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A-bomb Scholarship

March 2023
1min read

Professor Maddox replies: Let me take up Mr. Lorah’s complaints one by one:

1. The USSBS . For my allegation that the survey was “cooked,” I referred readers to Robert P. Newman. He has a devastating chapter in his new book showing how Paul Nitze set out to demonstrate that conventional bombing would have caused Japan to surrender by November 1, and shaped the survey to achieve that goal. Newman makes his case convincing by showing instance after instance of shoddy interviewing of Japanese officials, and of misrepresentations of what these officials really said. This would have been impossible for me to do in a sentence or two. It is traditional scholarly practice, when an author does not have space to develop a minor point, to refer readers to his source so that they may pursue the matter further if they choose to do so.

2. My “pejorative” language about Eisenhower. As I show on pages 73–74, Eisenhower in 1948 wrote that he had merely expressed misgivings to Stimson and added that his views “were not based on any analysis of the subject.” By 1963 he was claiming that he had been with Stimson when the coded message about the Alamogordo test arrived (that is demonstrably false) and that he had protested so vehemently that “the old gentleman got furious.” That fits any definition of being “more colorful” that I know of.

Elsenhower himself never claimed that he had protested to Truman at the July 20 luncheon. The man who ghosted Bradley’s memoirs has admitted in writing that he composed that section after Bradley’s death and that he made up the July 20 “confrontation” out of whole cloth.

3. My statements about Japanese “peace feelers” are entirely correct. No Japanese official (and what is a chargé or military attaché, if not “minor”?) authorized to speak for Tokyo ever approached Dulles or anyone else. I have all the OSS weekly reports and the MAGIC intercepts for these weeks. If Dulles wrote otherwise later, he was mistaken to say the least.

Mr. Lorah has, as the revisionists deliberately encourage, confused a Japanese willingness to surrender (provided the emperor be retained) with their attempt to attain a negotiated peace through the Soviet Union. The latter was made to escape the consequences of defeat by offering the Soviets economic incentives to intervene, thereby permitting the Japanese to retain their pre-war empire and political/military structure intact. Consider this remark made in July by a Japanese official to the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo: “Japan will increase her naval strength in the future, and that, together with the Russian army, would make a force unequal in the world.”

If this sounds like surrender to Mr. Lorah, it did not to American officials who read it in decryption.

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