H-JAPAN (E): Responses to review, Decision to Use A-bomb

Sun, 10 Nov 1996 03:07:24 -0500

       (Written by Katie Morris)
 			      November 9, 1996
 (Editor's note:  H-JAPAN continues to post comments on John Bonnett's
 review of Gar Alperovitz's _The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb_.   The
 initial review appeared on this list on September 28.  Since this
 contribution is quite long, it will be posted in two parts.)
 Part I.
      I am writing to add my two cents to the ongoing discussion
 about the decision to use the atomic bombs, and to comment on the
 criticism of Gar Alperovitz and his _The Decision to Use
 the Atomic Bomb_ specifically.  In the interest of full disclosure,
 I should explain that I worked as a researcher/writer/editor on
 this study.  This fact, will no doubt cause me to be quickly
 dismissed as yet another disciple of Gar Alperovitz.
 However, I will simply have to accept this and move on, confident
 that the points I will make I have come to independently after
 thoroughly studying the evidence that bears on the issues at hand.
 And for what it is worth, in all the time I have worked with Gar
 Alperovitz, never have I felt unable to respectfully disagree
 with one point or another.
      First, I would like to say that, in general, I have been
 disappointed with much of what has been written--disappointed both
 by the tone, which has been overwhelmingly angry,
 and by the acceptance of attacks on Gar Alperovitz's character and
 assumptions about his motives as fine substitutes for thoughtful,
 well-argued disagreement with his interpretation.
 Perhaps most profoundly, however, I have been disappointed by the
 focus of the criticism of the book, which has been almost
 exclusively on what it does not do and on the evidence it does not
 consider, rather than what it does do and on the evidence it does
 consider or, to put this another
 way, by the demonstrated unwillingness (inability?) to seriously
 engage the evidence and arguments of _The Decision_.
      For example, when I first read John Bonnett's initial review
 (H-Diplo, Sept. 25), I thought he made an important and worthwhile
 point about the significance of perception, and
 specifically of the responsibility of the historian to demonstrate
 how selected evidence seems to accurately reflect the perceptions
 of historical subjects, and therefore is worthy of analysis.  It
 was because I thought his point important that I was so confused
 and disappointed when, in arguing that the evidence in _The
 Decision_ more accurately reflects the perceptions of
 Alperovitz than those of U.S. leaders in 1945, he did such an
 injustice to _The Decision_ by failing to accurately represent the
 evidence put forward in the book.  Instead, he simply cited
 a handful quotations from selected documents, offering no
 explanation as to why his selection represented a more accurate
 picture than what is cited in _The Decision_.  Furthermore, while
 criticizing Alperovitz for turning a blind eye toward difficult
 evidence, Bonnett and subsequent critics have skillfully avoided
 the challenges to their own vision of the way things happened
 presented by evidence in _The Decision_.
      Equally problematic have been the charges that the argument of
 _The Decision_ is necessarily distorted, indeed, necessarily wrong,
 because it is not grounded in information from
 Japanese sources; and by extension, the implication that U.S.
 leaders making decisions in 1945 had access to this information.
 The decision to use the atomic bombs was a U.S. policy
 decision.  It seems fairly straightforward, then, that in analyzing
 this decision one must attempt to understand the perceptions of the
 U.S. decision-makers through the analysis of evidence which
 illuminates what _U.S. leaders perceived was going on in Japan_.
 In effect, this means that the evidence will come, necessarily,
 mostly from American records.  Equally straightforward is the
 fact that as most of the informaion in Japanese sources was made
 available only after the war, it does not pertian to analysis of
 the U.S. decision specifically but rather, to an entirely different
 (if equally important/interesting) line of inquiry, namely,
 whether, given what we know now, the bombings were necessary for
 ending the war when it ended.  If the latter were the focus of
 _The Decision_, those who criticize the absence of attention to
 Japanese sources would be justified.  (Similarly, if it were a
 military history study of the objective necessity of the use of
 atomic bombs, based on lessons we have learned since the war, the
 charge that the evidence in _The Decision_ is flawed because it
 does not take such lessons into consideration would also be
 justified.(1))  However, _The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb_ is,
 quite explicitly, a study of a 1945 U.S. policy decision and the
 context in which this decision was made or, what U.S.
 decision-makers knew and when.  In researching and writing this
 study, therefore, we were interested in uncovering not what Tokyo
 wanted, but what Washington thought Tokyo wanted,
 as revealed by 1945 briefing papers, intelligence studies, strategy
 papers, cable transcripts, meeting minutes, office records, diaries
 and personal correspondence.
