• Do you think the A-bombs did it?  The U.S.S.R. joining the war?  Or a combination of both?

    For my part I lean towards Russian invasion.  The Germans would have given anything at the later stage of the European war to have been able to surrender to the west.  In terms of WW2, A-bombs are horrible, but in the long term Nagasaki and Hiroshima are first world cities now.  Everything that the former U.S.S.R. has ever touched has turned into garbage.


  • Because they were hit by a weapon they believe didn’t exist. The second A-bomb lead to the actual choice of surrender and the scale of the damage scared them. They were willing to fight to the last Japanese and they saw the Allies were willing to kill to the last Japanese so the choice was clear.


  • @Zooey72:

    Do you think the A-bombs did it?  The U.S.S.R. joining the war?  Or a combination of both?

    I’ve read cogent arguments that it was the Soviets joining the war that pushed things over the edge. Look at the timing of the surrender decision:

    August 6th: Bombing of Hiroshima. This did not lead to the end of the war. It was potent and devastating but the Japanese were still ready to fight on.

    August 9th, 0400 Tokyo time: Words reaches Tokyo that the Soviet Union has declared war and attacked Manchuria.

    August 9th, 1030 Tokyo time: The Japanese Supreme War Council meets to determine options regarding the Soviet addition to their list of enemies. The US invasion is not expected for months (and indeed, the US did not plan to start invading Japan until November 1945) but the Soviets are in position to attack in than two weeks.

    August 9th, ~1100 Tokyo time: The War Council is informed about the bombing of Nagasaki. A vote about surrender takes place, is a 3-3 tie between the 6 voting members.

    August 10th, 0200 Tokyo time: The War Council, deadlocked for hours, presents “fight on” or “surrender” as options to the Emperor. The Emperor chooses surrender.

    (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan)

    So, which was it? I think it was three things: Germany and Italy defeated - no allies anymore, the increased power of the Atomic Bombings over “regular” bombings, and the Soviets declaring war and attacking. But I think an argument can be made that the Soviet attack was what tipped things over. As to what actually happened? I don’t know, can’t say.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • I don’t think the Soviets invading Manchuria and Korea lead to surrender and the reason why I can make that argument is because the Japanese knew how weak the Soviet Pacific Fleet was and seeing Manchuria and Korea in Soviets hands is lost to the Chinese and Koreans, not Japanese. Though I am sure seeing the Red Army fight along side the Chinese wasn’t a thrilling point of view however back to my point, the Japanese didn’t know that the US was transferring about 80 amphibious ships to the Soviet Pacific Fleet so they could conduct naval invasions. I believe they understood that seeing US, UK, and Commonwealth forces was going to happen. I am sure USSR entering the war wasn’t a good situation but I also bet they could see that coming a mile away. I think the A-bomb attacks is what did it, they knew we were going to use them and they understood we had no problem using them. Remember people do not know this but Japan did have some military presence in Germany, they were there trying to buy German equipment but I am sure they could see the scale of allied attacks. Seeing strategic bombing cities was the norm but now seeing one bomber dropping one bomb blowing a city away was something no one could even dream of. I am sure everyone in the conflict didn’t believe such a weapon could exist. And US refused to A-bomb Kyoto or Tokyo but I am sure Japan didn’t.

  • '17 '16 '15

    The way I remember it is "Bet You can’t do That Again "

    well not me…. but Uncle Jim is 90 : )


  • The Japanese military honour mindset demanded that they did not surrender no matter how many defeats they suffered. Before Russia defeated them in Manchuria they had lost the naval war, lost multiple islands across the Pacific, including part of Japan, and been expelled from Burma. Manchuria was another defeat in a long line.

    US submarines’ annihilation of the Japanese merchant navy had already brought to an end to Japan’s ability to successfully continue the war, through the loss of raw materials essential to the war effort.

    Before Nagasaki and Hiroshima, dozens of Japanese cities had been firebombed to destruction. This fire bombing then obliterated the factories that were already short of those materials.

