i Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, P89
iii Micheal Kort, The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb. New York: Colombia University Press, 2007 .P111
iv Micheal Kort, The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb. New York: Colombia University Press, 2007. P95
v Micheal Kort, The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb. New York: Colombia University Press, 2007. P 86
vi President Truman’s Address before a Joint Session of the Congress. April 16, 1945. https://www.trumanlibrary.org/ww2/stofunio.htm
vii Bernstein, Barton. “The Alarming Japanese Buildup on Southern Kyushi, Growing U.S. Fears, and Counterfactual Analysis: Would the planned November 1945 Invasion of Kyushu Have Occurred? The pacific Historical Review ( Nov. 1999)pp 568-9
viii Murray and Millett. A War to be Won. The end of the Asia-Pacific War. pp 520
ix Ibid. p520
x Bernstein, Barton. “The Alarming Japanese Buildup on Southern Kyushi, Growing U.S. Fears, and Counterfactual Analysis: Would the planned November 1945 Invasion of Kyushu Have Occurred? The pacific Historical Review ( Nov. 1999)pp 575
xi Ibid, P576
xii Ibdi, p 568
xiii Murray and Millett. A War to be Won. The end of the Asia-Pacific War. pp 520
xiv Micheal Kort, The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb. New York: Colombia University Press, 2007 .P103
xv Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, P89
xvi Evans and Peattie, Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy 1887-1941, P508
In a constantly changing world, technology superiority remains an obvious factor of progress for a nation but also play a great role in wartime. Thus, war and technology have always been linked very closely. From the earliest up to the end of the war, technology drove war without changing its essences. During the second world war, technological advances and innovation had significantly contributed to change the paradigm of the war for the benefit of Allies.In fact, military and civilian decision-makers were able to exploit those innovations in order to achieve their goals. Thus, during the first months of the Pacific war, the Japanese Imperial forces had dominated the Pacific war against US Navy through their technology superiority ( the Zero fighter and the G3M bomber)xvi and conquer most of its territorial objectives. But it was the technology who conduct Japan to his lost, because it did not have the same industrial capability and capacity as the United States did during the second world war. This technological advances lead the US to develop and implement the atomic bombs in Japan and end the war.
Military ” the realm of probability and chance depends on the particular character of the commander and the army”xv
In his memoirsvii, President Truman would admit that the decision to go nuclear was challenging, but it came out the best option as compared to Olympic and Coronet Operationsviii. However, the assumption made by US strategic planning was the war would end short of a full-scale invasion of Kyushu (codenamed Operation Olympic) in November and Honshu ( Operation Coronet) the following spring. Linked to operation Downfall, the two invasions would require landing forces of 1.3 million ground troops and the entire Pacific Fleet (over 400,000 sailors), slightly exceeding the size of the mid-1944 D-Day invasionix. The same time, secret US intelligence (ULTRA) was reporting about 300,000 Japanese troopsx on all Kyushu, and the growing redeployment of the Japanese divisions from Asia to the Home Islands, the combination of suicide squadrons of planes and boats. By mid-July, evidence of a continuing Japanese buildup was accumulating, suggesting higher US casualty rates. Japan now had over 440.000 men on all of Kyushuxi with strong defense capability. Faced with this level of defensive preparation, President Truman was slowly seizing control of military decisions when he decided to review the invasion strategyxii. Before taking any decision, estimates of casualty given to Truman were that both Olympic and Coronet would result based on the recent battle in the Pacific, might number as many as 500,000 total American casualtiesxiii. Hence, the use of the atomic bombs become a necessity to end the war as quickly as possible and without having to invade Japan. At the same time, it could prevent substantial loss of lives and ensures a total victory over Japan. So, his (Truman) decision was mainly based on the estimate of half a million-Allied casualties likely to be caused by invading the home island of Japanxiv. Since the others three elements of the DIME (Diplomatic, Information and Economic) did not work to terminate the war in the Pacific, the only remained solution was the use of the “superweapon” militarily. The military solution was interesting for at least three reasons: technological superiority, a tool to deliver a decisive knockout blow against an Imperial Japanese military but also an instrument of deterrence capability.
During the successful test of the atomic bomb at Alamogordo, Truman was in Potsdam to discuss with his counterparts Stalin and Churchill to decide the future of enemy nations. As he learned the news, the US president is aware of this “superweapon”iii and quickly understood the political (diplomatic) and military advantage it could provide. Its existence and highly destructive potential: would encourage Japan to accept the conditions of capitulation formulated at the Potsdam conferenceiv. In fact at the conference, allied had agreed on to impose a total defeat and “unconditional surrender”v on the axis forces. As he (Truman ) declared to Congress on April 16, 1945, that: “the United States would never become a party to any plan for the partial victory”vi. It is clear that the United States would use this new technology if necessary to end the war against the Japanese if they would not accept the unconditional surrender. Faced with the Japanese refusal and unwillingness to surrender on terms even remotely accepted by its allies and United State, President Truman had little choice than to use the atomic bombs.
On the government side, let’s recall that President Truman was in office less than three months when he validated the order to drop this new weapon. President Harry Truman assume office following the death of Roosevelt. Upon assuming the presidency, Truman and his administration faced a series of monumental challenges and decisions.
Clausewitz’ writings on warfare have taught military professionals that war is a ”trinity of violence, chance and reason”ii.The use of the atomic bomb as a reprisal against Japan after the Pearl Harbor incident validated the definition of Clausewitz. If it is true that this framework provides a solid foundation to back America’s decision to use the bomb as the best course of action, the other version of the same concept of the Trinity provides a richer explanation to the decision. The fact of the matter is that the termination of the war, through the use of the nuclear weapon, happened to maintain a balance among the elements of this alternative concept – government, people, and military.
The Government: “The instrument of policy that Makes it subject to reason alone”i
A close analysis of World War II suggests that the dropping of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima was the best strategic course of action Americans could have used to terminate the Pacific War. Such a reflection is supported by the fact that the recourse to the atomic weapon solved two questions. First, Americas and their allies would put an end to a conflict in a quick manner and second, this would occur without claiming lives of soldiers sent to the battlefield or additional financial resources. Most importantly, a review of domestic politics that prevailed in the US before this historical use of atomic bombs shows that it was a decision which brought about a sense of consensus among all elements of Clausewitz triangle. In fact, the government, the citizenry and the military were all in agreement on that matter. However, a point can be made that the same political objective could have been reached with others means in order to neutralize the center of gravity of Japanese forces. This argument fails to consider that, because America had reached a point in the war where it was financially and militarily exhausted, nothing was more worthy than a quick and decisive termination of the war.