Racism, Revenge, the War without Mercy, and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb

2012 Words8 Pages
Introduction Historians like Gar Alperovitz and Martin Sherwin have known for many years, based on declassified U.S. government documents that Japan was going to surrender in 1945 even if the atomic bombs were no dropped and that no invasion would ever have been necessary. Their only condition was that the United States "guaranteed the safety of the Emperor Hirohito", and in the end the Truman administration agreed to this rather than prosecuting him as a war criminal (Sherwin xviii). At the time in the summer of 1945, all the top military and civilian officials of the administration except Secretary of State James Byrnes had already advised Truman to accept the Japanese surrender on this condition. Yet when the Potsdam Declaration was issued in July 1945, Truman and Byrnes removed the condition that would have allowed the emperor to remain in power. As Herwin put it, "for forty years, the American public had been misled about the decision-making process", as indeed most of it still is even today (Sherwin xv). From secret documents declassified over the last thirty years, Alperovitz and Sherwin also proved conclusively that Truman, Byrnes and Winston Churchill regarded the atomic bomb as an instrument of diplomatic coercion to win concessions from the Soviets in Eastern Europe and Asia, and that they dropped it on Japan as a demonstration of resolve that they had the will to use it on Russia. Americans like to see themselves as the "good guys" in history and still regard
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