayed as a defeated nation whose military leaders were blind to defeat. Though her industries had been seriously crippled by air bombardment and naval blockade and her armed forces were critically deficient in many of the resources of war, Japan was still far from surrender. She had ample reserves of weapons and ammunition and an army of 5,000,000 troops, 2,000,000 of them in the home islands. The latter could be expected to put up a strong resistance to invasion. In the opinion of the intelligence experts, neither blockade nor bombing alone would produce unconditional surrender before the date set for invasion. And the invasion itself, they believed, would be costly and possibly prolonged. [46]

According to these intelligence reports, the Japanese leaders were fully aware of their desperate situation but would continue to fight in the hope of avoiding complete defeat by securing a better bargaining position. Allied war-weariness and disunity, or some miracle, they hoped, would offer them a way out. "The Japanese believe," declared an intelligence estimate of 30 June, "that unconditional surrender would be the equivalent of national extinction, and there are as yet no indications that they are ready to accept such terms." [47] It appeared
[44] The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, p. 85.
[45] Statement to Leahy quoted in I Was There, p. 369. See also Harriman's statement. MacArthur Hearings, Part 5, p. 3341; War Department memorandum of 21 May 1945. quoted in Grew, The Turbulent Era, Vol. II, p. 1458.
[46] The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 85-88; OPD Study by Brig. Gen. George A. Lincoln, dated 4 June 1945, quoted in Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 344. See also, Leahy, I Was There, pp. 343, 346-47; Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, pp. 101-02; Willoughby and Chamberlain, MacArthur, 1941-1951, p. 286; Allied Operations in Southwest Pacific Area, GHQ SWPA, I, pp. 397-404.
[47] G-2 Memorandum prepared for OPD and quoted in Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 347. The same study was presented to the Combined Chiefs and is reproduced in part in The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 85-88.

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also to the intelligence experts that Japan might surrender at any time "depending upon the conditions of surrender" the Allies might offer. Clearly these conditions, to have any chance of acceptance, would have to include retention of the imperial system. [48]

How accurate were these estimates? Judging from postwar accounts of Japan, they were very close to the truth. Since the defeat at Saipan, when Tojo had been forced to resign, the strength of the "peace army" had been increasing. In September 1944 the Swedish Minister in Tokyo had been approached unofficially, presumably in the name of Prince Konoye, to sound out the Allies on terms of peace. This overture came to nought, as did another the following March. But the Swedish Minister did learn that those who advocated peace in Japan regarded the Allied demand for unconditional surrender as their greatest obstacle. [49]

The Suzuki Cabinet that came into power in April 19,45 had an unspoken mandate from the Emperor to end the war as quickly as possible. But it was faced immediately with an additional problem when the Soviet Government announced it would not renew the neutrality pact after April 1946. The German surrender in May produced another crisis in the Japanese Government and led, after considerable discussion, to a decision to seek Soviet mediation. But the first approach, made on June 3 to Jacob Malik, the Soviet Ambassador, produced no results. Malik was noncommittal and merely said the problem needed further study. [50]

At the end of June, the Japanese finally approached the Soviet Government directly through Ambassador Sato in Moscow, asking that it mediate with the Allies to bring the Far Eastern war to an end. In a series of messages between Tokyo and Moscow, which the Americans intercepted and decoded, the Japanese Foreign Office outlined the position of the government and instructed Ambassador Sato to make arrangements for a special envoy from the Emperor who would be empowered to make terms for Soviet mediation. Unconditional surrender, he was told, was completely unacceptable, and time was of the essence. But the Russians, on one pretext and another, delayed their answer until mid-July when Stalin and Molotov left for Potsdam. Thus, the Japanese Government had by then accepted
[48] Ibid. This view is presented by Karl T. Compton in an article entitled "If the Atomic Bomb Had Not Been Dropped," Atlantic Monthly (December, 1946), pp. 54-60.
[49] Robert J. C. Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1954), pp. 40, 54-57. Other accounts of the situation in Japan are Toshikazu Kase, Journey to the MISSOURI (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950); U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Japan's Struggle To End the War (Washington, 1946); Takushiro Hattori, Complete History of the Greater East Asia War (Japan: Masu Shobo Co., 1953), Vol. IV.
[50] Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender, pp. 90-91, 125-31; Hattori, Complete History of the Greater East Asia War, Vol. IV, pp. 274, 312-16, USSBS, Japan's Struggle to End the War, pp. 6-7; Kase, Journey to the MISSOURI, pp. 193-94.

Page 506

defeat and was seeking desperately for a way out; but it was not willing even at this late date to surrender unconditionally, and would accept no terms that did not include the preservation of the imperial system.

Allied intelligence had estimated the situation in Japan correctly. Allied invasion strategy had been re-examined and confirmed in mid- June, and the date for the invasion fixed. The desirability of Soviet assistance had been confirmed also and plans for Russian entry into the war during August could now be made. No decision had been reached on the use of the atomic bomb, but the President's advisers had recommended it. The decision was the President's and he faced it squarely. But before he could make it he would want to know whether the measures already concerted would produce unconditional surrender at the earliest moment and at the lowest cost. If they could not, then he would have to decide whether circumstances warranted employment of a bomb that Stimson had already labeled as "the most terrible weapon ever known in human history."

The Decision

Though responsibility for the decision to use the atomic bomb was the President's, he exercised it only after careful study of the recommendations of his senior advisers. Chief among these was the Secretary of War, under whose broad supervision the Manhattan Project had been placed. Already deeply concerned over the cost of the projected invasion, the political effects of Soviet intervention, and the potential consequences of the use of the atomic bomb, Stimson sought a course that would avoid all these evils. The difficulty, as he saw it, lay in the requirement for unconditional surrender. It was a phrase that might make the Japanese desperate and lead to a long and unnecessary campaign of attrition that would be extremely costly to both sides. [51] But there was no way of getting around the term; it was firmly rooted in Allied war aims and its renunciation was certain to lead to charges of appeasement.

But if this difficulty could be overcome, would the Japanese respond if terms were offered? The intelligence experts thought so, and the radio intercepts from Tokyo to Moscow bore them out. [52] So far as the Army was concerned there was much to be gained by such a course. Not only might it reduce the enormous cost of the war, but
[51] Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, p. 102; Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 345; Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, pp. 68-70.
[52] Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, pp. 74-77; Ellis M. Zacharias, Secret Missions (New York: Putnam, 1946), p. 335.

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it would also make possible a settlement in the western Pacific "before too many of our allies are committed there and have made substantial contributions toward the defeat of Japan." [53] In the view of the War Department these aims justified "any concessions which might be attractive to the Japanese, so long as our realistic aims for peace in the Pacific are not adversely affected." [54]

The problem was to formulate terms that would meet these conditions. There was considerable discussion of this problem in Washington in the spring of 1945 by officials in the Department of State and in the War and Navy Departments. Joseph C. Grew, Acting Secretary of State, proposed to the President late in May that he issue a proclamation urging the Japanese to surrender and assuring them that they could keep the Emperor. Though Truman did not act on the suggestion, he thought it "a sound idea" and told Grew to discuss it with his cabinet colleagues and the Joint Chiefs. On 18 June, Grew was back with the report that these groups favored the idea, but that there were differences on the timing. [55]

Grew's ideas, as well as those of others concerned, were summarized by Stimson in a long and carefully considered memorandum to the President on 2 July. [53] Representing the most informed military and political estimate of the situation at this time, this memorandum constitutes a state paper of the first importance. If any one document can be said to provide the basis for the President's warning to Japan and his final decision to use the atomic bomb, this is it.

The gist of Stimson's argument was that the most promising alternative to the long and costly struggle certain to follow invasion was to warn the Japanese "of what is to come" and to give them an opportunity to surrender. There was, he thought, enough of a chance that such a course would work to make the effort worthwhile. Japan no longer had any allies, her navy was virtually destroyed, and she was increasingly vulnerable to air attack and naval blockade. Against her were arrayed the increasingly powerful forces of the Allies, with their "inexhaustible and untouched industrial resources." In these circumstances, Stimson believed the Japanese people would be susceptible to reason if properly approached. "Japan," he pointed out, "is
[53] OPD Compilation for the Potsdam Conference, quoted in Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 345.
[54] Ibid., pp. 345-46.
[55] Truman, Year of Decisions, pp. 416-17. A detailed account of Grew's efforts can be found in Grew, The Turbulent Era, Vol. II, Chapter XXXVI.
[56] The memorandum is reproduced in Stimson, "The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, pp. 102-04. For the background of the memorandum, see Grew, The Turbulent Era, Vol. II, Ch. XXXVI; Millis,The Forrestal Diaries, pp. 68-70; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly,pp. 206, 262; McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, pp. 42-43; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 624.

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not a nation composed of mad fanatics of an entirely different mentality from ours. On the contrary, she has within the past century shown herself to possess extremely intelligent people...." But any attempt, Stimson added, "to exterminate her armies and her population by gunfire or other means will tend to produce a fusion of race solidity and antipathy...."

A warning to Japan, Stimson contended, should be carefully timed. It should come before the actual invasion, before destruction had reduced the Japanese "to fanatical despair," and, if the Soviet Union had already entered the war, before the Russian attack had progressed too far. [57] It should also emphasize, Stimson believed, the inevitability and completeness of the destruction ahead and the determination of the Allies to strip Japan of her conquests and to destroy the influence of the military clique. It should be a strong warning and should leave no doubt in Japanese minds that they would have to surrender unconditionally and submit to Allied occupation.

The warning, as Stimson envisaged it, had a double character. While promising destruction and devastation, it was also to hold out hope to the Japanese if they heeded its message. In his memorandum, therefore, Stimson stressed the positive features of the warning and recommended that it include a disavowal of any intention to destroy the Japanese nation or to occupy the country permanently. Once Japan's military clique had been removed from power and her capacity to wage war destroyed, it was Stimson's belief that the Allies should withdraw and resume normal trade relations with the new and peaceful Japanese Government. "I personally think," he declared, "that if in saying this we should add that we do not exclude a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty, it would substantially add to the chance of acceptance."

Not once in the course of this lengthy memorandum was mention made of the atomic bomb. There was no need to do so. Everyone concerned understood clearly that the bomb was the instrument that, by its powers of destruction, would impress on the Japanese Government the hopelessness of any course but surrender. As Stimson expressed it, the atomic bomb was "the best possible sanction," the single weapon that would convince the Japanese "of our power to destroy the empire." [58]
[58] In his diary, under the date 19 June, Stimson wrote: "The last-chance warning ... must be given before an actual landing of the ground forces in Japan, and fortunately the plans provide for enough time to bring in the sanctions to our warning in the shape of heavy ordinary bombing attack and an attack of S-1 [the atomic bomb]." Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 624.
[59] Stimson, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's, pp. 101, 104.

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Though Stimson considered a warning combined with an offer of terms and backed up by the sanction of the atomic bomb as the most promising means of inducing surrender at any early date, there were other courses that some thought might produce the same result. One was continuation and intensification of air bombardment coupled with surface and underwater blockade. This course had already been considered and rejected as insufficient to produce surrender, though its advocates were by no means convinced that this decision was a wise one. And Stimson himself later justified the use of the bomb on the ground that by 1 November conventional bombardment would have caused greater destruction than the bomb. This apparent contradiction is explained by the fact that the atomic bomb was considered to be capable of a psychological effect entirely apart from the damage wrought. [59]

Nor did Stimson, in his memorandum, consider the effect of the Soviet Union's entry into the war. By itself, this action could not be counted on to force Japan to capitulate, but combined with bombardment and blockade it might do so. At least that was the view of Brig. Gen. George A. Lincoln, one of the Army's top planners, who wrote in June that "probably it will take Russian entry into the war, coupled with a landing, or imminent threat of landing, on Japan proper by us, to convince them [the Japanese] of the hopelessness of their position." [60]

Why, therefore, was it not possible to issue the warning before a Soviet declaration of war against Japan and rely on that event, together with an intensified air bombardment, to produce the desired result? If together they could not secure Japan's surrender, would there not still be time to use the bomb before the scheduled invasion of Kyushu in November? [61]

No final answer to this question is possible with the evidence at hand. But one cannot ignore the fact that some responsible officials feared the political consequences of Soviet intervention and hoped that ultimately it would prove unnecessary. This feeling may unconsciously have made the atom bomb solution more attractive than it might otherwise have been. [62] Some officials may have believed, too, that the bomb could be used as a powerful deterrent to Soviet ex-
[59] Ibid., p. 105.
[60] Quoted in Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 344.
[61] For an exposition of this view, see Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb, p. 136; Hanson W. Baldwin, Great Mistakes of the War (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), pp. 100-101.
[62] See for example, Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 208; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 637; Leahy, I Was There, p. 419, Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb, Ch. X; Norman Cousins and Thomas K. Finletter, "A Beginning for Sanity," Saturday Review of Literature, XXIX, No. 4(June 15, 1946), 5-8.

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pansion in Europe, where the Red tide had successively engulfed Rumania, Bulgaria, Jugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. In an interview with three of the top scientists in the Manhattan Project early in June, Mr. Byrnes did not, according to Leo Szilard, argue that the bomb was needed to defeat Japan, but rather that it should be dropped to "make Russia more manageable in Europe." [63]

It has been asserted also that the desire to justify the expenditure of the two billion dollars spent on the Manhattan Project may have disposed some favorably toward the use of the bomb. Already questions had been asked in Congress, [64] and the end of the war would almost certainly bring on a full-scale investigation. What more striking justification of the Manhattan Project than a new weapon that had ended the war in one sudden blow and saved countless American lives? "It was my reaction," wrote Admiral Leahy, "that the scientists and others wanted to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project. Truman knew that, and so did other people involved." [65]

This explanation hardly does credit to those involved in the Manhattan Project and not even P. M. S. Blackett, one of the severest critics of the decision to use the bomb, accepted it. "The wit of man," he declared, "could hardly devise a theory of the dropping of the bomb, both more insulting to the American people, or more likely to lead to an energetically pursued Soviet defense policy." [66]

But even if the need to justify these huge expenditures is discounted-and certainly by itself it could not have produced the decision-the question still remains whether those who held in their hands a weapon thought capable of ending the war in one stroke could justify withholding that weapon. Would they not be open to criticism for failing to use every means at their disposal to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible, thereby saving many American lives?

And even at that time there were some who believed that the new weapon would ultimately prove the most effective deterrent to war yet produced. How better to outlaw war forever than to demonstrate the tremendous destructive power of this weapon by using it against an actual target?

By early July 1945 the stage had been set for the final decision,

[63] Szilard, "A Personal History of the Atomic Bomb," pp. 14-15.
[64] Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 257-58; Hillman, Mr. President, p. 247. The Truman Committee had already made inquiries, but its investigators were called off at the request of Mr. Stimson. Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 10.
[65] Leahy, I Was There, p. 441. For a statement of the same argument, but with a refutation, see "Report of the Committee on Social and Political Implications," 11 June 1945, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (May 1, 1946), Vol. I, No. 10, p. 4.
[66] Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb, p. 138.

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Stimson's memorandum had been approved in principle and on July 4 the British had given their consent to the use of the bomb against Japan. [67] It remained only to decide on the terms and timing of the warning. This was the situation when the Potsdam Conference opened on 17 July, one day after the bomb had been successfully exploded in a spectacular demonstration at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The atomic bomb was a reality and when the news reached Potsdam it aroused great excitement among those who were let in on the secret. Instead of the prospect of long and bitter months of fighting the Japanese, there was now a vision, "fair and bright indeed it seemed" to Churchill, "of the end of the whole war in one or two violent shocks." [68]

President Truman's first action was to call together his chief advisers-Byrnes, Stimson, Leahy, Marshall, King, and Arnold. "I asked for their opinion whether the bomb should be used," he later wrote. The consensus was that it should. [69] Here at last was the miracle to end the war and solve all the perplexing problems posed by the necessity for invasion. But because no one could tell what effect the bomb might have "physically or psychologically," it was decided to proceed with the military plans for the invasion.

No one at this time, or later in the conference, raised the question of whether the Japanese should be informed of the existence of the bomb. That question, it will be recalled, had been discussed by the Scientific Panel on 16 June and at the White House meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the service Secretaries, and Mr. McCloy on 18 June. For a variety of reasons, including uncertainty as to whether the bomb would work, it had been decided that the Japanese should not be warned of the existence of the new weapon. The successful explosion of the first bomb on 17 July did not apparently outweigh the reasons advanced earlier for keeping the bomb a secret; and evidently none of the men involved thought the question needed to be reviewed. The Japanese would learn of the atomic bomb only when it was dropped on them.

The secrecy that had shrouded the development of the atomic bomb was torn aside briefly at Potsdam, but with no visible effect. On
[67] Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 639. For the coordination between the British and Americans on the development of the atomic bomb, see Smyth, Atomic Energy for Military Purposes, passim; Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), pp. 377-81; Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 418; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 265, 432. General Groves opposed this coordination and so testified later. Oppenheimer Hearings, p. 175.
[68] Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 638.
[69] Hillman, Mr. President, p. 248; Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 415. General Eisenhower was at Potsdam and his advice, Truman says, was asked. The various participants differ in their recollections of this meeting. King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King, p. 621; Arnold, Global Mission, p. 585.

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24 July, at the suggestion of his chief advisers, Truman informed Marshal Stalin "casually" that the Americans had "a new weapon of unusual destructive force." "The Russian Premier," he recalled, "showed no special interest. All he said was that he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make 'good use of it against the Japanese.' " [70] One cannot but wonder whether the marshal was preoccupied at the moment or simulating a lack of interest.

On the military side, the Potsdam Conference developed nothing new. The plans already made were noted and approved. Even at this late stage the question of the bomb was divorced entirely from military plans and the final report of the conference accepted as the main effort the invasion of the Japanese home islands. November 15, 1946, was accepted as the planning date for the end of the war against Japan. [71]

During the conference, Stalin told Truman about the Japanese overtures-information that the Americans already had. The marshal spoke of the matter also to Churchill, who discussed it with Truman, suggesting cautiously that some offer be made to Japan. "Mr. Stimson, General Marshall, and the President," he later wrote, "were evidently searching their hearts, and we had no need to press them. We knew of course that the Japanese were ready to give up all conquests made in the war." That same night, after dining with Stalin and Truman, the Prime Minister wrote that the Russians intended to attack Japan soon after 8 August-perhaps within two weeks of that date. [72] Truman presumably received the same information, confirming Harry Hopkins' report of his conversation with Stalin in Moscow in May. [73]

All that remained now was to warn Japan and give her an opportunity to surrender. In this matter Stimson's and Grew's views, as outlined in the memorandum of 2 July, were accepted, but apparently on the advice of the former Secretary of State Cordell Hull it was decided to omit any reference to the Emperor. [74] Hull's view, solicited by Byrnes before his departure for Potsdam, was that the proposal smacked of appeasement and "seemed to guarantee continuance not

[70] Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 416. See also Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 263.
[71] Combined Chiefs of Staff Report to the President and Prime Minister, 24 July 1945, quoted in Cline, Washington Command Post, p. 346, and reproduced in The Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan, pp. 89-91.
[72] Truman, Year of Decisions, p. 306; Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 642. See also Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 205; Leahy, I Was There, p. 420.
[73] Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 902, Leahy, I Was There, p. 383.
[74] Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, 2 vols. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1948), II, pp. 1591-94; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 205-07; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 626-27; Grew, The Turbulent Era, II, pp. 1424-27.

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only of the Emperor but also of the feudal privileges of a ruling caste." And, should the Japanese reject the warning, the proposal to retain the imperial system might well encourage resistance and have "terrible political repercussions" in the United States. For these reasons he recommended that no statement about the Emperor be made until "the climax of Allied bombing and Russia's entry into the war." [75] Thus, the final terms offered to the Japanese in the Potsdam declaration on 26 July made no mention of the Emperor or of the imperial system. Neither did the declaration contain any reference to the atom bomb but simply warned the Japanese of the consequences of continued resistance. [76] Only those already familiar with the weapon could have read the references to inevitable and complete destruction as a warning of atomic warfare. [77]

The receipt of the Potsdam Declaration in Japan led to frantic meetings to decide what should be done. It was finally decided not to reject the note but to await the results of the Soviet overture. At this point, the military insisted that the government make some statement to the people, and on 28 July Premier Suzuki declared to the press that Japan would ignore the declaration, a statement that was interpreted by the Allies as a rejection. [78]

To the Americans the rejection of the Potsdam Declaration confirmed the view that the military clique was still in control of Japan and that only a decisive act of violence could remove it. The instrument for such action lay at hand in the atomic bomb; events now seemed to justify its use. But in the hope that the Japanese might still change their minds, Truman held off orders on the use of the bomb for a few days. Only silence came from Tokyo, for the Japanese were waiting for a reply from the Soviet Government, which would not come until the return of Stalin and Molotov from Potsdam on 6 August. Prophetically, Foreign Minister Togo wrote Sato on 2 August, the day the Potsdam Conference ended, that he could not afford to lose a single day in his efforts to conclude arrangements with the Russians "if we were to end the war before the assault on our mainland." [79] By that time, President Truman had already decided on the use of the bomb.
[75] Hull, Memoirs, II, p. 1593.
[76] The text of the declaration is printed in Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, and in Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender, Appendix C.
[77] For expressions of this view, see Baldwin, Great Mistakes of the War, pp. 91-92; McCloy, Challenge to American Foreign Policy, p. 43.
[78] This incident has given rise to a controversy best understood by a linguist. It is covered in detail in Kazuo Kawaii, "Mokusatsu," Pacific Historical Review (November, 1950), pp. 409-14; and William J. Coughlin, "The Great Mokusatsu," Harper's Magazine, (March, 1953), pp. 31-40.
[79] Kase, Journey to the Missouri, p. 222.
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Part 2:
Page 514

Preparations for dropping the two atomic bombs produced thus far had been under way for some time. The components of the bombs had been sent by cruiser to Tinian in May and the fissionable material was flown out in mid-July. The B-29's and crews were ready and trained, standing by for orders, which would come through the Commanding General, U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz. Detailed arrangements and schedules were completed and all that was necessary was to issue orders. [80]

At General Arnold's insistence, the responsibility for selecting the particular target and fixing the exact date and hour of the attack was assigned to the field commander, General Spaatz. In orders issued on 25 July and approved by Stimson and Marshall, Spaatz was ordered to drop the "first special bomb as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about 3 August 1945 on one of the targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata and Nagasaki." He was instructed also to deliver a copy of this order personally to MacArthur and Nimitz. Weather was the critical factor because the bomb had to be dropped by visual means, and Spaatz delegated to his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, the job of deciding when the weather was right for this most important mission.

From the dating of the order to General Spaatz it has been argued that President Truman was certain the warning would be rejected and had fixed the date for the bombing of Hiroshima even before the issuance of the Potsdam Declaration. [81] But such an argument ignores the military necessities. For operational reasons, the orders had to be issued in sufficient time "to set the military wheels in motion." In a sense, therefore, the decision was made on 25 July. It would stand unless the President changed his mind. "I had made the decision," wrote Truman in 1955. "I also instructed Stimson that the order would stand unless I notified him that the Japanese reply to our ultimatum was acceptable." [82] The rejection by the Japanese of the Potsdam Declaration confirmed the orders Spaatz had already received.

