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Japanese Peace Envoys, Bougainville
Here we see the first contact between Australian troops and Japanese peace envoys on the banks of the Mivo River, Bougainville. By the end of the fighting the Australians were closing on on the Japanese base at Buin.
Japanese Peace Envoys, Bougainville - History
With the surrender decision made and accepted, the many details necessary to implement it had to be conveyed to the Japanese Government. To this end, on 19 August a combined military and diplomatic delegation left Japan in two specially marked "Betty" bombers. After landing at Ie Shima island, near Okinawa, the envoys were flown on to General MacArthur's Manila headquarters in a U.S. transport plane. In a series of meetings there, the Japanese received the Allies' instructions concerning surrender arrangements and initial occupation plans. The "firmness but fairness" shown in Manila favorably impressed the envoys and set the tone for the events that followed.
This page presents views of the Japanese delegation at Ie Shima and their arrival at Manila.
For views of other aspects of Japan's surrender, see: Japan Capitulates, August - September 1945
If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
One of two specially-marked Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft lands at an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The plane brought a Japanese delegation who were flown on to Manila in a USAAF C-54 transport to receive instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
The plane in the foreground, providing shade for onlookers, is a C-54. The guard in the right center foreground carries an M-1 carbine.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 66KB 740 x 605 pixels
One of two specially-marked (white overall, with green crosses) Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft on an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The plane brought a Japanese delegation who were transferred to a USAAF C-54 to be flown to General MacArthur's headquarters in Manila, where they received instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
The wing in the foreground belongs to a C-54.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 61KB 740 x 615 pixels
One of two specially-marked (white overall, with green crosses) Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft on an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The plane brought Japanese envoys who were transferred to a USAAF C-54 and flown to Manila, where they received instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
Note crowd of onlookers, and armed guards protecting the Japanese plane.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 107KB 740 x 615 pixels
Two specially-marked Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft on an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. They brought envoys from Japan, who were transferred to a USAAF C-54 and flown to Manila, where they received instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
Note towing tractor and motorcycle near the plane.
Courtesy of Edward Zahler, 1975.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 93KB 740 x 560 pixels
Crewmen of two specially-marked Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft which brought envoys from Japan to Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, on 19 August 1945. The delegation was there transferred to a USAAF C-54 and flown to Manila, where they received instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
One of the Japanese planes is faintly visible behind these men.
Courtesy of Edward Zahler, 1975.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 93KB 740 x 515 pixels
Members of a Japanese military & civilian delegation disembark, with their swords and other gear, from one of two specially-marked Mitsubishi G4M-1 ("Betty") aircraft on an airfield on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The envoys were transferred to a USAAF C-54 and flown to Manila, where they received instructions concerning the surrender and occupation.
Note U.S. Military Policemen, photographers and other onlookers in the background.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 84KB 740 x 615 pixels
Japanese military and civilian envoys wait to board a USAAF C-54 aircraft at Ie Shima airfield, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. The delegation had come to Ie Shima from Japan in specially-marked aircraft, en route to General MacArthur's headquarters in Manila to receive instructions concerning surrender and occupation arrangements.
The officer in the center foreground is the delegation's head, Lieutenant General Torashiro Kawabe, deputy chief of the Japanese Army general staff.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 91KB 740 x 605 pixels
Japanese military and civilian envoys board a C-54 transport plane at Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19 August 1945. They were flown to Manila to receive instructions concerning surrender and occupation arrangements.
Officer approaching top of ladder is the delegation head, Lieutenant General Torashiro Kawabe.
Officer at left, behind the civilian envoy, is Rear Admiral Ichiro Yokoyama.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Online Image: 99KB 740 x 615 pixels
Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
A Japanese civilian envoy boards a USAAF C-54 transport plane at Ie Shima airfield, Ryukyu Islands, to be flown to Manila to receive instructions for surrender and occupation arrangements, 19 August 1945. He is a member of the military & civilian delegation that flew to Ie Shima from Japan in specially-marked aircraft.
Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 83KB 585 x 765 pixels
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (top right) watches from a balcony above a crowd of soldier spectators as the sixteen-man Japanese delegation arrives at City Hall, Manila, to make surrender arrangements.
Photo is dated 20 August 1945.
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Online Image: 106KB 740 x 625 pixels
Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
For views of other aspects of Japan's surrender, see: Japan Capitulates, August - September 1945
The war of 1904–05 was fought between the Russian Empire, an international power with one of the largest armies in the world, and the Empire of Japan, a nation that had only recently industrialized after two-and-a-half centuries of isolation. A series of battles in the Liaodong Peninsula had resulted in Russian armies being driven from southern Manchuria, and the Battle of Tsushima had resulted in a cataclysm for the Imperial Russian Navy. The war was unpopular in Russia, whose government was under increasing threat of revolution at home. On the other hand, the Japanese economy was severely strained by the war, with rapidly mounting foreign debts, and Japanese forces in Manchuria faced the problem of ever-extending supply lines. No Russian territory had been seized, and the Russians continued to build up reinforcements via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Recognizing that a long war was not to Japan's advantage, the Japanese government as early as July 1904 had begun seeking out intermediaries to assist in bringing the war to a negotiated conclusion. 
The intermediary approached by the Japanese was U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who had publicly expressed a pro-Japanese stance at the beginning of the war. However, as the war progressed, Roosevelt had begun to show concerns on the strengthening military power of Japan and its long-term impact on U.S. interests in Asia. In February 1905, Roosevelt sent messages to the Russian government via the US ambassador in Saint Petersburg. Initially, the Russians were unresponsive, with Tsar Nicholas II still adamant that Russia would eventually prove victorious. The Japanese government was also lukewarm to a peace treaty, as Japanese armies were enjoying an unbroken string of victories. However, after the Battle of Mukden, which was extremely costly to both sides in terms of manpower and resources, Japanese Foreign Minister Komura Jutarō judged that it was now critical for Japan to push for a settlement. 
On March 8, 1905, Japanese Army Minister Terauchi Masatake met with the American Minister to Japan, Lloyd Griscom, to tell Roosevelt that Japan was ready to negotiate. However, a positive response did not come from Russia until after the loss of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. Two days later, Nicholas met with his grand dukes and military leadership and agreed to discuss peace. On June 7, 1905, Roosevelt met with Kaneko Kentarō, a Japanese diplomat, and on June 8, he received a positive reply from Russia. Roosevelt chose Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as the site for the negotiations, primarily because the talks were to begin in August, and the cooler climate in Portsmouth would avoid subjecting the parties to the sweltering Washington summer. 
The Japanese delegation to the Portsmouth Peace Conference was led by Foreign Minister Komura Jutarō and assisted by Ambassador Takahira Kogorō. The Russian delegation was led by former Finance Minister Sergei Witte, who was assisted by the former Ambassador to Japan Roman Rosen and the international law and arbitration specialist Friedrich Martens.  The delegations arrived in Portsmouth on August 8 and stayed in New Castle, New Hampshire, at the Hotel Wentworth, where the armistice was signed. They were ferried across the Piscataqua River every day to the naval base in Kittery, Maine, where the negotiations were held. [ citation needed ]
The negotiations took place at the General Stores Building (now Building 86). Mahogany furniture patterned after the Cabinet Room of the White House was ordered from Washington. [ citation needed ]
Before the negotiations began, Tsar Nicholas had adopted a hard line and forbidden his delegates to agree to any territorial concessions, reparations, or limitations on the deployment of Russian forces in the Far East.  The Japanese initially demanded recognition of their interests in Korea, the removal of all Russian forces from Manchuria, and substantial reparations. They also wanted confirmation of their control of the island of Sakhalin, which Japanese forces had seized in July 1905, partly to use as a bargaining chip in the negotiations. 
A total of twelve sessions were held between August 9 and August 30. During the first eight sessions, the delegates were able to reach an agreement on eight points. These included an immediate ceasefire, recognition of Japan's claims to Korea, and the evacuation of Russian forces from Manchuria. Russia also ceded its leases in southern Manchuria (containing Port Arthur and Talien) to Japan and turned over the South Manchuria Railway and its mining concessions to Japan. Russia was allowed to retain the Chinese Eastern Railway in northern Manchuria. 
The remaining four sessions addressed the most difficult issues: reparations and territorial concessions. On August 18, Roosevelt proposed that Rosen offer to divide Sakhalin to address the territory issue. On August 23, however, Witte proposed that the Japanese keep Sakhalin and drop their claims for reparations. When Komura rejected the proposal, Witte warned that he was instructed to cease negotiations and that the war would resume. The ultimatum came as four new Russian divisions arrived in Manchuria, and the Russian delegation made an ostentatious show of packing their bags and preparing to depart.  Witte was convinced that the Japanese could not afford to restart the war and so applied pressure via the American media and his American hosts  to convince the Japanese that monetary compensation was not open for compromise by Russia.  Outmaneuvered by Witte, Komura yielded, and in exchange for the southern half of Sakhalin, the Japanese dropped their claims for reparations. 
The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed on September 5. The treaty was ratified by the Privy Council of Japan on October 10,  and in Russia on October 14, 1905.
The signing of the treaty settled immediate difficulties in the Far East and created three decades of peace between the two nations. The treaty confirmed Japan's emergence as the pre-eminent power in East Asia and forced Russia to abandon its expansionist policies there, but it was not well received by the Japanese people.  The Japanese public were aware of their country's unbroken string of military victories over the Russians but were less aware of the precarious overextension of military and economic power that the victories had required. News of the terms of the treaty appeared to show Japanese weakness in front of the European powers, and this frustration caused the Hibiya riots and the collapse of Katsura Tarō's cabinet on January 7, 1906. 
Because of the role played by Roosevelt, the United States became a significant force in world diplomacy. Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his backchannel efforts before and during the peace negotiations even though he never actually went to Portsmouth.
By 1945, the Japanese had suffered a string of defeats for nearly two years in the South West Pacific, the Marianas campaign, and the Philippines campaign. In July 1944, following the loss of Saipan, General Hideki Tōjō was replaced as prime minister by General Kuniaki Koiso, who declared that the Philippines would be the site of the decisive battle.  After the Japanese loss of the Philippines, Koiso in turn was replaced by Admiral Kantarō Suzuki. The Allies captured the nearby islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the first half of 1945. Okinawa was to be a staging area for Operation Downfall, the Allied invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.  Following Germany's defeat, the Soviet Union began quietly redeploying its battle-hardened forces from the European theatre to the Far East, in addition to about forty divisions that had been stationed there since 1941, as a counterbalance to the million-strong Kwantung Army. 
The Allied submarine campaign and the mining of Japanese coastal waters had largely destroyed the Japanese merchant fleet. With few natural resources, Japan was dependent on raw materials, particularly oil, imported from Manchuria and other parts of the East Asian mainland, and from the conquered territory in the Dutch East Indies.  The destruction of the Japanese merchant fleet, combined with the strategic bombing of Japanese industry, had wrecked Japan's war economy. Production of coal, iron, steel, rubber, and other vital supplies was only a fraction of that before the war.  
As a result of the losses it had suffered, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) had ceased to be an effective fighting force. Following a series of raids on the Japanese shipyard at Kure, the only major warships in fighting order were six aircraft carriers, four cruisers, and one battleship, none of which could be fueled adequately. Although 19 destroyers and 38 submarines were still operational, their use was limited by the lack of fuel.  
Faced with the prospect of an invasion of the Home Islands, starting with Kyūshū, and the prospect of a Soviet invasion of Manchuria—Japan's last source of natural resources—the War Journal of the Imperial Headquarters concluded in 1944:
We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success. The only course left is for Japan's one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight. 
As a final attempt to stop the Allied advances, the Japanese Imperial High Command planned an all-out defense of Kyūshū codenamed Operation Ketsugō.  This was to be a radical departure from the defense in depth plans used in the invasions of Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Instead, everything was staked on the beachhead more than 3,000 kamikazes would be sent to attack the amphibious transports before troops and cargo were disembarked on the beach. 
If this did not drive the Allies away, they planned to send another 3,500 kamikazes along with 5,000 Shin'yō suicide motorboats and the remaining destroyers and submarines—"the last of the Navy's operating fleet"—to the beach. If the Allies had fought through this and successfully landed on Kyūshū, 3,000 planes would have been left to defend the remaining islands, although Kyūshū would be "defended to the last" regardless.  The strategy of making a last stand at Kyūshū was based on the assumption of continued Soviet neutrality. 
A set of caves were excavated near Nagano on Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. In the event of invasion, these caves, the Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters, were to be used by the Army to direct the war and to house the Emperor and his family. 
Japanese policy-making centered on the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War (created in 1944 by earlier Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso), the so-called "Big Six"—the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of the Army, Minister of the Navy, Chief of the Army General Staff, and Chief of the Navy General Staff.  At the formation of the Suzuki government in April 1945, the council's membership consisted of:
- Prime Minister: Admiral Kantarō Suzuki
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Shigenori Tōgō
- Minister of the Army: General Korechika Anami
- Minister of the Navy: Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai
- Chief of the Army General Staff: General Yoshijirō Umezu
- Chief of the Navy General Staff: Admiral Koshirō Oikawa (later replaced by Admiral Soemu Toyoda)
All of these positions were nominally appointed by the Emperor and their holders were answerable directly to him. Nevertheless, Japanese civil law from 1936 required that the Army and Navy ministers had to be active duty flag officers from those respective services while Japanese military law from long before that time prohibited serving officers from accepting political offices without first obtaining permission from their respective service headquarters which, if and when granted, could be rescinded at any time. Thus, the Japanese Army and Navy effectively held a legal right to nominate (or refuse to nominate) their respective ministers, in addition to the effective right to order their respective ministers to resign their posts.
Strict constitutional convention dictated (as it technically still does today) that a prospective Prime Minister could not assume the premiership, nor could an incumbent Prime Minister remain in office, if he could not fill all of the cabinet posts. Thus, the Army and Navy could prevent the formation of undesirable governments, or by resignation bring about the collapse of an existing government.  
Emperor Hirohito and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Kōichi Kido also were present at some meetings, following the Emperor's wishes.  As Iris Chang reports, "the Japanese deliberately destroyed, hid or falsified most of their secret wartime documents."  
For the most part, Suzuki's military-dominated cabinet favored continuing the war. For the Japanese, surrender was unthinkable—Japan had never been successfully invaded or lost a war in its history.  Only Mitsumasa Yonai, the Navy minister, was known to desire an early end to the war.  According to historian Richard B. Frank:
Although Suzuki might indeed have seen peace as a distant goal, he had no design to achieve it within any immediate time span or on terms acceptable to the Allies. His own comments at the conference of senior statesmen gave no hint that he favored any early cessation of the war . Suzuki's selections for the most critical cabinet posts were, with one exception, not advocates of peace either. 
After the war, Suzuki and others from his government and their apologists claimed they were secretly working towards peace, and could not publicly advocate it. They cite the Japanese concept of haragei—"the art of hidden and invisible technique"—to justify the dissonance between their public actions and alleged behind-the-scenes work. However, many historians reject this. Robert J. C. Butow wrote:
Because of its very ambiguity, the plea of haragei invites the suspicion that in questions of politics and diplomacy a conscious reliance upon this 'art of bluff' may have constituted a purposeful deception predicated upon a desire to play both ends against the middle. While this judgment does not accord with the much-lauded character of Admiral Suzuki, the fact remains that from the moment he became Premier until the day he resigned no one could ever be quite sure of what Suzuki would do or say next. 
Japanese leaders had always envisioned a negotiated settlement to the war. Their prewar planning expected a rapid expansion and consolidation, an eventual conflict with the United States, and finally a settlement in which they would be able to retain at least some new territory they had conquered.  By 1945, Japan's leaders were in agreement that the war was going badly, but they disagreed over the best means to negotiate its end. There were two camps: the so-called "peace" camp favored a diplomatic initiative to persuade Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, to mediate a settlement between the Allies and Japan and the hardliners who favored fighting one last "decisive" battle that would inflict so many casualties on the Allies that they would be willing to offer more lenient terms.  Both approaches were based on Japan's experience in the Russo–Japanese War, forty years earlier, which consisted of a series of costly but largely indecisive battles, followed by the decisive naval Battle of Tsushima. 
In February 1945, Prince Fumimaro Konoe gave Emperor Hirohito a memorandum analyzing the situation, and told him that if the war continued, the imperial family might be in greater danger from an internal revolution than from defeat.  According to the diary of Grand Chamberlain Hisanori Fujita, the Emperor, looking for a decisive battle (tennōzan), replied that it was premature to seek peace "unless we make one more military gain".  Also in February, Japan's treaty division wrote about Allied policies towards Japan regarding "unconditional surrender, occupation, disarmament, elimination of militarism, democratic reforms, punishment of war criminals, and the status of the emperor."  Allied-imposed disarmament, Allied punishment of Japanese war criminals, and especially occupation and removal of the Emperor, were not acceptable to the Japanese leadership.  
On April 5, the Soviet Union gave the required 12 months' notice that it would not renew the five-year Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact  (which had been signed in 1941 following the Nomonhan Incident).  Unknown to the Japanese, at the Tehran Conference in November–December 1943, it had been agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan once Germany was defeated. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the United States had made substantial concessions to the Soviets to secure a promise that they would declare war on Japan within three months of the surrender of Germany. Although the five-year Neutrality Pact did not expire until April 5, 1946, the announcement caused the Japanese great concern, because Japan had amassed its forces in the South to repel the inevitable US attack, thus leaving its Northern islands vulnerable to Soviet invasion.   Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in Moscow, and Yakov Malik, Soviet ambassador in Tokyo, went to great lengths to assure the Japanese that "the period of the Pact's validity has not ended". 
At a series of high-level meetings in May, the Big Six first seriously discussed ending the war, but none of them on terms that would have been acceptable to the Allies. Because anyone openly supporting Japanese surrender risked assassination by zealous army officers, the meetings were closed to anyone except the Big Six, the Emperor, and the Privy Seal. No second or third-echelon officers could attend.  At these meetings, despite the dispatches from Japanese ambassador Satō in Moscow, only Foreign Minister Tōgō realized that Roosevelt and Churchill might have already made concessions to Stalin to bring the Soviets into the war against Japan.  As a result of these meetings, Tōgō was authorized to approach the Soviet Union, seeking to maintain its neutrality, or (despite the very remote probability) to form an alliance. 
In keeping with the custom of a new government declaring its purposes, following the May meetings the Army staff produced a document, "The Fundamental Policy to Be Followed Henceforth in the Conduct of the War," which stated that the Japanese people would fight to extinction rather than surrender. This policy was adopted by the Big Six on June 6. (Tōgō opposed it, while the other five supported it.)  Documents submitted by Suzuki at the same meeting suggested that, in the diplomatic overtures to the USSR, Japan adopt the following approach:
It should be clearly made known to Russia that she owes her victory over Germany to Japan, since we remained neutral, and that it would be to the advantage of the Soviets to help Japan maintain her international position, since they have the United States as an enemy in the future. 
On June 9, the Emperor's confidant Marquis Kōichi Kido wrote a "Draft Plan for Controlling the Crisis Situation," warning that by the end of the year Japan's ability to wage modern war would be extinguished and the government would be unable to contain civil unrest. ". We cannot be sure we will not share the fate of Germany and be reduced to adverse circumstances under which we will not attain even our supreme object of safeguarding the Imperial Household and preserving the national polity."  Kido proposed that the Emperor take action, by offering to end the war on "very generous terms." Kido proposed that Japan withdraw from the formerly European colonies it had occupied provided they were granted independence and also proposed that Japan recognize the independence of the Philippines, which Japan had already mostly lost control of and to which it was well known that the U.S. had long been planning to grant independence. Finally, Kido proposed that Japan disarm provided this not occur under Allied supervision and that Japan for a time be "content with minimum defense." Kido's proposal did not contemplate Allied occupation of Japan, prosecution of war criminals or substantial change in Japan's system of government, nor did Kido suggest that Japan might be willing to consider relinquishing territories acquired prior to 1937 including Formosa, Karafuto, Korea, the formerly German islands in the Pacific and even Manchukuo. With the Emperor's authorization, Kido approached several members of the Supreme Council, the "Big Six." Tōgō was very supportive. Suzuki and Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai, the Navy minister, were both cautiously supportive each wondered what the other thought. General Korechika Anami, the Army minister, was ambivalent, insisting that diplomacy must wait until "after the United States has sustained heavy losses" in Operation Ketsugō. 
In June, the Emperor lost confidence in the chances of achieving a military victory. The Battle of Okinawa was lost, and he learned of the weakness of the Japanese army in China, of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, of the navy, and of the army defending the Home Islands. The Emperor received a report by Prince Higashikuni from which he concluded that "it was not just the coast defense the divisions reserved to engage in the decisive battle also did not have sufficient numbers of weapons."  According to the Emperor:
I was told that the iron from bomb fragments dropped by the enemy was being used to make shovels. This confirmed my opinion that we were no longer in a position to continue the war. 
On June 22, the Emperor summoned the Big Six to a meeting. Unusually, he spoke first: "I desire that concrete plans to end the war, unhampered by existing policy, be speedily studied and that efforts made to implement them."  It was agreed to solicit Soviet aid in ending the war. Other neutral nations, such as Switzerland, Sweden, and the Vatican City, were known to be willing to play a role in making peace, but they were so small they were believed unable to do more than deliver the Allies' terms of surrender and Japan's acceptance or rejection. The Japanese hoped that the Soviet Union could be persuaded to act as an agent for Japan in negotiations with the United States and Britain. 
On June 30, Tōgō told Naotake Satō, Japan's ambassador in Moscow, to try to establish "firm and lasting relations of friendship." Satō was to discuss the status of Manchuria and "any matter the Russians would like to bring up."  Well aware of the overall situation and cognizant of their promises to the Allies, the Soviets responded with delaying tactics to encourage the Japanese without promising anything. Satō finally met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov on July 11, but without result. On July 12, Tōgō directed Satō to tell the Soviets that:
His Majesty the Emperor, mindful of the fact that the present war daily brings greater evil and sacrifice upon the peoples of all the belligerent powers, desires from his heart that it may be quickly terminated. But so long as England and the United States insist upon unconditional surrender, the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the honor and existence of the Motherland. 
The Emperor proposed sending Prince Konoe as a special envoy, although he would be unable to reach Moscow before the Potsdam Conference.
Satō advised Tōgō that in reality, "unconditional surrender or terms closely equivalent thereto" was all that Japan could expect. Moreover, in response to Molotov's requests for specific proposals, Satō suggested that Tōgō's messages were not "clear about the views of the Government and the Military with regard to the termination of the war," thus questioning whether Tōgō's initiative was supported by the key elements of Japan's power structure. 
On July 17, Tōgō responded:
Although the directing powers, and the government as well, are convinced that our war strength still can deliver considerable blows to the enemy, we are unable to feel absolutely secure peace of mind . Please bear particularly in mind, however, that we are not seeking the Russians' mediation for anything like an unconditional surrender. 
It goes without saying that in my earlier message calling for unconditional surrender or closely equivalent terms, I made an exception of the question of preserving [the imperial family]. 
On July 21, speaking in the name of the cabinet, Tōgō repeated:
With regard to unconditional surrender we are unable to consent to it under any circumstances whatever. . It is in order to avoid such a state of affairs that we are seeking a peace, . through the good offices of Russia. . it would also be disadvantageous and impossible, from the standpoint of foreign and domestic considerations, to make an immediate declaration of specific terms. 
American cryptographers had broken most of Japan's codes, including the Purple code used by the Japanese Foreign Office to encode high-level diplomatic correspondence. As a result, messages between Tokyo and Japan's embassies were provided to Allied policy-makers nearly as quickly as to the intended recipients. 
Security concerns dominated Soviet decisions concerning the Far East.  Chief among these was gaining unrestricted access to the Pacific Ocean. The year-round ice-free areas of the Soviet Pacific coastline—Vladivostok in particular—could be blockaded by air and sea from Sakhalin island and the Kurile Islands. Acquiring these territories, thus guaranteeing free access to the Soya Strait, was their primary objective.   Secondary objectives were leases for the Chinese Eastern Railway, Southern Manchuria Railway, Dairen, and Port Arthur. 
To this end, Stalin and Molotov strung out the negotiations with the Japanese, giving them false hope of a Soviet-mediated peace.  At the same time, in their dealings with the United States and Britain, the Soviets insisted on strict adherence to the Cairo Declaration, re-affirmed at the Yalta Conference, that the Allies would not accept separate or conditional peace with Japan. The Japanese would have to surrender unconditionally to all the Allies. To prolong the war, the Soviets opposed any attempt to weaken this requirement.  This would give the Soviets time to complete the transfer of their troops from the Western Front to the Far East, and conquer Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, northern Korea, South Sakhalin, the Kuriles, and possibly Hokkaidō  (starting with a landing at Rumoi). 
After several years of preliminary research, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had authorized the initiation a massive, top-secret project to build atomic bombs in 1942. The Manhattan Project, under the authority of Major General Leslie R. Groves Jr.  employed hundreds of thousands of American workers at dozens of secret facilities across the United States, and on July 16, 1945, the first prototype weapon was detonated during the Trinity nuclear test. 
As the project neared its conclusion, American planners began to consider the use of the bomb. In keeping with the Allies' overall strategy of securing final victory in Europe first, it had initially been assumed that the first atomic weapons would be allocated for use against Germany. However, by this time it was increasingly obvious that Germany would be defeated before any bombs would be ready for use. Groves formed a committee that met in April and May 1945 to draw up a list of targets. One of the primary criteria was that the target cities must not have been damaged by conventional bombing. This would allow for an accurate assessment of the damage done by the atomic bomb.  The targeting committee's list included 18 Japanese cities. At the top of the list were Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Kokura, and Niigata.   Ultimately, Kyoto was removed from the list at the insistence of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who had visited the city on his honeymoon and knew of its cultural and historical significance. 
Although the Vice President Henry A. Wallace had been involved in the Manhattan Project since the beginning,  his successor, Harry S. Truman, was not briefed on the project by Stimson until April 23, 1945, eleven days after he became president on Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945.  On May 2, 1945, Truman approved the formation of the Interim Committee, an advisory group that would report on the atomic bomb.   It consisted of Stimson, James F. Byrnes, George L. Harrison, Vannevar Bush, James Bryant Conant, Karl Taylor Compton, William L. Clayton, and Ralph Austin Bard, advised by a Scientific Panel composed of Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, Ernest Lawrence, and Arthur Compton.  In a June 1 report, the Committee concluded that the bomb should be used as soon as possible against a war plant surrounded by workers' homes and that no warning or demonstration should be given. 
The committee's mandate did not include the use of the bomb—its use upon completion was presumed.  Following a protest by scientists involved in the project, in the form of the Franck Report, the Committee re-examined the use of the bomb, posing the question to the Scientific Panel of whether a "demonstration" of the bomb should be used before actual battlefield deployment. In a June 21 meeting, the Scientific Panel affirmed that there was no alternative. 
Truman played very little role in these discussions. At Potsdam, he was enthralled by the successful report of the Trinity test, and those around him noticed a positive change in his attitude, believing the bomb gave him leverage with both Japan and the Soviet Union.  Other than backing Stimson's play to remove Kyoto from the target list (as the military continued to push for it as a target), he was otherwise not involved in any decision-making regarding the bomb, contrary to later re-tellings of the story (include Truman's own embellishments). 
The leaders of the major Allied powers met at the Potsdam Conference from July 16 to August 2, 1945. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, represented by Stalin, Winston Churchill (later Clement Attlee), and Truman respectively.
Although the Potsdam Conference was mainly concerned with European affairs, the war against Japan was also discussed in detail. Truman learned of the successful Trinity test early in the conference and shared this information with the British delegation. The successful test caused the American delegation to reconsider the necessity and wisdom of Soviet participation, for which the U.S. had lobbied hard at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.  High on the United States' list of priorities was shortening the war and reducing American casualties—Soviet intervention seemed likely to do both, but at the cost of possibly allowing the Soviets to capture territory beyond that which had been promised to them at Tehran and Yalta, and causing a postwar division of Japan similar to that which had occurred in Germany. 
In dealing with Stalin, Truman decided to give the Soviet leader vague hints about the existence of a powerful new weapon without going into details. However, the other Allies were unaware that Soviet intelligence had penetrated the Manhattan Project in its early stages, so Stalin already knew of the existence of the atomic bomb but did not appear impressed by its potential. 
The Potsdam Declaration
It was decided to issue a statement, the Potsdam Declaration, defining "Unconditional Surrender" and clarifying what it meant for the position of the emperor and for Hirohito personally. The American and British governments strongly disagreed on this point—the United States wanted to abolish the position and possibly try him as a war criminal, while the British wanted to retain the position, perhaps with Hirohito still reigning. Furthermore, although it would not initially be a party to the declaration, the Soviet government also had to be consulted since it would be expected to endorse it upon entering the war. The Potsdam Declaration went through many drafts until a version acceptable to all was found. 
On July 26, the United States, Britain and China released the Potsdam Declaration announcing the terms for Japan's surrender, with the warning, "We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay." For Japan, the terms of the declaration specified:
- the elimination "for all time [of] the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest"
- the occupation of "points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies"
- that the "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine." As had been announced in the Cairo Declaration in 1943, Japan was to be reduced to her pre-1894 territory and stripped of her pre-war empire including Korea and Taiwan, as well as all her recent conquests.
- that "[t]he Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives."
- that "[w]e do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners."
On the other hand, the declaration stated that:
- "The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamentalhuman rights shall be established."
- "Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to rearm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted."
- "The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established, in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, a peacefully inclined and responsible government."
The only use of the term "unconditional surrender" came at the end of the declaration:
- "We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."
Contrary to what had been intended at its conception, the Declaration made no mention of the Emperor at all. Allied intentions on issues of utmost importance to the Japanese, including whether Hirohito was to be regarded as one of those who had "misled the people of Japan" or even a war criminal, or alternatively, whether the Emperor might become part of a "peacefully inclined and responsible government" were thus left unstated.
The "prompt and utter destruction" clause has been interpreted as a veiled warning about American possession of the atomic bomb (which had been tested successfully on the first day of the conference).  On the other hand, the declaration also made specific references to the devastation that had been wrought upon Germany in the closing stages of the European war. To contemporary readers on both sides who were not yet aware of the atomic bomb's existence, it was easy to interpret the conclusion of the declaration simply as a threat to bring similar destruction upon Japan using conventional weapons.
On July 27, the Japanese government considered how to respond to the Declaration. The four military members of the Big Six wanted to reject it, but Tōgō, acting under the mistaken impression that the Soviet government had no prior knowledge of its contents, persuaded the cabinet not to do so until he could get a reaction from Moscow. In a telegram, Shun'ichi Kase, Japan's ambassador to Switzerland, observed that "unconditional surrender" applied only to the military and not to the government or the people, and he pleaded that it should be understood that the careful language of Potsdam appeared "to have occasioned a great deal of thought" on the part of the signatory governments—"they seem to have taken pains to save face for us on various points."  The next day, Japanese newspapers reported that the Declaration, the text of which had been broadcast and dropped by leaflet into Japan, had been rejected. In an attempt to manage public perception, Prime Minister Suzuki met with the press, and stated:
I consider the Joint Proclamation a rehash of the Declaration at the Cairo Conference. As for the Government, it does not attach any important value to it at all. The only thing to do is just kill it with silence (mokusatsu). We will do nothing but press on to the bitter end to bring about a successful completion of the war. 
The meaning of mokusatsu ( 黙殺 , lit. "killing with silence") is ambiguous and can range from "refusing to comment on" to "ignoring (by keeping silence)".  The meaning intended by Suzuki has been the subject of debate. 
On July 30, Ambassador Satō wrote that Stalin was probably talking to Roosevelt and Churchill about his dealings with Japan, and he wrote: "There is no alternative but immediate unconditional surrender if we are to prevent Russia's participation in the war."  On August 2, Tōgō wrote to Satō: "it should not be difficult for you to realize that . our time to proceed with arrangements of ending the war before the enemy lands on the Japanese mainland is limited, on the other hand it is difficult to decide on concrete peace conditions here at home all at once." 
August 6: Hiroshima
On August 6 at 8:15 AM local time, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped an atomic bomb (code-named Little Boy by the U.S.) on the city of Hiroshima in southwest Honshū.  Throughout the day, confused reports reached Tokyo that Hiroshima had been the target of an air raid, which had leveled the city with a "blinding flash and violent blast". Later that day, they received U.S. President Truman's broadcast announcing the first use of an atomic bomb, and promising:
We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war. It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth … 
The Japanese Army and Navy had their own independent atomic-bomb programs and therefore the Japanese understood enough to know how very difficult building it would be. Therefore, many Japanese and in particular the military members of the government refused to believe the United States had built an atomic bomb, and the Japanese military ordered their own independent tests to determine the cause of Hiroshima's destruction.  Admiral Soemu Toyoda, the Chief of the Naval General Staff, argued that even if the United States had made one, they could not have many more.  American strategists, having anticipated a reaction like Toyoda's, planned to drop a second bomb shortly after the first, to convince the Japanese that the U.S. had a large supply.  
August 9: Soviet invasion and Nagasaki
At 04:00 on August 9 word reached Tokyo that the Soviet Union had broken the Neutrality Pact,    declared war on Japan,  subscribed to the Potsdam Declaration and launched an invasion of Manchuria. 
