Friday, January 25, 2013
The small man paced the room as he shuffled through the papers in his hand. He was ramrod straight and totally engrossed in his reading. The room was airy and bright with the Fall sun shining on the blue rug. Some of the plants in the window, and a sculpture on the sill cast shadows. If you were paying attention the angle of the shadows would have told you that it was Fall in the northern latitudes. Two others waited for the fireworks that were sure to follow. One more turn around the room and Harry Truman was satisfied that what he had read was logically presented.
"So this is what you and your colleagues are saying Dr. Roberts? That after extensive study of the written records, and after interviewing almost a hundred principles...this is your conclusion?"
The tall thin man rose to his feet and towered physically over the much shorter man but not in manner or bearing. There was no doubt about who was in charge in the room. None what so ever.
"Yes Mr. President."
"Your study group, and you personally are of the opinion... if I may quote, that "the dropping of the second atomic bomb had no effect on the surrender of Japan? " You're telling me that the instantaneous death of tens of thousands of civilians had no real bearing on the Emperor's decision to surrender?"
"Yes sir that is our conclusion. If I may lay it out a little more graphically sir..."
"Please go ahead."
"The Japanese leadership used the atomic bomb as an excuse for surrendering. They were prepared to fight to the very end. After all, they had already endured the firebombing of every major city. Millions had already died. Virtually no city of any size remained. If killing civilians in a short amount of time ended wars then the firebombing of Tokyo should have done it. Far more were killed then than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. If civilian deaths caused tyrants to surrender they would have done so far in advance of the atomic bomb., The Germans would have surrendered after Dresden which was also more devastating than either atomic attack. The South would have surrendered after Sherman's March to the Sea. Sir it is our opinion that in every case, the enemy only surrenders, when he has lost his army. Civilian deaths do not seem to enter into the equation in modern war.
The South didn't surrender until their army was defeated and surrounded. The loss and destruction of Richmond had no bearing. The German's didn't surrender until their armed forces ceased to exist and our conclusion is that the Japanese surrendered only after they lost their army in Manchuria. The atomic bomb was only an excuse to save face. If their army had not been defeated by the Soviets, they would not have surrendered. In order to save the Emperor's reputation they could not tell the truth., The truth was that their army ceased to exist. That it was trapped in China and overrun by the Soviets. That it had died in dozens of small islands scattered throughout the Pacific and all because of their blunders.
They could not tell their people about all the disastrous mistakes they had made. They could save face, by telling their people that a horrendous new weapon of unimaginable power forced them to end the war. That they were not surrendering because of any mistakes by the god like Emperor. In the eyes of their people, the Emperor can then be seen as doing the humanitarian thing . He can be seen as bowing to this unholy, demonic weapon. He could not be seen as fallible and capable of gross blunders.
Sir the entire group agrees that strategic bombing alone will not bring a fanatical enemy to surrender, as long as their fighting forces still exist. Our own study on strategic bombing concluded... "The mental reaction of the German people to air attack is significant. Under ruthless Nazi control, they showed surprising resistance to the terror and hardships of repeated air attack, to the destruction of their homes and belongings, and to the conditions under which they were reduced to live. Their morale, their belief in ultimate victory or satisfactory compromise, and their confidence in their leaders declined, but they continued to work efficiently as long as the physical means of production remained. The power of a police state over its people cannot be underestimated." We believe the Soviet people are just as fanatic and have proved it many times over. The Siege of Leningrad is just one example of the fact that shelling and bombing alone cannot make a fanatical enemy surrender. Our conclusion is that the killing of civilians will not defeat a modern state.
We also questioned the usefulness of the atomic bomb itself. We found that the atomic bomb is not good at killing armies. It is cumbersome and difficult to deliver especially against an enemy with good air defenses. It cannot be used tactically because of the time it takes to assemble, and it's short storage time. High altitude bombing may work on a city but not on forces in the field. Our estimation is that it will take close to 200 Mark III atomic bombs to bring the Soviet production facilities to a halt. The civilian deaths will have no effect on Stalin. He will continue to fight long after the last civilian is killed as long as his army is intact. The only way to win is to defeat and destroy the enemy's armed forces. We suggest that you will have to find a way to attack and defeat the Soviet Army before they will surrender."
"The logical conclusion then is... we should not put all our chips on the strategic bomber and the atomic bomb. That we still have to defeat the Red army in detail. That no matter how many bombs we rain down on their heads and no matter how severe the destruction, they will not give up until the Red Army is forced to surrender of destroyed. That with limited resources, the atomic bomb and strategic bomber may not be worth the expense."
"Sir may I speak?"
"Yes of course Admiral."
"Sir, as Napoleon and Hitler found out, Russia and the Ukraine are just too big of a bite to take. We believe that a way must be found to draw the Reds out of their homeland and to cut them off from their supply lines and defeat them piecemeal. Think of it in terms of the late McArthur's island hopping campaign. He isolated island full of banzai screaming, nut cases and left them to starve. The plan we have presented does just that by using the vast distances of land and mountains in Eurasia.
We draw them into Turkey and the Mid-east and cut them off there. They are already at the Spanish border. We cut them off there. They will be in Italy and Greece soon. We cut them off there. But first we have to get them to commit. We have to dangle the bait. Show them shiny objects that they can't refuse. The key is that we have to make them think they are winning as we draw them farther and farther into the trap. Further and further from the mother land."
"How long will this take? The American people are weary of war."
"If we do this correctly Sir, we can defeat them in detail by late fall 1947. The collapse, when it comes, should be dramatic and swift. The loss of NATO lives should be minimal. Similar to MacArthur's in the Pacific."
"I'll sleep on it."
"Of course Sir."