Debate Over The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Impact On Surrender

Impact On Surrender

See also: Soviet–Japanese War (1945)#Importance and consequences

On the question of what role the bombings played in Japan's surrender, there are varied opinions, ranging from the bombings being the deciding factor, to the bombs being a minor factor, to the entire question being unknowable.

That the bombings were the decisive factor in ending the war was the mainstream position in the United States from 1945 through the 1960s, and is termed by some the "traditionalist" view, or pejoratively as the "patriotic orthodoxy."

Others argue that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was instead primary or decisive. In the US, this view has been particularly advanced by Robert Pape and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, and found convincing by some, while criticized by others.

Robert Pape also argues that:

"Military vulnerability, not civilian vulnerability, accounts for Japan's decision to surrender. Japan's military position was so poor that its leaders would likely have surrendered before invasion, and at roughly the same time in August 1945, even if the United States had not employed strategic bombing or the atomic bomb. Rather than concern for the costs and risks to the population, or even Japan's overall military weakness vis-a-vis the United States, the decisive factor was Japanese leaders' recognition that their strategy for holding the most important territory at issue—the home islands—could not succeed."

In some Japanese writing about the surrender, the Soviet entry into the war is considered the primary reason or equal with the atomic bombs in many accounts, while others, such as the work of Sadao Asada, give primacy to the atomic bombings, particularly their impact on the emperor. The primacy of the Soviet entry as a reason for surrender is a long-standing view among some Japanese historians, and has appeared in some Japanese junior high school textbooks.

The argument about the Soviet role in Japan's surrender is connected to the argument about the Soviet role in America's decision to drop the bomb: both emphasize the importance of the Soviet Union, while the former argues that Japan surrendered to the US out of fear of the Soviet Union, and the latter argues that the US dropped the bombs to intimidate the Soviet Union.

Still others have argued that war-weary Japan would likely have surrendered regardless, due to a collapse of the economy, lack of army, food, and industrial materials, threat of internal revolution, and talk of surrender since earlier in the year, while others find this unlikely, arguing that Japan may well have, or likely would have, put up a spirited resistance.

The Japanese historian Sadao Asada argues that the ultimate decision to surrender was a personal decision by the emperor, influenced by the atomic bombings.

Read more about this topic:  Debate Over The Atomic Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

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