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Japan 1945: possibility of a negotiated peace

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Showing 1-25 of 201 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2014 8:46:26 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
You might want to read further back in the thread, chris Dowgin. I suspect you're correct about the Japanese realizing that they couldn't win the war, but when the Emperor did intervene directly and order a surrender after Nagasaki, there were some units of the Japanese military which threatened to mutiny and keep fighting. The Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa and other doomed strongholds also knew that they were defeated, but they fought nearly to the last man anyway.

There were a number of back channel negotiations throughout the war, but without the Emperor's support, none of them went anywhere. Or, maybe they did? The Emperor did remain in his palace after the surrender and he cooperated with General MacArthur and the American occupation authorities. This might have been the result of some of those secret negotiations.

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 10:23:32 PM PST
chris Dowgin says:
I have heard that the Japanese were already admitting defeat to themselves by sending the first born child of the ruling families in government and fiance to their deaths as Kamikaze pilots to save face. They were running low in soldiers, raw materials, supplies, and moral. I believe what I heard was they tried negotiating peace with one stipulation. They wanted the ability for their populace to still believe their emperor was God.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2013 4:45:41 PM PST
patrick says:
youre wrong.

and whether Japan could have been brought to the table earlier, or whether it could not, how could anyone possibly think that they were sure that they would have.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2013 3:10:54 PM PST
Debunker says:
Under what conditions would Japan have surrendered prior to when they did? Let them keep the Philippines? Korea? The portions of China they occupied? What would have been acceptable terms for the Allies to accept for Japan's surrender?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2013 2:41:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2013 2:51:23 PM PST

"The whole concept of "unconditional surrender" was an asinine concept"

How so? I know why it wasn't. It provided the psychological and moral basis upon which the war was premised. It was the psychological basis that enabled the US to justify and sustain a million casualties. Please remember, this is the immediate WWI period. Unlike you, that generation remembered that war (WWI) and wasn't even remotely interested in another do over. They did not even want to be in WWII. It was perceived (correctly) that the lack of an unconditional surrender is what enabled the Nazi's to sell the idea that they "weren't really defeated" in WWI. The Germans bought it. That was a mistake that was not going to be repeated. Your reliance on convenient presentism is not the way to analyze history. Everything must be examined in it's time and place.

"If the appropriate pressure and warning had been given to Japan, I am sure it would have surrendered rather than face a Soviet invasion."

It would? On what do you base this?

Here are some of the Japanese bare minimum acceptable surrender terms. No loss of territory (i.e., they keep Korea and pre-war Manchuria), the Japanese Army disarms itself, no occupation of Japan, the Japanese try their own war criminals, etc., etc. These were the minimum! terms they were willing to accept. Would you have accepted them? They were unrealistic to say the least. Read, Frank's "Downfall", Kort's "Columbia Guide to Hiroshima & the Bomb", the Pacific Research Group's "The Day Man Lost Hiroshima", or a dozen others I could name for a fuller discussion. Also good is "Truman and the Hiroshima Cult".

What you really lack, is the necessary education on the subject. Go ahead take a good look at it, a great deal has been revealed and written on this subject. Really a great deal has been written. I would strongly recommend Kort as a first stop, if you know nothing about the subject beyond what you have been told or your knowledge is topical ... which may be the case. He is very even-handed and provides a very good pile of original source documents.

Unconditional surrender built the foundations of modern Germany & Japan. It was the best thing that happened to either of them.

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 12:49:28 PM PST
aLocher says:
Historybuff: What evidence do you have that Hitler was ever prepared to surrender to the West, or indeed to anybody??

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 12:34:37 PM PST
historybuff says:
Roosevelt was too naive to reach a negotiated settlement with Japan. The whole concept of "unconditional surrender" was an asinine concept which resulted in countless needless deaths. Both Axis powers were ready to negotiate and the Germans would have glady surrendered on the West sooner. If the appropriate pressure and warning had been given to Japan, I am sure it would have surrendered rather than face a Soviet invasion. They could have kept Sakhalin and part of the Kuriles as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 1:19:52 PM PST
Bubba says:
I think that the US tried to stay within the letter of the various treaties, and it appears that the US government thought that the napalm and atomic bombs were within the letter of the treaties. The US was a signatory to a 1925 treaty that banned the use of chemical and biological weapons, even against military targets. The use of napalm and nukes was stretching things pretty badly, but I had heard the rationale that they were used against military targets. There were factories that built military matériel in Tokyo and Nagasaki, and there were military installations, including headquarters for several units, in Hiroshima. All three cities were industrial and military transportation hubs.

