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  • Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years

    Posted by Trent Telenko on September 2nd, 2017 (All posts by )

    Happy Victory over Japan Day!

    On August 14th in 1945 Imperial Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and averted Operation Downfall, the two stage invasion of Japan. On Sept 2, 1945 the surrender was signed on the USS Missouri in Tokyo bay, This invasion would have resulted in at least a million American casualties (see below) and likely millions of Japanese dead from direct effects of the invasion plus the mass starvation that would have been sure to occur in its aftermath.

    Since August 2010, it has become an eight years and counting tradition (See link list at the end of this post) for the Chicagoboyz web site to commemorate the major events closing out World War II in the Pacific and address the leftist agitprop surrounding those events. Where the worst recorded war in human history became a nuclear war via the August 6th and 9th 1945 A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, followed by the Imperial Japanese acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, and the Sept 2, 1945 formal surrender on the battleship USS Missouri.

    This years year’s Chicagoboyz commemoration will focus on the academic “revisionist history” controversies regards American casualties in an invasion of Japan versus the use of two Atomic Bombs.

    • The controversy traces from the rise of the leftist “Atomic Diplomacy” revisionism in 1946-1965.
    • Atomic Diplomacy’s subsequent credibility collapse of “Atomic Diplomacy” historical underpinning in the 1995 Smithsonian Enola Gay Exhibit controversy.
    • Its enshrinement as a leftist academic virtue signaling cult in the aftermath.

     

    Color Photo of the Sept 2, 1945 Imperial Japanese Surrender ceremony marking the conclusion of WW2 on the Battleship USS Missouri.

    Color Photo of the Sept 2, 1945 surrender ceremony marking the conclusion of WW2 on the Battleship USS Missouri.

    Historical Background – The Rise of “Atomic Diplomacy”

    “Atomic Revisionism” started shortly after World War 2 ended with the publication of 1 July 1946 the Pacific War Summary of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS). Authored primarily by Paul Henry Nitze, this summary report claimed that without the two Atomic Bombs Japan would have surrendered by 31 December 1945.

    “Atomic Revisionism” was furthered by the Royal Navy’s wartime Operational Analyst P.M.S. Blackett with his 1948 book “Fear, War and the Bomb: Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy” that debuted the point if what the USSBS said about the Japanese surrendering 31 Dec 1945, regardless of the A-bomb, then dropping the A-bomb had to be all about intimidating Stalin. This was followed in 1956 by Blackett’s  Atomic Weapons and East/West Relations

    These two threads of revisionism gestated for almost a decade in leftist academia and resulted in the 1965 publication of Gar Alperovitz’sAtomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam“. Namely that the dropping of the Atomic bomb was all about post war diplomacy with the Soviet Union and the coming Cold War, and not defeating Japan as swiftly as possible.

    The suite of leftist virtue signaling myths that are argued to support the “Atomic Diplomacy” hypothesis include:

    • No warning was given to the Japanese
    • Hiroshima/Nagasaki had no military value
    • Japanese resistance was crumbling
    • Japan was trying to surrender, and finally
    • The A-bomb’s use didn’t save either Japanese lives and specifically that the one million American casualties/deaths was a made up, post-war, by the Truman Administration.

    The political usefulness of “Atomic Diplomacy” as listed above for leftists in the Vietnam War and Nixon-Watergate era was huge. It was a rhetorical club used over and over again without real opposition by the increasingly leftist dominated “Diplomatic History” community in academia to pound successive Democratic and Republican Administrations on the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Primarily because the cornerstone of it was Paul Nitze’s words in the USSBS Pacific War summary, which gave “Atomic Diplomacy” an unimpeachable “appeal to authority” for ever thing they attached to Nitze’s words.

    Military Historians who supported the standard history AKA “Thank God for the Atomic Bomb“– without access to the classified ULTRA documents available starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s — were isolated and ostracized and not replaced as they retired. In part of this was budget related as military issues as a whole were unpopular then and few students willingly took military history courses. And part of it was the politics of tenure committees becoming increasingly leftist and only letting in the like minded to the few military history positions still open.

    This let “Atomic Diplomacy” become a institutional consensus history position not unlike today’s “anthropogenic global warming” is with climate science. This consensus left the majority of academic history profession unaware of developments in the military history community outside academia with the declassification of World War II code breaking files, collectively referred to as “ULTRA”, in the late 1970s to mid-1980’s.

    ULTRA and the 1994-95 ENOLA GAY Smithsonian Exhibit Controversy

    Starting in the early 1980s military historians in Great Britain and the United States were making concerted assaults on “Atomic Diplomacy” via systematic research on and publication of what they found in the Ultra Files. Books like Ronald Lewin’s 1982 “The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan” and later Edward Drea’s 1991 “MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945” destroyed the underpinnings of Atomic Diplomacy’s “founding myths” in the historical record.

    This was ignored by Western and particularly American leftist dominated academia until the coming of the 50th anniversary of World War II (WW2) and the controversy surrounding the Smithsonian Exhibit of the B-29 “Enola Gay”, the plane that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.

    In 1984 the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) began an extensive restoration of the Enola Gay with an eye to having the fuselage displayed as a part of the 50th anniversary of WW2 in 1995. in 1987 NASM hired Martin Harwit as their new director and he had the vision of a new larger annex to exhibit the accumulated Smithsonian collection with the Enola Gay as its center piece.

    The problem with this vision was that Martin Harwit and his NASM supporters were a mainstream believers in “Atomic Diplomacy” and the people and corporations he approached to fund it were not. Harwit’s circulation of the scripts for the proposed Enola Gay exhibit as a part of the fund raising effort reached both the American Legion and Air Force Association in the early 1990s and brought “Atomic Diplomacy” to the attention of the general public that had fought WW2.

    The push by the WW2 generation veterans was immediate, wide spread, strong, politically well organized in Congress and ultimately successful.

    The NASM “Atomic Diplomacy” script was removed from the Enola Gay display and much smaller exhibit was placed at the NASM. Martin Harwit resigned as NASM director shortly later when it became clear in the aftermath that he would no longer be an effective fund raiser for the Smithsonian with either the Congress or aerospace corporations.

    The following articles, in order, from Wikipedia, the Atomic Heritage Foundation, and Air Force Association will fill in the details of this thumb nail sketch above.

    After the Smithsonian Controversy

    The Smithsonian Enola Gay controversy stimulated a series of military and political histories from diplomatic and military historian academic professions in the aftermath. However, the ULTRA histories in books like 1995’s Truman and the Hiroshima Cult by Robert P. Newman, 1999’s Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard Frank, and Robert P. Newman’s 2004 Enola Gay and the Court of History utterly destroyed the “Atomic Diplomacy” hypothesis with the declassified historical record.

