At Yalta in early February, 1945, Roosevelt expressed his support for intensive bombing of Japan with B-29 bomber squadrons for the purpose of eliminating the need to invade Japan. On February 19, 1945, to establish an airbase close enough to Japan for fighter planes to pick up and escort the B-29s into Japan, U.S. forces invaded the heavily fortified, two by five-mile island called Iwo Jima. [note] And a battle followed that was to last to March 16 and take the lives of 4,554 Marines, 363 U.S. Navy men and about 18,000 Japanese.
The first of the American bombing runs on Japan -- between late November 1944 and March 1945 -- were considered failures. These were "precision" bombings, directed against factories and military installations. Against factories, Army Air Corps strategists noticed little success in destroying production, but they did see that production was slowed most when civilian workers around the plant were killed in substantial numbers.
The man in charge of the Army Air Corps in the Pacific was Curtis LeMay, who had been transferred from Europe, where he had acquired a reputation as a bright, tough-minded innovator. He was the youngest major general in the U.S. Army. LeMay decided to try the "area bombing" that had been shunned by the U.S. in Europe. And for maximum affect he decided to use incendiary bombs. LeMay believed that two-thirds of Japan's industry was dispersed in homes and small shops, with no more than thirty employees. Blanket bombing in cities across Japan, he reasoned, would destroy Japanese industry. Civilians would be slaughtered in great numbers, but the war would be shortened. LeMay said that it made no difference how you slay the enemy. And, he said, "To worry about the morality of what we are doing -- nuts."
The dropping of tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo began on March 9 -- a little before the annual blossoming of the many cherry trees in Washington D.C. that were a gift from the city of Tokyo as a friendship gesture back in 1912. Tokyo in 1945 was known to be vulnerable to fire. Many of its buildings were of wood and paper. And Tokyo was one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The Japanese had evacuated 1.7 million people from the city, but about six million remained. There were few shelters for people because of a scarcity of materials. The bombing created a firestorm that consumed oxygen and suffocated thousands. Water in the city's canals boiled, and the firestorm sent liquid glass rolling down streets. The city was lighted with an orange glow. The B-29s had attacked at a low altitude (5,000 to 8,000 feet) and American tail gunners were sickened by the sight of hundreds of people burning to death. Ten U.S. aircraft were destroyed by the updraft of heat. And as many as 120,000 Japanese died. Maybe as many as 200,000.
LeMay found satisfaction in the destruction of eight industrial targets and a lot of "home industries." LeMay sent his bombers to Nagoya, Japan's third largest city, and then to Osaka and Kobe. Time magazine expressed joy at the bombings, noting that Japanese cities can be burned "like autumn leaves."
Many Americans remembered the Bataan death march and other atrocities, and they perceived the Japanese to be a primitive and cruel race. A poll just after Pearl Harbor, had revealed that 67 percent of the population favored unqualified and indiscriminate bombing of Japan's cities.
A few prominent American educators and churchmen protested the bombing of Japan's cities, as did editors of the Jesuit weekly magazine America, which questioned whether the bombings were "with God's law or the nobility of our cause." In Japan, people viewed the American aircrews as guilty of murder, and in the U.S. people viewed the executions of U.S. airmen as murder and a violation of "rules of civilized warfare."
Emperor Hirohito Speaks to His Nation
Spiritually Japan was falling apart, and materially as well. By the end of March, 1945, many of Japan's major cities were in ruin. Tokyo had become a ghost town, except for the emperor's palace, which had been spared. The bombing of Japanese cities was proof to the Japanese of American moral depravity.
In Japan some of the nation's leaders were still pursuing the fantasy that Japan could win the war. The chief fantasy was that God -- Kami, in Japanese -- would save Japan as it was believed God had done in 1281, when a typhoon wrecked Kublai Khan's armada. Now the Japanese military put hope in pilots who would intentionally crash the bomb-laden planes into enemy craft. The idea arose when a pilot intentionally rammed a B-29 bomber. He was an instant hero for having sacrificed himself. Great numbers of young Japanese men wanted to emulate the hero, and their targets would be U.S. warships. They were called Kami-kaze (God-wind) pilots. They were ordinary young men and volunteers -- neither drugged nor chained to their cockpits as some Americans suspected.