The Japanese Surrender

On Tinian and Guam, preparations for dropping the bomb had been completed by 3 August. The original plan was to carry out the
[80] For an account of these preparations, see Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. V, pp. 713-25.
[81] Ibid., p. 714. The relevant documents, including a letter from President Truman to Professor Cate, are reproduced on pages 696-97, 712-13. See also Leahy, I Was There, pp. 430-31, and Truman's letter to Dr. Karl T. Compton, published in Atlantic Monthly, (February, 1947), p. 27.
[82] Truman, Year of Decisions, pp. 420-21.

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operation on 4 August, but General LeMay deferred the attack because of bad weather over the target. On 5 August the forecasts were favorable and he gave the word to proceed with the mission the following day. At 0245 on 6 August, the bomb-carrying plane was airborne. Six ad a half hours later the bomb was released over Hiroshima, Japan's eighth largest city, to explode fifty seconds later at a height of about 2,000 feet. The age of atomic warfare had opened. [83]

Aboard the cruiser Augusta on his way back to the United States, President Truman received the news by radio. That same day a previously prepared release from Washington announced to the world that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima and warned the Japanese that if they did not surrender they could expect "a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which had never been seen on this earth." [81]

On 7 August, Ambassador Sato in Moscow received word at last that Molotov would see him the next afternoon. At the appointed hour he arrived at the Kremlin, full of hope that he would receive a favorable reply to the Japanese proposal for Soviet mediation with the Allies to end the war. Instead he was handed the Soviet declaration of war, effective on 9 August. [85] Thus, three months to the day after Germany's surrender, Marshal Stalin had lived up to his promise to the Allies.

Meanwhile, President Truman had authorized the use of the second bomb-the last then available. The objective was Kokura, the date 9 August. But the plane carrying the bomb failed to make its run over the primary target and hit the secondary target, Nagasaki, instead. [83] The next day Japan sued for peace.

The close sequence of events between 6 and 10 August, combined with the fact that the bomb was dropped almost three months before the scheduled invasion of Kyushu and while the Japanese were trying desperately to get out of the war, has suggested to some that the bombing of Hiroshima had a deeper purpose than the desire to end the war quickly. This purpose, it is claimed, was nothing less than a desire to forestall Soviet intervention in the Far Eastern war. Else why this necessity for speed? Certainly nothing in the military situation
[83] Two other dates can be said to have opened the atomic age: 2 December 1942, when Enrico Fermi succeeded in establishing a chain reaction; and 16 July 1945, when the test bomb was exploded in New Mexico.
[84] For a vivid account of the bombing, see Miller and Spitzer, We Dropped the A-Bomb and Laurence, Dawn Over Zero, pp. 207-11. The statement is published in The New York Times, August 7, 1945. See also, Leahy, I Was There, p. 430, and Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 209.
[85] Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender, pp. 153-54; The New York Times, August 9, 1945.
[86] Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. V, pp. 714-23; Laurence, Dawn Over Zero, pp. 228-43; Miller and Spitzer, We Dropped the A-Bomb, pp. 89-124.

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seemed to call for such hasty action. But if the purpose was to fore- stall Soviet intervention, then there was every reason for speed. And even if the Russians could not be kept out of the war, at least they would be prevented from making more than a token contribution to victory over Japan. In this sense it may be argued that the bomb proved a success, for the war ended with the United States in full control of Japan. [87]

This theory leaves several matters unexplained. In the first place, the Americans did not know the exact date on which the Soviet Union would declare war but believed it would be within a week or two of 8 August. If they had wished to forestall a Soviet declaration of war, then they could reasonably have been expected to act sooner than they did. Such close timing left little if any margin for error. Secondly, had the United States desired above everything else to keep the Russians out, it could have responded to one of the several unofficial Japanese overtures, or made the Potsdam Declaration more attractive to Japan. Certainly the failure to put a time limit on the declaration suggests that speed was not of the essence in American calculations. Finally, the date and time of the bombing were left to Generals Spaatz and LeMay, who certainly had no way of knowing Soviet intentions. Bad weather or any other untoward incident could have delayed the attack a week or more.

There is reason to believe that the Russians at the last moved more quickly than they had intended. In his conversations with Harry Hopkins in May 1945 and at Potsdam, Marshal Stalin had linked Soviet entry with negotiations then in progress with Chinese representatives in Moscow. [88] When these were completed, he had said, he would act. On 8 August these negotiations were still in progress.

Did the atomic bomb accomplish its purpose? Was it, in fact, as Stimson said, "the best possible sanction" after Japan rejected the Potsdam Declaration? The sequence of events argues strongly that it was, for bombs were dropped on the 6th and 9th, and on the 10th Japan surrendered. But in the excitement over the announcement of the first use of an atomic bomb and then of Japan's surrender, many overlooked the significance of the Soviet Union's entry into the war on the 9th. The first bomb had produced consternation and confusion among the leaders of Japan, but no disposition to surrender. The Soviet declaration of war, though not entirely unexpected, was a devastating blow and, by removing all hope of Soviet mediation, gave
[87] Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb, p. 137. Norman Cousins and Thomas K. Finletter take the same position in the article, "A Beginning for Sanity."
[88] Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 902; Edward R. Stettinius, Roosevelt and the Russians (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1949), p. 91.

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the advocates of peace their first opportunity to come boldly out into the open. When Premier Suzuki arrived at the palace on the morning of the 9th, he was told that the Emperor believed Japan's only course now was to accept the Potsdam Declaration. The militarists could and did minimize the effects of the bomb, but they could not evade the obvious consequences of Soviet intervention, which ended all hope of dividing their enemies and securing softer peace terms. [89]

In this atmosphere, the leaders of Japan held a series of meetings on 9 August, but were unable to come to an agreement. In the morning came word of the fate of Nagasaki. This additional disaster failed to resolve the issues between the military and those who advocated surrender. Finally the Emperor took the unprecedented step of calling an Imperial Conference, which lasted until 3 o'clock the next morning. When it, too, failed to produce agreement the Emperor told his minister that he wished the war brought to an end. The constitutional significance of this action is difficult for Westerners to comprehend, but it resolved the crisis and produced in the cabinet a formal decision to accept the Potsdam Declaration, provided it did not prejudice the position of the Emperor.

What finally forced the Japanese to surrender? Was it air bombardment, naval power, the atomic bomb, or Soviet entry? The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that Japan would have surrendered by the end of the year, without invasion and without the atomic bomb. [90] Other equally informed opinion maintained that it was the atomic bomb that forced Japan to surrender. "Without its use," Dr. Compton asserted, "the war would have continued for many months." [91] Admiral Nimitz believed firmly that the decisive factor was "the complete impunity with which the Pacific Fleet pounded Japan," and General Arnold claimed it was air bombardment that had brought Japan to the verge of collapse. [92] But Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, wartime air commander in China, maintained that Soviet entry into the Far Eastern war brought about the surrender of Japan and would have done so "even if no atomic bombs had been dropped." [93]
[89] The story of the last few days of the war in Japan is told in considerable detail in Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender; USSBS, Japan's Struggle To End the War; USAAF, Mission Accomplishe(Washington, 1946). On the American side, the chief sources are Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 209-11; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 434-45; Millis, The Forrestal Diaries, pp. 82-85; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 626-67, Deane, The Strange Alliance, pp. 277-78.
[90] USSBS, Japan's Struggle To End the War, p. 13. See also Arnold, Global Mission, p. 598.
[91] Dr. Karl T. Compton, "If the Atomic Bomb Had Not Been Dropped," Atlantic Monthly (December, 1946), p. 54.
[92] Arnold, Global Mission, p. 598. Nimitz' statement is quoted in Baldwin, Great Mistakes of the War, p. 93.
[93] The New York Times, August 15, 1945, quoting an interview with Chennault.

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It would be a fruitless task to weigh accurately the relative importance of all the factors leading to the Japanese surrender. There is no doubt that Japan had been defeated by the summer of 1945, if not earlier. But defeat did not mean that the military clique had given up; the Army intended to fight on and had made elaborate preparations for the defense of the homeland. Whether air bombardment and naval blockade or the threat of invasion would have produced an early surrender and averted the heavy losses almost certain to accompany the actual landings in Japan is a moot question. Certainly they had a profound effect on the Japanese position. It is equally difficult to assert categorically that the atomic bomb alone or Soviet intervention alone was the decisive factor in bringing the war to an end. All that can be said on the available evidence is that Japan was defeated in the military sense by August 1945 and that the bombing of Hiroshima, followed by the Soviet Union's declaration of war and the bombing of Nagasaki and the threat of still further bombing, acted as catalytic agents to produce the Japanese decision to surrender. Together they created so extreme a crisis that the Emperor himself, in an unprecedented move, took matters into his own hands and ordered his ministers to surrender. Whether any other set of circumstances would have resolved the crisis and produced the final decision to surrender is a question history cannot yet answer.


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Post by walterkaschner » 21 Dec 2004 04:13

David, hearty thanks for the exerpts from the Command Decisions study, which I had not read before. IMHO they support my conviction that the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima was entirely justified, considering the circumstances at the time, but they do little to comfort my extreme concern with the decision to drop the second bomb on Nagasaki. I have yet to understand why it was thought essential to drop the second bomb so soon after the first and have never seen any in depth explanation of that decision. Why not wait a few more days to see the effect of the Hiroshima bomb - and in the event, the Soviet declaration of war - on the Japanese government's appetite to continue the war? Any thoughts or materials on that issue?

Best regards, and kudos for all you do to enlighten (and discipline) us all, Kaschner

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Post by WalterS » 21 Dec 2004 04:18

President Truman once said: "Had there been no Pearl Harbor, there would have been no Hiroshima." He never ducked responsibility for dropping the bombs. In fact, he believed that he would have been impeached if he hadn't used these weapons and, instead, sent Allied troops to their deaths in an invasion.

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Post by Dan » 21 Dec 2004 05:02

Thanks, David.

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Post by David Thompson » 21 Dec 2004 06:52

From the US Strategic Bombing Survey Summary Report (Japan) [1946], pp. 15-32 at: ... mmary.html

Part 1:
The Air Attack Against the Japanese Home Islands

Basic United States strategy contemplated that the final decision in the Japanese war would be obtained by an invasion of the Japanese home islands. The long-range bombing offensive from the Marianas was initiated in November 1944, with that in mind as the primary objective. As in Europe prior to D-day, the principal measure of success set for strategic air action was the extent
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to which it would weaken enemy capability and will to resist our amphibious forces at the time of landings. This led, originally, to somewhat greater emphasis on the selection of targets such as aircraft factories, arsenals, electronics plants, oil refineries, and finished military goods, destruction of which could be expected to weaken the capabilities of the Japanese armed forces to resist at the Kyushu beachheads in November 1945, than on the disruption of the more basic elements of Japan's social, economic, and political fabric. Certain of the United States commanders and the representatives of the Survey who were called back from their investigations in Germany in early June 1945 for consultation stated their belief that, by the coordinated impact of blockade and direct air attack, Japan could be forced to surrender without invasion. The controlling opinion, however, was that any estimate of the effects of bombing on the Japanese social fabric and on the political decisions of those in control of Japan was bound to be so uncertain that target selection could safely be made only on the assumption that ground force invasion would be necessary to force capitulation.

With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that the twin objectives of surrender without invasion and reduction of Japan's capacity and will to resist an invasion, should the first not succeed, called for basically the same type of attack. Japan had been critically wounded by military defeats, destruction of the bulk of her merchant fleet, and almost complete blockade. The proper target, after an initial attack on aircraft engine plants, either to bring overwhelming pressure on her to surrender, or to reduce her capability of resisting invasion, was the basic economic and social fabric of the country. Disruption of her railroad and transportation system by daylight attacks, coupled with destruction of her cities by night and bad weather attacks, would have applied maximum pressure in support of either aim. This point of view was finally adopted. Although urban area attacks were initiated in force in March 1945, the railroad attack was just getting under way when the war ended.

