Title Banner: The Army Air Forces in World War II

Chapter 23

DURING the spring and summer of 1945, while the air attack against Japan was steadily mounting in intensity, U.S. political and military leaders were searching for means to bring the war to a successful and early ending. The surrender of Germany on 8 May robbed Japan of her only ally and made available for redeployment in the Pacific vast Allied ground, air, and naval forces; the progressive deterioration of Japan's air and sea power left as her only source of strength a large and undefeated army. To some civilian leaders in the United States it seemed that if a proper formula could be worked out, the enemy might be brought to surrender without an invasion of the home islands, and this view was shared by many in the AAF and the Navy who were confident of the persuasive powers of the aerial attack and the blockade. Other leaders, while not discounting the possibility of a sudden collapse, believed that such a cheap victory was not probable, at least within the eighteen months allotted in the planning tables. The latter view finally prevailed as the accepted military policy: planning for an invasion of Kyushu (OLYMPIC, November 1945) and later of Honshu (CORONET, March 1946) was pushed vigorously, and the decision was taken in June and confirmed in July to mount the first of those assaults.

Then, on 6 August, a B-29 dropped on the city of Hiroshima a single bomb of unprecedented destructiveness. Three days later a second bomb, of like nature but somewhat more efficient, was dropped on Nagasaki. In each case the attack caused tremendous physical damage and great loss of life. The extent to which these attacks were responsible for the Japanese surrender is, like any complex historical problem, a question to which no universally acceptable answer can be given, but it is almost literally true that the war ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Within the written memory of man there had been no improvement in weapons comparable in degree and suddenness. It had taken gunpowder a century to revolutionize war, the airplane a generation. The new weapon, whose popular designation as "atom bomb" forestalled any chance of a more scientifically accurate nomenclature, threatened to do that overnight--and, indeed, to destroy civilization if used in large numbers. So dread were the threats for the future that it became difficult to think of the new weapon as an instrument of the war just ending. It was not, the scientists said, "just another bomb." But in spite of its horrible power, it was another bomb and it was delivered pretty much as hundreds of thousands of other bombs had been delivered--by a B-29 operating out of the Marianas. It is appropriate, then, to relate here so much of the atom bomb story as pertains to the AAF and to try to evaluate the importance of the attack in helping to force the surrender of Japan. This account will not involve the story of what President Truman called "the battle of the laboratories," a most important and absorbing story but one which has been told before and in which the AAF played only a minor role.1 In respect to the military side of the atom bomb story, which alone is pertinent here, there are still security regulations outside the control of the U.S. Air Force of a sort which have never been enforced upon earlier chapters and volumes of this series. The authors have had access to the AAF records in regard to the employment of the bomb, but some of the tactical and technological details are lacking; because of the unusual security measures in effect, much that was important was not put in writing, and in respect to the political decision to use the bomb, the authors are limited in the main to such published accounts as have appeared. In spite of lacunae in the evidence, however, the main outlines of the AAF's role in the two attacks can be told in sufficient detail.

The Atom Bomb

Governmental interest in nuclear fission for military purposes was initiated in the United States by a letter, dated 2 August 1939, to President Roosevelt from Dr. Albert Einstein. The celebrated physicist referred to the possibility of constructing from uranium a bomb of tremendous power; "however," he added, "such bombs might very well prove too heavy for transport by air," apparently contemplating their delivery by ship or use as concealed land mines.2 As research in nuclear fields progressed, this view was modified; scientists turned


more to the idea of an aerial bomb, and after the establishment in the spring of 1943 of the laboratory at Los Alamos, Dr. J. R. Oppenheimer's staff there was concerned with producing such a weapon. Though most of the early work was theoretical, it was obvious that the bomb would be large as aerial bombs went; this realization, and perhaps the factor of range, suggested the use of the B-29 as the best carrier available. Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, who as director of the so-called Manhattan Engineer District was in general charge of the development of the bomb, informed General Arnold of the project and made him responsible for the modification of the plane, for ballistics tests on the bomb, and for organizing and training a special combat unit which under appropriate field commanders might eventually use the bomb. By September 1943 the decision to use the B-29, only recently put into production, had apparently been made final, and work on the special planes began early in 1944 with an eventual goal of fifteen aircraft. The modifications were substantial but not radical: the atom bomb was tailored to fit the plane rather than the reverse.3

The task of organizing the special combat unit got under way in the summer of 1944. The ultra-secret nature of the project and its potential importance called for personnel of the highest qualifications and the process of recruiting resembled in many respects the mustering of the first B-29 units a year earlier. To head the team, Arnold named Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., a superb pilot with a distinguished record in the pioneer 97th Bombardment Group (H) in Europe and North Africa, who was currently testing B-29's at Eglin Field. His deputy, Lt. Col. Thomas J. Classen, was a veteran of the Pacific war; many of the key officers were members of Tibbets' former group and others were handpicked for various outstanding qualifications. Tibbets alone knew the real mission of the team; the others apparently knew no more than that they were to drop a special sort of bomb which they came to call "the gimmick." In the interest of security, Tibbets chose Wendover Field, Utah, as a training base. Security discipline, both in contacts with the outside world and within the base, was rigid and, as events were to prove, most successful.4

The core of the team was to consist of a normal B-29 squadron, but to give it as much independence (and hence secrecy) as possible, the organizational plan was expanded to include a number of supporting

* See above, pp. 53-55.


units. Choice for the combat element fell on the 393d Bombardment Squadron (VH),already well along in its training program at Fairmount Army Air Field, Nebraska. In September the squadron moved to Wendover, where it served as the nucleus for the specially organized 509th Composite Group, activated by Tibbets on 17 December. The group included, besides the headquarters and the 393d, the following units: the 390th Air Service Group (made up of the 603d Air Engineering Squadron and the 1027th Materiel Squadron); the 320th Troop Carrier Squadron; the 1395th Military Police Company (Aviation); and after 6 March 1945, the 1st Ordnance Squadron, Special (Aviation), guardian of the bomb. In many instances existing T/O's had to be modified to suit the unique mission of the 509th. In sum, the group had an authorized strength of 225 officers and 1,542 men; by May there was a slight surplus of personnel, and in June the total was increased by the assignment of the 1st Technical Detachment, War Department Miscellaneous Group--a team of scientists and technicians, some military, some civilian.5

The normal training of the 393d Squadron was completed at Wendover in December. Bombing runs were made at a nearby range to test the ballistics qualities of experimental models of the bomb, loaded only with an inert filler. In January the squadron took ten B-29's to Batista Field, Cuba, for further training, which included visual and radar bombing from very high altitudes and long overwater simulated missions but not--and this was significant for the future--formation flights. After returning to Wendover, the squadron was processed for oversea shipment and in May was equipped with combat-modified B-29's. Some of the modifications were special to the squadron, but it shared with all other units in the 315th Bombardment Wing (to which the 509th Group was attached during training) the dubious honor of having its planes stripped of all turrets and guns except the twin .50-caliber tail guns.6 By the end of May, Maj. Charles W. Sweeney, the squadron commander, had his unit ready to move out. In February it had been decided to base the 509th Group at North Field, Tinian, into which the 313th Bombardment Wing was then moving. Because of the mystery surrounding the group's mission, AAFPOA had had some difficulty in securing priorities for the special construction needed.* Col. Elmer E. Kirkpatrick, a Twentieth Air

* See above, p. 525.


Force engineer, flew out in March to expedite the building program, which included storage and laboratory facilities for the bomb. The first ground echelon of the group sailed from Seattle on 6 May and arrived at Tinian on the 29th to find that the advanced air echelon had flown in on the 18th. The combat crews began checking in on 11 June, flying out in their own B-29's. During the same month most of the group's personnel arrived, though the movement was not completed until the end of July.7

According to the group historian, the sight of Tinian with its lush vegetation and its quonsets pleased both those airmen making their first overseas tour and veterans from other theaters to whom "it looked like the Garden of Paradise." For New Yorkers the illusion may have been enhanced by the fact that the island bore a slight resemblance in shape to Manhattan, a similarity which had caused some fanciful engineer to use familiar names in designating the military thoroughfares. After several moves the 509th Group settled down in early July in what might be called the Columbia University district, south of 125th Street and adjacent to Riverside Drive. More to the point, the location was close to the strips and hardstands of North Field.8 These facilities the group shared with the 313th Wing, to which it was now nominally assigned although most orders came from XXI Bomber Command or later from the Twentieth Air Force and USASTAF. The command channels, indeed, were highly irregular: in the last crucial missions the decision was made by the President himself; the JCS as a body was not involved, and the two important officials above Arnold were Groves and his civilian chief, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, with whom Arnold consulted either alone or accompanied by General Marshall. The chain of command was ill understood at Tinian and apparently at Guam; even after the surrender an official report from USASTAF declared that "due to the fact that the atomic bomb program circumvented established command channels for the most part, because of its necessary secrecy, little is known at this level of the authority, which must have originated at a level of approximately the Big Three.9 The peculiar command arrangements, the partial geographical separation, the special aircraft insignia, the rigid security measures, and the failure to participate in ordinary combat missions--all these stamped the 509th Group with a special character which (one may guess) its members did little to deny but which brought them something of the ridicule usually reserved


in the military world for the abnormal unit and here epitomized in a satirical verse entitled "Nobody Knows," with a recurring refrain, "For the 509th is winning the war."10

Upon arrival at Tinian combat crews were put through the regular seven-day indoctrination program conducted by the 313th Wing for new arrivals. Combat flight training began on 30 June and the first phase was completed by 22 July. For most crews this involved five or six practice missions: a navigation training flight to Iwo Jima, bombing Rota on the return; two or more short bombing missions against Rota or Guguan; and one long bombing mission against Truk and one against Marcus. The missions were run in flights of from two to nine planes. Instead of the Iarge dummy bombs used in stateside training, the planes carried regular 1,000-or 500-pound GPs. While the tactical accomplishments were insignificant save as they contributed to the routine heckling of bypassed islands, training results on the whole were gratifying, reflecting the high experience level of the crews.11

On 20 July the 509th Group began a series of combat strikes over Japan, the purpose of which was to familiarize crews with the target areas and tactics contemplated for the final missions and to accustom the Japanese to the sight of very small formations of high-flying B-29's. The group S-2 received from XXI Bomber Command a series of "frag plans," tentative operational plans each involving a precision attack against pinpoint targets in the general neighborhood of, but never within, the cities chosen for the atom bomb attack. These outline plans were completed by 509th Group staff officers, who rightly considered the targets "leftovers" from other target lists. In all, some twelve strikes were sent out on four days--20, 24, 26, and 29 July--involving from two to six planes against each target. Most of these were at or near towns already hit by other B-29 strikes, precision or area: Koriyama, Nagaoka, Toyama, Kobe, Yokkaichi, Ube, Wakayama, Maizuru; two were at unfamiliar locations, Fukushima and Niihama.12

These missions were planned to simulate the final attack in all possible details: navigational procedure, individual approach at high level (usually about 29,000 feet), visual release, and radical break-away immediately thereafter.13 The size and form of the atomic bomb are still classified information, but on these missions where according to published information the group dropped "TNT-filled bombs with


ballistics similar to the atomic bomb," the 509th Group used a light case 10,000-pound projectile whose effects have been described by USSBS. The group called it a "pumpkin," "pumpkin-colored, pumpkin-shaped"; of the color there is no reasonable cause for doubt, but any layman with a memory of Halloween and a rudimentary concept of ballistics may consider the description of the form fanciful.14 Whatever the projectile, the performance record was exceptional. Out of thirty-eight sorties there was only one abort; twenty-nine planes bombed visually, eight by radar. Reports ranged from "unobserved" and "fair" to a gratifyingly large number of "excellents"; the strategic importance of the strikes was, of course, negligible.15 Perhaps the record owed something to luck since July weather was not ideal for visual attacks: a crewman reported cloud cover on one mission as "20/10-10/10 above and 10/10 below."16 But by any standards known to the AAF, the 509th Group was ready by the end of July for its real mission.

The timing was perfect. In an official report drawn up in group headquarters soon after V-J Day, it is stated that early in June, Tibbets "was informed [that] one atomic bomb would be available for use against the enemy on 6 August 1945. The limiting factor was production," Tibbets himself has been quoted as saying that in April a meteorologist in Washington had predicted favorable weather over the target during "a three day stretch and he gave August 6 as the date."17 Such a long-range forecast, of course, could have little validity; both the availability of the bomb and the decision to use it were determined by events subsequent to early June, as has been made evident in well-known published statements.

Mr. Stimson's testimony is most valuable here. Since 1941 he had been "directly responsible to the President for the entire [atomic bomb] undertaking"; under Stimson was Groves who (after 1942) was in charge of the developmental program and apparently had some ill-defined concern with the employment of the bomb, According to Stimson, there was never any question in Roosevelt's mind but that the bomb would be used when ready and this attitude was adopted by Mr. Truman when he acceded to the presidency in April 1945 and first learned the details of the project.18 By that time the military preparations for the possible use of the bomb against Japan were already well advanced, as the previous pages have shown; the estimate by informed scientists that the first model would be ready by midsummer


made it necessary to fit the bomb into current plans for the early defeat of Japan, plans that were given an added urgency by the surrender of Germany on 8 May and by the Big Three conference (TERMINAL) scheduled for Potsdam in July. Stimson established in May a so-called "Interim Committee" of eminent civilians to advise the President on atomic matters and on 1 June they recommended that: 1) the bomb be used against Japan as soon as possible; 2) it be used against a "dual" (military-civilian) target; and 3) the attack be made without specific warning as to the nature of the weapon.*19 Later a group of scientists (the Committee on Social and Political Implications) involved in the project advised Stimson that the bomb not be used until after a demonstration of its powers had been made "before the eyes of all the United Nations on the desert or a barren island," and their report was seconded by a petition to the President signed by sixty-four scientists.20 To the scientific panel advising the Interim Committee (A. H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, E. O. Lawrence, and J. R. Oppenheimer) this suggestion did not seem feasible and they could see no acceptable alternative to direct military use."21 This, it must be realized, was before the first test bomb had been exploded and no matter how certain they may have been of eventual success, the possibility of a dud made an advance notice a bad psychological risk. The view of the Interim Committee and its scientific panel coincided with Stimson's and the President's.

Already Arnold, in conference with Groves and others, had selected certain targets such as that described by the committee--"a military installation or war plant surrounded by or adjacent to houses and other buildings most susceptible to damage." For best psychological and experimental results, it was thought that the target city should be one relatively untouched; this ruled out the half-dozen largest cities. Arnold named Kyoto, largest unbombed city, Hiroshima, next largest, Niigata, and Kokura; later he ordered LeMay to reserve the cities for the 309th Bombardment Group. Kyoto, at the insistence of Stimson but against the judgment of Arnold, was stricken from the list because of its significance to the Japanese as a national shrine of religion and culture; Nagasaki was added, apparently by LeMay's staff, though the last was not considered an ideal target topographically.22

* The Interim Committee consisted of James F. Byrnes, Ralph A. Bard, William L. Clayton, Vannevar Bush, Karl T. Compton, James B. Conant, George L. Harrison. The recommendations listed above were originally adopted unanimously, but Bard later changed his opinion in respect to the last point.


The four designated cities became the objects of intensive study by intelligence officers in Washington and the Marianas.

Those officials who were responsible for advising the new President before and during the Potsdam conference were not entirely of one mind in respect to the primary military and political problem in the Pacific--how best to end the Japanese war. The military leaders obviously could base no firm plans on the atomic bomb, a weapon as yet untried even experimentally; one of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Leahy, has been refreshingly candid in confessing his extreme skepticism that the "professor's dream" would come true.23 He has quoted Roosevelt as hoping that Japan might be conquered by air and sea power alone, a view to which Leahy himself subscribed, as did others in the Navy and AAF, including LeMay, who flew in from Guam to present the case for strategic bombardment before the JCS on 19 June.24 Nevertheless, the strategy adopted by the Joint Chiefs and accepted by President Truman in late June called for an invasion of Kyushu in November, with a concentrated effort to end the war sooner by an intensification of the air assault and the blockade and by persuading the Russians to enter the war.25 Because the invasion was to prove unnecessary and the Russian aid perhaps superfluous at the time and certainly embarrassing to U.S. policies later on, the advocates of that strategy have since come in for much criticism. Part of this criticism has stemmed from the bid for Russian aid, although that was probably an extraneous issue in June 1945, since Stalin had promised both at Tehran and Yalta to fight Japan after Germany's surrender and since regardless of American requests the Russians were almost certain to have entered the war because of their traditional interests in the Far East. In all fairness it must be realized that the decision on this strategy, like all adopted by the JCS, was a unanimous one and that it was supported by the experiences of the German war, by intelligence reports (remarkably correct) concerning the intact status of the Japanese Army, by the fresh memory of the fanatical resistance of enemy troops on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and indirectly by American military tradition.26 However, this strategy was opposed by Acting Secretary of State Joseph C. Grew.

