Episode 110 – Rain of Ruin, Part 3

This week; what exactly happened during the final, fateful weeks of World War II? What sequence of events finally led to Japan’s surrender?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Butow, Robert. Japan’s Decision to Surrender.

Frank, Richard. Downfall.

Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy.

Images

The Suzuki Cabinet, June 9 1945. These are the men who would be charged with ending the war.  Prime Minister Suzuki stands front and center. To his right, looking dejectedly at the floor, is Navy Minister (and sole military man in the dove faction of the cabinet) Mitsumasa Yonai.  Anami Korechika, Army Minister and avowed hawk, is in the back right in an army uniform. Togo Shigenori, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is in the back left -- his head is barely peeking over the man in front of him, hiding his distinctive moustache but not his thick glasses.
The Suzuki Cabinet, June 9 1945. These are the men who would be charged with ending the war.
Prime Minister Suzuki stands front and center. To his right, looking dejectedly at the floor, is Navy Minister (and sole military man in the dove faction of the cabinet) Mitsumasa Yonai.
Anami Korechika, Army Minister and avowed hawk, is in the back right in an army uniform. Togo Shigenori, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is in the back left — his head is barely peeking over the man in front of him, hiding his distinctive moustache but not his thick glasses.
Suzuki Kantaro (Prime Minister, Dove Faction). Suzuki was chosen for the position primarily for his inoffensiveness; more moderate members of government hoped that choosing somebody who had nearly been killed for his support of arms limitation treaties might send a message to the Americans. It didn't work.
Suzuki Kantaro (Prime Minister, Dove Faction). Suzuki was chosen for the position primarily for his inoffensiveness; more moderate members of government hoped that choosing somebody who had nearly been killed for his support of arms limitation treaties might send a message to the Americans. It didn’t work.
Mitsumasa Yonai (Navy Minister, Peace Faction). The only strongly pro-peace military man I know of, Yonai served as Prime Minister before the war and is noteworthy for making a serious effort to defuse tensions between the US and Japan. However, he was unable to restrain more bellicose members of government.
Mitsumasa Yonai (Navy Minister, Peace Faction). The only strongly pro-peace military man I know of, Yonai served as Prime Minister before the war and is noteworthy for making a serious effort to defuse tensions between the US and Japan. However, he was unable to restrain more bellicose members of government.
Togo Shigenori (Foreign Minister, Dove Faction). Togo had argued against the war in 1941, and was chosen for Foreign Minister in 1944 because his anti-war stance would hopefully give him credibility as a peacemaker.
Togo Shigenori (Foreign Minister, Dove Faction). Togo had argued against the war in 1941, and was chosen for Foreign Minister in 1944 because his anti-war stance would hopefully give him credibility as a peacemaker.
Anami Korechika (Army Minister, Hawk Faction). Anami is an interesting character; he was a resolute hawk (at one point vowing to live in the fields and eat grass rather than give up fighting the US), but when approached on August 14 to join a coup that would have continued the war he refused. He penned a final letter apologizing for his "great crime" and committed suicide via seppuku.
Anami Korechika (Army Minister, Hawk Faction). Anami is an interesting character; he was a resolute hawk (at one point vowing to live in the fields and eat grass rather than give up fighting the US), but when approached on August 14 to join a coup that would have continued the war he refused. He penned a final letter apologizing for his “great crime” and committed suicide via seppuku.
Umezu Yoshijiro (Chief of Army General Staff, Hawk Faction). Umezu was a career army man, and believed that while a final battle on Kyushu didn't present great odds for Japan it was better than caving in without one last go.
Umezu Yoshijiro (Chief of Army General Staff, Hawk Faction). Umezu was a career army man, and believed that while a final battle on Kyushu didn’t present great odds for Japan it was better than caving in without one last go.
Toyoda Soemu (Chief of Navy General Staff, Hawk Faction). Toyoda is a functional nonentity included for the purposes of completeness.
Toyoda Soemu (Chief of Navy General Staff, Hawk Faction). Toyoda is a functional nonentity included for the purposes of completeness.
The Potsdam Conference, July 1945. Truman and Stalin are joined by Clement Atlee, who replaced Churchill in a general election during the conference.
The Potsdam Conference, July 1945. Truman and Stalin are joined by Clement Atlee, who replaced Churchill in a general election during the conference.
The Crew of the Enola Gay, which dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. The name comes from Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of Paul Tibbets (the pilot) who is standing front and center.
The Crew of the Enola Gay, which dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. The name comes from Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of Paul Tibbets (the pilot) who is standing front and center.
Downtown Nagasaki before and after the dropping of the bomb.
Downtown Nagasaki before and after the dropping of the bomb.
Downtown Hiroshima -- the "atomic bomb dome" is now one of the centerpieces of the Hiroshima Peace Park.
Downtown Hiroshima — the “atomic bomb dome” is now one of the centerpieces of the Hiroshima Peace Park.
Mushroom clouds of Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)
Mushroom clouds of Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right)
Umezu Yoshijiro signs the instrument of surrender, Sept 2 1945.
Umezu Yoshijiro signs the instrument of surrender, Sept 2 1945.
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