Did Truman have to drop (2) nukes? 

Did Truman have to drop (2) nukes?

Via Kevin Drum: an article in the Weekly Standard arguing that Japan was not prepared to surrender unconditionally, or give up its form of government including a kind of supremacy for the Emperor, until after both bombs were dropped.

I have been inclined to think that at least the second one was gratuitous as far as getting Japan to surrender--and it was probably intended to keep Stalin out of Japan.

Richard Frank says no. There was widespread support in Japan for continuing to fight, even in a losing or suicidal cause. There was a widespread belief that the position of the Emperor could be maintained. Frank argues that leaving the Emperor's powers intact would be an invitation to re-build the military and start conquering again.

The U.S. was at a point where if Japan did not surrender unconditionally, massive "conventional" bombing would begin, designed to destroy the Japanese economy. This would have caused many deaths, and untold suffering to millions.

Frank also points out that Japan was running a murderous empire--thousands of their fellow Asians dying every day. Those were lives that were saved by the nuke bombings and the surrender that followed.

The Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 6; the Nagasaki bomb on August 9. The Soviets entered the war against Japan on August 8.

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