tv Book Discussion on Racing the Enemy CSPAN August 16, 2015 8:00am-9:23am EDT
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] fair years and that is it. >> although he denied to the police any participation in the rioting he told me to places that he claimed to have burned. >> body through the firebomb in the window. threw a firebomb in the back. it was emptied by the looters. >> there is not much left. >> there is the church. >> but most things were taken out. >> as much as we could get. the cry in the street was blown, baby, burn. why?
>> because you haven't been see havenest anyone -- been gaming on office anyway -- he had been gaming on us anyone. >> this month marks the 70 anniversary of the end of the war in the pacific. hasegawasuyshi discusses this. following the authors remarks, american university professor emeritus robert reflects on the event. theamerican heritage -- woodrow wilson international
center posted this event in 2006. it is a little under 90 minutes. christian: with that, let me briefly our distinguished speaker, tsuyoshi hasegawa, an authority, really, in the field of cold war international history. he needs no introduction, so let me keep it brief. because time is brief as well. he is a professor of modern russian history as well as the codirector of the center for cold war studies at the university of california, santa barbara. he earned his phd from the university of washington, and he has a distinguished, long a publication list that precedes his new book, "racing the enemy." let me just mention a couple of
the major publications, he is the author of the nortehn dispute and russian relations, he has the "the february revolution in russia," and "russia and japan: an unresolved dilemma between distant neighbors," and of course, has published numerous articles in journals in the field. his new book, "racing the enemy," is a reassessment of the end of the pacific war, particularly in light of new russian and other evidence previously not taken into consideration.
it is one could probably say the first international history of the end of the war and i look forward to his remarks. now professor tsuyoshi hasegawa has the floor. tsuyoshi: thank you, christian, thank you, hope. it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to discuss my book, "racing the enemy." stalin, truman, and the surrender of japan." since its publication in may, the book has provoked more interest than expected. if you know the internet site devoted to diplomatic history, they have recently, they have
organized a round table discussion of my book, and mobilizing the world-renowned specialist on the topic of the end of the war, bernstein, the head honcho of this subject. also, david holloway and michael gordon and richard frank. so if you are interested, you can log on and look at the site. it is quite extensive. richard frank's comment on my book is 38 pages, singlespaced, in a comment. [laughter] tsuyoshi: bernstein's comment is not as along as i claim, it is
tsuyoshi: bernstein's comment is not as along as i claim, it is only 20 pages, singlespaced, but he uses font 10. [laugher] tsuyoshi: my response is consisting of only about 18 pages singlespaced font 12. [laughter] tsuyoshi: so it is really nice to know that my book, in less than one year after the publication, is being discussed in such detail. what i would like to do today is very briefly, i would like to tell you why i wrote this book, and secondly, very, very briefly, tell you what it is about, and then i am going to take one example from the book and then to look at the issue of this in the international context, which is important when taking a look at this in international context.
so that is the bulk of my time devoted to the subject. so first of all, why did i write this book, the end of the pacific war? many books have been written about this for many reasons, and why should i add another book to the topic? in my opinion, the literature on the end of the war is balkanized. there are three distinct literatures. one is mostly american on the concentration of the dropping of the atomic bomb. the japanese literature is mostly focused on the political process of japan's acceptance of the surrender, particularly the emperor's role. and the least developed
literature is the soviet role in the end of the pacific war. when i was writing on another territories book, one chapter was devoted to world war ii. and i realized how little was done on the soviet role, so i decided i would write the book and bring of the soviet role to the center stage. and i ended up writing an international history and incorporating all three aspects into one book. i am really convinced that you really cannot understand the aspects of american use of the atomic bomb or japan's process
of acceptance of surrender without really understanding the other, so that is why i decided to write the book. so basically, i am not going to go into the details of my argument. but basically, i make three arguments. one, is that there is an intense conflict, intense struggle between truman and stalin, between the soviet union and the united states, as to how to force japan to surrender. this is the struggle between truman and stalin. this is a competition between stalin and truman. many people would say that leads to the atomic bomb. this is the first topic that i
-- the argument that i make, and i challenge the commonly-held view that it is the atomic bomb that provided the most decisive factor leading to japan's surrender. so this is the first argument. and secondly, i examine very closely soviet-japanese relations. then i focus how important the soviets became in policy, that is, the soviet union had a primary role in japanese foreign-policy. and the other side of the story is how stalin exploited that situation to prepare for the war. this is the second argument and topic i pursue.