    What this ULTRA declassified record showed was that America and the allied powers wanted “unconditional surrender” of the Japanese nation-state. That has a very specific meaning under international law in that it allows the victor in war to completely dissolve and rearrange, the military, other government institutions, borders and polity of the defeated nation-state. Please see the reduced borders of post Imperial German after WWI and the split of Germany into eastern and western states after WWII.

    ULTRA intercepts showed was what Emperor Hirohito and his political clique wanted in their “Best and Final Offer” after Potsdam and before the Nagasaki bombings was they wanted to “Retain the Imperial Prerogatives” of the Emperor under the 1868 Meiji constitution. And if they didn’t get it they would continue fighting towards the bitter end.

    The 1868 Meiji constitution gave the Emperor the power to veto any changes to the constitution he did not like.

    That is, Emperor Hirohito wanted to continue exercising real political and military power that would have reignited the Samurai militarist system the moment the Allied occupation was over, because MacArthur as “Supreme Commander Allied Powers” would not have had the political power to implement the removal of the Imperial House from its “constitutional deification” under the state religion of “Shinto fundamentalism” from Japanese society.

    What Emperor Hirohito was not unconditional surrender. It was an Armistice.

    It was an offer of “Let’s stop fighting now so a defeated Japan could rearm for a Pacific nuclear war in 1975.

    President Truman and his advisers rejected this Imperial Japanese offer with that understanding and subsequently nuked Japan.

    Truman’s Atomic Legacy

    The outcome of the use of the Atomic bombs was the best case “Goldilocks Scenario” of all the options available to the Truman Administration, which also included invasion and blockade. Pres. Truman got an orderly and complete surrender of all Japanese military formations world wide plus the cooperation of the Japanese government bureaucracy in disestablishing the Emperor worshiping Shinto state religion, which was the heart and soul of Japanese militarism.

    Japan was incorporated as an ally in the Cold War western alliance and had both forsaken war and military adventurism as tools of its foreign policy for 70(+) years.

    Credibility Collapse: Atomic Diplomacy’s Lying Military Handmaiden

    The key finding during the Enola Gay controversy at the Smithsonian was that military historian Robert P. Newman found, and publicized in his books, was that Paul Nitze lied in the USSBS report about the state of Japanese resistance in August 1945.

    Nitze had intentionally and systematically left out any USSBS interrogation of any Japanese official in any way contradictory to his conclusions about the Japanese surrendering without the atomic bombings.  And the classification of those interrogations for decades after the war let him get away with it.

    An example of this lying by Nitze is from pages 34-37 of the hard copy of Newman’s Enola Gay and the Court of History —

    “Prince Konoye, for instance, interviewed just before his suicide, had much to say. Frame 0503 of the transcript shows the interrogator drawing from Konoye the statement that the main obstacle to ending the war was opposition in the army. He claimed that, even in July 1945, had the emperor tried to end the war, there would have been an uprising. Only in August was there a “decrease in the risk of disorders in the event of an Imperial rescript.”15 And what factors contributed to the improved situation in August? Konoye did not hesitate: “The big thing was the deterioration of the war effort; then with the entry of Russia in the war, and the dropping of the atomic bomb, it did a lot to prepare the way for the next move.”
     
    Were this not plain enough, frame 0504 of the transcript has this exchange:

    Q:  How much longer do you think the war might have continued had the atom bomb not been dropped?
     
    A: It is a little hard for me to figure that out.
     
    Q: What would your best estimate be?
     
    A: Probably it would have lasted all this year.
     
    Q:  It would not have been terminated prior to November 1 —is that correct?
     
    A: Probably would have lasted beyond that.

    The questioner—probably Nitze—was not happy with this answer, and worried the matter for two more pages. The final discussion, from frame 0506:

    Q: Could Japan have continued to fight with these increasing attacks of the B-29’s?
     
    A: There was bound to be a limit as to what she could do.
     
    Q: Yet you said if it weren’t for the emperor’s statement [surrender rescript] they would be fighting today, did you not?
     
    A: Of course, that was a conditional statement. There was a limit to what they could do. They would do what they could.
     
    Q: Hadn’t they almost reached the limit?
     
    A: Of course, they were nearing the limit, but the army would not admit it. They wouldn’t admit they were near the end.
     
    Q:  Would they not have been forced to surrender, therefore, even if Russia had not come in or even though we had not dropped the atomic bomb?
     
    A:  The army had dug themselves caves in the mountains and their idea of fighting on was fighting from every little hole or rock in the mountains.

     
    Konoye had more to say. He thought the emperor would attempt to prevent a last-ditch stand, but did not say when. He was candid about the class interest motivating the peace party: “These were all of the upper rank of men—of higher classes of men who carried on such activities. As far as I know, there was none of the lower ranks. … They were afraid of a revolution—a sort of communistic revolution” (frame 0501).
     
    The answer to the question “Why were not the pertinent remarks of Prince Konoye included in the USSBS report?” becomes clear: they contradicted Nitze’s views. Likewise with the rest of the testimony, with the single exception of the Privy Seal Marquis Kido.”

    Atomic Diplomacy’s Identity Issue Survival

    Despite the military history profession’s finally winning the historical documentation war over revisionism, and its identifying “Atomic Diplomacy’s” founding appeal to authority document to be a lie, “Atomic Diplomacy” remains firmly embedded in both university higher learning and leftist popular culture. The Left has made it an identity issue on what they feel about America.

    And like climate science, where any scientific evidence to the contrary is rejected out of hand as “denialist” (for example, that sun spots may be a bigger contributor to climate variation that CO2), any historical documentary evidence that does not allow the academic Left to paint President Truman as a war criminal for using the A-bombs just does not matter to their belief system.

    To quote Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, “To be a leftist is to oppose the West. It’s all part of the Gramscian Damage.

    Bill Whittle’s now discontinued PJ Media video series included an episode that deals with how deeply “Atomic Diplomacy” leftist agitprop has embedded itself in popular culture via leftist self-image.

    See below:

    Jon Stewart, War Criminals & The True Story of the Atomic Bombs, by Bill Whittle
     
     

    Pity the Atomic Diplomats

    In researching and writing all of the above, I’ve been moved from scorn of the leftist diplomatic historians to a mix of indifference and pity. Indifference to their identity issues and real pity for their position as fools and tools.