Chemical and biological weapons could certainly have been used to kill a lot of people and could have been a very good way to depopulate the country if an invasion would have became necessary. If the US had considered that they would want to enter the country any time soon after the use of chemical and biological weapons, they would've wanted to think through the use of biological weapons. Chemical weapons are not very persistent, but biological weapons could make an area dangerous for Allied troops to enter for quite some time.

The effects of chemical weapons can be reduced through several methods, especially for military personnel. If chemical weapons are used for an extended period of time and Japanese industrial activities and transportation were reduced using fire bombs, explosive bombs, and chemical weapons; the Japanese could be made to deplete their stocks of chemical filters. I doubt that the Japanese had a significant quantity of gas masks (if any) for the civilian population because they required quantities of rubber, and the Japanese were acutely short of rubber. Chemicals other than standard warfare chemicals could have been used to contaminate food and water, both to make it inedible and to make it toxic. Depending upon the season, spraying the newly developed 2,4,5-T herbicide on food crops may have also been useful.

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 10:17:45 AM PST
briefcandle says:
Maybe gas wouldn't have been a success, but iwo jima was the place to try it, some rehearsal was necessary before the main event on kyushu, even if it were used in mopping up ops only. S o much for field use. As for bombing cities with gas you can't do the firestorm and gas, the firestorm destroys the barrage- however the use of persistant agents could paralyse industry, and it could get workers out of shelters and into the open for a firestorm to follow.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012 8:34:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2012 8:35:12 AM PST
Laker Fan says:
Bubba wrote:
"The Japanese military didn't care about civilian casualties, and chemical or biological warfare wouldn't have encouraged Hirohito to surrender as the nukes had."

Look at my comment again. I asked if the atomic bombs had NOT been available. According to the 1945 mentality, gas and/or germs would be the next best thing, better than invasion or blockade. Even if they were against the law at the time. The laws of war are meaningless compared to the harsh realities of war, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 3:16:52 PM PST
Bubba says:
The Japanese military didn't care about civilian casualties, and chemical or biological warfare wouldn't have encouraged Hirohito to surrender as the nukes had. The firebombing was horrendously destructive, it killed huge numbers of people, and it could have been expanded to other cities with the same effect. I think that the fire bombing was far more effective at killing people than chemical weapons would have been, and the firestorms destroyed infrastructure, matériel, and buildings; along with people.

Biologicals are dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them, even if it is through contaminated water or infected dead bodies. Military personnel are highly mobile, they could be transported from infected areas into combat and other areas. Unless all friendly personnel who might come into contact with enemy personnel (dead or alive) are effectively immunized, there is a huge risk of infecting friendly personnel and even spreading it to the civilian population in friendly nations.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 1:44:54 PM PST
I'm not sure the US had any experience using Gas in WWI. I do know that one of the lessons learned from WWI by both sides was that gas was almost as dangerous to the user as the target.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 1:41:40 PM PST
Laker Fan says:
briefcandle wrote:
"The thing I never really understood was the US reluctance to use gas warfare. It really would have been more than useful on iwo jima. The weapons stockpile certainly existed."

Whether or not it would have been effective on Iwo Jima is a matter of some uncertainty. The question of the morality of the use of chemical (and biological) weapons was discussed on another thread. My feeling is, why not try them on Iwo Jima under the prevailing moral environemnt? It seems like a low-risk option with potentially high rewards. Blanket the island with mustard and nerve gas, wait a few weeks, then go in. We just might have saved thousands of marines. Even if it wasn't completely effective, if probably would have degraded their capabilities to some degree, and saved at least some American lives. Better than nothing.

Going further, if the atomic bombs had not been available, why not gas and germ Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of nuke them? It sure as heck would have been less costly than an invasion. From a philosophical standpoint, the logic is precisely the same. Sacrifice Japanese civilians to achieve the greater good. The ends justify the means.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 10:50:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 10:52:58 AM PST

I think that they would have had no problem with it. 100 casualties vs 20,000 not even a consideration. How many Blue on Blues do you think their were on Iwo, hundreds. In other words the question would have never come up. The use was just considered beyond what they would do. That is the thing about the atomic weapons, in many ways it was just a bigger bomb. They had already crossed the threshold in March '45. Hiroshima was just the culmination of that process. Their wasn't a clear awareness that such a weapon was a transition into a new phase of war. But gas, they knew about. I am also not clear how effective it would have been. Oceanic breezes, higher altitudes on emplacements, positive flow ventilation (which can work both for you or against you), I don't think it was the best place. Belgium/France lots of low lying areas, not as much cave work, breezes can be light. I just don't know.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 10:20:07 AM PST
briefcandle says:
I really am speculating about chemical weapons-but I imagine that if the US used gas on iwo jima, and through cunning calculation the japanese had none to retaliate with in kind, then every US gas casualty would be 'friendly fire' and very difficult to explain especially after VJ day.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 5:25:16 PM PST
Bubba says:
During WWII, the US army considered flamethrowers to be chemical weapons and they were developed by the Chemical Warfare Service . The M1 flamethrower originally used gasoline or a mixture of gasoline and diesel fuel. Later models of the M1 and the M2 flamethrowers used thickened gasoline (napalm).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 5:04:44 PM PST