      I should stress that I in no way mean to diminish the
 contributions of historians who have studied Japanese sources--I
 believe this work is essential, and have personally learned much
 from it.  Nor do I mean to argue that Japan should be left out of
 bomb discussions in general.  My point is simply that anyone who
 compares the information in American and Japanese sources will
 see that American leaders had only limited insight into the
 internal dynamics of the Japanese cabinet debates in general, and
 Hirohito's role in particular; and it pertains to arguments like
 that put forward on October 10, by Eric Bergerud:
      Alperovitz greatly simplifies and twists the vital issue of
 the Showa Emperor's position in postwar Japan.  Although Alperovitz
 would like his readers to believe that Tokyo wanted nothing more
 from Washington than assurances that Hirohito could continue on as
 a kind of Japanese King Albert, the truth was quite different.
 There is little reason to believe that the Japanese government
 feared the complete destruction of the Imperial throne....Indeed,
 anyone examining the debates that went on within the Japanese
 government after Tojo's fall in July 1944 is struck by the fact
 that Tokyo was not fighting for Hirohito as an individual, but for
 the nationalist-Shinto political structure that the Emperor
 While this may be true, the fact is that U.S. leaders did not have
 access to information detailing
 the debates that went on within the Japanese government after
 Tojo's fall in July 1944.  Indeed, the evidence reveals that U.S.
 leaders who looked into this issue believed the emperor's status
 was the condition on which Japanese surrender debates turned, and
 that assuring the Japanese they could keep the emperor was well
 within U.S. war aims, and that once they secured a
 surrender, they could re-define Hirohito's role as necessary. Also,
 however naive or misguided it may seem today given what we know
 from Japanese sources, as a result of what they read in
 July and August MAGIC intercepts, many members of Truman's
 administration came to believe that assurances might hold the key
 to changing the recognition of the inevitability of complete
 defeat into surrender, or, at the very least, given the stakes,
 that it was worth a try.  To understand this however, it is
 necessary to actually look carefully at the evidence of U.S.
 perceptions, something which the critics who have written thus far
 have apparently not done.
      In fact, the discussion and criticism have only confirmed my
 suspicion that the majority of people writing about the decision to
 use the atomic bombs remain in the dark about the
 content of so much of the available record, and that Chip Young's
 assumption that we are looking at the same body of materials, while
 logical, is mistaken.  And while the tone especially
 makes me think it a bit futile to talk about evidence, it seems
 important to at least try to clarify
 a few points.  Thus, in an attempt to advance the discussion, I
 will present some of the important evidence which has been
 overlooked but without which I think it impossible to
 understand the evidence and the judgments put forward in _The
 Decision_.  In an effort to make this manageable, I have divided my
 response in two parts.
      Let me begin by following Bergerud's suggestion to "look very
 closely" at the Combined Intelligence Committee's (CIC) "Estimate
 of the Enemy Situation" of July 8, 1945 (CCS 643/3).
 This document has been cited to illustrate two separate
 points--one, that U.S. military leaders
 judged that Japan was held up not just on the status of the emperor
 but also on the question of occupation; and the other, that U.S.
 military leaders did not believe that Soviet entry into the
 war would have a decisive effect on the Japanese war effort.
 Unfortunately, in citing this estimate, both Bonnett and Bergerud
 not only took quotations out of the context of this one
 document, but also, in doing so, failed to deal with any of the
 evidence that documents how the conclusions put forward in this
 document, prepared for the Combined Chiefs of Staff, were
 evaluated by the U.S. and British Chiefs.  This is unfortunate,
 because a review of this evidence, as well as the evidence
 illuminating the context in which it was written, reveals much
 more about the perceptions of U.S. military leaders than the
 document itself, not to mention isolated quotations.
      To begin with, the minutes of the July 16 Combined Chiefs
 meeting reveal that their discussion of CCS 643/3 focussed on "the
 last sentence on page 10 of the paper _where the
 survival of the institution of the emperor was mentioned_."
 (Unfortunately, both Bonnett and Bergerud elected to leave this
 particular sentence out of their reviews.  For those of you who
 have read only their reviews, the whole sentence reads: "To avoid
 these conditions, if possible, and, in any event, to insure
 survival of the institution of the Emperor, the Japanese might well
 be willing to withdraw from all the territory they have seized on
 the Asiatic continent and in the southern Pacific, and even to
 agree to the independence of Korea and to the practical
 disarmament of the military forces."(2))  Judging from the record
 of this discussion, it seems that the military chiefs interpreted
 this sentence to mean that the status of the emperor was the
 critical issue.  Speaking for the British Chiefs, Sir Alan Brooke
 initiated discussion, suggesting that
      there might be some advantage in trying to explain this term
 ["unconditional surrender"] to the Japanese in a manner which would
 ensure that the war was not unduly prolonged in outlying areas.
 If, for instance, an interpretation could be found and communicated
      to the Japanese which did not involve the dissolution of the
 Imperial institution, the Emperor would be in a position to order
 the cease-fire in outlying areas whereas, if the dynasty were
 destroyed, the outlying garrisons might continue to fight for many
      If an interpretation on these lines could be found an
 opportune moment to make it clear to the Japanese might be shortly
 after a Russian entry into the war.
 Then, after some discussion, the American Chiefs suggested that "it
 would be very useful if the Prime Minister [Churchill] put forward
 to the President [Truman] his views and suggestions as
 to how the term 'unconditional surrender' might be explained to the
 Japanese."(3)  And when General Sir Hastings Ismay, chief of staff
 to the minister of defence, passed the American
 request on to Churchill, he did so in a report on this meeting, in
 which he described their discussion, and CCS 643/3, in the
 following terms:
      The Combined Chiefs of Staff at their first meeting had under
 consideration a paper prepared by the Combined Intelligence Staffs
 on the enemy situation, in which it was suggested that if and when
 Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would
      probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the
 dethronement of the Emperor.(4)
 To be perfectly clear, the Combined Intelligence Staffs estimate,
 however "conditional" it may seem today, was interpreted by the
 U.S. and British chiefs to indicate that from the military
 perspective, removing threats to the emperor was critical because
 surrender could not be hoped for so long as the Japanese perceived
 the emperor to be threatened, and surrender could not be
 achieved without the emperor.  Also, Ismay's point that "if and
 when Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would
 probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the
 dethronement of the Emperor," suggests that the Combined Chiefs
 interpreted the CIC to be saying that, in fact, Soviet entry would
 be decisive.
      That said, those who have looked at the CIC estimate are right
 at least in noting that it conveys a lack of certainty.  It is with
 their explanation of this uncertainty that I take exception.
 I would argue that the lack of definitiveness is due not to
 uncertainty about the importance of clarifying unconditional
 surrender, especially with regard to the emperor's status, or about
 the psychological impact that Soviet entry would have, but is due
 to uncertainty about (and lack of control over) the direction that
 policy would take.  To understand this, however, one needs a
 little background:
      In April 1945 the U.S. approached success in its efforts to
 totally cut off Japanese troop reinforcements from the Chinese
 mainland, troops which originally would have been held back
 by Soviet troops when they entered the war.  Almost simultaneously,
 intelligence intercepts revealed a Japan increasingly desperate to
 keep the Soviet Union neutral.  This led U.S. military
 planners and intelligence officers to reassess the role that the
 Soviet Union was expected to play.
 As it is explained in _The Decision_, intelligence studies from as
 early as April 1945 reveal that they began to value Soviet entry as
 much for its potential psychological impact as for its
 potential military impact.  These studies also document that as the
 psychological dimension of the war was investigated, the
 unconditional surrender problem came into sharp relief.
      For instance, on April 6, 1945, the Joint Intelligence
 Committee (the same body that helped prepare CCS 643) was asked to
 give their opinion on two questions:
      a. At what stage of the war will the Japanese realize the
 inevitability of absolute defeat?
      b. Will such realization result in their unconditional
 surrender, passive submission without surrender, or continuing
 resistance until subdued by force?(5)
 The JIC answers, which were reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
 on April 29, helped set the terms of strategy and planning of the
 last months of the war.  Note just a few things:
      Under the heading "Japanese ealization of the inevitability of
 absolute defeat," they wrote:
      The Japanese will realize that absolute defeat is inevitable
 when they perceive that their armed forces are incapable of
 arresting the progressive destruction of their basic economy.  The
 increasing effects of air-sea blockade, the progressive and
 cumulative devastation wrought by strategic bombing, and the
 collapse of Germany (with its implications regarding redeployment)
 would make this realization widespread within the year.  The entry
 of the U.S.S.R. into the war would, together with the foregoing
 factors, convince most Japanese at once of the inevitability of
 complete defeat.
      Under "Possibility of surrender following japanese realization
 of inevitability of defeat," they wrote:
      Although individual Japanese willingly sacrifice themselves in
 the service of the nation, we believe that the nation as a whole is
 not pre-disposed toward national suicide....The actual implications
 of unconditional surrender, however, are unknown to the Japanese.
      In this uncertainty, they are and will remain unprepared for
 either surrender or passive submission without formal unconditional
 surrender.  If, however, the Japanese people, as well as their
 leaders, were persuaded both that absolute defeat was inevitable
 and that unconditional surrender did not imply national
 annihilation, surrender might follow fairly quickly.  Otherwise, it
 is probable that resistance will continue until subdued by
      There are two ways of understanding this evidence.  One, the
 JIC was saying that Soviet
 entry into the war, coming when Japan had been feeling the effects
 of blockade and bombardment, will convince Japan of the
 inevitability of defeat but, because securing unconditional
 surrender is necessary, force (i.e., invasion) will be required.
 Or two, the JIC was saying that unconditional surrender is
 unnecessarily vague, and that defining unconditional
 surrender is entirely within the realm of possibility (if not
 within their power), and if it could be defined, i.e., terms could
 be outlined, doing so in combination with Soviet entry (i.e., the
 combination of these two steps) might produce a surrender "fairly
 quickly"; but, so long as unconditional surrender in all its
 vagueness is insisted upon, even if the shock of Soviet entry
 were to convince "most Japanese of the inevitability of complete
 defeat," force (invasion) will probably be necessary.  I believe
 they were arguing the latter, and that strategic planning from
 here on in reflects the tension between recognizing the problem and
 lacking the authority to determine policy, therefore having to
 assume the "what ifs" about clarifying "unconditional
 surrender" an Soviet entry would remain "what ifs" and continue to
 plan for the worst.
      For example, consider the statements made by Army Chief of
 Staff George Marshall in an exchange of memoranda in late May-early
 June 1945.  On June 9, Marshall wrote:
      it would seem better that we take action to discourage public
 use of the term "unconditional surrender," which we all agree is
 difficult to define, and encourage instead more definitive public
 statements concerning our policy and war aims.  We should cease
 talking about unconditional surrender of Japan and begin to define
 our true objective in terms of defeat and disarmament....
 His conclusion, "The nature of the objective, whether phrased as
 'complete defeat' or 'unconditional surrender,' is going to be
 determined by the detailed instructions, and the suppression of the
 statement 'unconditional surrender' will have little practical
 effect on the final result," only confirms that Marshall believed
 what was important were the terms, the war aims,
 and that these needed to be spelled out.(7)  Whether or not they
 did so while keeping the "unconditional surrender" rhetoric, really
 did not make a difference.  In fact, the resulting
 directive issued from Marshall to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
 indicates Marshall's insistence that "we should be careful not so
 to crystalize the phraseology "unconditional surrender" as to
 preclude the possibility of changing this terminology to something
 which might be psychologically more conducive to the earliest
 defeat of Japan."(8)
      Yet, while these statements confirm that Marshall understood
 the problem of unconditional surrender, other evidence confirms
 that he also understood that so long as unconditional surrender
 remained unclarified, there was a strong chance that the war would
 go on and he and the Joint Chiefs were responsible for planning for
 this.  For example, consider the evidence from June 18, 1945 which
 suggests that, even at that early date, the presiding
 officer of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Leahy urged the president not
 to insist upon unconditional surrender because he feared that "our
 insistence on unconditional surrender would result only
 in making the Japanese desperate and thereby increase our casualty
 lists." "He did not think this was at all necessary," the minutes
 of the June 18 meeting note, and, in fact, his diary entry from
 that day reveals that this was because at that time he believed "a
 surrender of Japan can be arranged with terms that can be accepted
 by Japan and that will make fully satisfactory
 provisions for America's defense against future trans-Pacific
 aggression."(9)  Perhaps this has been quoted so many times it has
 lost its punch: here, in the privacy of his own diary, the
 presiding officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of
 Staff to the President is writing that as of June 18 he perceives
 the situation to be one in which a surrender could be achieved
 which would satisfy the war aims of the United States and still be
 accepted by Japan. Whether or not he was right is a separate issue,
 and should be handled as such.  The point here is that this
 evidence reflects his perception of the situation.  And further,
 that as the president did not at this time opt to clarify
 "unconditional surrender," the documentary record reflects
 continued planning for the invasion.
      Also consider the Joint Chiefs' independent efforts to get
 Truman to clarify unconditional surrender with regard to the status
 of the emperor.  After attempting to approach the subject
 through Churchill, they touched on the issue of the emperor's
 status again during their meetings on July 17 and 18, this time in
 the context of a discussion of a draft of what became the
 Potsdam Proclamation.  On the 17th, they considered an opinion
 paper presented by the Joint Strategic Survey Committee (JSSC), in which
 the JSSC approved the draft, but cautioned that the sentence which was
 intended to clarify "unconditional surrender" with respect to the
 emperor, could possibly, as written, backfire.  This group
 suggested alternative language which the JCS adopted because they
 feared that threatening the emperor, even inadvertently in poorly-
 worded assurances, could mean a longer war.
      This has been interpreted to mean that the Joint Chiefs, and
 General George Marshall in particular, were against offering any
 assurances at all.  I refer specifically to Bergerud's October
 28 assertion that "at the time of Potsdam the JCS and Marshall did
 NOT favor Grew's mention of the Emperor's status in the Potsdam
 Declaration.  Marshall, like Cordell Hull, favored the
 retention of the Emperor but feared the consequences of making it
 a PUBLIC issue prior to surrender or a realistic appeal by the
 Japanese government to the UNITED STATES..."
 [emphasis Bergerud's]  Simply, this does not square with the
 evidence: During the meeting, the minutes note, Marshall approved
 the language suggested by the JSSC, because he recognized
 the need for using the emperor in achieving surrender.  In fact, he
 stressed that President Truman be advised that nothing should be
 done "to indicate that the Emperor might be removed
 from office upon unconditional surrender."  Thus, in a memorandum
 to Truman the Chiefs recommended _not_ removing a clarifying
 sentence all together, but that instead of telling the
 Japanese they could have a "constitutional monarchy," it would be
 better to echo the neutral language of the Atlantic Charter, and
 assure the Japanese that "Subject to suitable guarantees
 against further acts of aggression, the Japanese people will be
 free to choose their own form of government."(10)  (Both this and
 the civilians' formulation were rejected and the Proclamation
 was issued without any clarification at all on this issue.  This,
 Mr. Bergerud, is the "unrealized 'flex'" in the diplomatic
 situation in mid-1945.(11)  And this also illuminates the Combined
 Intelligence Committee's lack of definitiveness: They had even less
 power than the JCS, and while on one level they could recommend
 clarification, on another they had to assume there
 would be no change.
      Likewise, with Soviet entry, while the evidence indicates
 military leaders understood its potential decisiveness, they also
 had to assume that it might not happen, and more, because of
 the widely recognized risks involved in inviting the Soviets into
 the war, they were reluctant to push this option unless it were
 deemed absolutely necessary.  Consider Marshall's comments at
 the June 18 White House strategy session.  At Truman's request,
 Marshall addressed the role that the Soviet Union might play.
