This week, we’ll be covering the Orthodox position on the atomic bomb: the defense of the bomb as necessary in the face of Japanese unwillingness to surrender. We’ll look at the original impetus for putting forth a systemic defense of the bomb as well as the basic arguments often used to defend its use.
Listen to the episode
The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.
Japan’s Decision to Surrender.
Racing the Enemy.
Hogan, Michael, Ed.
Hiroshima in History and Memory.
The Most Controversial Decision.
Stimson, Henry. “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb.”
Henry Stimson “wrote” an article for Harpers Magazine in 1947 defending the use of the atomic bomb.
Mc George Bundy, the ghostwriter on both Henry Stimson’s memoir and his article in Harpers in 1947.
Reinhold Niebuhr, whose critique of the atomic bomb helped spur Stimson to defend Truman administration policy.
Richard Frank’s Downfall is the best recent work in the orthodox camp.
US plan of battle for Operation Olympic (the invasion of Kyushu). These plans were formulated before the extent of Japanese deployment on Kyushu was clear, and it remains (thankfully) an open question how effective this plan would have been.
Japanese civilians were organized into civil defense corps and armed with primitive weapons like bamboo spears in preparation for the invasion of Kyushu. Civilians were under orders to resist at all costs and to try to take as many Americans as possible with them. Again (thankfully) how many Japanese actually would have done this and how effective it would have been remains an open question.
Casualty projections for the invasion of Japan relied on data from previous battles. How likely the Japanese were to surrender without a fight remained an open question; would average soldiers be more willing to surrender now that the war was clearly going badly? Here, two Japanese soldiers and a civilian are held under guard by a US Marine on Okinawa while reading a US propaganda leaflet.