Why did the Japanese surrender in 1945?

Sanne van Oosten

As a person who grew up in the West, we always learned that this was because of the Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atom bombs on the 6th and 9th of august 1945. The American bombs fell on the 6th and the 9th, subsequently the Japanese surrendered on the 15th. And that’s just the way it is! Or is it?

When visiting the museum about the atom bombing of Nagasaki I learned that the Japanese have an entirely different theory about why the bombs fell. The bombs weren’t dropped as the only way to let them surrender. The peace talks were actually well along the way. It was thought that Japan would surrender already before the atom bombs fell. Why did the Americans then drop the bombs?

According to the Japanese, it had been a long process to produce these bombs. American scientists had been working on it all through the better part of the war and had spend the equivalent of the Japanese GDP on the bombs alone. After all this trouble they better put all this money to use. So, by dropping these bombs we have any way we can show the world how powerful we are (to read more about the war from a Japanese perspective, click here and here and here).

The Chinese have an entirely different view of why the war ended in 1945 (read more about it here). They say that it ended because of the hard work of the Communists. Then again, the Taiwanese say that it ended because of the hard work of the Kuomintang (KMT).

But then again, who says this is true? Which theory is it? The one in which the Americans saved Asia from the Japanese or the one in which the Japanese were going to surrender anyway? The answer depends totally on where you are from, Japan or the West.

3 responses to “Why did the Japanese surrender in 1945?”

  1. Hickersonia says :

    I have to imagine that the truth of the matter is somewhere in between the two extremes, of course.

    A very interesting subject to read about, this is.

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  1. The war from a Japanese perspective: Yasukuni-jinja « - August 23, 2012

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