I don’t know about this “The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan” article in Foreign Policy.
Japanese culture and “European” culture are very different. Comparing how individual American presidents respond to crises with the way a group of Japanese did is comparing apples to some fruit Japanese people eat.
He repeatedly asserts that if the bombings had been the catalyst to surrender, then the Supreme Council would have rushed to meet after they were dropped, but didn’t.
First off, this assumes that Japanese leaders cared as much about civilian casualties than a US president would, which is doubtful. (See, “culture”, above.)
Finally, one other fact about timing creates a striking problem. On August 8, Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori went to Premier Suzuki Kantaro and asked that the Supreme Council be convened to discuss the bombing of Hiroshima, but its members declined. So the crisis didn’t grow day by day until it finally burst into full bloom on August 9. Any explanation of the actions of Japan’s leaders that relies on the “shock” of the bombing of Hiroshima has to account for the fact that they considered a meeting to discuss the bombing on August 8, made a judgment that it was too unimportant, and then suddenly decided to meet to discuss surrender the very next day. Either they succumbed to some sort of group schizophrenia, or some other event was the real motivation to discuss surrender.
Doesn’t the fact that the nation’s leaders didn’t feel like having a meeting after thousands of people had been incinerated give you a clue that “group something” — not schizophrenia — was a factor? Maybe the fucked up amoral Shinto religion and the whole country’s weird worldview?
To this day, Japan doesn’t seem to put out by being nuked (twice.) Once a year they have a little pity party. The rest of the time, they dress up like rockabilly schoolgirls and make cute little gadgets.
What this article succeeds in doing (accidentally, I guess) is confirm that the Japanese were pretty messed up people who didn’t think like we did and didn’t care if they died.
Rings a bell.