When the Russians invaded Manchuria, they sliced through what had once been an elite army and many Russian units only stopped when they ran out of gas. The Soviet 16th Army—100,000 strong—launched an invasion of the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Their orders were to mop up Japanese resistance there, and then within 10 to 14 days—be prepared to invade Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's home islands. The Japanese force tasked with defending Hokkaido, the 5th Area Army, was under strength at two divisions and two brigades, and was in fortified positions on the east side of the island. The Soviet plan of attack called for an invasion of Hokkaido from the west. The Soviet declaration of war also changed the calculation of how much time was left for maneuver. Japanese intelligence was predicting that U.S. forces might not invade for months. Soviet forces, on the other hand, could be in Japan proper in as little as 10 days. The Soviet invasion made a decision on ending the war extremely time sensitive.
These "twin shocks"—the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the Soviet entry—had immediate profound effects on Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki and Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō, who concurred that the government must end the war at once.  However, the senior leadership of the Japanese Army took the news in stride, grossly underestimating the scale of the attack. With the support of Minister of War Anami, they started preparing to impose martial law on the nation, to stop anyone attempting to make peace.  Hirohito told Kido to "quickly control the situation" because "the Soviet Union has declared war and today began hostilities against us." 
The Supreme Council met at 10:30. Suzuki, who had just come from a meeting with the Emperor, said it was impossible to continue the war. Tōgō said that they could accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, but they needed a guarantee of the Emperor's position. Navy Minister Yonai said that they had to make some diplomatic proposal—they could no longer afford to wait for better circumstances.
In the middle of the meeting, shortly after 11:00, news arrived that Nagasaki, on the west coast of Kyūshū, had been hit by a second atomic bomb (called "Fat Man" by the United States). By the time the meeting ended, the Big Six had split 3–3. Suzuki, Tōgō, and Admiral Yonai favored Tōgō's one additional condition to Potsdam, while General Anami, General Umezu, and Admiral Toyoda insisted on three further terms that modified Potsdam: that Japan handle their own disarmament, that Japan deal with any Japanese war criminals, and that there be no occupation of Japan. 
Following the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Truman issued another statement:
The British, Chinese, and United States Governments have given the Japanese people adequate warning of what is in store for them. We have laid down the general terms on which they can surrender. Our warning went unheeded our terms were rejected. Since then the Japanese have seen what our atomic bomb can do. They can foresee what it will do in the future.
The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.
I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb.
Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government. But we knew that our enemies were on the search for it. We know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this Nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first.
That is why we felt compelled to undertake the long and uncertain and costly labor of discovery and production.
We won the race of discovery against the Germans.
Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.
We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us. 
The full cabinet met on 14:30 on August 9, and spent most of the day debating surrender. As the Big Six had done, the cabinet split, with neither Tōgō's position nor Anami's attracting a majority.  Anami told the other cabinet ministers that under torture a captured American P-51 Mustang fighter pilot, Marcus McDilda, had told his interrogators that the United States possessed a stockpile of 100 atom bombs and that Tokyo and Kyoto would be destroyed "in the next few days". 
In reality the United States would not have had a third bomb ready for use until around August 19, and a fourth in September.  However the Japanese leadership had no way to know the size of the United States' stockpile, and feared the United States might have the capacity not just to devastate individual cities, but to wipe out the Japanese people as a race and nation. Indeed, in the morning meeting Anami had already expressed a desire for this outcome rather than surrender, stating "Would it not be wondrous for this whole nation to be destroyed like a beautiful flower?" 
The cabinet meeting adjourned at 17:30 with no consensus. A second meeting lasting from 18:00 to 22:00 also ended with no consensus. Following this second meeting, Suzuki and Tōgō met the Emperor, and Suzuki proposed an impromptu Imperial conference, which started just before midnight on the night of August 9–10.  Suzuki presented Anami's four-condition proposal as the consensus position of the Supreme Council. The other members of the Supreme Council spoke, as did Kiichirō Hiranuma, the President of the Privy Council, who outlined Japan's inability to defend itself and also described the country's domestic problems, such as the shortage of food. The cabinet debated, but again no consensus emerged. At around 02:00 (August 10), Suzuki finally addressed Emperor Hirohito, asking him to decide between the two positions. The participants later recollected that the Emperor stated:
I have given serious thought to the situation prevailing at home and abroad and have concluded that continuing the war can only mean destruction for the nation and prolongation of bloodshed and cruelty in the world. I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer. .
I was told by those advocating a continuation of hostilities that by June new divisions would be in place in fortified positions [at Kujūkuri Beach, east of Tokyo] ready for the invader when he sought to land. It is now August and the fortifications still have not been completed. .
There are those who say the key to national survival lies in a decisive battle in the homeland. The experiences of the past, however, show that there has always been a discrepancy between plans and performance. I do not believe that the discrepancy in the case of Kujūkuri can be rectified. Since this is also the shape of things, how can we repel the invaders? [He then made some specific reference to the increased destructiveness of the atomic bomb.]
It goes without saying that it is unbearable for me to see the brave and loyal fighting men of Japan disarmed. It is equally unbearable that others who have rendered me devoted service should now be punished as instigators of the war. Nevertheless, the time has come to bear the unbearable. .
I swallow my tears and give my sanction to the proposal to accept the Allied proclamation on the basis outlined by [Tōgō,] the Foreign Minister. 
According to General Sumihisa Ikeda and Admiral Zenshirō Hoshina, Privy Council President Hiranuma then turned to the Emperor and asked him: "Your majesty, you also bear responsibility (sekinin) for this defeat. What apology are you going to make to the heroic spirits of the imperial founder of your house and your other imperial ancestors?" 
Once the Emperor had left, Suzuki pushed the cabinet to accept the Emperor's will, which it did. Early that morning (August 10), the Foreign Ministry sent telegrams to the Allies (by way of the Swiss "Federal Political Department" (Department of Foreign Affairs) and Max Grässli in particular) announcing that Japan would accept the Potsdam Declaration, but would not accept any peace conditions that would "prejudice the prerogatives" of the Emperor. That effectively meant no change in Japan's form of government—that the Emperor of Japan would remain a position of real power. 
The Allied response to Japan's qualified acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration was written by James F. Byrnes and approved by the British, Chinese, and Soviet governments, although the Soviets agreed only reluctantly. The Allies sent their response (via the Swiss Foreign Affairs Department) on August 12. On the status of the Emperor it said:
From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms. . The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people. 
President Truman issued instructions that no further atomic weapons were to be dropped on Japan without presidential orders,  but allowed military operations (including the B-29 firebombings) to continue until official word of Japanese surrender was received. However, news correspondents incorrectly interpreted a comment by General Carl Spaatz, commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, that the B-29s were not flying on August 11 (because of bad weather) as a statement that a ceasefire was in effect. To avoid giving the Japanese the impression that the Allies had abandoned peace efforts and resumed bombing, Truman then ordered a halt to all further bombings.  
The Japanese cabinet considered the Allied response, and Suzuki argued that they must reject it and insist on an explicit guarantee for the imperial system. Anami returned to his position that there be no occupation of Japan. Afterward, Tōgō told Suzuki that there was no hope of getting better terms, and Kido conveyed the Emperor's will that Japan surrender. In a meeting with the Emperor, Yonai spoke of his concerns about growing civil unrest:
I think the term is inappropriate, but the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war are, in a sense, divine gifts. This way we don't have to say that we have quit the war because of domestic circumstances. 
That day, Hirohito informed the imperial family of his decision to surrender. One of his uncles, Prince Asaka, then asked whether the war would be continued if the kokutai (imperial sovereignty) could not be preserved. The Emperor simply replied "of course."  
At the suggestion of American psychological operations experts, B-29s spent August 13 dropping leaflets over Japan, describing the Japanese offer of surrender and the Allied response.  The leaflets, some of which fell upon the Imperial Palace as the Emperor and his advisors met, had a profound effect on the Japanese decision-making process. It had become clear that a complete and total acceptance of Allied terms, even if it meant the dissolution of the Japanese government as it then existed, was the only possible way to secure peace.  The Big Six and the cabinet debated their reply to the Allied response late into the night, but remained deadlocked. Meanwhile, the Allies grew doubtful, waiting for the Japanese to respond. The Japanese had been instructed that they could transmit an unqualified acceptance in the clear, but instead they sent out coded messages on matters unrelated to the surrender parlay. The Allies took this coded response as non-acceptance of the terms. 
Via Ultra intercepts, the Allies also detected increased diplomatic and military traffic, which was taken as evidence that the Japanese were preparing an "all-out banzai attack."  President Truman ordered a resumption of attacks against Japan at maximum intensity "so as to impress Japanese officials that we mean business and are serious in getting them to accept our peace proposals without delay."  In the largest and longest bombing raid of the Pacific War, more than 400 B-29s attacked Japan during daylight on August 14, and more than 300 that night.   A total of 1,014 aircraft were used with no losses.  B-29s from the 315 Bombardment Wing flew 6,100 km (3,800 mi) to destroy the Nippon Oil Company refinery at Tsuchizaki on the northern tip of Honshū. This was the last operational refinery in the Japanese Home Islands, and it produced 67% of their oil.  The attacks would continue right through the announcement of the Japanese surrender, and indeed for some time afterwards. 
Truman had ordered a halt to atomic bombings on August 10, upon receiving news that another bomb would be ready for use against Japan in about a week. He told his cabinet that he could not stand the thought of killing "all those kids."  By August 14, however, Truman remarked "sadly" to the British ambassador that "he now had no alternative but to order an atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo,"  as some of his military staff had been advocating. 
As August 14 dawned, Suzuki, Kido, and the Emperor realized the day would end with either an acceptance of the American terms or a military coup.  The Emperor met with the most senior Army and Navy officers. While several spoke in favor of fighting on, Field Marshal Shunroku Hata did not. As commander of the Second General Army, the headquarters of which had been in Hiroshima, Hata commanded all the troops defending southern Japan—the troops preparing to fight the "decisive battle". Hata said he had no confidence in defeating the invasion and did not dispute the Emperor's decision. The Emperor asked his military leaders to cooperate with him in ending the war. 
At a conference with the cabinet and other councilors, Anami, Toyoda, and Umezu again made their case for continuing to fight, after which the Emperor said:
I have listened carefully to each of the arguments presented in opposition to the view that Japan should accept the Allied reply as it stands and without further clarification or modification, but my own thoughts have not undergone any change. . In order that the people may know my decision, I request you to prepare at once an imperial rescript so that I may broadcast to the nation. Finally, I call upon each and every one of you to exert himself to the utmost so that we may meet the trying days which lie ahead. 
The cabinet immediately convened and unanimously ratified the Emperor's wishes. They also decided to destroy vast amounts of material pertaining to war crimes and the war responsibility of the nation's highest leaders.  Immediately after the conference, the Foreign Ministry transmitted orders to its embassies in Switzerland and Sweden to accept the Allied terms of surrender. These orders were picked up and received in Washington at 02:49, August 14. 
Difficulty with senior commanders on the distant war fronts was anticipated. Three princes of the Imperial Family who held military commissions were dispatched on August 14 to deliver the news personally. Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda went to Korea and Manchuria, Prince Yasuhiko Asaka to the China Expeditionary Army and China Fleet, and Prince Kan'in Haruhito to Shanghai, South China, Indochina and Singapore.  
The text of the Imperial Rescript on surrender was finalized by 19:00 August 14, transcribed by the official court calligrapher, and brought to the cabinet for their signatures. Around 23:00, the Emperor, with help from an NHK recording crew, made a gramophone record of himself reading it.  The record was given to court chamberlain Yoshihiro Tokugawa, who hid it in a locker in the office of Empress Kōjun's secretary. 
Late on the night of August 12, 1945, Major Kenji Hatanaka, along with Lieutenant Colonels Masataka Ida, Masahiko Takeshita (Anami's brother-in-law), and Inaba Masao, and Colonel Okikatsu Arao, the Chief of the Military Affairs Section, spoke to War Minister Korechika Anami (the army minister and "most powerful figure in Japan besides the Emperor himself"),  and asked him to do whatever he could to prevent acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration. General Anami refused to say whether he would help the young officers in treason.  As much as they needed his support, Hatanaka and the other rebels decided they had no choice but to continue planning and to attempt a coup d'état on their own. Hatanaka spent much of August 13 and the morning of August 14 gathering allies, seeking support from the higher-ups in the Ministry, and perfecting his plot. 
Shortly after the conference on the night of August 13–14 at which the surrender finally was decided, a group of senior army officers including Anami gathered in a nearby room. All those present were concerned about the possibility of a coup d'état to prevent the surrender—some of those present may have even been considering launching one. After a silence, General Torashirō Kawabe proposed that all senior officers present sign an agreement to carry out the Emperor's order of surrender—"The Army will act in accordance with the Imperial Decision to the last." It was signed by all the high-ranking officers present, including Anami, Hajime Sugiyama, Yoshijirō Umezu, Kenji Doihara, Torashirō Kawabe, Masakazu Kawabe, and Tadaichi Wakamatsu. "This written accord by the most senior officers in the Army . acted as a formidable firebreak against any attempt to incite a coup d'état in Tokyo." 
Around 21:30 on August 14, Hatanaka's rebels set their plan into motion. The Second Regiment of the First Imperial Guards had entered the palace grounds, doubling the strength of the battalion already stationed there, presumably to provide extra protection against Hatanaka's rebellion. But Hatanaka, along with Lt. Col. Jirō Shiizaki, convinced the commander of the 2nd Regiment of the First Imperial Guards, Colonel Toyojirō Haga, of their cause, by telling him (falsely) that Generals Anami and Umezu, and the commanders of the Eastern District Army and Imperial Guards Divisions were all in on the plan. Hatanaka also went to the office of Shizuichi Tanaka, commander of the Eastern region of the army, to try to persuade him to join the coup. Tanaka refused, and ordered Hatanaka to go home. Hatanaka ignored the order. 
Originally, Hatanaka hoped that simply occupying the palace and showing the beginnings of a rebellion would inspire the rest of the Army to rise up against the move to surrender. This notion guided him through much of the last days and hours and gave him the blind optimism to move ahead with the plan, despite having little support from his superiors. Having set all the pieces into position, Hatanaka and his co-conspirators decided that the Guard would take over the palace at 02:00. The hours until then were spent in continued attempts to convince their superiors in the Army to join the coup. At about the same time, General Anami committed seppuku, leaving a message that, "I—with my death—humbly apologize to the Emperor for the great crime."  Whether the crime involved losing the war, or the coup, remains unclear. 
At some time after 01:00, Hatanaka and his men surrounded the palace. Hatanaka, Shiizaki, Ida, and Captain Shigetarō Uehara (of the Air Force Academy) went to the office of Lt. General Takeshi Mori to ask him to join the coup. Mori was in a meeting with his brother-in-law, Michinori Shiraishi. The cooperation of Mori, as commander of the 1st Imperial Guards Division, was crucial. When Mori refused to side with Hatanaka, Hatanaka killed him, fearing Mori would order the Guards to stop the rebellion.  Uehara killed Shiraishi. These were the only two murders of the night. Hatanaka then used General Mori's official stamp to authorize Imperial Guards Division Strategic Order No. 584, a false set of orders created by his co-conspirators, which would greatly increase the strength of the forces occupying the Imperial Palace and Imperial Household Ministry, and "protecting" the Emperor. 
The palace police were disarmed and all the entrances blocked.  Over the course of the night, Hatanaka's rebels captured and detained eighteen people, including Ministry staff and NHK workers sent to record the surrender speech. 
The rebels, led by Hatanaka, spent the next several hours fruitlessly searching for Imperial House Minister Sōtarō Ishiwata, Lord of the Privy Seal Kōichi Kido, and the recordings of the surrender speech. The two men were hiding in the "bank vault", a large chamber underneath the Imperial Palace.   The search was made more difficult by a blackout in response to Allied bombings, and by the archaic organization and layout of the Imperial House Ministry. Many of the names of the rooms were unrecognizable to the rebels. The rebels did find the chamberlain Yoshihiro Tokugawa. Although Hatanaka threatened to disembowel him with a samurai sword, Tokugawa lied and told them he did not know where the recordings or men were.  
At about the same time, another group of Hatanaka's rebels led by Captain Takeo Sasaki went to Prime Minister Suzuki's office, intent on killing him. When they found it empty, they machine-gunned the office and set the building on fire, then left for his home. Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief secretary to Suzuki's Cabinet, had warned Suzuki, and he escaped minutes before the would-be assassins arrived. After setting fire to Suzuki's home, they went to the estate of Kiichirō Hiranuma to assassinate him. Hiranuma escaped through a side gate and the rebels burned his house as well. Suzuki spent the rest of August under police protection, spending each night in a different bed.  
Around 03:00, Hatanaka was informed by Lieutenant Colonel Masataka Ida that the Eastern District Army was on its way to the palace to stop him, and that he should give up.   Finally, seeing his plan collapsing around him, Hatanaka pleaded with Tatsuhiko Takashima, Chief of Staff of the Eastern District Army, to be given at least ten minutes on the air on NHK radio, to explain to the people of Japan what he was trying to accomplish and why. He was refused.  Colonel Haga, commander of the 2nd Regiment of the First Imperial Guards, discovered that the Army did not support this rebellion, and he ordered Hatanaka to leave the palace grounds.
