In response to Aaron Tovish’s Aug. 10 letter, “Children’s deaths were senseless,” I respect the Peace Boat organization, but Tovish’s letter contains some indefensible and incredible historical revisionism about Japan’s surrender in World War II that reflects poorly on that organization’s political agenda.
The truth is that the Japanese government was not actively considering surrender before the atomic bombings and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Some minor factions of the government were beginning to discuss surrender, but the Allies’ insistence on “unconditional surrender” was preventing the key players in Japan’s government from accepting surrender as an alternative, because they feared humiliation and the dismissal of the Emperor would result.
The Soviet invasion threat did prompt the Japanese government to start considering surrender, but the United States had no idea that the Japanese were starting to consider that alternative. The Western nations at war with Japan were losing people every day to combat, so for them to resort to a weapon they thought would shorten the war was understandable.
In fact, coupled with the Soviet attacks on Japan, the atomic bombings were the clincher in influencing the Emperor’s inner circle to accept the unconditional surrender, which was the only option that the Allies were providing.
I think the point that many people miss, including Tovish, is not whether the atomic bombings were necessary, but would they have been necessary if the Allies hadn’t insisted on unconditional surrender?
Perhaps not, but to say that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not hasten the surrender is not backed up by the historical facts on record.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.