and thirdly, the japanese domestic situation. how the conflict, the japanese war party that advocated the continuation of war, as well as the peace party that advocated peace, how they, particularly, how the peace party managed to maneuver the japanese process into accepting japanese surrender. that is the third topic that i pursue. i am not going to go into detail. i am sure we can discuss the subject if you are interested. i'm sure you can ask about that aspect, but what i would like to do is to zero in on one very important topic, and that is the
issue of the potsdam proclamation, which plays a very important role in my book, and i argue in order to understand this issue, you have to put everything into the international context, and this is one example showing the importance of international context. i distributed -- i have distributed a one-page document, and the first point is the simple draft proposal for the potsdam proclamation. the potsdam proclamation is the
the potsdam proclamation is the ultimatum that the allied powers issued to japan. the first document is the draft that stimson gave to president truman before president truman left washington for potsdam. after this proposal itself, the draft proposal was actually written by the main agent that produced that document is the organization called opd, the operational division of the army. and then i give you the second document, that is the final form of the potsdam proclamation. i was going to give you a quiz, and you would have to compare the two. you notice immediately the two major differences. one, in the stimson proclamation, of course, the soviet union was expected to participate in the proclamation. stalin was supposed to sign the
declaration, right, the proclamation. the final form was that the soviet union would have stalin not abandon his signature. but the soviet union was excluded from the potsdam proclamation. the question is, of course, why? the second point is very important, paragraph 12 of the stimson's draft, that is stimson's draft contains a passage that allows the possibility of japan maintaining
a constitutional monarchy under the current dynasty. in fact, as far as stimson and the opd was concerned, that is the linchpin of the entire proclamation draft, because opd said it was very important that this be issued to japan so it could terminate the war before we launched the final invasion. so his idea is that the potsdam would modify the surrender so that the japanese could maintain their own election system.
now to look at the final form, now to look at the final form, that is excised. the question of course is why? now, we know and understand that we have to go back a little bit to understand the background. when truman came to power in april 1945, he basically faced two dilemmas. previous to his assumption of power, of course, the -- in 1945, the united states under fdr with stalin concluded the so-called yalta agreement, which
pledged an end of the war against japan after the surrender of germany in return for all kinds of promises, railway, of course, supplies, and of course, some territory held by japan. just remember that in return, you know that for stalin to gain these war trophies, the soviet union had to enter the war. okay? at this time, of course, the
at this time, of course, the united states needed soviet participation, they thought, and they thought that this was a precondition for invasion of japan because it was necessary to pin down the japanese army and the mandarin army in korea. now there was conflict between the united states and the western allies and the soviet union over poland, eastern europe, and so truman and american politicians began to worry about the consequences of soviet expansion into asia. and so some policy makers, including truman, thought that if they could avoid it, they wished that they could avoid
soviet entry into the war. at the same time, many were urging that the soviet entry would hasten the end of the war, and so therefore that would mean the sacrifice of american life. and so here is the dilemma. this is the first dilemma. the second dilemma is precisely that unconditional surrender demand. truman was committed to the insistence of unconditional surrender, not because -- not merely because it was fdr's legacy, and not merely because it is the american public opinion that demanded it, because american public opinion was decisively against japan,
against the japanese emperor. if you took a gallup poll, the majority of american opinion would be in favor of hanging hirohito and putting him into exile and so on, so the american public opinion was decidedly against japan. but also because he -- that is his gut reaction. he believes that to bring japan to its knees unconditionally, i think it is a just retribution of humiliation, for the humiliation that united states suffered. they think of all the atrocities the japanese have committed, and so they wanted to impose unconditional surrender on japan. on the other hand, his advisers, particularly after april, began to put pressure on truman. there is -- if you insist on unconditional surrender, the japanese will fight to the bitter end. we have to launch, really, the
costly invasion. that will just make okinawa and the iwo jima look like child's play. so one sure way of ensuring early termination of the war was to promise japan and give them a assurance that they hope they will maintain the monarchial system. that will encourage the moderate element in japan to seek more earnestly for the termination of war. this is the idea. and truman has two conflicting dilemmas that he could not resolve. where i am going to shift the gear to the soviet union.