    All of which suggests to me that another defeat in Manchuria did not make the difference. Nor did the obliteration of yet two more Japanese cities. It was the terrible power of this new weapon that persuaded some that continuing to fight no matter the cost was the less honourable path.

    The intervention of the emperor was very probably crucial. What changed his mind? What gave him the courage to withstand the militarists? Another in a long line of defeats? Another step towards inevitable loss of the war? Or a new existential threat to the Land of the Rising Sun?


  • They surrendered because we promised if they did they could keep their Emperor free of war crimes. Second they figured we had more bombs to drop, thirdly, Russia was tearing thru Manchukou and could even retake some islands which were part of Japan that Japan won during the Russo-Japanese war of 1905, and Korea could also be lost.


  • @Imperious:

    They surrendered because we promised if they did they could keep their Emperor free of war crimes…

    While in practice the US did just that, the Imperial Household had no such promises from the US before they surrendered.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • Not officially at the time, latter that fact kinda leaked out


  • @Imperious:

    Not officially at the time, latter that fact kinda leaked out

    What fact leaked out? That the US had promised, before the surrender, not to try the Emperor as a war criminal? I’m afraid I’m going to have to see source for that, as that doesn’t jive with what I know about that time period.

    Yes, the US government, under the direction of MacArthur, didn’t try Hirohito for war crimes. Not only that, but the Occupation Government went above and beyond to protect the Emperor from even a hint of taint from the war crimes committed by the Japanese Government.

    But I’ve seen or read absolutely nothing to suggest that the US gave a promise of any kind to the Japanese Government before the surrender took place.

    In short, sauce please.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • The fact that the emperor was not to be charged was held from the American public, but leaked out that a deal was made for compliance with the surrender.

    You want a link to that?


  • How do you not know this? There is a reason why Japan still has a Emperor and not a full Republic. The Emperor was spared from the outcome of WWII hence why he was never removed. This is common knowledge.


  • Caesar - We all know the Emperor was not tried for war crimes and the institution remains. The point at issue is whether Japan was promised in advance of surrender that he would not be tried. M_R has asked for evidence of that.

    I am interested too, as I am also unaware of this having happened.


  • @Imperious:

    … but leaked out that a deal was made for compliance with the surrender.

    You want a link to that?

    @Private:

    … The point at issue is whether Japan was promised in advance of surrender that he would not be tried. M_R has asked for evidence of that.

    I am interested too, as I am also unaware of this having happened.

    IL,

    You seem to be claiming that the United States made a deal, or some sort of promise, with Japan not to try the Emperor for war crimes. You seem to be claiming that this deal was made before Japan surrendered.

    I do not think that this happened. I know that the Occupation Government, after Japan surrendered, worked to keep the Emperor from being tried as a war criminal. But I know of no reason for the Japanese Government to believe, before they surrendered, that this would happen the way it did.

    If you have proof that, before Japan surrendered, the Emperor knew that he would not be tried for war crimes after surrender, I would like to see that proof. That is what I am asking you to produce.

    -Midnight_Reaper

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    "On June 22, the Emperor met with his ministers, saying “I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts be made to implement them.”

    The attempt to negotiate a peace via the Soviet Union came to nothing.

    There was always the threat that extremists would carry out a coup or foment other violence.

    On July 26, 1945, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender. The Japanese government council, the Big Six, considered that option and recommended to the Emperor that it be accepted only if one to four conditions were agreed upon, including a guarantee of the Emperor’s continued position in Japanese society. The Emperor decided not to surrender."

    An unconditional surrender is not a offer–it is a statement of what is going to happen.  No conditions of retaining the emperor would be made.

    The Japanese Junta then tried to assert conditions, which would not have been accepted, and a decision was made.

    Unconditional surrender isn’t just florid language its an agreement about what you are going to do.  No separate peaces.  No retained kings.  No amnesties or paroles.  If the USA wanted to keep the emperor that would be at their fiat with no strings attached and for their own reasons.

