Excerpt from Herbert Hoover’s “Freedom Betrayed.” This is from chapter 83 (Aftermath of Dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan), 566-568.
“The use of the Atomic bomb on Japan has continued to stir the American conscience as well as the conscience of thinking people elsewhere in the world. Attempts have been made to justify the use of this terrible weapon. However, American military men and statesmen have repeatedly stated its use was not necessary to bring the war to an end. Quotes from some of these statements follow,
On August 29, 1945 the AP reported,
‘Secretary of State … Byrnes challenged today Japan’s argument that the atomic bomb had knocked her out of the war.
He cited what he called Russian proof that the Japanese knew that they were beaten before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Foreign Commissar Vyacheslaff M. Molotov informed the American and British at the Postsdam conference, Mr. Byrnes said, that the Japanese had asked to send a delegation to Moscow to seek Russian mediation of the end of the war — an act that Mr. Byrnes interpreted as proof of the enemies defeat.’
On September 20, 1945, Major General Curtis Lemay, who directed the air attack on Japan, stated to the AP,
‘The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war … The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians coming in and without the atomic bomb.’
There was present at this interview two American Generals who were engaged in action against Japan — General Barney Giles, and Brigadier General Emmett O’Donnell — both of who agreed with Lemay.
In an AP interview in Washington on October 5, 1945, Admiral Chester Nimitz said he was convinced that the end of the war would have been the same without the atomic bomb or the entry of Russia into the war. He re-emphasized this in an address to Congress the same day saying:
‘The atomic bomb did not win the war against Japan. The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war….’
In an interview with Newsweek, November 11, 1963, former President Eisenhower declared,
‘that he had opposed dropping the bomb for two reasons: First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country to be the first to use such a weapon.’
Admiral William D. Leahy, in his book says,
‘…. It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagaski 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.
It was my reaction that the scientists and others wanted to make this test because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project…’
It is desirable for the record also to call attention to the observations on the dropping of the bomb by other leaders at the time. Lord Hankey, a member of the British War Cabinet states:
‘… The leaders of the Western Allies decided at Potsdam in July, 1945, to resort to the ultimate expedient of the Atom bomb. It was a strange and risky decision. They knew that the bomb was the most cruel and deadly weapon that had ever been produced, and that it effects would fall indiscriminately on civilian and military targets. They knew that Japan had already approached Russia with a view to peace discussions. They knew that Russia was on the point of declaring war on Japan. Yet in this fatuous fight for a phrase, they would not pause to seek some more normal means of obtaining the terms they needed, nor would they wait to learn the effect of the Russian declaration of war.
There is no published evidence to show that they even inquired whether the use of the bomb was consistent with international law….
… If the enemy had solved the atomic problem and used the bomb first, its employment would have been included in the allied list of war crimes, and those who took the decision or who prepared and used the bomb, would have been condemned and hanged.'”