Japan wanted to surrender too.
Dresden, Hiroshima, and Soviet Machinations
Bruce Walker | The New American
16 February 2012
What happened in Europe was mirrored in the Pacific. As Professor Anthony Kubek recounted in his magisterial work, How the Far East was Lost: American Foreign Policy and the Creation of Communist China, 1941–1949
(Regnery: 1963), there need never have been a decision about whether to drop a fission bomb on Hiroshima or later on Nagasaki. Most historians say the decision to bomb Japanese cities was the natural consequence of Japanese imperialism, which made them unwilling to surrender under any conceivable circumstances; additionally, they assert that factored into the decision was the number of American soldiers who would likely die in the initial assault on the Home Islands of Japan.
But, unlike the need for an unconditional surrender by Nazi Germany, there was no need to demand unconditional surrender of Japan. More than a year before Hiroshima, General Douglas MacArthur received surrender proposals from Japan and transmitted them, along with his own advice to accept these terms, prior to the Yalta Conference.
What did these terms provide?
1. Full surrender of the Japanese forces on the sea, in the air, at home, and in occupied countries
2. Surrender of all arms and munitions
3. Occupation of the Japanese homeland and island possessions by Allied troops under American direction
4. Japanese relinquishment of Manchuria, Korea, Formosa, as well as all territory seized during the war
5. Regulation of Japanese industry to halt present and future production of implements of war
6. Surrender of all designated war criminals
7. Release of all prisoners of war and interns in Japan proper and in areas under Japanese control
These seven terms were Japan’s initial bargaining position for peace. The proposals were made on no less than seven occasions through American and British channels. However, FDR preferred to continue the war and, critically, to seek the “help” of Stalin against Japan — this despite the fact that Stalin had scrupulously adhered to his 1941 non-aggression pact with Japan until late 1945.
MacArthur urged FDR to begin immediate negotiations and pleaded with the President not to invite Stalin to enter the war against Japan. FDR observed tersely, “MacArthur is our greatest general and our poorest politician.” But MacArthur considered that the lives of America's bravest — the Marines and infantrymen who need not have died on Okinawa and Iwo Jima in horrific campaigns if these surrender terms had been accepted — were worth something.