The total tonnage of bombs dropped by Allied planes in the Pacific war was 656,400. Of this, 160,800 tons, or 24 percent, were dropped on the home islands of Japan. Navy aircraft accounted for 6,800 tons, Army aircraft other than B-29s for 7,000 tons, and the B-29s for 147,000 tons. By contrast, the total bomb tonnage in the European theater was 2,700,000 tons of which 1,360,000 tons were dropped within Germany's own borders.

Approximately 800 tons of bombs were dropped by China-based B-29s on Japanese home island targets from June 1944 to January 1945. These raids were of insufficient weight and accuracy to produce significant results.

By the end of November 1944, 4 months after seizure of the islands, the first of the long-range bomber bases in the Marianas became operational. The number of planes originally available was small and opposition was significant. Losses on combat missions averaged 3.6 percent. The tonnage dropped prior to 9 March 1945 aggregated only 7,180 tons although increasing month by month. The planes bombed from approximately 30,000 feet and the percentage of bombs dropped which hit the target areas averaged less than 10 percent. Nevertheless, the effects of even the relatively small tonnage hitting the selected targets were substantial. During this period, attacks were directed almost exclusively against aircraft, primarily aircraft engine, targets. The principal aircraft engine plants were hit sufficiently heavily and persistently to convince the Japanese that these plants would inevitably be totally destroyed. The Japanese were thereby forced into a wholesale and hasty dispersal program. The continuing pressure of immediate military requirements for more and more planes during the campaigns in the Pacific had prevented any earlier moves to disperse. When dispersal could no longer be avoided, the necessary underground tunnels, dispersed buildings, and accessory facilities such as roads, railroad spurs and power connections were not ready. As a result the decline in aircraft engine production, which shortages in special steels requiring cobalt, nickel and chrome had initiated in mid-1944, became precipitous.

On 9 March 1945, a basic revision in the method of B-29 attack was instituted. It was decided to bomb the four principal Japanese cities at night from altitudes averaging 7,000 feet. Japanese weakness in night fighters and antiaircraft made this program feasible. Incendiaries were used instead of high-explosive bombs and the lower altitude permitted a substantial increase in bomb load per plane. One thousand six hundred and sixty-seven tons of bombs were dropped on Tokyo in the first attack. The chosen areas were saturated. Fifteen square miles of Tokyo's most densely populated

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area were burned to the ground. The weight and intensity of this attack caught the Japanese by surprise. No subsequent urban area attack was equally destructive. Two days later, an attack of similar magnitude on Nagoya destroyed 2 square miles. In a period of 10 days starting 9 March, a total of 1,595 sorties delivered 9,373 tons of bombs against Tokyo, Nagoya, Osake, and Kobe destroying 31 square miles of those cities at a cost of 22 airplanes. The generally destructive effect of incendiary attacks against Japanese cities had been demonstrated.

Thereafter, urban area attacks alternated with visual and radar attacks against selected industrial or military targets. In April, an extensive program of sowing minefields in channels and harbors at night was added. In the aggregate, 104,000 tons of bombs were directed at 66 urban areas; 14,150 tons were directed at aircraft factories; 10,600 tons at oil refineries; 4,708 at arsenals; 3,500 tons at miscellaneous industrial targets; 8,115 tons at air fields and sea-plane bases in support of the Okinawa operation; and 12,034 mines were sown.

Bombing altitudes after 9 March 1945 were lower, in both day and night attacks. Japanese opposition was not effective even at the lower altitudes, and the percentage of losses to enemy action declined as the number of attacking planes increased. Bomb loads increased and operating losses declined in part due to less strain on engines at lower altitudes. Bombing accuracy increased substantially, and averaged 35 to 40 percent within 1,000 feet of the aiming point in daylight attacks from 20,000 feet or lower.

Monthly tonnage dropped increased from 13,800 tons in March to 42,700 tons in July, and, with the activation of the Eighth Air Force on Okinawa, would have continued to increase thereafter to a planned figure of 115,000 tons per month, had the war not come to an end.

Three-quarters of the 6,740 tons of bombs dropped by carrier planes on the Japanese home islands were directed against airfields, warships, and miscellaneous military targets, and one-quarter against merchant shipping and other economic targets. Most of the warships sunk in home ports had already been immobilized for lack of fuel. The accuracy of low-level carrier plane attack was high, being at least 50 percent hits within 250 feet of the aiming point. The attack against the Hakodate-Aomori rail ferries in July 1945 sank or damaged all twelve of the ferries, 17 steel ships, and 149 smaller ships.

Economic Effects of Air Attack Against the Japanese Home Islands
The physical destruction resulting from the air attack on Japan approximates that suffered by Germany, even though the tonnage of bombs dropped was far smaller. The attack was more concentrated in time, and the target areas were smaller and more vulnerable. Not only were the Japanese defenses overwhelmed, but Japan's will and capacity for reconstruction, dispersal, and passive defense were less than Germany's. In the aggregate some 40 percent of the built-up area of the 66 cities attacked was destroyed. Approximately 30 percent of the entire urban population of Japan lost their homes and many of their possessions. The physical destruction of industrial plants subjected to high-explosive attacks was similarly impressive. The larger bomb loads of the B-29s permitted higher densities of bombs per acre in the plant area, and on the average somewhat heavier bombs were used. The destruction was generally more complete than in Germany. Plants specifically attacked with high explosive bombs were, however, limited in number.
The railroad system had not yet been subjected to substantial attack and remained in reasonably good operating condition at the time of surrender. Little damage was suffered which interfered with main line operations. Trains were running through Hiroshima 48 hours after the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city. Damage to local transport facilities, however, seriously disrupted the movement of supplies within and between cities, thereby hindering production, repair work and dispersal operations.

Japan's electric power system was properly rejected for specific attack because of the large number of small targets presented. Urban incendiary attacks destroyed the electric distribution systems in the burned-out areas simultaneously with the consumer load previously served by them. The hydro-electric generating plants and the transmission networks survived without substantial damage. Twenty-six urban steam-generating plants were damaged as an incident to other attacks, the aggregate loss of capacity being less than one-seventh of Japan's total generating capacity. The urban area incendiary attacks eliminated

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completely the residential and smaller commercial and industrial structures in the affected areas and a significant number of important plants, but a portion of the more substantially constructed office buildings and factories in those areas and the underground utilities survived. By 1944 the Japanese had almost eliminated home industry in their war economy. They still relied, however, on plants employing less than 250 workers for subcontracted parts and equipment. Many of these smaller plants were concentrated in Tokyo and accounted for 50 percent of the total industrial output of the city. Such plants suffered severe damage in urban incendiary attacks.

Four hundred and seventy thousand barrels of oil and oil products, 221,000 tons of foodstuffs and 2 billion square yards of textiles were destroyed by air attacks. Ninety-seven percent of Japan's stocks of guns, shells, explosives, and other military supplies were thoroughly protected in dispersed or underground storage depots, and were not vulnerable to air attack.

Physical damage to plant installations by either area or precision attacks, plus decreases due to dispersal forced by the threat of further physical damage, reduced physical productive capacity by roughly the following percentages of pre-attack plant capacity: oil refineries, 83 percent; aircraft engine plants, 75 percent; air-frame plants, 60 percent; electronics and communication equipment plants, 70 percent; army ordnance plants, 30 percent; naval ordnance plants, 28 percent; merchant and naval shipyards, 15 percent; light metals, 35 percent; ingot steel, 15 percent; chemicals, 10 percent.

The economic consequences of the physical damage wrought by air attack are closely interrelated with the concurrent effects of the interdiction of imports, the cumulative effects of under-maintenance of plants, and the declining health, vigor and determination of the Japanese people.

Let us first consider the level of Japanese industrial activity in July 1945, the last full month before surrender. Electric power and coal consumption were both almost exactly 50 percent of the peak reached in 1944. Production efficiency had, however, declined and the overall industrial output was approximately 40 percent of the 1944 peak. Output varied considerably as between industries, hit and unhit plants, and by areas. Output of air frame was 40 percent of the 1944 peak; aircraft engines, 25 percent; shipbuilding, 25 percent; army ordnance, 45 percent; and naval ordnance, 43 percent. Oil refining had declined to less than 15 percent of the 1943 output. Primary aluminum production was 9 percent of the 1944 peak. Although nitric acid production had declined to about 17 percent of the 1944 peak, explosives production was about 45 percent of the 1944 figure.

In each one of these industries, the occasion for the decline appears to have been different. Electric power consumption fell, not because more power was not available, but because demand had declined. Coal supply was primarily limited by the decline in inter-island shipping from Hokkaido and Kyushu, and the inability of the railroad system completely to fill the gap. Despite a decline in demand, shortages of coal were universal throughout the economy. Airframe production was limited primarily by the continuing effects of the dispersal program brought on by the initial bombing, and aggravated by the subsequent destruction of numerous plants prior to completion of dispersal. Had the level of production been any higher, however, aluminum stocks would have been exhausted and aluminum would have become the controlling bottleneck. In any event, not enough aircraft engines were being produced to equip the airframes. Aircraft engine production was plagued by shortages of special steels, but in July 1945, plant damage and delay in completing the underground and dispersed plants started in the spring of the year temporarily prevented the full use of the small stocks of such steels available at the time. Output of radar and radio equipment was limited by plant capacity, the small factories supplying parts having been destroyed in the Tokyo city raids and many of the larger plants either destroyed or forced to disperse. Shipbuilding and heavy ordnance production were limited by the availability of steel. Oil refineries, aluminum plants and steel plants were basically limited by lack of foreign raw materials. Explosive plants were still using up inventories of nitric acid but would shortly have had to adjust their output to the current availability of nitric acid.

The Japanese labor force had declined in efficiency due to malnutrition and fatigue, the destruction of much of the urban housing and the difficulties of local transportation. Production

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hours lost through all causes including absenteeism, sickness, air-raid alerts and enforced idleness rose from 20 percent in 1944 to over 40 percent in July 1945. The size of the labor force employed did not materially decline and the productive hours actually worked remained sufficiently high to indicate that such influence as manpower deficiencies may have had on the over-all level of production in July 1945, was largely ascribable to the continued drafting of highly skilled workers into the armed services and to the inefficient administration of manpower in meeting the rapidly shifting requirements resulting from bombing, rather than to over-all lack of labor.

A Survey investigation of production in plants employing more than 50 employees in 39 representative cities of Japan indicates that production in those plants which suffered any direct physical damage dropped off by July 1945, to 27 percent of peak output in 1944, while production in the undamaged plants fell off to 54 percent. Production in all plants in the sample, including both hit and unhit, dropped to 35 percent of peak by July 1945. It appears probable that the indirect effects of the urban raids through increased absenteeism, disruption of supply lines and administrative confusion fully compensate for diversions of manpower and material from hit to unhit plants. The difference between 54 percent, being the rate of production in unhit plants, and 35 percent, being the average for all plants, is, therefore, a conservative indication of the impact of air attacks, both urban and precision, on production in these cities.

Even though the urban area attacks and attacks on specific industrial plants contributed a substantial percentage to the over-all decline in Japan's economy, in many segments of that economy their effects were duplicative. Most of the oil refineries were out of oil, the alumina plants out of bauxite, the steel mills lacking in ore and coke, and the munitions plants low in steel and aluminum. Japan's economy was in large measure being destroyed twice over, once by cutting off of imports, and secondly by air attack. A further tightening of Japan's shipping situation, so as to eliminate remaining imports from Korea and coastwise and inter-island shipping, coupled with an attack on Japan's extremely vulnerable railroad network, would have extended and cumulated the effects of the shipping attack already made.

Much of Japan's coastal and inter-island traffic had already been forced on to her inadequate railroads. The principal coal mines of Japan are located on Kyushu and Hokkaido. This coal traffic, formerly water borne, was moving by railroads employing the Kanmon tunnels and the Hakkodate-Aomori rail ferry. The railroads on Honshu include few main lines and these lines traverse bridges of considerable vulnerability. Japan is largely a mountainous country lacking automobile roads, trucks or the gasoline to make use of them. A successful attack on the Hakkodate rail ferry, the Kanmon tunnels and 19 bridges and vulnerable sections of line so selected as to set up five separate zones of complete interdiction would have virtually eliminated further coal movements, would have immobilized the remainder of the rail system through lack of coal, and would have completed the strangulation of Japan's economy. This strangulation would have more effectively and efficiently destroyed the economic structure of the country than individually destroying Japan's cities and factories. It would have reduced Japan to a series of isolated communities, incapable of any sustained industrial production, incapable of moving food from the agricultural areas to the cities, and incapable of rapid large-scale movements of troops and munitions.

The Survey believes that such an attack, had it been well-planned in advance, might have been initiated by carrier-based attacks on shipping and on the Hakkodate ferry in August 1944, could have been continued by aerial mining of inland waterways beginning in December 1944, and could have been further continued by initiating the railroad attack as early as April 1945. The Survey has estimated that force requirements to effect complete interdiction of the railroad system would have been 650 B-29 visual sorties carrying 5,200 tons of high explosive bombs. Monthly tonnages equal to one and one-half times that required to effect the original interdiction should have been sufficient, in view of the Japanese lack of preparation and slowness in effecting repairs, to maintain the interdiction by destroying such bridges and other facilities as the Japanese were able to repair. The use of Azon guided bombs, which could have been made available at that time, would have greatly increased accuracy against targets of this type and reduced force requirements to approximately one-sixth of those given above. An integrated

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program employing both carrier planes and B-29s would have capitalized on the differing operational capabilities of each.

The economic effects of the transportation attack would have had a direct impact on the Japanese people and on their determination to continue the war. In order to bring maximum pressure on the civilian population and to complicate further the Japanese economic problems, night and bad weather attacks on urban areas could have been carried out simultaneously with the transportation attack. One of the important factors inducing Japan's leaders to accept unconditional surrender was a realization that the Japanese armed forces had lost their ability to protect the people and that under the impact of direct air attack and lowered livelihood their confidence in victory and determination to continue the war were rapidly declining.

The Health and Morale of the Japanese Civilian Population Under Assault
Total civilian casualties in Japan, as a result of 9 months of air attack, including those from the atomic bombs, were approximately 806,000. Of these, approximately 330,000 were fatalities. These casualties probably exceeded Japan's combat casualties which the Japanese estimate as having totaled approximately 780,000 during the entire war. The principal cause of civilian death or injury was burns. Of the total casualties approximately 185,000 were suffered in the initial attack on Tokyo of 9 March 1945. Casualties in many extremely destructive attacks were comparatively low. Yokahoma, a city of 900,000 population, was 47 percent destroyed in a single attack lasting less than an hour. The fatalities suffered were less than 5,000.

The Japanese had constructed extensive firebreaks by tearing down all houses along selected streets or natural barriers. The total number of buildings torn down in this program, as reported by the Japanese, amounted to 615,000 as against 2,510,000 destroyed by the air attacks themselves. These firebreaks did not effectively stop the spread of fire, as incendiaries were dropped on both sides of the breaks. They did, however, constitute avenues of escape for the civilian population.

The Japanese instituted a civilian-defense organization prior to the war. It was not until the summer of 1944, however, that effective steps were taken to reduce the vulnerability of Japan's civilian population to air attacks. By that time, the shortage of steel, concrete and other construction materials was such that adequate air-raid shelters could no longer be built. Each family was given the obligation of providing itself with some kind of an excavation covered with bamboo and a little dirt. In addition, tunnels were dug into the sides of hills wherever the topography permitted.

Japanese planning and the means for carrying out the plans were thus deficient for a first-class civilian defense program. In spite of these limitations, such civilian defense measures as they were able to put through contributed substantially in minimizing casualties. School children and other nonessential urban dwellers were evacuated to the country. Those who remained were organized to combat fires and to provide mutual assistance. The air raid warning system was generally efficient. The weight of the individual attacks was, however, far heavier than the Japanese had envisaged or were able to cope with. In the major fire attacks, the civilian defense organizations were simply overwhelmed.

The growing food shortage was the principal factor affecting the health and vigor of the Japanese people. Prior to Pearl Harbor the average per capita caloric intake of the Japanese people was about 2,000 calories as against 3,400 in the United States. The acreage of arable land in Japan is only 3 percent of that of the United States to support a population over half as large. In order to provide the prewar diet, this arable acreage was more intensively cultivated, using more manpower and larger quantities of fertilizer than in any other country in the world; fishing was developed into a major industry; and rice, soybeans and other foodstuffs amounting to 19 percent of the caloric intake were imported. Despite the rationing of food beginning in April 1941 the food situation became critical. As the war progressed, imports became more and more difficult, the waters available to the fishing fleet and the ships and fuel oil for its use became increasingly restricted. Domestic food production itself was affected by the drafting of the younger males and by an increasing shortage of fertilizers.

By 1944, the average per capita caloric intake had declined to approximately 1,900 calories. By the summer of 1945 it was about 1,680 calories per

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capita. Coal miners and heavy industrial workers received higher-than-average rations, the remaining populace, less. The average diet suffered even more drastically from reductions in fats, vitamins and minerals required for balance and adversely affected rates of recovery and mortality from disease and bomb injuries.

Undernourishment produced a major increase in the incidence of beriberi and tuberculosis. It also had an important effect on the efficiency and morale of the people, and contributed to absenteeism among workers.

Survey interrogation of a scientifically designed cross-section sample of the Japanese civilian population revealed a high degree of uniformity as between city and rural sectors of the population and as between various economic and social strata in their psychological reaction to the war. A uniformly high percentage considered Japan's greatest weaknesses to have been in the material realm, either lack of resources, productive plant or modern weapons, and her greatest strength to have been in the Yamato spirit of the Japanese people, their willingness to make every personal sacrifice, including that of life itself, for the Emperor or Japan.

The Japanese people reacted to news of the attack against the United States and its Allies with mingled feelings of fear, insecurity and hope. To a people wearied by 10 years of war in China, it was clear that this would be a major war and not an "incident". The early Japanese military successes, particularly the capture of Singapore and the southern regions, were followed by a wave of optimism and high confidence. Subsequent defeats were studiously withheld from the people or disguised as strategic withdrawals. Prior to the loss of Saipan confidence in eventual victory remained high in spite of exhausting work, poor nutrition and rising black market prices. In June 1944 approximately two percent of the population believed that Japan faced the probability of defeat. The fall of Saipan could not be kept from the Japanese people. Even though the psychological effect of this disaster was far greater on the Japanese leaders and intellectuals than on the mass of the population, all indices of Japanese morale began thereafter to decline. By December 1944 air attacks from the Marianas against the home islands had begun, defeats in the Philippines had been suffered, and the food situation had deteriorated; 10 percent of the people believed Japan could not achieve victory. By March 1945, when the night incendiary attacks began and the food ration was reduced, this percentage had risen to 19 percent. In June it was 46 percent, and just prior to surrender, 68 percent. Of those who had come to this belief over one-half attributed the principal cause to air attacks, other than the atomic bombing attacks, and one-third to military defeats.

Sixty-four percent of the population stated that they had reached a point prior to surrender where they felt personally unable to go on with the war. Of these, less than one-tenth attributed the cause to military defeats, one-quarter attributed the cause to shortages of food and civilian supplies, the largest part to air attack.

A striking aspect of the air attack was the pervasiveness with which its impact on morale blanketed Japan. Roughly one-quarter of all people in cities fled or were evacuated, and these evacuees, who themselves were of singularly low morale, helped spread discouragement and disaffection for the war throughout the islands. This mass migration from the cities included an estimated 8,500,000 persons. Throughout the Japanese islands, whose people had always thought themselves remote from attack, United States planes crisscrossed the skies with no effective Japanese air or antiaircraft opposition. That this was an indication of impending defeat became as obvious to the rural as to the urban population.

Progressively lowered morale was characterized by loss of faith in both military and civilian leaders, loss of confidence in Japan's military might and increasing distrust of government news releases and propaganda. People became short-tempered and more outspoken in their criticism of the government, the war and affairs in general. Until the end, however, national traditions of obedience and conformity, reinforced by the police organization, remained effective in controlling the behavior of the population. The Emperor largely escaped the criticism which was directed at other leaders, and retained the people's faith in him. It is probable that most Japanese would have passively faced death in a continuation of the hopeless struggle, had the Emperor so ordered. When the Emperor announced the unconditional surrender the first reaction of the people was one of regret and surprise, followed shortly by relief.

The interrelation of military, economic and morale

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factors was complex. To a certain extent each reacted on the other. In the final analysis the Japanese military machine had lost its purpose when it could no longer protect the Japanese people from destruction by air attack. General Takashima, when asked by the Survey as to his reaction to the Imperial Rescript, stated that surrender had become unavoidable; the Army, even should it repel invasion, could no longer protect the Japanese people from extermination.

The Effects of the Atomic Bombs

On 6 August and 9 August 1945, the first two atomic bombs to be used for military purposes were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. One hundred thousand people were killed, 6 square miles or over 50 percent of the built-up areas of the two cities were destroyed. The first and crucial question about the atomic bomb thus was answered practically and conclusively; atomic energy had been mastered for military purposes and the overwhelming scale of its possibilities had been demonstrated. A detailed examination of the physical, economic, and morale effects of the atomic bombs occupied the attention of a major portion of the Survey's staff in Japan in order to arrive at a more precise definition of the present capabilities and limitations of this radically new weapon of destruction.

Eyewitness accounts of the explosion all describe similar pictures. The bombs exploded with a tremendous flash of blue-white light, like a giant magnesium flare. The flash was of short duration and accompanied by intense glare and heat. It was followed by a tremendous pressure wave and the rumbling sound of the explosion. This sound is not clearly recollected by those who survived near the center of the explosion, although it was clearly heard by others as much as fifteen miles sway. A huge snow-white cloud shot rapidly into the sky and the scene on the ground was obscured first by a bluish haze and then by a purple-brown cloud of dust and smoke.

Such eyewitness accounts reveal the sequence of events. At the time of the explosion, energy was given off in the forms of light, heat, radiation, and pressure. The complete band of radiations, from X- and gamma-rays, through ultraviolet and light rays to the radiant heat of infra-red rays, travelled with the speed of light. The shock wave created by the enormous pressures built up almost instantaneously at the point of explosion but moved out more slowly, that is at about the speed of sound. The superheated gases constituting the original fire ball expanded outward and upward at a slower rate.

The light and radiant heat rays accompanying the flash travelled in a straight line and any opaque object, even a single leaf of a vine, shielded objects lying behind it. The duration of the flash was only a fraction of a second, but it was sufficiently intense to cause third degree burns to exposed human skin up to a distance of a mile. Clothing ignited, though it could be quickly beaten out, telephone poles charred, thatchroofed houses caught fire. Black or other dark-colored surfaces of combustible material absorbed the heat and immediately charred or burst into flames; white or light-colored surfaces reflected a substantial portion of the rays and were not consumed. Heavy black clay tiles which are an almost universal feature of the roofs of Japanese houses bubbled at distances up to a mile. Test of samples of this tile by the National Bureau of Standards in Washington indicates that temperatures in excess of 1,800° C. must have been generated in the surface of the tile to produce such an effect. The surfaces of granite blocks exposed to the flash scarred and spalled at distances up to almost a mile. In the immediate area of ground zero (the point on the ground immediately below the explosion), the heat charred corpses beyond recognition.

Penetrating rays such as gamma-rays exposed X-ray films stored in the basement of a concrete hospital almost a mile from ground zero. Symptoms of their effect on human beings close to the center of the explosion, who survived other effects thereof, were generally delayed for two or three days. The bone marrow and as a result the process of blood formation were affected. The white corpuscle count went down and the human processes of resisting infection were destroyed. Death generally followed shortly thereafter.

The majority of radiation cases who were at greater distances did not show severe symptoms until 1 to 4 weeks after the explosion. The first symptoms were loss of appetite, lassitude and general discomfort. Within 12 to 48 hours, fever became evident in many cases, going as high as 104° to 105° F., which in fatal cases continued until death. If the fever subsided, the patient usually

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showed a rapid disappearance of other symptoms and soon regained his feeling of good health. Other symptoms were loss of white blood corpuscles, loss of hair, and decrease in sperm count.

Even though rays of this nature have great powers of penetration, intervening substances filter out portions of them. As the weight of the intervening material increases the percentage of the rays penetrating goes down. It appears that a few feet of concrete, or a somewhat greater thickness of earth, furnished sufficient protection to humans, even those close to ground zero, to prevent serious after effects from radiation.

The blast wave which followed the flash was of sufficient force to press in the roofs of reinforced concrete structures and to flatten completely all less sturdy structures. Due to the height of the explosion, the peak pressure of the wave at ground zero was no higher than that produced by a near miss of a high-explosive bomb, and decreased at greater distances from ground zero. Reflection and shielding by intervening hills and structures produced some unevenness in the pattern. The blast wave, however, was of far greater extent and duration than that of a high-explosive bomb and most reinforced-concrete structures suffered structural damage or collapse up to 700 feet at Hiroshima and 2,000 feet at Nagasaki. Brick buildings were flattened up to 7,300 feet at Hiroshima and 8,500 feet at Nagasaki. Typical Japanese houses of wood construction suffered total collapse up to approximately 7,300 feet at Hiroshima and 8,200 feet at Nagasaki. Beyond these distances structures received less serious damage to roofs, wall partitions, and the like. Glass windows were blown out at distances up to 5 miles. The blast wave, being of longer duration than that caused by high-explosive detonations, was accompanied by more flying debris. Window frames, doors, and partitions which would have been shaken down by a near-miss of a high-explosive bomb were hurled at high velocity through those buildings which did not collapse. Machine tools and most other production equipment in industrial plants were not directly damaged by the blast wave, but were damaged by collapsing buildings or ensuing general fires.

The above description mentions all the categories of the destructive action by the atomic-bomb explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were no other types of action. Nothing was vaporized or disintegrated; vegetation is growing again immediately under the center of the explosions; there are no indications that radio-activity continued after the explosion to a sufficient degree to harm human beings.

Let us consider, however, the effect of these various types of destructive action on the cities of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki and their inhabitants.

Hiroshima is built on a broad river delta; it is flat and little above sea level. The total city area is 26 square miles but only 7 square miles at the center were densely built up. The principal industries, which had been greatly expanded during the war, were located on the periphery of the city. The population of the city had been reduced from approximately 340,000 to 245,000 as a result of a civilian defense evacuation program. The explosion caught the city by surprise. An alert had been sounded but in view of the small number of planes the all-clear had been given. Consequently, the population had not taken shelter. The bomb exploded a little northwest of the center of the built-up area. Everyone who was out in the open and was exposed to the initial flash suffered serious burns where not protected by clothing. Over 4 square miles in the center of the city were flattened to the ground with the exception of some 50 reinforced concrete buildings, most of which were internally gutted and many of which suffered structural damage. Most of the people in the flattened area were crushed or pinned down by the collapsing buildings or flying debris. Shortly thereafter, numerous fires started, a few from the direct heat of the dash, but most from overturned charcoal cooking stoves or other secondary causes. These fires grew in size, merging into a general conflagration fanned by a wind sucked into the center of the city by the rising heat. The civilian-defense organization was overwhelmed by the completeness of the destruction, and the spread of fire was halted more by the air rushing toward the center of the conflagration than by efforts of the fire-fighting organization.

Approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people were killed, and 50,000 were injured. Of approximately 90,000 buildings in the city, 65,000 were rendered unusable and almost all the remainder received at least light superficial damage. The underground utilities of the city were undamaged except where they crossed bridges over the rivers cutting through the city. All of the small factories in the

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center of the city were destroyed. However, the big plants on the periphery of the city were almost completely undamaged and 94 percent of their workers unhurt. These factories accounted for 74 percent of the industrial production of the city. It is estimated that they could have resumed substantially normal production within 30 days of the bombing, had the war continued. The railroads running through the city were repaired for the resumption of through traffic on 8 August, 2 days after the attack.

Nagasaki was a highly congested city built around the harbor and up into the ravines and river valleys of the surrounding hills. Spurs of these hills coming down close to the head of the bay divide the city roughly into two basins. The built-up area was 3.4 square miles of which 0.6 square miles was given over to industry. The peak wartime population of 285,000 had been reduced to around 230,00 by August 1945, largely by pre-raid evacuations. Nagasaki had been attacked sporadically prior to 9 August by an aggregate of 136 planes which dropped 270 tons of high explosives and 53 tons of incendiary bombs. Some 2 percent of the residential buildings had been destroyed or badly damaged; three of the large industrial plants had received scattered damage. The city was thus comparatively intact at the time of the atomic bombing.

The alarm was improperly given and therefore few persons were in shelters. The bomb exploded over the northwest portion of the city; the intervening hills protected a major portion of the city lying in the adjoining valley. The heat radiation and blast actions of the Nagasaki bomb were more intense than those of the bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Reinforced-concrete structures were structurally damaged at greater distances; the heavy steel-frame industrial buildings of the Mitsubishi steel works and the arms plant were pushed at crazy angles away from the center of the explosion. Contrary to the situation at Hiroshima, the majority of the fires that started immediately after the explosion resulted from direct ignition by the flash.

Approximately 40,000 persons were killed or missing and a like number injured. Of the 52,000 residential buildings in Nagasaki 14,000 were totally destroyed and a further 5,400 badly damaged. Ninety-six percent of the industrial output of Nagasaki was concentrated in the large plants of the Mitsubishi Co. which completely dominated the town. The arms plant and the steel works were located within the area of primary damage. It is estimated that 58 percent of the yen value of the arms plant and 78 percent of the value of the steel works were destroyed. The main plant of the Mitsubishi electric works was on the periphery of the area of greatest destruction. Approximately 25 percent of its value was destroyed. The dockyard, the largest industrial establishment in Nagasaki and one of the three plants previously damaged by high-explosive bombs, was located down the bay from the explosion. It suffered virtually no new damage. The Mitsubishi plants were all operating, prior to the attack, at a fraction of their capacity because of a shortage of raw materials. Had the war continued, and had the raw material situation been such as to warrant their restoration, it is estimated that the dockyard could have been in a position to produce at 80 percent of its full capacity within 3 to 4 months; that the steel works would. have required a year to get into substantial production; that the electric works could have resumed some production within 2 months and been back at capacity within 6 months; and that restoration of the arms plant to 60 to 70 percent of former capacity would have required 15 months.

Some 400 persons were in the tunnel shelters in Nagasaki at the time of the explosion. The shelters consisted of rough tunnels dug horizontally into the sides of hills with crude, earth-filled blast walls protecting the entrances. The blast walls were blown in but all the occupants back from the entrances survived, even in those tunnels almost directly under the explosion. Those not in a direct line with the entrance were uninjured. The tunnels had a capacity of roughly 100,000 persons. Had the proper alarm been sounded, and these tunnel shelters been filled to capacity, the loss of life in Nagasaki would have been substantially lower.

The Survey has estimated that the damage and casualties caused at Hiroshima by the one atomic bomb dropped from a single plane would have required 220 B-29s carrying 1,200 tons of incendiary bombs, 400 tons of high-explosive bombs, and 500 tons of anti-personnel fragmentation bombs, if conventional weapons, rather than an atomic bomb, had been used. One hundred and twenty-five B-29s carrying 1,200 tons of bombs

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would have been required to approximate the damage and casualties at Nagasaki. This estimate pre-supposed bombing under conditions similar to those existing when the atomic bombs were dropped and bombing accuracy equal to the average attained by the Twentieth Air Force during the last 3 months of the war.

As might be expected, the primary reaction of the populace to the bomb was fear, uncontrolled terror, strengthened by the sheer horror of the destruction and suffering witnessed and experienced by the survivors. Prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs, the people of the two cities had fewer misgivings about the war than people in other cities and their morale held up after it better than might have been expected. Twenty-nine percent of the survivors interrogated indicated that after the atomic bomb was dropped they were convinced that victory for Japan was impossible. Twenty-four percent stated that because of the bomb they felt personally unable to carry on with the war. Some 40 percent testified to various degrees of defeatism. A greater number (24 percent) expressed themselves as being impressed with the power and scientific skill which underlay the discovery and production of the atomic bomb than expressed anger at its use (20 percent). In many instances, the reaction was one of resignation.

The effect of the atomic bomb on the confidence of the Japanese civilian population outside the two cities was more restricted. This was in part due to the effect of distance, lack of understanding of the nature of atomic energy, and the impact of other demoralizing experiences. The role of the atomic bomb in the surrender must be considered along with all the other forces which bore upon that question with Japan.

Japan's Struggle to End the War

Japan's governmental structure was such that in practice the Emperor merely approved the decisions of his advisers. A consensus among the oligarchy of ruling factions at the top was required before any major question of national policy could be decided. These factions, each of which had a different point of view, included the group around the Emperor of whom Marquis Kido, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, was the most important, the ex-premiers constituting the Jushin or body of senior statesmen, and the cabinet. The Army and Navy named their own cabinet ministers, who, together with the two chiefs of staff, had direct access to the Emperor. The cabinet could perpetuate itself only so long as it was able to absorb or modify the views of the Army and Navy ministers, who, until the end, were strongly influenced by the fanaticism of the Army officers and many of the younger Navy officers. The ruling oligarchy considered the opinions of the Japanese people as only one among the many factors to be taken into consideration in determining national policy and in no sense as controlling.

The first definitive break in the political coalition which began the war occurred following our success at Saipan. Ten days thereafter, on 16 July 1944, the cabinet headed by General Tojo fell. This significant turn in the course of Japan's wartime politics was not merely the result of an immediate crisis. Even at that date, elements opposing continuation of the war had found means of applying pressure against the fanatic exponents of Japan's militaristic clique. The original factions who had either opposed war before Pearl Harbor, or gone along, or "retired" in the first phase of the conflict recognized as early as the spring of 1944 that Japan was facing ultimate defeat. By that time, United States determination to fight and her ability to mount over-powering offensives in the Pacific, even before the opening of the European Second Front, had already been demonstrated to many of those who had access to all the facts. The political problem of those who saw the situation was to circulate among other leaders in retirement or outside the government a true picture of the war and then unseat the Tojo government in favor of one which would bring the war to an end.

Rear Admiral Takagi of the Navy General Staff made a study between 20 September 1943 and February 1944, of the war's battle lessons up to that time. Based on analysis of air, fleet and merchant ship losses, Japan's inability to import essential materials for production, and the potentiality of air attacks on the home islands, Takagi concluded that Japan could not win and should seek a compromise peace. His study and a similar one made by Sakomizu of the Cabinet Planning Board documented the fears of the Jushin, and through them of Marquis Kido, that all was not well with Tojo's prosecution of the

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war. With the loss of Saipan, it was possible to build up sufficient pressure to force Tojo's retirement.

The government of General Koiso, who was chosen by the ever-cautious Kido to head the succeeding cabinet, did not have the strength to stand up to the military and was a disappointment to the more enthusiastic peace makers. In spite of original instructions to give "fundamental reconsideration" to the problem of continuing the war, his only accomplishment in that direction was the creation of a Supreme War Direction Council, an inner cabinet which supplied the mechanism through which the problem of surrender was eventually resolved.

The conviction and strength of the peace party was increased by the continuing Japanese military defeats, and by Japan's helplessness in defending itself against the ever-growing weight of air attack on the home islands. On 7 April 1945, less than a week after United States landings on Okinawa, Koiso was removed and Marquis Kido installed Admiral Suzuki as premier. Kido testified to the Survey that, in his opinion, Suzuki alone had the deep conviction and personal courage to stand up to the military and bring the war to an end.

Early in May 1945, the Supreme War Direction Council began active discussion of ways and means to end the war, and talks were initiated with Soviet Russia seeking her intercession as mediator.

The talks by the Japanese ambassador in Moscow and with the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo did not make progress. On 20 June the Emperor, on his own initiative, called the six members of the Supreme War Direction Council to a conference and said it was necessary to have a plan to close the war at once, as well as a plan to defend the home islands. The timing of the Potsdam Conference interfered with a plan to send Prince Konoye to Moscow as a special emissary with instructions from the cabinet to negotiate for peace on terms less than unconditional surrender, but with private instructions from the Emperor to secure peace at any price. Although the Supreme War Direction Council, in its deliberations on the Potsdam Declaration, was agreed on the advisability of ending the war, three of its members, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Navy Minister, were prepared to accept unconditional surrender, while the other three, the Army Minister, and the Chiefs of Staff of both services, favored continued resistance unless certain mitigating conditions were obtained.

On 6 August the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and on 9 August Russia entered the war. In the succeeding meetings of the Supreme War Direction Council, the differences of opinion previously existing as to the Potsdam terms persisted exactly as before. By using the urgency brought about through fear of further atomic bombing attacks, the Prime Minister found it possible to bring the Emperor directly into the discussions of the Potsdam terms. Hirohito, acting as arbiter, resolved the conflict in favor of unconditional surrender.

The public admission of defeat by the responsible Japanese leaders, which constituted the political objective of the United States offensive begun in 1943, was thus secured prior to invasion and while Japan was still possessed of some 2,000,000 troops and over 9,000 planes in the home islands. Military defeats in the air, at sea and on the land, destruction of shipping by submarines and by air, and direct air attack with conventional as well as atomic bombs, all contributed to this accomplishment.

There is little point in attempting precisely to impute Japan's unconditional surrender to any one of the numerous causes which jointly and cumulatively were responsible for Japan's disaster. The time lapse between military impotence and political acceptance of the inevitable might have been shorter had the political structure of Japan permitted a more rapid and decisive determination of national policies. Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.

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.

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The foregoing pages tell of the results achieved by air power in each of its several roles in the war in the Pacific, including the effects of the atomic bombs. The Survey has already reported on the results achieved by air power in the European war. It remains to seek out the degree to which the Pacific study modifies, adds to or supports the signposts to the future which were suggested by the European study; to state the extent to which hindsight suggests that air power might have been differently or better employed in the Pacific; to discuss the impact of the existence of atomic bombs on the role of air power; and to state the Survey's recommendations. First, however, it is necessary to point out some of the unique features of the Pacific war which must be borne in mind while considering lessons to be learned from it.

Uniqueness of Pacific War

The Pacific war was unique in many respects, as was the European war, and great reservation should be used in assuming that what was effective or not effective under those circumstances would be similarly effective at other times and under different circumstances. Japan's initial war strategy called for a war of limited objectives. Her capabilities did not permit an attack on our basic supporting strength. She was, however, a fanatically determined enemy, well prepared initially, and the fighting quality of her soldiers, seamen and airmen should not be underestimated.

Japan's geographical situation determined that the Pacific war should in large measure be a war for control of the sea, and to insure control of the sea, for control of the air over it. As a result, attacks against warships and merchant ships and amphibious operations for possession of island positions on which forward bases could be located were close to the heart of the struggle. Carrier task forces, surface ships to provide logistic support, and submarines therefore assumed roles of unusual importance.

Japan's industrial potential was approximately 10 percent of that of the United States. Even though her research and technical design work was not purely imitative, her ability to develop reliable operating equipment in the new fields was low. Her radar and communications equipment was weak. She could not build sufficient ships or escort vessels. She lacked construction equipment to build adequate airfields. She was always hampered by a lack of oil. Her antiaircraft was outmoded. She could not economically afford to build adequate shelters for her population. She could not both disperse her industry and also repair damaged plants. She chose dispersal rather than repair, but she had insufficient means even to disperse effectively.


Not only the uniqueness of the Pacific war but new developments in weapons and tactics make it impossible to assert that signposts to the future derived from the Pacific war will apply with equal force to other situations. The Survey believes, however, that the following signposts as to the role of air power should be given thorough consideration by those working out the solutions to new problems arising under differing conditions.

1. Control of the air was essential to the success of every major military operation. Control of the air enabled surface vessels to sail the seas as far as that control extended, even within range of enemy land-based airplanes. Control of the air permitted amphibious landings at any point where that control could be assured. Control of the air permitted close air support to ground forces, the effectiveness of which was decisive wherever fully employed. Control of the air over lines of communications permitted effective interdiction of them to the enemy and preserved them to ourselves. Control of the air over the Japanese home islands permitted the destruction by long-range bombing of such of her industries and cities as we chose to attack. The first objective of all commanders in the Pacific war, whether ground, sea or air, whether American, Allied, or Japanese, was to assure control of the air.

2. Control of the air was not easily achieved, and involved the coordinated application of all the resources of the nation. Air power consisted not merely of the planes and pilots that engaged the enemy, but of all the sources of strength that supported, reinforced and exploited control of the air. It was coordinated teamplay of ground, sea and air forces, both ground-based and carrier-based, and their supporting services, backed up by the full effort of all phases of the home front that enabled us to secure control of the air, at first locally and then more generally, culminating in

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virtual freedom of the skies over the Japanese home islands themselves.
3. The limitations of air control deserve special mention. It was never completely possible to deny the air to the enemy. It was considered that we had control of the air when the enemy could not operate in it without prohibitive losses in relation to results achieved, while our own planes could operate in it at will and with acceptable risk of loss. The Japanese increased their ratio of results achieved to losses by adopting Kamikaze tactics. This was a measure of desperation, but the results obtained were considerable and, had they been much greater, might have caused us to withdraw or to modify our strategic plans. The principle involved indicates the degree to which defensive air control must be improved or enemy bases kept beyond the range of enemy suicide planes or guided missiles from such land or sea as we propose to use.

4. Given air control, there were also limitations as to the specific results which could be achieved in exploiting such control by aircraft carrying conventional high-explosive bombs. Fox holes, underground emplacements and other prepared defenses could not in many cases be reduced, and it was necessary to eliminate remaining ground forces in costly close-range fighting even though these forces were isolated and completely cut off from supplies and reinforcements.

Weather and darkness limited exploitation of air control, but as the war progressed technical and tactical advances were made which progressively reduced these limitations.

Combat radius of fighters and time on patrol at maximum radius, although great by previously existing standards, required that airfields or carriers be available within 300 nautical miles or less of the critical areas of surface combat for optimum fighter cover. The effective radius of our longest range bombers was limited to 1,500 miles and bases still closer to Japan were considered essential for emergency landing and fighter support.

The importance of reducing these limitations of control of the air and its exploitation by the application of research and development work in postwar years is obvious.

5. The experience of the Pacific war supports the findings of the Survey in Europe that heavy, sustained and accurate attack against carefully selected targets is required to produce decisive results when attacking an enemy's sustaining resources. It further supports the findings in Germany that no nation can long survive the free exploitation of air weapons over its homeland. For the future it is important fully to grasp the fact that enemy planes enjoying control of the sky over one's head can be as disastrous to one's country as its occupation by physical invasion.


Hindsight inevitably suggests that in some respects air power might have been differently or better employed.

Prior to the European mar, we underestimated the predominant role that air power was to play and allocated to it too small a share of even the inadequate resources then available to the Army and Navy. At the outbreak of the Pacific war our deficiency was particularly great in modern land-based fighters and in carriers. One thousand planes in the Philippines, at least equal in performance to the best then available to the Japanese, including types effective against shipping, well-manned, equipped and supplied, and dispersed on some 50 airfields, would have seriously impeded the original Japanese advance if knowledge of their existence had not entirely dissuaded the Japanese from making the attempt. The loss of relatively antiquated battleships at Pearl Harbor had little effect on the Navy's combat capabilities at that time, while the addition of a few carriers would have enormously increased its capabilities. Larger overall appropriations to the armed forces, beginning at the time of Japanese occupation of Manchuria when the threat to peace in the Far East became evident, might have made war unnecessary and would have paid for itself many times over in reduced casualties and expenditures had war still been unavoidable.

Upon entering the war, we were deficient not only in numbers, but in quality of many of our aircraft types. We were forced thereafter into hasty and costly modification and technical development programs to raise the performance of our aircraft to acceptable standards. These programs could have been conducted more efficiently and economically during prewar years.

In the actual conduct of the war we more quickly grasped the strategic revolution brought about by the capabilities of air power than did the Japanese. By the end of 1943 we had achieved

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Last edited by David Thompson on 21 Dec 2004 08:32, edited 1 time in total.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 21 Dec 2004 06:58

Part 2:
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through combat and the augmentation of our forces, such clear cut superiority over the Japanese in all elements of air power that eventual victory was assured.

In exploiting this superiority greater economy of effort was possible. The structure of our prewar military organization provided no means, short of the President, for integrating our armed forces. Under the pressure of war the Joint Chiefs of Staff was the most decisive mechanism then possible to fill this gap. Each of its members had in effect the power of veto and the required unanimity was produced by compromise. It proved impossible to agree on an overall commander for the Pacific as a whole. Our military and economic strength, however, made it possible to plan and execute a dual line of advance across the Pacific and to mount an air attack of sufficient weight to induce unconditional surrender concurrently with the preparation of a full scale invasion.

Capture of the Gilbert Islands produced limited strategic results. Attacks on Rabaul and other bypassed positions were continued longer and in greater volume than required. The effectiveness of high-level attack in softening up prepared defenses and in sinking maneuvering ships was overestimated. Prior to the occupation of the Marianas, B-29s could have been more effectively used in coordination with submarines for search, low-level attacks and mining in accelerating the destruction of Japanese shipping, or in destroying oil and metal plants in the southern areas, than in striking the Japanese "Inner Zone" from China bases.

In the final assault on the Japanese home islands we were handicapped by a lack of prewar economic intelligence. Greater economy of effort could have been attained, and much duplicative effort avoided, by extending and accelerating the strangulation of the Japanese economy already taking place as a result of prior attacks on shipping. This could have been done by an earlier commencement of the aerial mining program, concentration of carrier plane attacks in the last months of the war on Japan's remaining merchant shipping rather than on her already immobilized Warships, and a coordinated B-29 and carrier attack on Japan's vulnerable railroad system beginning in April 1945.

We underestimated the ability of our air attack on Japan's home islands, coupled as it was with blockade and previous military defeats, to achieve unconditional surrender without invasion. By July 1945, the weight of our air attack had as yet reached only a fraction of its planned proportion, Japan's industrial potential had been fatally reduced, her civilian population had lost its confidence in victory and was approaching the limit of its endurance, and her leaders, convinced of the inevitability of defeat, were preparing to accept surrender. The only remaining problem was the timing and terms of that surrender.

Having entered the war inadequately prepared, we continued all-out mobilization of all resources to bring ever increasing pressure on Japan, beyond the time when this was still reasonably required.

The Impact of Atomic Bombs on the Role of Air Power

Does the existence of atomic bombs invalidate all conclusions relative to air power based on pre-atomic experience? It is the Survey's opinion that many of the pre-existing yardsticks are revolutionized, but that certain of the more basic principles and relationships remain. The atomic bomb, in its present state of development, raises the destructive power of a single bomber by a factor of somewhere between 50 and 250 times, depending upon the nature and size of the target. The capacity to destroy, given control of the air and an adequate supply of atomic bombs, is beyond question. Unless both of these conditions are met, however, any attempt to produce war-decisive results through atomic bombing may encounter problems similar to those encountered in conventional bombing.

The problem of control of the air, primarily of our own air, and should we be attacked, of the enemy's air as well, becomes of even greater significance. The most intense effort must be devoted to perfecting defensive air control both by day and night, through the improvement of early warning and fighter control apparatus, anti-aircraft ordnance and defensive fighters, not only from the standpoint of technological improvement and volume, but also of disposition and tactics. It would be rash, however, to predict an increase in the effectiveness of defensive control sufficient to insure that not a single enemy plane or guided missile will be able to penetrate. It therefore behooves us to accept the possibility that at least a small

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number of enemy planes or guided missiles may be able to evade all our defenses and to attack any objective within range.

The threat of immediate retaliation with a striking force of our own should deter any aggressor from attacking.

If we are not to be overwhelmed out of hand, in the event we are nevertheless attacked, we must reduce materially our vulnerability to such attack. The experience of both the Pacific and European wars emphasizes the extent to which civilian and other forms of passive defense can reduce a country's vulnerability to air attack. Civilian injuries and fatalities can be reduced, by presently known techniques, to one-twentieth or less of the casualties which would be suffered were these techniques not employed. This does not involve moving everything underground, but does involve a progressive evacuation, dispersal, warning, air-raid shelter, and postraid emergency assistance program, the foundations for which can only be laid in peacetime. The analysis of the effects of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki indicates that the above statement is just as true and much more terrifyingly significant in an age of atomic bombs than it was in an age of conventional weapons.
Similarly, economic vulnerability can be enormously decreased by a well worked out program of stockpiles, dispersal and special construction of particularly significant segments of industry. Such a program in the economic field can also be worked out satisfactorily only in peacetime.

In the strictly military field the impact of atomic weapons and guided missiles on strategy and tactics can only be developed by military specialists. It is the Survey's opinion, however, that mature study by such specialists will support the conclusion that dispersal of military forces, and therefore space and distance in which to effect such dispersal, will be significant considerations; that heavy bombers similar to those used in this war will not be able to operate effectively and on a sustained basis much beyond the range of protective fighters, and that newer types of offensive weapons and new tactics must be developed to do so; that forward air bases will have to be defended or more advanced bases acquired step by step in actual combat; and that the basic principles of war, when applied to include the field of the new weapons, will be found to remain. If such be the case, atomic weapons will not have eliminated the need for ground troops, for surface vessels, for air weapons, or for the full coordination among them, the supporting services and the civilian effort, but will have changed the context in which they are employed to such a degree that radically changed equipment, training and tactics will be required.


Over and above the numerous recommendations scattered throughout preceding sections of this report, of which the recommendation that we develop protection for our civilian population and for our economy is one of the most important, the Survey has been impressed with the need for concrete and prompt action to encourage adequate research and development; to assure adequate intelligence during peacetime; to integrate our military establishments; and to increase the national appreciation of the necessity for continued strength of the United States as a force for peace.

Research and development. -- The "blitzkrieg" technique is of enormous danger. This conclusion, derived initially from the European war, is strongly supported by the Japanese experience. A mobilized and well-trained striking force enjoying a certain technical superiority can overwhelm in short order the forces of a country of far greater basic long-term strength. In the opening phases of the Pacific war the Japanese were able to overrun 130,000,000 people and an area of enormous strategic importance in the space of a few months. This was true in spite of the fact that from the time of the Munich conference in 1938 we had been on notice that aggression against the peace of the world was possible and that the intervening years and the experience of our Allies had been invaluable in permitting us to take the necessary steps to revise our strategic concepts, to apply our advanced scientific and development resources to the improvement of our weapons, and to begin our industrial and military mobilization. The distances of the Pacific fortunately gave us space, and therefore time, in which to absorb the initial blow while our increasing strength and Japan's increasing logistic problems reversed the initial disadvantages facing our advanced forces.

Science has increased tremendously the destructive capability of modern weapons and promises further developments in the future. Given an adequate supply of atomic bombs, the B-29s based in the Marianas had sufficient strength to have effectively

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destroyed in a single day every Japanese city with a population in excess of 30,000 people. In the future, national security will depend to a large degree on technical superiority of weapons and on operating and maintenance proficiency of personnel. Peacetime military strategic planning must be pointed to and supported by a vigorous program of scientific research and development.

If the United States is not to be forced to hasty and inadequate mobilization every time the threat of aggression arises in the world, it is essential that in the field of military weapons and tactics she be technically not merely abreast of, but actually ahead of any potential aggressor. It is not generally realized the degree to which basic scientific research was neglected in the United States during the course of the war in order to concentrate on the belated development of the specific weapons immediately required, nor the degree to which we lagged behind Germany in advanced aerodynamics, jet propulsion and the development of guided missiles. In air armament and torpedoes, even the Japanese were ahead of us. One or two years' lag in either basic research or in the development of reliable military application of such research can only be made up with difficulty, if at all. This type of work has become so complex that expenditures for research and development in the order of one billion dollars annually may be required to assure an acceptable degree of national security.

Intelligence. -- At the start of the Pacific war our strategic intelligence was highly inadequate, and our overall war plans, insofar as they were based on faulty information and faulty interpretation of accurate information, were unrealistic. After Pearl Harbor the obtaining and analysis of economic and industrial information necessary to the planning of an attack on Japan's sustaining resources required several years of the most strenuous effort and even then substantial gaps remained. If a comparable lack of intelligence should exist at the start of a future national emergency, it might prove disastrous.

In the field of operational intelligence considerable forward strides were made during the Pacific war. The requirements in this field for a large volume of minutely detailed and accurate work, for complex analysis geared to rapidly changing capabilities of forces and weapons, and for speed, all place a heavy burden on training, competence and organization. These requirements were not fully met in the Pacific war; the deficiency was at times serious. This was in large measure traceable to a prewar lack of trained and competent operational intelligence officers to provide an adequate nucleus for an expanding organization.

The basis for adequate intelligence can only be laid in peacetime. The solution to our problems in this held appears in part to be the greater centralization to be provided by the National Intelligence Authority, particularly in securing more adequate coordination and dissemination. It appears also to lie in close integration into the various operating organizations of appropriate intelligence units, adequate budgets and personnel for intelligence work, and a sufficient increase in the prestige attached to such work to attract the highest quality of personnel. This latter can only come from increased training in intelligence and active appreciation of its functions on the part of other Army, Navy, and Government officials. The present lack of recognized responsibility for intelligence work by the various operating organizations and the present shortage of trained and competent intelligence personnel give cause for alarm and require correction.

Integration of our military establishments. -- Organizational deficiencies in the Japanese Government contributed to Japan's entering a disastrous war and subsequently contributed to the absoluteness of her defeat. The form of her governmental organization provided no means for civilian control of the military or for obtaining effective coordination between the Army and Navy. Military policy was inconsistent with the foreign policy of the cabinet, the Japanese Army and Navy tending to make their own foreign policy in accordance with their individual aims, capabilities and requirements. During the war, bureaucratic rivalry between her Army and Navy impeded coordinated strategic and tactical planning, the proper employment of her air power, the development of adequate logistics and the efficient utilization of her economic resources. The existence of such joint or combined organizations as the Supreme War Council, the Supreme War Direction Council, the Board of Field Marshals and Fleet Admirals, the Imperial General Headquarters served mainly to hide the fact that real unity, integration, and coordination were conspicuously lacking.

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Even though the United States did not achieve unity of command in the Pacific as a whole, each theater commander used the air, ground and sea forces assigned to him as an integrated or coordinated team. Coordination and compromise among theater commanders was largely achieved in all major respects. Such lack of complete integration as existed was in a large measure traceable back through the structure of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the basic structure of our prewar military organization.

The Congress of the United States is today considering legislation for the reorganization and integration of our military establishments. The Survey is of the opinion that the prompt passage of appropriate legislation is in the national interest.

The lessons of the Pacific war strongly support that form of organization which provides unity of command, capable of clear and effective decision at the top, strengthens civilian control and thus provides closer integration of military policy with foreign and domestic policy, and favors a high degree of coordination in planning, intelligence, and research and development. Such unity of command should, however, decentralize administrative burdens and permit specialized training and the free development of the component forces, even at the risk of some duplication.

Within a department of common defense which provides unity of command and is itself oriented toward air and new weapons, the Survey believes that, in addition to the Army and the Navy, there should be an equal and coordinate position for a third establishment. To this establishment should be given primary responsibility for passive and active defense against long range attack on our cities, industries and other sustaining resources; for strategic attack, whether by airplane or guided missile; and for all air units other than carrier air and such land-based air units as can be more effective as component parts of the Army or Navy. The mission of such a new establishment would differ considerably from that of an autonomous air force and would, in certain respects, require additional and broader experience than has heretofore been required by the Army air forces alone.

Strength as a force for peace. -- The Survey's report on the European war stated that the great lesson to be learned in the battered cities of England and the ruined cities of Germany is that the best way to win a war is to prevent it from occurring. This is fully supported by the example of the devastated cities of Japan and their unhappy and hungry surviving inhabitants. The prevention of war must be the ultimate end to which our best efforts are devoted. It has been suggested, and wisely so, that this objective is well served by insuring the strength and the security of the United States. The United States was founded and has since lived upon principles of tolerance, freedom and good will at home and abroad. Strength based on these principles is no threat to world peace. Prevention of war will not be furthered by neglect of strength or lack of foresight or alertness on our part. Those who contemplate evil and aggression find encouragement in such neglect. Hitler relied heavily upon it. The Japanese would never have attacked Pearl Harbor had they not correctly assessed the weakness of our defenses in the Pacific and had they not incorrectly assessed the fighting determination of the United States when attacked.

Suggestions for assuring the military strength and security of the United States are by no means intended as a recommendation for a race in arms with other nations; nor do they reflect a lack of confidence in the prospect of international relationships founded upon mutual respect and good will which will themselves be a guarantee against future wars. The development of an intelligent and coordinated approach to American security can and should take place within the framework of the security organization of the United Nations.

The United States as a member of the United Nations has covenanted not to use force except in defense of law as embodied in the purposes and principles of the United Nations' Charter. As one of the great powers we must be prepared to act in defense of law and to do our share in assuring that other nations live up to their covenant.

The United States must have the will and the strength to be a force for peace.

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atom bomb

Post by waffen » 21 Dec 2004 08:47

:D well done david another great post,when the british captured the nazi scientists working on the bomb,did any of them assist the manhattan project or were they just held prisoners?. any links to these men... :idea:

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Post by David Thompson » 21 Dec 2004 16:39

waffen -- Thanks. You asked:
when the british captured the nazi scientists working on the bomb,did any of them assist the manhattan project or were they just held prisoners?. any links to these men...

The Manhattan project was well under way when Germany surrendered, and I don't believe that German scientists were brought into it in 1945. As for what the German scientists did do for the victorious allies, try an advanced google search ( ) with the search term "Operation Paperclip," follow up those leads, and get ready for several days' worth of reading.

Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 21 Dec 2004 17:08

In his book Germany, Hitler & World War II on p. 286 Gerhard L. Weinberg tells of the German atomic scientists (or a significant group of them) held in captivity somewhere in Britain after the war. Their rooms were bugged, and their discussions carefully recorded. After hearing of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, their first reaction was disbelief: if they had been unable to make a bomb, then no-one else could possibly have succeeded!

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