Hiroshima And Nagasaki Did Not Convince Japan To Surrender.

by Daniel Russ on April 15, 2013

 

Bombing of Yokohama

 

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 B-29s Bombing of Yokohama

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Bombing of Yokohama

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Bombing of Yokohama

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Bombing of Shizoku

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Bombing of Gifu

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Bombing of Ogasaki

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Bombing of Toyama

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The story so far.  Japan attacked American assets in the Pacific in World War II. We counterattacked. They fought us back very hard. Finally we invented the nuclear bomb and dropped two of them on Japan. On August 15th, Japan surrendered.

 

Two immense bombs were dropped. One over Hiroshima that killed about 140,000 by the end of the year and another over Nagasaki that killed 80,000. The power was immense. The destructive energy was something never rendered by human hands before. Even years later  radiation sickness, compounded by malnutrition, and later solid cancers due to exposure kept killing victims. The proximity in time between the bombings and the surrender made for a wonderous narrative of American that we have been telling for over 60 years.

 

But the story that hasn’t quite been woven together is what happened in the months up until Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Launching from Chengdu, China, the 20th Air Force B-29s began bombing Japanese industrial centers. The main targets were Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka. Early bombing raids weren’t very effective. Bombing from altitudes of about 30,000 feet, daylight bombing was anything but precise. The altitude was far higher than US pilots needed to climb. The fact is the Japanese home island defensive abilities were insubstantial. Only about 10% of the bombs hit their targets and only a single B-29 was shot down in the early weeks of the raids.

 

By February 1945, the 21st Air Force began firebombing raids from lower altitudes. Giving up heavy steel bombs for lighter incendiaries, the range of the bombers could be extended and the effect of incendiaries was devastating. Yet the most destructive bombing campaign in all of aviation history occurred over the evening of Marc 9th and 10th in 1945. 335 B-29s dropped firebombs on Tokyo. Over 100,000 people were killed overnight in firestorms so big, they created windstorms that sucked victims into the fire itself. Even Admiral Yamamoto warned that “Army planners were big talkers. Our cities are made of wood and paper would burn very easily.”

 

By the time we bombed Hiroshima, we had bombed 67 of the top Japan 100 cities, most of these destroyed by firebomb: These are some of the cities we leveled:

 

Yokohama

Toyama

Osaka

Nishinomiya

Shimonoseki

Kure

Kobe

Omuta

Wakayana

Kawasaki

Okayama

Yahata

Kagoshima

Amagasaki

Sasebo

Moji

Miyakonojo

Noboka

Miyasaki

Ube

Saga

Imabari

Matsuyama

Fukui

Tokushima

Kofu

Chochi

Numazu

Toyohashi

Kuwana

Tsu

Nara

Ichinomiya

Chiba

Omura

Shimizu

Kochi

Fukuoka

Himeji

Shizuoka

Gifu

Ogaki

Ujiyamada

Yokkaichi

Tokuyama

Hiratsuka

Oita

Okazaki

Aomori

Fukuyama

Akashi

Takamatsu

Isesaki

Kumamoto

Hachioji

Sakai

Utsunomiya

Mito

Sendai

Mito

Maebashi

Hamamatsu

Hitachi

Nagaoka

Tsuruga

 

So the Japanese had seen horrific destruction of their soil on a daily basis. They had seen their largest cities burn to the ground in part or whole. The fact that we could destroy a city with as single plane hurt their famous pride as badly as the bombs. But the fact is they were not as impressed as we have been lead to think. What difference did it make that we could destroy a city in minutes versus hours really?

 

The Japanese had already sent emissaries to Russia to negotiate terms of surrender. They hoped perhaps to keep a portion of their empire. The Russians never responded. Except on the 8th of August when Russian Red Guard troops invaded Manchuria and attacked Japanese garrisons there.

 

On the next day, the American Air Force dropped an atomic weapon on Nagasaki.

 

It was Hirohito himself that told his cabinet “It is time to bear the unbearable.” So yes, the atomic bomb made a difference. But the reasons why Japan surrendered were much more complicated than the atomic bomb.

 

 

Source: Wiki

 

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