Some critics and historians in years to come would argue that Japan was already finished by this time, just as Eisenhower had said and as several intelligence reports indicated. Japan's defeat, however, was not the issue. It was Japan's surrender that was so desperately wanted, since every day Japan did not surrender meant the killing continued. In theory, Japan had been defeated well before Truman became President. (Studies by the Japanese themselves had determined a year and a half before, by January 1944, that Japan had lost the war.) Yet in the three months since Truman took office, American battle casualties in the Pacific were nearly half the total from three years of war in the Pacific. The nearer victory came, the heavier the price in blood. And whatever the projected toll in American lives in an invasion, it was too high if it could be avoided.
Monday, April 13, 2009
On the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, from David McCullough's Truman (1992) at 437: