14

Why was it done?

The war might have ended weeks earlier, he [MacArthur] said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.
Norman Cousins [307, p. 71]

Several hypothetical motives for staging the ‘atomic’ bombings are considered. The most widely espoused motive—namely, shocking Japan into surrender—is rejected for the following reasons:

  1. Japan was not surprised but colluded in the bombings, and
  2. Japan had long been ready to surrender on terms similar to those implemented after the war.

The alternate explanation that the bombings were staged in order to intimidate Stalin is dismissed, not only because Stalin was not intimidated, but also because such a plan could not even have been expected to work.

We propose that the ‘atomic’ bombings were acts of state terror, directed at the international general public: general fear of impending nuclear war should induce the people to voluntarily surrender their national sovereignty and submit to a world government. The motives behind this plan and the reasons for its failure are examined.

Having surveyed the available evidence, we assert that the ‘nuclear’ bombings were faked, in a manner that at this point does not need to be repeated. The one remaining question then of course is: Why?

14.1

The object was not to obtain Japan’s surrender

Conventional historiography maintains that the atomic bombings were carried out for shock effect—Japan, which was refusing to give up, was in this manner to be shocked into surrender, so that America would be spared the need to invade the Japanese home islands and the attendant losses. We reject this motive for two reasons:

  1. It is incompatible with the thesis of this book. As was argued in Section 13.3, the Japanese actively colluded in staging the bombings and in managing their aftermath, and they can therefore not have been surprised by them.
  2. Japan had been looking for ways out of the war since 1944 at the latest. As of early 1945, America’s leadership was thoroughly informed of this, and indeed many persons of high rank, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former president Herbert Hoover, implored Truman to realize the opportunity and conclude peace without delay.

The second reason does not depend on the fraudulent nature of the bombings, and accordingly it has been argued by several mainstream historians. The most thorough treatment has been given by Alperovitz [53]; his book, being more recent than most similar works, also benefits from access to a greater number of declassified documents. We will here only quote a few illustrative excerpts, mostly from Alperovitz’ book; readers who remain unconvinced by these are encouraged to peruse his very comprehensive treatise for themselves.

14.1.1

Indications of Japanese readiness for peace negotiations

Throughout most of the Pacific War, American intelligence was able to decode internal Japanese communications; the crucial role of this ability in America’s resounding naval victory at Midway is well known. One report on the contents of such decoded cables, which was prepared in the War Department on August 11th 1944, contains the following statements [53, p. 23]:

Foreign Minister Shigemitsu has instructed Ambassador Sato [in Moscow] to find out whether Russia is willing to assist in bringing about a negotiated peace. Shigemitsu’s instructions, although cautiously worded, clearly imply that he has in mind a move by Russia to initiate peace discussions between Japan and the Anglo-Americans. …  It seems hardly likely that he would have taken such a step without having consulted at least some of the more important members of the new Japanese Cabinet. This is the first time that the Japanese have been willing to suggest to Russia directly that they are ready for peace.

Shigemitsu’s message to the ambassador, which is appended to the report, is quoted as follows:

In the Pacific, the American offensive is becoming violent. The enemy has already broken into our territorial waters and by means of absolute superiority on the sea and in the air is steadily drawing nearer to our homeland itself with the intention of severing our sea communications and destroying our shore installations. This situation will become increasingly serious as Germany’s military strength diminishes.

This quote implies that Shigemitsu has been given a realistic assessment of Japan’s strategic situation by the country’s military leadership. The latter is often alleged to have concealed the true state of affairs from the civilian government, and to have obstructed any and all peace efforts. We will not examine the extent of such obstruction in detail, but simply note that it had apparently ceased as of April 1945. A planning document prepared at this time in the Imperial General Headquarters contains the following statement [53, p. 116]:

The Greater East Asiatic War has now reached such critical point [that] it was [sic] definitely beyond the power of military strategy alone to save the situation.

Japanese peace initiatives continued. On January 30th 1945, the OSS informed the State Department of talks between the Japanese government and the Vatican, with a view to having the Pope act as an intermediary between the warring parties. Further ‘peace feelers’ were extended through Japan’s diplomatic missions in Sweden, Switzerland, and also the Soviet Union. In March 1945, a new government was formed in Tokyo, which was led by Admiral Kantaro Suzuki. American naval intelligence officer Captain Ellis Zacharias [308] had predicted exactly this move even in 1944 and interpreted it as a sign that Japan was willing to give up.

