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The Necessity of Dropping A-Bombs on Japan Was Another Evil Deception

A photograph from 1945 shows some of the devastation in Hiroshima, Japan, after the atomic bomb blast. PHOTO: Stanley Troutman/AP

FDR: ‘They need to suffer more.’

I have had to jettison an entire lifetime of lies and deceit as I’ve explored suppressed and hidden history over the last couple years. Evidence is everywhere, but is not readily offered. Dispatching the pollution in one’s mind requires a good deal of time, focus and mental fortitude, but it’s something I’m determined to do. In posts such as these, I am in essence sharing with you my notes.

An important element of suppressed history is that Japan was actively seeking to negotiate a surrender as early as 1944 and throughout 1945. In April, 1945, the war party of Japan was diminished, and a peace group headed by Kantaro Suzuki took office with the mission of ending the war.

The Secret MacArthur Memorandum Revealed

In a front-page article that appeared in The Chicago Tribune and Washington Times-Herald  in Aug. 19, 1945, writer Walter Trohan reported that seven months earlier (on January 20, 1945) President Roosevelt had received a 40-page memorandum from Gen. Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials just two days prior to his departure for the Yalta meeting with Stalin and Churchill.

Admiral William D. Leahy, FDR’s chief of staff, leaked the MacArthur communication to Trohan in early 1945 for fear it would be classified as top secret for decades or even destroyed. The authenticity of Trohan’s article was never challenged by the White House. Former President Herbert Hoover personally queried Gen. MacArthur on the Tribune’s story and the general acknowledged its accuracy in every detail.

The memo showed that the Japanese were offering surrender terms virtually identical to the ones ultimately accepted by the Americans at the formal surrender ceremony on Sept. 2 — that is, complete surrender of everything but the post of the emperor. Specifically, the terms of these peace overtures included:

  • Complete surrender of all Japanese forces and arms, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries.
  • Occupation of Japan and its possessions by Allied troops under American direction.
  • Japanese relinquishment of all territory seized during the war, as well as Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan.
  • Regulation of Japanese industry to halt production of any weapons and other tools of war.
  • Release of all prisoners of war and internees.
  • Surrender of designated war criminals.

Historian Harry Elmer Barnes in an article titled “Hiroshima: Assault on a Beaten Foe” (National Review, May 10, 1958) wrote:

The authenticity of the Trohan article was never challenged by the White House or the State Department, and for very good reason. After General MacArthur returned from Korea in 1951, his neighbor in the Waldorf Towers, former President Herbert Hoover, took the Trohan article to General MacArthur and the latter confirmed its accuracy in every detail and without qualification.

It is generally known that as WWII wound down, brain-addled President Roosevelt was surrounded by pro-Soviet elements. In February 1945 at Yalta, FDR was prepared to subject all of eastern Europe to the communist Soviet Union. He blathered:

“I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, ‘noblesse oblige’, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.”

The idea that the U.S. needed Soviet forces to defeat Japan after Germany’s surrender is a myth. But the Soviets signaled that they wanted part of the Japanese spoils of war. It would have meant dragging out the Pacific war long enough so that the Soviets could wrap up the Battle of Berlin (early May 1945), and build and redeploy a force to the east.

The Soviets declared war on Japan on Aug. 9 after the alleged A-bombs were dropped. This was an opportunistic war fought until VJ Day, Sept. 2, and it allowed the Soviet Union a toehold in Manchuria and North Korea. It had zero strategic purpose or necessity for the U.S. Rather, it was just more Soviet looting and spoils. Receiving little mention is that 560,000 to 760,000 Japanese personnel in the Soviet Union and Mongolia were interned to work in labor camps as POWs. Of them, it is estimated that between 60,000-347,000 died in captivity – not much transparency exists on this affair.

