AUTHORVilla, Brian L.
TITLEThe U.S. Army, Unconditional Surrender, and the Potsdam Proclamation
PERIODICAL TITLEJournal of American History

This well-documented article discusses the position of the United States Army concerning an unconditional surrender by Japan, and the evolution of the unconditional surrender requirement near the end of World War II. The article describes the make-up of the U.S. Army and the reasons why it had practical objections to a requirement of unconditional surrender. That requirement was supported by President Franklin Roosevelt and by the Department of State as part of a long term plan to reconstruct the Axis powers. The struggle between the Department of State and the U.S. Army is presented in detail. The author believes that the use of atomic bombs could have been avoided if a modification of surrender terms had been made earlier. He asserts that a delay occurred because the State Department defended its position strongly, and because General George Marshall and Undersecretary of State Joseph Grew, who both opposed that position, had scruples about circumventing it.

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