stalin also faced a dilemma. as i said, stalin concluded in the yalta agreement that he had to enter the war, right? he had to enter the war. he was afraid that japan might surrender before the soviets were ready to enter. ok? in april, 1945, the soviet union led the japanese government know that the soviet union and japan had a neutrality pact. the soviet union was the only country that maintained neutrality, but anyway, so in
april of 1945, the soviet union notified the japanese government that they had no intentions to renew the neutrality pact when it expired, because as a provision of the neutrality pact, you would have to notify them one year before or else it would be renewed for five years, so the soviet government notified the japanese government that they had no intention to renew the neutrality pact. but it also let the japanese government know nonetheless that neutrality pact was still in effect until its term was up, that is, in april of 1946, fully intending that they are going to wage war against japan. so under the cloak of neutrality, stalin began to reinforce the forces in the far east.
he began sending more troops, weapons to the far east, secretly preparing for war against japan. the question is, then how would he justify the violation of the neutrality pact to enter the war? and he did not want to be compared with hitler's attack on the soviet union, and hitler of course of the soviet neutrality pact, right? so how could we wage war against japan by violating the neutrality pact? well, he wanted the united states to invade.
when harry hopkins went to moscow in may, and promised that the issue of the ultimatum to japan would be placed at the upcoming potsdam conference. so if stalin was expected to be conservative on the issue, then he probably hoped that an ultimatum would be viewed as a declaration of war. so that is the game plan. well, i am going to shift the year again. how about japan? in april, it was very clear that japan was not going to win the war or succeed. they accepted defeat. but defeat is not -- is different from surrender. they discussed, the policymakers discussed, what surrender terms.
they could not decide on this idea -- the japanese peacemakers, the japanese policymakers, they were hopelessly divided on the issue. but one thing they could agree on that is that both the peace party and the war party were decisively against unconditional surrender. because unconditional surrender, they interpreted it as the disruption of the emperor system. if they insist on unconditional surrender, they are going to fight until the bitter end. both the war party and the peace party were in agreement. and so after of course the
battle of okinawa is lost, finally the emperor himself came around to accept that it was time to terminate the war, and on july the 12 ambassador togo sent a very important message -- foreign minister togo, i'm sorry, foreign minister togo sent a very important message, and in that telegram, he said that the emperor now wishes to convey his desire to terminate the war, and therefore, the japanese government would request the soviet government's mediation to terminate the war. the first sign, very serious sign, of japanese willingness to terminate the war through mediation. but, he added, that if the allies insisted on unconditional surrender, then japan would have
no choice but to fight the war to the bitter end. okay? so that's -- that's the japanese dilemma. and so those are the situations if you follow the potsdam conference. and so the potsdam conference was open and it was held from july 17 until august 10, i mean august 2. in july the 16th -- you know, by the way, i must mention that when togo dispatched that telegram, of course, the united states intercepted the diplomatic dispatches.
through the magic interface. it was decoded and distributed to the highest members of the united states government, so truman knew and stimson knew that japan was very close to surrender, so they thought, if we demand unconditional surrender, then japan would fight it. also, this dispatch of japanese request for mediation was exploited fully by stalin to prolong the war. the soviet government said, well, gee, we need more clarification. right? so this is the situation.
then the potsdam conference was held. on july the 16th, stimson, encouraged by togo's dispatch, went to truman did he said, mr. president, this is the first very important sign, and i urge you to adopt more than ever this paragraph 12, this constitutional monarchy, and we have a very good chance with japan. now truman did not respond, he said, go see burns. so stimson went to go see burns, the secretary of state burns, and burns rejected it, he rejected that request. and he said -- this is according to stimson -- he said the president and i have worked out the timetable. this timetable, in my opinion, is a very, very important one. what timetable? a timetable for what? i think this is really key to
understand the meaning of the potsdam proclamation. on july 17, truman and stalin met for the first time. there, stalin revealed the soviet intention to enter the war on or around august 15. here, truman knew when stalin was going to enter the war. all right? but in order to understand this timetable, then there is another very important event that had to be taken into consideration. on july the 16th, the first atomic bomb exploded in new mexico. this was conveyed to washington and these reports reached truman on july 27.
