Britain backed use of A-bomb against Japan: U.S. documents


Britain supported the use of atomic bombs by the United States against Japan in World War II about a month before the first one was dropped on Hiroshima, documents recently declassified by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration showed.

The documents illustrate Britain’s involvement in the United States’ decision to carry out the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, something not widely known in Japan.

The British government officially expressed its support for using the new weapon against Japan at the Combined Policy Committee meeting in Washington on July 4, 1945, on the development and control of nuclear energy. Britain referred to atomic bombs as Tube Alloys, a codename it used for wartime research on nuclear weapons that was also used to refer to plutonium.

According to the declassified minutes, British Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson told the meeting chaired by U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson that the British government “concurred in the use of the T.A. weapon against Japan.”

“The Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States had agreed that T.A. weapons should be used by the United States against Japan, the agreement of the British Government having been communicated” by Wilson, the minutes said.

The committee was established based on the Quebec Agreement made in August 1943 by the United States, Britain and Canada on coordinated development of atomic weapons.

Britain’s official agreement on the use of atomic bombs came after U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed at their September 1944 meeting in New York that an atomic bomb might be used against Japan when it was developed.

Shortly after the July 1945 committee meeting, the United States conducted the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico.

  • Ricky Kaminski

    Congratulations britain on being part of humanity’s saddest hour.

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ andrew Sheldon

    And so it should have. What it shouldn’t have done is ‘inconsistently’ preserved its utilitarian capitalism value system that has belatedly made us an ‘economic slave’ to the state. Representative democracy has been the principle cause of the dumbing down of constituents, sorry ‘(British) subjects’, in the last century. Now, its subjugation to economic imperatives because they constrain the economy. Rest assured, the message for the West or Japan has not changed….Renounce! Renounce! Renounce!

  • Tyler Chester

    Makes sense. If I remember correctly, didn’t Japan occupy Singapore which was a British colony at the time?

  • Denny Pollard

    I really think the world should look at history and the invasion that the forces were up against. The worse of two evils invade mainland Japan and destroy the whole
    country or destroy two cites and force Japan to surrender. Both choices were going to be a bad call, so I think the two governments went with the less loss of life and dropped the only two bombs they had. The Japanese did not know how many bombs the U.S. had at the time.

    What we don’t know is how would an invasion of mainland Japan really turned out. I think an invasion would have been far worse for all concerned and yes war is always bad and one country has to lose that’s what was is about. This does not mean I am in favor of dropping nukes on people, it’s only the last option that should be last. Just one man’s opinion.

  • xman_11530

    News Flash: China and Korea would have supported using atomic bombs on Japan if anyone has asked them in 1945.

    At the end of the day, dropping the bomb on Japan saved millions of people- both Allied and Japanese- who would have died during an invasion and elongation of WW2.

    To argue otherwise is to ignore reality.

  • Starviking

    Interesting that the other option, a massive seaborne invasion of Japan, is not mentioned in the article at all. I guess context is out of date!

  • Steve Gregg

    Hirohito supported the use of the Japanese atom bomb as soon as it was ready, either the Army or Navy version. Good thing we got ours first.

  • Tyler Chester

    On the bright side, look at where Japan is today. It wouldn’t have been possible without American aid for reconstruction. Japan is an industrial giant: Toyota, Honda, Sony, Toshiba, etc.

  • Toolonggone

    It’s nothing new, and I’m not surprised to hear the truth at all. I guess some of us may wonder why it came out right now? Stimson was a key player in making US decisions on A-bombs and addressing the conditions for enemy(Japan)’s surrender.