14.1.2

Herbert Hoover’s failed effort to facilitate peace negotiations

Historian Jacques de Launay [309] asserts that Admiral Suzuki was a personal friend of former U.S. president Herbert Hoover, and that upon the formation of Suzuki’s government Hoover promptly approached Roosevelt and later Truman to facilitate negotiations; receiving, however, no useful reply from either. The memo which he presented in May 1945 to Truman makes the following arguments to suggest that negotiations with the Japanese appeared promising at this time and should be tried [53, p. 43]:

  1. [(a)] The appointment of Suzuki, a one-time anti-militarist elder statesman, as Prime Minister;
  2. The desire of the Japanese to preserve the Mikado [Emperor] who is the spiritual head of the nation;
  3. The sense they showed after the Russo-Japanese war [of 1905] of making peace before Russia organized her full might;
  4. The fear of complete destruction which by now they must know is their fate;
  5. The fact that there is a large middle class in Japan … they gave full cooperation in peaceful forces of the world. That this group again exert itself is the only hope of stable and progressive government.

Also illuminating in this context is a conversation between Hoover and General Douglas MacArthur of early May 1946. Alperovitz quotes from Hoover’s diary [53, p. 350 f]:

I told MacArthur of my memorandum of mid-May 1945 to Truman, that peace could be had with Japan by which our major objectives would be accomplished. MacArthur said that was correct and that we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria.

14.1.3

American, not Japanese intransigence led to the ‘atomic’ bombings

Truman inherited the formula of ‘unconditional surrender’ from Roosevelt, who had initially pronounced it in 1943 at Casablanca. His proclamation was received with widespread consternation; many saw that this inflexible posture could not but prolong the war, leaving the Axis powers no choice but fight on to utter exhaustion. It is noteworthy that many of America’s military leaders, and in particular the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to persuade Truman to drop this demand vis-a-vis Japan. The Joint Chiefs thought of Emperor Hirohito as an asset, considering him uniquely able to ensure the peaceful acquiescence of his loyal subjects in and after the surrender. Accordingly, retaining Hirohito was not only in Japan’s but also in America’s best interest; and extending the appropriate guarantees might bring the war to a speedy end. When Truman did not heed them, the Joint Chiefs approached their British counterparts to please ask Churchill if he would plead their case with Truman. Churchill obliged, but to no avail [53, p. 246 f].

Truman throughout held firm in demanding unconditional surrender right up to and including the Potsdam ultimatum, which was issued less than two weeks before the Hiroshima bombing (and one day after the bombing itself was purportedly ordered by him). The Joint Chief’s pragmatic strategy of using rather than ousting Hirohito did of course prevail in the event, after Japan’s ostensibly unconditional surrender.

This brief sketch may suffice to show that not Japan but the U.S. dragged out the war for as long as it lasted. Nobody has summed this up more succinctly than ‘straight shooter’ Harry Truman himself [53, p. 537]:

It was because of the unconditional surrender policy against Japan that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out.

14.1.4

The atomic bombings were not staged to let Japan ‘save face’

The evidence of early and continued Japanese readiness for negotiations also disposes of another explanatory myth—namely, that the atomic bombings were necessary to give the Japanese a way to ‘save face’ in surrender; the idea being that, while surrendering to the enemy was inherently shameful, there would be no disgrace in submitting to the ‘force of ten thousand suns’.

This explanation pictures the Japanese as uniquely, irrationally obsessed with honor—nay, not with honor, but only with its false appearance; for what could have been more dishonorable for valorous Japanese men than to sacrifice their women and children, in a cynical and macabre stage play, only to obscure their own responsibility for the defeat?

Not a few high-ranking Japanese soldiers, among them minister of war General Anami, committed ritual suicide after the surrender as a personal penance for their failure to protect the country. Whatever we may think of these men’s role in history, their ability to tell true honor from false cannot be in doubt.

14.2

The purpose of the fake bombings was not to intimidate Stalin

Another school of thought starts from the premise that American leaders were aware of Japan’s readiness to surrender on terms that also suited them, and it therefore looks for another motive for the atomic bombings. These historians, among them Alperovitz, posit that the true purpose was to subdue Stalin, whose tightening grip on Eastern Europe and ambitions in East Asia were troubling the Americans and the British.

14.2.1

American and British failure at Potsdam

Adduced in support are several statements by Truman and by his war secretary Stimson, both of whom reacted with elation to Groves’ report on the great success of the first ‘nuclear’ detonation at Alamogordo. On hearing the news while attending the Potsdam conference [53, p. 252],

Stimson … was momentarily so moved by the initial indications of its power that he advised Truman the weapon might enable the United States to force the Soviet Union to abandon or radically alter its entire system of government.

