August 6, 2013


Was Hiroshima Needed to End the War? : New evidence suggests that the bombing, rather than saving `500,000' US lives, was a warning to Moscow (Gar Alperovitz and Kai Bird, 8/06/13, CS Monitor)

Most experts now accept the once controversial view that geopolitical and diplomatic concerns about the Soviet Union influenced Truman, Stimson, and Byrnes, consciously or unconsciously, when they chose what Stimson called the "master card" (the atomic bomb) over other readily available ways to end the war.

Scholars differ in the precise weight to accord this motive in the thinking of each policymaker, and some specialists like Bernstein continue to hold that military factors were paramount, or that the weapon's use was "inevitable" because of technological or bureaucratic momentum (and infighting) built up during the war. Gregg Herken, the author of "The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War 1945-1950," observes, however, that "responsible traditional as well as revisionist accounts of the decisi on to drop the bomb now recognize that the act had behind it both an immediate military rationale regarding Japan and a possible diplomatic advantage concerning Russia." Yale Prof. Gaddis Smith writes: "It has been demonstrated that the decision to bomb Japan was centrally connected to Truman's confrontational approach to the Soviet Union."

...would have been to drop it on Moscow, saving tens of millions of lives.

Posted by at August 6, 2013 8:07 PM

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