Both cities were leveled from the bombs and this, in turn, forced Japan to surrender to the United States. The handwritten transcriptions are on the original archival copies. Beginning in September 1940, U.S. military intelligence began to decrypt routinely, under the Purple code-name, the intercepted cable traffic of the Japanese Foreign Ministry. [19]. Barton J. Bernsteins numerous articles in scholarly publications (many of them are listed in Walkers assessment of the literature) constitute an invaluable guide to primary sources. It was Meiklejohns birthday and during the dinner party, Eisenhower and McCloy had an interesting discussion of atomic weapons, which included comments alluding to scientists statements about what appears to be the H-bomb project (a 20 megaton weapon), recollection of the early fear that an atomic detonation could burn up the atmosphere, and the Navys reluctance to use its battleships to test atomic weapons. Pressure from Secretary of War Stimson had already taken Kyoto off the list of targets for incendiary bombings and he would successfully object to the atomic bombing of that city. The day after he told Sato about the current thinking on Soviet mediation, Togo requested the Ambassador to see Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and tell him of the Emperors private intention to send Prince Konoye as a Special Envoy to Moscow. For more recent contributions, see Sean Malloy,Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008), Andrew Rotter,Hiroshima: The World's Bomb(New York: Oxford, 2008), Campbell Craig and Sergey Radchenko,The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War(New Haven, Yale University Press, 2008), Wilson D. Miscamble,The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Barton J. Bernstein and Martin Sherwin have argued that if top Washington policymakers had kept tight control of the delivery of the bomb instead of delegating it to Groves the attack on Nagasaki could have been avoided. (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-BT), This shows the "Little Boy" weapon in the pit ready for loading into the bomb bay of the Enola Gay. According to Merkulov, two fissile materials were being produced: element-49 (plutonium), and U-235; the test device was fueled by plutonium. By 1937 Japan controlled large sections of China and accusations of war crimes against the Chinese people became commonplace. 5. As McCloy observed the most contentious issue was whether the proclamation should include language about the preservation of the emperor: This may cause repercussions at home but without it those who seem to know the most about Japan feel there would be very little likelihood of acceptance.. Years of fighting brought the US armed forces closer and closer to Japan as they hopped from one island to another. [77], Harry S. Truman Library, President's Secretary's Files, Speech Files, 1945-1953, copy on U.S. National Archives Web Site, On 15 December, President Truman spoke about the atomic bombings in his speech at the annual dinner of the Gridiron Club, organized by bureau chiefs and other leading figures of print media organizations. After reviewing the impact of various atomic bomb effects--blast, heat, flash radiation (prompt effects from gamma and neutron radiation), and radiation from radioactive substances--they concluded that it seems highly plausible that a great many persons were subjected to lethal and sub-lethal dosages of radiation in areas where direct blast effects were possibly non-lethal. It was probable, therefore, that radiation would produce increments to the death rate and even more probable that a great number of cases of sub-lethal exposures to radiation have been suffered.[74], RG 77, MED Records, Top Secret Documents, File no. By providing access to a broad range of U.S. and Japanese documents, mainly from the spring and summer of 1945, interested readers can see for themselves the crucial source material that scholars have used to shape narrative accounts of the historical developments and to frame their arguments about the questions that have provoked controversy over the years. Searle, `It Made a Lot of Sense to Kill Skilled Workers, 118. a. Three days later, it dropped another on Nagasaki. [29], According to accounts based on post-war recollections and interviews, during the meeting McCloy raised the possibility of winding up the war by guaranteeing the preservation of the emperor albeit as a constitutional monarch. Harriman Papers, Library of Congress, box 211, Robert Pickens Meiklejohn World War II Diary At London and Moscow March 10, 1941-February 14, 1946, Volume II (Privately printed, 1980 [Printed from hand-written originals]) (Reproduced with permission), Robert P. Meiklejohn, who worked as Ambassador W. A. Harrimans administrative assistant at the U.S. Embassies in Moscow and London during and after World War II, kept a detailed diary of his experiences and observations. The bombings have always been presented to young Americans in . The National Security Archive is committed to digital accessibility. 76 (copy from microfilm), Physicists Leo Szilard and James Franck, a Nobel Prize winner, were on the staff of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, a cover for the Manhattan Project program to produce fuel for the bomb. Also included, to give a wider perspective, were translations of Japanese documents not widely available before. Barton J. Bernstein, Eclipsed by Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Early Thinking about Tactical Nuclear Weapons,International Security15 (Spring 1991): 149-173; Marc Gallicchio, After Nagasaki: General Marshalls Plans for Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Japan,Prologue23 (Winter 1991): 396-404. Letters from Robert Messer and Gar Alperovitz, with Bernsteins response, provide insight into some of the interpretative issues. (Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC), A nuclear weapon of the "Fat Man" type, the plutonium implosion-type detonated over Nagasaki. This document is General Curtis LeMays report on the firebombing of Tokyo--the most destructive air raid in history--which burned down over 16 square miles of the city, killed up to 100,000 civilians (the official figure was 83,793), injured more than 40,000, and made over 1 million homeless. Truman, who had been chair of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, said that only on the appeal of Secretary of War Stimson did he refrain and let the War Department continue with the experiment unmolested.. [2] During the 1960s the availability of primary sources made historical research and writing possible and the debate became more vigorous. [59a]. Information from the late John Taylor, National Archives. Over 200,000 people were killed. Despite its. Seventy-five years later, and with the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than ever, it is essential to keep exploring the meaning of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how these tragedies still shape current global politics. Stimson had in mind a carefully timed warning delivered before the invasion of Japan. If you were President Truman in 1945, would you have dropped the bomb? On 30 October 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the Tsar Bomba nuclear bomb over the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in northern Russia. Public Reaction to the Atomic Bomb and World Affairs, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, April 1947. Truman dropped the atomic bombs on Japan because analysts and the president thought fewer lives could be lost if we dropped the atomic bomb, instead of island hopping to Japan. Marshall was not sure whether that was so although Stimson privately believed that the atomic bomb would provide enough to force surrender (see entry for July 23). While U.S. leaders hailed the bombings at the time and for many years afterwards for bringing the Pacific war to an end and saving untold thousands of American lives, that interpretation has since been seriously challenged. His implicit preference, however, was for non-use; he wrote that it would be better to take U.S. casualties in conquering Japan than to bring upon the world the tragedy of unrestrained competitive production of this material.. After a successful test of the weapon, Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese government, warning of prompt and utter destruction. Eleven days later, on August 6, 1945, having received no reply, an American bomber called the Enola Gay left the Tinian Island in route toward Japan. Whether or not the atomic bombs should have been dropped is a topic that is still debated. Concerned that President Roosevelt had an overly cavalier belief about the possibility of maintaining a post-war Anglo-American atomic monopoly, Bush and Conant recognized the limits of secrecy and wanted to disabuse senior officials of the notion that an atomic monopoly was possible. [6], In its discussion of the effects of an atomic weapon, the committee considered both blast and radiological damage. Pumpkins referred to bright orange, pumpkin-shaped high explosive bombsshaped like the Fat Man implosion weapon--used for bombing run test missions. and so that Russia could not enter the war to get . The war was finally over. Independence, MO 64050 Counterfactual issues are also disputed, for example whether there were alternatives to the atomic bombings, or would the Japanese have surrendered had a demonstration of the bomb been used to produced shock and awe. While Army Minister Anami tacitly threatened a coup (civil war), the emperor accepted the majority view that the reply to the Potsdam declaration should include only one condition not the four urged by Big Six. Nevertheless, the condition that Hirohito accepted was not the one that foreign minister Togo had brought to the conference. Second update - August 4, 2015 RG 77, MED Records, H-B files, folder no. The translations differ but they convey the sticking point that prevented U.S. acceptance: Tokyos condition that the allies not make any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a sovereign ruler., Papers of Henry A. Wallace, Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa (copy courtesy of Special Collections Department). (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-BT), This shows "Little Boy" being raised for loading into the Enola Gay's bomb bay. [78]. Brown Papers, box 10, folder 12, Byrnes, James F.: Potsdam, Minutes, July-August 1945, Walter Brown, who served as special assistant to Secretary of State Byrnes, kept a diary which provided considerable detail on the Potsdam conference and the growing concerns about Soviet policy among top U.S. officials. [13]. For a review of the debate on casualty estimates, see Walker (2005), 315, 317-318, 321, 323, and 324-325. Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. Russia is very much in the minds of the people who give any thought to world affairs, and distrust and suspicion of her are very widespread. Would the Soviet declaration of war have been enough to compel Tokyo to admit defeat? [1], Ever since the atomic bombs were exploded over Japanese cities, historians, social scientists, journalists, World War II veterans, and ordinary citizens have engaged in intense controversy about the events of August 1945. Interested readers will continue to absorb the fascinating historical literature on the subject. Marshall believed that the latter required Soviet entry and an invasion of Kyushu, even suggesting that Soviet entry might be the decisive action levering them into capitulation. Truman and the Chiefs reviewed plans to land troops on Kyushu on 1 November, which Marshall believed was essential because air power was not decisive. For the inception of the Soviet nuclear program and the role of espionage in facilitating it, see Holloway,Stalin and the Bomb(New Haven, Yale University Press, 1994). Background on the U. S. Atomic Project, III. Photo restoration by TX Unlimited, San Francisco, A nuclear weapon of the "Little Boy" type, the uranium gun-type detonated over Hiroshima. Tsar Bomba, (Russian: "King of Bombs") , byname of RDS-220, also called Big Ivan, Soviet thermonuclear bomb that was detonated in a test over Novaya Zemlya island in the Arctic Ocean on October 30, 1961. Since the end of WWII, the popular view in the U.S. has been that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precipitated Japan's surrender on August 15. On July 16, the first atom bomb was tested successfully at Alamogordo, N.M. On July 17, Truman sat down to talk with Stalin. To what extent did subsequent justification for the atomic bomb exaggerate or misuse wartime estimates for U.S. casualties stemming from an invasion of Japan? [58]. We wish to believe. One of the major reasons why the atomic bomb was dropped was to save American lives, at least so it is told by many sources. The largest nuclear weapon ever set off, it produced the most powerful human-made explosion ever recorded. RG 77, MED, H-B files, folder no. Moreover, the atrocities of the bombs were not made graphically public to the Japanese people until August 6, 1952, when Asahi Graphpublished the issue titled Genbaku higai no shokkai (the first publication of the damages of the atomic bomb). For the distances, see Norris, 407. [56] Groves also provided the schedule for the delivery of the weapons: the components of the gun-type bomb to be used on Hiroshima had arrived on Tinian, while the parts of the second weapon to be dropped were leaving San Francisco. Compton raised doubts about the recommendations but urged Stimson to study the report. With the goal of having enough fissile material by the first half of 1945 to produce the bombs, Bush was worried that the Germans might get there first. While Lincoln believed that the proposed peace teams were militarily acceptable he doubted that they were workable or that they could check Soviet expansion which he saw as an inescapable result of World War II. Alperovitz, 281-282. Togo asked Sato to try to meet with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov as soon as possible to sound out the Russian attitude on the declaration as well as Japans end-the-war initiative. The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War IIcodenamed "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," respectivelycaused widespread destruction . One of the visitors mentioned at the beginning of the entry was Iwao Yamazaki who became Minister of the Interior in the next cabinet. Stimson accepted the language believing that a speedy reply to the Japanese would allow the United States to get the homeland into our hands before the Russians could put in any substantial claim to occupy and help rule it. If the note had included specific provision for a constitutional monarchy, Hasegawa argues, it would have taken the wind out of the sails of the military faction and Japan might have surrendered several days earlier, on August 11 or 12 instead of August 14. This latest iteration of the collection includes corrections, a few minor revisions, and updated footnotes to take into account recently published secondary literature. Stimson, who later wrote up the meeting in his diary, also prepared a discussion paper, which raised broader policy issues associated with the imminent possession of the most terrible weapon ever known in human history., In a background report prepared for the meeting, Groves provided a detailed overview of the bomb project from the raw materials to processing nuclear fuel to assembling the weapons to plans for using them, which were starting to crystallize. The original 2005 posting included a wide range of material, including formerly top secret "Magic" summaries of intercepted Japanese communications and the first-ever full translations from the Japanese of accounts of high level meetings and discussions in Tokyo leading to the Emperors decision to surrender. Hasegawa, 105; Alperovitz, 67-72; Forrest Pogue,George C. Marshall: Statesman, 1945-1959(New York: Viking, 1987), 18. At Potsdam, Stimson raised his objections to targeting Japans cultural capital, Kyoto, and Truman supported the secretarys efforts to drop that city from the target list [See Documents 47 and 48]. I am lost! Bernstein, however, notes that Bard later denied that he had a meeting with Truman and that White House appointment logs support that claim. Japan was already a day late in responding to the Byrnes Note and Hirohito agreed to move quickly. If that failed to persuade Tokyo, he proposed that the United States disclose the secret of the atomic bomb to secure Japans unconditional surrender. Both