Since V-E Day, Grew had believed that, in the face of the heavy air assault, the Japanese government could be persuaded to surrender by a declaration that our war aims did not envisage destruction of the Japanese nation or the Emperor's office.27This opinion was shared by


Stimson and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal; it was Stimson's draft of 2 July that was accepted by the President as the basis for such a declaration. "It was designed," Stimson said later, "to promise destruction if Japan resisted, and hope, if she surrendered." The warning, if not immediately heeded, should be followed by "sanctions"; stepping up the current air and sea war would provide such sanctions and so also, if it worked, would the atomic bomb, of whose power Stimson seems to have had no doubt.28

These were the policies that President Truman took to Potsdam in mid-July. There the CCS agreed on the intensification of the present means of war and on the Kyushu invasion for 15 November, and the Russians promised to declare war on Japan in August.29 On 26 July the Potsdam Declaration calling for Japan's surrender was released over the signatures of Truman, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek. The statement, which made no reference to the Emperor, ended with the warning that "the only alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."30 There was no mention of the atomic bomb though by the time the ultimatum was issued it was known that the new weapon would immediately be available.

On 16 July, at Alamogordo in New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was exploded. The experiment was highly successful: the bomb was as powerful as any had dared hope and it was a practical weapon, described by one of its designers as a "bomb which could be delivered in battle and not some monstrosity which could only be set up over two or three acres of ground."31 When reports of the test came to Potsdam, Stimson conferred with the President and with Marshall and Arnold concerning the employment of the bomb--the timing, the target, and the probable effects. The ultimate decision would lie with the President, but Arnold urged that Spaatz, as the field commander responsible for delivering the weapon, be given as much latitude as possible in the choice of the particular target--among those already designated--and the exact timing of the mission. This authority, necessary in view of weather and other tactical considerations, was granted and, after an exchange of communications between Potsdam and Washington, was included in a letter of instructions issued to Spaatz at the latter city on 25 July.32 Churchill already knew of the plan to use the bomb, and on the 24th, Stalin was told of the new weapon; he expressed a polite but not profound interest.33

On 28 July Premier Suzuki told the Japanese press that his government






My dear Professor Cate:

Your letter of December 6, 1952 has just now been delivered to me.

When the message came to Potsdam that a successful atomic explosion had taken place in New Mexico, there was much excitement and conversation about the effect on the war then in progress with Japan.

The next day I told the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Generalissimo Stalin that the explosion had been a success. The British Prime Minister understood and appreciated that I'd told him. Premier Stalin smiled and thanked me for reporting the explosion to him, but I'm sure he did not understand its significance.

I called a meeting of the Secretary of State, Mr. Byrnes, the Secretary of War, Mr. Stimson, Admiral Leahy, General Marshall, General Eisenhower, Admiral King and some others, to discuss what should be done with this awful weapon.

I asked General Marshall what it would cost in lives to land on the Tokio plain and other places in Japan. It was his opinion that such an invasion would cost at a minimum one quarter of a million casualties, and might cost as such as a million, on the American side alone, with an equal number of the enemy. The other military and naval. men present agreed.

I asked Secretary Stimson which cities in Japan were devoted exclusively to war production. He promptly named Hiroshima and Nagasaki, among others.

He sent an ultimatum to Japan. It was rejected.

I ordered atomic bombs dropped on the two cities named on the way back from Potsdam, then we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

In your letter, you raise the fact that the directive



to General Spaatz to prepare for delivering the bomb is dated July twenty-fifth. It was, of course, necessary to set the military wheels in motion, as these orders did, but the final decision was in my hands, and was not made until we were returning from Potsdam.

Dropping the bombs ended the war, saved lives, and gave the free nations a chance to face the facts.

When it looked as if Japan would quit, Russia hurried into the flay less than a week before the surrender, so as to be in at the settlement. No military contribution was made by the Russians toward victory over Japan. Prisoners were surrendered and Manchuria occupied by the Soviets, as was Korea, north of the 38th parallel.

Sincerely yours,

Signature: Harry S. Trueman


Professor James L. Cate,
Department of History,
The Univesity Of Chicago,
1126 East 59th Street,
Chicago 37,


Image: Mushroom Cloud from Atomic Bomb

would ignore the ultimatum issued at Potsdam.34 This was interpreted by the Allies as a rejection. The next move was up to Harry Truman.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Soon after the first atom bomb was dropped it was rumored that the attack had been long delayed for international political reasons; conversely, and on "an authority which seems unimpeachable," it was surmised that the decision to use the new weapon reversed an earlier conviction of the President; and it has further been assumed that the bomb was employed with undue haste in order to end the war before Russia could launch its offensive against Japan.35 The first theory is palpably false, and the second runs counter to the considered statements of those most intimately concerned. As to the last supposition, it does not accord well with the accepted policy of encouraging the Russians to enter the war against Japan, but it does receive indirect support from later statements of some of President Truman's advisers, who have professed entertaining at Potsdam little enthusiasm for the long-sought Soviet aid. Especially pertinent is Secretary of State James F. Byrnes' comment: "I would have been satisfied had the Russians determined not to enter the war. Notwithstanding Japan's persistent refusal to surrender unconditionally, I believed the atomic bomb would be successful and would force the Japanese to surrender on our terms."36 In any event, the timing of the Hiroshima attack was dictated by tactical considerations--the availability of the bomb and weather conditions--and the final decision to use the new weapon was not made until after the Potsdam conference had adjourned.

For that grave decision, perhaps as difficult to make as any in all history, President Truman has courageously assumed full responsibility, saying: "The final decision had to be made by the President, and was made after a complete survey of the whole situation had been made. . . . The Japanese were given fair warning, and were offered the terms which they finally accepted, well in advance of the dropping of the bomb.37 This explanation agrees closely with that of Stimson and, indeed, with the whole logic of the Potsdam ultimatum, but what appears at first reading to be contradictory evidence is afforded by the military directive authorizing the use of the atomic bomb.

That directive was issued to Spaatz, under circumstances described above, after an exchange of views between Stimson, Marshall, and


Arnold at Potsdam, and Groves, Spaatz, and General Thomas T. Handy at Washington.* Signed by Handy as Acting Chief of Staff, and with the approval of Stimson and Marshall, the directive contained an unqualified order for the 509th Composite Group to "deliver its first special bomb as soon as weather would permit visual bombing after about 3 August." The document is dated 25 July, one day before the Potsdam Declaration and two days before Suzuki's rejection thereof on the 28th, Tokyo time. There is no reference to the ultimatum and no instruction as to procedures to be followed should the Japanese offer to surrender before 3 August. Under such circumstances, of course, responsible authorities might have countermanded the order by a radio message to Guam, but without further elaboration the directive to Spaatz could be interpreted to mean that the decision to use the atomic bomb had been made before, and without real regard for, the ultimatum issued at Potsdam.

The apparent discrepancy in evidence seemed to the present authors important enough to warrant a request for information from President Truman, and he has courteously responded to the questions raised.† The directive was given to Spaatz on 25 July, the President said, because "it was necessary to set the military wheels in motion, as these orders did, but the final decision was in my hands, and was not made until we were returning from Potsdam." And again, in the same context: "I ordered atomic bombs dropped on the two cities named on the way back from Potsdam, when we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean." The President sailed from Plymouth on the cruiser Augusta on 2 August; Spaatz' directive authorized an attack as early as the 3d, so the final decision would seem to have been made on one of those days. In the meantime, Spaatz had reached Guam on 29 July and final preparations for the attack had been completed rapidly.

According to the testimony of Groves and of Capt. William S. Parsons, USN, of the Los Alamos staff, the fissionable materials for the bomb were rushed out to Tinian as soon after the 16 July test as possible. Anticipating a successful test, Groves had already sent out the scientists needed to complete the assembly job at Tinian, and the active materials used in the Hiroshima bomb "probably had not been three weeks out of Oak Ridge . . . or Hanford."38 Part of the fissionable

* This document, previously published in Life, 16 Aug. 1948, p. 104, is reproduced in the present volume, facing p. 696.

† See the reproduction of his letter of 12 January 1953, facing p. 712.


material was shipped on the cruiser Indianapolis which left San Francisco a few hours after the test at Alamogordo and arrived at Tinian on 26 July; the loss of the ship to an enemy submarine off Leyte on the 29th has caused some speculation as to the course of the war had it been hit on the run-in rather than on the return. The rest of the stuff was hurried out by air transport and according to Groves the bomb "could have been ready" by 31 July.39 On that date his deputy for the operation, Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Farrell, arrived at Tinian; the scientists and technicians were on station. By 1 August the 509th Group was ready to go; the crew selected to deliver the first bomb had made a dry run with a dummy bomb.40 Spaatz' directive had set 3 August as the earliest day for the attack, and thereafter, as so often in the past, it was a question of waiting for a break in the weather: with only two bombs available, the drop would have to be made visually. LeMay, as Spaatz' chief of staff, would decide when the weather was suitable.41

The field orders--No. 13 for the 509th Group--were signed "by command of Lt. Gen. Twining, Twentieth Air Force" on 2 August; most of the tactical details had been prepared earlier.42 The primary target was Hiroshima, accounted as Japan's eighth largest city though its population had shrunk through successive mass evacuations from 365,000 in 1943 to 245,000. Located on the underside of Honshu, with a harbor opening onto the Inland Sea, it had been an important military port of embarkation, though the mining campaign had in recent months dried up its traffic. Hiroshima housed the headquarters of the Second Army and of the Chucogu regional army with their numerous installations. The city's industries, greatly developed during the war but still of less importance than those of the great metropolitan centers, were for the most part geared directly to the war effort. The city lay in the delta of the Ota River, partly on six slender islands that stuck out like fingers on a deformed hand, partly in the palm of the hand. The industrial areas were outlying, the airport and some docks out on the last joint of the fingers; but the main commercial-residential districts were compact, thickly built up, and flat, with only one small hill. But for restrictions imposed by Washington, Hiroshima would have been hit long before; now as the most important of the proscribed cities it was a natural choice for the first atomic attack. An added incentive was the fact that Hiroshima alone of the four target cities had no POW camp nearby. The secondary target was Kokura, the tertiary Nagasaki.43

Seven B-29's, their group insignia and their names painted over but


with the special "Victory" numbers showing, were designated for the mission. One was a spare that was to stand by at Iwo Jima where there were facilities for unloading and reloading the bomb in case of an abort. Three were weather planes, to be dispatched in advance of the attack, one to each target. The main force consisted of three B-29's: Colonel Tibbets' Enola Gay with the bomb aboard and two observation planes--Maj. Charles W. Sweeney's The Great Artiste and Capt. George W. Marquardt's No. 91--loaded with cameras and scientific instruments, and both carrying military and civilian observers in addition to their crews. The Twentieth Air Force, with other missions scheduled, would provide air-sea rescue service, but no plane except those on the mission was to approach within fifty miles of the target from four hours before to six hours after the strike, even for rescue purposes. Thereafter two F-13's were to perform photographic reconnaissance.44

According to the 509th Group historian, who was not in the know, the early days of August were marked by "much off-the-record scurrying about, secret meetings, and conferences behind closed doors.45 Briefing for the crews selected was conducted in two sessions. On 4 August they were informed of the power of the bomb and its probable effects and were given the necessary details on the target and on operational procedures. Every man had known that the group's mission was to drop a special kind of a bomb, but the information that it would have a force equal to 20,000 tons of TNT seems to have been for almost all a complete surprise: even yet the exact nature of the bomb was not divulged. On the 5th the weather forecasts looked good; at midnight the crews were given last-minute details on weather and on air-sea rescue, and after a preflight breakfast and religious services were ready to go. The weather planes left soon after.46

At 0245 on 6 August Tibbets lifted the Enola Gay off the runway and was followed at two-minute intervals by the two observation planes. The trip out was uneventful, with a rendezvous at Iwo Jima where the slow climb to bombing altitude began. Tibbets was to select the target on the basis of reports from the weather planes, but was to bring the bomb back if all three cities were hidden by cloud. At 0815 he received the report from Hiroshima: "2/10 lower and middle, and 2/10 at 15,000 feet." This sealed the city's doom. Captain Parsons had gone along as "bomb commander and weaponeer"; he and his assistant, Lt. Morris R. Jeppson, had performed an assembly operation


after take-off and at 0730 made "it a final bomb," checking for a last time ten minutes before reaching the target. The initial point was reached at 0911, and as the Enola Gay swung into her short run-in, the bombardier (Maj. Thomas W. Ferebee), navigator (Capt. Theodore J. Van Kirk), and radar operator (Sgt. Joe A. Stiborik) took over. At 0915 (0815 Hiroshima time) Ferebee toggled the bomb out; the altitude was then 31,600 feet, the ground speed 328 m.p.h. Ferebee gave the controls back to Tibbets who executed a violent turn of 150 degrees and nosed down to gain speed.47

To increase the radius of its blast, the bomb was timed to explode at an altitude well above the target. The exact height was not mentioned in the mission report, but subsequent published statements have indicated that it was in the neighborhood of 2,000 feet.48 When the explosion occurred, some fifty seconds after the release, the Enola Gay and the two observation planes were fifteen "slant" miles away, but the crews felt two distinct shocks. The awesome sight that unfolded before the eyes of Tibbets' crew (he, Ferebee, and the co-pilot, Capt. Robert A. Lewis, had forgotten to put on their Polaroid goggles) was that later made familiar by numerous descriptions and photographs: the initial burst and "ball of fire"; the cloud mass; the rapidly ascending column which eventually mushroomed and continued its climb to 50,000 feet. Crewmen later reported that the smoke was visible from a distance of 390 miles.49

Immediately after the explosion Tibbets signaled to Tinian "mission successful." The return flight was uneventful. In the whole round trip no hostile plane was sighted; a score of very inaccurate bursts of flak constituted the enemy's only reaction to the war's most sensational attack. The Enola Gay touched down at 1458, the two other B-29's within less than forty minutes. Spaatz met Tibbets as he climbed down from his plane and presented him with the Distinguished Service Cross and the others of the crew with appropriate medals; one may hazard the guess that any decoration ceremony must have been an anticlimax after what the men had seen. Within five hours after the strike F-13's were over Hiroshima; they could report vast destruction, but fire, smoke, and dust were still so bad that no accurate estimates could be made.50

News of the mission was flashed to President Truman, then on board the Augusta on his way back from Potsdam. His public announcement of the event, drafted at Potsdam, was released in Washington


sixteen hours after the bomb fell (it then being 6 August Washington time); in it the President again warned the Japanese people, saying that if their leaders did not surrender they might "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."51 This message, relayed by radio to Japan, gave the government there its first real knowledge of the nature of the attack but brought no offer to surrender. Japanese Army officials tried to play down the significance of what had happened at Hiroshima: they were able to prevent the press from mentioning "atom bomb"; the official communiqué merely announced the dropping by parachute of bombs of a new sort which had caused "considerable damage" and which "should not be made light of." The reference to more than one bomb and to the parachutes suggests that some officials had been confused by the dropping of instruments used to measure the intensity of the blast. In spite of heavy censorship, many Japanese learned of the bomb through short-wave radio broadcasts from U.S. bases and through propaganda leaflets.52 On Tinian, most persons got their first news of the atom bomb strike from the President's message--and this included many of the 509th's personnel. The group, after undergoing ridicule for weeks, now became famous overnight, receiving so much publicity that Spaatz began to worry about the morale of other B-29 units who carried nothing more spectacular than conventional bombs.53

There had been on 1 August enough fissionable material available for only two bombs, though "production was going up on a very sharp curve."54 The intention was to use the two at close interval if the first did not suffice, and apparently there was some thought of running the second mission on 11 August.55 While the world waited for a reply from Suzuki, the Twentieth Air Force kept hammering at Japan, dispatching on 7 August a 131-plane mission against Tokokawa, a large daylight incendiary against Yawata on the 8th, and on the following night a mining mission and two bomb strikes. On the 8th also the 509th sent out six planes to drop "pumpkin bombs" on various targets.56 When bad weather was predicted for the Japanese main islands on 11 August, strike day for the atom bomb was advanced to the 9th.

