The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb

Part V: The Atomic Bomb and American Strategy

Planning for Surrender

Strategies for forcing Japanese capitulation occupied center stage in June. Truman gained Chinese concurrence in the Yalta agreements by assuring T. V. Soong, the Chinese foreign minister, that Russia's intentions in the Far East were benevolent, smoothing the way for the entrance of the Red Army. Joseph C. Grew, acting secretary of state, clarified the definition of unconditional surrender. Japan need not fear total annihilation, Grew stated. Once demilitarized, Japan would be free to choose its political system and would be allowed to develop a vibrant economy. Grew hoped that a public statement to Japan would lead to surrender before a costly invasion would have to be launched. The Joint Chiefs of Staff continued to advocate the invasion of Kyushu, a plan identified as Operation Olympic. Stimson hoped that an invasion could be avoided, either by redefining the surrender terms or by using the atomic bomb.

Indicative of the wide range of his responsibilities was Groves' position as head of a bomb target selection group set up in late April, a responsibility he shared with General Thomas Farrell, appointed Groves' military aide in February 1945. In late May the committee of scientists and Army Air Force officers listed Kokura Arsenal, Hiroshima, Niigata, and Kyoto as the four best targets, believing that attacks on these cities-none of which had yet been bombed by Curtis LeMay's Twentieth Air Force (which planned to eliminate all major Japanese cities by January 1, 1946)-would make a profound psychological impression on the Japanese and weaken military resistance. Stimson vetoed Kyoto, Japan's most cherished cultural center, and Nagasaki replaced the ancient capital in the directive issued to the Army Air Force on July 25. 46

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