Richard Frank and Barton Bernstein have used intelligence reporting and analysis of the major buildup of Japanese forces on southern Kyushu to argue that U.S. military planners were so concerned about this development that by early August 1945 they were reconsidering their invasion plans. The discussion of weapons effects centered on blast damage models; radiation and other effects were overlooked. That there may be a difference between the two sources becomes evident from some of the entries; for example, in the entry for July 18, 1945 Brown wrote: "Although I knew about the atomic bomb when I wrote these notes, I dared not place it in writing in my book., The degree to which the typed-up version reflects the original is worth investigating. We gave them fair warning and asked them to quit. Tsar Bomba's yield is estimated to have been roughly 57 megatons, about 1,500 times the combined power of the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki . Barton Bernstein has also pointed to this as additional evidence of the influence on Stimson of an an older morality. While concerned about the U.S.s reputation, Stimson did not want the Air Force to bomb Japanese cities so thoroughly that the new weapon would not have a fair background to show its strength, a comment that made Truman laugh. 24 Jun . Cited in Barton J. Bernstein, Truman and the A-Bomb: Targeting Noncombatants, Using the Bomb, and His Defending the "Decision,The Journal of Military History62 (1998), at page 559. For example, the governing clique that supported the peace moves was not trying to stave off defeat but was seeking Soviet help to end the war. 816-268-8200 | 800-833-1225 5b (copy from microfilm), Two days after the bombing of Hiroshima, Groves provided Chief of Staff Marshall with a report which included messages from Captain William S. Parsons and others about the impact of the detonation which, through prompt radiation effects, fire storms, and blast effects, immediately killed at least 70,000, with many dying later from radiation sickness and other causes. [43]. General Douglas MacArthur had been slated as commander for military operations against Japans mainland, this letter to Truman from Forrestal shows that the latter believed that the matter was not settled. As this August marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are once again urged to reflect on the political role of the weapon that inaugurated the Nuclear Age. With Secretary of War Stimson presiding, members of the committee heard reports on a variety of Manhattan Project issues, including the stages of development of the atomic project, problems of secrecy, the possibility of informing the Soviet Union, cooperation with like-minded powers, the military impact of the bomb on Japan, and the problem of undesirable scientists. In his comments on a detonation over Japanese targets, Oppenheimer mentioned that the neutron effect would be dangerous to life for a radius of at least two-thirds of a mile, but did not mention that the radiation could cause prolonged sickness. Moreover, he may not have known that the third bomb was still in the United States and would not be available for use for nearly another week. For background on Magic and the Purple code, see John Prados,Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II (New York: Random House, 1995), 161-172 and David Kahn,The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing(New York: Scribner, 1996), 1-67. "Nobody should allow themselves to forget the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," declared Sergey Naryshkin on August 5, 2015, at an event at Moscow's State Institute of International Relations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings on the Japanese cities. Sadao Asada, The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japans Decision to Surrender: A Reconsideration,Pacific Historical Review67 (1998): 101-148; Bix, 523; Frank, 348; Hasegawa, 298. The author recommended issuing the declaration just before the bombardment program [against Japan] reaches its peak. Next to that suggestion, Stimson or someone in his immediate office, wrote S1, implying that the atomic bombing of Japanese cities was highly relevant to the timing issue. Marshall noted the opprobrium which might follow from an ill considered employment of such force. This document has played a role in arguments developed by Barton J. Bernstein that figures such as Marshall and Stimson were caught between an older morality that opposed the intentional killing of non-combatants and a newer one that stressed virtually total war.[22], RG 77, MED Records, H-B files, folder no. The conventional justification for the atomic bombings is that they prevented the invasion of Japan, thus saving countless lives on both sides. With the devastating battle for Okinawa winding up, Truman and the Joint Chiefs stepped back and considered what it would take to secure Japans surrender. The bomb was built in 1961 by a group of Soviet physicists that notably included . To keep his pledge at Yalta to enter the war against Japan and to secure the territorial concessions promised at the conference (e.g., Soviet annexation of the Kuriles and southern Sakhalin and a Soviet naval base at Port Arthur, etc.) Bernstein (1995), 146. An entry from Admiral Tagaki's diary for August 8 conveys more information on the mood in elite Japanese circles after Hiroshima, but before the Soviet declaration of war and the bombing of Nagasaki. 5g. [38], Record Group 457, Records of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, Magic Diplomatic Summaries 1942-1945, box 18. Analyzes how the united states and the soviet union became superpowers as world war ii ended. Barton J. Bernstein, "'Reconsidering the 'Atomic General': Leslie R. Groves,"The Journal of Military History67 (July 2003): 883-920. Gaimusho [Ministry of Foreign Affairs], ed., Shusen Shiroku [Historical Record of the End of the War] (Tokyo: Hokuyosha, 1977-1978), vol. Consistent with his earlier attempts, Stimson encouraged Truman to find ways to expedite Japans surrender by using kindness and tact and not treating them in the same way as the Germans. On this date 74 years ago, the US dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing more than 70,000 people instantly. Riabevs notes, it is possible that Berias copy of this letter ended up in Stalins papers. As he argued in this memorandum to President Truman, failure on our part to clarify our intentions on the status of the emperor will insure prolongation of the war and cost a large number of human lives. Documents like this have played a role in arguments developed by Alperovitz that Truman and his advisers had alternatives to using the bomb such as modifying unconditional surrender and that anti-Soviet considerations weighed most heavily in their thinking. The atomic bomb is the subject of much controversy. John HerseysHiroshima, first published in the New Yorkerin 1946 encouraged unsettled readers to question the bombings while church groups and some commentators, most prominently Norman Cousins, explicitly criticized them. Not altogether certain that surrender was imminent, Army intelligence did not rule out the possibility that Tokyo would try to drag out the negotiations or reject the Byrnes proposal and continue fighting. The timing of the trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki within 40 days of the bombings illustrates the Soviet race to obtain its own atomic bomb, but the timing of the 2015 re-release of these documents is also significant: it came at a time when US-Russia relations were suffering a major deterioration. In fact, after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, the Japanese militarys Information Division, in charge of media control, intended to announce that the bomb was an atomic one. Probably the work of General George A. Lincoln at Army Operations, this document was prepared a few weeks before the Potsdam conference when senior officials were starting to finalize the text of the declaration that Truman, Churchill, and Chiang would issue there. More updates on training missions, target selection, and conditions required for successful detonation over the target. [62]. Another statementFini Japs when that [Soviet entry] comes abouthas also been the subject of controversy over whether it meant that Truman thought it possible that the war could end without an invasion of Japan.[45]. Lower image - August 11, 1945, photo by 6th Photo Reconnaissance Group This proposal had been the subject of positive discussion by the Interim Committee on the grounds that Soviet confidence was necessary to make possible post-war cooperation on atomic energy. Hiroshi [Kaian) Shimomura, Shusenki [Account of the End of the War] (Tokyo, Kamakura Bunko, [1948], 148-152 [Translated by Toshihiro Higuchi]. Because the Japanese population was far from surrendering and would fight to their death, so an invasion would be costly in human lives. There Stimson kept track of S-1 developments, including news of the successful first test (see entry for July 16) and the ongoing deployments for nuclear use against Japan. Soviet aircraft had bombed Changchun and Harbin by darkness. [5] While the editor has a point of view on the issues, to the greatest extent possible he has tried to not let that influence document selection, e.g., by selectively withholding or including documents that may buttress one point of view or the other. Of course, the Allies ignored this for the reason that dropping the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would intimidate Russia. Former Secretary of War Henry Stimson found the criticisms troubling and published an influential justification for the attacks inHarpers. Bernstein (1995), 144. The destruction of two cities and their civilians merely to intimidate Russia seems to be an overtly extreme and vicious act that no rational person would deem just. On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union tested the largest nuclear device ever created. On August 6, a B-29 nicknamed the 'Enola Gay ' dropped a single bomb containing 64 kilograms of highly enriched uranium over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. That possibility would be difficult if the United States made first military use of the weapon. Part II of the summary includes the rest of Togos 2 August cable which instructed Sato to do what he could to arrange an interview with Molotov. In this memorandum, Norstad reviewed the complex requirements for preparing B-29s and their crew for successful nuclear strikes. [66], Takashi Itoh, ed., Sokichi Takagi: Nikki to Joho [Sokichi Takagi: Diary and Documents] (Tokyo, Japan: Misuzu-Shobo, 2000), 926-927 [Translation by Hikaru Tajima], As various factions in the government maneuvered on how to respond to the Byrnes note, Navy Minister Yonai and Admiral Tagaki discussed the latest developments. According to David Holloway, it seems likely that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima the day before that impelled [Stalin] to speed up Soviet entry into the war and secure the gains promised at Yalta.[59].