and in my opinion, therefore, here, the atomic bomb and soviet entry into the war and went to issue of the potsdam proclamation and the purpose of the proclamation is the meaning of timetable. truman no longer needed soviet entry into the war. the atomic bomb resolved the first dilemma. right? that we had the possibility to terminate the war by dropping the bomb on japan before the soviets entered the war. secondly, also it resolved the second dilemma. we can impose unconditional surrender on japan and still
japan would surrender immediately or shortly after the dropping of the bomb. and also, it fundamentally changed the nature of the ultimatum. the ultimatum was issued not for the purpose of inducing japan to accept earlier surrender, but, and this is the most radical interpretation i advance, and this is very controversial, but rather it was issued for the purpose of being rejected by the japanese, because they knew that they would demand, the americans would demand unconditional and the japanese would reject it.
and why would they include that demand -- that japan's surrender unconditionally? only in my interpretation, for the purpose of justifying the use of the atomic bomb. okay. so, also, you have to remember the actual order to use the atomic bomb was given by the general handy -- this is assistant chief of staff -- to the commander -- this is the commander of army strategic command, on july 25.
and the potsdam proclamation was issued one day after july 25. ok, i think christian is getting nervous, so i will finish the talk very soon so i will talk very quick. i am going to talk about the japanese reaction. the japanese, when they received this potsdam proclamation, they noticed two things. stalin didn't sign it. second, there is no mention of the status of the emperor, and therefore, the japanese government decided to continue the previous policies, that they seek mediation so that they can terminate the war through moscow's mediations. they did not reject the potsdam proclimation right away, right?
they suspended their judgment. but what was stalin's reaction? stalin immediately realized that he was outwitted by truman. he requested to truman have the japanese immediately joined the potsdam proclamation and truman refused. at one point, stalin realize that truman was determined to force japan to surrender without the soviet participation, even before the soviets joined of the war, and eventually, when he tried to move the date of the attack in august, the united states dropped the first atomic bomb on hiroshima. stalin came back from moscow on august 5. he resumed the frantic activities to prepare for war against japan, and i got a hold of stalin's appointment notebook. he has a lot of appointments up until august 5, but it is blank on august 6.
he did not see anybody. what does that mean? i interpret that to be stalin's very profund shock. he thought the game is over. but on the following day, on august 7, the japanese ambassador approached the soviet ministry and said, please, make an appointment so that we would know, let them know your response to our pending request for mediation. and this is actually the first gesture that the japanese government showed to the reaction of hiroshima. stalin perked up. hey, the game is not over yet! he immediately ordered molotov to meet sato so that he could have a declaration of war and he ordered his military to move up
the date of the attack for two days and then on august 8, they molotov met sato. they were expecting an answer for the japanese request, and on 5:00 on august 8, it was on the zero hour of august 9, the soviet union finds itself in a state of war against japan. well, zero hour, huh? this is of august 9, in the far east, at 6:00, ok, at moscow time, so in one hour, the soviet tanks crossed the manchurian border. the soviets managed to join the war in the nick of time. and what was truman's reaction? truman hastily convened a press conference and said, gentlemen,
i have news to tell you. the soviet union announced that they joined the war. that is all i have to say. the shortest news conference any president has held. [laughter] tsuyoshi: and then secretary burns issued an announcement, the soviet union has a legitimate right to enter the war, and that he mentioned the moscow declaration and did not say anything about the soviet joining the potsdam declaration. and so i argue that, in my book, that it is not really the atomic bomb, but rather, the soviets entering the war. that was more decisive, of course, the atomic bomb had huge
impact, but i think it was also decided by the soviet entry of the war. thank you. [applause] christian: thank you, tsuyoshi, for an amazing speech. i think you can tell that he is not only a terrific scholar but also a terrific teacher and we appreciate his talk. our next speaker is one of the grand names in american history, one that i've known since college and read his book, but must say never met until today. it gives me great pleasure to welcome to the wilson center robert beisner, a native of
nebraska, who attended hastings college and the university of chicago. bypassing there the bachelor's degre, he went straight for the masters and phd, and taught at the university of chicago and colgate university before going to american university in washington where he was on the history faculty between 1965-1998, when he retired to spend more time on scholarship. he has done his numerous publications and projects to his credit, let me just mention that he was the head or is the head of the schaeffer bibliographer
bibliographical project and his first book, "twelve against empire: the anti-imperialists," a real classic, received the prize from american historians and the john dunning prize from the american historical association. he is the author of several other books, including "from the old diplomacy to the new," and he is coeditor of "arms at rest: peacemaking and peacekeeping," and his recent articles include "history and henry kissinger," and he is currently working on a
new biography of dean atchinson and american foreign-policy. after his discussion, we will go straight to the floor and have an open discussion which my colleague will moderate. bob? robert: thank you very much. thank you, christian, for that very generous introduction. i will correct it in only one sense. the atchinson book is done but not out. i want to thank the -- you and hope and professor hasegawa and the wilson center and in connection with the atchinson
book and the cold war project which was enormously helpful in working there. professor hasegawa's book is extraordinary in ways that it is as he said, the first look at international history at the end of the pacific war. there is nothing else like it. the archival strength is stunning. what he has managed to do by working easily, apparently, in three languages reminds me of the impact of a book published 30 some years ago by michael hunt called "frontier defense," that totally re-shifted the story of the united states, china, and manchuria a century ago and made it far more complex, suggesting that the tools of that historians have available to them, the more complex become their arguments.
