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.
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Episode 70 – The Tokyo Rose

This week, we’re going to talk about the life of Iva Toguri, the woman most associated with the infamous (and legendary) role of the Tokyo Rose. Labelled as a traitor for her actions during the war, Toguri fought hard for her citizenship and her reputation, and was rewarded for her tenacity decades after the fact.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

The National Archives files on the prosecution of Iva Toguri.

The New York Times obituary for Iva Toguri.

The FBI Profile of Iva Toguri.

Images

Iva Toguri being interviewed by American correspondents in September, 1945.
Iva Toguri being interviewed by American correspondents in September, 1945.
Iva Toguri's mugshot from her time in Sugamo Prison. She was released shortly afterwards, but re-arrested a few years later.
Iva Toguri’s mugshot from her time in Sugamo Prison. She was released shortly afterwards, but re-arrested a few years later.
Iva Toguri outside of Radio Tokyo in 1944.
Iva Toguri outside of Radio Tokyo in 1944.