In addition, FDR, one of the nastiest characters of that era, determined that peace could not come until Japanese (and American servicemen) had suffered more. The measure of FDR as a war criminal and mass murderer can be found in the realization that he dismissed MacArthur’s report after only a “casual reading” and described the general as a “poor politician.” In reality, MacArthur was on the righteous side of history.

Thus, around the time of FDR’s death on April 12, 1945, and the hand off of power to poorly informed Truman, three different peace initiatives by Japan were rebuffed.

On April 7, acting Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu met with Swedish ambassador Widon Bagge in Tokyo and asked him “to ascertain what peace terms the United States and Britain had in mind.” Similar Japanese peace signals through Portugal, on May 7, and again through Sweden, on May 10, were largely ignored by the U.S.

Indeed, peace overtures from Japan were greeted with air assaults; notably, on May 23 and 25, 1945, with the greatest air raid of the Pacific war. More than 500 massive B-29 “Superfortress” bombers unleashed 4,500 tons of incendiary bombs on the heart of the already battered Japanese capital. Generating gale-force winds, the exploding incendiaries obliterated Tokyo’s commercial center and railway yards and consumed the Ginza entertainment district. Two days later, on May 25, a second strike of 502 “Superfortress” planes roared low over Tokyo, raining down some 4,000 tons of explosives. Together, these two B-29 raids destroyed 56 square miles, or half of the Japanese capital.

Tokyo, 1945

The May and June, fire bombings had destroyed much of the country’s six largest cities, killing between 112,000 and 126,762 people and rendering millions homeless. From mid June until the end of the war, the firebombing was extended to undefended smaller and medium sized cities.  On one night June 17, Hamamatsu, Kagoshima, Ōmuta, Fukuoka and Yokkaichi were each attacked and completely destroyed by a wing of B-29s using similar tactics to those employed in the firebombing raids against the major cities.

Shizuoka, 1945

The B-29 firebombing campaign brought the destruction of 3,100,000 homes, leaving 15 million people homeless, and killing about a million of them. For the record the Battle of Okinawa was fought April 1 – June 22, 1945. The death toll was approximately 100,000 Japanese military personal, 100,000 island civilians (out of 300,000), and 20,195 Americans.

While it is true that there was a war party in Japan, on June 22 Emperor Hirohito intervened as leader of a peace faction and called a meeting of the Supreme War Council, which included the prime minister, the foreign minister and the leading military figures.

We have heard enough of this determination of yours to fight to the last soldiers,” said Emperor. “We wish that you, leaders of Japan, will strive now to study the ways and the means to conclude the war. In doing so, try not to be bound by the decisions you have made in the past.” Note that in April Hirohito had “advised” that the bushido or samurai last ender approach be abandoned. …

On July 12, Hirohito summoned Fumimaro Konoye, who had served as prime minister in 1940-41. Explaining that “it will be necessary to terminate the war without delay,” the Emperor said that he wished Konoye to secure peace with the Americans and British through the Soviets. As Prince Konoye later recalled, the Emperor instructed him “to secure peace at any price, notwithstanding its severity.”

The next day, July 13, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo wired ambassador Naotake Sato in Moscow: “See [Soviet foreign minister] Molotov before his departure for Potsdam … Convey His Majesty’s strong desire to secure a termination of the war … Unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace …”

The primary fear for the Japanese — particularly after what happened in Europe to defeated Axis leadership — was that the Americans would humiliate their emperor or perhaps even execute him as a war criminal.

Summarizing the messages between Togo and Sato, U.S. naval intelligence said that Japan’s leaders, “though still balking at the term ‘unconditional surrender,'” recognized that the war was lost and had reached the point in which they have “no objection to the restoration of peace on the basis of the [1941] Atlantic Charter.” These messages, said Assistant Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss, “indeed stipulated only that the integrity of the Japanese Royal Family be preserved.”

Navy Secretary James Forrestal termed the intercepted messages “real evidence of a Japanese desire to get out of the war.”

Historian Alperovitz noted that “with the interception of these messages, there could no longer be any real doubt as to the Japanese intentions; the maneuvers were overt and explicit and, most of all, official acts.”

Koichi Kido, Japan’s Lord Privy Seal and a close adviser to the emperor, later affirmed: “Our decision to seek a way out of this war, was made in early June before any atomic bomb had been dropped and Russia had not entered the war. It was already our decision.”

Rather than wrapping up the end of hostilities, the Allies didn’t signal surrender terms until the Potsdam Declaration on July 27, 1945. In the declaration, the three governments agreed that Japan should be given the opportunity to end the fighting. They called on Tokyo to “proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”

There was a promise that Japan would not be enslaved as a race.

Not a word was said about the emperor. The sad irony is that, as it actually turned out, American leaders had already decided to retain the emperor as a symbol of authority and continuity. They realized, correctly, that Hirohito was useful as a figurehead and prop for their own occupation authority in postwar Japan.

But a short time later, U.S. jokers were eagerly licking their fangs to try out their new toys, which had just been made ready.

United States Strategic Bombing Survey (issued in 1946) stated in its official report: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population.”

After the July 1943 firestorm destruction of Hamburg, the mid-February 1945 holocaust of Dresden and the fire bombings of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, America’s criminal leaders were, as U.S. Army Gen. Leslie Groves later put it, “generally inured to the mass killing of civilians.”

Read: The Non-Existent Trial of British War Criminal and Monster Frederick Lindemann

On Aug. 6, 1945, the world dramatically entered the Atomic Age. With neither warning or precedent, an American plane dropped a single nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. About 90,000 civilians were killed immediately. Another 40,000 were injured, many of whom died in protracted agony from radiation sickness. Three days later, a second atomic strike on the city of Nagasaki killed some 37,000 people and injured another 43,000. Together, the two bombs eventually killed an estimated 200,000 Japanese civilians.

Admiral Leahy, chief of staff to presidents Roosevelt and Truman, summed up the whole affair:

“It is my opinion that the use of the barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan … The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons … My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

My takeway: The war could have ended in June (if not sooner) right after Okinawa. All it would have taken were gestures on a few points of Japanese pride and it would have been over, thus preventing all the casualties of July and August of 1945. This is a case of victors, who were very much bullies and criminals, kicking their enemy (civilians) when it was down and following a pattern that was very much repeated in Germany. Overrated criminal psychopath FDR said it all: “They need to suffer more.”

In the book “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb,” historian Dennis D. Wainstock concludes that the bombings were not only unnecessary but were based on a vengeful policy that actually harmed American interests. He writes (pp. 124, 132):

By April 1945, Japan’s leaders realized that the war was lost. Their main stumbling block to surrender was the United States’ insistence on unconditional surrender. They specifically needed to know whether the United States would allow Hirohito to remain on the throne. They feared that the United States would depose him, try him as a war criminal, or even execute him …

Unconditional surrender was a policy of revenge, and it hurt America’s national self-interest. It prolonged the war in both Europe and East Asia, and it helped to expand Soviet power in those areas.

My own father, a naval aviator in the Pacific at this time, was definitely in harms way by continuing war the way it was. By the way, if you are suffering from a baseless belief system, don’t feel too bad, as I once believed I wouldn’t have been on this planet but for the A-bomb. The biggest threat to his and my future were FDR, Truman and his ilk. The key is to break away from the mindless zombie path, to learn and then disavow the lies you’ve been spoon fed.

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17 Comments on The Necessity of Dropping A-Bombs on Japan Was Another Evil Deception

  1. One thing is a fact: napalm firebombing of wooden Japanese cities was extremely destructive.
    Tokyo: 334 planes, 16 sq miles destroyed
    So a fourth of that on Hiroshima with 4 sq. miles area destroyed could be done with 83 planes. No that much of stretch to run an operation with the same impact as claimed for the a-bomb.

