Gar Alperovitz on the Decision to Nuke Japan

Aug 28, 2019

Historian Gar Alperovitz shares the history of America’s use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Contrary to what most of us learned in school, many of the top military officers and intelligence officials were adamant at the time that use of the bombs was unnecessary to get the Japanese to surrender, which they expected to happen as soon as the Soviet Union invaded. The bombs were used instead as a political maneuver to intimidate the Russians, but which of course only led to the disastrous arms race of the cold war.

Discussed on the show:

Gar Alperovitz is a historian, political economist, activist, and writer. He has taught at the University of Maryland, Cambridge University, and Harvard and is the author of Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam and The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. Follow his work at his website www.garalperovitz.com.

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Following is an auto-generated transcript of the episode.

sorry I’m late. I had to stop by the wax museum again and did the finger that FDR We know Al Qaeda. Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting Al Qaeda in Syria? It’s a proud day for America. Ghad kicked Vietnam syndrome once and for all. Thank you. Very. I say it. I see it again. Bin These women are trying to simply deny things just about everybody else except Nas. Fact Ain Saud died way. Kila Bayh, Armey Khaleeq Illing Maale way Bol Beito like, say, I’m Gnehm Bin Say it. Say it three times the meeting of the largest armies in the history of the world. Then that’s going to be an invasion Arak. All right, you guys introducing Ge our Alpher wits. He wrote this well. First of all, he’s a historian who has written a tone of extremely important books, including the decision to use the Atomic Bomb and Atomic diplomacy, Hiro Sonoma and Potsdam. And he’s got this one in the nation from couple of weeks back. August 6th anniversary time. The war was won before Hiro Sonoma and the generals who dropped the bomb knew it. Welcome to show how are you doing? Garc. Great. Thanks for having you Very happy to have you here. And it’s such an important article that you wrote. There’s so much to talk about regarding the atomic bombing. But you focus, right. Awene was probably the most persuasive and educational point for the average American, which is all of the extremely credentialed criticism of the use of that bond, that contrary to what we’re all taught in fifth, afraid that this was an absolute necessity, Everyone who you would think agreed with that back then turns out, didn’t well, it’s certainly true that the top generals and admirals the ones at the very top, uh, almost all of them went public immediately after the war, which is very hard to imagine the president. United States have made a decision, and many of them went public saying that bomb was totally unnecessary. The war was going to end shortly in any way without an invasion, and it the bombing was almost entirely about civilians. Hiro Xinhua was Natta Military Center. There was that small installation there, but it was a very marginal. It was basically a civilian target and the generals and admirals, the many of them. Old conservatives, uh, weren’t talked. Is one of them said to kill when women and children unnecessarily. So it is quite amazing to find General President Eisenhower. General Eisenhower went public saying it was outrageous. Kurdish Salame, the famous bomber pilot, The bomb Dov off Tokyo immediately after the war came out saying the war was going to be over within a couple of weeks. This was outrageous to Bottome all these civilians. Um, I can go on the list is long 2020 of them Ayt Nai Cont Id Huu our top people five star generals and admirals of the Fleet Admirals. It’s quite quite an indictment. Most of them conservatives Nots, not liberals. They’re radicals of old fashioned conservatives just didn’t believe in killing women and children. It’s important to know that he Roshan was not a military target. There was a small installation. There would live training unit, but not very large. Which meant that with the young men Japanese men off to war Huu was left were women, old people and kids. Basically that’s that was the population that was decimated with the bombing of Hiroshima. No, with these men that you’ve cited here with most of them. I mean, I’m asking for a generalization, but would they have supported the atomic bombings if they thought that they were necessary and they just knew that they weren’t necessary or Int necessary quote unquote to end the war. Then, rather than let it, ah, you know, continue on or they would have rather invaded the place, then drop the bombs. But still, to get that unconditional surrender. I know. I think the first let me back, back up the intelligence estimates at this time starting in April 1945. Uh, remember the bomb was used in August. Several months later, the intelligence estimate said the Japanese air close to surrender when the Russian army attacks. The rest of that we’re not in the war. When they attack, that will precipitate an immediate surrender. And the reason is that the Japanese feared Russian invasion Communist invasion more than anything else that would rather be invaded by the United States if they had to be invaded. So U S intelligence and British intelligence made this argument again and again starting in April 1945 when the Russians entered the war. As long as they keep their emperor. And we had decided long ago they were going to keep the emperor because we wanted to use Andr after the surrender to control the Japanese people. So we were gonna keep the emperor of no matter what. So they knew the war would end if you kept the emperor and the Russians attacked. And since we didn’t know whether the atomic bomb would work, it was unknown until July of 45. We were desperately begging the Russians to come in because that would end the war without an invasion. So that was the plan. Up until August 1945 the Russians will come in. They were scheduled to come in three months after the German invasion. Take him that long to move the troops into position across the across Siberia. Long, long Cannes problem to send Mobil that mobilized the whole thing and move! Move all the troops and tanks. So they were scheduled to come in on August 8th. Andrei Hadar request. And because intelligence said that would end the war so long as we let them keep their emperor, which we’re gonna do anyway because they could control the Japanese people. The bomb there was at Potsdam. A proclamation was instant. A big conference in Germany in July of 1945 proclamation was issued by us warning Japan to surrender. It famously contained a paragraph saying, You can keep the emperor because we knew they wouldn’t would not surrender. They saw the emperor’s a Ghad. If we didn’t say that, if you send If there was any doubt about the Emperor Houthis Ghad finger, they would not surrender that paragraph, promising them they could keep. The emperor is a figurehead with no power was extracted by the secretary of state and the reason he extracted it, it’s now obvious and clear. He didn’t want them to surrender, and the reason he didn’t want them to surrender was he wanted to use the Bottome, uh, rather than have a surrender of you then or when the Russians came in. Which is what the military intelligence said. What happens that when the Russians came in, tell him that we weren’t going to harm their Ghad figure? You could be a figurehead like the King of England. Tell them that when the Russians come in, the war is over, and by the way, there’s three months to test this Because we can’t even do a landing for three months. We can’t land till November. We know we’re in it. We’re in position logistically to do that. So we kept them fighting. Bye. Taking away assurances for the emperor, The jet The Russians were scheduled. Kunming Awene order States Khera Xinhua was bombed on August 6th. Russians attacked on August 8th. Nagasaki was bombed the longest nights. So that’s the sequence. And as I said, and as we now know, endless documents about how the military figure many of these old conservatives were just outraged at the killing. Unnecessary killing of civilians With this is what Eissa Notre called that terrible thing that you’re now on that question of the unconditional surrender there. When you say the secretary of State, change that in the official declaration there at pasta Mme. You’re also saying though, that inside the U. S. Government, there was no change that they had decided long ago. It wasn’t just that MacArthur decided for expediency later. They had decided long ago that, of course, will keep the emperor. But they kept that a secret essentially and Ammannet total unconditional surrender so that they couldn’t get it. Yes, that’s right. That’s right. They they knew that they were going to keep the emperor in a powerless position in order to help control the Japanese people. Ind Fixit, Yariv Japanese Armey once we invaded and we’re occupying depend, That was the plan. But it’s not like, you know, for example, I’m just making this up. But the contrary narrative would be well, there was a big debate inside the government whether toe let them keep the emperor not or something like that. In other words, this was a solid decision. There was no wavering on the decision. The only wavering was in public for Japanese consumption. Exactly. The plan was this is the best way to do. Once we have an occupation of Japan, the way to do it is to keep the emperor’s a figurehead because he won’t keep things under control for us. That was always Gleb. Hey, guys. Scott! Here, Igor Assem Books. You should read the War State by Mike Swanson A great history of early Cold War. No, Dev, No ops, No, I t by Hussein Badi Aq Johnny. How to run your computer business like a good libertarian. Oh, Yeah, And don’t forget fool’s errand. Time to end the war in Afghanistan by me. Hey, y’all, Here’s the thing. Donate $100 to the Scott Kortan show and you can get a Q R Kode Commodity disc as my gift to you. It’s a one ounce silver disc with a Q R code on the back. You take a picture of with your phone, and it gives you the instant spot price and lets you know what that silver that ounce of silver is worth on the market in Federal Reserve notes in real time. It’s the future of currency in the past to commodity discs dot com, or just go to scott horton dot or Ge slash Donate. Hey, guys, you know you probably need a new website a lot of people do. What you need to do then, is Goa To expand designs dot com, the great Harley Abbott and his team over at expand designs dot com. They’ll hook you up with a great new website for 2019 and in fact, what you really should do. His type Ind expand designs dot com slash scott, and you’ll save $500. Okay, now So let’s go back because you said you could go on all day about the names of these men. I wish you would, uh, take your time and go through and remind us. I mean, who is Admiral Leahy? Why would we listen to a guy like him? This kind of