August 6 will be the 60th anniversary of a human tragedy, the world's first use of nuclear weapons when the A-bomb was exploded over Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. Only following a second atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki did the fanatical leadership of Japan choose to surrender.
Revisionist historians and political critics have now spent decades rewriting history books and altering public perceptions, claiming that these devastating attacks could have, and should have, been avoided. Historian Richard B. Frank explains that newly declassified WWII intelligence shows that there was, in fact, no other choice. Top secret Ultra (aka "Magic") radio intercepts were the key element in the fateful decision.
[R]ight to the very end, the Japanese pursued twin goals: not only the preservation of the imperial system, but also preservation of the old order in Japan that had launched a war of aggression that killed 17 million.
[I]t is clear that all three of the critics' central premises are wrong. The Japanese did not see their situation as catastrophically hopeless. They were not seeking to surrender, but pursuing a negotiated end to the war that preserved the old order in Japan, not just a figurehead emperor. Finally, thanks to radio intelligence, American leaders, far from knowing that peace was at hand, understood--as one analytical piece in the "Magic" Far East Summary stated in July 1945, after a review of both the military and diplomatic intercepts--that "until the Japanese leaders realize that an invasion can not be repelled, there is little likelihood that they will accept any peace terms satisfactory to the Allies." This cannot be improved upon as a succinct and accurate summary of the military and diplomatic realities of the summer of 1945.
Read the whole thing.
• Victor Davis Hanson - Remembering World War II: Revisionists get it wrong
• Richard B. Frank - Downfall : The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire