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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Japanese, bombs, etc. (was Re: (Starship Troopers...)
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 19:32:38 GMT

In article <38b1b0fe.539488@>,
Rick Jones <> wrote:
>It is simply not a fact that Japan was determined to fight on before
>the bombings and determined to give up afterwards.  They might have
>surrendered wthout vaporizing Hiroshima, and it is very, very likely
>that given a few more days they would have surrendered without

Very, very doubtful.  I've seen two books that studied the issue (one of
which was exclusively on that topic, in fact), and both concluded that the
Nagasaki bomb was necessary.  The reports from Hiroshima were widely
belittled, and assumed to be exaggerations or somehow the result of
unusual conditions.  Nagasaki was essential as proof that the destruction
of Hiroshima was repeatable.

The belief that Japan might have surrendered without the atom bombs seems
to be based on the implicit assumptions that the Japanese thought like
Westerners and that their government worked like a Western government.
Wrong, twice.  They were resolutely carrying on, not because they thought
they could win but because there was no other honorable course of action
available.  There was a pro-surrender faction in Cabinet, but it was not
strong enough to succeed by itself.  Indeed, there was a military coup
brewing to make *sure* there was no surrender.

Emperor Hirohito, who can be assumed to have known the situation :-), had
to intervene twice (unprecedented, and technically illegal, acts) in
Cabinet meetings to convince the government to surrender, and then thought
it advisable to personally broadcast the orders to make sure they stuck.
Note that Hirohito had never spoken on radio before, ever; most Japanese
of the day had never heard the voice of their god before.  For him to
deliver orders personally was a drastic act, an event of overwhelming
importance... and a clear indication that he expected real trouble if he
didn't.  As it was, the only reason he could make it stick was that he
could argue that the atom bombs had changed all the rules.
Computer disaster in February?  Oh, you |  Henry Spencer
must mean the release of Windows 2000.  |      (aka

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