i would start with the fascinating accounts that goes within the debates of all three countries as to what to do, although the soviet version i found a little hard to accept, considering the relationship he between let's say stalin and molotov. the attention to the subordinate cast of characters in all three countries, particularly in the united states and japan, is welcome, and particularly, the terrific analysis between the war and the peace parties in japan. finally, in this introductory section of praise, i want particularly to praise the conclusion, which he has not specifically mentioned. but those of you already familiar with the book know that the conclusion of the model in what strikes me as a courageous
posing of a serious counterfactual questions of trying to answer what the results would have been if this or that nation or this or that leader acted differently at this or that time. that is very difficult to do. it is in the backs of the minds of many scholars and writers as they work, but they rarely, almost never, spell it out in a way that he does. and even when i disagree with some of the answers that he gives, i admire the form tremendously. christian invited me here -- well, i can't say why, but certainly not because i am a specialist on the subject -- so my comments will be those of a generalist. and i would like, in particular, to make three types of observations. first, just for the lack of a
better term, i will just call biographical observations, and then historical observations, and then i will try to do it in very good order, some moral observations. the careful reader of professor hasegawa's book will know that not through any strenuous research but by the lacunae in therecord to speculate on what someone believed someone thought about a particular issue at a particular time. a fair amount of the thesis through the book is carried through, i would argue, such speculation. speculation is reasonable, plausible, but not conclusive in many cases. the americans, he writes, the
japanese he writes about, i am not particularly familiar with. the americans, the american cast of characters, are old friends, and i think that his, professor hasegawa's greater familiarity of the japanese leadership compared to the american leadership may cause a few errors, although not necessarily vital ones. i think there was a bit of confusion in the american leadership in 1945, especially in the state department. burns was traveling constantly and paid no attention to anyone in the state department except for a small group around him. this was, the state department's influence, by fdr's design, was at the lowest ebb.
quite deliberately. i forget the story but in world war ii, somebody asked roosevelt in a press conference about the state department declaration of neutrality in the war. roosevelt quipped that yes, the state department is neutral in the war and i hope they will stay that way. [laughter] robert: so burns was -- burns was, at this point, i would say, simply moving around the world and not really representing the state department. a way at the time said this was a period in which washington fiddles while burns roams. [laughter]
robert: let me make a brief remark about atchinson and his good friends here. atchinson is not a major player here and the professor treats him as a fairly important player. atchinson vigorously dissented against any softening of the terms of japanese surrender. this was the view that atchinson later recanted. this was a position where it was an accommodating piece, but it was the right one. professor hasegawa as i understand said his protests would have an impact on truman. truman was fearful politically
for bending, but atchinson in july of 1945 was the assistant secretary of state for congressional relations on his way out of government. he only becomes undersecretary of state the day japan surrenders, and his time of great influence as an undersecretary, probably the most powerful number two man in the department ever, was yet to come. that would come under marshall. but he was simply not a player in the summer of 1945. as a matter of fact, when byrnes succeeded the position of secretary of state, atchinson turned in his resignation, truman accepted it, and atchinson headed to upstate new york for a vacation. and then suddenly in washington, truman and byrnes figured out,
oh, we don't have an undersecretary of state, they didn't really mean to accept atchinson's resignation, so he came back. truman didn't even know him. but please, please, this was a poet, a fine friend of dean atchinson's, but as a commentary said that when burns was named secretary of state, he was surrounded by a bevy of poets. far more importantly, i have reservations, although they are not fundamental, about professor hasegawa's views of truman. the truman in this book, although emotional, passionate, especially in his feelings of wanting revenge against the japanese, rings true, but i see
in the book a cunning truman that at least in 1945 was not there. i dealt with truman daily in studying atchinson, of course at it is a later period, but it was this truman at 1940 five is not the one that i know from my own research. truman was confused and was trying to be both fdr and not fdr, he was blustering and vacillating and there is evidence for all of this in hasegawa's book.