 Reading from a paper prepared by his planning staff, he
 explained that if a surrender were to occur prior to complete
 military defeat, it would be because Japan was faced by the
 "completely hopeless prospect occasioned by (1) destruction already
 wrought by air bombardment and sea blockade, coupled with (2) a
 landing on Japan indicating the firmness of our resolution, and
 also perhaps coupled with (3) the entry or threat of entry of
 Russia into the war."(12)  This awkwardly-worded statement has lead
 several historians and analysts to conclude that Marshall
 considered the effect of Soviet entry to be entirely contingent
 on a landing--a judgment which, though understandable, is probably
 not correct.  First, note Marshall's comments, a little later in
 the meeting, when he re-emphasized the potential
 significance of Soviet entry:
      An important point about Russian participation in the war is
 the impact of Russian entry on the already hopeless Japanese may
 well be the decisive action levering them into capitulation at that
 time or shortly thereafter if we land in Japan.(14)
 Here, not only was Marshall not saying that the effect of Soviet
 entry was contingent on a landing, but, in fact, he left open the
 possibility that Soviet entry might make a landing
 unnecessary: "or shortly thereafter _if_ we land in Japan."
 Second, not more than a few weeks before, Harry Hopkins had
 confidently reported from Moscow Stalin's commitment to enter the
 Pacific war around August 8--almost three months before the
 November 1 landing would occur-- therefore "at that time" could,
 simply, not coincide with the landing.(13)  Third, as noted, war
 department thinking at this point was that the effect of Soviet
 entry combined with the "increasing effects of air-sea blockade,
 the progressive and cumulative devastation wrought by
 strategic bombing, and the collapse of Germany (with its
 implications regarding redeployment)"-- no mention of the
 invasion--would "convince most Japanese at once of the
 inevitability of defeat."
      If anything, the strange wording of Marshall's comments
 reflects the fact that they were prepared for and presented at a
 meeting during which the Joint Chiefs were trying to convince
 Truman that he had to prepare for the worst, and that planning for
 the invasion--something everyone dreaded--had go forward.  Given
 this objective, it is highly unlikely that they would
 have then gotten his hopes up that Soviet entry alone might
 convince the Japanese of the inevitability of their defeat.  Added
 to this is, again, the fact that regardless of how much U.S.
 military leaders valued Soviet entry, because of the political and
 diplomatic risks involved, none were willing to go on record as
 pushing Truman in this direction.(15)
      (Even still, in closing the meeting, Truman stated "that one
 of his objectives in connection with the coming conference [at
 Potsdam] would be to get from Russia all the
 assistance in the war that was possible."(16)  And, when he finally
 received Stalin's commitment to enter the war, he wrote "I've
 gotten what I came for--Stalin goes to war August 15 with no
 strings on it."(17)  Also, in his 1955 memoirs, at a time when he
 might have been tempted to downplay any interest he had had in
 securing Soviet entry into the war, he explained that his
 "immediate purpose [in going to Potsdam] was to get the Russians
 into the war against Japan as soon as possible" and that securing
 Soviet entry had been a priority for him because "If the
 test [of the atomic bomb] should fail, then it would be even more
 important to us to bring about a surrender before we had to make a
 physical conquest of Japan."(18))
      Furthermore, because of concerns which effectively limited
 what was said and what was recorded, Marshall's comments illustrate
 one of many instances when looking beyond the
 obvious, easily accessed record is useful.  For example, on July
 10, 1945, in a private letter--not a public statement and certainly
 not an official position taken at White House meeting with the
 President to explain strategy--Marshall's top planner General
 George Lincoln (who had a hand in preparing Marshall's June 18
 comments) candidly expressed his judgment on the status of the
      The B-29's are doing such a swell job that some people think
 the Japs will quit without an invasion.  This may be so providing
 we can get an adequate formula defining unconditional surrender.
 That we have attempted to do, and it has gone from this group
      through channels to the President.  My personal opinion, which
 isn't much, is that there are two psychological days in this war;
 that is, the day after we persuade Russia to enter,
      if we can, and the day after we get what the Japs recognize as
 a secure beachhead in Japan.  Around either of those times we might
 get a capitulation, providing we have an adequate definition of
 what capitulation means.(19)
 This judgment is so consistent with the rest of the evidence from
 the war department that it cannot be overlooked.  Moreover, it
 illumintates the other more "official" evidence, including
 the CIC estimate.  This bears on Bonnett's charge that Alperovitz
 mischaracterized the CIC study when he wrote that "The Combined
 Intelligence Committee had concluded--again, even
 before news of the Emperor's move was received--that the
 combination of a Russian attack and
 a change of terms appeared likely to end the fighting."  To
 substantiate this claim, Bonnett chose to emphasize one
 quotation--"A conditional surrender by the Japanese government
 along the lines stated above might be offered by them at any time
 from now until the time of the complete destruction of all Japanese
 power of resistance"--ignoring the quotation on which deals
 specifically with Soviet entry--"An entry of the Soviet Union into
 the war would finally convince the Japanese of the inevitability of
 complete defeat."  Without this quotation it does, perhaps,
 seem to be overstatement.  However, Alperovitz's claim was not only
 based on this particular quotation, but also on the evidence
 above--including Ismay's summary and the evidence
 documenting the evolution of the understanding which is reflected
 in Lincoln's "personal opinion."  Unfortunately Bonnett noted none
 of this.
      In closing this first segment of my comments, I would like to
 make one further point about the criticism of _The Decision_,
 drawing on the evidence laid out above.  In his initial
 review, John Bonnett faulted _The Decision_ for misrepresenting the
 views of U.S. leaders on the effect that Soviet entry would have on
 the progress of the war.  He claimed that, in fact,
 U.S. leaders "remained oblivious to the potential psychological
 impact Soviet entry would have," and looks not to contemporaneous
 evidence, but only to a footnote in an article by Barton
 Bernstein to substantiate this claim.  This is unfortunate on
 several levels, but mostly because as much as I respect the
 contribution that Barton Bernstein has made to A-bomb scholarship,
 the observation put forward in this footnote--that "After rereading
 key diaries and related papers for the 24 July-10 August 1945
 period, I have been surprised by how little focused attention the
 issue of Soviet entry received for its psychological effect, as
 distinguished from its military value, in contributing to Japan's
 future defeat"--is not his finest.(20)  Indeed, although it was
 Bernstein who was one of the first to argue, rightly, that bomb
 historians needed to look back to even before Truman became
 president in order to properly contextualize the bomb decision,
 here, he makes the mistake of looking to the period _after_ the
 news of the success of the atomic test was received for focus on
 Soviet entry for its psychological value.  If only Bonnett had
 looked carefully at Bernstein's article, _The Decision_ or,
 probably best, the relevant evidence, he would have seen that it is
 a bit of a mystery why it should come as a surprise that there is
 little evidence of focused attention on the psychological value of
 Soviet entry during this particular July 24-August 10 period.  As
 even Bernstein himself has noted, once the bomb had
 been successfully tested on July 16, U.S. decision-makers not only
 were not focusing on the shock value of a Russian attack, they had
 lost interest in Soviet entry completely and, in fact,
 were actively attempting to keep the Russians from entering the
 war.(21)  Added to this was the ever-present sensitivity to the
 political/diplomatic risks posed by Soviet entry, and resulting
 reluctance to be seen as the one who pushed Soviet entry.  No, as
 the above evidence should make clear, for evidence of U.S. leaders'
 understanding of the psychological value of Soviet
 entry one must look back (and look carefully) to April, May, June
 and early July 1945, when the atomic bomb was, in Stimson's
 post-war words, "a weak reed" on which to rely, and all
 possible strategic options had to be explored.
                             Endnotes for Part I
 (1) Bonnett, H-Diplo, 10 Oct. 1996.
 (2) CCS 643/3 "Estimate of the Enemy Situation (as of 6 July),"
 July 8, 1945, p. 10. National Archives, Washington, DC, R.G. 218,
 "CCS 381 (6-4-43), Sec. 2, Part 5." (Alperovitz, _The
 Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb_" [New York, 1995], p. 227.)
 (3) FRUS, Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), Vol. II, pp. 36-7. (_The
 Decision_, pp. 245-46.)
 (4) John Ehrman, _Grand Strategy_, (London, 1956), p. 291. (_The
 Decision_, p. 246.)
 (5). Memorandum for Secretary, Joint Intelligence Committee,
 Subject: Unconditional Surrender of Japan, April 6, 1945.  National
 Archives, Washington, D.C., Record Group 218, JCS
 Geographic Files, 1942-45, "CCS 387 Japan (4-6-45)," Box 655,
 "Unconditional Surrender of Japan." (_The Decision_, p. 113)
 (6) JCS Info Memo 390, 29 April 1945, "Unconditional Surrender of
 Japan," Enclosure:
 "Report by the Joint Intelligence Committee."  National Archives,
 Washington, D.C., Record Group 218, JCS Geographic Files, 1942-45,
 "CCS 387 Japan (4-6-45)," Box 655, "Unconditional Surrender of
 Japan." (_The Decision_, pp. 113-14.)
