The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II

The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II

Copyright Date: 1966
Pages: 213
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  • Book Info
    The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II
    Book Description:

    This book discusses the decision to use the atomic bomb. Libraries and scholars will find it a necessary adjunct to their other studies by Pulitzer-Prize author Herbert Feis on World War II.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6826-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
    Herbert Feis
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PART ONE May 1945—Japan Alone
    • 1. How Could the War Best Be Ended?
      (pp. 3-4)

      May 1945. The war in Europe was over. The members of the coalition were about to enter upon joint occupation and control of Germany. The Charter of the United Nations was being conceived at San Francisco. Truman, Churchill, and Stalin had agreed to confer about the many unsettled European situations.

      Japan, all alone, was fighting on. The United States was assembling ever larger forces—army, navy, and air—for the next great actions in the Pacific. The Soviet government was transporting divisions to the Far East for deployment along the Manchurian frontier. The British Commonwealth was planning the expulsion of...

    • 2. By Combined Assault
      (pp. 5-14)

      The end of the war in Europe released American, British, and Russian forces for use in the Pacific. The amplitude of their combat resources enabled the members of the coalition to agree easily upon their respective parts in the assault upon Japan; they were great enough to enable each to engage in those operations upon which it was most intent.

      After many months of discussion, several differences of judgment within the American government were still unresolved.

      Some senior naval and air force officers, including the Commanding Admiral of the United States Fleet, Admiral King, and the President’s representative on the...

    • 3. By Inducement
      (pp. 15-27)

      If it should prove necessary to carry out the invasion plans, the resultant loss of life would be tragic. The chaos and suffering of a war fought to the most bitter end, as it had been in Germany, might be irremediable. There would be ruined countries and broken people on both sides of the expanding Commimist realm, appealing to the miserable. These anxieties had aroused a wish to find a way to induce Japan to give up before it was compelled abjectly to do so.

      Acting Secretary of State Grew had been Ambassador in Japan during the ten years that...

    • 4. By Shock: The Atom Bomb
      (pp. 28-60)

      The prime incentive of the effort to make an atomic bomb had been to assure and hasten the defeat of Germany. But as the great dimensions of the task became apparent and as hard and baffling problems were encountered, its creators had been compelled to face the fact that the war against Germany might be over before the bomb was achieved. Yet they decided that it was imperative to carry on with undiminished vigor, because of the wish to have the bomb for use against Japan, if need be.

      All this time the group who knew most about the progress...

  5. PART TWO Fateful Days at Potsdam
    • 5. The Two Faces of Policy
      (pp. 63-65)

      During the ten days that the President was traveling to Potsdam our planes and ships spread havoc over Japan. Great fleets of what were then called superfortresses were smashing and burning the industrial centers, railroad yards, docks, oil and steel plants, and nearby crowded residential areas on the main island of Honshu. Carrier planes were swooping at will over Japanese airfields and installations. The ships of our Pacific Fleet, standing close to shore, were sending their heavy shells into coastal targets and towns within range. The wish to conserve the small remaining reserve of combat planes against the awaited invasion...

    • 6. The Calendar of Days at Potsdam JULY 16-AUGUST 2
      (pp. 66-116)

      The opening of the conference was delayed a day¹ because Stalin had suffered a slight heart attack. Truman used this free time to drive to Berlin from his quarters at Babelsburg. He was deeply impressed; in his own later words, “In that two-hour drive, I saw evidence of a great world tragedy....”

      The Emperor of Japan was leaving his isolated seclusion and making an active effort to arrange a peace. Despite Soviet indifference to Japanese proposals for a new treaty and confirmed reports of concentration of Soviet troops on the Soviet frontier, the Japanese government had clung to the belief...

  6. PART THREE Japan Is Forced to Surrender
    • 7. Japan’s Plight and Stubborn Folly; The Resort to Ultimate Measures
      (pp. 119-120)

      By early August little was left standing in the three urban areas that supported Japan’s war effort—Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama, Nagoya, and Osaka-Kobe. Most of the essential industrial plants in the smaller towns had been damaged or destroyed. The harbors and channels along the Japan Sea and the Inland Sea were closed by mines. Transit of men and goods in and out of Japan and even between the ports of Japan had diminished to little, to what could be carried on small coastal vessels. The system of protection against American air and naval bombing assaults had collapsed and the organization to control...

    • 8. The Bomb Is Dropped on Hiroshima
      (pp. 121-124)

      Beneath the relaxed formalities on board the U.S.S.Augustathere was the vibrant secret that an air group at Tinian was under orders to drop an atomic bomb on Japan on the first day in August that the weather permitted visual bombing. This event was awaited with subdued impatience.

      The group at Tinian who were in readiness to drop the bomb had been compelled to wait out unfavorable weather over all of Japan during the first days of August. But reconnaissance planes which flew over the target area on the night of the 5th reported bade that the prospect for...

    • 9. The Calendar of Days before the Surrender AUGUST 7-AUGUST 14
      (pp. 125-146)

      On the afternoon of August 7th the Foreign Minister, Togo, informed the Cabinet of the statements which Truman and Stimson had issued about the bomb, and the War and Home Ministers presented preliminary reports on the destruction at Hiroshima.

      All that the morning papers on the 8th (Tokyo time) told the Japanese people was that Hiroshima had been “considerably” damaged by “a new-type bomb.” But later that day Togo, with Suzuki’s approval, advised the Emperor that the atomic bomb would revolutionize warfare and that more would be dropped on Japanese cities unless the Potsdam offer was accepted. The Emperor agreed...

    • 10. The End of the Fighting
      (pp. 147-149)

      During the night of the 14-15TH there were sorne disorders in Tokyo. A section of the Imperial Guards Division rebelled and tried to seize and suppress the phonograph record of the rescript before it could be broadcast, but they were foiled. The homes of the Prime Minister and Marquis Kido were attacked. From Atsugi airfield (twenty-five miles southwest of Tokyo) one of the “Divine Wind Squadrons” flew ominously low over Tokyo, and dropped leaflets proclaiming that this was the final day of reckoning (Gyokusai). There were alarming street scenes in front of the palace.

      At noon on the 15th the...

    • 11. The Plans for Acceptance of the Surrender of the Japanese Forces
      (pp. 150-154)

      General Macarthur had been given dual assignments. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces he was authorized to effectuate the surrender of Japanese armed forces everywhere and to direct the occupation and control of Japan. As Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army Forces in the Pacific, he was charged, along with Admiral Nimitz and General Albert C. Wedemeyer, with the acceptance of the Japanese surrender in a designated area.

      The planners in the War and State Departments, in close touch with British associates, during that crowded second week of August, had composed instructions for him in both spheres. Having...

    • 12. The Orders Issued to the American Commanders
      (pp. 155-158)

      Under General Order No. I Japanese commanders of forces in the Pacific Islands south of Japan were to surrender to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (Nimitz), and those in command of forces in Japan proper, the southern section of Korea and the Philippines were to surrender to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Forces in the Pacific (MacArthur).

      On August 15th the Joint Chiefs sent amplifying directives to these two American commanders and to General Wedemeyer, Commander of the U.S. Forces in China. They were informed that:

      (1) Key areas of Japan proper, Korea, and the...

    • 13. The American Plans and Program for Japan
      (pp. 159-166)

      On appointing MacArthur Supreme Commander, the American government had advised him that from the moment of surrender the authority of the Japanese Emperor and Japanese government to rule the state would be subject to his will, and that he was to take steps as he deemed proper to effectuate the surrender terms. The breadth and depth of his authority was tersely stated in one sentence, “You will exercise supreme command over all land, sea, and air forces which may be allocated for enforcement in Japan of the surrender terms by the Allied Powers concerned.”

      A few days later, irritated by...

    • 14. The Formal Surrender
      (pp. 167-169)

      The formal surrender was to be impressive and dramatic. President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed that it would be wise to arrange to have it occur close to the capital of Japan so that all the Japanese people would realize how thorough was their submission. But fear lest there might be demonstrations or assaults by fanatics favored a place off the coast in Tokyo Bay, and on the gallery deck of our most powerful ship of war the U.S.S.Missouri(named after the home state of the President and christened by his daughter).¹

      On the morning of...

    • 15. The Heritage: An Imperiled Eternity
      (pp. 170-176)

      The Americans who had conducted the war were relieved by the indications that they were not going to face trouble in Japan, for even at this season of American supremacy, the more informed and thoughtful realized that the ends for which the war had been fought were in hazard. The prospect of a peaceful order in the Far East, resting on friendship between the four members of the war coalition, was fading; the working alliance between the Western allies and the Soviet Union was dissolving; and quarrels over policies for Japan and China were starting.

      The atomic bomb had enabled...

  7. PART FOUR Queries and Reflections in After time
    • 16. Was a Real Chance Missed to End the War Earlier?
      (pp. 179-189)

      In his memoirs former Acting Secretary of State Grew quotes from a letter he wrote to Stimson in 1947 raising the question whether, if the President had not waited until the Conference at Potsdam (July 17th-August 2nd, 1945) to tell the Japanese of our intentions, the surrender of Japan could have been hastened; in particular if the President-had made “a public categorical statement that surrender would not mean the elimination of the present dynasty if the Japanese people desired its retention....”

      Grew recognized how groping this, like all other efforts to learn the secrets of unacted history, must be. But...

    • 17. Comments and Conjectures on the Use of the Atomic Bomb against Japan
      (pp. 190-202)

      At the time of the event, only some contributing scientists protested the use of the atomic bomb against a vulnerable live target. The peoples fighting Japan looked upon its employment against the enemy as a natural act of war, and rejoiced at the swift ending it brought about. Any qualms they might have had over the cruel suffering of the victims were routed by the thought that if Germans or Japanese had developed this weapon they would surely have used it. Subsequently, however, as the blast and radiation effects of this new projectile were more fully appreciated, and as more...

  8. Main Sources Cited
    (pp. 203-206)
  9. Index
    (pp. 207-213)