Operational plans were patterned closely after those which had been so successful on 6 August; the fact that a new and more efficient bomb was to be used made no difference to the carriers, however important


it may have been to the scientists. Again there were to be three planes in the striking force, one armed and two for observation, and a spare at Iwo Jima, but only two weather planes were to be dispatched since only two possible targets were named. Niigata was ruled out as too distant. First choice was given to Kokura, a city near the northern tip of Kyushu, seat of a vast Army arsenal within which the aiming point was located. Nagasaki, on the west coast of Kyushu, was the secondary target. Its fine harbor had declined in importance in recent years but its industry had grown, centering chiefly in four great Mitsubishi plants that were responsible for 96 per cent of production in Nagasaki by firms employing more than fifty workers. Nagasaki had been hit on five occasions between 10 August 1944 and 1 August 1945: twice by B-29's (including a phenomenally effective chance strike by a single plane) and three times by Seventh Air Force bombers from Okinawa--these last after the city had been put on a restricted status. Nevertheless, Nagasaki remained virtually intact and had grown somewhat careless because of its relative immunity. Its topography, broken by hills and valleys, and its irregular layout were recognized as unfavorable to the purpose at hand.57

The second mission went off much less smoothly than the first. The weather planes got away at 0230 on 9 August, followed at 0349 by the strike force. This time the bomb was carried by Major Sweeney and his crew in a B-29 called Bock's Car; their regular plane, The Great Artiste, which they had flown as one of the observation planes on the Hiroshima mission, again served in the same capacity on the 9th, but now under command of Capt. Frederick C. Bock." The outward course was plotted west of Iwo Jima to avoid a storm that was building up, but the planes, proceeding separately, ran into nasty weather anyhow.58 At a little after 0900 the weather planes reported visual conditions

* Through a curious error, caused perhaps by the removal of the names from the strike planes, the official communique stated that The Great Artiste carried the bomb on 9 August, and that mistake has been perpetuated in most published accounts, even those written by eyewitnesses. In 1946 discussion of a plan to retire The Great Artiste as a museum piece disclosed the error. The evidence of the serial numbers in the mission report is irrefutable and has been confirmed to the author by Captain Bock, who explained that he had exchanged B-29's with Sweeney for that mission. Apparently the change was to avoid the necessity of transferring the scientific instruments. At any rate, it was Bock's Car, sans Bock, that carried the bomb. (See msg., Wright-Patterson AFB to Hq. USAF, 19 May 1946; 509th Composite Group, Operations Order No. 39, 8 Aug. 1945; 509th Composite Group, Final Mission Report No. 16, 9 Aug. 1945; and interview with Frederick C. Bock by J. L. Cate, 23 Nov. 1952.)


at both targets. Sweeney's plane reached the rendezvous point--Yakujima off the south coast of Kyushu--at 0909, one minute ahead of schedule, and was joined three minutes later by Bock's instrument plane. Bock spotted the other observation plane, piloted by Maj. James I. Hopkins, but lost contact; Sweeney never saw Hopkins' plane and after circling for three-quarters of an hour he and Bock headed for Kokura without it. There the weather had closed in meanwhile and Sweeney's bombardier, Capt. Kermit K. Beahan, made three runs without getting a glimpse of the target. With gas running low (600 gallons were trapped in the bomb-bay tank) and a few enemy fighters rising to investigate, Sweeney consulted with Beahan and Comdr. Frederick L. Ashworth (USN), the bomb commander and weaponeer. They decided to try the secondary target, make one run, and drop the bomb-visually if possible or by radar if not; this last decision, which ran counter to Sweeney's orders, was made on Ashworth's responsibility because of the shortage of fuel. Over Nagasaki they found 8/10 cloud and the run-in was 90 per cent by radar," but at the last second Beahan found a hole in the cloud and let go. It was then 1058 Nagasaki time.59

Sweeney banked his plane sharply and pushed down from his 28,900-foot altitude. A minute later, when the explosion came, "it was as if the B-29 were being beaten by a telephone pole"; five separate shocks were felt, and in general the turbulence seemed worse than that experienced over Hiroshima, though the reports of what followed read much like the earlier ones. Sweeney's signal to Tinian was apparently not received. He headed for Okinawa, frequently used by B-29's in distress after Kyushu strikes, and brought the Bock's Car down safely in an emergency landing at 1400 with only a few gallons of fuel left. Bock came in soon after and together then went on to Tinian; all three planes were home by 2339.60

On the basis of photographs taken by F-13's on 11 August, it was possible to estimate with considerable accuracy the area ruined in each city by the atomic bombs: for example, the estimate made on 19 August gave for Hiroshima 4.1 square miles destroyed and .6 square miles badly damaged, as against a later on-the-spot computation of 4.7 square miles destroyed.61 Because of the novelty of the weapon and its significance both for the war just ending and for the future, it was highly desirable that a systematic study of the over-all results of the attacks be made to supplement these early appraisals--and the early


surrender of Japan made that possible. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, General Farrell took a party to Japan to investigate the effects of the two atom bombs and the Japanese efforts at relief and recovery.62 Other commissions, U.S. and Allied, followed to make more thorough studies. The most valuable reports are the several published by USSBS after a ten-week survey begun in October 194563 and that of the British Mission to Japan done at about the same time.64 The investigators, who enjoyed the full cooperation of Japanese officials, had access to such records as survived the holocausts, and these sources of information were used to supplement the data obtained in the physical surveys. Some eyewitness accounts have been preserved,65 and some secondhand accounts, factual or sensational, have been written.66 Few great disasters have been reported in greater detail, but the events were so catastrophic and so wholly unexpected that any account of what happened on the ground is of necessity less complete than that of the attack itself.

At Hiroshima the bomb exploded at 0815 local time, some forty-five minutes after a previous air-raid alert--probably caused by Tibbets' weather planes--had ended. Most factory workers were on the job, as were school children helping clear firebreaks, but others were on their way to work. Some citizens had ascribed their long respite to some unknown favorable condition which might continue; others had long expected the sort of attack that had gutted other cities but had become hardened to the sight of small formations of "Mr. B"; their indifference, the recent "all-clear" signal, and the neglected condition of air-raid precautions help explain the terrible slaughter that day, though it would have been great under any circumstances.67

The attack was directed against a densely built-up area, a mixture of residential, commercial, military, and small industrial buildings. The aiming point was just south of an army headquarters, at the northern tip of the long island containing Hiroshima's airport. Planners, calculating on a 7,500-foot radius of destruction, thought that a bomb exploding here would wreck all important parts of the city except the dock areas. In this they were eminently correct. "Ground zero," the point immediately below the explosion point, was near a bridge at the end of the island and quite close to the aiming point. The blast of the bomb collapsed many buildings and set off innumerable fires, to which were added many secondary blazes, all fanned by a violent "fire wind" caused by the intense heat. Neither artificial firebreaks nor the


seven river channels could check the conflagration; the area destroyed 4.7 square miles in a compact pattern centering on zero, and extending 6,000 to 8,000 feet outward--included most of the densely built-up sections of the city. Practically every building in the city received some damage, which varied with distance and structure from complete annihilation to broken windows or displaced roof tiles. Buildings of typical Japanese construction were consumed, leaving comparatively little rubble; of about thirty substantial buildings of reinforced concrete or masonry, all suffered severe blast damage of some sort and all but two were ruined internally by fire. Of 50,160 buildings in the city proper, 40,653 (81.1 per cent) were destroyed, 8,396 (16.7 per cent) were severely damaged, 1,111 (2.2 per cent) slightly damaged. The larger factories were for the most part located on the outskirts of the city and suffered less than the "downtown" and residential districts, but did not escape unhurt.68

Casualties were of a magnitude comparable to the physical damage. The exact totals will never be known, but they were figured by the Japanese authorities at 71,379 dead and missing and 68,023 injured; of those injured 19,691 were seriously hurt. USSBS, unwilling to accept these precise figures, figured the dead at between 70,000 and 80,000 and the injured at about the same. This would give a slightly lower figure for killed and missing than in the Tokyo fire raid of 9/10 March but a larger number of wounded;* the rate of casualties per square mile was much greater at Hiroshima. Deaths were caused, as in an ordinary air raid, by blast effect, falling debris, flash burns, and burns from the fires kindled; to these common dangers was added at Hiroshima the effect of radiation, which because of its Novelty excited much concern at the time of the surveys and later. Estimates of the proportion of deaths which were ascribable to this cause ranged from 7 to 20 per cent of the total, but it was generally agreed that many more persons would have died from radiation had they not suffered a more immediate death from blast or fire. Radiation effects were received directly from the gamma rays released at the time of the blast; because of the great height of the explosion there was little of the sort of protracted radioactivity experienced at Alamagordo.69

The high rate of deaths derived in part from the temporary collapse of all rescue and relief agencies. Of 298 doctors in Hiroshima, 270 were killed, and 1,645 nurses out of 1,780; 42 of 45 hospitals were

* See above, p. 617.


destroyed or rendered useless. Immediately after the blast there was a general flight from the flaming city by panic-stricken survivors; next day many returned to search for relatives or possessions. The commander of the Second Army took charge of the city and organized relief activities, using military personnel (6,769 soldiers out of 24,158 were killed or missing), buildings, and supplies as well as civilian help from the local and neighboring prefectures. Providing food and shelter for the 171,000 persons made homeless was a major problem, simplified somewhat by the mild weather. Only basic public utilities could be restored, and rehabilitation of the city had hardly begun when the Allies moved in during September. The industrial recovery of Hiroshima promised to be more rapid than its general recovery, since the large factories--with most workers already in place--suffered less than the heart of the city.70

The city of Nagasaki was irregular in pattern, conforming to the shape of the harbor and the surrounding terrain. Eastward lay the old city--comprising the main administrative, commercial, and residential districts--stretching from the Dejima Wharf area across the flats and northeastward up the Nakajima River valley. The west side of the harbor was given over largely to heavy industry. North of the harbor, up the valley of the Urakami River, were located more industries (including two giant Mitsubishi plants), residential districts, and some institutional buildings. The Urakami area was less congested than the old town and contained a larger share of modern-type structures. The hills rose steeply between and beyond the converging river valleys and were cut by gorges and ravines; the whole harbor basin gave an impression from the air of a natural amphitheater, but the built-up districts were pretty well separated. This irregular spread and the large water area (harbor, rivers, canals) gave Nagasaki protection against a wide-ranging conflagration. Air-raid shelters were unusually good by Japanese standards, consisting for the most part of tunnels dug into the numerous hills and cliffs. With ample warning, these might have saved a very considerable proportion of the city's populace.71

The Japanese Army's high command, as has been shown above, allowed only an equivocal reference to the use of a new-type of bomb at Hiroshima; the admonition that citizens should wear clothing covering the whole body and should take shelter at the appearance of even the smallest flight of U.S. planes carried little weight without further explanation. Nagasaki workers had lost many man-hours in


alerts, caused in most instances by attacks on other Kyushu cities; there had been a false alarm on 8 August. On the morning of the 9th an alert sounded at 0745,followed by the raid alarm at 0750. These signals were for two high-flying northbound aircraft, presumably Sweeney's weather planes, and when they had passed the all-clear was sounded at 0830. Again at 1053 two planes were sighted at great altitude, this time coming in from the east. The raid signal was given without a previous alert. Very few people made for the shelters on this second alarm, and most citizens were caught at work, at home, or on the streets when the bomb went off at 1101 with a dazzling white flash.72

The aiming point named in the field orders was the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, located on the east bank of the Urakami River in the northern arm of the city. The 509th Group's mission planning summary, a source which is usually very reliable, puts the aiming point in the commercial district east of the harbor, a site which seems more in keeping with the potentialities of the bomb. Sweeney's report rated bombing results as "good to fair" (as opposed to "excellent" on the Hiroshima mission), but if the Mitsubishi plant was really the target, the bombing was better than that, considering the conditions under which the run was made. Ground zero was later identified as a point about 900 feet east of the Urakami and 8,500 feet from where the river joined Nagasaki harbor. This spot was only 500 yards north of the edge of the sprawling arms plant, .75 miles from its center, and .80 miles south of the center of another Mitsubishi complex.73

At Hiroshima it had been the swiftly spreading fire that had most impressed the observers; at Nagasaki, where there was no fire wind, the blast effects seem by comparison worse than those on the 6th, a result partly of the nature of the second bomb, partly of the bowl-shaped region into which it fell. The area of greatest destruction was oval shaped, approximately 2.3 miles along its north-south axis and 1.9 miles from east to west. Within this space, all buildings were destroyed or rendered useless by blast, fire, or a combination of the two, though a plot of the ruined area is much more irregular than one for Hiroshima because of the different degree of built-upness. Beyond this oval, severe damage extended over the whole Urakami section of the city and southward into areas on both sides the harbor, though the pattern of destruction was again irregular, in some cases almost as capriciously so--as the path of a tornado. Here, as in Hiroshima, cases


of minor damage were reported as far as 16,000 feet from zero. The total area destroyed was calculated as 1.45 square miles out of a total of 3.84. This was much less than at Hiroshima and only slightly more than half of the average for normal incendiary raids, which ran to about 2.87 square miles, counting multiple attacks. By comparison with Hiroshima, however, the damage to industry was much heavier. Excluding the dockyard area (outside the radius of the bomb's effect), 68.3 per cent of the industrial productive area was destroyed. The fact that the factories affected were no longer operating at top capacity does not detract from the effectiveness of the bomb.74

At Nagasaki, as at Hiroshima, it was impossible to determine exactly the cost in human life, but certainly the losses were considerably lighter in the second attack; except for the stupidity of the Army they might have been even less, for workers excavating in the tunnel shelters, when not exposed to direct blast in the openings, were uninjured and with proper warning more persons might have got underground. The official Japanese figures of 23,753 killed, 1,927 missing, and 23,345 injured are too low, since they included only verified cases. USSBS estimated as minimum figures for the same categories 35,000, 5,000, and 60,000 persons. There was no general panic as at Hiroshima. Casualties among doctors seem to have been fewer than at Hiroshima, but again the destruction of hospitals (including that of Nagasaki University, one of the best in Japan, and the Nagasaki Medical College), hampered medical services. Rail service on Nagasaki's one line was not interrupted-the crew of an inbound train dangerously close to the bombed area made some of the earliest rescues and aid came soon from other cities.75

Both at Hiroshima and at Nagasaki the effects of the atom bomb on the morale of survivors was profound. This is attested by countless incidental remarks as well as by the efforts of USSBS interrogators to obtain a scientific sampling. From the point of view of those responsible for dropping the bombs, the most important reaction was that of defeatism, especially significant in the two towns whose previous immunity had encouraged a more optimistic view of the war than was prevalent in Japan. To what extent the attacks influenced a similar defeatism in Japan at large, and to what extent that attitude influenced the government--these are the measures of the political success of the atom bomb. Such questions must be examined in the context of Japanese efforts to surrender.


The Japanese Surrender

When the atom bomb exploded over Nagasaki on the morning of 9 August, the inner council of the Japanese government was in session discussing surrender terms; Emperor Hirohito and Premier Kantaro Suzuki had already decided to accept the terms offered at Potsdam on 26 July, and by 14 August their decision was pot into action. The surrender followed so rapidly the atomic attacks and Russia's entrance into the war that those events might seem to have been decisive factors in Japan's defeat. In reality, some Japanese leaders had long recognized the inevitability of an Allied victory and since early spring had been searching for a method of ending the conflict before the nation was destroyed. The main outlines of the peace movement can be traced with fair assurance, and the comments thereon by responsible officials, both in the postwar interrogations and in the most revealing account subsequently published, that of Toshikazu Kase of the Japanese Foreign Office, show how thoroughly the will to resist had been crushed by conventional weapons.76 A brief recital of the events that led to surrender is therefore a prerequisite to any appraisal of the role of air power in the war; the story is essentially a confirmation of the judgment of Grew, Stimson, and others that the Japanese might be brought to capitulate without an invasion if strong military pressures were accompanied by a clarification of Allied intentions concerning the nation and the Emperor.

