Over Hiroshima 68 years ago today, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb. Only days later as the next one fell on Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. Within hours, the Japanese Supreme Council met to discuss surrender, and Emperor Hirohito would later tell his subjects they must “endure the unendurable.”
In recent years, some scholars have concluded, it was not the bomb that triggered Japan’s capitulation. … In fact, says Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, a professor at the University of California, it was the Soviets’ surprise invasion of Manchuria and Sakhalin Island.
Hasegawa has changed the mind of Richard Rhodes, author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb,” the Boston Globe reports. “The Japanese decision to surrender was not driven by the two bombings,” Rhodes says.
Ward Wilson, a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, notes:
“The preliminary report prepared by (a Japanese) team that investigated the Hiroshima bombing, the one that gave details about what had happened there, was not delivered (to Tokyo) until August 10. It didn’t reach Tokyo, in other words, until after the decision to surrender had already been taken.”