    The Kaiser was even more involved in that war and it wasn’t entirely clear that he’d be ejected and forced to abdicate either, despite his participation at the level of a field marshal/head of state/army.  It was only after his support collapsed that he abdicated.  Woodrow Wilson was influential in this by stating neither that he would be deposed or stay but that he would not be allowed at the negotiating table but that prosecuting him and extraditing him was not in the US interest.  So the US removed his relevance by saying that any surrender would not involve him as a substantial party (ie by not recognizing him as the de jure or de facto head of state.)


  • In terms of official statements, the US / Allied position regarding the Emperor prior to the surrender of Japan was deliberately vague…and that vagueness led to a lot of interpretational debate within the Japanese government (as it was probably intended to do).  The Potsdam Declaration of July 1945 didn’t mention the Emperor one way or the other.  And the movie Japan’s Longest Day, which reconstructs in quasi-documentary style the hours leading up to Japan’s surrender, includes a scene in which the Japanese leadership tries to interpret the meaning of the phrase “subject to” in a reply they had received from the US Secretary of State, James Byrnes, which said that “the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers.”

    Behind the scenes, Truman had proved receptive to the concept of Hirohito remaining Emperor in a purely ceremonial role.  Truman had asked one of his advisors (I forget who; it may have been Byrnes, but if I’m not mistaken it was John Galbraith) what should be done about Japan post-war; the advisor outlined various points, one of which was that Hirohito should remain Emperor but that he should henceforth be a constitutional monarch with symbolic rather than actual authority.  Truman responded that this outline was exactly the kind of thing he’d been looking for, and he asked the advisor to put this outline into writing.  The incident is described in the 1970s British series The World at War.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    further research indicates that it was MacArthur as the leader of the occupation who determined how Hirohito should be handled, which would indicate the outcome was at his discretion and lack of any promises or pre-figured intent before the war’s end.


  • The actual problem is that the Emperor in Japanese government does still have some power though I do believe he does not have the authority to committed Japan to war. I do know that if the civilian Japanese government some how is destroyed, the Emperor will directly rule again but for now, the Shogun rules the land.


  • @Caesar:

    The actual problem is that the Emperor in Japanese government does still have some power though I do believe he does not have the authority to committed Japan to war. I do know that if the civilian Japanese government some how is destroyed, the Emperor will directly rule again but for now, the Shogun rules the land.

    If I’m not mistaken, Japan hasn’t had a Shogun since the Tokugawa Shogunate was abolished as a result of the Meiji Restoration in 1867.  As far as I know, the Japanese Emperor today is a constitutional monarch who, like similar constitutional monarchs (such as Queen Elizabeth II, the constitutional monarch of Canada, whose date of Confederation coincidentally also dates from 1867), “reigns but does not rule.”  This usually means that the monarch has certain narrow constitutional powers, and is considered to be the head of state, but that these powers are largely symbolic and/or ceremonial and that they are supposed to be exercised in a non-political way, so that the monarch can function as a politically neutral symbol of the state.  Political power in a constitutional monarchy is supposed to rest with the government (which has its own head) and, more broadly, with the elected legislature, and constitutional monarchs are expected to be very careful about not overstepping their (largely symbolic) authority.  To give an example: a few years ago, as I recall, the current Japanese Emperor, Akihito, felt that it might be a good idea to abdicate because his advanced age was making it difficult for him to carry out his duties.  He raised the issue in public, but he did so in extremely indirect and vague language.  Why?  Because the Japanese constitution (at least at the time) had no abdication mechanism, and therefore Akihito’s abdication would have required a constitutional amendment; Akihito could not come straight out and ask the legislature to amend the constitution, because that would have been seen as the Emperor inappropriately “meddling in politics”, so he had to express his wish in a very roundabout way and leave it to the politicians to interpret for themselves what he really meant.


  • This is why !

    indians.jpg

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