 (7) Memorandum for the Secretary of War, from Marshall, June 9,
 1945.  National Archives, Washington, D.C., Record Group 165, Entry
 421, Box 504, "ABC 337 Japan (11 Jan 45), Sec 1-A." (_The
 Decision_, p. 55.)
 (8) Joint Chiefs of Staff, Decision Amending J.C.S. 1366, 14 June
 1945. National Archives, Washington, D.C., Record Group 165, Entry
 421, Box 504, "ABC 337 Japan (11 Jan 45), Sec 1-A." (_The
 Decision_, p. 56.)
 (9) Meeting minutes: U.S. Department of Defense, _The Entry of the
 Soviet Union into the War Against Japan: Military Plans, 1941-1945_
 (Washington, D.C., 1955), p. 84. Diary: Leahy
 Diary, June 18, 1945, Library of Congress Manuscripts and Archives
 Division, Washington,
 D.C.  (_The Decision_, pp. 324, 65.)
 (10) For the minutes of the July 17 meeting see, FRUS, Potsdam
 Conference, Vol. II, pp. 39-40.  For the memorandum to the
 president, see ibid, pp. 1268-69.  (_The Decision_, pp. 299-
 300.) Here, it may worthwhile noting that they recommended this
 language be added to paragraph 12 of the draft, which clarified the
 U.S. position on occupation: "The occupying forces of the Allies
 shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as our objectives are
 accomplished and there has been established beyond doubt a
 peacefully inclined, responsible government of
 a character representative of the Japanese people," and yet never
 seem to have seen a particular problem with this point.  Perhaps it
 is because the Joint Chiefs believed this was a place where
 the U.S. had to be firm.  However, perhaps it also means that they
 did not see occupation as anywhere near the problem that the
 emperor's status was.
 (11) Bergerud, H-Diplo, 10 Oct. 1996.
 (12) U.S. Department of Defense, _The Entry of the Soviet Union
 into the War Against Japan_, p. 78. (_The Decision_,  pp. 122-23.)
 (13) U.S. Department of Defense, _The Entry of the Soviet Union
 into the War Against Japan_, pp. 72-3. (_The Decision_, pp.
 (14) ibid, p. 79.  (_The Decision, p. 123.)
 (15) Clues like the following from an April 4, 1945 memorandum by
 Vice Admiral Cooke afford a glimpse of what cannot be known:
      In making an outline of the factors bearing on our strategy
 against JAPAN, I have not included very much about RUSSIA.  In this
 there are so many political aspects that it seems better for them
 not be be [sic] included in a Joint Chiefs of Staff paper, but,
      nevertheless, they should be borne in mind in any oral
 conversations with the President.
 Memorandum for Adm. King, April 4, 1945, Hoover Institute Archives,
 Stanford, CA, Cooke Papers, Box 24, "Lockup."  (_The Decision_, p.
 (16) U.S. Department of Defense, _The Entry of the Soviet Union
 into the War Against Japan_, p. 84.
 (17) Harry S Truman, _Dear Bess: The Letters From Harry to Bess
 Truman, 1910-1959_, ed. Robert Ferrell, (New York, 1983), p. 519.
 (_The Decision_, p. 242.)
 (18) Harry S Truman, _Year of Decisions_, Volume I, pp. 322-23 and
 p. 417.  (_The Decision_, p. 124.)
 (19) Lincoln to Wedemeyer, July 10, 1945, U.S. Military Academy
 Library, West Point, NY, Lincoln Papers, Box 5, Wedemeyer Folder.
 (_The Decision_, pp. 359-60.)
 20. Bonnett, H-Diplo, September 25, 1996.  Barton Bernstein,
 "Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed
 Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern
 Memory," _Diplomatic History_, 19:2 (Spring 1995), p. 247, n. 67.
 21. See _The Decision_, pp. 266-75.  See Bernstein's "Understanding
 the Bomb," pp. 246-47, where he characterizes it as an "impeding"