We certainly would not have used the bomb on Japan if the Vice President in 1944 had remained on the ticket for the 1945 term. Socialist-leaning VP Henry Wallace was deliberately dumped from the 1944 ticket by corporate and establishment party interests because the insiders knew just how sick FDR was, and that he most certainly would not live to complete another four-year term. They didn’t know that FDR would only live 82 days into his fourth term. Henry Wallace was second only to FDR in his popularity in the U. S. as a political leader, and would certainly have been re-nominated for VP had it not been for the efforts of the party boss’ to oust him in favor of a little-known Midwestern Senator from a machine organization, Harry Truman. Someone they could control. That is what it came down to, and that is what happened. The 1950’s would have looked very different under a President Wallace. In addition to not using the Bomb, he certainly would have opposed Republican efforts to roll back labor rights (Taft-Hartely Act), and pushed back against the growing Red scare, McCarthyism and the growing cold-war. Instead, not only was Wallace booted from the ticket, official history has pretty much erased him from the national conscience. Progressives should know more about him, and how he could have made our lives much better than they currently are.
Those bombs were dropped to scare the Russians, who already knew they existed. A massive, completely wasteful arms race was the result. Truman didn’t get any real details until the plans were in place to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While there was a “plan” for the invasion of Japan, that would not have been likely, as there were over a million Allied(American) deaths predicted. There was a big scandal at the Smithsonian back in the 90s about how to present the bombings; I don’t recall how that was dealt with.My dad, a Korean War veteran, always said that MacArthur wanted to nuke North Korea, but I’m not sure he(MacArthur) would have done it. It would have been a different world and country if Henry Wallace succeeded FDR.
"Seven of the United States’ eight five-star Army and Navy officers in 1945 agreed with the Navy’s vitriolic assessment. Generals Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and Henry “Hap” Arnold and Admirals William Leahy, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and William Halsey are on record stating that the atomic bombs were either militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible, or both." (from this article)
Truman jumped to his feet and shook hands with the messenger. “Captain,” the President said, “this is the greatest thing in history! Show it to the Secretary of State.”
The whole “Japan just wanted to keep the Emperor” argument is missing some subtleties. Mainly that the initial offers from Japan included the demand that the Emperor retain his imperial prerogatives which by implication included the power to declare war. Good point about Manchuria, but the rapid success of the Manchurian campaign was not a testimony to broken resolve on the part of Japan it was a testimony of Soviet power. In fact I think it may have been a factor in the organizing NATO. Once again we’re confronted with that tragedy of human existence that life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forward
You sure about that?
Google “Where I was wrong” by Henry Wallace, “This Week” magazine Sept 7 1952
Excellent point. I’ve often speculated, as you have here, how events would have transpired had Wallace succeeded FDR and not Truman. Indeed, would Wallace have signed into law the National Security Act of 1947? That is a juicy piece of legislation that, along with all its ramifications, got glossed over in any US history class I took in school, if it was even mentioned at all.
I’m not familiar with Martin Sherwin’s work, but Gar Alperovitz is phenomenal on the topic of the US crimes against humanity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and with respect to working to bring democratic, just, and sustainable practices into social, economic, and political structures.
Clearly Truman is a war criminal. The fact that the Democrat Party continues to refuse to condemn his actions, is reflective of the threat they continue to pose to humanity and the need to abolish the Party along with the neo-fascist organized crime syndicate know as the Republican Party.
Someone who has studied the topic has concluded that the real motive was one of scientific experimentation.
The fact that two bombs were dropped, however – without warning – on specifically targeted and crowded locations which had been spared aerial bombardment; the fact that each bomb had different technology (one uranium-explosion; one plutonium-implosion), each with different yields, dropped at different heights but both resulting in prolonged and deadly after-effects of which little was understood, suggests the conclusion that the primary motives might have been the seldom mentioned (almost unmentionable) one of “scientific” experimentation.
Interesting, have never seen that before. He had also been a republican in his early years, apparently he was ideology all over the place.
Motives mentioned are not mutually exclusive.
Thanks so much also to Rick Casey for the lead to the link
Google “Where I was wrong” by Henry Wallace, “This Week” magazine Sept 7 1952
Much to discuss, TOWN HALL style, if only we had Public Interest broadcast access instead of corporate-capture of our airwaves and major cyber platforms. With Pay2Play internet access a forgone conclusion as only EFF is out there activating for U.S. to join the rest of the better connected world o woe (municipally so with federal funding as a necessity of an educated and competitive body politic).
Keep on doing, digging and communicating
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Scott Riitter has (another) excellent article on ConsortiumNews about this very topic - specifically using the bomb as an act of Foreign Policy to influence the Russians.
For those that have Netflix, a good source of info on Wallace can be found in Oliver Stone’s “The Untold History of the United States” (12 1-hr episodes). After Stone has been on a few podcasts recently (Joe Rogan, Michael Moore), I’m reminded that I never finished this series - I’ll probably start over from the beginning where I remember discussion of Wallace. Also The Real News had some great conversations a few years ago, but I don’t have links to them (but I see one at ~https://therealnews.com/tag/henry-wallace - I thought there were more, but that looks like the main one).
If you want to know what the American Left at the time thought of Henry Wallace use the Marxist Archive search facility, a very rich resource website, providing a wealth of information
MacArthur is one of those “military heroes” along with Patton and Eisenhower who were culpable in the suppression of war veterans in the 1932 Bonus Army protest. And of course FDR later gave his stamp of approval to the repression.
Retired Marine Corps Gen. Smedley Butler came to speak to the marchers:
“You have just as much right to have a lobby here as any steel corporation. Makes me so damn mad, a whole lot of people speak of you as tramps. By God, they didn’t speak of you as tramps in 1917 and '18.”
I read that thanks to one military person with knowledge of the importance of Kyoto , that the military decided not to bomb Kyoto. But the military today—oh they would have bombed Kyoto I guess Nagasaki got it instead. I aIso read that the Russians were in to bat cIean -up so to speak----but Truman— decided otherwise----what a sad choice—pIus he gave us bombing to death North Korea too—how many peopIe can we drown when a dam expIodes? …America has a Iot of bad karma buiIt up—are we close to expIoding yet?
Yes, the “cold war” was unnecessary.
Should the United States have trusted Stalin or any Soviet leader at any time to do what he says? Putin is also still a Soviet who has lamented the downfall of that empire. Depend on Soviets intent on world domination to protect American lives? Truman made the correct choice.
American propaganda is not as strong as it used to be.
The whole “Japan just wanted to keep the Emperor” argument is missing some subtleties. Mainly that the initial offers from Japan included the demand that the Emperor retain his imperial prerogatives which by implication included the power to declare war.
Funny thing, though: when Japan announced its unconditional surrender on Aug. 15,
the U.S. agreed to retention of the emperor. So that was not a real obstacle
– if the U.S. had genuinely wanted to end the war promptly.