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President Truman, China and the Middle East



The messages from WAISers are testimony that the issue of T ruman and the bomb is still very much alive. General Gard says: "Given the ferocity of the Japanese military in defending against our island-hopping campaign and the estimates of casualties if an invasion of Japan became necessary, I do not believe Truman could have declined to employ the atomic weapon. It is easy to second-guess that we should have just waited for the Japanese to surrender. Those who hold that view should read the influential American press coverage of the war during 1945. The firebombing of Tokyo inflicted more casualties than the atomic bomb, yet it receives far less criticism."

From Greece, Harry Papasotiriou writes: "Japan may have been "roped" into the war with the United States because of the US oil and other embargos in 1941. But she was certainly not roped into her war of conquest in Manchuria and China proper, which brought forth the US embargos. She was clearly punching above her weight and got badly beaten as a result. Her post-WWII approach of less punching and more weight-gaining (in terms of her economic strength) has brought her into the international heavy-weight league much more safely and peacefully." Paul Simon expresses similar views.

John Wonder writes: "This business about Japan being roped into WWII is ridiculous. But in defense of the Japanese, even as a youngster I felt our diplomacy was crowding Japan into a corner. They can't exactly be blamed. Would we have tolerated such diplomatic and financial pressure? I think it was more the kind of sneaky underhanded way they did things that enraged the Americans most of all. " Well, other WAISers have pointed out the Japanese provocations which motivated US diplomacy. Presumably the Japanese thought a sneak attack was the only way it could overcome US superiority. A miscalculation, like September 11.

Ronald Hilton - 1/2/02


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