“Decision To Use The Atom Bomb, Morton, Last 7 pages” Kayla Mizelle

Louis Morton in his Article, “The Decision To Use The Atom Bomb” discusses the necessity of dropping an atom bomb on Japan in August of 1945. Morton makes an argument that the war was thought to be over by that time. He argues that by this time the air bombardment, naval bombardment, and the entrance of the Soviet Union had essentially scared the Japanese into surrender. He also points out that Japanese could not reach an agreement both before and after they dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima. He argues that it was only after they dropped a bomb on Nagasaki that the Emperor orders his men to surrender on what ever terms. He argues that an Emperor wouldn’t ever do this unless he was desperate. Morton points out that Nagasaki was not the intended point of target, he says, “The objective was Kokura, the date August 9. But the plane carrying the bomb failed to make its run over the primary target and hit the secondary target, Nagasaki, instead.85 The next day Japan sued for peace.” [1]

Morton hints in the article that it was possibly unnecessary to drop the bombs in the first place. He claims that at this time the Japanese were almost spent. He sets up an alternative history than most people accept. Most people were taught and believe that the Japanese were ruthless fighters that would never surrender. To an extent Morton would agree, however, he really argues that in the pre bomb days they were organizing a surrender but could not come to terms with an agreement. Morton writes, “In this atmosphere, the leaders of Japan held a series of meetings on August 9, but were unable to come to agreement. In the morning came word of the fate of Nagasaki… Finally, the Emperor took the unprecedented step of calling an Imperial Conference, which lasted until 3 o’clock the next morning. When it, too, failed to produce agreement the Emperor told his ministers that he wished the war brought to an end.”[2] In my opinion, Morton makes afflictions that I see value in. I hadn’t ever heard anything other than the textbook history that we had to drop the atom bomb. I didn’t even know that the Soviets had planned to invade Japan. I do know that from World War II history that the Soviets were pretty much obliterated militarily after the battle of Stalingrad so history may be very different if they had invaded. Regardless I feel that Morton’s version of this history is very interesting and he has convincing evidence that supports his hypothesis.

[1]. Morton, Louis. “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb”. Vol. 35. Council on Foreign Relations .http://www.jstor.org/stable/20031230 p. 351

[2]. “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” p.353

Word Count: 453

  1 comment for ““Decision To Use The Atom Bomb, Morton, Last 7 pages” Kayla Mizelle

  1. hryan
    September 8, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Who thought the war was over by then?

    It’s very important that you bring up Morton’s point about, as you say, the “ruthless” Japanese. This is the predominant narrative Americans learn but what do you think Japanese history has to say on it? Many modern historians reject this justification for dropping the bomb, saying it was built on and continues to contribute to harmful racial stereotypes. If anything, it’s a reminder of the importance that culture plays in historical interpretation.
    -HR

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