Stimson’s diary records Churchill’s impressions of how the Alamogordo report affected Harry Truman’s posture in the negotiations [53, p. 260]:

“Now I know what happened to Truman yesterday. I couldn’t understand it. When he got to the meeting after having read this report he was a changed man. He told the Russians just where they got on and off and generally bossed the whole meeting.” Churchill said he now understood how this pepping up had taken place and that he felt the same way. His own attitude confirmed this admission.

After one of the sessions at Potsdam, Truman walked up to Stalin to tell him about the new weapon, but in a deliberately casual manner. Stalin apparently betrayed no particular impression or emotion; Churchill, who was looking on, remained in doubt as to whether Stalin had even understood Truman’s meaning. In any event, Stalin was certainly not at all intimidated by the revelation. Charles de Gaulle, who did not participate in the conference, commented as follows on its outcome [310, p. 230 f]:

Once the communiqué published by the conference appeared, we learned that it had concluded in a kind of uproar. Despite the wealth of conciliation lavished by Mr. Truman, despite Mr. Churchill’s vehement protest, Generalissimo Stalin had agreed to no compromises of any kind … the totalitarian character of the Warsaw government was in no way diminished … In regard to Asia, Stalin … managed to obtain for Russia the Kurile Archipelago and half of Sakhalin … [dominance over North] Korea … Outer Mongolia … the Generalissimo promised not to intervene in China’s internal affairs, but he was nonetheless to furnish the support and arms to Mao Tse-tung’s Communists which were soon to permit them to seize the country.

Truman may have expected that the results of the Potsdam conference could swiftly be overturned on the strength of the ‘atomic’ bomb’s use in ‘combat’. On the day of Nagasaki’s destruction [53, p. 266],

President Truman declared of Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary that ‘These nations are not to be spheres of influence of any one power.’

On its face, such a calculation on Truman’s part would support Alperovitz’ case that he ordered the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to put Stalin in his place and wring from him the concessions which he had withheld at Potsdam. The problem is, of course, that the gambit did not work—the Soviets gave up neither the three countries named by Truman nor any other of their postwar acquisitions. In short, Stalin called Truman’s bluff and got away with it. What are we to make of these puzzling proceedings?

14.2.2

Who was being fooled?

If we assume that the bombings which were to take place shortly after Potsdam would be faked, then we must wonder how much each of the negotiating parties knew about this at the time. Concerning Truman and his associates, there seem to be two possibilities:

  1. Truman, Stimson, and Churchill knew that the bombings would be a bluff, but they feigned their way through the negotiations in order to keep Stalin in the dark and thereby extract concessions from him.
  2. They were honestly deceived, at least for the time being—rather than playacting, they were themselves being played by those who had organized the fraud.185

The palpable change in attitude displayed by Truman on receiving word of the Alamogordo test, and particularly also Churchill’s reaction, appear to favor the second alternative—grotesque as it may seem that the ‘leaders of the free world’ would be made fools of in such an egregious manner. It is noteworthy that Truman during this time was strongly influenced by his Secretary of State James F. Byrnes. When dismissing Byrnes in 1947, Truman accused him of ‘duplicity’ at Potsdam and of presuming to run the presidency over his head [53, p. 240]. According to Alperovitz, it was Byrnes who prevailed upon Truman to reject any and all proposals put to him by his subordinates for coming to terms with the Japanese before the ‘nuclear’ bombings. If indeed Byrnes represented a party that wished to stage the bombings for its own ends, but needed the president to take responsibility for it, then persuading Truman of their value as instruments of domination over the Soviets would have been a very clever ruse.

How much did Stalin know? It is of course extremely unlikely that he was deceived by the hoax for any length of time. If there is any truth at all to the lurid tales of atomic espionage—most of which, however, were cut from whole cloth, according to a contemporaneous book [311]—Stalin would have known the true state of nuclear weapons development as of 1945. Even if this source of information had failed him, the up to 400 officials in the Soviet embassy at Tokyo shortly after the war [304, p. 50] would most likely have soon found out what really had occurred in the two stricken cities.

That Stalin saw through the scam while at Potsdam or soon after explains the failure of the stratagem which, according to Alperovitz, had motivated the bombings. This outcome was of course inevitable; the perpetrators of the scam cannot seriously have expected anything else, nor could they have hoped to keep the truth for long from any other government which had a well-functioning secret service at its disposal.

14.3

The faked nuclear bombings as terror acts

We are thus left with the conclusion that the bombings were faked to stun and horrify a party without the means to see through the deception—a party with no secret service to provide it with reliable information and to protect it from being misled by the gruesome stage play. Since this rules out major state actors, the only plausible alternative is that the fraud was aimed at humanity at large—the bombings should be understood as two particularly vile and violent acts of state terrorism, disguised as ‘military combat’.