thing? Most of Chevrolet. He He was a fleet admiral. Six stars. You can’t get any higher than that. He was chief of staff to the president. United States. He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combined U S. U K Chiefs of staff. He’s about as high as you could get at that time. Very conservative Old Admiral. Here’s what he said. And very good friend of Harry s. Truman, the President. Here’s what he said after the bomb is used, Gnehm, The use of this barbarous weapon that Hiro Shima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. Ind being the first to use it, we adopted unethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion wars cannot be won by destroying women and children. That’s a direct quote from this conservative, uh, state admiral lady and now one of these. It’s very interesting to me. Is Curtis LeMay Huu? I don’t know if you could call him conservative. He was certainly a right winger may be more of a radical than a conservative. What we all know that he was perfectly willing to use H bombs on China and Korea when the opportunity presented itself. So he was no humanitarian. But again, he’s, I guess, speaking just this is the butcher Tokyo. But he’s speaking just in utilitarian terms that this was unnecessary. Here’s, uh, Mises press conference from, uh, General Curtis LeMay September 20th 1945. Uh, use the atomic bomb quote had nothing to do with the end of the war. The war would have ended over in two weeks without the use of the atomic bomb or even the Russian entry into the war. Goa You mean in the press says you mean that’s sir, This is a press conference without the Russians, without the atomic bomb Hmeed the atomic bomb Int nothing to do with the end of the war at all. Ind Aires on that the but world would’ve Ayt Id anyway, as most of them think. That’s what U S intelligence said. And you mentioned also Ike Eisenhower, who was the five star commander of United Nations forces in Europe. Ah, and later President United States. Let me see what I can find as in here. Got a list of these collected. Here he is, um, he’s talking about Give me a couple. Of course, uh, he’s talking about when he was told before of the atomic bomb was used by the secretary of war. And here’s his quote during his recitation of the relevant facts, I was conscious of a feeling of the oppression. And so I voiced my grave misgivings first, on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and the dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary. Secondly, because I thought our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon to his employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory is a measure to save American lives. In 19 after he was present, that’s before he was president. After he was president, his president, United States. In a 1963 interview, he was quite blunt. It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. And can you talk about Nimitz and MacArthur? Who were the two major commanders of the Pacific Theater? They both condemned it as well. Yeah, here’s the what we have from MacArthur is the recollections from two different people. Um, Mr Wone, Richard Nixon President, United States remind. Recalling that quote, General MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about the atomic bomb pacing the floor of his apartment in the wall. Darth. He thought a tragedy that the bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believes that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons that the military objectives should always be limited. Des Gn damage to noncombatants. McCarthy, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force on Lee against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off. And then Mark MacArthur’s pilot, wilder Gn roads. The day after Khera Shima. This is that the pilot, who was his personal pilot, noted in his diary. General MacArthur definitely is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster. I had a long talk with him today, necessitated by the impending trip. Jer Okinawa. So I think that there’s no doubt. But what MacArthur was saying was just that was almost all the metal Top military felt the same way. They just worked, talk to bomb civilians when it was unnecessary. In general or particularly it was unnecessary. And Nimitz, there’s the American class of aircraft carriers are named after him. And he was in charge of the whole kind of Southern campaign in the Pacific. And it was his forces Atty. Evo Jima and all that, right? Exactly. And then So what did he say about it? This is a pup. You went public, Khatt. This was an address. Two months after the after Khera Shima is at the Washington Monument. Actually, quote the Japanese had in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war, the atomic bomb played no decisive part. From a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan. Yeah, you have to understand what’s going on here because it is. These are the top leading military people of the United States army and Navy of world fighting in World War Two. These air, not secondary figures. And this is immediately after the use of the atomic bomb. They’re going public attacking. What the president has just done it is, you know, it’s amazing through a Gn reflecting on it. Military is usually very quiet about the commander in chief’s decisions. And here you find one after another of them, not all of them. Some of them waited Atto Briton, a biography or their personal recollections. But a number of them went public after the world Lif Salame being the most interesting