The authors of both articles under the headline ``Looking Back 50 Years at the Atomic Bomb,'' Nov. 21, managed to overlook a most important factor that probably extended the war against Japan into weeks, if not months.
On Aug. 10, 1945, four days after Hiroshima and one day after Nagasaki, the Japanese still refused to surrender because they wanted assurances that Emperor Hirohito could stay on. Neglecting the emperor's postwar status in an analysis of the A-bombing is like neglecting the South in a discussion of the Civil War.
It was no secret in the Truman administration that the emperor's status was crucial to achieving peace. Prior to dropping the A-bombs, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Assistant Secretary John J. McCloy, and others argued to provide assurances, but President Truman and his hawkish sidekick, Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes, refused.
Strange, because United States officials unanimously agreed we needed the emperor after the war to convince Japanese to accept United States occupation. How right they were! But Truman and Byrnes opted to strut and bluster and allow the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese in a flash before offering assurances on Aug. 11. Only then was the peace faction in Japan able to get its act together for the final surrender on Aug. 15. Frank Munley, Salem, Va.
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