What is your point? Everyone used flame weapons, everyone. Not the US. They have always been used. Gasoline was not used although jellied kerosene was. Wicked stuff on entrenched positions, burned up all of the air.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 2:42:45 PM PST
Bubba says:
The US also used flame weapons, which had some of the advantages of chemical weapons, but were safer to use than chemical weapons (unless you were the one carrying a can of gasoline on your back).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 1:59:40 PM PST
Chemical warfare is a twoedged sword. While gas might clear a fortification, it can just as easily blow back on you due to a wiind shift and chemical protective gear (especially the types available in WWII) reduced the effectiveness of soldiers by a huge amount. The only way I think the US would have used Chemical Weapons if if the Japanese had used them first.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 11:23:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 11:33:06 AM PST
briefcandle says:
Hi Dodger

"..the party will remain bound until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention."

The GCIII of 1929 did not require that non signatories who did not follow the convention be extended or owed to be treated within the conventions.
As for countries who sign for political reasons, hell, why not, what other reasons are there?

The japanese government briefly considered complaining that A bombs were contrary to GCIII being a species of chemical warfare, but rightly calculated that no-one would care or listen.

The thing I never really understood was the US reluctance to use gas warfare. It really would have been more than useful on iwo jima. The weapons stockpile certainly existed.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 8:13:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 10:40:32 PM PST

a yeah, sure.

at the time ... and now, the same exact world concerns exist. Who else would the situation have applied to? As for WHO idle musings, one simply doesn't just pose a question and have it considered. No court in the world entertains merely philosophic or theoretical concerns, they come from real issues. There is a specific issue and a real controversy at issue. There were two specific countries at issue. My point, all other nuclear countries are not in danger of potentially being wiped. Small, exposed, reviled by their enemies, seriously threatened by the threat of such weapons ... only one country really applies. As far as conspiracy ... who has that kind of influence? As far as the existence of that threat, it was absolutely a danger then, as much as now, we pulled volumes of raw uranium oxides out from Iraq in '91. Sorry, it was an attempt to make clear to countries like the DPRK and Egypt, Iran, Iraq, that they might not sanction a pre-emptive strike under certain conditions. That is what it meant, then as now. It was a warning. And it was a wise one. Things do not happen in a vacuum.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 8:55:16 PM PST
I would wish that wars could be fought like in the western desert in WWII or as the knights of the air in WWI, but our enemies won't cooperate. They war they are willing to fight is one without borders or rules and to survive, we'll have to fight under the same lack of rules.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 6:40:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 6:43:15 PM PST
Yog-Sothoth says:
RMS: "When you are fighting an enemy...the normal laws of war don't apply since they won't adhere to any rules at all."

Well said. Another good expression of this idea was expressed by the character of "Jim Malone" (Sean Connery) in the film "The Untouchables:
" He pulls a knife - you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital - you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way!"

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 6:27:42 PM PST
Yog-Sothoth says:
IGS: "...that is not the case ruled upon by the ICJ. What that particular case speaks to is an undoubtable line of self-justification of the State of Israel..."

The ICJ's ruling was made to answer a World Health Ogranization query as to the "legality" using a nuclear weapon, in 1993. At no point in either WHO's query, nor in ICJ's ruling was any mention made of Israel, or any situation resembling that in the Middle East...

...unless, of course, one is convinced the UN, WHO, et al. are all part of some global "Jewish Conspiracy"... If that is the case, go back to reading "Mein Kampf", because it will tell you all about that, and reenforce your convictions.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 5:15:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 5:21:33 PM PST
Laker Fan says:
Richard M. Smith wrote:
"we lost because we weren't ruthless enough to really fight a war to win."

Well, I don't know if ruthless is the word I would use. I don't think we needed to be like COL Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, or SGT Barnes in Platoon. What we needed to do was take the normal military actions of interdicting enemy supply lines, and isolating the battlefield.

"If we had done what Nixon did in 1964 or 65 the war would have ended long before the anti-war movement gained enough strength to support Hanoi."

Yes, by the time he invaded Cambodia in 1970, it was far too late. I never understood Johnson's reluctance to take these measures. I think he regarded Laos and Cambodia as neutral. International law says neutrality does not apply if the state is unwilling or unable to prevent its territory from being used to advantage by any belligerant. So, we were ok to go in. See, the laws of war aren't totally insane!
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  19
Total posts:  201
Initial post:  Aug 16, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 28, 2014

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