>“Hasegawa has changed my mind,” says Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” “The Japanese decision to surrender was not driven by the two bombings.”
>Americans, then and today, have tended to assume that Japan’s leaders were simply blinded by their own fanaticism, forcing a catastrophic showdown for no reason other than their refusal to acknowledge defeat. This was, after all, a nation that trained its young men to fly their planes, freighted with explosives, into the side of American naval vessels.
>But Hasegawa and other historians have shown that Japan’s leaders were in fact quite savvy, well aware of their difficult position, and holding out for strategic reasons. Their concern was not so much whether to end the conflict, but how to end it while holding onto territory, avoiding war crimes trials, and preserving the imperial system. The Japanese could still inflict heavy casualties on any invader, and they hoped to convince the Soviet Union, still neutral in the Asian theater, to mediate a settlement with the Americans. Stalin, they calculated, might negotiate more favorable terms in exchange for territory in Asia. It was a long shot, but it made strategic sense.
>Very late the next night, however, something happened that did change the plan. The Soviet Union declared war and launched a broad surprise attack on Japanese forces in Manchuria. In that instant, Japan’s strategy was ruined. Stalin would not be extracting concessions from the Americans. And the approaching Red Army brought new concerns: The military position was more dire, and it was hard to imagine occupying communists allowing Japan’s traditional imperial system to continue. Better to surrender to Washington than to Moscow.
>By the morning of Aug. 9, the Japanese Supreme War Council was meeting to discuss the terms of surrender.
So, what if the US didn't invade at all and just starve and incinerate them? Like just keeping up there bombing campaigns, their naval blockade, and use their freshly baked atomic bombs and chemical weapons in between? How is the Japanese leadership not fanatical if not surrendering means the complete destruction of their nation and the death of untold millions?
Yes, the Soviet army that had no way to get to Japan changed the Japanese strategic calculus. This meme really needs to die.
If anything, it was the destruction of the Japanese rail network which was leading to projected famine in 1946, if you don't want to credit the bombing.
My entirely unacademic impression is that the japs were scared of soviet rape. They got dicked so hard at kalkin ghol that they abandoned the Strike North plan and instead committed to fighting the US.
You have to also remember that there was no IJN anymore, so even if you are correct in saying the USSR did not have the means to cross in numbers the japs were faced with the possibility that if such capacity arose there would be no way to stop them.
They were far more threatened by the Americans, however.
Khalkhin Gol may have scarred the IJA and told them not to fuck with the Soviets, but the Americans had the largest fleet ever assembled massed on their doorstep, burned half their cities to the ground, bombed out their infrastructure, and annihilated two major cities in an instant.
Fear of the Soviets probably wasn't a driving factor in their surrender. If the Soviet entry into the war played any part, it was likely how OP suggested - the Japanese realizing their only way out was now gone.
That being said, I doubt you could really ever prove that. The Japanese government burned as much of their records as possible after the surrender.
How retarded do you have to be to believe that Soviet declaration of war caused Japan to surrender?
Soviets had refused to renew the nonaggression pact in APRIL and not even the Japs couldn't not notice 100s of Red Army divisions massing on their borders. Japan did not surrender in April.
They surrendered in August. After two bombs were dropped.
Correlation does not equal causation, but it sure as fuck implies it more strongly than the complete lack of correlation.
The United States actually tried to address the lack of Soviet amphibious capability in the Pacific during the war. It was basically a lend-lease type operation but expanded to include training. It was actually quite an operation since it involved Soviet sailors coming to Alaska and getting trained in American naval ships used for amphibious assault. The entire operation was called Project Hula.
Basically the idea was that giving the Soviets some ability to wage war against the Japanese in the north islands like the Kurils and Hokkaido would take pressure off an American invasion in Kyushu. In reality the Soviets only managed to land forces on the Kurils and to otherwise heavier than expected causalities.
Could they have made a serious push to Hokkaido? Realistically probably not. Even with American supplied ships (which weren't that many to begin with) the Soviets lacked air and naval power in the region to support any real landings on Hokkaido. Had the war progressed to Operation Downfall maybe a Soviet invasion of Hokkaido might have been assisted by American naval or air power.
The Japs didn't surrender because they were ascared of the Russians taking Hokkaido. They had known the war was lost since Leyte Gulf at the latest, but were hoping that the Soviet Union would either attack the Allies in Europe or intervene to prop up an anti-American presence on their eastern border, and they could secure a negotiated peace with the Americans in one of those circumstances that might even allow them to keep Korea. The Soviet invasion made it clear that neither of those things would happen and so the last argument for continuing the war was rendered untenable.
The Japanese weren't hoping for the Soviets to attack the Western Allies. The best outcome for the Japanese would have been to hope the Soviets would just sit on the sidelines and watch. But as it was the Soviets and the Western Allies were pretty much in agreement on a Soviet entry in the Pacific War by early 1945. The question really was when it would happen and what was in it for Stalin.
Yeah, except no. The two bombs were never decisive in Japan's surrender. I mean sure they destroyed two cities and killed tens of thousands, but at the same time, only with conventional bombing, it happened every week and most major Japanese cities had already been reduced to ashes, sometimes being even more utterly destroyed than Hiroshima and Nagaski.
So they played a role surely, but not as decisive as we think today. Because the popular imagery is less filled with images of Tokyo being burned down by incendiary bombs.