My name is Jon and I live in Los Angeles. I've visited Japan a lot so that's what this blog is about...visiting Japan, Japanese history and samurai movies.
I read about this too, somewhere, some time ago.
Very, very interesting. I have always believed in a sort of mix of the "traditional" and "revisionist" views - that Japan may have been ready to surrender before Hiroshima, but that it really was the Bomb which sealed the deal.But, if he has the evidence to back up his argument, Hasegawa makes a compelling case.I don't know that I would take it to the ultimate conclusions that he has about nuclear deterrence today, but for 1945, this whole idea of the Japanese waiting to see if they could get the Soviets on their side somehow makes for an interesting twist, and makes the Soviet declaration of war more significant than the "too little, too late" footnote it has always been in the more pro-American version of the narrative.
To me it makes sense that the bombs had little impact in the Japanese decision. Like the article stated, large numbers of Japanese cities had already been destroyed or mostly destroyed. The Tokyo firebombing was more destructive then the nukes. So for the Japanese, the nukes were just another way to bomb their cities, which had not forced them to surrender previously. The author's idea about a rethinking of nuclear deterrence I don't fully agree with. He is comparing the destruction of 1 or several cities to the threat faced by the Soviets and Americans through mutually assured destruction. With the Cold War, it was not the destruction of one or several cities, but essentially every major city. Plus the realization of global nuclear winter. However, the lack of a nuclear deterrence today may certainly apply as the author states. There no longer is a threat of 10,000 nuclear warheads being launched. Now it is a threat from rogue states or terrorists. The threat of nuclear retaliation from the Americans probably is not going to be effective against the new threats today.I personally thought it was fairly obvious that the Japanese feared the Russians and that was the main reason they surrendered to the Americans.
Considering the desperation and lack of options faced by the crumbling military junta, it came down to the very survival of the Japanese people itself that led to the war's logical conclusion. This notion of waiting to see if the Soviets would have siding with it's former enemy of 1905 is nonsense. Stalin was ruthless dictator fresh from his victory over Nazi Germany seeking post war Soviet domination of the region. Nothing could have prevented the Soviets from entering in what is essentially a land grab in the wake of a defeated Japanese Empire.
I don't think it was certain to the Japanese that the Soviets would have the intent to take over Japanese territory. Hindsight is 20/20 and now we can look back and say the Japanese should have known how ruthless the Soviets could be. But back then they may have felt they still had some chance for negotiation.