The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb

An all-Christian American crew used the steeple of Japan’s most prominent Christian church as the target for an act of unspeakable barbarism, writes Gary G. Kohls.

What Imperial Japan Couldn’t Do in 250 Years American Christians Did in Nine Seconds

St. Mary’s Urakami Cathedral after the bomb exploded above it as shown in a photograph dated Jan. 7, 1946. 

Originally published by Consortium News on Aug. 9, 2014. 

By Gary G. Kohls

Seventy-five years ago today, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped “Fat Man,” a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan, instantly annihilating tens of thousands of innocent civilians, a disproportionate number of them Japanese Christians, and wounding uncountable numbers of others.

For targeting purposes, the bombing crew used St. Mary’s Urakami Cathedral, the largest Christian church in East Asia. At 11:02 a.m., on Aug. 9, 1945, when the bomb was dropped over the cathedral, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan.

At the time, the United States was arguably the most Christian nation in the world (that is, if you can label as Christian a nation whose churches overwhelmingly have failed to sincerely teach or adhere to the peaceful ethics of Jesus as taught in the Sermon on the Mount).

The baptized and confirmed Christian airmen, following their wartime orders to the letter, did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride, albeit with a number of near-fatal glitches. Most Americans in 1945 would have done exactly the same if they had been in the shoes of the Bock’s Car crew, and there would have been very little mental anguish later if they had also been treated as heroes.

Nevertheless, the use of that monstrous weapon of mass destruction to destroy a mainly civilian city like Nagasaki was an international war crime and a crime against humanity as defined later by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Of course, there was no way that the crew members could have known that at the time. Some of the crew did admit that they had had some doubts about what they had participated in when the bomb actually detonated. Of course, none of them actually saw the horrific suffering of the victims up close and personal.

“Orders are orders” and, in wartime, disobedience can be, and has been, legally punishable by summary execution of the soldier who might have had a conscience strong enough to convince him that killing another human, especially an unarmed one, was morally wrong.

Hard to Surrender

Ruins of the cathedral. (Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum)

When Nagasaki was destroyed, it had been only three days since another U.S. atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” had decimated Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9 occurred amid chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government, which had known for months that it had lost the war, was searching for a way to honorably surrender.

The only obstacle to surrender had been the Allied insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan and possible subjected to war crimes trials. That was a deal-breaker, an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and prevented Japan from giving up months earlier.

The Russian army had declared war against Japan on Aug. 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the humiliating (for Russia) Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria. Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly since they much preferred surrendering to the U.S. than to Russia.

And, of course, the U.S. did not want to divide any of the spoils of war with Russia. By showing off the new nuclear weapons, Washington also sent an early Cold War message to Russia that the U.S. was the new planetary superpower.

Aiming at Aug. 1, 1945 as the earliest deployment date for the first bomb, the Target Committee in Washington, D.C. developed  a list of relatively un-damaged Japanese cities that were to be excluded from the conventional U.S. aerial fire-bombing campaigns (that, during the first half of 1945, burned to the ground more than 60 mostly defenseless Japanese cities).

The list of protected cities included Hiroshima, Niigata, Kokura, Kyoto and Nagasaki. Those five relatively undamaged cities were to be off-limits to the terror bombings. They were to be preserved as potential targets for the new “gimmick” weapon that had been researched and developed all across America during the two years of the Manhattan Project.

Ironically, prior to Aug. 6 and 9, the residents of those cities considered themselves lucky for not having been bombed as much as other cities. Little did they know why they were being spared from the carnage.

The Trinity Test

The Trinity explosion, 16 ms after detonation. The viewed hemisphere’s highest point in this image is about 200 metres (660 ft) high. (Berlyn Brixner / Los Alamos National Laboratory)

The first and only field test of an atomic bomb had been blasphemously code-named “Trinity” (a distinctly Christian term). It had occurred three weeks earlier at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The results were impressive, but the blast had just killed off a few hapless coyotes, rabbits, snakes and some other desert varmints.

The Trinity test also unexpectedly produced huge amounts of a new mineral that was later called “Trinitite,” a molten lava rock that had been created from the intense heat (twice the temperature of the sun) of the above ground bomb blast.

But the first full effects of an atomic bomb on a human population were not demonstrated until Aug. 6, with the obliteration of Hiroshima. But there was a second bomb, a different design from the first, that was ready for use.

So, at 3 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 9, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress (that had been “christened” Bock’s Car) took off from Tinian Island in the South Pacific, with the prayers and blessings of its Lutheran and Catholic chaplains. Barely making it off the runway before the plane went into the drink (because of the 10,000 bomb in its hold), it headed north for Kokura, the primary target.

Bock’s Car’s plutonium bomb was code-named “Fat Man,” after Winston Churchill. “Little Boy,” first called “Thin Man” (after President Franklin Roosevelt) was the bomb that had incinerated Hiroshima three days earlier.

Yet, the reality of what had happened at Hiroshima was still sinking in among the members of Japan’s Supreme War Council in Tokyo, complicating their ability to understand the need for an immediate surrender.

But it was already too late because by the time the War Council was meeting, Bock’s Car flying under radio silence was already approaching the southern islands of Japan, hoping to beat the typhoons and clouds that would have caused the mission to be delayed for another week.

The Bock’s Car crew had instructions to drop the bomb only with visual sighting. But Kokura was clouded over. So after making three failed bomb runs over the clouded-over city all the while running dangerously low on fuel, the plane headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki.

The History of Nagasaki Christianity

Celebrating a Christian Mass in Japan.
(16th-17th century Japanese painting, reproduction in Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History)

Nagasaki is famous in the history of Japanese Christianity because the city had the largest concentration of Christians in all of Japan. The Urakami Cathedral was the megachurch of its time, with 12,000 baptized members.

Nagasaki was the community where the legendary Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier established a mission church in 1549. The Catholic community at Nagasaki grew and eventually prospered over the next several generations. However it eventually became clear to the Japanese rulers that the Portuguese and Spanish commercial interests were exploiting Japan; and soon all Europeans and their foreign religion were expelled from the country.

From 1600 until 1850, being a Christian was a capital crime in Japan. In the early 1600s, those Japanese Christians who refused to recant their new faith were subject to unspeakable tortures, including crucifixion. After the reign of terror was over, it appeared to all observers that Japanese Christianity was extinct.

However, by the mid-Nineteenth Century, after the gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Matthew Perry forced open an offshore island for American trade purposes, it was discovered that there were thousands of baptized Christians in Nagasaki, living their faith in a catacomb existence, completely unknown to the government.

With this humiliating revelation, the Japanese government started another purge; but because of international pressure, the persecutions were eventually stopped, and Nagasaki Christianity came up from the underground. By 1917, with no help from the government, the re-vitalized Christian community had built the massive St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Urakami River district of Nagasaki.

So it was the height of irony that the massive Cathedral one of only two Nagasaki landmarks that could be positively identified from 31,000 feet up became Ground Zero for the atomic bomb. The Bock’s Car bombardier identified the landmarks through a break in the clouds and ordered the drop.

At 11:02 a.m., during Thursday morning mass, hundreds of Nagasaki Christians were boiled, evaporated, carbonized or otherwise disappeared in a scorching, radioactive fireball that exploded 500 meters above the cathedral.

The black rain that soon came down from the mushroom cloud surely contained the comingled remains of many Nagasaki Shintoists, Buddhists and Christians. The theological implications of Nagasaki’s Black Rain surely should boggle the minds of theologians of all denominations.

Nagasaki’s Christian Death Count

A carbonized child in Nagasaki. (Photo taken Aug. 10, 1945 by Yosuke Yamahata)

Most Nagasaki Christians did not survive the blast. Six thousand of them died instantly, including all who were at confession. Of the 12,000 church members, 8,500 of them eventually died as a result of the bomb. Many of the others were seriously sickened.

Three orders of nuns and a Christian girl’s school disappeared into black smoke or became chunks of charcoal. Tens of thousands of other innocent non-combatants also died instantly, and many more were mortally or incurably wounded.

Some of the victim’s progeny are still suffering from the trans-generational malignancies and immune deficiencies caused by the deadly plutonium and other radioactive isotopes produced by the bomb.

And here is another ironic point of this tragic chapter of history: What the Japanese Imperial government could not do in 250 years of persecution (destroy Japanese Christianity) American Christians did in nine seconds.

Even after a slow revival of Christianity over the decades since World War II, membership in Japanese churches still represents a small fraction of 1 percent of the general population, and the average attendance at Christian worship services has been reported to be only 30. Surely the decimation of Nagasaki at the end of the war crippled what once was a vibrant church.

A Chaplain’s Conversion

Father George Zabelka was the Catholic chaplain for the 509th Composite Group (the 1,500-man United States Army Air Force group whose only mission was to successfully deliver the atomic bombs to their targets). Zabelka was one of the few Christian leaders who eventually came to recognize the contradictions between what his modern church had taught him about war and what the early pacifist church had taught about homicidal violence.

Several decades after being discharged from the military chaplaincy, Zabelka finally concluded that both he and his church had made serious ethical and theological errors in religiously legitimating the organized mass slaughter that is modern war. He had come to understand that, as he articulated it, the enemies of his nation were not, according to New Testament ethics, the enemies of God, but were rather fellow children of God who were loved by God and who therefore were not to be killed by God’s followers.

Father Zabelka’s conversion away from the standardized violence-tolerant Christianity turned his Detroit, Michigan ministry around 180 degrees. His absolute commitment to the truth of gospel nonviolence just like Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him to devote the remaining decades of his life to speaking out against violence in all its forms, including the violence of militarism, racism and economic exploitation.

Zabelka even travelled to Nagasaki on the 50th anniversary of the bombing, tearfully repenting and asking for forgiveness for the part he had played in the crime.

Likewise, the Lutheran chaplain for the 509th, Pastor William Downey (formerly of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota), in his counseling of soldiers who had become troubled by their participation in making murder for the state, later denounced all killing, whether by a single bullet or by weapons of mass destruction.

Ruined Souls

Postcard of the Memorial Service Held at the Urakami Roman Catholic Cathedral, November 23, 1945. (Published by the Nagasaki City Office.)

In Daniel Hallock’s book, Hell, Healing and Resistance, the author talks about a 1997 Buddhist retreat led by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. That retreat attempted to deal with the hellish post-war existence of combat-traumatized Vietnam War veterans.

Hallock wrote, “Clearly, Buddhism offers something that cannot be found in institutional Christianity. But then why should veterans embrace a religion that has blessed the wars that ruined their souls? It is no wonder they turn to a gentle Buddhist monk to hear what are, in large part, the truths of Christ.”

The truth of Hallock’s comment should be a sobering wake-up call to Christian leaders who seem to regard as equally important both the recruitment of new members and the retention of old ones. The fact that the U.S. is a highly militarized nation makes the truths of gospel nonviolence difficult to teach and preach.

I am a retired physician who has dealt with hundreds of psychologically traumatized patients (especially combat-traumatized war veterans), and I know that violence, in all its forms, can irretrievably damage the mind, body, brain and spirit; but the fact that the combat-traumatized type is totally preventable as well as, for the most serious cases, virtually impossible to cure makes prevention work so important.

And that is where Christian churches should and could be instrumental. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.

These traumas are deadly and sometimes even contagious. I have seen violence, neglect, abuse and the resultant traumatic illnesses spread through families even involving the third and fourth generations after the initial victimization or perpetration.

It is important to know the hidden history of Nagasaki Christianity and the virtual annihilation of it by American Christians. The Bock’s Car bomber crew members, like most grunts in any war, were at the bottom of a long complex anonymous chain of command. They only “pulled the trigger” of the weapon which was manufactured by some other entity and put in their hands by still others. As in all wars, the WWII soldier trigger-pullers usually didn’t know exactly who they were trying to kill or even why.

The early church leaders, who knew the teachings and actions of Jesus best, rejected the nationalist, racist and militarist agendas of the national security agencies of the day. They also repudiated the pre-Christian eye-for-an-eye retaliation doctrines that have, over the past 1,700 years, regained dominance and led Christians to willingly kill both Christians and non-Christians in the name of Christ.

Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who is involved in peace, nonviolence and justice issues and therefore resists fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism and all other movements that are violent and anti-democratic.

24 comments for “The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb

  1. Steve
    August 11, 2023 at 14:21

    Gods are powerless, especially when faced with America’s love of murder.

  2. Josie Setzler
    August 9, 2023 at 21:28

    The immediate deaths caused by the Trinity test may have been confined to “a few hapless coyotes, rabbits, and snakes” as the author states, but many Hispanic and Native American people who lived in the area later experienced a high level of infant deaths and cancer deaths. The U.S. government has never acknowledged nor compensated the suffering of the victims of the Trinity test.

  3. W.E. Watson
    August 9, 2023 at 18:54

    Thank You for this truly enlightening essay. Even after all these years, information surfaces that has been either intentionally buried, or simply been forgotten in the “moden way of life” – leaving little room for introspection.
    Coincidentally, after many decades, I am reading once more Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales To His Grandson” and have arrived at this paragraph – regarding the sacrifice of other beings:
    “Can it be that the thought has never even entered Your head that if our COMMON FATHER CREATOR has created that life also, then He did so for some definite purpose?”
    Strange that I just read that paragraph, taking a break and reading this moving essay. In a strange way, the bombings were like the entirety of the Spanish Inquisition condensed into mere seconds. Christ Consciousness has been replaced with imagery of suffering. The worshiping of suffering. That allows for the infliction of suffering and is contrary to the doctrine of “Don’t harm – Don’t hurt”. A reason why many combat veterans turn to Buddhism.

  4. August 9, 2023 at 15:15

    It is especially interesting in this light that the likes of Father Wilson D. Miscamble of the University of Notre Dame find the atomic bombings of August 1945 to be retrospectively defensible.

  5. jamie
    August 9, 2023 at 15:01

    So long we do not stop dividing humanity in good and evil, right or wrong, they’ll never be harmony and the potential for human destruction will always be with us. This dichotomy allows our mind to dehumanize, to create prejudice and eventually when the moment allows it to persecute and kill without remorse.
    If there is something very valuable about the teaching of Jesus Christ is the idea that an enemy need more love than a friend, that an evil person needs more help than a good one. This idea is perhaps the only element that set us aside from animals. The idea to see in an enemy a friend, to see ourselves in it. To fight evil is to understanding it, to “bring it to the light” not to repressed it, not to project it onto other, not to allow it take the best of us.
    The church never understood the power of empathy; to me the church is the true anti-christ, the primary institution to have instilled in our culture the idea that we are “superior” to others, that punishment and guilt is necessary and welcomed, that we have the duty, the right to purify this world no matter the human suffering and human lives. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a product of this idea, and so is the idea that democracy must prevail at all cost everywhere, that sanctions are to be employed even if they kill the most vulnerable.
    We have a modern world, technology has evolved beyond comprehension, but we still are the same people of the middleages, what is the difference if now we travel from paris to nyc in 7-8 hours rather than weeks a century ago, does this make us better humans? of course not. Would you consider a group of ants that suddenly improved their food source by planting strawberry seeds near the nest more than an ant? of course not. Would you consider us with 86 billions neurons better than those ants with just 250 thousand neurons? of course not. No matter our economy changes through technology, it will not make us grow and become something better than an animal. The more we hail technology has human success the more we are turning Atlantis, the lost advanced civilization, from a myth into a prophecy.

  6. Siham A Alfred
    August 9, 2023 at 14:42

    Wow, I did not realize that there were a large Christian Community in Nagasaki

    And we are still doing it. The stock piles of depleted Uranium was used in the totally unprovoked war on Iraq in 2003. To this very day
    children in Iraq are born with severe defects, missing heads and organs. This calamity will continue for a long time to come because of the half life of Uranium. We the people have hardly any voice in the decision of going to war. This needs to change,

  7. Geoff
    August 9, 2023 at 14:36

    Gary thank you for this amazing article.My hope is that this generation will not repeat the failures and hypocrisy of those you discuss in this writing .The settlers of the USA did not found it on ‘moral’ grounds but alas on greed and terror.The land was not ‘discovered’ just stolen from those already there.Christians maybe.Christlike no!!

  8. Will Durant
    August 9, 2023 at 13:58

    Just another example of what Hannah Arendt termed “the banality of evil”: just following orders. The evil starts at the top and trickles down through the whole structure, poisoning the whole well. Amerika has been poisoned with militarism, military-worship and the compulsive need to be Number 1 for as long as I can remember (I am 75 this year and a military veteran) and I see no change on the horizon.
    That anyone in the U.S. would call this a Christian nation, or even an ethical, nation is absurd, risible. Christ taught that a tree is known by its fruit. It seems that my country has borne some good fruit on occasion, and that is what some point to as justifying ” the greatest nation.” Yet our sins are not absolved by the benefits of our science and technology or our (rather selective) generosity. Our rulers (I would say “leaders,” but you know what I mean) are very picky about which of our neighbors are valued, which disdained; who receives the largesse, who the hammer. Our tree has become a bearer of thorns, and we are known by that.
    I have been drawn to Christianity because it is a radical teaching, calling for sacrifice, compassion, honesty and love that may not be compromised by patriotism, jingoism, fear of “the other” or even “national interest.” It is, in fact, a revolutionary teaching in every sense of that word that puts God before country, tribe or political party. The teaching itself, like the precepts of Buddhism, if actually practiced, would transform the world. But the transformation must come in every human heart and mind.
    That our rulers are not Christian, much less consistently ethical, is self-evident. The misery we have brought to our brothers and sisters throughout the world and on our own continent has been on display from the very beginning of this troubled nation, and the excuses and justifications are always the same. The hypocrisy is just a reflection of the arrogance and concupiscence that we cannot allow or face as citizens of what Barack Obama and Madeleine Albright (and others) have referred to as “the indispensable nation.” This sin of pride is the origin of all the other sins. God and the USA are not, in fact, “bros”.
    It is the rejection of Christ’s teachings and the central message of Christianity rather than their fulfillment in the form of the USA that is consequential, This U.S. project (the “republic,” the would-be hegemon) like all others, will fail, but not for the reasons that many patriotic “Christians” assume. The danger lies both in our sinful national pride and in the military and destructive power behind this imagined righteousness.
    One needn’t be a Christian to recognize this. Any reasonable human being knows that “pride goes before a fall.”. The danger is that our rulers will lash out with these awful weapons when it becomes apparent that our national power and influence is waning and we can no longer be in control of the world economic system.
    We, all of us, must stop being tools and accessories to this project. Although a veteran, I do not consider myself a patriot, much less a loyal functionary in the imperial enterprise. Resistance is what I can give, truth-telling–and love.
    I cannot help thinking it will not end well, and I pray God’s mercy on us all.

  9. CaseyG
    August 9, 2023 at 13:56

    Oh…. so the Americans bombed a church in Nagasaki—–a city with no bomb and no army, and it was a Christian church too. I look at Dresden the same way—a city known for making beautiful pottery and china. Well, that was a quick death, sucking all the breathable oxygen out of the city. And then, what does an army do with a city full of corpses—- all frozen in time? Burn them all up it seems.

    America has created so much death upon so much of the world—and all beginning with the attacks on the Native People of America. Well, there is that old saying,” The bigger they are , the harder they fall.” The novel, ” “1984,” is apparently more real than anyone had ever imagined. : (

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    August 9, 2023 at 11:52

    If it ever decided to apologize, America would have quite a load.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      August 10, 2023 at 12:21

      America doesn’t apologize. America accuses, and even prosecutes, others who do only a fraction of what America has been doing. That’s the American way of life aka rules based international order!

  11. August 9, 2023 at 11:31

    “Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly” and what would Truman et al do with the second bomb if Japan offered unconditional surrender before they could nuke another city? Put Fat Man in storage? Unthinkable! Religion aside, the immorality of the people in charge is proven by the fact they were not willing to give the Japanese time to digest what had happened after dropping the first bomb.

  12. onno37
    August 9, 2023 at 11:27

    The lessons of Nagasaki & Hiroshima should NEVER be forgotten, Regretfully USA has NEVER stopped using Nuclear infected bombs like in Yugoslavia & N. Korea. Washington has proven to be an un-civilized society ruling this planet with MILITARY THREATS & WARS ALL THE TIME Regretfully other western governments in Europe are still following this corrupt & murderous nation called USA that has more than 200 years of wars sollely to expand & control FREE nations on this planet. WHEN WILL FREE PEOPLE STAND UP AGAINST THIS AGGRESSIVE/MURDEROUS NATION CALLED USA??

    • Norah
      August 9, 2023 at 12:46

      That’s an interesting question. The Evil contained inside America will likely only be extinguished by Americans themselves. The owners of America know full well that if their empire is defeated, the continental USAwill be split up much like Germany after WW2, with Alaska going to Canada, most of the south-western states going to Mexico, and the rest split down the middle possibly. The owners also know that should they lose against Russia, there is nowhere else for them to escape to.

      • Nathan Mulcahy
        August 10, 2023 at 12:25

        No, Americans have proven to be unable to mend (or make their government mend) the ways. It will come from outside – and only after being compelled to do so.

  13. Pavel Kozhevnikov
    August 9, 2023 at 10:53

    Thank you for this article! One remark: You wrote “The Russian army had declared war against Japan on Aug. 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the humiliating (for Russia) Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria.” That is not true. Yes, they wanted to punish Japan for the 1905-07 war, which was won by Japan only because of the USA and other “friends” of Russia’s military assistants. Russia lost just small islands and Port Arthur, a tiny city. The USSR went to the war because Roosvelt begged Stalin in Yalta Conference. Roosevelt saw the might of the USSR and did not have the Nukes at that time.
    Thank you.

  14. IJ Scambling
    August 9, 2023 at 10:47

    I feel very strong gratitude for this writing. Thank you. When I was young these bombs were held necessary to stop “the aggressors.”

  15. August 9, 2023 at 10:40

    It’s sad that the teachings of modern day Christianity have little similarity to the teachings of Jesus. It is no wonder that Mahatma Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

    • forceOfHabit
      August 9, 2023 at 17:38


    • W. E. Watson
      August 9, 2023 at 19:03

      Mahatma Gandhi also answered when asked “What do You think of Western civilization?”, with “I think it would be a good idea.”

  16. The Rev. Polk Culpepper
    August 9, 2023 at 10:25

    Once war begins, the only thing that matters is survival – national and personal. That’s why it’s so important to resist efforts by warmongers to lead their nations into war.
    American Christians have for centuries, since the beginning of the nation, sided with the belligerent forces of national pride and exceptionalism, choosing the nation over the Gospel. American victory has always been more important than Christian faithfulness.

    • Geoff hughes
      August 9, 2023 at 14:42

      There are’warmongers ‘ aplenty, rife in our nation unaware that ‘those who live by the sword die by the sword.Goliath should be very afraid because David is coming .

  17. 13th Disciple
    August 9, 2023 at 09:26

    Who would Jesus Bomb?

    The crew of this bomber were not Christians. They did not believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. This was not an act of ‘turning the other cheek’ to an enemy who struck you. These were the strange sort of American Christians who firmly repudiate everything that Jesus tried to teach. If they later saw the error of their ways, and asked forgiveness, then that is good. But, they were not acting as Christians when they dropped that bomb. They were acting like Americans.

  18. Patrick Powers
    August 9, 2023 at 03:31

    According to what I have read the Japanese knew that the US would allow the Emperor to continue. The unconditional surrender story was just for the US public. The big holdup was that if the mainland were occupied then the top generals were honor bound to commit suicide, which some of them later actually did. Tojo shot himself but had been fooled by his doctor and so survived.

    I’m more inclined to think that Russia invaded after the first bomb because it knew the jig was up and wanted to cash in before J surrendered.

    But who knows? Reading the minds of the long dead isn’t that easy.

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