    The bottom line for people like P.M.S. Blackett and Gar Alperovitz is that they were lied to, used and manipulated into supporting the reputation of a senior military bureaucrat on the make who helped found the nuclear armed military-industrial complex Blankett and Alperovitz professed to hate.

    They and all who followed them afterwards have been beasts of burden laboring under the yoke of Paul Nitze’s lies and their own identity issues for five to six decades.

     

    -End-

     

    See the enabled link list of past commemorative blog posts below —

    2016 — Happy V-J Day, Plus 71 Years and a Few Days

    2015 — Happy V-J Day, at 70 Years Plus a Day and Hiroshima, Nagasaki & The Invasion That Never Was (+70)

    2014 — History Friday — The WMD Back-Up Plans for the Atomic Bomb

    2013 — History Friday: US Military Preparations The Day Nagasaki Was Nuked

    2012 – Nagasaki Plus 67 Years

    2011 – Happy V-J Day!

    2010 – Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Saving Hirohito’s Phony Baloney Job and
    Hiroshima — The A-bomb plus 65 years

     

    Sources and Notes:

    P.M.S. Blackett, Fear, War and the Bomb: Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy, Turnstile ASIN: B0006D92YG 1948
     
    Atomic Weapons and East/West Relations (C.U.P 2003 ed.). ISBN 978-0-521-04268-0. (1956).
     
    Edward J. Drea, MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945 (Modern War Studies) Univ of Kansas; ISBN-10: 0700605762, ISBN-13: 978-07006057,67 1991
     
    Richard Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, Random House; 1St Edition edition ISBN-10: 067941424X, ISBN-13: 978-0679414247, September 28, 1999
     
    Ronald Lewin, The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers, and the Defeat of Japan, Farrar Straus Giroux; ISBN-10: 1135307555, ISBN-13: 978-1135307554. ASIN: B000NQBZNW, 1982
     
    Robert P. Newman, Truman and the Hiroshima Cult, Michigan State University Press; ISBN-10: 0870134035 ISBN-13: 978-0870134036 July 31, 1995
     
    Enola Gay and the Court of History, New York: Peter Lang, 2004. ISBN 0-8204-7071-6. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xv, 201.
     
    J. Samuel Walker, Enola Gay and the Court of History (review) The Journal of Military History Volume 69, Number 1, January 2005 pp. 277-278 | 10.1353/jmh.2005.0067 https://muse.jhu.edu/article/177170 
     
    United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific war) Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1 July 1946

     

    35 Responses to “Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Thank you.

    2. Grurray Says:

      The atomic diplomacy theory makes no sense. Truman was a rank amateur in foreign relations. He was incapable of thinking strategically. All he understood was that we just had a bigger bomb that was finally going to kill enough Japanese to get them to surrender and allow him to get back to what he does best – royally screw up domestic affairs.

      He was almost wrong about that. The night before the Emperor announced Japan’s surrender, the war ministry attempted a coup with the Kyūjō incident.

    3. Brian Says:

      Of course it makes no sense. It’s commie revisionist nonsense.

    4. Lexington Green Says:

      Good post.

      Why did Nitze lie?

    5. ColoComment Says:

      People always write about the final days of the war against Japan as though (i) we knew without a doubt that the bomb would be ready at or about the time that we dropped it & so discussion of alternatives was more or less pro forma, and (ii) that Japan was the only thing going on w/r/t the end of the war(s).

      The final chapters of “Implacable Foes” (by Heinrichs & Gallicchio) describe the domestic and international political environments, the imminent logistical difficulties of prolonging the war, and the military and civilian manufacturing problems and confusions that beset the U.S. government between V-E day and V-J day. I am not as steeped in WW II history as most of the folks here, and so had never before read the fine details of the demobilization of troops in Europe, the hierarchical demob rating system based on various time-served and AO “merit” points. The difficulty of demobilizing the longer-serving troops, while at the same time replacing those individuals with newly-minted, barely-trained recruits, and all the while moving whole divisions at a time from Europe to U.S. & onward to stage for the invasion of Japan. And the scarcity of ships for transport. And the consequent logistics of shipping equipment separate from their operators. And organizing U.S. railroad transport across the country for the troops heading from Europe to the Pacific (and their re-training to incorporate the anticipated amphibious operations.) Discussions re: invasion v blockade of Japan, which were mooted only by the availability of the bomb. That Japan fully anticipated where and when the U.S. would invade Kyushu & was reinforcing the area with troops, suicide boats & people, and planes. Blockade was very tempting, given the fight-to-the-last ethos demonstrated during the Pacific islands campaign, but would extend the term of the nation’s war-time footing, of which the public was voicing more and more its dislike & its readiness to have it over & done with. The discussions about terms of Japan’s surrender: to retain the Emperor or not? Leaks! Leaks! Leaks! …from government personnel and Congressional attendees at supposedly “secret stuff” briefings.

      …and the discussions among the various wartime agencies over transition to & resumption of civilian life & economy, and with the military about how to deal with the termination of mil procurement orders, the consequential layoffs of employees, and the desired ramp up of civilian product-centered manufacturing to satisfy the pent up demand for .. stuff. (Notwithstanding that were still at war against Japan.) The demands of various industries, railroad & coal mining among others, for early release of some troops (contra the “merit” system) so that they could meet current and anticipated demand for skilled labor. The fear of growing unemployment during the transition from a war to a civilian economy, the growing war-fatigue of the civilian population, resentment that food and coal supplies would be sent to feed and heat Europe while the U.S. was still under strict rationing.

      Our government was already trying to anticipate & prepare for the post-war world. It was time for Japan to be over.

      Anyway, it was a good book. :-)

    6. Mike K Says:

      My daughter, who is now 50 and an FBI agent, was part of a “war crimes trial” of Truman in the 6th grade conducted by the teacher and the kids “convicted him.”

      This is what kids were being taught in 1979.

    7. Mike K Says:

      “The demands of various industries, railroad & coal mining among others, for early release of some troops (contra the “merit” system) so that they could meet current and anticipated demand for skilled labor. ‘

      As a hobby I read “alternative history” and there has been much speculation. For example, transfers of troops from Europe to the Pacific would have been a logistical nightmare. High “ponts” soldiers were entitled to be sent home first and they were the experienced junior officers and noncoms.

      The Typhoon of 1946 was a bad one and hit Okinawa when the ships would be landing an invasion force.

      The sudden shift of the storm 12 hours before its expected maximum , from a predicted path 150 miles west of Okinawa to an actual path that brought the center of the storm less than 15 miles east of Okinawa’s southeast coast, caught many craft in the supposedly safe shelter of Buckner Bay without time to put to sea far enough to clear the storm. The ninth of October found the Bay jammed with ships ranging in size from Victory ships to LCV(P)s. All units, both afloat and ashore, were hurriedly battening down and securing for the storm.