Just before 05:00, as his rebels continued their search, Major Hatanaka went to the NHK studios, and, brandishing a pistol, tried desperately to get some airtime to explain his actions.  A little over an hour later, after receiving a telephone call from the Eastern District Army, Hatanaka finally gave up. He gathered his officers and walked out of the NHK studio. 
At dawn, Tanaka learned that the palace had been invaded. He went there and confronted the rebellious officers, berating them for acting contrary to the spirit of the Japanese army. He convinced them to return to their barracks.   By 08:00, the rebellion was entirely dismantled, having succeeded in holding the palace grounds for much of the night but failing to find the recordings. 
Hatanaka, on a motorcycle, and Shiizaki, on horseback, rode through the streets, tossing leaflets that explained their motives and their actions. Within an hour before the Emperor's broadcast, sometime around 11:00, August 15, Hatanaka placed his pistol to his forehead, and shot himself. Shiizaki stabbed himself with a dagger, and then shot himself. In Hatanaka's pocket was found his death poem: "I have nothing to regret now that the dark clouds have disappeared from the reign of the Emperor." 
Broadcast of the Imperial Rescript on surrender
At 12:00 noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, the Emperor's recorded speech to the nation, reading the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War, was broadcast:
After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.
We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.
To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.
Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.
But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone—the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people—the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.
Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.
The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable. 
The low quality of the recording, combined with the Classical Japanese language used by the Emperor in the Rescript, made the recording very difficult to understand for most listeners.   In addition, the Emperor did not explicitly mention surrender in his speech. To prevent confusion the recording was immediately followed by a clarification that Japan was indeed unconditionally surrendering to the allies. 
Public reaction to the Emperor's speech varied—many Japanese simply listened to it, then went on with their lives as best they could, while some Army and Navy officers chose suicide over surrender. A small crowd gathered in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and cried, but as author John Dower notes, the tears they shed "reflected a multitude of sentiments . anguish, regret, bereavement and anger at having been deceived, sudden emptiness and loss of purpose". 
On August 17, Suzuki was replaced as prime minister by the Emperor's uncle, Prince Higashikuni, perhaps to forestall any further coup or assassination attempts 
Japan's forces were still fighting against the Soviets as well as the Chinese, and managing their cease-fire and surrender was difficult. The last air combat by Japanese fighters against American reconnaissance bombers took place on August 18.  The Soviet Union continued to fight until early September, taking the Kuril Islands.
Occupation and the surrender ceremony
News of the Japanese acceptance of the surrender terms was announced to the American public via radio at 7 p.m. on August 14, sparking massive celebrations. Allied civilians and servicemen everywhere rejoiced at the news of the end of the war. A photograph, V-J Day in Times Square, of an American sailor kissing a woman in New York, and a news film of the Dancing Man in Sydney have come to epitomize the immediate celebrations. August 14 and 15 are commemorated as Victory over Japan Day in many Allied countries. 
Japan's sudden surrender after the unexpected use of atomic weapons surprised most governments outside the US and UK.  The Soviet Union had some intentions of occupying Hokkaidō.  Unlike the Soviet occupations of eastern Germany and northern Korea, however, these plans were frustrated by the opposition of President Truman. 
In the aftermath of Japan's declaration of surrender, US B-32 Dominator bombers based in Okinawa began flying reconnaissance missions over Japan in order to monitor Japanese compliance with the cease-fire, gather information to better enable the establishment of the occupation, and test the fidelity of the Japanese, as it was feared that the Japanese were planning to attack occupation forces. During the first such B-32 reconnaissance mission, the bomber was tracked by Japanese radars but completed its mission without interference. On August 18, a group of four B-32s overflying Tokyo were attacked by Japanese naval fighter aircraft from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Yokosuka Naval Airfield. The Japanese pilots were acting without authorization from the Japanese government. They were either opposed to the cease-fire or believed that Japanese airspace should remain inviolate until a formal surrender document was signed. They caused only minor damage and were held at bay by the B-32 gunners. The incident surprised US commanders, and prompted them to send additional reconnaissance flights to ascertain whether it was an isolated attack by die-hards acting independently or if Japan intended to continue fighting. The following day, two B-32s on a reconnaissance mission over Tokyo were attacked by Japanese fighter aircraft out of Yokosuka Naval Airfield, with the pilots again acting on their own initiative, damaging one bomber. One of the bomber's crewmen was killed and two others wounded. It was the last aerial engagement of the war. The following day, as per the terms of the cease-fire agreement, the propellers were removed from all Japanese aircraft and further Allied reconnaissance flights over Japan went unchallenged. 
Japanese officials left for Manila on August 19 to meet Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers Douglas MacArthur, and to be briefed on his plans for the occupation. On August 28, 150 US personnel flew to Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, and the occupation of Japan began. They were followed by USS Missouri, whose accompanying vessels landed the 4th Marines on the southern coast of Kanagawa. The 11th Airborne Division was airlifted from Okinawa to Atsugi Airdrome, 50 km (30 mi) from Tokyo. Other Allied personnel followed.
MacArthur arrived in Tokyo on August 30, and immediately decreed several laws: No Allied personnel were to assault Japanese people. No Allied personnel were to eat the scarce Japanese food. Flying the Hinomaru or "Rising Sun" flag was severely restricted. 
The formal surrender occurred on September 2, 1945, around 9 a.m., Tokyo time, when representatives from the Empire of Japan signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay aboard USS Missouri.   The dignitaries or representatives from around the world were carefully scheduled to board USS Missouri.  Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu signed for the Japanese government, while Gen. Umezu signed for the Japanese armed forces. 
The Surrender Ceremony was carefully planned on board USS Missouri detailing the seating positions of all Army, Navy, and Allied Representatives. 
Each signatory sat before an ordinary mess deck table covered with green felt and signed two unconditional Instruments of Surrender—a leather-bound version for the Allied forces and a canvas-backed version for the Japanese. Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government followed by the uniformed General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Imperial General Staff. MacArthur signed on behalf of the Allied nations, followed by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz as U.S. Representative. Representatives of eight other Allied nations – China next – followed Nimitz. 
On Missouri that day was the same American flag that had been flown in 1853 on USS Powhatan by Commodore Matthew C. Perry on the first of his two expeditions to Japan. Perry's expeditions had resulted in the Convention of Kanagawa, which forced the Japanese to open the country to American trade.  
After the formal surrender on September 2 aboard Missouri, investigations into Japanese war crimes began quickly. Many members of the imperial family, such as his brothers Prince Chichibu, Prince Takamatsu and Prince Mikasa, and his uncle Prince Higashikuni, pressured the Emperor to abdicate so that one of the Princes could serve as regent until Crown Prince Akihito came of age.  However, at a meeting with the Emperor later in September, General MacArthur assured him he needed his help to govern Japan and so Hirohito was never tried. Legal procedures for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East were issued on January 19, 1946, without any member of the imperial family being prosecuted. 
In addition to August 14 and 15, September 2, 1945, is also known as V-J Day.  President Truman declared September 2 to be V-J Day, but noted that "It is not yet the day for the formal proclamation of the end of the war nor of the cessation of hostilities."  In Japan, August 15 is often called Shūsen-kinenbi ( 終戦記念日 ), which literally means the "memorial day for the end of the war," but the government's name for the day (which is not a national holiday) is Senbotsusha o tsuitō shi heiwa o kinen suru hi ( 戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日 , "day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace"). 
A nearly simultaneous surrender ceremony was held on September 2 aboard USS Portland at Truk Atoll, where Vice Admiral George D. Murray accepted the surrender of the Carolines from senior Japanese military and civilian officials.
Following the signing of the instrument of surrender, many further surrender ceremonies took place across Japan's remaining holdings in the Pacific. Japanese forces in Southeast Asia surrendered on September 2, 1945, in Penang, September 10 in Labuan, September 11 in the Kingdom of Sarawak and September 12 in Singapore.   The Kuomintang took over the administration of Taiwan on October 25.   It was not until 1947 that all prisoners held by America and Britain were repatriated. As late as April 1949, China still held more than 60,000 Japanese prisoners.  Some, such as Shozo Tominaga, were not repatriated until the late 1950s. 
The logistical demands of the surrender were formidable. After Japan's capitulation, more than 5,400,000 Japanese soldiers and 1,800,000 Japanese sailors were taken prisoner by the Allies.   The damage done to Japan's infrastructure, combined with a severe famine in 1946, further complicated the Allied efforts to feed the Japanese POWs and civilians.  
The state of war between most of the Allies and Japan officially ended when the Treaty of San Francisco took effect on April 28, 1952. Japan and the Soviet Union formally made peace four years later, when they signed the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. 
Japanese holdouts, especially on small Pacific Islands, refused to surrender at all (believing the declaration to be propaganda or considering surrender against their code). Some may never have heard of it. Teruo Nakamura, the last known holdout, emerged from his hidden retreat in Indonesia in December 1974, while two other Japanese soldiers, who had joined Communist guerrillas at the end of the war, fought in southern Thailand until 1991. 
Hatazō Adachi, the commander of the Japanese 18th Army in New Guinea, surrenders his sword to the commander of the Australian 6th Division, Horace Robertson.
Kaida Tatsuichi, commander of the Japanese 4th Tank Regiment, and his chief of staff Shoji Minoru listen to the terms of surrender on HMAS Moresby at Timor.
Chen Yi (right) accepting the receipt of Order No. 1 signed by Rikichi Andō (left), the last Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan, in Taipei City Hall
Masatane Kanda signs the instrument of surrender of Japanese forces on Bougainville Island, New Guinea.
A Japanese officer surrenders his sword to a British Lieutenant in a ceremony in Saigon, French Indochina.
A Japanese Navy officer signing the surrender of Penang aboard HMS Nelson on September 2, 1945. Penang was liberated by the Royal Marines on the following day under Operation Jurist.
Masao Baba, Lieutenant General of the Japanese 37th Army signs the surrender document in Labuan, British Borneo, being watched by Australian Major General George Wootten and other Australian units.
The official surrender ceremony of the Japanese to the Australian forces on board HMAS Kapunda at Kuching, Kingdom of Sarawak, on September 11, 1945
The Japanese Southern Armies surrender at Singapore on September 12, 1945. General Itagaki surrendered to the British represented by Lord Mountbatten at Municipal Hall, Singapore.
The surrender ceremony of the Japanese to the Australian forces at Keningau, British North Borneo, on September 17, 1945
The surrender ceremony of the Japanese to the British forces with General Itagaki surrendering his sword to General Frank Messervy at Kuala Lumpur, British Malaya, on February 22, 1946.
General Sun Weiru, commander of the Sixth War Zone of China, accepts the surrender of the Japanese troops in Central China from General Naozaburo Okabe, Wuhan, September 18, 1945.
- ^ ab Frank, 90.
- ^ Skates, 158, 195.
- ^ Bellamy, Chris (2007). Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 676. ISBN978-0-375-41086-4 .
- ^ Frank, 87–88.
- ^ Frank, 81.
- Pape, Robert A. (Fall 1993). "Why Japan Surrendered". International Security. 18 (2): 154–201. doi:10.2307/2539100. JSTOR2539100. S2CID153741180.
- ^ Feifer, 418.
- ^ abc Reynolds, 363.
- ^ Frank, 89, citing Daikichi Irokawa, The Age of Hirohito: In Search of Modern Japan (New York: Free Press, 1995 978-0-02-915665-0). Japan consistently overstated its population as 100 million, when in fact the 1944 census counted 72 million.
- ^ Skates, 100–15.
- ^ Hasegawa, 295–96
- ^ McCormack, 253.
- ^ Frank, 87.
- ^ Frank, 86.
- ^ Spector 33.
- ^ The exact role of the Emperor has been a subject of much historical debate. Following PM Suzuki's orders, many key pieces of evidence were destroyed in the days between Japan's surrender and the start of the Allied occupation. Starting in 1946, following the constitution of the Tokyo tribunal, the imperial family began to argue that Hirohito was a powerless figurehead, which brought some historians to accept this point of view. Others, like Herbert Bix, John W. Dower, Akira Fujiwara, and Yoshiaki Yoshimi, argue that he actively ruled from behind the scenes. According to Richard Frank, "Neither of these polar positions is accurate", and the truth appears to lie somewhere in between.—Frank, 87.
- Iris Chang (2012). The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Basic Books. p. 177. ISBN9780465068364 .
- ^ For more details on what was destroyed see
- Page Wilson (2009). Aggression, Crime and International Security: Moral, Political and Legal Dimensions of International Relations. Taylor & Francis. p. 63. ISBN9780203877371 .
- ^ Alan Booth. Lost: Journeys through a Vanishing Japan. Kodansha Globe, 1996, 978-1-56836-148-2. Page 67.
- ^ Frank, 92.
- ^ Frank, 91–92.
- ^ Butow, 70–71.
- ^ Spector, 44–45.
- ^ Frank, 89.
- ^ Bix, 488–89.
- Michael J. Hogan (March 29, 1996). Hiroshima in History and Memory. Cambridge University Press. p. 86. ISBN9780521566827 .
- ^ Hasegawa, 39.
- ^ Hasegawa, 39, 68.
- ^ Frank, 291.
- ^Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, April 13, 1941. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
Declaration Regarding Mongolia, April 13, 1941. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
- ^Soviet Denunciation of the Pact with Japan. Avalon Project, Yale Law School. Text from United States Department of State Bulletin Vol. XII, No. 305, April 29, 1945. Retrieved February 22, 2009.
- ^ "Molotov's note was neither a declaration of war nor, necessarily, of intent to go to war. Legally, the treaty still had a year to run after the notice of cancellation. But the Foreign Commissar's tone suggested that this technicality might be brushed aside at Russia's convenience." "So Sorry, Mr. Sato". Time, April 16, 1945.
- ^Russia and JapanArchived September 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, declassified CIA report from April 1945.
- ^ Slavinskiĭ (page 153-4), quoting from Molotov's diary, recounts the conversation between Molotov and Satō, the Japanese ambassador to Moscow: After Molotov has read the statement, Satō "permits himself to ask Molotov for some clarifications", saying he thinks his government expects that during that year April 25, 1945 – April 25, 1946, the Soviet government will maintain the same relations with Japan it had maintained up to present, "bearing in mind that the Pact remains in force". Molotov replies that "Factually Soviet-Japanese relations revert to the situation in which they were before conclusion of the Pact". Satō observes that in that case the Soviet and Japanese government interpret the question differently. Molotov replies that "there is some misunderstanding" and explains that "on expiry of the five year period … Soviet-Japanese relations will obviously revert to the status quo ante conclusion of the Pact". After further discussion, Molotov states: "The period of the Pact's validity has not ended".
Boris Nikolaevich Slavinskiĭ, The Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact: A Diplomatic History 1941–1945, Translated by Geoffrey Jukes, 2004, Routledge. (Extracts on-line). Page 153-4.
Later in his book (page 184), Slavinskiĭ further summarizes the chain of events:
- "Even after Germany's exit from the war, Moscow went on saying the Pact was still operative, and that Japan had no cause for anxiety about the future of Soviet-Japanese relations."
- May 21, 1945: Malik (Soviet ambassador to Tokyo) tells Sukeatsu Tanakamura, representing Japanese fishing interests in Soviet waters, that the treaty continues in force.
- May 29, 1945: Molotov tells Satō: "we have not torn up the pact".
- June 24, 1945: Malik tells Kōki Hirota that the Neutrality Pact … will continue … until it expires.
Slavinskiĭ, p. 184.
- ^ Frank, 93.
- ^ Frank, 95.
- ^ Frank, 93–94.
- ^ Frank, 96.
- ^Toland, John. The Rising Sun. Modern Library, 2003. 978-0-8129-6858-3. Page 923.
- ^ Frank, 97, quoting The Diary of Marquis Kido, 1931–45: Selected Translations into English, pp. 435–36.
- ^ Frank, 97–99.
- ^ ab Frank, 100, quoting Terasaki, 136–37.
- ^ Frank, 102.
- ^ Frank, 94.
- ^ Frank, 221, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1201.
- ^ Frank, 222–23, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1205, 2 (PDF).
- ^ Frank, 226, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1208, 10–12.
- ^ Frank, 227, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1209.
- ^ Frank, 229, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1212.
- ^ Frank, 230, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1214, 2–3 (PDF).
- ^ "Some messages were deciphered and translated the same day and most within a week a few in cases of key change took longer"—The Oxford Guide to World War II, ed. I.C.B. Dear. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. 978-0-19-534096-9 S.v. "MAGIC".
- ^ Hasegawa, 60.
- ^ Hasegawa, 19.
- ^ Hasegawa, 25.
- ^ Hasegawa, 32.
- ^ ab Hasegawa, 86.
- ^ Hasegawa, 115–16.
- ^ Frank, 279.
- ^ Hewlett and Anderson, pp. 81–83.
- ^ Hewlett and Anderson, pp. 376–80.