he was also not in 1945 -- at this time in 1945 or later in 1945 -- determinedly anti-soviet. no one in washington was. despite this, i see no sense to change my story of truman and the atomic bomb. he wanted to end the war as soon as possible, period. for good reason, he was determined to maintain u.s. control of the occupation of japan, and if possible, to prevent further soviet expansion. one further biographical observation, and that is towards stalin. i can't prove this, but i am not sure that professor hasewaga can prove his view either, but i am startled by his picture that
of stalin as someone who wanted to approve righteous in the last few months of war in ending this neutrality agreement with japan and timing his actions against asia and so forth. i was reminded again of his fundamental character during a recent vacation when i dispersed with mainly detective procedurals. i would recommend one that is a nice downer of a book for people to read. now for the storigraphical observations of the book. -- historigraphical observations of the book. i am not teaching anymore but the question is how would i have changed what i did on teaching courses of american history? i knew i would have to change it a lot, but how much is the question. the old debate in the united states is mainly, as he said,
about truman's use of atomic bombs and their impact on 40 years plus. it has been the same debate over and over. it has been a debate a little bit like, does the unicorn's horn, is it two feet long or three feet long? the question is whether hasewaga ended the debate? has he simply added to it, is it two and a half feet long or has it shifted entirely? it is not a unicorn at all but it is a griffin. i would say without arguing all of the details that perhaps he has fashioned a griffin on the role of the soviet union, which is really new to historiography, not utterly new.
but the thoroughness. the reason for japan's surrender, and i don't find this inconclusive, but he is still leaving us arguing about the length of horns on the story of truman and the united states and the atomic bomb. i don't think that debate will stop. the greatest interest of an americanist in this book is about hiroshima and nagasaki. hasewaga's argument against believing that the atomic bomb produced at the surrender of japan is an equally strong argument against the view that the bomb was used at a time when it was obvious japan was about to surrender. it wasn't about to surrender. in fact, japan's strategy was aimed at inflicting horrendous injury on americans or the
prospect of horrendous injury to americans in a battle on the mainland of japan in order to get better terms. and as professor hasewaga argues, it was the soviet attack that fundamentally killed that strategy, but that was a live possibility until near the very end. japan was not about to give up. his own evidence indicates, as part of his strongest arguments at the time of hiroshima and nagasaki, the fight to the end in the homeland that was planned would cause major u.s. casualties, if that fight ever occurred. the process in the weeks that were going by, as i understand it, was that the offensive might
look even more alarming to american military planners as japan was sending more and more troops from korea into japan, so at one time u.s. planners with were thinking about sending an overwhelming amount of troops. and as it happened, when the japanese government did surrender, it had a hard time sometimes getting the army to act accordingly. one other point about casualties. this casualty suffered by the soviet armies in the few days that they were fighting was extensive, and it further prove the u.s.'s concerns that casualties were justified.
on the question of surrender, what most strikes me is that surrender was not a possibility -- let me go back a moment, speaking now again as a non-specialist. what most strikes me from reading professor hasewaga's book and the many pages of the h diplo forum i found awaiting me the moment i got back from vacation is that surrender was not a possibility, japanese surrender, until hirohito fully engaged himself, and he did that because of the shock of hiroshima. fear of domestic upheaval accelerated his movement towards surrender, and there is no doubt that he preferred surrendering to americans of than it to the russians.
fears of the russians were stimulated, of course, by the soviet attack. it is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that the combination, which is a very safe conclusion, not nearly as radical as professor hasewaga's, that a combination of atomic bombs and the soviet attack produced the japanese surrender. i want to sit down now so that we can have q&a, and at that point, if anybody is interested in posing some of the moral issues, i will be happy to join that issue. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much for a fascinating lecture by professor hasegawa and a very interesting, provocative response by professor beisner. i would like to take some questions.
