Debate Over The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Atomic Diplomacy

Atomic Diplomacy

A further argument, discussed under the rubric of "atomic diplomacy" and advanced in a 1965 book of that name by Gar Alperovitz, is that the bombings had as primary purpose to intimidate the Soviet Union, being the opening shots of the Cold War. Along these lines some argue that the US raced the Soviet Union and hoped to drop the bombs and receive surrender from Japan before a Soviet entry into the Pacific war. However, the Soviet Union, the US and Great Britain came to an agreement at the Yalta Conference on when the Soviet Union should join the war against Japan, and on how the territory of Japan was to be dismembered at the end of the war.

Others argue that such considerations played little or no role, the US being instead concerned with the defeat of Japan, and in fact that the US desired and appreciated the Soviet entry into the Pacific war, as it hastened the surrender of Japan. In his memoirs Truman wrote: "There were many reasons for my going to Potsdam, but the most urgent, to my mind, was to get from Stalin a personal reaffirmation of Russia's entry into the war against Japan, a matter which our military chiefs were most anxious to clinch. This I was able to get from Stalin in the very first days of the conference."

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