stalin etc

M A Jones mark at
Mon Aug 9 01:52:18 MDT 1999

Jose G. Perez wrote:

>What the
> Americans wanted --and it was the Americans calling the shots--, was
> unconditional surrender and unconditional acceptance of occupation.
> But the Japanese rulers still harbored hopes --illusions, really-- that
> United States might accept a negotiated end to the conflict, given the
> tremendous cost/difficulty of an invasion of Japan. I think the Japanese
> rulers by then had amply demonstrated that they were willing to sacrifice
> the lives of millions of Japanese toilers for the sake of empire.

since you're away I'm copying this to you personally. Hope that's OK. I'm
not sure where you're getting this from but with respect, it's surely wrong.
Firstly, there is no such thing as a *non-negotiated unconditional
surrender*. There is always some form of dialogue, which always takes the
form of a negotiation, to begin with about the details of the actual process
of surrender, which is never a simple thing, since it involves the question
of who will communicate with troops, who in the defeated power has
authority or is the successor to the state, and who among them will be
acknowledged as having authority by their own troops, and on what terms will
the victor power affirm their authority. Even in the 'non-negotiable' end of
the little local Kosovo difficulty, there were several days of hard
negotiations between the Serbs and Nato. In Germany in 1945
the Doenitz group managed to acquire certain trappings of power
thru this process of of 'negotiated unconditional surrender', and for
six weeks or more, British occupation troops had to salute Nazi
officers serving Doenitz, who were moving around freely and acting
as members of the first postwar German government. This continued until
outrage in Allied states at the discoveries in Treblinka, Auschwitz etc,
forced the Allies to close down the Doeintz 'government' - and that was  a
headache for the west, which even then was *negotiating* to take over former
Nazi assets such as rocket technology, the Gehlen operation etc. Exactly the
same process went on in Japan: the Americans *negotiated* for a whole range
of things including for example, amnesty to scientists who'd experiments on
humans (including US POWs at the Harbin biological warfare facility; these
Japanese scientists received their freedom in exchange for information). The
Japanese successfully negotiated for the preservation of their state and its
epicentre, the Emperor: this was a not-inconsiderable achievement in the
circumstances. Hardly illusory. But in any case, this is still not quite the
point, which is that the Japanese had been trying to talk with the Americans
about precisely these issues for several weeks and were rebuffed until
the two bombs were set off.

The Americans were in a furious hurry to drop them, not just because
they wanted peace before the Red Army arrived in Tokyo, but also because
they were afraid that at any moment the Japanese government might pre-empt
them by simply announcing on the radio their unconditional surrender, after
which it might have been more difficult to justify the militarily pointless
massacre of hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens, a war crime
by any test (but still not impossible one supposes).

And in fact the Japanese would have done exactly that, and gone on
the radio, since the Americans refused to pick up the phone.
The only thing that prevented them was the realisation
that since the troops swore personal oaths to the Emperor, his voice alone
might serve to persuade them to lay down their arms; it was getting the
Emperor to the microphone which caused the problem. The fact is that the
Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki not because they had to but because
they wanted to. Yesterday I caught an interview on BBC TV with a B-29 pilot
who said that 'hundred of Japanese' had said to him over the years how
grateful they were that the Enola Gay arrived on 6 August 1945, because
otherwise their leaders would have had them dying by millions fighting in
the streets: I was astounded by this doublethink, but I find it hard to
believe that many Japanese really believe such easily-disprovable nonsense.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, as you say, war crimes;
they were also terrifying evidence of the utter cynicism and ruthlessness
of American imperialism, and the intended audience was in the Kremlin.
Since the Soviets had seen at first hand, the US refusal to talk to
the Japanese about the terms of their 'unconditional' surrender, they were
left in
no doubt that the Americans were ready to use these weapons under any
circumstances and unlawfully, just as Hitler's attack in 1941 was unlawful.
That was the intended lesson.

Mark Jones

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