AUTHORHasegawa, Tsuyoshi
CHAPTER TITLEThe Atomic Bombs and the Soviet Invasion: Which Was More Important in Japan's Decision to Surrender?
BOOK EDITORHasegawa, Tsuyoshi, Ed.
BOOK TITLEThe End of the Pacific War: Reappraisals
PUBLISHERStanford University Press
CITYStanford, CA

This chapter argues that the Soviet entry into the war against Japan in August 1945 during World War II had a more decisive effect than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Japan’s decision to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation. This position directly opposes recent arguments by historians Asada Sadao and Richard Frank. The author, historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, analyzes the sentiments at Japanese cabinet meetings in August 1945 and the diaries of Japanese government and military officials to demonstrate how the shock of the Soviet invasion was felt much more strongly than the shock of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Hasegawa shows how the Japanese had relied on the idea of mediation through Moscow to bring a peaceful conclusion to the war, and thus the Soviet invasion signaled the loss of their remaining prospect for peace without signing the Potsdam Proclamation. The chapter concludes by discussing a series of counterfactual hypotheses and suggesting that the Japanese could have been compelled to surrender by November 1, 1945 without the use of the atomic bombs, and that the Soviet entry into the war alone would have been sufficient to prompt the Japanese surrender. The chapter is well-researched and includes extensive endnotes.

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