14.3.1

What was the motive behind the terror attacks?

Readers prepared to seriously consider the main thesis of this book are likely to have seen through the true nature, actors, and purpose of the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001. Those who have not can find out more from David Ray Griffin’s excellent book 9/11 Ten years later: when state crimes against democracy succeed [312]. However, they might for the moment accept the verdict of former Italian head of state Francesco Cossiga, who declared in 2007 with respect to a certain video that had surfaced in Italy [313]:186

… the non-authenticity of the video is evidenced by the fact that Osama Bin Laden in it ‘confesses’ that Al-Qaeda was the author of the September 11 attack on the two towers in New York, while all democratic circles in America and Europe … know that the disastrous attack was planned and carried out by the American CIA and Mossad with the help of the Zionist world to accuse the Arab countries and to induce the Western powers to intervene both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Having concluded that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terror acts in the same vein as ‘9/11’, we must look for the motive behind them. An important clue comes from the nuclear fear propaganda that sprang up soon afterwards. The people of the world, deeply traumatized by the war which had just ended, were told that even worse was soon to come—unless, that is, they accepted without delay the only possible solution: submission to a brand-new, benevolent, and unified world government that would henceforth guarantee eternal peace. This idea is captured in the title of the propaganda booklet One World Or None: A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb [289], a collection of essays advancing the scheme by leading scientists, several of whom took part in the ‘Manhattan Project’ and must be suspected of being in on the ‘nuclear’ scam. The following quote by one of them, Leo Szilard, captures the tenor of the book:

The issue that we have to face is not whether we can create a world government before this century is over. That appears to be very likely. The issue that we have to face is whether we can have such a world government without going through a third world war. What matters is to create at once conditions in which the ultimate establishment of a world government will appear as inevitable to most men as war appears inevitable at present to many.

You may have heard that it was Szilard, together with Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller, who had penned the famous ‘Einstein’ letter which was used to persuade Roosevelt of the atomic bomb’s necessity. Thus, we see him involved first with the inauguration of the ‘Manhattan Project’ and now also with the political hay-making after its fraudulent ‘triumph’. Nor was the world government agenda merely the obsession of a small circle of atomic scientists spooked by the awesome power of their own creations. It translated into specific policy proposals and diplomatic initiatives; for a while, it topped the agenda of the newly founded United Nations.

14.3.2

“World government is aim of imperialists.”

If world government was promoted by influential circles, why did the campaign fail in the event? As one might surmise, foiling the plan fell to the Soviets. Their dim view of the idea is spelled out in a 1947 article by Sergei Vavilov and three other prominent Russian scientists [314], presented as an ‘open letter to Dr. Einstein’, then a prominent and active promoter of world government. In a part of this letter, under the subheading “World government is aim of imperialists,” they argue:

First of all the ideas of “world government” and “super state” are not at all a product of the “atom age.” … It is enough to recall they have already been promoted at the origin of the League of Nations.

Furthermore in the present historic epoch such ideas were never progressive. They reflected the fact that capitalist monopolies which are dominant in the principal industrial countries … need world markets, world sources of raw materials and regions for investment capital.187 Domination of monopolies in political life and in the state machine of great powers permits use of this machine for their struggle for spheres of influence and for economic and political enslavement of foreign countries …

[T]he ideologists of imperialism are trying to discredit the very idea of national sovereignty. In doing so they often advance pompous plans of “world state” which would allegedly do away with imperialism, wars, enmity between nations, would secure realization of all human laws, etc. …

This is the road to unlimited expansion of American imperialism and this is the way to disarm ideologically peoples who are defending their independence.

In short, world government, while fobbed off by its promoters as mankind’s only hope of survival in the ‘atomic age’, is depicted by these scientists as a new, worldwide colonial empire in disguise, dominated no longer by the British, who had effectively—and, it would seem, conveniently—lost their empire as a consequence of the war, but by American and international capital.

As the ‘atomic’ bombings had been fraudulent, so were the breathless portents of doom by Szilard, Einstein, and other boosters of world government. In contrast, while the four Soviet scientists quoted above can be assumed to have cleared their statements with the politburo, we have no reason to doubt their sincerity, nor does their argument give us cause to question their good sense.

14.4

Two competing views on modern history

The view of Western politics taken by the four Soviet scientists—namely, that the political life and ‘the state machines’ of ‘great powers’ have been subverted by monopolies—contrasts starkly with that of mainstream Western historiography. The latter, as a rule, admits as actors only national governments and their leaders, who pursue the best interests of their nations and their own ambitions, in varying proportion. Except in the politics of admitted ‘banana republics’, the role of financial and industrial interests and monopolies is rarely acknowledged or even mentioned. Which view is right? If capitalist interests do not figure in the history books, should we follow suit and dismiss them?