and Admiral Nimitz being another one. Very interesting. Yeah, well, and it really just Khowst to show the irony of, you know, American power in this age, where we’re constantly having to rely on the military men to restrain the, uh, passions, I guess, of the civilians when it’s the standing army that at the end of the day still is the greatest threat. But sometimes they prefer to not be so misused and advised the civilians to to be a little bit less worse than they would otherwise be when it’s the civilians job to rein them in all the time. Supposedly, it’s quite It’s quite Injun. These were, you know, I’m hardly conservative myself, but these were virtually all very, very conservative generals and admirals, and, uh, we’re very serious about defending the United States. And they were also very serious about not being, um you know, I think McNamara Wone said and we lost the war. We don’t Bin war criminals for bombing all these cities and people. Civilians. Yeah. And by the way, for anyone who’s too young and doesn’t know and have never seen that film The fog of war. It’s where McNamara finally comes clean. And he was guilty. Not just, you know, in Japan, but also in Korea and Vietnam of burning so many people, the death. And then at the end of the day, he says, Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t have done that. So are you Nots Nots. Sorry, but slightly regretful or something like that. And I’m sorry because I know less about General Hap Arnold and Admiral Bill Hawl Z. Can you tell us about them? Uh, well, let’s see. Hap Arnold was the guy who was running the Air Force at this time and see if I can find a quote from him. and again, Minni, it’s the same thing throughout that these people knew the war was over, That the military was was the It was not a question. The intelligence is very clear. It was gonna end when the Russians came in. Japanese were desperately, you know, on their last legs, no matter what. Um, so here’s the kind of thing you got from him asked, uh, 10 days after Hiro Shima Houthis ahead of the Air Force, this is gonna get in going public by the New York Times. Aigars The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb film, because the Japanese had lost total control of their own air. In his memoirs, Jarrah Enel deserves it always appeared to us that atomic bomb, no atomic bomb, the Jer Aporrea Japanese were already on verge of collapse. And here’s his deputy, General Dhaira eager, by the way, is you. You can imagine all these these quotes for from a book that I wrote called the decision to use the time and finally just assembled all the quotes to find out what the military was doing. Time assemble them. You can find them in that book. Here’s the Arnolds, Deputy General. Uh, Shankar, Um, this is in an internal military history interview. This is inside the U. S. Military very often do interviews trying to find out what actually happened for historical purposes and for training purposes. There’s Ayt you’re talking about Arnold, who was head of the Air Force. Arnold’s viewed was that it? The dropping of the atomic bomb was totally unnecessary. He said he knew the Japanese wanted piece. There were political implications in the decision, and Arnold did not feel it was military’s job to question it. Aidar reported further that Arnold told him when the question comes up of whether we use the atomic bomb or not, my used my view is that the Air Force will not oppose the use of the bomb, and they will deliver it effectively if the commander in chief decides to use it. But it is not necessary to use it in order to conquer the Japanese without the necessary necessity of an invasion. Again, it’s virtually all of these these admirals and generals at the very top who knew what was going on and exactly the same view of the war was just about over and bomb was totally unnecessary and should have been used well. I have anecdotes like this, and I’ve also heard tell of a lot of anecdotes like this, too, where people get into riel argument friends or family members, or a guy at a bar or whatever, where the position that you’re taking is essentially believed to be something that Awene Lee the most horrible and hateful anti American people could ever say. And don’t you know that millions and millions of Americans would have died trying to invade Japan and all of these crazy things? That’s an actual quote from President Bush senior. Not just a million, but millions and millions, he said, Um, when people really believe that stuff. But then what happens is what we’ve just gone through here. These quotes of these men are just the ultimate antidote to that, because it doesn’t just say, actually, that’s not quite true. Look at some of this criticism. I think this is the ultimate criticism. Magdy, Amarah and Nimitz and Ike and LeMay and and ah, you know all these people and it’s incredible. It’s shocking. Two people who have never been taught this they don’t ever teach us this, um, you know, other than an antiwar dot com, right? You don’t get this stuff in school. And so, um, it’s the kind of thing that a really make a light bulb. Goa Awene that not only have I been wrong, but wow, man, maybe there’s a whole other world that I was living in the real one. If this many men And as you said, conservatives, Republicans, right wingers, lifelong military men, the heroes of World War Two they were the ones the leaders. Now, as you said Nots, secondary figures, not pencil pushers. Back at the Pentagon, the quote unquote greatest men off that greatest generation day were the ones who said we shouldn’t have done this. So where does that leave us, then? Well, it is quite shocking. I mean, because this this material has been a very I’m not. This is not secret material that’s been available for a long time. So it’s been avoided, not looked at. And people have found it very, very difficult to to believe what I think is true. Then what? All these I agree with these people, the military leaders that the bomb was totally unnecessary was aimed primarily at a civilian target. Khera Xinhua was not a military target. It did, as I said, in a very small training base there. But that’s not why they chose that. They chose it because they liked the target. They thought it would show what the bomb could use. It was very nice. Design a city that would show off what the bomb could actually do. That that’s why they chose it and must be mostly old people. Young kids and women left behind is the young men went to war. So it was, uh, it was clearly a There’s Bin research on this lately. Cem. Very good legal work. It was clearly a war crime. It was an international war. Crime to bomb was Eni civilian target, which is essentially what Kirishima Wasat, and particularly when there’s no necessity. So it is an outrageous story that way, Americans have not wanted to talk about except Foer, these leading conservatives. I’m hardly a conservative, but I have great respect for these for these old serious conservatives. Huu Huu were dedicated to protecting the United States. They were honorable army and navy and Air Force guys who were trying to do their duty, but they just did not believe in killing women and children unnecessarily. Yeah, um, and now So there’s been a lot of talk, I think, especially this year. You know, it’s always a little bit of talk, you know, in August, every anniversary, Cem writing in that kind of thing, which I’m grateful for, I guess we shouldn’t take that for granted. The work’s gotta be done to get done. Um, but it seems like this time around, part of the discussion has been about, ah, kind of more specific questions. About what? Truman Ooh. And when he knew it, what? They told him what he really believed in whether he really thought he was nuking a military base. And I guess there was twitter thread by this historian talking about whether he really had any idea they were gonna hit Nagasaki two days later. Ah, that he Apparently, according to one document, it seems like maybe he didn’t realize that we were gonna attack him again until the end of the month or something like that. What do you think about that stuff? Uh, I have not seen any Eni serious documentation of that kind. Um, I pretty much know this literature fairly well. I’ve done two big books on it. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t have missed something but everything. Everything we know about the decision is that he was aware of the basic intelligence and that he understood what was happening. He waas It is what really started Huma Gn terms was Juma Gn was way over his head. He was a senator from, you know, without any experience in this he knew nothing about was going on in the war. Roosevelt died and he was thrown into this position in April. Um, kind of trying to get his sea legs. Ah, he was dominated at this point in time, in my view. And I think it’s pretty well understood by historians by the man he chose to be secretary of state. And Huu was really the person who was involved. Mutie essentially guided Truman Nas Gnehm was Secretary of State James Birns, B y r N E s of South Carolinian. Ah, very important figure in the New Deal. Very conservative and very, uh, very slippery. His biographer Rotar time of the book Sly and even sly and, uh, camera with Decter Asli Ind deceptive or something like that was the title of the biography. Ah, very, very slippery guy. Um, And he had taught Truman when he became a senator. Birns wasn’t senator. At one point, he was in court. Just Stasi was governor of the state. Ah, and he ran the domestic economy for Rooseveltian. Very powerful figure. Hey, had also been at the Yalta conference when Roosevelt met with Stalin. So he was on the inside of everything. But he had personally Bin in the Senate, Kind of, um, Truman’s kind of guiding guiding figure when Huma Gn came in and didn’t know anything about the Senate is a young senator from Missouri. Birns took him under his wing and taught him the ropes. Well, Truman made Birns his secretary of state when Roosevelt died in April, and he also gave him basically control of the decisions about what to do with the emperor and what to do with the atomic bomb. Uh, pretty much so. That’s the guy to look for. If you see Huu, it’s very much like George Bush was run around by Vice president changing, um, Birns. A figure like Cheny running around a young Trumanites was just freshen and didn’t know what he was really doing at the outset on Birns, Nas on record, saying at the time a bunch of scientists came to came to him and Ind April of 1945 or maybe was late March. Uh, probably was in April, I’m sure of, of 1945. A bunch of scientists came to their Mutie atomic scientists and they said, Look, we all know the war is over. You really shouldn’t use this thing. It’s very dangerous. You’re gonna start an arms race that could lead to the destruction of the world. And Birns said to them, I know the war is over, but I want it. And this is a quote. Uh, we need the bomb to make the Russians more manageable. Uncool, and so birds. There’s a lot of evidence that Birns saw. The bomb is a weapon against the Russians, not the Japanese, both because he was worried about Eastern Europe. He’d Bin Ind Yalta. He thought using the bomb would scare them and bad they’d back off of Eastern Europe, highly unlikely that they would relax there because the Germans and invaded twice Russia twice and also in Asia he thought Ind Mansuri of the Russian Army. If we didn’t get the Russians into the war in Japan, they wouldn’t come into Manchuria. Maybe we could have more influence in that area. So But Birns explicitly did say to these scientists, Huu recorded it. I wrote it down. No, I want to use the bomb because we’ll make the Russians more manageable. And the scientists were shocked because they knew anybody who was in the inside. I thought about it for five minutes. If we use the bomb to scare the Russians or even if we use the bomb without any attempt to try toe do Cem negotiations, they will have to get up Gn atomic bomb. They will see it as a threat. And so what that will mean is that we will be in an arms race building nuclear weapons forever, which is actually what happened. But that was Birns, I think is the key figure. So the bomb was if you look at what Birns was talking about and if we had most of the discussion between Secretary of State Birns and Harry Truman, personal discussions privately, they’re old drinking buddies. We have very few records of what they actually said to each other. We do know that that’s where the decisions were made. You know a lot about what they thought and when it. The best estimate of what was going on was that Birns really wanted to use the bomb and primarily because he saw its role in not so much in ending the War of the World, was gonna end anyway without invasion, but because of its implications, might scare the Russians both Ind Manchuria and Eastern Europe. That’s very hard to pin down. But that’s the best we could do with the available documents. And maybe someday. Ah, a good friend of mine investigative journalists believes that there are documents. If you really dig, you’re gonna find in somebody’s basement. There’s some longstanding nephew who inherited a box of papers that he didn’t know what to do with, and we’re gonna be a better picture. That’s about it. But you can do at this point because Birns, for instance, one last thing about the chief advisor Birns, just to give you an evidence was kind of his way of operating in the world. He had a special system with a manning brown and Brown kept a diary of what was going on. And, uh, Birns got hold of the diary, rewrote it and then filed it in the official documents. And when historians would come up to you and say, Well, what about what happened with the bombing and what happened? Awal, this is Well, there’s a diary from my assistant. You could go over to the to the archives, and I will probably give you all you need to Dohuk, which was the diary that Birns Hib privately edited and re Briton favorable to him. He was a very slippery character. Yeah, that’s interesting. Um, well and it’s so important, Like you say that you know this whole idea yet we’ll scare them and then what? They’ll leave power and go home or what’s gonna happen then? The obvious thing is, as you say, people warned in advance. And of course, that’s how it played out was the Soviets embarked on a crash course to get Unabomber as fast as they could, and they got Wone within three years. And then within that state three years, America lost Chinatown, Maui Gn the communists anyway, And so the whole thing about giving us an advantage in Manchuria by calling a premature halt to the Soviet invasion on Japan’s western flank. There was no Ind void anyway. So the whole thing, even if even the ulterior motive with some bogus garbage well, it’s it’s an in a certain degree, it’s at least some of the conservatives in the U. S. Government again, I came away with high respect for some of some of these old conservative Assn. I say I don’t start from a conservative position myself. So Secretary of War was a man named Henry L. Stimson, a conservative Republican. Rosett Ravindran Point. And he was, in fact oversaw the the generals who built the bombing Secretary of war. And he understood the danger in just the way you that said, if you if we use the bomb in a way that’s responsible, the Russians will have to build a bomb because they will see it is necessary. And there will be an unarmed Ms race and that these things that could destroy the world. So he desperately wanted Truman to approach the Russians two some kind of a deal so that we wouldn’t end up where we did end up and that’s a concern. Another conservative is Henry else steps in when the leading conservative figures in modern 20th century history and he made a desperate attempt to do it and again lost the battle to people like Birns, who had no interest in Awal. They Azzam Stimpson put it. The Russians will see us with this weapon rather ostentatiously on our hip, and they will know what to do. And that’s actually been happy, of course. And then we are with nuclear weapons everywhere, and so far we’ve been lucky. Yep, and America did actually end up, while some Americans at least ended up helping the Russians with their bomb anyway. So they split the difference on the policy but without any of the trust building Awene Lee with the atomic bomb delivering. So it’s sort of like having John Bolton prevent the North Koreans from advancing their nuclear program for you. In a year or two, they’ll have a bombs. Yeah, it’s it’s a very it’s a tragic story, Um, you know, because here we have nuclear weapons everywhere and it would have been very difficult to present prevent an arms race. It would not have been difficult to prevent the destruction of Hiroshima and and, uh, Nagasaki, and basically Awal, mostly civilian lives. That would have been relatively easy. Uh, it would have taken great diplomacy to work out a thoughtful solution in advance. Esam Open Khyber was also for many, many people within the government, and many conservatives were trying to advanced. They, uh, Azzam Ighlas Nabir trying to advance in arms control program at the outset. But there Juma Gn Ind Birns were having none of it, none of it they their their strategy was pushed production and get ahead. Just keep getting ahead. Which meant there would be a worldwide arms race. And there was no no serious the efforts that were made. But Ars controlling Gizai Aramin have been examined by many researchers Ind pretty fraudulent that could not have been accepted by Russians. Expo it forward. Well, I sure wish I’d read both of these books that you’ve written about this. Are there any other major kind of themes that are in about the first book, which is a The first book I wrote on this was called atomic diplomacy Because it shows how U S policy turns the Russians in 1945 just in the period we’re talking about. After the Germans surrendered in May 8th 1945 the bomb was used in August. The Japanese surrendered shortly thereafter. So that period they’re now diaries available, which show how they began to US policy makers began to calculate What happens if we have this new weapon this Id began talking about is the ace in the hole So that began. Seeing it is a very powerful weapon, primarily against the Russians. Um, Ms Well, it’s Japanese war, but they were thinking more about diplomacy. And I wrote a book about that called atomic diplomacy, based basically on the diaries of the particular Secretary. Fourest Diaries came available when I was doing research on this and then just extraordinary diaries because he talks about all of this pretty much the way I’m talking about it. Nothing. Kid s O. That’s one line. But later on, that’s the time it’s called atomic diplomacy. Hiro Shima and Fustine The Pas Zidane conference Werheim Jos Stalin Ind Weierman met in Germany at the time, just before Khera Huma Americanflag Matzzie. But the second book I wrote is called the decision to use the Atomic bomb And it is a very detailed discussion with all of these military leaders. Ah, which goes beyond the first looking at the impact of the bomb on diplomacy. But how precisely did it impact the decision? And how was it, Maidan? What we know about Precisely Huu controlled the decision making and set it by Step Assn. Best we can because a lot of it was done. A lot of it was done privately between Truman, as I said, and his uh Ms Manan, Secretary of State Birns Huu Ghad Bin is kind of teacher in the Senate. And Huu kind of ran the show during those 1st 6 months of the Truman administration. Something a lot of it’s their privately between them that you can dig out people who understood what was going on and you have to piece the story together. It’s kind of a mystery. Starbucks the basic points air clear. They saw it as a weapon against the Russians. Rond Birns was Ki figure. Yeah, well, we’ve got Ah, I guess the good news is that there are Awene Lee a couple of 10,000 of these on the planet now, where’s before? There were total Almost what, like 100,000 of these nukes? Something like that. Or 80 90,000 of these things in the hands of the U. S and the U. S. S. R. At the height of the Cold War buildup, right? Yeah, we’re in a little bit better position, but it’s not a very happy position that there’s an awful lot of these things around. Yeah, um, it’s funny to think of George H. W. Bush in a way, despite all of the, you know, 30 year war in Iraq that he started in all this stuff in a way like from a quantifiable sort of measurable point of view. He may be the the greatest man who ever existed in the sense of signing those last few disarmament treaties with Gorbachev and then with Yeltsin in just the last two years of his government there at the end of the Cold War. I mean, has any other man ever gotten rid of tens of thousands of nukes? And he shares that, of course, with Gorbachev and with Yeltsin two. I only learned recently, I guess that it was in January of 93 when he only had two weeks left in office. He went to Russia because, of course, the red flag came down on Christmas Day 90 Wone. So then just what, three weeks later, he got on a plane and signed a whole new treaty with Yeltsin. Um, you know, since it was gonna take too long for Bill Clinton to get started on his negotiations. Let’s go ahead and get rid of another couple of 10,000 of these things. Shrug. I hate to give the Enel S o B credit, but that’s pretty great. Yeah, it’s a very he had Cem on this issue. I think you’re absolutely right. People don’t recognize and credit him. And also the I’m blocking the name of the man who was the national security advisor who was in your Croft Awene. Yeah, and who actually was running and guiding guiding Dnes. Ms Strategy there. And he was another former general, former general. There’s ah Seymour Hersh is if you they you know, The great reporter He has also writes in a different vein Natta about this particular subject. But he has the same view of some of the generals and admirals that some of them are really quite interesting and quite thoughtful. And, you know, we usually think of the military guys that they want to bomb everybody. And there certainly when people like that, like Curtis LeMay, uh, insane views and you’re seeing the bomb. But they’re also we’re number people. You’re just names. Couple on the inside who were military figures who were very thought about what? This Awal. They’d seen a lot of death then what bombs and you could do to people in the communities. And they didn’t like water. Yeah, so that I had I came away with respect for some of these old admirals and generals that I was surprised that you know about Wone. Once I learned what they really were talking about, all that wisdom Ms just spent, you know, I talked with Pieter Van Buren and he says, You know what? Nukes air. So horrible that we can trust that even the worst politicians no better than ever to really use them. But it seems like any of that kind of wisdom built up during the Cold War is spent. When I look at the kind of idiocy in terms of, especially in terms of America’s position against Russia, and Eastern Europe right now. And no matter what fight we pick with them, we always pretend that their response is thehe Grecian. You know, like Israel and Palestine or something, and to such a degree. And and you can tell that the people in D. C they really believe it. Everything is Russian aggression. It’s raining, it’s Russian aggression. And there, you know, have terrified themselves into believing they’re really on the defensive as they expand our military alliance right up to their borders and do Kode Ayt Oz against Awal. They’re friendly governments in the region and expand, you know, military presence, Arm up Ukraine and all these things. And Knut recall an NPR interview with a think tank expert who was a former ambassador. And this was in the worst part of the Ukraine war in the aftermath of the coup, a 2014 and he was saying, Yes, we have to arm up Ukraine in this war. We should send them all these Lockheed products and all these things. And the NPR reporter says, Well, okay, so if we make the Kiev government stronger than in the war in the east Well, okay. To what end then what’s next? And he says, Well, we think that if a bunch of dead Russians start coming home in body bags that that will cause the debate to go up like shades of Birns, right? We’re going to scare him. Yeah, And then what? And this guy says yet we’re gonna cause the debate to go up in Russia, the idea being that the angry moms of the dead guys will just be angry at Putin for getting them killed, not may be angry at the U. S. A. For getting them killed and that they’re going to want to back down rather than maybe getting really angry and doubling down. It’s as though the negative possibility is just outside of the realm of possibility. Even though the whole war was the backlash of the coup not going their way, it was supposed to be easy, and it caused a war. Now they’re gonna and you can just see the thinking like this is a former ambassador. This is the brightest of the think tank world is saying we really thought this through. We’re gonna cause their debate to go up when what he’s really saying is he might cause a World war Jatte, you know, So I don’t know. I I don’t trust it. I think it’s sort of like, uh, all these guys. They’re just George W. Bush waiting to blunder us into another catastrophe at any minute. Sort of how I feel about it. Yeah, And I think that the tragedy is, uh, these guys actually believe, but, you know, it’s really out because I think a lot of what you’re saying is true. And they believe this is the way to help the world. Yeah, that’s that’s where they’re coming from. This is gonna do good, president rather than seeing how sure excited some of it is. All right, so it’s ah, greatest story kind of. Ah, is starting a William Appleman Williams who had a lot of this. Eni wrote a book called The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. Because these guys actually believe what they’re doing is gonna great for the world. And what happens is sort of thing you’re talking about because it is just so sure excited in many, many, many areas that it produces a backlash just the opposite of what you want. And that’s also helps explain why so hard to talk them out of any of it because you’re essentially asking them to stop caring about people when you’re asking them to stop bombing people the death. And they just think, How can we abandon them now? You know, we have to keep the war going. We have this about Afghanistan daily, right? Yeah, it’s It’s a genuine It’s genuine tragedy, not a phony Wone. Yeah, and outrage and very costly human life destruction and arms racism. So far, we’ve been lucky that these things have been going off, but you know, But what’s going on in the Indian Pakistan? Maybe the next question? Yeah, I got that right. Um but I’ll let you go with that one. So thank you very much for coming on the show. Gharib really appreciate it. Okay. Thanks. Enjoy talking with you. Okay, guys. Uh, that is American historian. Garc. Alpher. Wits. And he wrote atomic diplomacy, Hiro Sonoma and Potsdam. And also the decision to use the atomic bomb. And if you missed it, we Raan Awene Antiwa dot com a couple weeks back. Ah, but you can find it here at the nation. The war was won before Hiro Sonoma and the generals who dropped the bomb knew it. All right, y’all Thanks. Find me at Libertarian Institute Dot or Ge at scott Kortan dot or Ge antiwar dot com and reddit dot com slash scott Horton Show. Oh yeah, and read my book Fool’s Errand Timed and the War in Afghanistan at Fool’s errand dot us.

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Published at https://scotthorton.org/interviews/8-27-19-gar-alperovitz-on-the-decision-to-nuke-japan/