On March 26, 1945 the U.S. had begun its assault on Okinawa -- which the Japanese considered homeland. The battle for Okinawa was the bloodiest and longest of the Pacific war, lasting almost three months and ending on June 22. The United States lost 12,300 killed and 36,000 wounded. More than half of the U.S. dead were killed by Kami-kaze pilots -- whose deaths are counted at around 4,000. Kamikaze attacks damaged 223 U.S. warships and sank thirty. A total of about 130,000 Japanese died, including 40,000 civilians, some of whom committed suicide.
For the U.S., Okinawa was supposed to be a base from which to attack Japan's major islands, beginning with the southern island, Kyushu, tentatively set for November 1945. An invasion of the main island, Honshu, was set for March 1946.
Surrender versus Home Defense
A study initiated by Japan's new prime minister, Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, found that a lack of raw materials was restricting all aspects of civilian and military life. He found that steel production was extremely low, that aircraft production was a third of what had been planned, that the production of munitions was down fifty percent, that transport was crippled by shortages in fuel and manpower and near total collapse and that the chemical industry was also about to collapse. Also, Japan's oil reserves were depleted, and an attempt was being made to produce aviation fuel from pine roots. Rice production was at the lowest it had been since 1905. The Japanese nation was facing the possibility of starvation, with the government working on a plan to collect acorns. Admiral Kantaro Suzuki's report on Japan's material deprivations was released to the Supreme Council for the Conduct of the War, a body consisting of the prime minister, the foreign minister and the top four military chiefs. They met in May and began struggling with the question of whether or how to surrender.
The Japanese still had a substantial number of soldiers, but it had only about 3,000 aircraft. The U.S. ruled the skies over Japan. The bulk of Japan's forces were abroad, mostly in China and Manchuria, with no way to return to defend their homeland. Japan no longer had an effective navy. The United States Navy was able to cut Japan's supply of raw materials and its vital importations of food. The U.S. was in a position to starve Japan into submission. The Chinese could have effectively handled remaining Japanese forces in China and Manchuria. The Korean resistance could have handled the Japanese force in Korea. Little advantage had been gained by inviting the Soviet Union to join the war against Japan.
In early June the Japanese government began trying to use the Russians to negotiate an end to the war, and the Japanese had established a contact in Switzerland, which resulted in a Swedish operative, Per Jacobsson, working with Alan Dulles of the Office of Srategic Services (OSS) forerunner of the CIA. Moves toward a settlement with the United States were slow and desultory. The Japanese who favored negotiations wanted a settlement that kept Emperor Hirohito on his throne. But nobody in the United States with the power to do so was ready to promise Hirohito's status.
The next meeting of the leaders of the Allied powers came in July at Potsdam (just a few miles southwest of Berlin). During the Potsdam Conference, Truman was given the news that the first test of the atom bomb in New Mexico was a success, and Truman was elated. He was annoyed with Stalin because of the kind of government Stalin had created in Poland in June, and he thought that the bomb strengthened his hand vis-à-vis Stalin. The agreement that the Soviet Union would enter the war, however, remained standing.
The option of invading Japan's main islands weighed on Truman's mind. Estimates were that as many as a million Americans could be killed in such as invasion. Against such an invasion, Japan had collected 2.35 million military personnel and 4 million civilians who had been working for the military and a 28 million civilian militia.[Ron: This is US propaganda bullshit.].
On July 27, from Potsdam, Truman cabled the Japanese -- a message to be known as the Potsdam Proclamation. The message spoke of the "utter devastation of the Japanese homeland" unless Japan surrendered unconditionally. No mention was made of preserving the emperor.
Moves were made in Japan's Supreme War Council to respond to the proclamation, and care was expressed that Japan not appear to reject it. The council released news of the proclamation to Japan's newspapers, with orders not to editorialize on the issue. Several newspapers editorialized anyway. One newspaper, the Mainichi, called Truman's position laughable. Others wrote that Japan would move its war effort forward "unfalteringly to a successful conclusion." Prime Minister Suzuki was under pressure to belittle publicly the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation. Suzuki announced that he would have no comment on the Proclamation, and the word he used was mokusatsu, which could be interpreted to mean "treat with silent contempt." This was how Suzuki's words were interpreted in the United States. President Truman believed that the Japanese had rejected his proclamation.[Ron: Bullshit! Truman was under Khazar orders and anyway he desperately wanted to use the atomic bombs.].
President Truman and the War Department were in a hurry to win Japan's surrender. Some have described the U.S. as having been motivated by the Soviet Union scheduled to enter the war against Japan. Some have described the U.S. as wanting to explode the A-bomb in front of the Russians to impress and instill in the Russians a greater fear of the U.S. Why the U.S. was unwilling to wait longer for the Japanese remains unknown. As for dropping the atomic bomb, the U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, believed that the Japanese needed a jolt to bring them around. Truman believed that using the bomb would obviate the need to invade Japan. General George Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, approved its use, claiming that it was either drop the bomb or invade Japan.[Ron: Self serving propaganda.]. Admiral Halsey did not approve. General "Hap" Arnold, chief of the Army Air Corps, believed that conventional bombing could bring an early end to the war. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was adamantly opposed to use of the bomb, stating that Japan was in effect already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.
On August 6, the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Some 80,000 or so died within hours. [Ron: I wonder whether this author would be sooo blaise IF some of the "or so" included his friends and neighbours?]. When rumor spread among the agonized survivors of the atomic blast that the Japanese had just dropped a similar bomb on the United States, it lifted their spirits.[Ron: WTF?! What bullshit propaganda is this?].
Around the emperor, Japan's leaders dithered for a couple of days. [Ron: WTF?! This author is lying through his teeth! The Japanese government had been desperately seeking a US acceptance of their surrender for some time.]. On August 9, the United States dropped another bomb -- on Nagasaki. Finally Emperor Hirohito initiated an end to war. He accepted the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation and, on August 15 at noon, he spoke for the first time on the radio. He said:
...In conformity with the precepts handed down by our Imperial ancestors we have always striven for the welfare of our subjects and for the happiness and welfare of all nations. This is precisely why we declared war against Great Britain and the United States.
...It was not our intention to infringe on the sovereignty of other nations or to carry out acts of aggression against their soil.
...Despite the valor of our land and naval forces, despite the valor of our heroic dead and despite the continued efforts the situation has not taken a turn for the better and neither has the aspect of the world situation taken a more favorable turn. Moreover, the enemy has employed its outrageous bomb and slaughtered untold numbers of innocent people.
...Accordingly, to continue the war under these circumstances would ultimately mean the extinction of our people and the utter destruction of human civilization. Under these circumstances how were we to save the millions of our subjects or justify ourselves to save the spirits of our Imperial ancestors.
...We must express our regrets to our allies who have fought alongside us for the emancipation of East Asia.
...Let us therefore face the long road, each of us, as one united nation in firm fidelity to the Throne and in full confidence in the indestructibility of our Divine Land, and let us resolve to bend all our energies to future reconstruction. Let us be strong in moral principles and firm in our ideals.
[Colour fonts, bolding and comments in square brackets added.].
Japan in WWII: A Casualty of Usury? Was WWII Fought to make the World Safe for the Bankers? See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Japan-in-WWII-A-Casualty-of-Usury-Was-WWII-Fought-to-make-the-World-Safe-for-the-Bankers.shtml
Why did Japan surrender? See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Why-did-Japan-surrender.shtml
HARRY S. TRUMAN War Criminal. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/HARRY-S-TRUMAN-War-Criminal.shtml
Was the Atomic Bombing of Japan Necessary? See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Was-the-Atomic-Bombing-of-Japan-Necessary.shtml
The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945: The Japanese View. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/The-Tokyo-Fire-Raids-1945-The-Japanese-View.shtml
The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Untold Story. See:http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/The-Bombing-of-Nagasaki-August-9-1945-The-Untold-Story.shtml
Was the US bombing of Nagasaki necessary to end WWII? See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Was-the-US-bombing-of-Nagasaki-necessary-to-end-WWII.shtml
THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE ATOMIC BOMB WHY HIROSHIMA WAS DESTROYED. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/THE_SECRET_HISTORY_OF_THE_ATOMIC_BOMB_WHY_HIROSHIM_3558.shtml
Why Hiroshima Was Destroyed The Detailed History Of An Infamous Er. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Why-Hiroshima-Was-Destroyed-The-Detailed-History-Of-An-Infamous-Era.shtml
Truman Lied, Hundreds of Thousands Died. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/Truman-Lied-Hundreds-of-Thousands-Died.shtml
The Great Hiroshima Cover-up. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/The-Great-Hiroshima-Cover-up.shtml
United States bombings of other countries. See: http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/United-States-bombings-of-other-countries.shtml