Saturday, November 10, 2007

Position Paper

The McCloy Compromise

The United States’ decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan at the end of World War II could have been avoided if certain conditions had been offered. U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy stated these positions: Tell the Japanese about the weapon and offer them a chance to keep their Emperor (Giovannitti and Freed 136).

The United States miscalculated their strategy with the Japanese by under-estimating their value of honor. The mention of a specific weapon and its terrible consequences would have sounded more respectable from a much-hated adversary than what appeared to be idle threats about “prompt and utter destruction” (Farrell). In addition to this, the allowance of the Emperor to rule what would soon become a conquered nation would assure the Japanese people that defeat by the Allied powers did not mean disrespect.

Even though many argue that a revelation of the atomic bomb to the Japanese would have spoiled the element of surprise, the value of surprise at this point of World War II is overstated. Shock was not wanting to a nation who, by this time, had experienced massive incendiary bombing raids—some which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in one night. These raids were predicted by Major General Curtis E. LeMay to, essentially, bring an end to the war by October of 1945 (Miller 329). After the dropping of the bomb, the war ended in September: one month earlier.

Although offering these particular conditions may not have guaranteed a Japanese surrender, their reasonability and simplicity make them worth the effort. The effort could have been one that saved hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from a horrifying death.

Works Cited

Farrell, Robert H., Ed. "Chapter 7: The Potsdam Declaration, July 26." Truman and the Bomb, a Documentary History. study_collections/bomb/ferrell_book/ferrell_book_chap7.htm.

Giovannitti, Len, and Fred Freed. The Decision To Drop the Bomb. New York: Coward McCann, Inc, 1965.

Miller, Donald L. D-Days in the Pacific. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005.

1 comment:

  1. Keep in mind that this is only a position that I took for this particular paper. I am not completely convinced of any position quite yet.