      The Japanese had many more planes held in reserve for Kamikazi attacks than we anticipated. There were , according to Franks book “Downfall,” nearly 12,000 planes hidden.

      Marshall had great difficulty with the Selective Service which wanted to stop the draft even before the Battle of the Bulge. Forest Pogue’s biography of Marshall makes this quite clear.

      General Hershey was unwilling to increase the draft in 1945 and the numbers from by almost half.

    8. John Cunningham Says:

      Here’s and alt-history puzzler to consider: Suppose Truman had ordered an amphibious invasion rather than the A-bomb attacks. Slaughter on the beaches, with further Japanese civilians lost to fire-bombing of cities. With thousands of dead GIs and Marines, imagine the American people’s reactions to the leak of information that Truman had A-bombs which he refused to use. Would the people be satisfied by impeachment, or Would Harry be hanging from the porch of a burning White House?

    9. raven Says:

      My father was preparing for the invasion. Infantry. BAR gunner. My Father in Law was training for the invasion, after being transferred from the European theatre. Infantry, anti tank and mine clearing. These are not jobs with a long life expectancy. Had the bombs not been dropped, there is a very real chance both my wife and myself would never have been born.
      So I have a personal view of this- TFB. Start a war and there is no guarantee what sort of demons are going to come knocking.

      BTW, an excellent book on the war, from the Japanese perspective.
      “Japan at War, an Oral History”. Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. Cook.
      First hand interviews, everything from bio-warfare lab workers to student nurses on Okinawa.

    10. Trent Telenko Says:

      >>Why did Nitze lie?

      For Power.

      This is Robert P. Newman’s take on Nitze’s motives from his book “Enola Gay and the Court of History”.

      “There was a belief among some of Nitze’s subordinates at USSBS that part of Nitze’s motivation for downgrading the role of the atom was his ambition to be the first secretary of the United States Air Force, sure to be created after the war. The fliers were aiming at a seventy-group air force. Atomic bombs were seen as as obstacle to this level of air strength. If one bomb carried by one plane could wipe out a city the size of Hiroshima, what need for seventy groups? Their fliers would be out of business.53

      Whatever his motives, Nitze was the primary author of the USSBS Summary Report (Pacific War). He complained that he “had to write every word of the damn document,” and the early surrender hypothesis was in the preliminary draft of 12 March 1946 much as it appeared in the published report of July.54

      As my research partner Ryan Crierie puts it about “Enola Gay and the Court of History” —

      “Basically, this book is like “E-Z GUIDE TO RESPOND TO COMMON ARGUMENTS RAISED SINCE 1945″ including some of Gar Alperowitz’s stuff, etc.”

    11. Trent Telenko Says:

      Lex,

      To expand on Nitze’s power motives…as you well know, the only “real war” for US military flag ranks of that era was the budget wars between shooting wars. It is what they are best adapted too because it occupies most of their careers.

      The defense budget war after WW2 was the most vicious in the history of the Republic due to the emergence of the A-bomb equipped US Air Force, it’s eclipse of the US Navy, and the move by the Truman Administration to abolish the USMC and fold it into the US Army. This is why the “narrative falsification” of the period was so extensive.

      The level of inter-service politics involved with the USSBS I’ve run into make the material suspect without validation checking of the USSBS reports against the original survey’s and interviews gathered for the USSBS reports, plus the secret files of the Navy and War Departments prior to the end of the war.

      In particular, anything related to electronic warfare, Japanese chemical warfare, Japanese biological warfare and the planned American use of SHORAN in the transportation plan were removed from the USSBS.

      Some of Nitze’s writing about the use of Azon radio guided bombs in “United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific War)” against Japanese railways may well have been a intentional cover story for the intended use of SHORAN. (We’ll never know for sure.)

      See my 2016 VJ-Day article link above where I wrote about SHORAN’s role in an invasion of Japan.

      Regards SHORAN radio beacon navigation, it appears that a significant part of the motive of not mentioning it in the USSBS, like the electronic warfare techniques, was that it was being hidden against future need.

      SHORAN was used extensively in the early Cold War to geolocate American missile test ranges, US Navy SOSUS under sea listening sensors and the distant early warning radars.

    12. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K,

      Regards the Oct 1945 Typhoon, the following is from a 20 July 1945 “MEMORANDUM TO GENERAL SPAATZ” with the subject heading “Weather Reconnaissance Program for USASTAF”.

      Fifteen (15) P-47N aircraft and thirty (30) crews are currently being processed to move to Indispensable Island. It is estimated that they will be in place and in operation by middle-late September 1945. They are to be used as an interim measure to provide target weather reconnaissance until P-61C equipped unit, mentioned above, arrives. Steps are being taken to place a cadre of pilots experienced in Eighth Air Force “Scouting Force” operations with this unit.

      Indispensable was the code name for Ie Shima, which was right next to Okinawa.

      And the weather recon P-61C’s mentioned to replace the P-47N’s were due to arrive in Jan 1946. A P-61C with fully loaded fuel 1,100 gallons internal fuel and 1,240 gallons external in drop tanks has tremendous range (3,100~ miles) giving it an enormous combat range or a six to eight hour loiter time over Kyushu at night.

      This weather recce unit never arrived because the war ended before it was deployed.

      A lot of the damage taken at Okinawa by landing ships and smaller craft from the 9 October 1945 “Typhoon Louie” was simply negligence. As only third stringers with low point scores without political pull were in Okinawa at the time.

      Per the invasion plans, on October 9th 1945 the invasion fleets would have been primarily in the Philippines picking up troops or in slow voyages from Hawaii, the Marianas or Southern Philippines to Okinawa.

      The issue for the invasion was that the LST’s of the invasion force were to pick up 80~ LCT’s and 160-ish motorized barges for lighterage of tanks, artillery and heavy engineering equipment like bridges starting about 15-20 October 1945.

      The LCT’s at Okinawa could have made a break for it with the warning these P-47N weather recon planes would have provided, but the barges were “motorized” only barely with 1940’s era outboard motors of less than 100 HP.

    13. dearieme Says:

      “Of course it makes no sense.” That was my reaction as a teenager when I first came across it because (i) it was such a comfy fit for USSR propaganda that obviously it was spurious, and (ii) it was anyway based entirely on hindsight and speculation.