- United States Army Corps of Engineers, Manhattan Engineer District (1946). "The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki". OCLC77648098 . Retrieved January 23, 2011 .
- ^ Frank, pp. 254–55.
- ^ abc Hasegawa, 67.
- ^ Schmitz, p. 182.
- ^ Hewlett and Anderson, p. 19.
- ^ ab Hewlett and Anderson, pp. 340–42.
- ^ Hewlett and Anderson, pp. 344–45.
- ^ Hasegawa, p. 90.
- ^ Frank, p. 256.
- ^ Frank, p. 260.
- ^ Hasegawa, p. 149.
- ^ "Truman did not issue any order to drop the bomb. In fact, he was not involved in this decision but merely let the military proceed without his interference." Hasegawa, p. 150–152.
- ^ Hasegawa, 152–53.
- ^ "American officials meeting in Washington on August 10, 1945 … decided that a useful dividing line between the U.S. and Soviet administrative occupation zones would be the 38th parallel across the midsection of the [Korean] peninsula, thereby leaving Korea's central city, Seoul, within the U.S. zone. This arrangement was suggested to the Soviet side shortly after the USSR entered both the Pacific War and the Korean peninsula. The Soviets accepted that dividing line, even though their attempt to obtain a corresponding northern Japan occupation zone on the island of Hokkaido was rejected by Washington." – Edward A. Olsen. Korea, the Divided Nation. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. 978-0-275-98307-9. Page 62.
- ^ Rhodes, 690.
- ^ Hasegawa, 145–48.
- ^ Hasegawa, 118–19.
- ^ Weintraub, 288.
- ^ Frank, 234.
- ^ Kenkyusha. 2004. Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary 5th ed. 978-4-7674-2016-5
- ^ Federico Zanettin, 'The deadliest error': translation, international relations and the news mediaThe Translator Volume 22, 2016. Issue 3 pp. 303–18.
- ^ Frank, 236, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1224.
- ^ Frank, 236, citing Magic Diplomatic Summary No. 1225, 2 (PDF).
- ^ Tucker, Spencer. A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, p. 2086 (ABC-CLIO, 2009).
- ^White House Press Release Announcing the Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. The American Experience: Truman. PBS.org. Sourced to The Harry S. Truman Library, "Army press notes," box 4, Papers of Eben A. Ayers.
- ^ "While senior Japanese officers did not dispute the theoretical possibility of such weapons, they refused to concede that the United States had vaulted over the tremendous practical problems to create an atomic bomb." On August 7, the Imperial Staff released a message saying that Hiroshima had been struck by a new type of bomb. A team led by Lieutenant General Seizō Arisue was sent to Hiroshima on August 8 to sort out several competing theories as to the cause of the explosion, including that Hiroshima was struck by a magnesium or liquid-oxygen bomb.—Frank, 270–71.
- ^ Frank, 270–71.
- ^ Frank, 283–84.
- Nikolaevich, Boris (2004). The Japanese-Soviet neutrality pact : a diplomatic history, 1941–1945 in SearchWorks catalog. searchworks.stanford.edu. ISBN9780415322928 . Retrieved August 28, 2018 .
- Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa. "THE SOVIET FACTOR IN ENDING THE PACIFIC WAR: From the Hirota-Malik Negotiations to Soviet Entry into the War" (PDF) . University Center for International Studies . Retrieved August 28, 2018 .
- Tertitskiy, Fyodor (August 8, 2018). "The Soviet-Japanese War: the brief conflict that created North Korea". NK News . Retrieved August 28, 2018 .
- ^Soviet Declaration of War on Japan, August 8, 1945. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
- ^ The Soviets delivered a declaration of war to Japanese ambassador Satō in Moscow two hours before the invasion of Manchuria. However, despite assurances to the contrary they did not deliver Satō's cable notifying Tokyo of the declaration, and cut the embassy phone lines. This was revenge for the Japanese sneak attack on Port Arthur 40 years earlier. The Japanese found out about the attack from radio broadcast from Moscow. Butow, 154–64 Hoyt, 401.
- Wilson, Ward (May 30, 2013). "The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan. Stalin Did". foreignpolicy.com . Retrieved June 18, 2016 .
- ^ Sadao Asada. "The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japan's Decision to Surrender: A Reconsideration". The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 67, No. 4 (Nov. 1998), pp. 477–512.
- ^ Frank, 288–89.
- ^ Diary of Kōichi Kido, 1966, p. 1223.
- ^ Frank, 290–91.
- ^Radio Report to the American People on the Potsdam Conference by President Harry S. Truman, Delivered from the White House at 10 p.m, August 9, 1945
- ^ Hasagawa, 207–08.
- ^ The pilot, Marcus McDilda, was lying. McDilda, who had been shot down off the coast of Japan two days after the Hiroshima bombing, knew nothing of the Manhattan Project and simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear after one of them drew a samurai sword and held it against his throat. The lie, which caused McDilda to be classified as a high-priority prisoner, probably saved him from beheading. Jerome T. Hagen. War in the Pacific: America at War, Volume I. Hawaii Pacific University, 978-0-9762669-0-7. Chapter, "The Lie of Marcus McDilda", 159–62.
- ^ Hasegawa 298.
- ^ McCullough, David, Truman, Simon & Schuster, New York (1992), p. 459.
- ^ Hasagawa, 209.
- ^ Frank, 295–96.
- ^ Bix, 517, citing Yoshida, Nihonjin no sensôkan, 42–43.
- ^ Hoyt, 405.
- ^ Frank, 302.
- ^ ab "Truman said he had given orders to stop atomic bombing. He said the thought of wiping out another 100,000 was too horrible. He didn't like the idea of killing, as he said, 'all those kids.'" Diary of Commerce Secretary Henry Wallace, August 10, 1945 National Security Archives. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
"It is not to be released over Japan without express authority from the President." – Reply written on memo from General Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, to General Marshall, USA chief of staff regarding the preparations for a third atomic strike. August 10, 1945 National Security Archives. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- ^ Frank, 303.
- ^ While the ceasefire was in effect, Spaatz made a momentous decision. Based on evidence from the European Strategic Bombing Survey, he ordered the strategic bombing to refocus its efforts away from firebombing Japanese cities, to concentrate on wiping out Japanese oil and transportation infrastructure. Frank, 303–07.
- ^ Frank, 310.
- ^ Terasaki, 129.
- ^ Bix, 129.
- ^ abcde Frank, 313.
- ^ Smith, 183.
- ^ Smith, 188.
- ^ Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. 5, pp. 732–33. (Catalog entry, U Washington.)
- ^ Smith, 187.
- ^ After the war, the bombing raids were justified as already in progress when word of the Japanese surrender was received, but this is only partially true. Smith, 187–88 notes that though the daytime bombers had already attacked Japan, the night bombers had not yet taken off when radio notification of the surrender was received. Smith also notes that, despite substantial efforts, he has found no historical documentation relating to Spaatz's order to go ahead with the attack.
- ^ A few hours before the Japanese surrender was announced, Truman had a discussion with the Duke of Windsor and Sir John Balfour (British ambassador to the U.S.). According to Balfour, Truman "remarked sadly that he now had no alternative but to order an atomic bomb dropped on Tokyo."—Frank, 327, citing Bernstein, Eclipsed by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, p 167.
- ^ Specifically, General Carl Spaatz, head of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific and General Lauris Norstad, assistant chief of Air Staff for Plans were noted as advocating for this option. Spaatz as recently as August 10 had asked for permission to conduct an atomic strike on Tokyo as soon as another weapon became available. – Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. 5, pp. 730 and Ch. 23 ref. 85. (Catalog entry, U Washington.)
- ^ ab Frank, 314.
- ^ ab Frank, 315.
- ^ Bix, 558.
- MacArthur, Douglas. "Reports of General MacArthur Vol II – Part II". US Army Center of Military History . Retrieved February 16, 2016 . On the same day that the Rescript to the armed forces was issued, three Imperial Princes left Tokyo by air as personal representatives of the Emperor to urge compliance with the surrender decision upon the major overseas commands. The envoys chosen all held military rank as officers of the Army, and they had been guaranteed safety of movement by General MacArthur's headquarters. General Prince Yasuhiko Asaka was dispatched as envoy to the headquarters of the expeditionary forces in China, Maj. Gen. Prince Haruhiko Kanin to the Southern Army, and Lt. Col. Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda to the Kwantung Army in Manchuria.
- ^ Fuller, Richard Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai 1992 p.290 1-85409-151-4
- ^ abc Hasegawa, 244.
- ^ ab Hoyt, 409.
- ^ Frank, 316.
- ^ Frank, 318.
- ^ Hoyt, 407–08.
- ^ Frank, 317.
- ^ Frank, 319.
- ^ Butow, 220.
- ^ Hoyt, 409–10.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 227.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 309.
- ^ Butow, 216.
- ^ abc Hoyt, 410.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 279.
- ^ ab Wainstock, 115.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 246.
- ^ Hasegawa, 247.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 283.
- ^ Hoyt, 411.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 303.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 290.
- ^ The Pacific War Research Society, 311.
- "Text of Hirohito's Radio Rescript". The New York Times. August 15, 1945. p. 3 . Retrieved August 8, 2015 .
- ^ Dower, 34.
- "The Emperor's Speech: 67 Years Ago, Hirohito Transformed Japan Forever". The Atlantic. August 15, 2012 . Retrieved May 23, 2013 .
- "History – 1945". The 1945 Project . Retrieved August 11, 2020 .
- ^ Dower, 38–39.
- ^ Spector, 558. (Spector incorrectly identifies Higashikuni as the Emperor's brother.)
- ^The Last to Die | Military Aviation | Air & Space Magazine. Airspacemag.com. Retrieved on August 5, 2010.
- ^ Which day they celebrate V-J day depends on the local time at which they received word of Japan's surrender. British Commonwealth countries celebrate the 15th, whereas the United States celebrates the 14th.
- Wood, James. "The Australian Military Contribution to the Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952" (PDF) . Australian War Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 4, 2009 . Retrieved August 12, 2012 .
- ^ ab Hasegawa, 271ff
- ^ Individuals and prefectural offices could apply for permission to fly it. The restriction was partially lifted in 1948 and completely lifted the following year.
- ^ USS Missouri was anchored at 35° 21′ 17″ N 139° 45′ 36″E'
- ^USS Missouri Instrument of Surrender, WWII, Pearl Harbor, Historical Marker Database, www.hmdb.org. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "Order of Dignitaries – World War 2 Surrender Collection". World War 2 Surrender Collection. December 9, 2011 . Retrieved March 9, 2018 .
- "1945 Japan surrenders" . Retrieved August 14, 2015 .
- "Original Copy of Surrender Ceremony Documents on USS Missouri – World War 2 Surrender Collection". World War 2 Surrender Collection. December 8, 2011 . Retrieved March 9, 2018 .
- ^ "Nimitz at Ease", Capt. Michael A. Lilly, USN (ret), Stairway Press, 2019
- ^ "The framed flag in lower right is that hoisted by Commodore Matthew C. Perry on 14 July 1853, in Yedo (Tokyo) Bay, on his first expedition to negotiate the opening of Japan." Formal Surrender of Japan, 2 September 1945—Surrender Ceremonies BeginArchived March 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. United States Naval Historical Center. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
- ^ Dower, 41.
- ^ Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito And The Making Of Modern Japan, pp. 571–73
- ^The Tokyo War Crimes Trials (1946–1948). The American Experience: MacArthur. PBS. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
- ^"1945: Japan signs unconditional surrender" On This Day: September 2, BBC.
- ^"Radio Address to the American People after the Signing of the Terms of Unconditional Surrender by Japan,"Archived February 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Harry S. Truman Library and Museum (September 1, 1945).
- 厚生労働省：全国戦没者追悼式について (in Japanese). Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. August 8, 2007 . Retrieved February 16, 2008 .
- "WW2 People's War – Operation Jurist and the end of the War". www.bbc.co.uk . Retrieved March 11, 2017 .
- "The Japanese Formally Surrender". National Library Board, Singapore. September 12, 1945 . Retrieved October 18, 2016 .
- Ng Yuzin Chiautong (1972). Historical and Legal Aspects of the International Status of Taiwan (Formosa). World United Formosans for Independence (Tokyo) . Retrieved February 25, 2010 .
- "Taiwan's retrocession procedurally clear: Ma". The China Post. CNA. October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015 . Retrieved August 14, 2015 .
- ^ Dower, 51.
- ^ Cook 40, 468.
- ^ Weinberg, 892.
- ^ Cook 403 gives the total number of Japanese servicemen as 4,335,500 in Japan on the day of the surrender, with an additional 3,527,000 abroad.
- ^ Frank, 350–52.
- ^ Cook contains an interview with Iitoyo Shogo about his experiences as POW of the British at Galang Island—known to prisoners as "Starvation Island".
- "Preface". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
- ^ H. P. Wilmott, Robin Cross & Charles Messenger, World War II, Dorling Kindersley, 2004, p. 293. 978-0-7566-0521-6
- Angel, Byron F. (2004). "Question 21/03 Warships Present at Tokyo Bay on 2 Sept 1945". Warship International. XLI (3): 229–31. ISSN0043-0374.
- Bix, Herbert (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: Perennial. ISBN978-0-06-093130-8 .
- Butow, Robert J. C. (1954). Japan's Decision to Surrender. stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN978-0-8047-0460-1 .
- Cook, Haruko Taya Theodore F. Cook (1992). Japan at War: An Oral History. New Press. ISBN978-1-56584-039-3 .
- Dower, John (1999). Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II . W.W. Norton. ISBN978-0-393-04686-1 .
- Feifer, George (2001). The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and the Bomb. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press. ISBN978-1-58574-215-8 .
- Ford, Daniel (September 1995). "The Last Raid: How World War Two Ended". Air & Space Smithsonian. pp. 74–81. Archived from the original on August 10, 2004.
- Frank, Richard B. (1999). Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Penguin. ISBN978-0-14-100146-3 .
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Kurusu was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1886.  He graduated from Tokyo Commercial College (now Hitotsubashi University) in 1909. The following year, he entered diplomatic service and, in 1914, first came to the United States as the Japanese Consul in Chicago. During his six-year service in Chicago, Kurusu married Alice Jay Little.  He had three children, a son Ryō, and a daughter Jaye were both born in the United States another daughter, Teruko Pia, was born in Italy in 1926. Both daughters married Americans and moved back to the United States.  The only son, Captain Ryo Kurusu was killed in a freak accident in 1945. Kurusu did not have any other son although an American newspaper erroneously reported that "his son, Captain Makoto "Norman" Kurusu, was killed in a dogfight over Chiba."  After Saburo's death, Alice Kurusu adopted a girl.
Early foreign service experience included posts in Chile, Italy, Germany, and Peru. As Japanese Consul in Lima, Peru in 1930, he sought to defuse anti-Japanese violence by promoting Japanese immigrant settlements in the rural highlands, rather than in urban Lima.  Kurusu was promoted to director of the Foreign Office Commerce Bureau to negotiate trade agreements. In 1937, he was made ambassador to Belgium, and two years later the ambassador to Germany. On September 27, 1940, Kurusu signed the Tripartite Pact in Berlin on behalf of the Japanese Empire, entering into a 10-year military and economic treaty between Germany, Italy, and Japan. 
After peace talks between the United States and Japan bogged down in 1941, Kurusu was dispatched as the Imperial government's "special envoy."  Arriving in Washington on November 15, Kurusu told newsmen "I am indeed glad to be here in your nation's capital. I extend greetings to all from the bottom of my heart."  Two days later, Secretary of State Cordell Hull brought Kurusu to the White House to meet with President Roosevelt. On November 20, Kurusu presented Japan's proposal that the United States cease aid to China and resume trade relations that had been frozen in December 1939. On November 26, Hull conveyed the Hull note, President Roosevelt's demands for Japan to withdraw its troops from China and to sever its Axis ties with Germany and Italy as a condition for peace.  Kurusu reviewed the demand and replied, "If this is the attitude of the American government, I don't see how an agreement is possible. Tokyo will throw up its hands at this." 
Over the next three weeks, Kurusu and Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura continued to confer with Hull while awaited Japan's reply. On the afternoon of December 7 Kurusu delivered Japan's reply, breaking relations and closing, "The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American government that in view of the attitude of the American Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations."  " At that moment, the bombing of Pearl Harbor had commenced. Unaware of what was happening, news reporters questioned Kurusu and Nomura as they left Hull's office. "Is this your last conference?" one asked, and an unsmiling Nomura had no answer. "Will the embassy issue a statement later?" asked another, and Kurusu replied, "I don't know."  In addressing Congress the next day, President Roosevelt said, "Indeed, one hour after Japanese squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message." 
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kurusu was interned in the United States at Hot Springs, Virginia,  until the United States and Japan negotiated an exchange of their diplomatic personnel and citizens. In June 1942, Kurusu sailed to Mozambique on board the ocean liner MS Gripsholm, which then brought back American ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew and other Americans who had been interned in Japan. Following the Allied victory in Japan, the American military tribunal elected in February 1946 decided not to prosecute either Kurusu or Nomura.  Kurusu was a visiting professor at Tokyo University and lived at a country estate in Karuizawa with his wife, Alice.
Like Nomura, Kurusu maintained for the rest of his life that he had been unaware of the plans for Pearl Harbor. "It must seem absurd to you," he told Frank Robertson of INS, "but it's true. The militarists kept their secret extremely well."  He died at the age of 68.
Actor Hisao Toake plays Kurusu in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!
EAA 650A fascinating piece of WWII history. The Japanese pre-surrender meeting This was overshadowed by the Tokyo Bay surrender ceremony a few weeks later. But what rare photos (and some personal descriptions of that event). Interesting photos of the preparation of Surrender of Japan in August 1945.(Officially signed on the USS Missouri in the Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945 ). A delegation of Japanese Representatives flew to an American Base close to Okinawa. The Japanese planes were requested to be painted in white and have the"Meatballs" replaced by a Green Cross. Really rare archives. Here are photographs of some of those Green Cross flights and Green Cross aircraft, starting with the most photographed of them all "The Green Cross Bettys of Iejima." Let the surrender begin. B-25J Mitchell bombers of the 345th Bomb Group (The Apaches) lead two Green Cross Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" medium bombers into the island of Iejima (called Ie Shima by the Americans). The 345th Bomb Group (the 498th, 499th, 500th and 501st Squadrons) was based on Iejima and was given the task and the very special honour of escorting the Bettys from Tokyo to the rendezvous with United States Army Air Force C-54s, which would take the Japanese officers and envoys on to Manila to meet with no less than Douglas MacArthur himself. Photo: USAF The two Bettys (ironically and deliberately given the call signs Bataan 1 and Bataan 2 by the Americans) fly low over the East China Sea, inbound for Iejima wearing their hastily painted white surrender scheme and green crosses. One can only imagine what is going on in the conflicted minds of the Japanese airmen as they fly over their own territory in the company of the hated enemy, headed for an event of profound humiliation in front of thousands of enemy soldiers. These two Bettys would become the most photographed Green Cross surrender aircraft of the end of the war. Photo: US Navy A photograph taken from the same 345th Bomb Group Mitchell that is depicted in the first photograph, looking back at another B-25 Mitchell and a B-17. Above, P-38 Lightnings provide top cover. The top cover was needed because some Japanese officials had ordered the remnants of the Japanese Army Air Force to attack and bring down their own bombers rather than surrender. Instead of flying directly to Iejima, the two Japanese planes flew northeast, toward the open ocean, to avoid their own fighters. Photo via warbirdinformationexchange.org The Betty was officially known as the"Type-1 land-based attack aircraft", but to its Japanese Navy crews, it was lovingly known as the Hamaki ( Cigar), the reason for which is obvious in this photograph (also because one could light it up fairly easily). The Betty was a good performer, but it was often employed in low level, slow-speed operations such as torpedo attacks and it had a tendency to explode into flames when hit by even light enemy fire, leading some unhappy pilots to call them the "Type One Lighter" or "The Flying Lighter". We can clearly see that the Betty's traditional armament: nose, tail, waist and dorsal guns, have been removed as demanded by the Americans. The B-17 in the distance is from 5th Air Force, 6th Emergency Rescue Squadron carrying a type A-1 lifeboat. The A-1 was dropped by parachute and was motorized. It seems that American authorities did not want to lose these men in the event of a ditching. Photo via warbirdinformationexchange.org As thousands of American soldiers, airmen, sailors, dignitaries and press photographers on the island of Iejima look to the sky, the two 345th Bomb Group B-25J Mitchells escort the two white Green Cross Bettys over the airfield before setting up for a landing. Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron As thousands of suspicious, curious and anxious young men look on, the Japanese pilot brings his Mitsubishi Betty down on to the bleached coral airfield of Iejima. Note the all-metal Douglas C-54 waiting for their arrival. Photo via Pinterest It is plainly obvious that in August of 1945, on the island if Iejima, it was brutally hot the day the Green Cross Bettys landed. Here one of the two aircraft drops on to the runway as soldiers, the formal welcoming committee and pressmen wait, finding shade where they could. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center The second of the twoGreen Cross Bettys makes its final approach while press photographers and reporters capture the long-awaited moment. Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron As the second Betty alights on the coral airstrip, every eye on the island is trained on them. One cannot even imagine what this scene looked like to these Japanese as they looked out from the aircraft windows at a sea of mistrust and a new, grim reality. Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron Another view taken farther back at Iejima shows the two massive and beautifully kept Douglas C-54 aircraft waiting for the passengers of the landing Betty. Image via wwiivehicles.com With its clamshell canopy open and her Captain standing up to direct his co-pilot through the crowd, the first Green Cross Betty to land at Iejima taxis past a seemingly endless line of enemy soldiers. The scene is one of abject humiliation and intimidation. That pilot must surely have felt the mistrust of the thousands of pairs of eyes burning as he rolled by. Photo: USAAF A close-up of the Betty taxiing along in front of the thousands of suspicious American servicemen. This had to be intimidating to the Japanese, especially to the lone pilot standing up and accepting the glares of all. Photo: USAAF I found the personal family memoirs of Army combat engineer Leigh Robertson on the web. Leigh was an eyewitness to the arrival on leshima of the Green Cross surrender aircraft. The following link to his memory of that day is perfect as he immediately wrote it down in a letter back home to his parents: Sunday, August 19th 1945 Dear Folks, I don't know how long it will be until I can mail this letter. I am writing it now, while things are fresh in my mind. I have just seen what is probably the most important event in the world today . It was the arrival of the Japanese envoys on their way to Manila, to sign the preliminary peace agreement with Gen. MacArthur. We had known for the last three days that they were going to land here. We expected them yesterday, but they were delayed, for some reason. We went to work this morning as usual, and worked until about ten. Then the word went around that the Japs were coming. We piled into trucks and drove up to the airstrip. We waited expectantly for over an hour. Finally, word went out once more that they would not arrive until 1:30 P.M, so we decided to come on back to camp and eat lunch (we had baked ham, by the way). Just before we left we watched two giant four engine transports (C-54s) circle the field and land. These were the planes that would take the Japs on to Manila . Just as I was leaving the mess hall, the news came over the radio that the Jap planes were circling the island, and sure enough, they were! I ran to my tent, put away my mess gear, grabbed my cap and climbed on a truck. It is about two miles to the airstrip, but we made pretty good time, because all the traffic was going the same way. As we came closer to the field, we became part of a strange procession. Directly in front and to the rear of us were two P-38s (twin engine fighter aircraft). Further on down the line there were tractors, motor graders, and in fact, most every kind of vehicle you can imagine--all loaded with G.I.s. We parked the truck about a quarter mile from the strip and ran the rest of the way. I got separated from the rest of the men, and stopped on a high spot about 75 yards from the strip. I had scarcely gotten settled when the planes started in for a landing. The planes themselves were Japanese "Betty" bombers, with two engines, bearing some resemblance to our B-26. They were painted white, with green crosses. It had been a hasty paint job -- you could still see the red of the rising sun showing through the white. Naturally, the planes had been stripped of all armament. They were escorted by two B-25s, and I don't know how many P-38s, probably a hundred or more. The latter continued to circle the field for an hour or more, until all the excitement was over. Both planes made perfect landings, rolled to the far end of the strip, turned and taxied back to our end. They parked right alongside the two large transports that had arrived earlier. They were dwarfed by comparison to our transports. We were not permitted within a hundred yards or so of the four airplanes. There were several hundred people gathered around the planes, most likely photographers and Air Corps officers. They pretty well hid from view the events of the next few minutes. I could see various people boarding the transport, but couldn't tell much about them. Presently they towed one of the Jap planes up a taxiway to a parking area close to where I was sitting. One of our boys pulled his truck right up to the fence, and raised the dump bed. This gave us a grandstand seat, about 15 feet off the ground. When the plane came to rest, the crew started climbing out. There were five in all, dressed in heavy flying clothes. There were two jeeps waiting to take them away. Evidently they didn't speak English, for there was much waving of hands and shrugging of shoulders. About this time two or three thousand soldiers broke through the ring of guards and started for the Japs. They didn't have any bad intentions, just curiosity, and wanting to take pictures. I know that if I had been in the place of those Japs, I would have been just a wee bit scared! At any rate, they lost no time in getting into the Jeeps and away from the mob! Finally, they managed to get the crowd back far enough to bring the other"Betty" over to the parking area. After a few minutes one of the C-47s(edit C-54s?) warmed up its engines and taxied onto the strip. With a mighty roar, she started down the runway. Before she got halfway down the runway, she was in the air, on her way to Manila. It was a great show, and one I don't think I shall ever forget, for it is part of the last chapter of this war that has caused so many hardships, and so many heartbreaks. Thank God it is all over. I wish that you would save this letter for me, or make a copy of it. What I saw today is one of the few things that I have seen, or will see, while I'm in this army that will be worth remembering. Just as soon as I find out from the censor that it is O.K., I'll mail this. You will probably have read about it in the newspapers, and seen it in the newsreel, but this may give you a little different slant on it. I sure do think of you folks a lot. Maybe it won't be too long now till I can be back with all of you again. I want to write to Barbara tonight , so I'll end this now. Love, Leigh The captain of the second Mitsubishi Betty also stands up to direct his co-pilot through the crowds waiting and watching. We can tell this is a different Betty as the previous one has a window panel just behind the nose glazing under the chin of the aircraft. This one does not have that particular window pane. Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron With his twin Kasei 14-cylinder engines thundering, the Japanese pilot guides the Betty through the crowded taxi strip. Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron Guiding his co-pilot from his perch above the Betty, the commander of the second Green Cross Betty commands him to swing round into position near the awaiting C-54 transports of the Americans. In doing so he blasts the crowd of American sailors and airmen. We can see in this photo that all of the men in the background have their backs turned against the dust storm. Perhaps this was the one satisfying moment for the Japanese crews in this most humiliating of days. Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron One of the two Bettys comes to a stop across from the waiting Douglas C-54 aircraft that will take the envoys to Manila . Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center The second Green Cross Betty to land at Iejima begins to unload its passengers and crew, while American soldiers crowd around. The distinguishing features that help us tell this Betty from the other are the different glazing panels on the nose and the fact that this does not have the Radio Direction Finding (RDF) loop antenna on the top of the fuselage. Photo via leighrobertson.net The two Green Cross aircraft are stared at by thousands of American soldiers, who watch from the gullies surrounding the airstrip, hoping to get a close look at the once hated, now defeated, Japanese airmen. Note the RDF loop antenna at the top of the fuselage. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center American soldiers and airmen, in daily working gear, gawk at the once-hated Mitsubishi G4M Betty painted white like a flag of surrender and no longer wearing her proud red rising sun roundels known as the Hinomaru. Instead they are required to wear green crosses -- Christian symbols if there ever were any. With her RDF loop, this is clearly the first of the two Bettys. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center Moments after the second all-white Betty shuts down on the leshima ramp in the blistering sun , she is surrounded by airmen and plenty of Military Police (MPs). While some of the Japanese stand on the ground, a young airman steps out of the doorway carrying two large bouquets of flowers as a peace offering to the American delegation. The offer of the flowers was rejected by the Americans who felt that it was too soon to make nice with the once haughty Japanese who had treated Allied POWs so roughly. It would be like Auschwitz survivors accepting flowers from the SS, but you have to feel sorry for the young man bearing the gift. Photo via warbirdinformationexchange.org Looking more than a little worried and even terrified, the young Japanese soldiers look about them to see only angry, disdainful faces. The soldier on the left is the one who has just had his gift of flowers rejected and is no doubt looking for a place to hide. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center Japanese officers and leaders, with a mandate to negotiate their surrender, cross from their Mitsubishi Betty to awaiting C-54 aircraft which will take them to Manila . The truth is there were no negotiations. Surrender was unconditional. But they were there to accept the orders of surrender. The formal signing of the surrender would take place aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945 (two weeks later). Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center Formalities on the ground were quickly performed and within 20 minutes, the eight official commissioners were guided up a ladder into a massive Douglas C-54 transport aircraft, a luxurious accommodation when compared to the Japanese Bettys. They were then flown to Manila in the Philippines to meet with MacArthur. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center After the Japanese delegates boarded the American C-54 Skymaster at Iejima, they were flown 1,500 kilometres over the South China Sea to Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Here, we see General Douglas MacArthurwatching the arrival of the Japanese entourage from the balcony of the ruined Manila City Hall . Most of the city's fine old Spanish-style buildings were destroyed in the battle to retake the city from the Japanese in February and March of that year. Americans and Filipino citizens look on warily. More than 100,000 Manilans and 1,000 Americans were killed battling the Japanese, so this crowd would not be considered to be welcoming. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center *****
A seldom-told story of the end of WWII
This year has been the 75 th anniversary of the end of World War II. We’ve see a lot of publications about the anniversary, including V-J day, Victory over Japan day. We have yet to see one that tells you the story we are about to tell you.
Most of us probably have seen photographs of General MacArthur signing the peace treaty with Japan in ceremonies on the deck of the USS Missouri.
But few of us probably have seen these pictures:
A few weeks ago my long-time friend, Hugh David Waggoner, called to see if I would be interested in an old trunk full of pictures from World War II that had belonged to a man named R. Sheldon Gentry (his first name was Rusaw, which might explain why he used “R” so he wouldn’t have to explain or repeat “Rusaw.”) The name rang a faint bell with me but I have not been able to pin down who he was.
The pictures you see above are from the trunk. The photographs and some 70-plus years old newspaper clippings tell the story behind the famous pictures of the surrender on the Missouri. This story from that trunk is a story not often told, one I had not heard. So we’re going to tell it today because we doubt many of you have heard it, either.
One of the people in the third picture above is of extremely special interest because without him the war might have gone on longer than it did with consequences of immensely tragic proportions beyond the tragedies that had been occurring since Japan invaded China in 1931, the real beginning of the war.
A word, first, about Gentry, who went into the Army as a Second Lieutenant and came out a Major. He was a decorated photo intelligence officer who wound up with two Presidential Citations and two Legions of Merit among his medals because of his expertise in advising bomber crews about their targets. In fact, he went on several missions and helped guide crews to their targets in the southwest Pacific Theatre as the allies closed the noose around Japan.
Three days after the second Atomic Bomb was dropped, Gentry was in an American bomber fifty feet over Nagasaki assessing the damage. A few days after that, Japan accepted the surrender terms laid down at the Potsdam Conference by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The notification was announced on August 15 by President Truman, the same day the Emperor dramatically announced to his nation that he had ordered all Japanese military forces to stop fighting. It also was the day General McArthur was designated the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.
MacArthur immediately ordered the Japanese Imperial Government to send envoys to Manila on the 17 th to put the surrender into effect. The delegation was to travel from Japan in a white airplane with green crosses on the fuselage and wings to the island of Ieshima where they would transfer to an American plane that would take them to Manila. The Japanese were granted some extra time to make preparations for the flight—painting an airplane, for example. On the morning of August 19, the sixteen-member delegation boarded two re-painted Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers and flew to IeShima (the Japanese called it IeJima or Iye Jima), an island in the Okinawa Prefecture.
The Betty was the main bomber used by Japan, often as a torpedo bomber—as it was at Pearl Harbor. It was fast, 265 mph, could fly 3,250 miles. One of its most notable accomplishments was the shocking sinking of the British battleships, Prince of Wales and Repulse during the earliest days of the war, the first battleships sunk in a wartime air attack. But the plane had no armor and no self-sealing fuel tanks, making it vulnerable to a few well-placed shots. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor and Midway, was sought out and shot down in a Betty over Bougainville in 1943.
But that’s straying from our story.
The pictures at the top of this entry were in Gentry’s trunk. They show the two disarmed Betty bombers, as the Americans called them—Americans gave male names to Japanese fighter planes and female names to the bombers—being escorted by two Army Air Force B-25s. The second pictures shows one of them landing.
The delegation was met by American officers who escorted them to one of our C-54s for the flight to Manila. Notice, in the third picture, the man in the white suit, in the center, wearing glasses. He was the only civilian among the seven men who sat at the negotiating table in Manila, across from seven American military representatives who worked out the final agreement in two sessions the evening of the 19 th and the morning of the 20 th .
In the trunk is the first teletype message that negotiations for Japanese surrender had been completed and Japanese negotiators would arrive later on the 20 th in Tokyo.
But things almost did not turn out well.
The man in the white suit at the negotiations was Katsuo Okazaki, a 5,000 meter runner at the Paris Olympics of 1924. Although MacArthur’s directive was for negotiators only from the Army and the Navy, the Japanese government decided to have a representative of its own with the group and selected Okazaki, the former second secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Washington and then the director of the research bureau of the foreign office.
The surrender flight to Ie Jima had been a nervous trip for those aboard the two bombers. “At that time the Kamikaze corps was still strong. We had to make our preparations in secret lest the Kamikazes attack us on the way. It took longer than we expected…
“We flew from Kisarazu airbase,” he recalled in a late 1947 interview with Ray Falk of the North American Newspaper Alliance. “A little after noon we were off Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island, where we were met by American planes. We had been given the call signal, ’Bataan.’”
(The Battle of Bataan in the Japanese Philippine campaign of 1942 ended with a 65-mile forced march of 75,000 captured American and Filipino troops to concentration camps. The march was infamous for the brutality of the Japanese, who beat bayonetted the starved and weak prisoners who were too weak to walk. Thousands of them died on the march or in the camps.)
“When we called, ‘Bataan! Bataan!’ the American pilots answered, ‘Yes, we are Bataan’s watchdog—follow us…’”
The group returned to IeShima after the Manila conference to find one of their planes was undergoing repairs and split up, with half of the group going back to Japan and the other half waiting to fly back later.
“Half an hour before our expected landing time in Japan, the pilot came back and said, ‘I am sorry but we found our gasoline tank is leaking, and we have very little gas left.’ We were flying over water. We didn’t know whether we could reach land. We knew the bomber would not float more than one or two minutes. Come what may, I was entrusted with all the documents.”
“Fifteen minutes later, the plane crashed, and I made a compete somersault. A second crash and another tumble followed. I was ready to jump out when the pilot came back and said, ‘Please remain calm and swim ashore.’ We had landed in shallow coastal water.”
The pilot had managed to land the plane near a beach at Hamamatsu, about 285 miles south of Tokyo.
Okazaki went into the water and swam ashore, holding the vital documents above his head. “We couldn’t see where we were for it was so dark,” he continued. “Eventually a full moon rose and we went ashore. Two fishermen from Hamamatsu helped us to get to the Hamamatsu airbase. The villagers had been reluctant to help us when they saw the plane crash because they thought I was a B-29. We were lucky not to have been attacked as enemies.
“Anyway, we reached Prime Minister Prince Higashi Kuni’s office at 9 o’clock the following morning, only seven hours late. The cabinet had waited for us all night.
“I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had drowned. General headquarters already was mistrusting us because we were two days late in getting to Manila. What measures the allied armies might have taken are pure conjecture. But they would have been unpleasant. It might have caused the war to continue in view of the fact that our party had to escape from the anti-surrender Kamikaze corps which wanted to continue the war.”
There might have been conjecture on Okazaki’s part in 1947 but there was no conjecture on the part of the allies of 1945 who already had been planning one of the largest amphibious operations in history, Operation Downfall, to start in November. The second phase would have been launched in early ’46 near Tokyo. Japan knew the invasions were coming but hoped the cost to the allies would be so great that the war would end with an armistice, not a defeat.
The forecasts for casualties varied widely. One estimate from Secretary of War Henry Stimson forecast 400,000 to 800,000 fatalities and as many as four-million total casualties, not counting the 100,000 allied prisoners of war who were to be executed if Japan was invaded.
But for Russia’s late-war invasion from the north and the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with threats of more such attacks—and a swimmer named Katzuo Okazaki—history might have been a great deal more “unpleasant” as Okazaki put it in 1947.
The first advance party of American soldiers arrived in Japan on August 26 with greater numbers arriving two days later, with the surrender ceremonies taking place on an American battleship in Tokyo Bay September 2. Okazaki was part of the Japanese delegation on the Missouri that day.
The man in the white suit was elected to the Japanese House of Representatives in 1949. Two years later, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida name him Chief Cabinet Secretary and state minister without portfolio. He became Foreign Minister in 1952 and during his three years in that office, signed a Mutual Security Assistance Agreement with American Ambassador John Allison. He retired but was called back to service to be Japan’s delegate to the United Nations from April, 1961 to July, 1963. He died two years later at the age of 68.
And the Betty bomber, the Mitsubishi G4M1 that carried Okazaki and the others on those historic surrender flights? The Japanese called it the Hamaki, meaning “cigar,” a reference to its shape. Wrecked remains of hundreds of them are scattered throughout Southeast Asia and in the Southwest Pacific. The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum has pieces of one it is slowly restoring. A wrecked one is on display at an air museum in Chino, California. Two years ago Warbird Digest reported two of the bombers had been recovered from the Solomon Islands for possible restoration. There are no flyable Bettys in existence.
There are more stories in that old trunk, It now resides at the Museum of Missouri Military History at the Ike Skelton Training Center near Jefferson City. We might tell more about Gentry in some later entry. We haven’t learned much about his post-war years, but his trunk sure has some interesting things about that part of his life and the war he saw and helped fight. Now his trunk and the stories in it are at a place where they will be cared for and appreciated.
Korea and the Sino-Japanese War
In Korea a boy was enthroned as the Chosŏn king Kojong in 1864 under the regency of his father, Yi Ha-ŭng (called the Taewŏn’gun [“Prince of the Great Court”]), a vigorous exclusionist. In 1866 the Koreans began a nationwide persecution of Christians and repulsed the French and Americans there. The Qing, although uneasy, did not intervene.
After the Meiji Restoration, Japan made many efforts to open new and direct intercourse with Korea, but the Taewŏn’gun, citing diplomatic slights, managed to rebuff these overtures. The Chosŏn government became more approachable after he stepped down in 1873, and a Japanese envoy began talks at Pusan in 1875. However, the parley was protracted, and Japan impatiently sent warships to Korea these sailed northward to Kanghwa Bay, where gunfire was exchanged between the Japanese vessels and a Korean island fort. The Treaty of Kanghwa, signed in 1876, defined Korea as an independent state on an equal footing with Japan. Japan sent an envoy, Mori Arinori, to China to report on recent Korean affairs. China insisted that, although Korea was independent, China could come to the support of its vassal state (Korea) in a crisis, an interpretation that Mori saw as contrary to the idea of independence in international law.
From that time on, the Qing strove to increase their influence in Korea they helped open Korea to the United States and supported the efforts of pro-Chinese Koreans for modernization. However, strong feelings of conservatism and xenophobia provided the basis for the Taewŏn’gun to return to power. In July 1882 he expelled Kojong’s consort, Queen Min, and her clique and burned down the Japanese legation. The Qing dispatched an army to Korea, arrested the Taewŏn’gun, and urged the king to sign a treaty with Japan. Thus, the Qing claim for suzerainty was substantiated.
In December 1884 another coup was attempted by a group of pro-Japanese reformists, but it failed because of the Qing military presence in Korea. From these two incidents, Qing political influence and commercial privileges emerged much stronger, though Japan’s trade in Korea far surpassed that of China in the late 1880s.
In 1860 a Korean scholar, Ch’oe Che-u, had founded a popular religion called Tonghak (“Eastern Learning”). By 1893 it had turned into a political movement that attracted a vast number of peasants under the banner of antiforeignism and anticorruption. They occupied the southwestern city of Chŏnju in late May 1894. Both China and Japan sent expeditions to Korea, but the two interventionists arrived to find the rebels at Chŏnju already dispersed. To justify its military presence, Japan proposed to China a policy of joint support of Korean reform. When China refused on the ground that this was counter to Korean independence, a clash seemed inevitable. On July 25 the Japanese navy defeated a Chinese fleet in Kanghwa Bay, and on August 1 the two sides declared war on each other. Japan gained victories in every quarter on both land and sea.
During the crisis the Qing power centre was again divided. The northern (beiyang) navy was less powerful than it appeared, lacking discipline, unified command, and the necessary equipment of a modern navy. In February 1895 Li Hongzhang was appointed envoy to Japan he signed a peace treaty at Shimonoseki on April 17, whose main items were recognition of Korean independence, indemnity of 200 million taels, and the cession of Taiwan, the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula. Six days later, however, Russia, Germany, and France forced Japan to restore the peninsula Japan formally relinquished it on May 5, for which China agreed to pay 30 million taels. Gaining China’s favour by this intervention, the three powers began to press China with demands, which gave rise to a veritable scramble for concessions.
The Failed Attempt to Avert War with Japan, 1941
The attack by the Imperial Japanese Army against the Naval Base at Pearl Harbor catapulted the United States into World War II. While many are familiar with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, less is known about the attempts by Japan and the U.S. to avert war.
Tensions were running high between Japan and the United States long December 7th. Japan was fighting what was almost a decade-long war against the Chinese in Manchuria. After the bombing of the USS Panay on the Yangtze River in December 1937 (which Japan had claimed was an accident), the U.S. and their allies began sending assistance to China. The Japanese continued their aggression with the occupation of French Indochina, and the U.S. began taking preventative measures. In 1941 the United States ceased oil shipments to Japan. The U.S. and Japan began negotiations to end sanctions and make peace, but their efforts were unsuccessful. President Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye (at right), and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew were on the verge of arranging a meeting in Alaska, but the parties could not come to an agreement on terms.
Robert A. Fearey was serving as the private secretary Ambassador Grew, during the time surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1998, he shared his memoirs with ADST, recollecting the days leading up to the attack, the failed attempts at peace and the declaration of war. Read about his time as a detainee in the embassy as well as his thoughts about the failed negotiations written years after the war.
You can read Niles Bond’s account of being detained in the U.S. Consulate in Yokohama in the months after Pearl Harbor as well as other accounts of World War II.
“Washington’s initial reaction to a Roosevelt- Konoye meeting was not unfavorable”
FEAREY: As the weeks passed, I became aware that Grew and [Embassy Counselor Eugene] Doorman were heavily preoccupied with an undertaking which they believed could critically affect the prospects for averting the war. Though the matter was closely held within the embassy, I learned that it related to a proposal Grew had transmitted to Washington from Prime Minister Konoye that he and President Roosevelt meet face-to–face in Honolulu in an effort to fundamentally turn U.S.-Japan relations around before it was too late.
Grew had told Washington that Konoye was convinced that he would be able to present terms for such a settlement at such a meeting which the U.S. and its allies would be able to accept. Konoye had said that the terms had the backing of the Emperor and of Japan’s highest military authorities and that senior military officers were prepared to accompany him to the meeting and put the weight of their approval behind the hoped-for agreement with the President on the mission’s return to Japan. Grew and Doorman had strongly recommended that Washington agree to the meeting.
Reverting to the Konoye proposal, although my knowledge of the cables back and forth was limited at the time, the records show that Washington’s initial reaction to the proposal was not unfavorable. The idea caught the President’s imagination. In a late August session with Japanese Ambassador Kichisaburu Nomura, Roosevelt “spoke of the difficulty of going as far as Hawaii and elaborated his reasons why it would be difficult to get away for 21 days. He turned to Juneau, Alaska as a meeting place, which would only require some 14 or 15 days, allowing for a three or four days conversation with the Japanese Prime Minister….
In his August 28 reply to Roosevelt through Nomura, Konoye said that “he would be assisted by a staff of about twenty persons, of whom five each would be from the Foreign Office, the Army, the Navy and the Japanese Embassy at Washington.” Nomura “thought that the inclusion of Army and Navy representatives would be especially beneficial in view of the responsibility, which they would share for the settlement reached.” Konoye told Grew about this time that a destroyer with steam up awaited in Yokohama to carry him and his associates to the meeting place. An Embassy officer who lived in Yokohama confirmed this.
However, at a meeting with Nomura at the White House on September 3, the President read a message, prepared at State, from him to Konoye, which included the statement that “it would seem highly desirable that we take precautions toward ensuring that our proposed meeting shall prove a success by endeavoring to enter immediately upon preliminary discussions of the fundamental and essential questions on which we seek agreement….”
When Nomura asked whether the President was still favorable to a conference, “the President replied that he was but that it was very important to settle a number of these questions beforehand if the success of the conference was to be safeguarded…” He added that “it would be necessary for us to discuss the matter fully with the British, the Chinese and the Dutch, since there is no other way to effect a suitable peaceful settlement for the Pacific area.”
In succeeding meetings, Roosevelt and Hull reiterated these two themes: that the proposed meeting must be preceded by preliminary U.S.-Japan discussions of (by which they clearly meant agreement on) “the fundamental and essential questions on which we seek agreement,” and by U.S. consultation with our Chinese, British and Dutch allies. In a September 4th meeting with Nomura, Hull said that “this was especially necessary with the Chinese who might otherwise be apprehensive lest we betray them. He (Hull) felt that before we are in a position to go to the Chinese, the American and Japanese Governments should reach a clear understanding in principle on the various points to be discussed affecting China.” Concern for Chiang Kai-shek’s reactions was clearly a key factor in the Administration’s thinking.
Konoye’s Fear of Assassination by Fanatical Japanese
Konoye [seen at right], in his initial broaching of the meeting idea in the spring, had explained to Grew, and he to Washington, why it was necessary for him to meet personally with Roosevelt outside Japan and why he would be able to propose terms at such a meeting which he could never propose through diplomatic channels. If he had said he was to use such channels to provide the specific assurances Washington sought on the China question and other issues, his Foreign Minister, Yosuke Matsuoka, who had led Japan into the Axis Pact with Germany and Italy and who, with the Germans and Italians, would do anything to prevent a Japanese accommodation with the U.S., would immediately leak those assurances to fanatical Japanese elements and to the German and Italian embassies he (Konoye) would be assassinated, and the whole effort would fail.
A further risk of hostile leaks lay in the codes through which the Embassy and the State Department communicated. The Embassy hoped that one of its codes was still secure, but Konoye told Grew that he believed that Japanese cryptographers had broken all the others. The Embassy did not know that we had broken the Japanese codes and that Washington knew everything that passes by cable between Tokyo and the Japanese Embassy in Tokyo.
After Matsuoka was forced to resign as Foreign Minister following the German invasion of Russia in June, Konoye told Grew, and he Washington, that Matsuoka had left supporters behind in the Foreign Office who would equally leak the positive and forthcoming terms which he (Konoye) intended to propose to the President. On the other hand, Konoye maintained that if he, accompanied by senior representatives of the Army and Navy, could meet face-to-face with Roosevelt, propose those terms and have them accepted in principle, subject to Washington and Allied concurrence and the working out of detailed implementing arrangements, the reaction of relief and approval in Japan would be so strong that die-hard elements would be unable to prevail against it.
Grew and Doorman supported this reasoning. From the Emperor down, they told Washington, the Japanese knew that the China venture was not succeeding. Particularly after the July freezing of Japanese assets abroad and the embargo on oil and scrap shipments to Japan, the endless war in China was driving Japan into ruin. Every time a taxi went around the corner, Japan had less oil. There was solid reason to believe that the bulk of the Japanese people, except for the die-hards and fanatics, would sincerely welcome a face-saving settlement that would enable the country to pull back, on an agreed schedule, from China and Southeast Asia, even if not from Manchuria.
Japan had now held Manchuria for nine years and successfully integrated its economy into the homeland economy, and its disposition presented special problems which would have to be worked out in agreement with Nationalist China (Chiang Kai-shek reportedly declared in 1937 that China was determined to give up no more of its territory — a tacit admission that the return of Manchuria to China could not at that time be expected). But the time was now — the opportunity had to be seized before Japan’s economic situation and internal discontent reached so serious a level that the military felt obliged and entitled to take complete control and launch Japan on a suicidal was against the West.
Grew told Washington that because of the risks of hostile exposure, Konoye could not provide the clear and specific commitments concerning China, Indochina, the Axis Pact, non-discriminatory trade and other issues which Washington sought before the proposed meeting. On the other hand, he argued, there was strong reason to believe that Konoye would be able to provide those commitments at the proposed meeting and that with the Emperor’s [Hirohito, at left], the top military’s and the people’s support, they would be carried out. No one could guarantee this, but the alternative was almost certainly replacement of the Konoye Government and a rapid descent toward war. A State Department paraphrase of an August 18th Grew cable to Hull concluded as follows:
“The Ambassador urges with all the force at his command for the sake of avoiding the obviously growing possibility of an utterly futile war between Japan and the United States that this Japanese proposal not be turned aside without very prayerful consideration. Not only is the proposal unprecedented in Japanese history, but it is an indication that Japanese intransigence is not crystallized completely, owing to the fact that the proposal has the approval of the Emperor and the highest authorities in the land. The good which may flow from a meeting between Prince Konoye and President Roosevelt is incalculable. The opportunity is here presented, the Ambassador ventures to believe, for an act of the highest statesmanship, such as the recent meeting of President Roosevelt with Prime Minister Churchill at sea, with the possible overcoming thereby of apparently insurmountable obstacles to peace hereafter in the Pacific.”…
As the weeks passed and Washington still withheld approval of Konoye’s meeting proposal, he and Grew became increasingly discouraged. Konoye warned at their secret meetings that time was running out, that he would soon have no alternative but to resign and be succeeded by a prime minister and cabinet offering far less chance of determinedly seeking and being able to carry out a mutually acceptable U.S.-Japan settlement. Again and again Grew urged Washington to accept the meeting as the last, best chance for a settlement. He urged that not only Konoye, but he and Doorman firmly believed the Emperor and Japan’s top military and civilian leaders wished to reverse Japan’s unsuccessful military course, if this could be accomplished without an appearance of abject surrender. Japan could not pull its forces out of China and Indochina overnight without such an appearance, but it could commit itself to a course of action which would accomplish that result in an acceptable period of time under effective safeguards.
With New Men in Charge, Hopes Fade
Personalities can make an important difference in such situations. Secretary Hull’s principal Far Eastern advisor was a former professor named Stanley K. Hornbeck. Coming to the post with a China background, he was personally known by Grew and other Embassy Tokyo officers to have shown disdain and dislike for the Japanese. Word reached the Embassy that it was largely as a result of his influence and advice that Roosevelt’s and Hull’s initially favorable reaction to the meeting proposal had cooled. It was largely at his insistence that the policy of requiring Japan to provide clear and specific assurances on outstanding issues, particularly respecting China, before such a meeting could be held had been adopted.
Hornbeck was quoted as saying that Grew had been in Japan too long, that he was more Japanese than the Japanese and that all one had to do with the Japanese was to stand up to them, and they would cave. The Embassy heard that State’s “Japan hands,” led by Joseph W. Ballantine, tended to agree with its recommendations, but how strongly was not clear. What did seem clear was that Hornbeck had the upper hand and that his views were prevailing with Hull and Roosevelt.
On October 16, Konoye, having pleaded and waited in vain for U.S. acceptance of his meeting proposal, resigned and was replaced by General Hideki Tojo. In a private conversation with Grew, Konoye put the best face he could on this development, recalling that Tojo, as War Minister in Konoye’s cabinet, had personally supported the meeting proposal and had been prepared to put his personal weight behind the hoped-for agreement with the President. But Grew and Doorman now held little hope for peace, believing that the chance which Konoye had presented of a reversal, not at once, but by controlling stages, of Japan’s aggressive course had been lost. The Washington talks continued, and Grew employed his talents to the full with his old friends, the new Foreign Minister, Admiral Teijiro Toyoda, and others to make them succeed. But he was privately frank to say that in his view, the die had been cast when Konoye gave up on the proposed meeting and resigned.
Reflecting this view, Grew sent a number of cables during October and November, warning that the Japanese, finding themselves in a corner as a result of the freeze and embargo, not only might, but probably would, resort to an all-out, do-or-die attempt to render Japan invulnerable to foreign economic pressures, even if the effort were tantamount to national hara-kiri.
In a message on November 3, he expressed the hope that the U.S. would not become involved in war “because of any possible misconception of Japan’s capacity to rush headlong into a suicidal struggle with the United States.” He said that “the sands are running fast,” and that “an armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.”
Earlier in the year, he had reported that the Peruvian Ambassador in Tokyo had informed diplomatic colleagues that a Japanese Admiral in his cups had been heard to say that if war came, it would start with an attack on Pearl Harbor. The contrast between Grew’s prescient warnings and Hornbeck’s reported view that if one stood up to the Japanese, they would cave, could not be more stark. But “China-hand” Hornbeck’s analysis prevailed over that of our Tokyo Embassy, not only with Hull and the President, but also apparently with our military authorities responsible for our Pacific defenses.
“And So War Came”
And so war came. It was Sunday in the U.S. but Monday morning, December 8, when the news reached us in Tokyo. At about 8:00, I walked over from my apartment to the Embassy chancery–a distance of about forty feet. There, standing or lying around on the chancery lobby floor, were a collection of golf bags. It was the day for the “Tuffy’s Cup” annual golf tournament, inaugurated some years before by the British Naval Attaché, Captain Tuffnel.
Chip Bohlen came down the stairs. Had I heard the news? The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and other points around the Western Pacific, and the Imperial Headquarters had announced that a state of war existed between Japan and the U.S. and its Allies. As I absorbed this intelligence, other Embassy officers arrived, most having heard the news from their drivers, who had heard it over their car radios.
The Ambassador had not yet come in, so I went up to his residence. He was relating to Ned Crocker how he had delivered a personal message from the President to the Emperor through Foreign Minister Togo [named to that position in October 1941] at midnight and how he had been called over to Togo’s office at 7:30 that morning to receive the Emperor’s reply. Grew said that if Togo had known about the attack, he had given no sign of it on either occasion, through his manner had been even stiffer than usual that morning. That, however, could be accounted for by the fact that the Emperor’s response to the President’s message had broken off the year-long U.S.-Japan negotiations. Grew later heard on good authority that Togo knew nothing of the attack until the news came over the radio early Monday morning….
“Gokkai, Gokkai,” “Extra, Extra”
I then went down to the compound’s front gate, which was closed tight with Japanese police standing all about. Outside, up the street, I heard a newsboy calling “Gokkai, Gokkai,” meaning “Extra, Extra” and waving copies of the English language “official” Japanese Government newspaper, The Japan Times and Advertiser, on which I could see gigantic headlines. It occurred to me that the paper would probably not only be informative on what happened, but would make a great souvenir. So I walked as inconspicuously as I could back along the eight-foot wall surrounding the compound to a corner where some small pine trees provided a little cover. There I scrambled over the wall, bought two copies of the paper, one to give to Grew and one to keep, and scrambled back. Fortunately, this somewhat foolhardy maneuver was not noticed by the police, who I knew had orders to allow no one in or out of the compound without express official permission.
Japanese Peace Envoys, Bougainville - History
[WASHINGTON,] December 7, 1941.
The Japanese Ambassador asked for an appointment to see the Secretary at 1:00 p.m.,  but later telephoned and asked that the appointment be postponed to 1:45 as the Ambassador was not quite ready. The Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu arrived at the Department at 2:05 p.m. and were received by the Secretary at 2:20.
The Japanese Ambassador stated that he had been instructed to deliver at 1:00 p.m. the document which he handed the Secretary, but that he was sorry that he had been delayed owing to the need of more time to decode the message. The Secretary asked why he had specified one o'clock. The Ambassador replied that he did not know but that that was his instruction.
The Secretary said that anyway he was receiving the message at two o'clock.
After the Secretary had read two or three pages he asked the Ambassador whether this document was presented under instructions of the Japanese Government. The Ambassador replied that it was. The Secretary as soon as he had finished reading the document turned to the Japanese Ambassador and said,
"I must say that in all my conversations with you (the Japanese Ambassador) during the last nine months I have never uttered one word of untruth. This is borne out absolutely by the record. In all my fifty years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions-infamous falsehoods and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any Government on this planet was capable of uttering them."
The Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu then took their leave without making any comment.
A copy of the paper which was handed to the Secretary by the Japanese Ambassador is attached.
MEMORANDUM HANDED BY THE JAPANESE AMBASSADOR (NOMURA) TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE AT 2:20 P.M. ON DECEMBER 7, 1941
1. The Government of Japan, prompted by a genuine desire to come to an amicable understanding with the Government of the United States in order that the two countries by their joint efforts may secure the peace of the Pacific Area and thereby contribute toward the realization of world peace, has continued negotiations with the utmost sincerity since April last with the Government of the United States regarding the adjustment and advancement of Japanese-American relations and the stabilization of the Pacific Area.
The Japanese Government has the honor to state frankly its views concerning the claims the American Government has persistently maintained as well as the measures the United States and Great Britain have taken toward Japan. during these eight months.
2. It is the immutable policy of the Japanese Government to insure the stability of East Asia and to promote world peace and thereby to enable all nations to find each its proper place in the world.
Ever since China Affair broke out owing to the failure on the part of China to comprehend Japan's true intentions, the Japanese Government has striven for the restoration of peace and it has consistently exerted its best efforts to prevent the extension of war-like disturbances. It was also to that end that in September last year Japan concluded the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy.
However, both the United States and Great Britain have resorted to every possible measure to assist the Chungking regime so as to obstruct the establishment of a general peace between Japan and China, interfering with Japan's constructive endeavours toward the stabilization of East Asia. Exerting pressure on the Netherlands East Indies, or menacing French Indo-China, they have attempted to frustrate Japan's aspiration to the ideal of common prosperity in cooperation with these regions. Furthermore, when Japan in accordance with its protocol with France took measures of joint defence of French Indo-China, both American and British Governments, willfully misinterpreting it as a threat to their own possessions, and inducing the Netherlands Government to follow suit, they enforced the assets freezing order, thus severing economic relations with Japan. While manifesting thus an obviously hostile attitude, these countries have strengthened their military preparations perfecting an encirclement of Japan, and have brought about a situation which endangers the very existence of the Empire.
Nevertheless, to facilitate a speedy settlement, the Premier of Japan proposed, in August last, to meet the President of the United States for a discussion of important. problems between the two countries covering the entire Pacific area. However, the American Government, while accepting in principle the Japanese proposal, insisted that the meeting should take place after an agreement of view had been reached on fundamental and essential questions.
3. Subsequently, on September 25th the Japanese Government submitted a proposal based on the formula proposed by the American Government, taking fully into consideration past American claims and also incorporating Japanese views. Repeated discussions proved of no avail in producing readily an agreement of view. The present cabinet, therefore, submitted a revised proposal, moderating still further the Japanese claims regarding the principal points of difficulty in the negotiation and endeavoured strenuously to reach a settlement. But the American Government, adhering steadfastly to its original assertions, failed to display in the slightest degree a spirit of conciliation. The negotiation made no progress.
Therefore, the Japanese Government, with a view to doing its utmost for averting a crisis in Japanese?American relations, submitted on November 20th still another proposal in order to arrive at in equitable solution of the more essential and urgent questions which, simplifying its previous proposal, stipulated the following points:
(1) The Governments of Japan and the United States undertake not to dispatch armed forces into any of the regions, excepting French Indo-China, in the Southeastern Asia and the Southern Pacific area.
(2) Both Governments shall cooperate with the view to securing the acquisition in the Netherlands East Indies of those goods and commodities of which the two countries are in need.
(3) Both Governments mutually undertake to restore commercial relations to those prevailing prior to the freezing of assets.
The Government of the United States shall supply Japan the required quantity of oil.
(4) The Government of the United States undertakes not to resort to measures and actions prejudicial to the endeavours for the restoration of general peace between Japan and China.
(5) The Japanese Government undertakes to withdraw troops now stationed in French Indo-China upon either the restoration of peace between Japan and China or the establishment of an equitable peace in the Pacific Area and it is prepared to remove the Japanese troops in the southern part of French Indo-China to the northern part upon the conclusion of the present agreement.
As regards China, the Japanese Government, while expressing its readiness to accept the offer of the President of the United States to act as "introducer" of peace between Japan and China as was previously suggested, asked for an undertaking on the part of the United States to do nothing prejudicial to the restoration of Sino-Japanese peace when the two parties have commenced direct negotiations.
The American Government not only rejected the above-mentioned new proposal, but made known its intention to continue its aid to Chiang Kai-shek and in spite of its suggestion mentioned above, withdrew the offer of the President to act as so-called "introducer" of peace between Japan and China, pleading that time was not yet ripe for it. Finally on November 26th, in an attitude to impose upon the Japanese Government those principles it has persistently maintained, the American Government made a proposal totally ignoring Japanese claims, which is a source of profound regret to the Japanese government.
4. From the beginning of the present negotiation the Japanese Government has always maintained an attitude of fairness and moderation, and did its best to reach a settlement, for which it made all possible concessions often in spite of great difficulties. As for the China question which constituted an important subject of the negotiation, the Japanese Government showed a most conciliatory attitude. As for the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce, advocated by the American Government, the Japanese Government expressed its desire to see the said principle applied throughout the world, and declared that along with the actual practice of this principle in the world, the Japanese Government would endeavour to apply the same in the Pacific Area including China, and made it clear that Japan had no intention of excluding from China economic activities of third powers pursued on an equitable basis. Furthermore, as regards the question of withdrawing troops from French Indo-China, the Japanese Government even volunteered, as mentioned above, to carry out an immediate evacuation of troops from Southern French Indo-China as a measure of easing the situation.
It is presumed that the spirit of conciliation exhibited to the utmost degree by the Japanese Government in all these matters is fully appreciated by the American Government.
On the other hand, the American Government, always holding fast to theories in disregard of realities, and refusing to yield an inch on its impractical principles, caused undue delay in the negotiation. It is difficult to understand this attitude of the American Government and the Japanese Government desires to call the attention of the American Government especially to the following points:
1. The American Government advocates in the name of world peace those principles favorable to it and urges upon the Japanese Government the acceptance thereof. The peace of the world may be brought about only by discovering a mutually acceptable formula through recognition of the reality of the situation and mutual appreciation of one another's position. An attitude such as ignores realities and imposes one's selfish views upon others will scarcely serve the purpose of facilitating the consummation of negotiations.
Of the various principles put forward by the American Government as a basis of the Japanese-American Agreement, there are some which the Japanese Government is ready to accept in principle, but in, view of the world's actual conditions, it seems only a utopian ideal n the part of the American Government to attempt to force their immediate adoption.
Again, the proposal to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact between Japan, United States, Great Britain, China, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands and Thailand, which is patterned after the old concept of collective security, is far removed from the realities of East Asia.
2. The American proposal contained a stipulation which states-"Both Governments will agree that no agreement, which either has concluded with any third power or powers, shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area." It is presumed that the above provision has been proposed with a view to restrain Japan from fulfilling its obligations under the Tripartite Pact when the United States participates in the War in Europe, and, as such, it cannot be accepted by the Japanese Government.
The American Government, obsessed with its own views and opinions, may be said to be scheming for the extension of the war. While it seeks, on the one hand, to secure its rear by stabilizing the Pacific Area, it is engaged, on the other hand, in aiding Great Britain and preparing to attack, in the name of self-defense, Germany and Italy, two Powers that are striving to establish a new order in Europe. Such a policy is totally at variance with the many principles upon which the American Government proposes to found the stability of the Pacific Area through peaceful means.
3. Whereas the American Government, under the principles it rigidly upholds, objects to settle international issues through military pressure, it is exercising in conjunction with Great Britain and other nations pressure by economic power. Recourse to such pressure as a means of dealing with international relations should be condemned as it is at times more inhumane than military pressure.
4.. It is impossible not to reach the conclusion that the American Government desires to maintain and strengthen, in coalition with Great Britain and other Powers, its dominant position it has hitherto occupied not only in China but in other areas of East Asia. It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia for the past hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo-American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation since it directly runs counter to Japan's fundamental policy to enable all nations to enjoy each its proper place in the world.
The stipulation proposed by the American Government relative to French Indo-China is a good exemplification of the above-mentioned American policy: Thus the six countries,-Japan, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, China and Thailand,-excepting France, should undertake among themselves to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of French Indo-China and equality of treatment in trade and commerce would be tantamount to placing that territory under the joint guarantee of the Governments of those six countries. Apart from the fact that such a proposal totally ignores the position of France, it is unacceptable to the Japanese Government in that such an arrangement cannot but be considered as an extension to French Indo-China of a system similar to the Nine Power Treaty structure which is the chief factor responsible for the present predicament of East Asia.
5. All the items demanded of Japan by the American Government regarding China such as wholesale evacuation of troops or unconditional application of the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce ignored the actual conditions of China, and are calculated to destroy Japan's position as the stabilizing factor of East Asia. The attitude of the American Government in demanding Japan not to support militarily, politically or economically any regime other than the regime at Chungking, disregarding thereby the existence of the Nanking Government, shatters the very basis of the present negotiation. This demand of the American Government falling, as it does, in line with its above?mentioned refusal to cease from aiding the Chungking regime, demonstrates clearly the intention of the American Government to obstruct the restoration of normal relations between Japan and China and the return of peace to East Asia.
5. In brief, the American proposal contains certain acceptable items such as those concerning commerce, including the conclusion of a trade agreement, mutual removal of the freezing restrictions, and stabilization of yen and dollar exchange, or the abolition of extra-territorial rights in China. On the other hand, however, the proposal in question ignores Japan's sacrifices in the four years of the China Affair, menaces the Empire's existence itself and disparages its honour and prestige. Therefore, viewed in its entirety, the Japanese Government regrets that it cannot accept the proposal as a basis of negotiation.
6. The Japanese Government, in its desire for an early conclusion of the negotiation, proposed simultaneously with the conclusion of the Japanese-American negotiation, agreements to be signed with Great Britain and other interested countries. The proposal was accepted by the American Government. However, since the American Government has made the proposal of November 26th as a result of frequent consultation with Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Chungking, and presumably by catering to the wishes of the Chungking regime in the questions of China, it must be concluded that all these countries are at one with the United States in ignoring Japan's position.
7. Obviously it is the intention of the American Government to conspire with Great Britain and other countries to obstruct Japan's efforts toward the establishment of peace through the creation of a new order in East Asia, and especially to preserve Anglo-American rights and interests by keeping Japan and China at war. This intention has been revealed clearly during the course of the present negotiation. Thus, the earnest hope of the Japanese Government to adjust Japanese-American relations and to preserve and promote the peace of the Pacific through cooperation with the American Government has finally been lost.
The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American Government that in view of the attitude of the American Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations.