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Thread: The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan… Stalin Did

  1. #16
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Thanks for the background DOR. Explains the way the article was written. It felt like he was reaching at times. Now I know why.

    On a more general note, it is reasonable to point out that postwar accounts on the Western side underplayed the significance of the Soviet DOW on the surrender. This wasn't necessarily malicious. it was perfectly reasonable for the US to assume that two giant bombs dropped on Japan were a lot more important than a distant Russian Army on Japanese decision making. In the way of these things people sometimes try to 'rebalance' the account by overstating the counter case. There is always a ready audience for these overstatements, especially among people who already have a particular prejudice about the US/Western Allies.
    Stuff like this pops up almost every year around the anniversary. Drives my father crazy.

    On the Soviet entry into the war might another reason we wouldn't acknowledge the Russian contribution, if you want to call it that, would be that the Russians might demand a place at the table regarding post war Japan. We all know how that went in Europe.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    On the Soviet entry into the war might another reason we wouldn't acknowledge the Russian contribution, if you want to call it that, would be that the Russians might demand a place at the table regarding post war Japan. We all know how that went in Europe.
    They were at the table. They took the two Japanese Islands and the heart of the Imperial Japanese Empire, North Korea and Manchuria.
    Chimo

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Finally read it. It is academically dishonest and historic revisionism. The author has absolutely zero idea what was discussed in the meeting. The only official documentations that we have is of Hirehitto's surrender speech which made no mention of AUGUST STORM but of the nukes.

    To state the meeting was about discusing AUGUST STORM without any evidence to back this up is ludicrous. I don't doubt AUGUST STORM was discussed but the surrender speech was diliberately about the nukes. To ignore that is dishonest and revisionism.
    Of course it is revisionist. The author doesn't hide it. He clearly puts his thesis (and that's what this is) to a length. He starts the piece that it's NOT about the bomb. What's interesting to me is that even today many are not ready give the Soviets a bit of credit at all. I'm sure their stepping in was a factor, too. Not decisive, but one of many.
    Another front opens and the hopes for the Soviet meddling as neutrals vanished. But hey, it's solely the bomb.
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Of course it is revisionist. The author doesn't hide it. He clearly puts his thesis (and that's what this is) to a length. He starts the piece that it's NOT about the bomb. What's interesting to me is that even today many are not ready give the Soviets a bit of credit at all. I'm sure their stepping in was a factor, too. Not decisive, but one of many.
    Another front opens and the hopes for the Soviet meddling as neutrals vanished. But hey, it's solely the bomb.
    I would argue it was decisive. AUGUST STORM was the death of the Imperial Japanese Empire. The nukes would have been the death of Japan.
    Chimo

  5. #20
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    They were at the table. They took the two Japanese Islands and the heart of the Imperial Japanese Empire, North Korea and Manchuria.
    Well I should have been more clear as that I knew. I just get the feeling they would have liked more like maybe Hokkaido. Did not the Soviets try to prolong the war by insisting that the Japanese surrender unconditionally to all Allies at one time in order to avoid anything unilateral?

    Reading around I have run across a Japanese historian who also claims it was Stalin who forced the surrender of Japan.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/id...pan_surrender/
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 08 Aug 15, at 08:10.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Well I should have been more clear as that I knew. I just get the feeling they would have liked more like maybe Hokkaido. Did not the Soviets try to prolong the war by insisting that the Japanese surrender unconditionally to all Allies at one time in order to avoid anything unilateral?
    That was the Postdam Agreement. Unconditional Surrender, Surrendering to individual countries is conditional surrender. The one thing the Japanese was loathing was to surrender to China which they were trying to avoid and in fact keep parts of China.

    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Reading around I have run across a Japanese historian who also claims it was Stalin who forced the surrender of Japan.
    There are two things. The death of the Japanese Empire and the death of Japan. There is absolutely zero doubt Stalin killed the Japanese Empire but it was the Americans who was going to slaughter Japan. People often confused the two issues when discussing the Japanese surrender.
    Chimo

  7. #22
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Stuff like this pops up almost every year around the anniversary. Drives my father crazy.

    On the Soviet entry into the war might another reason we wouldn't acknowledge the Russian contribution, if you want to call it that, would be that the Russians might demand a place at the table regarding post war Japan. We all know how that went in Europe.
    There were no doubt a variety of reasons. Cold War politics played a role, as they did in a lot of accounts of WW2. So did the dearth of documentation/information from Japan available to people at the time. Personally I think Hirohito could have stated that the USSR was the sole reason for surrender, but unless Russian troops were firmly lodged on the Japanese Home Islands I don't see Truman inviting them in. Japan certainly wasn't going to and Stalin wasn't in a position to force the issue.