    14. Gringo Says:

      A family friend was stationed in Nagasaki soon after the surrender. He finagled a plane ride over the city, which gave him, as he put it, a “sobering” view of the destruction. He later became a proponent of the “atomic diplomacy” viewpoint. As I see it, the intellectualizing of the “atomic diplomacy” viewpoint became for him a band-aid over his shock of seeing the destruction of Nagasaki- all the more shocking because he hadn’t seen any combat in his four years of service. I heard nothing about this when I was a child. He didn’t talk about it with his children until several years before his death.

    15. dearieme Says:

      “a band-aid over his shock of seeing the destruction of Nagasaki- all the more shocking because he hadn’t seen any combat in his four years of service.”

      I wonder what he’d have felt had he met the prisoners who’d survived Japanese captivity.

    16. Trent Telenko Says:

      ColoComment,

      Gallicchio is very strong in his primary research at the National Archives.

      Ryan and I have run down some of his note sites from his published articles and Gallicchio has been rewarding every time.

      This bodes well for “Implacable Foes”, which just went on my future purchase list.

    17. Trent Telenko Says:

      Gringo,

      You point about the “Revisionist Narrative” being a identity issue reaction to horror is well taken.

      Richard Frank wrote the following in the Weekly Standard in 2005 regards this issue —

      Why Truman Dropped the Bomb
      Sixty years after Hiroshima, we now have the secret intercepts that influenced his decision.
      by Richard B. Frank
      08/08/2005, Volume 010, Issue 44

      The sixtieth anniversary of Hiroshima seems to be shaping up as a subdued affair–though not for any lack of significance. A survey of news editors in 1999 ranked the dropping of the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, first among the top one hundred stories of the twentieth century. And any thoughtful list of controversies in American history would place it near the top again. It was not always so. In 1945, an overwhelming majority of Americans regarded as a matter of course that the United States had used atomic bombs to end the Pacific war. They further believed that those bombs had actually ended the war and saved countless lives. This set of beliefs is now sometimes labeled by academic historians the “traditionalist” view. One unkindly dubbed it the “patriotic orthodoxy.”

      But in the 1960s, what were previously modest and scattered challenges of the decision to use the bombs began to crystallize into a rival canon. The challengers were branded “revisionists,” but this is inapt. Any historian who gains possession of significant new evidence has a duty to revise his appreciation of the relevant events. These challengers are better termed critics.

      The critics share three fundamental premises. The first is that Japan’s situation in 1945 was catastrophically hopeless. The second is that Japan’s leaders recognized that fact and were seeking to surrender in the summer of 1945. The third is that thanks to decoded Japanese diplomatic messages, American leaders knew that Japan was about to surrender when they unleashed needless nuclear devastation. The critics divide over what prompted the decision to drop the bombs in spite of the impending surrender, with the most provocative arguments focusing on Washington’s desire to intimidate the Kremlin. Among an important stratum of American society–and still more perhaps abroad–the critics’ interpretation displaced the traditionalist view.

      These rival narratives clashed in a major battle over the exhibition of the Enola Gay, the airplane from which the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, at the Smithsonian Institution in 1995. That confrontation froze many people’s understanding of the competing views. Since then, however, a sheaf of new archival discoveries and publications has expanded our understanding of the events of August 1945. This new evidence requires serious revision of the terms of the debate. What is perhaps the most interesting feature of the new findings is that they make a case President Harry S. Truman deliberately chose not to make publicly in defense of his decision to use the bomb.

    18. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K,

      Regards Franks and this —

      The Japanese had many more planes held in reserve for Kamikazi attacks than we anticipated. There were , according to Franks book “Downfall,” nearly 12,000 planes hidden.

      Please see my March 2014 column titled “History Friday: Analyzing The Okinawa Kamikaze Strikes & Japanese/US Planning For Operation Olympic” at this link:

      http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/42058.html

      The following is from the end of that column —

      …Far Eastern Air Technical Intelligence reports I read spoke of a cave hanger with 13 ‘modern fighters’ investigated in Oct-Nov 1945. It went into detail about how well hidden the hanger was to include a description of the light rails with hand mine cars filled with vegetation constructed in front of the hanger entrance to hide it from the air.

      Then the report spoke to the practical reality of this cave as a working hanger.

      o There was one string of electrical lights run by generator, for which there was limited fuel. Most work was done by torch or candle light.
      o The cave floor was mud save for a wooden walk way.
      o There were no vehicles to move the airplanes, only draft animals and people.
      o There was no room to stage operational aircraft at the back of the cave past inoperative aircraft closer to the cave mouth.

      So come the day, if the facility was to get out seven aircraft, and the seventh operational plane was number 13 at the back of the cave. The entire cave had to be cleared of planes to get that plane airborne…by hand. And all the planes had to be placed back in the cave — or pulled away some distance from it and camouflaged – before day light or roving American fighter-bombers would pounce and napalm and fragmentation bomb the whole area, then seed it with tamper fuzed M-83 butterfly-bombs. The modern term of art for the tamper fuzed M-83 is air delivered scatterable mine. This points out the most effective way the American military planned to beat the Japanese Kamikaze. The way to stop a human Kamikaze was to use a non-human, cheap and easily manufactured Kamikaze of its own…a land mine.

      This facility would have been expected to handle further aircraft staged from elsewhere after the original planes were gone while American intelligence would be busy correlating pilot reports, radar plots and signals intelligence to steer day and night air patrols and photo intelligence flights looking for it.

      A single plane crashing on take-off or landing would be a smoking beacon drawing American fighter-bombers and medium bombers for miles around to come look.

      Now multiply that example 100 times and you see after the first couple of days the Kyushu suicide campaign would have been a continual and irregular stream of planes over several weeks and not a 10-day orgy of coordinated Kamikaze strike pulses Ketsu-Go 6 assumed.

      Sometime during this period– between 3 and 7 days after the Japanese Kamikaze plan kicks off is my guess — the American military would start orbiting B-29 and US Navy patrol bomber jamming platforms over Kyushu to blot out Japanese radio communications to stop coordinated aerial Kamikaze strikes. However the fighter pilots complained, because it would reduce ship loss/damage rates by keeping the Kamikaze numbers low at any one time. Thus preventing the Naval/USMC/USAAF CAP from becoming overwhelmed and letting the Naval ships outside the smoke screens concentrate automatic weapons fire on a few leakers at a time rather than coordinated waves that covered Okha/Baka suicide rocket-bomb launches.

      The American military would have taken a lot of losses from the close-in bombardment gun boats manning the smoke line for the transports on all the various beaches. I think something on the order of Picket Station No. 1. multiplied by at least four in the first 3-to-7 days, and the instructor pilots would get hits on the transports, closest CVEs and the old BBs no matter what we did.

