Parker, The Second World War, Ch. 14, “The defeat of Japan and the atom bomb,” pages 224-242
Bess, Choices Under Fire
Allen, Thomas B., and Norman Polmar, “The Radio Broadcast that Ended World War II,” The Atlantic, August 7, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/08/emperor-hirohito-surrender-japan-hiroshima/400328/
Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War. The following entry contains an audio of Hirohito’s recording as well as a transcript of the speech.
Evaluate the decision-making process for American leaders as they grappled with ways to end the war with Japan in the spring and summer of 1945. How did the situation appear from their perspective? What information did they have at their disposal? What events or development influenced their thinking? Ultimately, what strategic decisions did they make to bring the war to an end? You ought to consider the decisions to enlist the Soviets in the war with Japan and to use the atomic bomb, among other topics.
Discuss the mindset of Japan’s leadership in the last year of the war. How did they come to terms with the seemingly inevitable reality of an American invasion of the Home Islands? What tactics and strategies did they adopt to hopefully wrench a draw from sure defeat? What were they willing to sacrifice, and why? Be sure to explore the use of kamikaze, tactics for the “defense” of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, preparations for an invasion, and efforts to secure a brokered peace through the Soviet Union. What were the actual realities of the situation for Japan in summer 1945 due to the unrestricted bombing campaign and blockade? What issue proved more immediate in bringing Japan to surrender: the use of the atomic bomb, the Soviet declaration of war, or the threat of internal revolt if the war went on much longer?
Each essay should be of 2-3 pages.
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