>> two brief questions. did it hurt the american sides to what i call split the difference? that is the maintenance of the imperial system combined with the deposition, and did it occur to no one in the american government of having an unbroken zone of american occupation from okinawa all the way to the center, that is to do whatever was necessary to prevent soviet involvement in the war? professor harrison: thank you. next question is in the back. sorry, right behind you.
al: al milligan. has anyone tried to psychoanalyze the state of mind of the emperor? what did he believe about his own divinity? prof. harrison: thank you. the third question. here comes the microphone, sir. roy: roy, i'm a retired foreign service officer with the state department. it's my understanding that the deputy secretary of general macarthur, one of the leaders of the faction within the american government, favoring and pushing for the retention of the emperor not only as a way to hasten the end of the war but also as the only hope we had to provide legitimacy to our government during the occupation of japan? secondly, did the united states government inform the soviet union in advance before we dropped the atomic bombs on japan? prof. harrison: i want to encourage all the students in the audience to be thinking of
questions for the next round. prof. hasegawa: i'll start from the last question. there was no communication. americans did not inform, of course, and the dropping of the bomb was a great shock. although stalin knew that it was the americans. during the postwar conference, truman approached stalin during the recess and said, "we have succeeded in developing a weapon of enormous destructiveness." he did not say atomic bomb, but stalin immediately knew he was talking about the atomic bomb because he had spies already. but if he thought the americans
would use the atomic bomb so quickly, i think that is an open question. he probably did not expect americans to use it so quickly. when it was dropped in hiroshima, it was a great surprise, and then "pravda," the communist party organization did not report dropping the bomb until days later. that speaks volumes about the soviet shock. about the emperor's position, i think this is true. i think particularly, it was the military who insisted on the position of the emperor because the emperor is the only -- was the only legitimate authority who could really order the sudden death of the japanese troops.
-- surrender of the japanese troops. as far as the ambassador was concerned, his position is very interesting. he was in the beginning very strongly in favor of revising unconditional surrender, but perhaps because he was under tremendous attack from the state department. and i will disagree with you that i do not think truman was influenced by those. i don't think i said that but they didn't have an impact on the state department.
let's see, what else? you asked about occupation. the army discussed about occupation. they even entertained the possibility of occupation, and the one plan, they were quite prepared to give hokeido to the soviet union, probably to reduce the cost of occupation. to that extent, the army in japan -- of course, stinson was really opposed to that. japan property should fall to the american occupation zone. about the psychology of the emperor, i was surprised by the comments that my book is not conclusive. of course, i do not pretend to have brought you the definitive book.
any history book -- non history book is definitive. it's always a work in progress. i am quite prepared to revise my views in view of criticism, in view of new evidence, particularly in the area where you are dealing with in conclusiveness. you have to engage in speculation. you have to engage in speculation, and i think speculation is a very legitimate area of the historical profession. patricularly, for instance, the emperor -- a series of conversations between the emperor and his most important advisor. those conversations are not recorded, and who played the most important role in this whole thing on the american side?
that's byrnes, and byrnes and truman, after many, many numerous conversations, byrnes was the most important person on the uss augusta on the way from the united states to potsdam. those conversations are not recorded. right? so we have to of course speculate. you can accuse me of the speculations being not plausible, but you cannot really tell me or tell anybody to produce the evidence, the smoking gun, because there is no such thing. it's very unlikely. so therefore, i agree with you. the debate will continue. i did not intend my book to be the last word on that.
i mean, to answer that, my only hope, i went out on a ledge to speculate so that i could provoke some debate, right? for instance, debate of soviet attack is the face of speculation, or example, the emperor's decision to accept surrender. that is speculation because there's no record. pure conjecture by process of elimination. i'm just hoping that this kind of conjecture and speculation will open up a debate and search for more evidence, and if the evidence contradicts my speculation, fine. i accept. i change my view. that is all i can hope.