  2. The old quote “history is a set of lies agreed upon” could not be more correct when it comes to WWII. One book I found to be mind blowing was “The Strange Death Of FDR” by author Emanuel M Josephson. This book was published in 1948 and tells a very different story of the life and death of FDR than the accepted version. Josephson makes the case for FDR already being dead at the time of YALTA and the conference being attended by a body double:
    “It therefore appears to be a certainty that President Roosevelt was either dead, or
    incompetent mentally, on January 6, 1945; and that since the same person appears in the photographs released from the Yalta conference, it evidently was the double who attended that conference. Winston Churchill remarked in his autobiography about how strangely different a person was the “Roosevelt” who attended the Yalta conference. There is reason to believe that he was aware of the fact that he was dealing with a double. The Communists, undoubtedly, had been informed of the deception by their Axis partners, and were fully aware of it. This may explain the demand on the part of the Soviet Ambassador following the death that the coffin be opened and he be permitted to view the remains, on behalf of his
    government. The request was denied. Both the request and its denial are quite extraordinary. It creates the impression that Stalin and the Soviets were trying to make sure of the elimination of a trusted agent; or that they were checking to make sure of a purge.

    Josephson makes a great case for FDR out Hitlering Hitler.
    https://archive.org/details/StrangeDeathOfFDR

    P.S. Truman was also a 33rd degree Freemason

  3. Great article, Russ. Every person on earth should read this. To say that FDR was surrounded by pro-Soviet elements woefully understates the case. FDR was himself fanatically pro-Soviet. He was in fact Stalin’s secret partner from 1933 until his death in 1945.

  4. escaping lies is difficult…I read a few excerpts of the Ponerology book, in the first few pages, Rodulf Hoess comes in as a stand in for the evil presumably Ponerology is wirtten about, neglecting the fact that Hoess had been tortured and he confessed only to save his family, as explained in that wonderful documentary One Third of the H……, still available on YT. In fact, the H******* is a guilt laden psy-op against Europeans — or perhaps better, a weaponized psyop; as Germar says, even if 200,000 people starved to death in there making war materiel for the Wehrmacht it is still a crime against humanity, but so is Dresden; though Dresden is worse in fact. In fact, I surmise that the barely mentioned H******* post WW II, really got going in the 1970s as David Irving’s books on Dresden came out; so it is pyschological projection, the Allies have to double down on the evil of the Nazis to let themselves off the hook morally speaking. Excuse the staccato manner, this is not criticism of Winter Watch; or the Ponerology book, as the author can adduce wrong evidence not known to him which does not necessarily blow up his whole thesis.

    • Dr. Lobaczewski as a Pole experienced both German and Soviet occupation first hand which of course tempers his outlook. His psychopath rules applied to the Axis AND the Allies, and was amplified by the war.

    • The ‘holocaust’ dates precisely from 1978, the year a French Jew named Claude
      Lanzmann produced a movie called ‘Shoah’ meaning holocaust in Hebrew. What is the significance of 1978? Why that year? Because it was 33 years from the end of the war, and they always work that number 33, into their various frauds.

      • We have an unabridged 1977 Webster’s in which the word ‘holocaust’ only appears in small case. No mention of the H concept. Also in research we found a book dated 1952, written by a group of rabbis. Our objective was to study Ernst Rudin. In their book, they mention no Big H. Their outrage concerned all those who died in Rudin’s medical system in Germany as medical guinea pigs. Nothing about the camps. Wish I could lay hold of my notes and that title.

  5. Isn’t it interesting, how the Fukushima event has brought things full circle. Karma indeed.

    As an astrologer, I have the honor of watching the great cycles come and go. It’s been
    so many years since Atlantis. And yet it seems like only yesterday….

  6. My grandfather, Wes Browning, was over 6 feet tall with big frame who lived well into his nineties, and, was always jovial, hands clasped over his big belly while chuckling in conversations, with friends and family.

    You’d have never thought that a few years prior he weighed 90 something lbs and was having his mustache plucked out, hair by hair from under his lips by Japanese soldiers, who were forbidden to grow one unless an officer. I’ve heard stories of Axis meetings on the eastern front where even the Nazis were a bit shocked at how vicious the Japanese were.

    As one of the “Battling Bastards of Bataan,” he had SRO tickets to see the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki. He always said they thought a weapons depot had been bombed. They deduced the war effort was favoring the allies based on observations of allied aircraft and increased engine noise.

    His POW camp was “liberated” soon thereafter. I use air quotes there, because he said no officer or commanding authority ever walked in with enthusiastic announcements, or anything. He said it was oddly a reporter who informed him and his emaciated mates that he knew for a fact that US bombers and aircraft were taking off from nearby airfield, empty of supplies. He further suggested that he had no authority to tell them to do anything, but that he knew those pilots would be more than happy to give anyone a lift back stateside.

    So, as flight navigator for 27th Bomb Grp Light, he was sent to the Phillipines and after arrival, McArthur et al. then provide them with exactly one bomber for every bomb group there. Eventually, they took up arms and effectively surrendered after they ran out of ammo.

    Then a brief leisurely stroll down the Bataan peninsula, carrying fellow GIs too tired or injured for the walk, before heading off to prison labor camp for nearly 3 years in Japan. HE eventually wound up working the mines for a company which would eventually become Mitsubishi. While it may have been years later and all, I could never forgive my uncle’s decision to buy a used Mitsubishi car for his teenage daughter in the ’90s. My grandfather never even mentioned it all if he even was aware of it. I can safely say he would have barely shrugged a shoulder over it, which was the attitude of humble confidence and forgiveness which lead to his longevity, just true blue Christian character that leads by example.

    After prisoner of war camp, he reenlisted for Korea, and eventually ended in in SAC, flying Dr Strangelove missions along the Russian border. My family didn’t even know about the SAC stint until years later.

    But it’s the reenlisting for Korea part that “kills” me about my amazingly resilient grandfather. As I imagine my way of thinking, if I’d survived three years as Japanese a p.o.w. I might be done with that whole “war” brand of “theater.”

    It has always been sad to see how that whole eastern front has been swept under the rug, while Normandy glory is ubiquitous.

    “We’re the battling bastards of Bataan;
    No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
    No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
    No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.
    And nobody gives a damn.
    Nobody gives a damn.”

    – Frank Hewlett 1942

    My grandfather: inspiration enough for me!

    ….No Mama, no Papa, no Uncle Sam! What an appropriate slogan!

  7. The ‘evil deception’ was more that it would have been necessary to invade Japan (like Europe) in order to end the war; this appears to have been military nonsense — by summer 1945 the US had absolutely complete air and naval superiority in the Pacific, and could have pressured Japan to surrender (even unconditionally) via a blockade of the main Japanese islands, enforced by US sea and air power — so the false, or ‘evil’ if you prefer, dichotomy/choice was invade Japan to end the war, and incur massive additional casualties (on both sides), or drop the atomic bomb in order to convince Japan to surrender unconditionally.

    Looking back from today it seems easy to conclude that it wasn’t necessary to use atomic weapons — but I wasn’t alive then to experience the war firsthand, so I’m somewhat reluctant to condemn too strongly those who chose to try to end it sooner/without an invasion by dropping the bombs.

  8. PARDONING DEVILS:
    The American Cover Up of Imperial Japanese Unit 731
    By: Ian Schneier
    DA-SC-86-06482

    After General Douglas MacArthur accepted the official surrender of Japan on September 2nd, 1945, work began on the compilation of evidence of Japanese war crimes, eventuating in the establishment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE).[1] The tribunal’s initial charter states, “As one of the terms of surrender… stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals.”[2] Adding to Imperial Japan’s irreparably tarnished image were the seemingly unending accounts of Japanese atrocities committed across mainland Asia and the Pacific islands. Rape, torture, and astonishingly creative cruelty grew to characterize the Imperial Japanese military.[3] It could be reasonably expected that Allied forces would have upheld the charter of the IMTFE, prosecuting Japanese war criminals to the fullest extent available. Unfortunately, some of the worst Japanese crimes against humanity were deliberately omitted from human rights tribunals: the chemical and biological experimentation on Chinese and Allied POWs by Imperial Army Unit 731. Although responsible for some of the most grotesque atrocities committed in either theater of the Second World War, much of Unit 731 was granted immunity from war crimes prosecution by the United States government.[4] By granting immunity to the leaders of Unit 731, the United States set a precedent that America would overlook any violation of human rights, no matter how horrific or illegal, if it were politically or strategically expedient to do so.

    Unit 731

    Established by Emperor Hirohito in 1936, Unit 731’s exact mission varied over the course of its operations, but two main focuses remained constant. First, the Imperial Army of Japan wanted to research and develop the creation of biological or chemical agents which, if necessary, could be weaponized against Allied civilian populations.[5] Second, the Unit was tasked with researching the effects of extraordinary conditions on the human body with the aim of bettering the treatment of Japanese soldiers in combat.[6] In the pursuit of both aims, Unit 731 conducted experiments unique in both their extreme creativity and brutality. During the research of weaponized chemical and biological agents, ‘field tests’ were repeatedly conducted in mainland China on unsuspecting Chinese civilians; these field tests often entailed the bombing of Chinese villages with clay molds filled with thousands of plague infected fleas in order to observe the lethality and transmissibility of the plague.[7] Other field tests focused on the production of bacterial agents that would be used to poison enemy rivers or infect enemy crops, highlighting the Imperial Japanese Army’s goal of targeting Allied civilian populations.[8] The bulk of this research involved experimentation on live human test subjects. Rather than calling them people, Unit 731’s scientists callously labeled these human subjects “logs” (marutas in Japanese).[9] Logs were subjected to whatever conditions the Imperial Japanese army saw appropriate to investigate, without anesthetic. Logs¸ who included infants, women, and children, were poisoned, starved, burned, boiled, electrified, dehydrated, gassed, and frozen to death.[10] To study the effects of frostbite and test various methods of treatment, logs would have limbs forcibly submerged in ice water until the limbs had frozen and swollen.[11] In order to observe the effects of various diseases on the human body, logs would be infected with lethal diseases and then dissected while still alive.[12] In order to determine the limits of human blood loss, logs underwent blood transfusions with horse blood.[13] Female logs were often raped in order to examine the effects of venereal diseases on developing fetuses who were then vivisected (cut open while alive) alongside their mother.[14] These examples of Unit 731’s human experimentation, macabre as they are, do not come close to encompassing all of the horrific experiments and research conducted by Unit 731; however, these terrible examples do illustrate the gravity of the United States’ decision to pardon the leadership of Unit 731. By pardoning the experimenters who vivisected innocent men, women, and children, the American government set the dangerous precedent that it would intentionally overlook any violation of human rights if it were provided reason enough to do so.

    Political/Military Landscape

    In 1945, the United States’ explicit strategic reason to pardon members of Unit 731 was the threat posed by the USSR. Unit 731’s experiments, horrific as they were, provided enormous amounts of useful medical knowledge and data to the United States Army regarding biological and chemical warfare.[15] After gathering the Unit’s data, General Douglas MacArthur decided that the information learned by members of Unit 731 had the potential to be of major strategic importance in a future war against the Soviet Union.[16] This meant that the secrecy of Unit 731’s data became a strategic priority and that all information gathered on the Unit would be strictly confidential, precluding Unit 731’s inclusion in the Tokyo War Crimes Trail.[17] The U.S. Army’s response to public inquiry regarding Japanese experimentation on human subjects was a mix of feigned ignorance, outright deception, and intentional suppression. When prodded by American journalists, U.S. Army leadership repeatedly claimed to have found no evidence of Japanese experimentation on human test subjects.[18]

    Over time, this continued refusal to acknowledge the crimes of Unit 731 began to create issues between the United States and Allied nations in the Pacific, namely the USSR. Soviet troops had captured multiple research facilities used by Unit 731 in Manchuria and concluded that the Imperial Japanese Army had been performing biological experiments on Allied POWs.[19] After Soviet intelligence gathered the necessary evidence, they established a human rights tribunal in the eastern-Russian city of Khabarovsk. The trial at Khabarovsk, in keeping with the Stalinist traditions of the time, was less a trial and more a ten-day retelling and condemnation of the Japanese human experiments in Manchuria; however, the Khabarovsk trial deserves recognition as the only public forum at the time which discussed and released information regarding the atrocities committed by Unit 731.[20] Tellingly, the findings of the Khabarovsk trials, “Were publicly dismissed by U.S. authorities as communist propaganda.”[21] Furthermore, “The Soviet Prosecutor at the IMTFE attempted to initiate a new tribunal to try other Unit 731 personnel… but, MacArthur ensured that his initiatives were thwarted.”[22] Although American strategic preparations for a war with the Soviet Union were not unfounded, the decisions made by General Douglas MacArthur to cover up the atrocities of Unit 731 placed the United States Army in the morally reprehensible position of being less forthcoming than Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.

    Altruistic as the Khabarovsk trial appears in comparison to the United States’ silence on Japanese experimentation, the Soviet Union was still a proponent of ideals and values which were devoid of freedom, justice, or the humane treatment of civilians. While hundreds of thousands were likely killed or harmed in Unit 731’s experiments, millions died in Stalin’s purges, labor camps, and famines.[23] This should not detract from the guilt and terror attributable to Unit 731, but it should provide some context of the situation U.S. Army leaders found themselves facing after having conquered Imperial Japan. Context, however, does not equal condonement.

    Decisions and Impact

    A complex situation and the necessity for difficult decisions does not morally exonerate U.S. Army leadership and General MacArthur from the simple fact that they covered up some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. Making the U.S. Army’s cover up more egregious is the fact that numerous sources indicate American POWs were repeatedly used in these horrific experiments, a contention General MacArthur repeatedly denied and suppressed.[24] With the choice to not only grant immunity but to publicly defend the scientists of Unit 731, General MacArthur made the decision to prioritize strategic and political goals above justice for the unnamed American servicemen who died in Japanese labs. This decision had obvious implications for American legitimacy overseas, as covering up the nightmarish actions of Unit 731 directly detracted from any position of American ethical superiority. But this decision also had more nuanced implications regarding the U.S. Army’s relationship with the American people. What precedent was set, when the United States’ most trusted institutions, its military, became complicit in the cover up of some of the worst atrocities committed in human history?

    By prioritizing political precautions against Japanese communists, the American military chose political expediency over Imperial Japanese accountability. By prioritizing strategic precautions against the Soviet Union, the U.S. Army chose data and results over justice for Allied POWs murdered by Unit 731. The decision made by General Douglas MacArthur to shield Unit 731 from prosecution set a precedent that the American government and military would overlook violations of international law, human rights abuse, or outright evil if it were advantageous to do so. By acknowledging the fact that this precedent was set in the past, the U.S. Army can begin to repair the wrongs of its predecessors and ensure that similar moral failings are avoided in the future.

    Implications for Leaders Today

    A Google search of “US military misconduct” will return thousands of recent examples of unethical and immoral decisions made by US military leaders. In ethics there is a concept called ethical fading. Ethical fading is where the ethical aspects of a decision fade away and are replaced by some other criteria, such as winning, self-interest, or profitability to name a few. A 2015 US Army War College study discussed how lying is common in the military.

    “…officers tended to dodge the issue [of unethical behavior] with statements such as, “You gotta make priorities, we met the intent, or we got creative.” Eventually words and phrases such as “hand waving, fudging, massaging, or checking the box” would surface to sugarcoat the hard reality that, in order to satisfy compliance with the surfeit of directed requirements from above, officers resort to evasion and deception. In other words, in the routine performance of their duties as leaders and commanders, U.S. Army officers lie.”[25]

    So, what does this all mean? It means we as leaders are constantly facing ethical dilemmas. Some may be on a scale of General MacArthur, but most are much smaller. Yet, both present difficult dilemmas with potentially lasting implications for one’s career, the profession, and potentially the nation. Should leaders win at all costs? Where is the line between acceptable and unacceptable? What are the ethics of hiding or covering up an egregious act? Is it ethical to “massage the truth” or “check the box”? What does it say about our leadership if we deprioritize or put ethics to the side? These are questions every leader must answer because leaders set the ethical climate for the organization.

    ———

    Ian Schneier is a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is from Nashville, TN and is currently studying international history.

    ———

    Photo Source: The U.S. National Archives

    [1] “Japan Surrenders,” National Archives- Exhibits- Feature Documents. https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/japanese-surrender-document (accessed Nov 23, 2020).

    [2] International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Tokyo, Japan. January 19, 1946, International Military Tribunal for the Far East 3.

    [3] Lord Russell, The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes (London, UK: Cassell & Company LTD, 1958), 53-69.

    [4] Brody, Leonard, Nie, and Weindling. “U.S. Responses to Japanese Wartime Inhuman Experimentation after World War II.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 23, no. 2. (March 2014): pp 220.

    [5] Nicholas D. Kristof, “Unmasking Horror – A Special Report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity,” The New York Times, March 17, 1995.

    [6] “Unit 731,” Atomic Heritage Foundation, May 4, 2018. https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/unit-731 (accessed Nov 23, 2020).

    [7] Richard Stockton, “Inside Unit 731, World War II Japan’s Sickening Human Experiments Program,” All That’s Interesting. November 2, 2017.

    [8] Wallace, Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II, 29-30.

    [9] Sheldon Harris, Factories of Death (New York, NY: Routledge, 1994), 62-63.

    [10] Wallace, Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II, 31-50.

    [11] Richard Stockton, “Inside Unit 731, World War II Japan’s Sickening Human Experiments Program.”

    [12]Justin McCurry, “Unit 731: Japan discloses details of notorious chemical warfare division.” The Guardian, April 17, 2018.

    [13] Wallace, Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II, 41.

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Katrien Devolder. “U.S. Complicity and Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response.” American Journal of Bioethics 15, no. 6. (June 2015): pp 41-42.

    [16] Brody, Leonard, Nie, and Weindling. “U.S. Responses to Japanese Wartime Inhuman Experimentation after World War II,” 224.

    [17] Katrien Devolder. “U.S. Complicity and Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response.” pp 42.

    [18] “Japan Said to Test Germ War on G.I.’s.”, “No Knowledge, MacArthur Says”, “U.S. Aid Found No Evidence,” 16.

    [19] William Gill, War Crimes Investigations in Japan 1945-1948: A Personal Remembrance (Auburn, Alabama. 1995), 51-53.

    [20]Russell Working, “The Trial of Unit 731.” The Japan Times. June 5, 2001.

    [21] Katrien Devolder, “U.S. Complicity and Japan’s Wartime Medical Atrocities: Time for a Response,” 42.

    [22] Gill, War Crimes Investigations in Japan 1945-1948: A Personal Remembrance, 52.

    [23]Cynthia Haven, “Stalin Killed Millions. A Stanford Historian answers the Question, was it Genocide?” Stanford News. September 23, 2010.

    [24] Gill, War Crimes Investigations in Japan 1945-1948: A Personal Remembrance, 52.

    [25] Leonard Wong Dr. and Stephen J. Gerras Dr., Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession ( US Army War College Press, 2015), https://press.armywarcollege.edu/monographs/466

  9. The end of the war was delayed until the atomic bombs could be dropped. See this short video:

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