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    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    Anyone read Richard Frank's Downfall? It's highly recommended by my friend who studied S.E. Asian history and apparently raved by academic historians when it was published as the last word on the use of the nukes.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

  9. #24
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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  10. #25

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    I suspect both nuclear explosions created a sufficiently profound impression upon the Japanese military. Surrendering to such demonstrated omnipotence was likely considerably easier to swallow than suggesting the Japanese military simply didn't possess the spirit to confront the Russians (or Americans) directly. It's even possible that such a demonstration of overwhelming strength was required of the Japanese people to convince the same.

    It would have been obligatory of all Japanese to resist any homeland invasion absent a wholesale unconditional surrender before such occurred. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki nukes created the justification for surrender.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  11. #26
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    I am not as eloquent as the rest but as I see it, Japan was prepared for and was used to having waves of American bombers flying over their cities and dropping destruction which lasted hours and days before the cities were torn under. They had reports of long shore bombardments, bombings, strafing and finally landings from the U.S. island hopping campaign and that is what they expected. Japan had its code and many still believed their emperor was divine so surrender was still not palatable. Then a single bomber vaporized a city in seconds. I am sure this was hard to believe for those who had not seen it first hand. Just imagine the shock, awe and incredulity of hearing such a thing for the first time. Once verified, the Japanese had to face reality that they would have to surrender at some point and they may even had been making preparations. When the second city was vaporized they knew beyond any doubt that the first was not a fluke and if they did not surrender immediately there would soon be nothing left. Japan had no clue as to how many bombs the U.S. had but they knew the U.S. was more than willing to use them. In the minds of the Japanese, Russia was hundreds of miles away with little in the way of a navy or air force that could yet threaten the mainland. The U.S. was on Japan's doorstep with the worlds largest navy and air force, and could vaporize any Japanese city at will.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

  12. #27
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    Again, two different POVs. AUGUST STORM killed the Imperial Japanese Empire. Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed Japan.

    What was left was what was going to kill the Japanese people, American nukes or Chinese barbarians?
    Chimo

  13. #28
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    I cant presume to speak for the Japanese at the time but as I see it, why worry about the wolves howling in the distance when you have a grizzly breaking in your front door? You can always rebuild the empire but losing the homeland was a one way trip. Neither the Russians or the Chinese had a way to get their troops to Japan. The U.S. had already proven it had the ability,the will, and the experience to do so. Once the 2 atomic bombs were dropped, Japan knew that the U.S. didn't even have to step foot in Japan to incinerate cities at will. Japan had no answer for that. Since Japan did not know how many nukes the U.S had, Japan could only assume that a good portion of Japan would be obliterated long before any Chinese or Russians could have stepped foot on the Japanese homeland. I wouldn't say that Russian troops in manchuria had no effect, but to compare Russian troops to two Atomic bombs misses the fact that years prior, the U.S. was fighting and winning the war in the Pacific and that also played a huge part in the surrender.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    I cant presume to speak for the Japanese at the time but as I see it, why worry about the wolves howling in the distance when you have a grizzly breaking in your front door?
    Because those wolves are taking your grocery store and your heating oil.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    You can always rebuild the empire
    Actually no, even the Japanese realized once they lose their empire, they lost it for good. The Chinese were getting better and they had no hope against the Soviets.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    but losing the homeland was a one way trip.
    Both were one way trips. Just because you don't burn to death at home does not mean you don't starve or freeze to death at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    Neither the Russians or the Chinese had a way to get their troops to Japan. The U.S. had already proven it had the ability,the will, and the experience to do so.
    Oh believe me, the Japanese were terrified of the US shipping Chinese armies onto Japanese shores.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    Once the 2 atomic bombs were dropped, Japan knew that the U.S. didn't even have to step foot in Japan to incinerate cities at will. Japan had no answer for that. Since Japan did not know how many nukes the U.S had, Japan could only assume that a good portion of Japan would be obliterated long before any Chinese or Russians could have stepped foot on the Japanese homeland.
    The Japanese knew that before the nukes. The Tokyo firebombing killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. What the nukes did was to make plain that they had no way of stopping American armies coming ashore, nor could they even make the Americans pay for it in blood. A single nuke would render all beach defences useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    I wouldn't say that Russian troops in manchuria had no effect, but to compare Russian troops to two Atomic bombs misses the fact that years prior, the U.S. was fighting and winning the war in the Pacific and that also played a huge part in the surrender.
    Again, it was a 1-2-3 punch, American invasion forces, nukes, and the Russians.
    Chimo

  15. #30
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    The Japanese knew that before the nukes. The Tokyo firebombing killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. What the nukes did was to make plain that they had no way of stopping American armies coming ashore, nor could they even make the Americans pay for it in blood. A single nuke would render all beach defences useless.


    That is it is a nutshell Firebombing required several bombers. A nuke needed but a single plane. Japan was fully committed to defending the homeland right up until the bombs dropped and they realized they had no defenses. They could make Americans bleed, they could make russians bleed and they can make Chinese bleed. Atomic bombs? They had nothing. The difference between Japanese fighting to the last man on a pacific island yet surrendering the homeland so quickly was the bomb. The Japanese would have surrendered just as quickly without a Russian invasion.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

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