prof. harrison: do we have time for one more questions? ok, one more set. any students around who want to ask questions? anybody with the guts back [laughter] prof. harrison: no? ok. tom: i'm from george c marshall high school. this bevy of young people here owes something to me. we discussed in our class the secret agreement, and i think they are all thinking along the same lines that i am. there's some indication that the soviets were seeking a quick conclusion to the negotiations with shang kai-shek and the chinese government with those provisions in the secret agreement at yalta. was there any indication in the papers you found in the soviet
union that the russians were frustrated with the pace of the negotiations with the chinese? prof. harrison: ok, let me take two more questions and we will end with that, yes. in the back. philip: my name is philip kaplan. there has been some historical writing to the effect that one of the things that led truman to drop the bomb, not the exclusive thing, but in combination with some of the other analysis you have it possession, might be to make clear to the soviet union who would be in charge. i would be interested if you could comment on that. prof. harrison: yeah, i'm interested in that, too. great. last question here. >> i'm at catholic university. following on on that, it sounded that you adhere fairly closely to the thesis in atomic diplomacy.
so my -- the first half of my question is -- do you have any disagreements with that thesis? prof hasegawa: lots of. >> and, second, i did not hear any mention that the japanese peace party was also posing conditions other than maintaining the emperor -- i mean, there was a provision that basically, the japanese forces would disarm themselves. they would run their own trials. and do you go into this? prof. harrison: ok, thank you very much. please go ahead. prof. hasegawa: i am glad that
you asked the important point of soviet negotiations. i think in my opinion, the yalta agreement was a complete violation of cell china's sovereignty. they discussed those agreements without any consultation to china. it's one thing to violate japanese sovereignty, but it's another to violate the sovereignty of allied nations. the chinese government, the nationalist government was not informed until much later. do you know why fdr and stalin did not reveal the outcome of
yalta? because the chinese could not be trusted. we feared if we revealed the consultation to the chinese, they would immediately spill the beans. stalin had to get an agreement with the chinese government, and that negotiation went on. and stalin thought it was a good idea to have chinese agreement. sort of convinced stalin's domestic opinion so that he could buttress his argument. it is justified going to war against japan. you have to understand that stalin -- i mean, the soviet union -- i tend to disagree with your characterization of stalin. stalin could do anything.
you know, the soviet union followed whatever stalin said, and therefore stalin said ok, we can violate any laws whatever it is convenient. that is totally opposite to the behavior of the soviet union. the soviet union really adhered to the treaty. how they interpreted the treaty -- they were very, very serious about treaty obligations. i think it prolonged -- stalin wanted to come to the conference with that signed agreement. he could not achieve that. the final soviet negotiation continued.
the final soviet negotiation continued after potsdam conference. still prolonged. finally, finally, stalin just went ahead to enter the war without an agreement, which is a violation of the yalta agreement, but he gambled on that gamble that once you enter the war, neither the united states nor china would raise the question. finally, they concluded the final soviet friendship and agreement. on the day, shortly after japan accepted unconditional surrender. i disagree with him on a number of occasions. if you read my book carefully, for instance, i do not argue that the atomic bomb was used as a cold war weapon. i did not argue that japan was
defeated, therefore, the atomic bomb was totally unnecessary. i did not argue that the united states changed the conditions, and the japanese would unconditionally surrender right away. all those things i disagree. on the i agree, but not in the way he argues. he argued that the use of atomic arms was primarily against the soviet union so that the united states could expect the soviets to behave in eastern europe. and that's, you know, that's not my argument. i think the argument is crucial
because truman was interested in terminating the war before the soviets entered the war. you know, i did not quite understand mr. kaplan's question. so -- i'm sorry, my mind was wandering around when you asked the question. mr. kaplan: you may have already answered it, professor. what i was really asking was it, as truman calculated the various equities that he had to grapple with at the end of the war, if he concluded that using the bomb in addition to its instrumental purpose to end the war, might also make the point to the soviet union that we were the dominant power and that they would have to conduct themselves in a more constructive fashion. i would not go so far as to post a question in terms of eastern
europe per se because it seems to me that's quite a stretch, but in a more general way, he could see the soviet union was going to be one of the great powers in the aftermath of world war ii that we would have to grapple with. there was already evidence that the relationship was becoming more tense even before roosevelt died. the issue was if he would have put a priority on using the bomb in addition to all the other factors to make this point as well. prof. beisner: i think, unfortunately, i have to bring the discussion to an end now. i don't think it is a bad thing to it and with a question. i very much appreciate professor hesegawa's and professor beisner's talks. inspiring, controversial, stimulating. i would like to thank my colleague, hope harrison, for cochairing this meeting. i'd like to thank you for coming here on this late friday afternoon and sharing the discussion with us.