      In the end, however, the Japanese Ketsu-Go Six Kamikaze plan would have been a failure, like every other decisive battle plan they had after Dec. 7th 1941.

    19. Mike K Says:

      I have previously posted a comment about my daughter who, in sixth grade, was part of a “War Crimes Trial” for Harry Truman conducted by the teacher in which he was “convicted” by the sixth graders. That would have been in 1979 or so.

      Hershey got this started with “Hiroshima” which was originally a magazine article in New Yorker.

      The article and subsequent book are regarded as one of the earliest examples of the New Journalism, in which the story-telling techniques of fiction are adapted to non-fiction reporting.

      Less than two months after the publication of Hiroshima in The New Yorker, the article was printed as a book by Alfred A. Knopf and has sold over three million copies to date.[1][3] Hiroshima has been continuously in print since its publication,[4] according to later New Yorker essayist Roger Angell, because “[i]ts story became a part of our ceaseless thinking about world wars and nuclear holocaust”

      We are still living with “The New Journalism” in which opinion masquerades as fact,

    20. Gringo Says:

      dearieme
      I wonder what he’d have felt had he met the prisoners who’d survived Japanese captivity.
      In another context, he talked about “official propaganda claiming Japanese brutality.”
      Doesn’t sound as if he met any Americans who had been POWs under the “care” of the Japanese. It would seem to me that in the decades after the end of WW2, he could have done some research to show that “Japanese brutality” wasn’t just American propaganda. But no, his mind was made up. Alperovitz or bust.

      In his defense: in his year in occupied Japan, he didn’t see much evidence in the way of prepared military defense installations, such as the bunkers that inundated the islands American troops conquered. Part of his job was to seek out such evidence.

      Not surprisingly, his take on the Cold War was that Americans were as bad as the Russians. It so shocked me when I heard that when I was about 12, that I remembered it. I grew up with too many Iron Curtain refugees- including parents of classmates- to believe that.

      His parents emigrated from the future Yugoslavia, which brings up a further irony. It turned out that a future apparatchik who married into his father’s family executed several members of his mother’s family during World War II.

    21. TakeTwo Says:

      Dearieme:
      I wonder what he’d have felt had he met the prisoners who’d survived Japanese captivity.
      In a slightly different context, he stated that “Japanese brutality” was “propaganda.” That would indicate he hadn’t met anyone who had been a POW under the tender mercies of the Japanese.

      While the US government used the “brutality” of the Japanese armed forces in its WW2 “propaganda,” this “propaganda” was definitely much more truth than fiction. Does “rape of Nanking” not ring a bell? Did he not like the truth being propagated? He had plenty of time after WW2 to check this out, but preferred sticking with the “atomic diplomacy” narrative.

      In his defense, in his year in Japan he didn’t see much evidence of extensive military installations prepared for defending the homeland- nothing like the bunker-filled islands the US encountered before reaching Japan. Part of his job was to seek out such evidence, so his impression was hands-on. In any event, what info the US had to go on was what it encountered in its island-hopping- what it had previously seen.

      Not surprisingly, his Cold War view was that the US was as bad as the Soviet Union. I was 12 years when I heard him say that. I was so shocked- I was a politics hound at an early age- that I didn’t forget it. Knowing Iron Curtain refugees- including a classmate’s parent- in my hometown didn’t make me receptive to hearing “the US is as bad as the Soviet Union.”

      When I posted as Gringo, this got spammed, perhaps because I spend so much time in composing it.

      [Gringo, I unspammed your comments in the hope of training the spam software. If your comments get spammed again please email me. Thanks, Jonathan]

    22. TakeTwo Says:

      Regarding the claim that trying to get one over on the Soviet Union as a prime motivator for dropping the Bomb- what documentary evidence is there for that claim? At this stage, Truman had very little experience in foreign policy. His primary motive for dropping the Bomb would have been military, not political: inflict heavy damage on the Japanese so that the US wouldn’t have to risk massive casualties in an invasion. Truman had combat experience in WW1, which would have motivated him to make a decision that would result in minimum US casualties: give the Bomb a try.

    23. Mike K Says:

      “In a slightly different context, he stated that “Japanese brutality” was “propaganda.”

      A friend of mine, now passed on, was a Marine fighter pilot at Guadalcanal. He was there after 1942 and flew Corsairs. He knew guys who had been shot down and were tortured and killed by the Japanese, a couple at Chi chi Jima. He hated Japanese the rest of his life.

    24. ColoComment Says:

      Trent Telenko Says:
      September 4th, 2017 at 7:34 am

      Trent, you seem very knowledgeable on the subject; I readily acknowledge I am not. I don’t know enough to have a critical perspective, so I hope you post a review of the book, and explain where you believe it does and does not measure up to generally accepted history on the topic(s). Thx.

    25. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      My best friend in Jr. High and High School’s father was a P-40 pilot in the Philippines on Dec. 8 [other side of the international date line] 1941. He made one flight in combat where he found out that what they had told him about being able to turn with Zero’s was false. He survived, and since there were no more P-40’s, he became an infantry officer through to the fall of Bataan, and was a slave laborer in first the Philippines and then in mines in Japan until the end of the war. He never talked about it, but you could tell he had suffered a great deal, and was not “right”.

      The Japanese were as racist as the Nazi’s and believed everyone else was less than human just like them. They just did not have a specific group of millions to put into death camps.

      Parts of my family were in Occupied China.

      The Japanese atrocities were real.

      Subotai Bahadur

    26. Gringo Says:

      Subotai Bahadur
      The Japanese atrocities were real.

      Indeed they were. That family friend reminds me of a Ronald Reagan quote.

      “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

      The US just as bad as the USSR? Japanese brutality was “propaganda?” Total nonsense.

      It might be said that my shock at age 12 at hearing from a “towering liberal spirit” that the US was as bad as the USSR was the first step I took in leaving the left.

      Gringo, a.k.a. TakeTwo.

    27. Bill Brandt Says:

      @Mike An excellent book on Chi Chi Jima is Flyboys by James Bradley – it was a follow up to Flags of Our Fathers.

      Chi Chi Jima is apparently a 100 or so miles from Iwo and was the main radio transmission center for the Japanese. Its where George Bush Sr was shot down and rescued.

      Bradley talks about the fate of 6 American Flyers imprisoned there and it isn’t pretty.

      A former neighbor of mine, Marine veteran of the South Pacific, said that unlike the Germans the Japanese were never really held to account for their own atrocities and I believe that to be true. I think they were as bad as the Nazis. I think MacArthur needed the Emperor and the cooperation of the Japanese people.

    28. dearieme Says:

      A Malaysian acquaintance once said to my wife “My mother is a fan of the British”. “Why?” “Because she can remember the Japanese dragging villagers into the jungle to practise bayonetting them.”

    29. Brian Says:

      “For example, transfers of troops from Europe to the Pacific would have been a logistical nightmare. ”
      Not quite sure why. My grandfather was in Europe for the end of the war there, then had been moved all the way to Seattle for prepping for invasion, when the war ended, and he spent time in Japan afterwards. As far as I can tell the logistics wouldn’t have been any worse than anything they’d already done.

      “With thousands of dead GIs and Marines, imagine the American people’s reactions to the leak of information that Truman had A-bombs which he refused to use. Would the people be satisfied by impeachment, or Would Harry be hanging from the porch of a burning White House?”
      I think the same thing when I hear those on either side fantasize about a US-USSR war in 1945. The people were done with fighting. Truman refusing to use a new weapon to end the war would have caused catastrophic consequences.

    30. Mike K Says:

      “A former neighbor of mine, Marine veteran of the South Pacific, said that unlike the Germans the Japanese were never really held to account for their own atrocities and I believe that to be true.”

      That’s true. It had a lot to do with MacArthur and his rule of Japan. They were considered useful against the Soviets so much was covered up.

      A friend of mine was a pathologist in Korea. They had terrible problems with Korean Hemorrhagic Fever, only to discover later that the Japanese Unit 731, and others had worked out the disease sources and this information would have saved a lot of American lives. It was secret.

    31. Trent Telenko Says:

      When it comes to understanding the use of the A-bombs. The bottom line was the Japanese military faction controlling Imperial Japan was a Shinto Fundamentalist Death Cult.

      Mass death in war was a religious catechism for them.

      The American military incinerating 100,000 Japanese in Tokyo and another 60,000 at Hiroshima with the A-bomb (more died later from wounds and radiation) simply didn’t affect them.

      Mass death of Japanese civilians simply didn’t move them. If it gave them the opportunity for a heroic and honorable death grapple with the American Army, they were all for it.

      The two very chemically different A-bombs destroyed that fantasy reality, along with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Getting Japan nuked from orbit…errr 30,000 feet…was pointless even on their terms, especially with their God-Emperor telling them so.

      The A-Bombs, plural, were decisive.

      The chemical tests of Japanese physicists would have detected the difference between the highly enriched uranium Hiroshima bomb and Nagasaki’s plutonium bomb, telling the Japanese Military that America had two different production methods for making nuclear bombs.

      This pair of March 2016 e-mails from Ryan make clear why that fact was decisive —

      The so called “two bomb myth” that Groves and others pushed (in the words of one author) was actually a very correct assessment.

      I don’t think anyone has pointed out that the Japanese had some very smart people in their universities who could do some crude order of magnitude calculations on the amount of critical mass fissile needed to cause that much damage to Hiroshima.

      Heisenberg when he first heard of Hiroshima did a calculation that said the critical mass necessary was about 13 metric tons, then a later calculation that was only 80 kg.

      The Japanese would have had the same people capable of doing a rough cut in their universities and then estimating the magnitude of industrial effort to get said fissile, based upon what had been known pre war for early uranium experiments.

      Plus through their SIGINT, they’d know the order of battle (roughly) for the 509th along with the rest of the 20th AAF.

      So I’d imagine it’d go like this:

      “Prime minister, the economic analysis of the new weapon indicates that it takes only about 1800 personnel and 20 heavy aircraft to operationally deliver it and it achieves damage equal to a very successful fire raid with a very high probability of success that would otherwise require a full application of the 20th AAF and x men and X planes.

      Our strategic plan to outlast the Americans through Yamato spirit until they grow tired of the economic costs of supporting operations against the homeland just got destroyed, sir. “

      None of the above ever made it to the permanent historical record.

      The Japanese Imperial House made sure of it, per Ryan’s second e-mail –

      FIVE DAYS does mention what got burned, at least on the strategic level:

      “As soon as the emperor announced surrender, but before U.S. troops arrived to begin the occupation of Japan, the transcripts of all imperial conferences, all records of the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, all deliberations of the cabinet and the Privy Council, as well as all files on prisoners of war and about the Southeast Asian, Manchurian, and Chinese campaigns, were burned in anticipation of future war crimes trials.”

      -Gordin, Michael D. (2015-08-18). Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War (p. 143). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

    32. Trent Telenko Says:

      TakeTwo said —

      >>Regarding the claim that trying to get one over on the Soviet Union as a prime motivator for dropping the Bomb- what documentary evidence is there for that claim?

      I’m with dearieme regards the reasonability of the Left’s Atomic Diplomacy arguments.

      The gist of the Atomic Diplomacy historical document argument boils down to

      1. Nitze’s USSBS Pacific Summary saying the Japanese would have surrenderted without the A-bombs (a lie) and

      2. The “Magic” decrypts of diplomatic traffic between the Japanese foreign ministry and their Ambassador to the Soviet Union to use Stalin’s “good offices” to arrange an armistice (A pointless Japanese fantasy).

      The “Magic” code breaking came out in the 1960’s. While the rest of the ULTRA code breaking of late WW2 Japanese military traffic didn’t begin showing up until the late 1970’s.

      The mostly full ULTRA declassification (There are a lot of redactions/white outs in these histories) happened in the late 1980’s, as the Cold War wound down in Reagan’s second term.

    33. Roy Says:

      This is an edited version of something I wrote for a different blog:
      ****
      Someone asked if there really was a WWII race for an atomic bomb.

      Here is very condensed answer. There most certainly was a race. But only after WWII did anyone have a grasp of who actually raced and how far they got. The problem countries faced was not that an atomic bomb is terribly complex, for it is not. The problem was that not only did no one know how simple it is to build an atomic bomb, but the industrial resources needed to be committed to find out that answer are extensive.

      The USSR, while having some with the education and brains, did not really enter the race. Instead, only after the war did it achieve parity with the U.S., and it did that mostly via espionage (although it used some techniques for the H Bomb that the U.S. did not. When Truman hinted to Stalin at Yalta that the U.S. would soon use a war ending weapon on Japan, very likely Stalin knew nearly as much about that weapon as did Truman. FWIW, I utterly disagree with those commending the Rosenbergs. Far fewer, maybe vastly fewer, would have died in the last half or even last quarter of the 20th C if only the West had big sticks.)

