“ATOM BOMBS WERE NOT NECESSARY TO END THE PACIFIC WAR in 1945.”AMERICAN STRATEGIC BOMBING COMMAND & SENIOR US MILITARY FIGURES
Six months prior to the 1945 use of their nuclear weapons on the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the American military under General Curtis LeMay had completed a major strategic incendiary bombing campaign, where as many as 346 giant B29 bombers flew at a time, destroying 67 Japanese cities and killing an estimated 350,000 civilians – almost DOUBLE the combined civilian death tolls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons attacks. The campaign left millions of people sick and homeless.
Incendiary bombs are also known as Fire Bombs, for that is what they create. Massive, fierce, raging, fires. The bombs are filled with a sticky and highly flammable petroleum jelly and are designed to cling to everything they land on and burn it. By burning everything on the ground, the mostly wooden construction of all of Japan’s major cities in 1945 was the perfect environment to use the fire bombs. Much of Japan’s cities burnt to the ground within hours. As did hundreds of thousands of people.
In addition to destroying life and property, the massive fires also remove the oxygen from the air creating highly toxic, oxygen starved conditions for the survivors.
(These types of “burning” bombs were modified and enhanced, and later used extensively by America in Vietnam and Cambodia as “Napalm”).
The 1945 fire bombing campaign of Japan was devastatingly effective.
By 1945 Japan had been under a strict international trade embargo for many years and struggled to find adequate resources. This was a second major concern for Japan which would have caused them to consider surrendering.
But perhaps the most significant concern for Japan was the sudden entry of a nearby giant into the Pacific war in 1945.
After remaining neutral throughout the Pacific war, the Soviet Union (Russians) declared war on Japan at midnight on 8 August and invaded Japanese occupied northern China 1 hour later, making rapid progress towards Tokyo;
Likely as a result of all three of these considerations, and more, Japan surrendered 6 days after the Russians first entered Japanese occupied territory.
A few months later in 1946, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey in Japan, confirmed what some in the west thought at the time. That the atomic bombs had not been necessary to win the war. Japan was about to surrender anyway – before the American attack with nuclear weapons.
The American military’s report stated:
“It seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, our air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender, removing the need for an invasion. Bаsеd on our dеtаilеd invеstigаtion, it is thе Survеy’s opinion thаt cеrtаinly prior to 31 Dеcеmbеr 1945, аnd in аll probаbility prior to 1 Novеmbеr 1945, Jаpаn would hаvе surrеndеrеd еvеn if thе аtomic bombs hаd not bееn droppеd, they would have surrendered еvеn if Russiа hаd not еntеrеd thе Pacific wаr, аnd еvеn if no allied invаsion hаd bееn plаnnеd or contеmplаtеd.”
It is also little known today that there was significant opposition to the use of nuclear weapons on Japan in 1945 inside the American government.
Military General, and soon to be US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in his memoir “The White House Years”,
“In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”
Other top U.S. military officers who disagreed with the atomic bombings included some highly conservative, and very senior military figures,
- General Douglas MacArthur,
- Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to President Truman),
- Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials),
- Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet),
- Fleet Admiral William Halsey Jr. (Commander of the US Third Fleet),
“The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace (surrendered). The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.”
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander US Pacific Fleet
“The use of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional and chemical weapons … The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My feeling was that in being the first to use it, America had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”
— Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. First Head of the Military Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The atomic bombs had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.” – Major General Curtis LeMay, Bomber Command, September 1945.
“The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment … It was a mistake to ever drop it … they had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it.” — Fleet Admiral William Halsey Jr., 1946.
Japanese historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa says when the Soviet Union declared war on 8 August, 1945, it crushed all hope that the Soviets could be kept out of the war. Central to the Japanese terror of having to surrender to the Russians first, was their fear that their most revered royal family, headed by the God-like figure of the Emperor, would suffer the same fate as had the Russian Czar (Emperor) 27 years earlier, when the Czar and his family were assassinated by Russian leaders.
Hasegawa wrote: “On the basis of available evidence it is clear that the two nuclear bombs were not decisive in inducing Japan to surrender. Despite their destructive power, the atomic bombs were not sufficient to change the direction of Japanese diplomacy. The Soviet invasion was.”
US/UK Nuclear historian Ward Wilson wrote, “after Nagasaki was bombed, only four major Japanese cities remained which could have been hit with atomic weapons (due to the recent fire bombing campaign). The Japanese Supreme Council did not even bother to convene after the two atomic bombings because the destruction was barely more than all previous conventional bombings.
Attributing Japan’s surrender to a ‘miracle nuclear weapon’, instead of the Soviet invasion, previous bombing campaigns and the trade embargo of the country, saved face for Japan and simultaneously enhanced the United States’ world standing.”
Some say the United States was simply sending a message to the world, by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan, who they knew were going to surrender anyway,
“We have this nuclear weapon and WE WILL use it.”
Maybe the most concerning thing of all is how this history has been falsified. That actually happens each and every day, even now.