The “official version” – strongly backed by the American public, most politicians, and the soldiers and commanders in the Pacific theatre from 1945 to the present day – insisted that the only issue was that of obtaining unconditional Japanese surrender without further loss of American soldiers. The brutal battle for Okinawa, whose invasion exceeded the D-day landings in scale, had just been won. The exceptionally high casualties sustained in this operation, and the atrocities committed by both sides in this battle led American military leaders – up to and including President Truman himself – made them seek any feasible way to end the war in the Pacific without an invasion of the Japanese home islands. From this perspective, the use of the new atomic bomb to force a rapid Japanese surrender seemed a logical and necessary military action. Any moral qualms – and many were expressed by both scientists and civilians who seen or heard of the Trinity test – were drowned out by the universal anger at the growing body of evidence about Japanese atrocities against civilians and their brutal mistreatment of Allied prisoners. The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki on August 9 was followed by a rapid Japanese surrender, an apparent vindication of the bomb’s use in anger.


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