Let us examine the staged ‘atomic’ bombings, and their wider context, through the lens of national self-interest—in particular, American and British self-interest, since these two powers were ostensibly among the war’s victors and thus should have seen to it that their national interests were realized.

14.4.1

The war, the faked ‘atomic’ bombings, and the American and British national interest

The observation is not novel that all Great Britain got in return for its insistence on triggering a world war over the German-Polish conflict was to be deprived of its colonial empire, and also a demotion from a great power to a middling one. It is noteworthy that the loss of the empire was due to extortion on the part of Britain’s American ‘ally’.

While it can be argued that America emerged from the war with much enhanced stature and power, entering the war was certainly not willed by the American people; Roosevelt himself won reelection in 1940 by promising “again and again” that he would not send America’s young men into the war. As to the ‘nuclear’ bombings and the national interest, we can defer to General MacArthur: concluding peace months earlier would have been possible and “avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria.”

Aside from aiding Soviet expansion and increasing the body count of American soldiers, the ‘atomic’ bombings affected the American psyche in a manner not to be taken lightly. If Japan got to play the victim, America had to portray the ignoble perpetrator. To assuage its guilty conscience, the convenient myth was created that the bombs had shortened the war and saved many lives, which was of course the exact opposite of the truth.

Other than these feelings of guilt and the lies needed to numb them, the American people’s only reward for their prolonged sacrifice was that, instead of being left alone to enjoy the peace when finally it came, they were transported instantly from the past war’s sorrows to fear and dread of even more terrible bloodshed about to begin.

We could go on—the nuclear scare whipped up after the fake atomic bombs birthed the Cold War, with its vast expenditures on the ‘military-industrial complex’; this treasure could have been spent in other ways, to greater benefit for civilian society.

14.4.2

Beyond the horizon

However, it should be sufficiently clear that any attempt to fit the story of the ‘atomic’ bombings into a framework of sound national self-interest is doomed to fail. Just as there is no nation state that can plausibly be named as the real target of the atomic hoax, so it is with the real perpetrator: the ostensible culprit, America, had no motive. If we insist, like many historians do, on granting agency in matters of peace and war only to national governments which pursue the national interest, we will not make sense of these events.

This brings us back to the point of view espoused by Vavilov and his colleagues. Most history books never mention their postulated “domination of monopolies in political life and in the state machine.” Is it possible nevertheless to find connections between such capitalist interests, the ‘atomic’ bombs, and the world government scheme?

The ‘Einstein’ letter was conveyed and pitched to Roosevelt by Alexander Sachs, a very wealthy Wall Street banker. Another financial tycoon, Bernard Baruch, was close to James F. Byrnes, who steered Truman through the rising tide of peace proposals to a successful conclusion of the atomic hoax; apparently going so far as keeping him deceived about the hoax as such—a rather brazen case of presidential puppetry.

Whether Baruch was indeed the gray eminence whose cover gave Byrnes such disproportionate influence over his peers and over Truman himself we do not know; there are, however, indications of Baruch’s considerable sway in government affairs. As an example, consider the following quote from the diary of James Forrestal [315, p. 347]:

Had lunch with B. M. Baruch. … He took the line of advising me not to be active in this particular matter and that I was already identified, to a degree that was not in my own interests, with opposition to the United Nations policy on Palestine.

The conversation took place on February 3rd, 1948. Baruch had at this time already resigned from his post at the U.N. (see below) and had no official role in government. And yet, he is seen here warning a government minister off the premises like a schoolboy. Forrestal took the hint.

Baruch had himself served as a presidential advisor to Roosevelt on economic measures to support the war effort. After the war, Truman appointed him as the U.S. representative in the newly created United Nations Atomic Energy Commission. On presenting to the United Nations the ‘Baruch Plan’ for an international ban on nuclear weapons, he outed himself as a lover of peace and enthusiast of world government:

We are here to make a choice between the quick and the dead. That is our business. Behind the black portent of the new atomic age lies a hope which, seized upon with faith, can work our salvation. If we fail, then we have damned every man to be the slave of fear. Let us not deceive ourselves; we must elect world peace or world destruction.

Connections such as these are merely suggestive, not definitive. A fuller inquiry is needed into the men behind the Hiroshima and Nagasaki poison gas-cum-napalm terror attacks, and into how these men and these attacks fit into the wider context of the war. However, the task transcends the horizon of this author and this book—it must be left for other researchers to pursue.