75th ANNIVERSARY OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI
What was behind the atomic attack against Japan?
At the occasion of the 75th anniversary of bombing the two Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, the debate over the use of nuclear arms against Japan is not yet close. The official story propagated by conventional historiography assumes that the US resorted to the atomic bomb against Japan in order to put an end to the WWII, to save American lives and to alleviate the suffering of the Japanese people. Eminent historians shunned the dominant these rejecting the humanitarian motivation highlighting rather the geopolitical reasons behind the atomic attack against Japan.
By April, 1945, Japanese leadership had no choice but to surrender as American forces had gained a firm foothold on Okinawa. The combined US-Australian island-hopping attack from the Solomons, near New Guniea, all the way to Japan had begun in 1943. By April 1945 it had reached Japan’s Okinawa, close to three months before the deadline Moscow had set for its attack on Japan.
Through the Allied intelligence operations, in particular Australian Military forces, the US leadership knew all about the imminent Japan surrender. There are leakages of information and interception of Japanese signals which contained details of Allied ‘plans for certain operations in the Philippines’ and details of recent Australian army intelligence estimates of Japanese strength there. There were messages from Moscow being passed on to the Japanese consulate in Harbin, northern Manchuria, and then on to Tokyo and among those messages were those US plans for the island-hopping attack on Japan.
From then, the Japanese Foreign Ministry established contacts with Moscow to broker a peace agreement. The emperor also still pinned hopes on those contacts with Moscow while US requested unconditional surrender. That wishful thinking only ended on August 8 when the USSR formally declared war on Japan and immediately began to attack into Japanese-occupied territories in Manchuria and elsewhere. On August 9 the US nuclear bombed Nagasaki. Six days later Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allied forces.
Non conventional historical findings show irrefutably it was the prospect of Soviet war against Japan more than the nuclear attacks that forced Tokyo to surrender. After Nazi Germany’s defeat, Soviet forces turned toward Japan with the aim to gain some lost territories – southern Sakhalin and the Kuril islands. It was only hours from landing Soviet troops at Rumoi for the occupation of Hokkaido when Truman reportedly said the troops should go to take some traditionally Japanese islands in the Kurils close to Hokkaido, a deed which Tokyo still uses to refuse a peace treaty with Moscow.