“This seems to touch a nerve”

Why did Japan surrender?:

Hasegawa – who was born in Japan and has taught in the United States since 1990, and who reads English, Japanese, and Russian – rejects both the traditional and revisionist positions. According to his close examination of the evidence, Japan was not poised to surrender before Hiroshima, as the revisionists argued, nor was it ready to give in immediately after the atomic bomb, as traditionalists have always seen it. Instead, it took the Soviet declaration of war on Japan, several days after Hiroshima, to bring the capitulation.

Both the American and Japanese public have clung to the idea that the mushroom clouds ended the war. For the Japanese, Hiroshima is a potent symbol of their nation as victim, helping obscure their role as the aggressors and in atrocities that include mass rapes and beheading prisoners of war. For the Americans, Hiroshima has always been a means justified by the end.

“This seems to touch a nerve,” observes Hasegawa.

(via Chris Blattman)