      Japan did expend some minor efforts toward developing an atomic weapon. But while it had a very few with the education and brains, it never committed more than very minimal resources to the project. (I stand on that position despite the claim one can find regarding Japanese research going on in occupied Korea.) Though some of its scientists had sufficient awareness that they understood after the fact that they had not been attacked by a chemical powered weapon, Japan simply could not have committed the necessary resources to develop an atomic weapon. Anticipating Japan’s limitations in scientists and resources was among the reasons the Allies chose to conquer Germany before Japan.

      The Allies most certainly did believe that Germany had potential to develop an atomic weapon. That, after all, was the point of the well-known letter to FD Roosevelt from Einstein. This belief drove the U.S. to invest tremendous resources in the Manhattan project. (One can see that, as I have, by touring exhibits at Oak Ridge, TN and Los Alamos, NM, or, as I have, by reading the biographies of some of the U.S. scientists involved.) The U.S. not only had a number of men any of which could have independently developed an atomic bomb, but it also had and could expend the resources. Late in the war German use of rockets drove the U.S. research even more feverishly.

      However, the German rockets did not have the ability to lift the payload that required a B29. Furthermore, it turns out the Germans never got close to developing an atomic bomb. Partly their distant second in the race resulted from Allied “luck” in locating and destroying some of the hard to replace resources needed for initial research, eg, so-called heavy water. Also partly, erroneous decisions of Hitler redirected resources and brains to other tasks. Partly, and probably most importantly, the German scientists staggeringly overestimated what it would take to make an atomic weapon. Recall that the Allies had conquered Germany before Japan. Whether by the chance of combat or by the choice of the scientists fleeing to be captured by the U.S. and England rather than the USSR, a number of the scientists involved in German atomic research were captive in England when Hiroshima was attacked. With lots of allied eavesdropping going on, these scientists were told of Hiroshima. Initially there was disbelief, since they had assumed it could not be done. Then debates went on, some of the scientists using chalk and blackboard (kindly provided by their eavesdropping captors) to argue their case. (I learned of this event, interestingly enough, by stumbling across it while reading the biographies of some of those scientists, and while researching their written philosophies.)

      Should the U.S. have used the A Bomb? Perhaps the argument some make via historical hindsight is correct. Perhaps the folks of that day had no excuse for not realizing the time had passed when Japan was an opponent. (One hint learned after the war was that B29-dropped mines in Japan’s coastal waterways sank more tonnage than the Navy did in the entire war. The B29s mined faster than the mines could be cleared.) Perhaps the U.S. could have snatched some Japanese leaders and provided them a display. Yet this scenario assumes that no in the meantime would exist. It gives no credence to the repeated lesson of the Pacific war that Japan intended to fight to the last soldier with no surrender. It ignores U.S. radio intercept awareness of Japan moving huge forces into defense positions near locations the U.S. would have to attack to invade Japan. It forgets the reasoning of the people who attacked Pearl Harbor, despite some of them knowing the eventual outcome. Having started in China 10 years earlier, Japan saw that the U.S. had progressively gotten more alienated from Japan, and figured that it was “now or never.” As a matter of fact, Japan did not immediately surrender even after the second weapon destroyed Nagasaki. The Japanese leaders debated several days before accepting the ultimatum hammered out by the Allies at Potsdam.(History now knows of a failed coup to prevent the Japanese emperor from surrendering.) No wonder that during World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the estimated casualties resulting from the planned Allied invasion of Japan.

      Tibbets, the pilot who flew the plane bombing Hiroshima, did name the plane for his mother. Further, as the ranking officer with immediate charge of the planes which had trained to drop atomic weapons, he pulled rank to take the pilot position of that flight. He never regretted the decision.

      Among the members of a church I belonged to was an older fellow who as a young teenager watched German subs sink tankers within plain sight of his Florida coast home. Skirting age limits, he enlisted, ending up a B29 tail gunner over Japan. He related to me the story of his B29 being flipped by drafts from the firestorm of the incendiary attacked city below. (Engineers did not believe the crew’s story until shown bent girders inside the airplane.) This fellow tells me that he is convinced that the atomic attack on Japan saved far more Japanese lives than were lost.

      The day Hiroshima was bombed, my not yet dad was swimming laps in the pool at the Army Air Force Base in Kingman, AZ. A collegiate swimmer, physics was his course of study. He was a captain, and a B29 training wing commander, with the wing soon to depart for the Pacific. As he reached the end of a lap, his copilot interrupted his spin turn by tapping him on the shoulder. “What does it mean that we have dropped an atomic bomb on Japan?” Climbing out of the pool, my dad said, “It means you and I will not have to drop bombs on the Japanese and that we will be able to go back to our lives.” He and his copilot headed to the communications shack to read the latest on the teletype. My dad told me of a lot of rejoicing, with one of the stated reasons the number of Japanese women and children who would now live.

      Harry Truman made the right decision regarding ending WWII. Not only did it end that war, but, as another has noted, it declared a line existed beyond which an enemy could expect the U.S. to use atomic weapons. While I agree that one might debate whether the U.S. should have done more to restrain meanness, I simultaneously declare: 1) that restraining would have depended on somebody believing the U.S. would draw the line; 2) the restraining which did occur depended on the line being drawn. More directly, the U.S. would have needed force the bad guys did not have.

    34. Tom Holsinger Says:

      My father was a rifle platoon 2nd lieutenant in the 96th Infantry Division during the Battle of Okinawa. He was promoted to executive officer of the division’s reconnaissance company after it left the line on Okinawa. The 96th Division was not planned to be involved in the Operation Olympic invasion of Kyushu. That might have changed given that the Japanese had at least double the ground forces on Kyushu that US invasion planners expected.

      The 96th Division was assigned to the subsequent Operation Coronet invasion of Honshu. Its reconnaissance company was assigned to the first wave of the 96th Division’s landing. They were told this prior to the nuking of Hiroshima.

    35. carl Says:

      I noticed some comments referred to the book Implacable Foes. I finished reading it last week and cannot recommend it. The reasons I can’t are well outlined in this review of the book from the Naval Historical Foundation. http://www.navyhistory.org/2017/06/book-review-implacable-foes-war-in-the-pacific-1944-1945/

      The book seemed to be mostly a long paraphrase of official histories. I couldn’t figure out why it was written. The only new thing I learned was the disruptive effect of the point system and that could have been handled with a journal article.

      Some books I have read that covered the war against Japan that I can strongly recommend are, Downfall, The Fleet at Flood Tide, How the War Was Won and especially The Battle for China.

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