The Japanese government never approached the monolithic structure commonly associated with the totalitarian state: the nation, it has been said, was ruled "by a consensus among the oligarchy of ruling factions at the top.77 The Emperor, cloaked in divinity and guardian of the Japanese way of life, called after his title the "Tenno system," was limited in power by the constitution and by practice. Much of his contact with the government was through the Lord Privy Seal (Marquis Koichi Kido) ; the Emperor and the government at large were advised by the Jushin, elder statesmen who had no responsibility but considerable influence. The government was dominated by the military. Each service named its own cabinet minister--always a general or admiral--and both they and the army and navy chiefs of staff had direct access to the Emperor. Yet neither the ministers nor their chiefs of staff were wholly free to develop their own policies, their opinions being strongly curbed by the radical militarism of almost


all army officers and of many junior navy officers: the tradition of "rule by assassination" was a powerful deterrent against any open move for peace. The bureaucracy and the Zaibatsu, the great industrial combines, were powerful forces in politics but were divided. The Diet was of little consequence, the general public of even less, though by 1944 national war policies were influenced by a belated concern over public opinion and fear of a Communist revolt.78

Some Japanese leaders had opposed the war from its beginning, but the spectacular success of the early campaigns prevented any open criticism of Tojo's militaristic regime. The Allied victories that began at Midway and continued without a major setback in the several Pacific theaters served, however, to weaken Tojo's position and immediately after the loss of Saipan his cabinet fell (18 July 1944). The threat of B-29 attacks from the Marianas was appreciated well enough to lend weight to the arguments of those leaders who had come to believe, on the basis of realistic studies of national resources, that Japan had little chance of winning the war. They began, consequently, a clandestine campaign of indoctrination among members of the Jushin and the government, seeking to initiate a peace movement through indirect pressures of the sort encouraged by the nation's political structure. Critics of Tojo had as yet developed no clear-cut formula and the new government headed by Kuniaki Koiso was formed without any mandate to seek peace; on the contrary, Koiso bent every effort to prosecute the war more vigorously. As a part of that policy, he established the Supreme War Direction Council, a small body composed of the Premier, the Foreign Minister, the Army and Navy ministers, and the two chiefs of staff. Since the council was responsible for "the harmonization of the combined strategy for politics and the war," it was in a position to effect a closer liaison between civilian and military officials, and it was to be, more truly than the cabinet itself, the vital organ in the drive for peace.79

Adm. Mitsumasa Yonai, Vice Premier and Navy Minister, was particularly active in continuing studies relative to Japan's military potential and in seeing that the Jushin were more accurately informed as to her strategic reversals, and as Koiso's efforts to stem the Allied advance proved futile, the peace party gained in strength. Deliberations were held in strictest secrecy, partly because of fear of the army, partly because of uncertainty concerning the reaction of the public, still grossly ill informed about the progress of the war. The


B-29 attacks from the Marianas and defeats in the Philippines and at Iwo Jima could not be hidden from the people, however, and they lent urgency to current endeavors to bring the war to an end even on terms that would have been unacceptable at its very beginning. By February 1945 the Emperor had been warned by some of the Jushin of the seriousness of the situation and by March there was some thought in the cabinet of attempting to negotiate a general peace by first approaching Chiang Kai-shek. The invasion of Okinawa on 1 April was followed within a week by the dismissal of Koiso and the formation of a new cabinet under Adm. Kantara Suzuki, a former navy chief of staff who more recently had held important government offices.80

Both Suzuki and Kido later testified that the former received what amounted to an imperial injunction to end the war as quickly as possible. On other evidence Suzuki seems originally to have been rather more optimistic about Japan's situation than the facts warranted, and as part of his policy he made a considerable show of spurring the war effort, but the long interval between the Emperor's vague directive and actual capitulation was a measure of Suzuki's fear of the extreme militarists rather than of any lively hope of ultimate victory. As his cabinet was being formed, on 5 April the Soviets renounced their neutrality pact with Japan, and it was recognized that this might be a prelude to an open break. A month later, on 8 May, Germany surrendered, leaving Japan to face alone the powers she had been unable to check even while their main resources were thrown against the European Axis. Germany's defeat seems to have made a profound impression in Japan, and President Truman's announcement thereof left little doubt as to his intention of following Roosevelt's aim of complete victory over Japan. Further studies of the war situation made at Suzukis request fully convinced him that defeat was inevitable. Within the Supreme War Direction Council, where final decisions were made by unanimous consent rather than majority vote, opinion was sharply divided: Suzuki, Shigenori Togo (Foreign Minister), and Yonai were for immediate peace; Gen. Korei Anami (Army Minister) and the two chiefs of staff, Adm. Soemu Toyoda and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, wanted to fight on until some victory might provide a better position from which to negotiate. Nevertheless, initial steps were taken in May to sound out the Russians on the possibility of interceding with the United States; this included unofficial


conversations with Ambassador Yakov A. Malik in Tokyo and a more formal approach through Naotake Sato, Japanese ambassador in Moscow. At Anami's request, the war council met with the Emperor on 8 June; no one had the courage to advocate peace and the proposal of the military "to prosecute the war fully'' apparently went unchallenged. On the 20th, however, the Emperor summoned the council again and directed its members to devise means for terminating the war as well as for defending the homeland. Suzuki then explained the efforts being made to secure Russia's services as a go-between, and he seems to have felt that with imperial support thus insured, the rest of the government could be won over.81

When Malik inopportunely became "ill" in Tokyo, Sato was directed to push his efforts with the Kremlin--specifically, to secure permission for Prince Fumimaro Konoye to come to Moscow to negotiate for better Russo-Japanese relations and for Soviet aid in arranging peace between Japan and her enemies. The Russians temporized; when the Emperor on 10 July expressed disappointment over the delay, Sato attempted to approach Molotov directly but on the 13th was informed that no answer to the Japanese proposals could be given until after the return of Stalin and Molotov from Potsdam. After that Suzuki had little hope of aid from Moscow, but he awaited the outcome of the conference before making a more direct approach toward the Americans and British. At Potsdam, on 28 July, Stalin informed Truman of Sato's earlier efforts and of the more recent request that he receive Konoye. Stalin reported that in both approaches the Japanese had declared that they would not surrender unconditionally, which would have been a normal approach in diplomacy, but after the war Konoye said that he had been secretly instructed by the Emperor to accept any terms whatever. At any rate, the Potsdam Declaration of 26 July again recorded the refusal of the Allies to accept a compromise peace.82

In Tokyo reactions to the declaration followed familiar lines. Suzuki, Togo, and Yonai, having long realized that the terms of peace would be stern, favored immediate acceptance; Anami, Umezu, and Toyoda objected, Much of the debate turned on the threat against war criminals, the fate of the Emperor, and the future of Japan's polity, the Tenno system. Some officials found the terms of the ultimatum less severe than they had anticipated; the military in publishing the text actually deleted certain items as being too attractive


to the Japanese people. The cabinet, with imperial consent, decided to make no immediate reply, and it was Suzuki's unfortunate phrasing of this decision in a press release that was interpreted by U.S. leaders as a flat rejection.83

When the true nature of the bomb dropped at Hiroshima became known in Tokyo on 7 August, Suzuki and Togo again advised the Emperor to accept the Potsdam formula--to which he had voiced no objections--and again the military resisted. On the 8th (Moscow time) the U.S.S.R. declared war on Japan. The Russians pointed to this act as a meticulous fulfillment of earlier promises, this being three months to the day after Germany's surrender. Their recent statements had suggested a somewhat later date: Stalin had told Harry Hopkins in May that the Russian armies would be "properly deployed" by 8 August and would attack during that month; at Potsdam the President's earliest impression was that the break would come on 15 August, but the Russian military set it at "late in August." It is reasonable to suppose, though there is no direct evidence, that the success of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima speeded up the Soviets' timetable. In any event, when the news reached the Foreign Office at Tokyo at about 0400 on 9 August, it came as a surprise, however much it may have been feared.84

In an early morning conference Suzuki and the Emperor decided on immediate peace. Later in the morning the small council met but ended in a deadlock, as did a cabinet meeting convened that afternoon. Suzuki then asked the Emperor to meet with the inner cabinet; the session began at 2330, and after several hours of discussion the Premier suggested that the Emperor's views be solicited and followed. Hirohito said he had decided "that this war should be stopped." This was about 0300 on the 10th. The full cabinet was reconvened and decided unanimously that the Potsdam terms should be accepted save in so far as they threatened the prerogatives of the Emperor. During the morning session on the 9th the second atom bomb had exploded over Nagasaki. There was also a curious rumor, derived from interrogation of a captured B-29 pilot, that an atomic attack on Tokyo was scheduled for 12 August. Spaatz had asked for permission to stage such a mission when another bomb was available, but the pilot could not have known this. The actual bombs and the rumor may have made the surrender easier, but they did not cause it.85

Within a few hours the decision of the cabinet had been transmitted


in messages to the United States via the Swiss government and to the British and Russians via Stockholm. The American reply came first by broadcast from San Francisco at 0400 on 12 August and more formally through the Swiss on the following morning. The delay had been caused by the concern of some in Washington that acceding to the Japanese qualification might be construed as retreating from the Potsdam demands, and though there was no intention of destroying the imperial office, the American reply was indirect in its reassurance.86 To the recalcitrant militarists, this message was unsatisfactory; there was a great deal of confused debate and some threat of a military Putsch. Finally, on the morning of the 14th, the Emperor on his own initiative called the cabinet together and reiterated his opinion that the war should be ended. Finding nothing objectionable in the U.S. proposals, he asked his ministers to prepare for his signature an imperial rescript accepting the Potsdam Declaration. This the cabinet did in an afternoon session and the document was sent out that night. The U.S. reply demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities and directed the Japanese government to send emissaries to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, to arrange for the formal surrender.87 At noon on the 15th the Japanese first learned of the surrender through a transcribed broadcast of an address by the Emperor. For all but the official class the news came as a complete surprise, yet in spite of earlier fears there was no general revolt. While it was impossible to secure immediately a perfect compliance in the cease-fire order and while there was some disorder on the part of army radicals, no incidents really threatened to complicate the occupation proceedings.88

For the Twentieth Air Force, as for other Army and Navy air organizations, the interval between the declaration of surrender terms at Potsdam and their unreserved acceptance at Tokyo had been one of great activity and considerable uncertainty. The JCS, while setting a November D-day for the Kyushu invasion, had directed MacArthur and Nimitz to make plans for procedures to be followed in case of an earlier surrender, and on 1 August Spaatz met with MacArthur and Kenney at Manila to consult on the part to be played by USASTAF in either eventuality. Spaatz was not convinced that the landing would be necessary. After an initial inspection he had been most favorably impressed by the efficiency of the Twentieth Air Force and on 2 August declared his conviction "that unless Japan desires to commit


national suicide, they should quit immediately."89 After the atomic attack on Hiroshima, there was hope in the Marianas as elsewhere that the capitulation would occur within a matter of hours. When no surrender message came, Washington ordered Spaatz to continue planned operations until otherwise informed.90 In regular day and night missions, 170 B-29's were airborne on 7 August, 420 on the 8th, 109 on the 9th, 114 on the 10th.91 The 509th Composite Group ran two missions with "pumpkin" bombs on the 8th and next day carried out the Nagasaki attack.92 Meanwhile, the propaganda campaign had been intensified. B-29's had dropped leaflets informing the Japanese of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, of the nature of the atom bomb attacks, and of Russia's entrance into the war. Postwar surveys show that this method was much more successful than radio broadcasts in reaching the people and was quite effective in convincing them of the hopelessness of the struggle.93

When news of the Japanese note of 10 August was broadcast, FEAF planes continued their strikes against the home islands,* but because he feared that area bombing might complicate the negotiations, Spaatz limited USASTAF operations to precision missions. This involved canceling a scheduled strike because of bad weather, and the cancellation unfortunately was interpreted by the American press as a cease-fire order. Believing that a resumption of B-29 attacks would in turn be played up as an indication that negotiations had failed, the President on 11 August ordered that USASTAF stop all strategic operations, even to the extent of recalling planes which might be in the air.94 FEAF held up operations on the 12th, but with negotiations still hanging fire on the 14th, both Kenney and Spaatz were ordered to resume bombing.

Arnold wanted as big a finale as possible, hoping that USASTAF could hit the Tokyo area in a 1,000-plane mission: the Twentieth Air Force had put up 853 B-29's and 79 fighters on 1 August, and Arnold thought the number could be rounded out by calling on Doolittle's Eighth Air Force. Spaatz still wanted to drop the third atom bomb on Tokyo but thought that battered city a poor target for conventional bombing; instead, he proposed to divide his forces between seven targets. Arnold was apologetic about the unfortunate mixup on the 11th and, accepting Spaatz' amendment, assured him that his orders had been "coordinated with my superiors all the way to the

* See above p. 699.


top." The long teleconference ended with a fervid "Thank God" from Spaatz.95

Kenney had the Okinawa strips tied up, with other operations so that Doolittle was unable to send out his VHB's. From the Marianas, 449 B-29's went out for a daylight strike on the 14th, and that night, with top officers standing by at Washington and Guam far a last-minute cancellation, 372 more were airborne. Seven planes dispatched on special bombing missions by the 509th Group brought the number of B-29's to 828, and with 186 fighter escorts dispatched, USASTAF passed Arnold's goal with a total of 1,014 aircraft.96 There were no losses, and before the last B-29 returned President Truman announced the unconditional surrender of Japan. For the B-29's there were no more combat flights-as there were for FEAF planes--but there was still work to be done before the trip home began.

With the cessation of hostilities, flying time per crew and per plane decreased sharply--by about half for the B-29's and rather less for the fighters, whose patrols from Iwo Jima continued. The total number of hours flown by B-29's in September was less than that for the first half of August, but the decrease was almost entirely accounted for by the lack of combat missions. Weather and photo-reconnaissance missions continued regularly, and the 10,743 hours of B-29 training almost equaled the time spent in the peak month of July. About one-third of the B-29 effort was devoted to transport, as the bombers supplemented regular cargo planes in the preparations for the formal surrender and for the initial occupation of Japan.97 B-29's carried equipment to Khabarovsk in Siberia in a belated effort to set up a weather station as permitted by the Soviets at Potsdam.98 In a public relations project called STINKO, USASTAF planes secured photographs of bomb damage in Japan, supported ground teams collecting pictures and news stories in Japan, and flew the prints to Washington.99 USASTAF planes moved and supplied General Farrell's atomic investigation party and its own forward headquarters, set up near Tokyo as USASTAF (ADVON) ,and maintained a courier service between Guam and Atsugi Airfield. During September the B-29's were used to fly thousands of ground personnel on sightseeing expeditions over Japan.100

Immediately after hostilities ceased Spaatz directed that the Twentieth Air Force provide a "display of air power . . . continuous and increasing between 19 August and V-J Day." Operational plans


called for almost daily flights over the Tokyo plain by B-29's drawn in rotation from the five wings and by Iwo-based fighters, all planes to carry ammunition but no bombs. Those missions, like the surrender ceremony, were postponed by weather and other complications. The first exhibition, a low-level flight of ninety-eight B-29's, was staged on 30 August in conjunction with the landing at Atsugi airfield of the 11th Airborne Division and MacArthur. A similar force was over again on the next day, and on 2 September, as the surrender ceremonies were conducted on board the Missouri, a force of 462 B-29's circled in the air. A further show scheduled for the 4th was canceled, but when XXIV Corps occupied Korea on 29 and 30 September, 140 B-29's were on hand. In addition to the 799 B-29 sorties, the "show of force" project involved 117 sorties by VLR fighters from Iwo Jima. Although the display was less spectacular than had been planned, it was more than enough for the purpose: there was no resistance from the thoroughly beaten enemy.101

Meanwhile, other B-29's had been regularly over Japan, China, and Korea in a much more important mission, an errand of mercy that contrasted sharply with their recent bombing attacks. This mission was supplying POW and internee camps until the prisoners, Allied as well as U.S., could be evacuated. As originally planned, the task was to be divided between FEAF and USASTAF, but the range and capacity of the B-29's fitted them ideally for the job; consequently, in a directive of 17 August, Spaatz laid the whole responsibility on the Twentieth Air Force. The total number of camps was currently estimated at some 300, of which about half had been identified by intelligence officers. The list was revised on the basis of more precise information furnished by the Japanese government, and in all 154 camps were supplied by the B-29's in August and September.102

Engineer officers at Guam developed methods of packaging supplies in "blocks" and of installing cargo platforms in the bombers. The supplies were furnished by Western Pacific Base Command in the Marianas, and the parachutes by FEAF--12,000 were flown over from Manila by B-29's in the first installment. Supplies included food, clothing, and 110-pound medical kits with instructions included. The operations began with a drop to the Weihsien Camp near Peiping on 27 August. Within five days most of the camps had received their first delivery of clothing, medicine, and a three-day stock of food consisting of soups, fruit juices, extracts, vitamins, and other emergency


items. In a second visit, seven-day supplies of regular rations were dropped, and thereafter such camps as had not been reached by ground parties were regularly supplied by ten-day increments until finally evacuated. So rapid was the work of the rescue parties that a few camps got by on the initial delivery and only about half required the ten-day packages. In addition to regular supplies, other items were furnished in demand--beer, ice cream (with apologies that "soda fountains were not available in the theater"), plasma, and other medical supplies.103

Between 27 August and 20 September, 1,066 planes were airborne on POW missions, of which 900 were accounted effective sorties. They dropped 4,470 tons of supplies, serving an estimated 63,500 prisoners. This effort was not without its cost. Eight aircraft were lost, with seventy-seven casualties. When the stock of parachutes was exhausted, some supplies were dropped in free fall, and instances were noted where prisoners, running out to get the supplies before they were carried off by Japanese, were killed by the falling packs.104 In one instance, when a B-29 from the 73d Wing was supplying a camp in northern Korea, it was attacked by Soviet fighters and damaged so badly it had to crash-land. No lives were lost, but this incident--described by the Russians as a "mistake"--interfered briefly with the program in that area.105 But in general the job was done with dispatch and efficiency, and the enthusiastic reception accorded the low-flying B-29's by the prisoners was an indication of the success of this final mission.


Allied plans at the outbreak of war had given first priority to the defeat of Germany. It had been assumed that operations in the Pacific would be necessarily limited to little more than a holding effort until victory was won in Europe. Instead, by the time of the German surrender in May 1945, U.S. and Allied forces had liberated Burma, re-occupied the Philippines, and brought the Japanese homeland under intense air assault from bases seized and developed in the central Pacific. And then, after the lapse of hardly more than three months, came the final surrender--well in advance of the scheduled invasion of Kyushu and the better part of a year ahead of the date set for a climactic landing on Honshu itself.

The fact that these planned invasions had proved to be unnecessary


lent peculiar interest to postwar studies of the Japanese defeat. It was an American victory primarily, and the American people, from colonial days forward, had done most of their fighting by land. They thus had become accustomed to the idea that wars are won by armies. Although the geographical location of the United States had freed it of the necessity to maintain a large standing Army, and the Navy, as "the first line of defense," had long enjoyed a favored position in the development of national military policy, it was assumed that in time of war the Army carried the main and killing punch. Naval forces could deny an enemy army the opportunity to invade the United States, they could make it possible for the American Army to carry the war overseas to the enemy, and they could help the Army win the war by blockading enemy ports, but in all save strictly defensive operations the Navy's role had been viewed as basically a supporting one. This habit of thought had affected also the American attitude toward the proper use of air power. Responding to some of the more obvious lessons taught by the blitzkrieg tactics of the German army early in the war, by the Battle of Britain, and by the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States had quickly armed itself with the world's greatest air force, but the primary mission of that force had been support, direct or indirect, of the Army. Like a navy, an air force was obviously necessary to success in modern war: it could help in the defense of our own shores, it could cover the landing of our army on enemy shores, it could render powerful assistance to the advance of that army, and by strategic bombardment of the enemy homeland it could soften up the foe for the final attack. But all American war plans rested upon an assumption that the infantryman would still have to deliver the knockout blow. Yet, the Japanese surrender had come without a single American soldier having set foot in Japan, and with a Japanese home army of some 2,000,000 men still intact. In awarding credit for this victory, the extremely tough fighting that had fallen to the lot of the American ground soldier could not be ignored, but his task fundamentally had been to advance the bases from which air and naval forces operated. His role, in other words, had been a supporting one and the war had been won, despite the script, without his having to assume the lead. Something new had been added to America's experience with war--something that called for close study.

It was evident enough that the victory belonged primarily to air and sea power, but the proportion of the credit that should be assigned


each of the two presented a more difficult issue. Especially critical was the question of the AAF's contribution, for the Japanese surrender had come so quickly after the mounting of an effective offensive by the B-29's as to suggest confirmation even of the most optimistic predictions by the advocates of air power. And the implications of this possibility acquired still greater significance because the AAF offensive had reached its climax with the dropping of the first atomic bombs. Whatever might be the final conclusion as to the causes for Japan's surrender, it seemed indisputable that the war's end marked one of the revolutionary turning points in the history of warfare itself.

President Truman acted promptly to assure a careful study of the evidence. On 15 August 1945 he requested the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, an organization then nearing the conclusion of a comprehensive study of the bombardment of Germany, to undertake a comparably broad survey of the air war against Japan.106 USSBS, as the survey was commonly known, had been established in November 1944 by the Secretary of War, acting on the initiative of the AAF and under a directive from President Roosevelt, for the purpose of conducting an impartial study of the strategic bombing of Germany in the hope that resulting conclusions might be no less useful to bombing operations against Japan than to the settlement of postwar problems of national defense.* Headed by Mr. Franklin D'Olier, the president of the Prudential Insurance Company, and a board of directors drawn from appropriate areas of specialization in civilian life,† the survey staff had enjoyed the assistance of military advisers from all of the services and operated with an authorized complement of 300 civilians, 350 officers, and 500 enlisted men. By the close of the summer of 1945 the staff had completed, or had near completion, some 200 specialized reports on which were based the general conclusions of the Over-all Report published at the end of September.107 Its verdict that air power had been the decisive factor in the defeat of Germany did not meet with universal indorsement; at the same time, its repeated criticism of the conduct of certain phases of the air war against Germany freed the survey board of any suspicion that its report was an apology for the AAF. The survey's leadership was distinguished and its staff was experienced. If any organization promised an impartial

* See Vol. III, 789-92.

† Except for one man, all of the directors were at the time civilians.


and informed analysis of air's contribution to the defeat of Japan, this was it.

The Japanese war presented, however, a somewhat different and much more complex problem than had the strategic bombardment of Germany. Teams of experts who surveyed the ruins of Japanese cities and factories, examined production records, conducted medical and psychological studies, or reviewed Japanese defensive measures were engaged in familiar tasks, for they had followed the Allied armies into Germany for just such work and had acquired valuable experience in the assessment of pertinent evidence. The survey staff enjoyed also the assistance of top-ranking experts in its study of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.108 But a directive calling for "study of the effects of all types of air attack in the war against Japan109 carried USSBS into additional areas of investigation that promised to be particularly difficult and in which it had much less experience.* Tactical as well as strategic operations were to be considered, and operations by Navy planes as well as by those of the AAF. There could have been little point, of course, in considering the nonstrategic operations of the AAF apart from those of the Marine and Navy units with which AAF forces had been closely teamed so often. And it must be admitted that there would have been real difficulty in studying the effects of strategic bombardment as an isolated problem, for the B-29 offensive--to take but one example--had reached true effectiveness only after a blockade implemented chiefly by U.S. submarines had had a telling effect on Japan's capacity to prosecute the war.

To the Military Analysis Division of USSBS, which had been headed by Maj. Gen. Orvil A. Anderson and which continued to work under his leadership, there was now added a Naval Analysis Division under Rear Adm. R. A. Ofstie. In a further adjustment of staff to the requirements of the new study, the military complement of USSBS was drawn 60 per cent from the Army and 40 per cent from the Navy.110 The contrasting interests and often conflicting views of the two divisions are well enough documented by the special studies sponsored by each.111 A team made up chiefly of officers of the U.S. Marine Corps prepared a balanced and especially valuable account of

* Except for a mere handful of studies undertaken by the Military Analysis Division and by the Transportation Division, in Europe the survey had dealt exclusively with the effects of strategic bombardment.


the Allied campaign against Rabaul.112 The Naval Analysis Division also presented studies on operations against Wake Island, Truk, Wotje, Maloelap, Mille, and Jaluit and of mine-laying operations. More numerous, however, were its surveys of the effectiveness of ship bombardment, and the division's chief publication, a substantial and useful study called The Campaigns of the Pacific War, supported by two volumes of recorded interviews with Japanese officials, was distinctly oriented toward standard naval warfare, with an apology in the foreword suggesting that the opportunity to do the study had been too good to pass up.113 Meanwhile, the Military Analysis Division directed its attention to studies of Allied air forces operating with U.S. forces, of Japanese air strength and weakness, of enemy air weapons and tactics, of the effect of air action on the logistical problems of the Japanese Army, of the employment of air forces in the southwest Pacific, of Air Transport Command operations, and of the operations of the several Army air forces employed in the war against Japan, with the Tenth and the Fourteenth Air Forces treated in a single study on CBI. In the preparation of these studies of the separate air forces the division depended heavily, as was acknowledged in the forewords, on key officers who had served during the war with the air force concerned and who were brought together again on temporary assignment. There is an obvious advantage for the historian in having men who have fought together undertake some common interpretation of their action, and the studies must have helped the survey staff to grasp the unique qualities of the war effort in different areas, but these reports offer of course ex parte rather than impartial evidence.

The most interesting of the studies made by the Military Analysis Division, and from the Navy's point of view undoubtedly the most provocative, was a review of the air campaigns of the Pacific war.114 Reflecting the influence especially of General Anderson, the argument, put briefly, was that air power and particularly land-based air power had been the decisive factor in Japan's defeat and that this defeat had been assured as early as the spring of 1944. Lacking the technological resources for a sustained effort against a major power, even one deploying its main forces against another foe, Japan had gambled on a quick victory with only a limited number of well-trained pilots and little capacity to replace them. Encouraged by limited victories, Japanese leaders had overextended their perimeter


and invited defeat in the Solomons and New Guinea. In the resulting struggle for that area, Allied aviation, predominantly land-based, had destroyed the first-line air strength of the Japanese Navy and then of the Japanese Army. By April 1944 the decisive campaigns of the war had been fought and won by the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces and Marine air units in the Solornons, with some assistance from Australian and New Zealand allies. Simultaneously, Allied air forces based in India had defeated the Japanese air forces over Burma. Thereafter, it remained only for the Allied air, sea, and land forces to exploit air's initial and decisive victory.

The survey's Summary Report, issued on 1 July 1946, disclaimed all purpose "to apportion credit" for the victory and, not surprisingly, indicated that the report spoke only for the civilian component of the staff.115 It could have been assumed, of course, that in an organization so-constituted the civilian heads carried full responsibility for conclusions stated, and there had been no occasion for such a stipulation evident in the earlier European report. But if the survey's directors had failed to bring their AAF and Navy subordinates to a common point of view, they succeeded in avoiding the pitfalls of partisanship themselves. Though directing attention chiefly to the air phase of the war, in keeping with their mission, they found "little point in attempting precisely to impute Japan's unconditional surrender to any one of the numerous causes which jointly and cumulatively were responsible for Japan's disaster."116

With a productive capacity approximately 10 per cent of the American, Japan had lacked the strength for a real contest with the United States. Hoping for an early victory, Japanese leaders had been persuaded by initial successes to undertake an ill-advised extension of their defensive perimeter. At Midway the balance of carrier strength in the Pacific had been restored by the American victory, and the enemy never recovered from the subsequent sacrifice of his first-line air strength in the Solomons and New Guinea. Although Japan's aircraft production thereafter was increased to a point in excess of the mounting rate of loss, the standard of training for combat pilots showed a continuing decline, the average flying experience of the Japanese pilot at the close of the war being just over 100 hours as against the 600-hour average for his American opponent. Japan's geographical position made the contest essentially a struggle for control of the seas, and the newly developed effectiveness of air weapons


made that struggle basically a contest for mastery of the air over the seas. "Control of the air was essential to the success of every major military operation," but it had been the "coordinated team-play of ground, sea and air forces, both ground-based and carrier-based, and their supporting services, backed up by the full effort of all phases of the home front that enabled us to secure control of the air, at first locally and then more generally, culminating in virtual freedom of the skies over the Japanese home islands themselves."117

Once that freedom of the skies over the home islands had been established, the doom of Japan was sealed. In the opinion of the survey, the eventual decision to surrender would have been made, certainly by the end of 1945 and probably before November, the month set for the initial invasion of the home islands, without the additional persuasion of the atom bomb, Russia's entry into the war, or amphibious invasion. One of the more interesting revelations in the report was a statement that representatives of the survey called from Europe to Washington for consultation in June 1945 had advised that an invasion of Japan would be unnecessary.118 "Military defeats in the air, at sea and on the land, destruction of shipping by submarines and by air, and direct air attack with conventional as well as atomic bombs," all had contributed to the destruction of Japan's will and capacity to continue the war.119

Specific references to the survey's evaluation of individual parts of the American war effort will be reserved for the following summary. Here, and partly by way of introduction to that summary, it may be observed that the evidence assembled by the survey strongly suggests that the postwar debate over the relative credit belonging to air and sea forces has tended to obscure some of the more important, if obvious, facts about the war with Japan. Though heavily engaged with a much more powerful foe in Europe, the United States had managed to find the means to win a victory that was in no significant way dependent upon the aid of forces redeployed from European theaters. Only in the first-line strength of the U.S. Navy and in the B-29 did the victor employ the major weapons of his arsenal, and only at a relatively late date could the full power of either of these weapons be brought to bear. Meantime, the lesser forces available had seized, by often desperate fighting, the positions which made possible the devastating assault upon the inner defenses of the Empire that brought the Pacific war to its extraordinary climax. If any one factor, aside from


the weakness of Japan herself, deserves principal emphasis, it is the high degree of effective joint action achieved among the American armed services.

At first glance this conclusion may seem to be at variance with the facts. In sharp contrast with the European war, the war with Japan was fought without the benefit of a united command, even among the American forces. Over most of the Pacific areas the Navy exercised command through the person of Admiral Nimitz, with Army air and other units subordinate to him. In the southwest Pacific, General MacArthur commanded, with Navy units in a subordinate position. China, India, and Burma constituted an entirely separate theater, with its own bewildering complexities of command. Personalities as well as service rivalries entered into the negotiations through which the several commanders reached agreement on necessary cooperation. At times only the superior authority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body which itself depended upon debate and negotiation to reach a decision, could bring a settlement between conflicting strategies.

But the war with Japan had had its beginning in a major disaster to American armed forces, and for months after Pearl Harbor the enemy had moved irresistibly from one victory to another. Although successive disasters momentarily gave to American forces in the Pacific a first claim upon U.S. resources, the over-all strategy of the Allies continued to place the defeat of Germany ahead of that of Japan and the fighting by which the enemy's advance was stopped in New Guinea and the Solomons was of the most desperate sort. Against a foe who continued to fight with skill and fanaticism, and with the natural advantages of interior lines of communication, the road to Tokyo seemed a long and difficult one, even after the advantage of superior strength had passed to U.S. forces. Jealousy and bickering were often evident, but the closer one came to the fighting the more impressive was the underlying will to cooperate.

Perhaps the most representative, though by no means the strongest, of the Army's air forces in the Pacific was the Thirteenth Air Force. Tracing its origins to small and scattered units thrown into an improvised defense of the south Pacific islands early in 1942, the Thirteenth fought its way up from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in intimate collaboration with air units of the U.S. Marine Corps to bases from which it took over, with the Marines, late in 1943 the primary responsibility for knocking out Rabaul. With that mission completed,


in June 1944 it passed from Navy control to the Far East Air Forces, an organization dominated by the Fifth Air Force. While the Fifth spearheaded the drive into the Philippines, the Thirteenth shared with the Seventh Air Force the responsibility for neutralizing the Carolines in behalf of the Navy's central Pacific drive and ended the war in support of ground operations designed to clean up areas well behind the main battle front. At no time during the war did the Thirteenth Air Force seek publicity although its lot was to fight in partnership with some of the more highly publicized of American military organizations.

The Seventh Air Force, based on Hawaii, had taken, along with the Navy, the brunt of Japan's original attack. Serving thereafter as a force charged primarily with a defensive mission, the Seventh had flown search missions under Navy control until the launching of the central Pacific offensive in the latter part of 1943. It subsequently cooperated with the Thirteenth in neutralizing the Carolines. But not until the Philippines had been reoccupied did the Seventh win the autonomy that promised for it a full share in the final assault on Japan. When the war ended, it was taking position in Okinawa as a part of Kenney's expanded Far East Air Forces.

The Eleventh Air Force in Alaska and the Aleutians had grown out of hastily assembled units which, under Navy command, guarded the northwestern approach to the United States. The risk of a Japanese invasion by that approach had been discounted at an early date, and the Eleventh remained a small organization. Weather difficulties gave it a limited role to play, and after the Japanese withdrawal from Kiska in the summer of 1943, Army air units waited out the war's end with only occasional raids on the Kuril Islands.

At the far end of the semicircle suggested by the geographical location of the six Army air forces operating against Japan throughout the war, the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces, in India and China respectively, struggled against logistical difficulties greater than any besetting other air forces. Dependent upon supplies delivered across the Hump by air until late in the war, the Fourteenth wrote a brilliant record of tactical achievement but eventually suffered, through no fault of its own, the loss of its east China airfields to the Japanese Army. This loss denied the Fourteenth any substantial part in the climactic assault on the inner defenses of the Japanese Empire--a denial made all the more bitter because earlier plans had assumed that China


based planes might carry the main weight of the final attack on Japan. At the war's end the Tenth Air Force, which earlier had guarded the air route to China and then had teamed with RAF units to make possible the expulsion of the Japanese from Burma, was moving into China for collaboration with the Fourteenth against the now withdrawing Japanese forces. Had the war lasted another year China-based air forces might have found a significant role to play, but by the summer of 1945 it was already evident that bases in the Philippines, the Marianas, and newly won Okinawa would support the main attack on Japan.

In the Pacific campaigns which had won these commanding positions for U.S. forces, the Fifth Air Force had been the chief representative of the AAF. The numerical designation had been assigned early in 1942 to the remnants of Army air units escaping to Australia from the disasters in the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies. Since the SWPA command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur became thereafter the major responsibility of the U.S. Army in the war against Japan, the Fifth Air Force naturally held first claim on AAF resources designated for the Pacific.* Brilliantly commanded after August 1942 by Gen. George C. Kenney, the Fifth found in MacArthur a theater commander whose sympathy was increasingly enlisted in the effort to exploit the full potentialities of the air weapon. With Kenney and

* The Army Air Forces Statistical Digest shows assignments of combat groups, not counting those assigned to the Twentieth Air Force, as follows:

Pacific Ocean Areas (Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces)

December 1942--3 5/8
December 1943--5
December 1944--7
August 1945--5

China-Burma-India (Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces)

December 1942--4
December 1943--4
December 1944--17
August 1945--17

Alaska (Eleventh Air Force)

December 1942--2-1/2
December 1943--1
December 1944--2
August 1945--7

Southwest Pacific Area (Fifth Air Force, with the Thirteenth after June 1944 and the Seventh after the spring of 1945)

December 1942--12-5/8
December 1943--26-2/3
December 1944--30
August 1945--30



Left: Before Attack       Right: After Attack



Nagasaki: Mitsubushi Steel and Arms Works


his able lieutenant, Maj. Gen. Ennis G. Whitehead, left free to determine the organization and employment of AAF units within the requirements fixed by directed strategy, the Fifth operated with the advantage of more favorable command relations than was the lot of any other air force engaged in the war with Japan, except perhaps for the Twentieth. The record achieved lends strong support to the airman's argument that the airplane is most effectively employed when left to the control of those who fully understand both its potentialities and its limitations. If in the following discussion the Fifth Air Force seems to receive an undue share of attention, no slight is intended for organizations less fortunate in the resources at their command and the freedom with which they employed them.

The tactics developed in the SWPA advance along the coast of New Guinea and then into the Philippines were simple, effective, and unusually economical in terms of the casualties borne by the participating forces. In the face of an enemy who occupied island and coastal bases tied together by sea and air communications, the general plan was to advance by leaps never exceeding the reach of land-based aviation. In each stage of the advance the air force went ahead to beat down the enemy's air forces and to limit the enemy's capacity to reinforce his garrisons. Carrier-borne planes of the Seventh Fleet or of Nimitz' Pacific Fleet, on loan for the purpose of sweeping clean the battle area on the eve of amphibious assault, proved to be especially effective, and at times their assistance made possible leaps extending beyond the immediate reach of land-based planes. But the staying power of carrier units was unavoidably limited by the carrier's need for periodic replenishment and any opportunity to engage the enemy fleet became a competing obligation of overriding priority; when, as at Leyte, land-based planes could not immediately take over the protection of a newly won beachhead, there was trouble. Air supremacy, experience made clear, was not a thing to be established and then exploited, but something to be maintained by unrelenting effort, for an airfield subjected to the most devastating attack can be made usable again in a matter of hours and the planes destroyed upon its aprons can be replaced by units flown in from other bases. It is the capacity to return day after day to the same targets, to tear up again and again the same runways, and to keep an unbroken watch against the reinforcement of threatening enemy air bases that permits an air organization to perform its primary function by winning and keeping control


of the air. In the performance of this function under the conditions which governed during the war with Japan, the land-based plane proved itself pre-eminent over all other weapons.

Halsey's tactics in his advance from Guadalcanal up the island chain of the Solomons differed in no essential way from those employed by MacArthur in his early progress up the coast of New Guinea toward the enemy's citadel at Rabaul. The land-based planes of the Marine Corps and of the Thirteenth Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force cleared the way, with the aid of timely blows by the carriers, for a final assault on Rabaul. Planners originally had assumed that Rabaul would have to be seized by amphibious forces, but the power already demonstrated by the air forces justified the decision to bypass the enemy's chief base in the southern Pacific, with the task of knocking it out assigned to the air forces. The Fifth Air Force took the lead and then turned the task over to the Thirteenth and its Marine Corps partners, while it moved northwest toward the Philippines. By the spring of 1944 not only had Rabaul been rendered innocuous, but Japan no longer possessed even a second-rate air force. The first-line strength of its naval air units had been sacrificed in the Solomons and on New Britain, and the first-line strength of its army air units had fallen a victim to the Fifth Air Force and its Australian allies at Wewak and elsewhere on New Guinea. One of the decisive victories of the war had been won. It was a victory primarily for land-based air power, and other victories which followed, among them the conclusive one, undoubtedly came easier because of it.

By the summer of 1944 the air forces--U.S. and Allied, Army, Marine, and Navy-had won air supremacy over their Japanese opponents and possessed, moreover, such superiority in terms of strength, equipment, and training as to guarantee continued control of the air. Nothing so clearly demonstrated this fact as did the enemy's resort to the suicidal tactics of kamikaze attacks. These tactics could be dangerous, especially to vulnerable naval units, but they had little effect on the freedom with which air units exploited their initial victory. Indeed, American forces, ground and naval, became so accustomed during the last months of the war to a relatively absolute supremacy in the air as to render our nation, in view of a parallel experience in Europe, vulnerable to dangerous assumptions as to the degree of air supremacy that normally can be expected.

To win a victory over the enemy air forces was but part of the mission which fell to AAF units in the Pacific. Isolation of the battle area,


for which air forces shared responsibility with naval units, required efforts to deny the enemy an opportunity to reinforce his garrisons by sea as well as by air. During the early part of the war, when AAF bombers attacked shipping at high altitude, the record was one of repeated and dismal failure. But after Kenney had turned to the medium

bomber and to tactics which sent it in at low altitude with increased firepower, the story changed. The battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943 gave a dramatic demonstration of air's capacity for interdiction of sea, as well as air, communications. If any further proof was needed of air's newly demonstrated power, it was offered by the enemy's increasing dependence upon luggers and other small boats for the movement of his forces along the coast by night. Special radar-equipped B-24's during the last year of the war cut further into the mobility enjoyed by the enemy. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that "air units which had anti-shipping attacks as their prime mission and employed the required specialized techniques, equipment and training achieved against ships the best results for the effort expended.120 There is no intent to challenge the strategic achievement of U.S. submarines in destroying the main bulk of the enemy's merchant marine. The point simply is that AAF forces demonstrated repeatedly their capacity to deny the enemy an opportunity to reinforce his besieged garrisons. And in the process, of course, the AAF added to the cumulative losses sustained by the Japanese merchant marine.

In reconnaissance, reaching out over the vast distances of the Pacific, AAF units performed a valued service for all Allied forces. Convoys moved forward with their assault troops under an air cover that rarely permitted the enemy to get through with damaging attacks. Where necessary, beaches were softened by pre-assault bombardment, and at times direct aid was rendered to the assault forces in their fight on the ground. But between the Papuan campaign of 1942 and the landing on Luzon in 1945 the need for such assistance was limited; after the assault forces had gone ashore the principal responsibility of the AAF was to protect the troops and their supporting convoys from interference by enemy air--a job done with distinction. The wide diversity of tasks falling to the lot of the AAF permitted no such specialization as was possible with carrier and Marine units, but the support given ground forces in the Philippines brought few complaints.

It was the versatility of the AAF, rather than its accomplishments


in any one department, which deserves principal emphasis in a review of its contribution to the defeat of Japan. Though charged primarily with tactical missions, the AAF could assume, as the Balikpapan raids and the knockout of Formosa suggest, the responsibility for a strategic mission. And though ultimately dependent upon sea transport for its own logistical support, the AAF won for itself a remarkable degree of self-sufficiency through the use of air transport. For almost four years air transport alone kept alive the war effort in China and maintained an air force, small though it was, as a token of the American purpose to back China. In Burma the disadvantages of jungle and primitive transportation facilities were overcome largely through a heavy dependence upon air transport. Of the seventeen combat groups assigned to CBI during the last year of the war no less than six were troop carrier units, and their function had never been interpreted in any narrow fashion. The cargo carried ranged all the way from the top brass to the Army mule, and when the occasion demanded it, a full Chinese division could be lifted over the Hump in a matter of hours. In SWPA seven of the thirty combat groups were troop carriers. At times they carried troops for airborne landings which speeded the advance toward Luzon, but more commonly they shuttled freight--ammunition, fuel, food, and bulldozers, And on the way back they took out the wounded and the sick. Nothing is taken from the credit belonging to other U.S. and Allied forces when it is argued that Japan's defeat could have been accomplished only at the expenditure of more time and more blood without the varied services rendered by the AAF.

The Twentieth Air Force was an apparent exception to the generalization made above that support of the Army was the primary mission of the AAF. Like its weapon, that force had been designed by men interested chiefly in strategic bombardment, and it had been given, according to one staff officer, "the implied task of bombing the b'Jesus out of Japan."121 More formally, the JCS had directed the Twentieth "to achieve the earliest possible progressive dislocation of the Japanese military, industrial, and economic systems and to undermine the morale of the Japanese people to a point where their capacity and will to wage war" would be decisively weakened. Support for Pacific operations was specifically described as a secondary mission.122Nevertheless, in the final strategy adopted by the JCS in June 1945 in anticipation of the Potsdam conference, the B-29 attacks on the home is


lands were conceived as a preparation for invasion, not as a direct means of winning the war. Some air officers--including Arnold and LeMay--some USSBS officials, and some Navy officers thought that Japan could be defeated by air assault and blockade, but the JCS decision in favor of the Kyushu landing was unanimous.123 The AAF had been rendered cautious by the resilience of Germany under bombing and perhaps was reluctant to oppose too strongly the Army leadership which had granted it in most respects a quasi-autonomy.

With that qualification as to its final role-analogues to that of USSTAF forces in Europe in respect to the OVERLORD invasion the Twentieth Air Force from its activation was dedicated to strategic bombardment. The desire to use the B-29's as exclusively as possible against Inner Zone targets was largely responsible for the peculiar command system which kept operational control in Washington. This device did protect B-29 units in the field from excessive diversion to tactical missions, but in spite of an elaborate communications system and of the increasing latitude given to tactical commanders, operational control from Washington proved clumsy. The establishment of USASTAF late in the war promised to smooth out some of the command problems of the growing VHB forces, but it was a solution that depended more on the experience and prestige of General Spaatz than on any inherent logic.

During the war against Japan, Allied planes expended 656,400 tons of bombs, including 160,800 tons dropped on the home islands. Of this latter figure, Navy planes were responsible for 6,800 tons, AAF planes other than B-29's for 7,000 tons, and the B-29's for 147,000 tons.124

The earliest assaults against Japan proper--except for the Doolittle raid--were by B-29's of XX Bomber Command, staging through bases in China. Only 800 tons were dropped on Japan, though the command struck also at industrial targets in Manchuria and Korea. Its earliest target directives gave precedence to the steel industry, an objective which was basic to Japan's war industry. The limited effort devoted to this objective was much more effective than was then realized, but after a few missions the command turned its main attention to aircraft factories and installations in support of Pacific operations. Severe logistical restrictions prevented full use of the B-29's from China bases and led to the abandonment of those bases early in 1945. Thereafter, the command confined its activities mainly to southeast


Asia, where appropriate targets were scarce. The total contribution of CBI-based B-29's to the dislocation of Japan's war economy was slight.125

The XXI Bomber Command, based in the Marianas, operated under far more favorable logistical conditions. The command got off to a slow start: between 24 November 1944 and 8 March 1945 its B-29's dropped only 7,180 tons of bombs, a weight more than exceeded by the combined tonnage of two days' missions in the last week of the war. First priority was given to daylight precision attacks against the aircraft industry, particularly against engine factories. These strikes, handicapped by adverse weather conditions, were only moderately successful in direct results, but they forced the Japanese to adopt a general program of dispersal of plants. Poorly conceived and executed, the dispersal program was never completed; under the impact of further bombing of aircraft and component factories, production of military planes declined at an accelerating rate.126

Beginning on 9 March, XXI Bomber Command changed its tactics, instituting a series of low-level night incendiary missions against urban areas. Within 10 days, 4 of Japan's largest cities had been attacked in 5 raids, involving 1,595 sorties and 9,373 tons of bombs, which destroyed a total built-up area of over 31 square miles. After diverting most of its effort in April and early May to tactical support of the Okinawa campaign, the B-29's returned to their primary mission with a flexible plan of operations, striking at individual industrial targets when weather permitted high-level precision bombing, at urban areas in night or radar incendiary missions when heavy cloud cover prevailed. In May and June, XXI Bomber Command finished off the half-dozen largest cities, then turned against those of secondary importance until by mid-August some 66 urban centers (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki) had been visited in area attacks which destroyed about 178 square miles of built-up area. These missions expended in sum a much heavier bomb weight than the precision attacks conducted concurrently, the ratio being determined by weather rather than by an absolute scale of priorities based on the intrinsic importance of targets. Figures cited by USSBS give an approximate measure of the distribution of effort among the several types of targets: urban areas, 104,000 tons; aircraft factories, 14,150 tons; oil refineries, 10,600 tons; arsenals, 4,708; miscellaneous industrial targets, 3,500 tons; airfields and seaplane bases in support of Okinawa, 8,115 tons.


This last item constituted the only serious departure from the strategic program. To the command those tactical operations were an unwelcome interlude in a campaign just gaining momentum, but the diversion of only about 5.5 per cent of the total effort was much less than had been suffered by heavy bomber forces in Europe or the B-29's in CBI. In addition to regular bombing missions, XXI Bomber Command B-29's dropped 12,054 mines and flew 1,478 miscellaneous sorties in weather and leaflet missions, in photo reconnaissance, radar-scope and radar countermeasures, and sea search.127

The results of the B-29 attacks in terms of physical destruction could be measured with unusual accuracy, since in relatively few cases were the same targets hit also by Navy or other AAF planes. USSBS estimated that the total damage was roughly equivalent to that in Germany, although some 1,360,000 tons of bombs were dropped on that country, about 9 times the weight used by the B-29's against Japan. Here the attacks were more concentrated in time and in space, the targets more vulnerable, defense methods less effective, repair and reconstruction less rapid. About 40 per cent of the built-up areas in sixty-six cities was destroyed, while plants hit by high explosives in individual attacks showed a "generally more complete" destruction than in Germany.128 The cost, calculated at 1.38 per cent of all B-29 combat sorties, was light by accepted standards for strategic bombardment. Relatively high at first, losses tapered off sharply as Japan's defenses were overwhelmed and as the command turned more frequently to night operations against which the Japanese never developed effective tactics. Measured by ETO standards, the losses inflicted by B-29 crews on intercepting enemy planes were also light, amounting in figures finally approved to 714 destroyed, 456 probables, and 770 damaged. The modesty of these claims undoubtedly reflects a more skillful screening than had been practiced in the early days in Europe, but the figures are also indicative of the feebleness of the Japanese air forces, who never staged any great air battles in defense of the homeland. A total of 11,026 attacks by Japanese fighters was reported, only about one for every three B-29 sorties.129 If the relatively high returns from a moderate effort at low cost owed much to the vulnerability of Japanese cities weakly guarded by air forces already defeated before the B-29 attacks began, the success of the bombardment campaign still was made possible by the courage, intelligence, and industry of the members of the Twentieth Air Force,


In a little more than a year of combat they greatly improved their handling of the superb plane with which they were equipped, increasing bomb loads, rate of operations, and bombing accuracy. General Spaatz, who was an expert if not wholly disinterested judge, described the B-29 force which he had just taken over as "the best organized and most technically and tactically proficient military organization that the world has seen to date."130

The economic effects of the VHB attacks were more difficult to assess than the physical since other causes contributed to the general breakdown of Japanese industry. The economic life of the nation, geared to military needs, had expanded steadily during the decade before Pearl Harbor. In large measure, industrial production depended on importing great quantities of raw materials--coal, iron, ferro-alloys, nonferrous metals, rubber, oil, bauxite, etc. By stockpiling strategic commodities and munitions, the Japanese were able to conduct an all-out war for a brief period during which they easily overran regions richly endowed with needed raw materials. While still victorious they failed to mobilize production completely; when defeats came they were unable to do so efficiently. As late as 1943 the United States, with a production capacity ten times as great as the Japanese, was devoting a larger share of its output to direct war purposes. Even after seizing areas from which raw materials were extracted the Japanese could not exploit them fully because of lack of sufficient shipping, a lack which became increasingly critical as Allied submarines and planes began to sink more tonnage than could be replaced. Steel production, in part dependent upon imports of high grade ore and coking coal, reached its peak of 7,800,000 tons in 1943 and declined in 1944 to 5,900,000 tons, an amount barely larger than that turned out in 1937 and less than half of plant capacity. In the face of this serious shortage, the Japanese allocated highest priorities in steel to a few items which were most immediately vital to the conduct of the war and in those categories were able to increase production: aircraft and aircraft engines, aircraft and antiaircraft armament and ammunition, radar and communications equipment. Naval and cargo shipbuilding was the heaviest user of steel, consuming about 35 per cent of the total. Other military supplies such as tanks, trucks, and heavy artillery were slighted as being of less immediate utility. Imports of other basic commodities such as oil and bauxite similarly declined, as did food supplies needed to supplement those produced at home. The consumption of materials


from stockpiles and in the "pipeline" carried production increases past mid-1944 and in some categories into the autumn, but in most items, as in the total national effort, the downward turn had occurred before the B-29 attacks from the Marianas began.131

There was a rough correlation between the B-29 effort expended against the several war industries and the loss of production in each, but the indiscriminate nature of area attacks and the existence within each industry of special problems makes difficult any exact measurement of the net effects of air bombardment. Perhaps the best clue, if not a clear-cut answer, may be found in statistics compiled by USSBS on the decline of production within several key industries between the peak month of 1944 and July 1945 and on the reduction of "physical productive capacity" caused by air attack and dispersal incident thereto. During that period, consumption of coal and electric power, conventional indexes of industrial output, declined by about 50 per cent; the coal industry was not attacked by the B-29's and electric power plants suffered only incidentally in urban raids. Aircraft engine and airframe factories lost respectively 75 and 60 per cent of plant capacity, production falling to 25 per cent for the one, 40 per cent for the other. Here the almost perfect correlation was in the main accurate, but in oil refining, where air attack destroyed 83 per cent of capacity and production fell to 15 per cent of the peak, the remarkably close correlation was accidental: oil supplies had shrunk to a point where the refineries were working at so greatly reduced a rate that the B-29 campaign, very effective tactically, was in large part a work of supererogation. There was duplication of effort elsewhere, as in aluminum production where destruction of factories (35 per cent for light metals in general) was less important than the sharp decline in bauxite imports in reducing output to 9 per cent of the peak. Shipyards, suffering only 15 per cent physical loss, fell off in production to only 25 per cent of the peak; here shortage of steel was the chief limiting factor. On the other hand, severe losses in radar and radio output could be accounted for by bomb damage, particularly in area attacks which destroyed the small feeder plants upon which the industry depended. Thus, those industries singled out for air attack suffered more than industry in general, which showed an over-all decline to 40 per cent of the peak, but air attack was not the sole cause for the differential.132

After a study of industry in thirty-nine representative cities USSBS


calculated that in plants damaged by air attack production had fallen by July 1945 to 27 per cent of the peak; in undamaged plants to 54 per cent; and in all plants, both damaged and undamaged, to 35 per cent. The difference between the last two figures, the survey estimated, constituted "a conservative indication of the impact of air attacks, both urban and precision, on production in those cities." If these figures are representative of Japanese industry as a whole, they suggest that strategic bombardment had less effect on production than did shortages imposed by the blockade.133

The blockade depended on interdiction and attrition of shipping; in both respects air power had been important, accounting by USSBS estimates for 40 per cent of all shipping sunk. Mines planted by the B-29's in a campaign that lasted only five months sank 9.3 per cent of all merchant tonnage lost during the war.134 Members of the survey, in their hindsight evaluation of target selection, suggested that XX Bomber Command planes might have been more profitably employed against shipping and oil targets in the Outer Zone than in strikes from China bases, and that XXI Bomber Command should have devoted more effort toward exploiting the difficulties caused by earlier attacks on shipping. This latter task would have involved an intensification of the B-29 mining operations and a campaign against Japan's railway system. That system, overloaded because of the partial stoppage of traffic in the Inland Sea, was vulnerable ro attack and the Japanese were in no position to effect rapid repairs. According to this theory, a carrier attack on the Hakodate-Amori ferry in August of 1944 (instead of July 1945) plus B-29 attacks on the Kammon Tunnel and on a score of choke-points on the railways would have cut off all coal shipments and strangled Japan's economy.135 Whether the rail interdiction could have been accomplished and maintained by the B-29's as easily as the survey suggests must remain conjectural since it was only at the very end of the war that they turned to rail targets.

Statements by various Japanese leaders that B-29 attacks were the main cause of the decline in production seem, then, to run counter to USSBS findings, but similar remarks as to the effects of the attacks on morale are borne out by the survey.136 In nine months, B-29 raids caused 806,000 civilian casualties, of whom 330,000 were killed; the former figure exceeds slightly the Japanese estimate of 780,000 combat casualties among the armed forces during the whole war. During the great fire raids and the atomic bomb attacks Japanese air-raid protection


facilities were hopelessly swamped; on other occasions the fairly adequate warning system held casualties to a moderate number. Pre-raid evacuation and mass migration after attacks caused a vast displacement of population, estimated at 8,500,000 persons. The losses occurred when the health and vigor of the populace had already been sapped by the serious food shortage, itself the result of blockade. Undernourishment increased disease, hurt industry by reducing efficiency and encouraging absenteeism, and lowered morale.137

In a scientifically designed study of public opinion, USSBS found great uniformity in psychological reactions among various classes of society, whether urban or rural. The easy conquests of the early months of the war brought high confidence in eventual victory and since the government suppressed or warped all news of subsequent defeats, this optimism continued well into 1944: as late as June of that year apparently only 2 per cent of the people believed it probable that Japan would lose the war. After the fall of Saipan it became impossible to hide the major losses and in an endeavor to strengthen the war effort the government changed the nature of its propaganda. Reductions in the food ration and B-29 attacks, particularly those against urban areas, intensified the doubts caused by military failures and all morale indexes show a steady decline. The percentage of people believing Japan would lose the war rose to 10 in December 1944, 19 in March 1945, 46 in June, and 68 just before the surrender. Over half of those believing in eventual defeat "attributed the principal cause to air attacks, other than the atomic bombing attacks." By the end of the war 64 per cent of the populace had reached a point where they felt "personally unable to go on with the war." Here again the most important cause of defeatism was the air attacks, which for a majority of the respondents outweighed the other reasons most frequently given--military defeats and food shortages. This attitude toward air attacks pervaded the whole of Japan as evacuees from bombed cities infected other communities with their pessimism and as Allied planes flew over all parts of the home islands with hardly a challenge from the defenders.138

Lowered morale was reflected in a loss of faith in civil and military leadership and in the armed forces, in distrust of government propaganda, and in an increase of complaints and criticism. The tradition of passive obedience and the effectiveness of the police system prevented any open break, and it seems probable that the people would have


continued to support the war so long as the Emperor commanded.139 Nevertheless, the deterioration of morale was an important factor in Japan's defeat: it contributed to the decline in production and it influenced those leaders who finally engineered the surrender and who, incidentally, had arrived at a state of hopelessness earlier but from reasons not unlike those of the masses. The atomic bomb attacks contributed to a sense of defeatism in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where morale had been better than average, but had a "more restricted" effect on civilian attitudes elsewhere.140 The nature of the bomb was better understood by the military and the threat of additional attacks helped shape the surrender, but the chief importance of the bomb, as of Russia's declaration of war, was in providing an excuse to recalcitrant militarists. Even without those face-saving blows, in the opinion of the survey, "air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion"-probably by 1 November, certainly by the end of December 1945.141 The vast expansion of air operations contemplated-the B-29's were expected to reach a monthly rate of 115,000 tons of bombs during that period, as opposed to 42,700 tons in July142--makes that a reasonable assumption.

The USSBS wisely refrained from allotting to any single cause principal credit for the surrender. Under interrogation, Japanese leaders were less hesitant. Most of them ascribed primary importance to air power, many to air attack on the home islands. Prince Konoye said, "Fundamentally the thing that brought about the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29's." Premier Suzuki spoke in similar vein:

It seemed to me unavoidable that in the long run Japan would be almost destroyed by air attack so that merely on the basis of the B-29's alone I was convinced that Japan should sue for peace. On top of the B-29 raids came the atomic bomb, immediately after the Potsdam Declaration, which was just one additional reason for giving in and was a very good one and gave us the opportune moment to open negotiations for peace. I myself, on the basis of the B-29 raids, felt that the cause was hopeless.143

These are oversimplified statements which neglect to mention the blockade with its tremendous effect on industry and on food supplies, but if such statements fairly represent the views of those who brought Japan to the surrender table on the USS Missouri, it matters little whether their evaluation of the importance of air attack was exaggerated or not.


Table of Contents * *  Previous Chapter (22)

Notes to Chapter 23

1. Statement by President Truman, 6 Bug. 1945, in New York Times, 7 Aug. 1945. The basic account of the scientifc work is, of course, the so-called "Smyth Report": H. D. Smyth, A General Account of the Development of Methods for Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes under the Auspices of the U.S. Government (Washington, 1945). All popular accounts derive from this; two of the better ones are J. W. Campbell, The Atomic Story (New York, 1947) and W. L. Laurence, Dawn over Zero (New York, 1946).

2. Hearings, Special Com. on Atomic Energy, 79th Cong. . . . S. R. 179, (Washington, 1947), p. 7.

3. Ibid., p. 383 (testimony of Cdre. W. S. Parsons); H. H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, 1949), pp. 491-93.

4. Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 382; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., in Hist. 313th Wg., Activation to 15 Aug. 1945, pp. 3-6; Roster of Officers, 509th Gp., 15 Mar. 1945.

5. Wendover Fld. GO 6, 17 Dec. 1944; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 1-2, 8-11; 509th Pictorial Album (Tinian, 1945), passim.

6. 393d Bomb. Sq. (VH), Opnl. Tng. Rpt., 29 Oct. 1944; 393d Bomb. Sq. (VH), Crew Progress Chart, WAAF (n.d.); Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 45-49; 509th Comp. Gp., Mission Planning Sum. #1 (n.d.).

7. TC H-6-3, CG 20th AF to DC 20th AF, 6 Feb. 1945; Hist. of VHB Constr., pp. 95-99; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 15-40; Hearings, , . . S. R. 179, pp. 234-35 (testimony of Dr. Philip Morrison).

8. Hist. 509th Com . Gp., pp. 21, 39; map of Tinian, with locations and dates of moves of the group, attached to 509th Comp. Gp. Comd. Bk.; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, p. 198.

9. 20th AF Atomic Project (Investigation) File, Project Rpt. #2, 18 Aug. 1945.

10. The verse, written by a clerk in North Fields Base Operations, is reproduced in the 509th Comp. Gp. Comd. Bk.; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, p. 201; 313th Bomb. Wg. Insignia Chart; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., p. 56.

11. 313th Wg. Tng. Program, 509th Gp. Indoctrination School, 23 June 1945; 509th Gp. Comd. Bk., Opns. Orders Nos. 1-19, 21-22, 29 June-22 July 1945; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 50-55.

12. 509th Comp. Gp. "Frag Plans" Nos. 11-23, 20-29 July 1945; 509th Comp. Gp., Opns. Orders Nos. 20, 23-25, 27-32, 20-31 July 1945; 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpts. of Missions, Nos. 1-12, 20-29 July 1945; 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., Nos. 1-5 (n.d.); Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 58-61; Hist. Air War POA, IV, 228.

13. 509th Comp. Gp., Mission Planning Sum. #1.

14. USSBS, Strat. Air Opn. . . .VHB, p. 18; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., p. 58; 509th Mission Planning Sum. #2; 509th Comp. Gp. Opns. Orders cited above in n 12; USSBS, Effects of the 10,000-pound Bomb on Japanese Targets, passim.

15. 509th Comp. Gp. Final Rpts. of Missions, Nos. 1-12, 20-29 July 1945; USSBS, Effects of the 10,000-pound Bomb.

16. Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., p. 58.

17. 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., #8; Walter Karig, Russell L. Harris, and Frank A. Manson, Battle Report: Victory in the Pacific (New York, 1949), pp. 494-95.

18. Henry L. Stimson, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb," Harper's Magazine, Vol. 194 (Feb. 1947), pp. 97-99.

19. Ibid., pp. 100-101.

20. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. I, No. 10 (1 May 1946), pp. 1-4, 16.

21. Memo for Stimson, 16 June 1945, quoted in his article cited in note 18, p. 101.

22. Ibid., pp. 104-5 (the quotation is Stimson's paraphrase); Arnold, Global Mission, pp. 491, 589; TC G-15-11, CG 20th AF to CG XXI BC, 15 May 1945. Earlier lists at 20th AF Hq. sometimes contained four cities, but in this message to LeMay only three are named. Kyoto suffered three small B-29 attacks, all unintentional (USSBS, Effects of Air Attacks on Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, p. 246).

23. W. D. Leahy, I Was There (New York, wo), pp. 245, 269, 431.

24. Ibid., p. 307; draft TC (no number), Norstad to Kuter, 20 June 1945; Arnold, Global Mission, pp. 566-67.

25. JCS 924/15, 25 Apr. 1945; JPS 697/D, 14 June 1945; JWPC 369/1, 15 June 1945; JCS 1388, 16 June 1945. JCS mtgs. 14, 15, 29 June, and White House Conference, 18 June, are described in Leahy, I Was There, p. 383.

26. Leahy says Marshall and King "both strongly advocated an invasion of Kyushu at the earliest possible date. This was a modification of King's stand." Leahy opposed the idea but went along with the others (I Was There, p. 384). Compare the explanation in Ernest J. King and Walter M. Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King (New York, 1952), pp. 605-6.

27. Joseph C. Grew, Turbulent Era, ed. Walter Johnson (New York, 1952), chap. xxxvi.

28. The Forrestal Diaries, ed. W. Millis (New York, I~SI), pp. 68-70; Sumson, as cited in note 18 above, p . 102-4; James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (NewYork, 1947), p. 206. The account in H. L. Stimson and M. Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1947), chap. xxiii follows very closely Stimson's article cited in note 18.

29. CCS 900/3, 24 July 1945; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 394-429; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 205-8.

30. Text in Dept. of State Bulletin, XIII (27 July 1945), 136.

31. Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 382 et passim; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, chaps. i and xiii.

32. Arnold, Global Mission, pp. 492, 582-89; ltr., Gen. Thos. T. Handy to Spaatz, 25 Aug. 1945; CM-OUT-37683, Handy to Marshall, 24 July 1945; CM- OUT-37720, Spaatz to Arnold, 24 July1945; CM-IN-24908, Marshall to Handy, 25 July 1945; CM-IN-25178, Arnold to Spaatz, 25 July 1945.

33. Leahy, I Was There, p. 429; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 262.

34. Toshikazu Kase, Journey to the Missouri (New Haven, 1950), pp. 209-10.

35. Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 40; London Times, 8 Aug. 1945, quoted in P. M. S. Blackett, Fear, War, and the Bomb (New York, 1948), pp. 127-28; ibid., pp. 131-39; Norman Cousins and Thomas K. Finletter, "A Beginning for Sanity," Saturday Review of Literature, 15 June 1946, pp. 5-8.

36. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 208; Leahy, I Was There, p. 417.

37. Ltr., Harry S. Truman to Dr. Karl Compton, in Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 179 Web. 1947), p. 27.

38. Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 40.

39. Ibid., pp. 234, 502; Karig et al., Battle Report, pp. 491-92; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, p. 204.

40. Roster of 1st Technical Service Detachment, Hq. 509th Comp. Gp., 11 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp., Command Book, Opns. Order #31, 30 July 1945 (for 31 July).

41. Karig, et al., Battle Report, pp. 494-95, quoting Parsons and Tibbets.

42. 509th Comp. Gp., FO #13, 2 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp. Comd. Bk., Opns. Order #35, 5 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #8.

43. USSBS, Effects of Air Attack on the City of Hiroshima, pp. 1-14; USSBS, Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, pp. 5-6 (here Hiroshima is incorrectly called the seventh largest city); 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #8.

44. 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #8; 509th Gp. Comd. Bk., Opns. Order #35, 5 Aug. 1945.

45. Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., p. 64.

46. Ibid., pp. 64-66; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, pp. 207-11; Merle Miller and Abe Spitzer, We Dropped the A-Bomb (New York, 1946), pp. 1-28; Karig et al., Battle Report, p. 495.

47. Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 67-68; 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission #13, 6 Aug. 1945; 313th Wg., Form 34, Special Bombing Mission #13, 6 Aug. 1945; Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 386.

48. Compare the various statements (unchallenged) which followed executive sessions in the Congressional hearings in autumn 1945: Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 238 (1,500 or 1,800 feet); p. 245 (1,500 feet); p. 506 (2,000 feet). And see the statement in The Effects of Atomic Weapons: Prepared for and in Cooperation with the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission under the Direction of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (Washington, 1950), p. 35, that at Hiroshima and Nagasaki the burst was at "about 2,000 feet."

49. Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 68-69; 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission#13, 6 Aug. 1945. Eyewitness accounts include those of Parsons (Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, pp. 386-89; Spitzer, in Sweeney's plane (Miller and Spitzer, op. cit., pp. 41-48); and statements from Lewis, Tibbets, and others (in Laurence, Dawn over Zero, pp. 218-20).

50. 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission #13, 6 Aug. 1945; Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 69-70; Miller and Spitzer, op. cit., p. 49.

51. Leahy, I Was There, pp. 430-32; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 209. The text of the President's statement and of a fuller one by Stimson are printed in the New York Times, 7 Aug. 1945.

52. Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 212-14. A sample leaflet is reproduced in Laurence, Dawn over Zero, p. 222.

53. Miller and Spitzer, pp. 51-56; Laurence, Dawn over Zero, pp. 223-26; TC, CG USASTAF, Spaatz to Arnold, 10 Aug. 1945.

54. Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 40; Stimson, as cited in note 18 above, p. 105.

55. Laurence, Dawn over Zero, pp. 207, 226.

56. 20th AF Hq., Narrative Hist., 1 July-2 Sept. 1945, Chronology; XXI BC TMR Nos. 317, 318 (7 Aug. 1945); Nos. 319-21 (8 Aug. 1945); #322 (9 Aug. 1945); 509th Comp. Gp., Final Mission Rpts., Nos. 14 and 15, 8 Aug. 1945.

57. 509th Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #9; 509th Comp. Gp. FO #16, 9 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp., Opns. Orders #39, 8 Aug. 1945; USSBS, Effects of Air Attack on the City of Nagasaki, pp. 1-9 [hereinafter cited Air Attack . . . Nagasaki.

58. 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission #16, 9 Aug 1945; 313th Bomb. Wg., Form 34, Special Bombing Mission #16, 9 Aug. 1945.

59. There are two eyewitness accounts that add color and some information to the routine reports cited above: Laurence, Dawn over Zero, pp. 223-43 (Laurence, a science reporter for the New York Times, was in Bock's plane) ; Miller and Spitzer, We Dropped the A-Bomb, pp. 89-124 (Spitzer was radio operator on Sweeney's plane). Both give the time of release at 1201; the official reports, 1158 to 1201, all Tinian time. See also, Hist. 509th Comp. Gp., pp. 72-73, and Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 387,

60. 313th Bomb. Wg., Form 34, Special Bombing Mission #16, 9 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission #16, 9 Aug. 1945. The latter source indicates that Hopkins brought his plane back via Okinawa, but none of the other sources mention that fact. Bock did not see the plane or crew there (interview with Bock by J. L. Cate, 23 Nov. 1952), and it seems more likely that Hopkins would have returned directly or via Iwo Jima.

61. 20th AF, CIU, Damage Assessment Rpts., 7, 8, 19 Aug. 1945.

62. 20th AF Atomic (Investigation) File, an ill-assorted mass of communications and progress reports dated 15 Aug.-20 Sept. 1945; Hearings, . . . S. R. 179, p. 233.

63. Information on the two attacks and/or cities occurs in a number of the general USSBS studies, but those dealing exclusively with the subject are as follows: #3, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; #5, Field Report Covering Air Raid Protection and Allied Subjects, Nagasaki, Japan; #9, Field Report Covering Air Raid Protection and Allied Subjects, Hiroshima, Japan; #13, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Health and Medical Services in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; #92, Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan; #93, Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. For the sake of brevity and clarity, these reports will be cited by the official USSBS number rather than by the cumbersome and confusingly similar titles.

64. The Effects of the Atomic Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Report of the British Mission to Japan (London, 1946).

65. Including numerous extracts in the USSBS reports. The best account is that of John A. Siemes, S. J., "Hiroshima: Eye-witness," Saturday Review of Literature) 11 May 1946, pp. 24-25, 40-45.

66. Perhaps the most moving is John Hersey's Hiroshima (New York, 1946), based on interviews made after the surrender, For a short bibliography of early publications see Special Com. on Atomic Energy, U.S. Senate, Essential Information on Atomic Energy (Washington, 1946).

67. USSBS, #3, p. 3; #60, p. 17; Hersey, Hiroshima, pp. 4-5.

68. USSBS, #3, p. 5 and map at end; USSBS, #60, pp. 17-19 and maps labeled Exhibit 3A, 3B, and 4; 509th Comp. Gp., Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #8.

69. USSBS, #3, pp. 15-20; #60, pp. 19-20; Rpt. of British Mission, pp. 17-18.

70. USSBS, #3, pp. 6-9; #13, passim; #60, pp. 19-31.

71. USSBS, #59, pp. 1-7 and map labeled Exhibit N; #5 , passim, and especially pp. 69-76.

72. USSBS, #59, pp. 10-11; #3, pp. 9-13.

73. 509th Comp. Gp. FO #17, 8 Aug. 1945; 509th Comp. Gp. Mission Planning Sum., Rpt. #9; 509th Comp. Gp., Final Rpt., Mission #16, 9 Aug. 1945; USSBS, #3, map at end.

74. USSBS, #3, pp. 9-15; #59, pp. 10-17; USSBS, Effects of Air Attack on Japanese Urban Economy, p. 42.

75. USSBS, #59, p. 12; #13, passim.

76. See USSBS, Japan's Struggle to End the War [hereinafter cited Japan's Struggle]; USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japanese Morale, chap. 11 [hereinafter cited Japanese Morale]; USSBS, Interrogations of Japanese Officials, II, 313-26, 327-32 [hereinafter cited Interrogations] ; Kase, Journey to the Missouri. The chronology of Kase's account differs in some instances from that of the USSBS reports, which have generally been followed here. Kase knew all the officials, talked to many of them, and was especially close to Togo. He was not, however, present at the decisive conferences and he shows a marked bias in favor of the peace party. The authors have seen no accounts that represent the war party's views other than the USSBS interrogations.

77. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, p. 1.

78. Ibid., pp. 1-2; USSBS, Japanese Morale, pp. 138-40; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, passim and especially chap. 2.

79. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, pp. 2-3; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 65-86.

80. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, pp. 3-6; USSBS, Interrogations, II, 327-32 (of Yonai); Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 87-109.

81. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, pp. 6-7; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 142-84; text of Truman's proclamation of 8 May, in N.Y. Times, 9 May 1945.

82. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, pp. 7-8; Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, p. 206; Leahy, I Was There, p. 420; text of the declaration in Dept. of State Bulletin, XIII (27 July 1945), p-137.

83. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, p. 8; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 207-11; Bymes, Speaking Frankly, p. 262; H. S. Truman, quoted in New York Times, 7 Aug. 1945.

84. R. E. Shenvood, Roosevelt and Hopkins (New York, 1948), p. 902; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 397, 415; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 218-30; J. R. Deane, The Strange Alliance (New York, 1947), pp. 272-77.

85. USSBS, Japan's Struggle, pp. 8-9, 13; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 230-40; TC 1695, Spaatz to Norstad, 10 Aug. 1945.

86. Text of the notes in R. Bennett and R. K. Turner, eds., Documents on American Foreign Policy, VIII (Princeton, 1948), 106-7. See also Byrnes, Speaking Frankly, pp. 209-10; and cf. Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 626-28.

87. Text of the notes in U.S. State Dept., The Axis in Defeat (Washington, 1945), pp. 31-33. See also USSBS, Japan's Struggle, p. 9.

88. Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 240-58; USSBS, Interrogations, II, 319-20 (of Toyoda).

89. Radg. (no number), JCS, Berlin to MacArthur and Nimitz, info. Spaatz, 261947Z July 1945; radg. 1119, Spaatz to Eaker, 020141Z Aug. 1945.

90. TC (no number), Norstad to LeMay, 081045Z Aug. 1945.

91. XXI BC TMR Nos. 317, 318 (7 Aug. 1945); Nos. 319, 320, 321 (8 Aug. 1945); #322 (9 Aug. 1945); Nos. 323, 324 (10 Aug. 1945).

92. 509th Comp. Gp. Final Rpts. of Missions, Nos. 14 and 15 (8 Aug. 1945); #16 (9 Aug. 1945).

93. Sum. 20th AF Opns., 5 June 1944-14 Aug. 1945, pp. 7-8; USSBS, Japanese Morale, pp. 128-34; Kase, Journey to the Missouri, pp. 504.

94. TC 1827, Spaatz to Arnold, 111120Z Aug. 1945; CM-OUT-47824, Marshall to Spaatz, 11-22 Aug. 1945; TC 1828, Spaatz to Marshall, 111215Z Aug. CM-OUT-47880, Arnold to Spaatz, 111535Z Aug. 1945.

95. TC (no number), Arnold to Spaatz, 14 Aug. 1945;20th AF Stat. Sum., p. 87 (Mission Nos. 305-10); TC 1695, Spaatz to Arnold, 10 Aug. 1945; TC 12-14, Arnold to Spaatz, 121727Z Aug. 1945.

96. TC (no number), Spaatz to Arnold, 141222ZAug. 1945; TC (no number), Lovett and Norstad to Spaatz and Giles, 142200Z Aug. 1945; XXI BC TMR Nos. 325-31, 14 Aug. 1945. As usual, the statistics given in the radio messages (here 836 B-29's and 173 fighters for a total of 1,009) are less reliable than later figures from the mission summaries (see 20th AF, Stat. Sum., pp. 68 and 87).

97. Hq. 20th AF, Narrative Hist., July-2 Sept. 1945;20th AF, Monthly Activity Rpt., 1 Oct. 1945, p. 7-10, 20.

98. 20th AF Hq. DC/S A-3, Project Rpts. 1-3, 18-20 Aug. 1945; Deane, The Strange Alliance, p. 74.

99. See the almost daily references in 20th AF Hq. DC/S A-3, Project Rpts., 1-35, 18 Aug-23 Sept. 1945.

100. Ibid., under code names for the projects: SNEEZE OF GOD; USA-STAFADVON; SNOOPER. For the first, see also 20th AF Atomic (Investigation) File, 15 Aug to Sept. 1945.

101. 20th AF Hq. DC/S A-3, Project Rpts., 1-16, 18 Aug.-3 Sept. and 40, 28 Sept. 1945; 20th AF Monthly Activity Rpt., 1 Oct. 1945, p. 7.

102. 20th AF, Stat. Sum., p. 53; 20th AF Hq. DC/S A-3, Project Rpts. 1-38, 18 Aug.-26 Sept. 1945, under heading POW Supplies; Directive, Spaatz to CG 20th AF POW and Internee Supply Project, 17 Aug. 1945; 20th AF, POW File contains much of the daily correspondence on this topic.

103. 20th AF Hq., Engineering Rpt. #42, 16 Aug. 1945; 20th AF, Stat. Sum., p. 53; 20th AF, POW File; 20th AF Air Intel. Rpt., Oct. 1945, pp. 3-4.

104. 20th AF, Stat. Sum., p. 53; radg.(no number), TOKAX, FEAF (ADVON) to CG 20th AF, 17 Sept. 1945; radg. 3427, CG USASTAF to CG FEAF (ADVON), 30 Aug. 1945.

105. Radg. 3861,CG USASTAF to CG 20th AF, 3 Sept. 1945.

106. See foreword, USSBS, Summary Report (Pacific War), Washington, 1946.

107. USSBS, Over-all Report (European War), Washington, 1945. A full list of the specialized reports is usually to be found as an appendix to the several published reports.

108. See foreword to USSBS report, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington, 1946.

109. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. iii.

110. Ibid.

111. Compare the lists appended to the Transportation Division's report on The War Against Japanese Transportation, 1941-1945, Washington, 1947, pp. 143-44.

112. Published at Washington, 1 September 1946.

113. Published at Washington, 1946.

114. Published at Washington, July 1947.

115. See concluding paragraph, p. iii.

116. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 26.

117. Ibid., pp. 27-28. For figures on pilot training see p. 9.

118. Ibid., p. 16.

119. Ibid., p. 26. In addition see special report, Japan's Struggle to End the War, Washington, 1946.

120. Ibid., p. 11. In this connection, see the argument advanced in Air Campaigns of the Pacific War, pp. 53-54.

121. Ltr., Col. C. E. Combs to Brig. Gen. R. C. Candee, 28 May 1945.

122. USSBS, Strat. Air Opn. . . . VHB, p. 2, quoting JCS 742/12.

123. Arnold, Global Mission, pp. 564-67; Leahy, I Was There, p. 384; USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 16.

124. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 16.

125. Ibid., USSBS, Strat. Air Opns. . . . VHB, p. 7-9.

126. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 16; USSBS, Strat. Air Opns. . . . VHB, pp. 9-12.

127. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., pp. 16-18; USSBS, Strat. Air Opns. . . . VHB, pp. 13-16, 19.

128. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 17.

129. USSBS, Strat. Air Opns. . . . VHB, pp. 7, 19-20.

130. TC 1467, Spaatz to Norstad, 7 Aug. 1945.

131. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., pp. 13-15; USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's War Economy, chap. ii.

132. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., pp. 17-18.

133. Ibid., p. 19. The case is put more strongly in Jerome B. Cohen, Japan's Economy in War and Reconstruction (Minneapolis, 1949). The author, then a Navy officer, served with USSBS.

134. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 11.

135. Ibid., pp. 19-20, 29; USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japanese Economy, pp. 45, 64.

136. Many of these have been quoted in AC/AS, Intelligence, Mission Accomplished: Interrogations of Japanese Industrial, Military, and Civil Leaders of World War II (Washington, 1946).

137. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., pp. 20-21. I. L. Janis, Air War and Emotional Stress (New York, 1951) devotes much attention to Japan, using mostly data from USSBS reports.

138. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 21; USSBS, The Effects of Bombing on Japanese Morale, chaps iii-v.

139. USSBS Sum. Rpt., p. 21.

140. Ibid., p. 25; on morale in the two cities, see Janis, op. cit., pp. 1-179.

141. USSBS, Sum. Rpt., p. 26.

142. Ibid., p. 16.

143. Mission Accomplished, pp. 39-40.


Table of Contents * *  Previous Chapter (22)


Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Terry Welshans for the HyperWar Foundation