Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa disputes Truman's use of A-bombs

Historians in the News

EVANSVILLE — Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?

Writer and historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa knows his World War II endgame subject matter doesn't sit well with some Americans.

"They don't want to hear that maybe America made a mistake," said Hasegawa, a professor of history at the University of California and Santa Barbara and the author of "Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and Japan's Surrender in the Pacific War."

"I spoke at a place in Oregon that was full of war veterans. Some walked out," he said Friday evening before delivering the Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture at the University of Evansville.

"I believe the atomic bombs were not as important in bringing about Japan's surrender as the Soviet entry into the Pacific War. Japan was relying on Moscow to mediate the result."...

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Alonzo Hamby - 10/28/2009

Prof. Hasegawa has now openly joined the ranks of scholars who really are not writing history when they decry the use of the atomic bomb.

Of course, Truman wanted to end the war as soon as possible. Can anyone imagine an American president--any possible American president--who would have happily prolonged it?

As I recall Professor Hawegawa's book, he provides no documentation whatever for his assertion that Soviet entry into the war was more important than Hiroshima in Japan's decision to surrender. I do note on the other hand that the Emperor specifically mentioned the bomb.

But this is an issue that gives little credence to empirical evidence.

Stanley Lawrence Falk - 10/28/2009

The Japanese knew that the Russians were going to attack and that Moscow wouldn't accept Japan's proferred terms (their own ambassador told them that). If the Soviet entry was such a blow, Japan could have accepted the Potsdam Declaration and spared themselves the Russian assault. The A-bombs ended the war on 14/15 August, and would bave done so even without the Soviet entry.