Episode 112 – Rain of Ruin, Part 5

This week, we look at the Revisionist critiques of the atomic bomb. Why did America use it, and was it really necessary to end the Pacific War?

Listen to the episode here. Find the sources for this episode in the source list for the previous post.

Images

Seeing images like this one of a woman whose skin has the patterns of her kimono burned onto it, it's not surprising why people began to question the utility of the atomic bomb.
Seeing images like this one of a woman whose skin has the patterns of her kimono burned onto it, it’s not surprising why people began to question the utility of the atomic bomb.
Gar Alperovitz's Atomic Diplomacy (republished in the 1990s as The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb) was for decades the definitive work of revisionism in reference to the atomic bomb. Unfortunately for Alperovitz, archival revelations in the 1990s utterly discredited his work. The man shadily looking at you on the book's cover, by the by, is Secretary of State James Byrnes, who Alperovitz uses as the villain of the piece for cunningly manipulating President Truman into using the bomb to intimidate the Soviets in a game of ruthless power politics.
Gar Alperovitz’s Atomic Diplomacy (republished in the 1990s as The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb) was for decades the definitive work of revisionism in reference to the atomic bomb. Unfortunately for Alperovitz, archival revelations in the 1990s utterly discredited his work. The man shadily looking at you on the book’s cover, by the by, is Secretary of State James Byrnes, who Alperovitz uses as the villain of the piece for cunningly manipulating President Truman into using the bomb to intimidate the Soviets in a game of ruthless power politics.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's Racing the Enemy is the most recent and best researched work in the revisionist camp.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s Racing the Enemy is the most recent and best researched work in the revisionist camp.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's central thesis in Racing the Enemy is that President Harry Truman and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin were competing (racing, you might say) to see how much of the former Japanese empire each could acquire. In that race, the atomic bomb represented a potential shortcut for the US.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s central thesis in Racing the Enemy is that President Harry Truman and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin were competing (racing, you might say) to see how much of the former Japanese empire each could acquire. In that race, the atomic bomb represented a potential shortcut for the US.
Akira Iriye is an orthodox historian working at Harvard. He also really does not get along with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa thanks to a series of open letters they exchanged at the time of publication for Racing the Enemy.
Akira Iriye is an orthodox historian working at Harvard. He also really does not get along with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa thanks to a series of open letters they exchanged at the time of publication for Racing the Enemy.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s