Did the atom bombs end the war with Japan?
Many historians assert that the two atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945 forced Emperor Hirohito to surrender – thus saving tens of thousands lives that would have been lost had the war continued for longer. This argument, that has been reiterated time and again, provides a moral justification or rationale for the use of these new weapons to murder civilians. In the ruined German city of Potsdam, six thousand miles from occupied Southeast Asia, American President Truman had something important to tell his Soviet counterpart: ‘On July 24 I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of unusual destructive force. The Russian Premier 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.’’ His apparent indifference to the new American weapon was, of course, a sham. Stalin had already made plans to abandon the ‘Neutrality Pact’ signed in 1941 and join the war against Japan. He had in fact promised to ‘come in’ two years earlier at the Tehran Conference. At the same time, Soviet diplomats continued to hold out the […]
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