Dr. Brien Hallett is an Associate Professor in the Matsunaga Institute for Peace, at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawaii.2012 0-7734-3055-5
The book describes the severe consequences of going after an ‘unconditional surrender’ during WWII. Instead of intimidating the enemies, it infuriated them, and created an insurgent effect and ill-will that made picking up the pieces after the war all the more difficult. Whether or not Japan actually agreed to an unconditional surrender is contested in this book, precisely because Japanese leaders did not want to completely submit to outside influence after the war in a “Super Versailles” like scenario that would hold back progress indefinitely.2012 0-7734-3053-9
In this provocative book Hallett argues that dropping the atomic bomb on Japan had no impact on their surrender to America. What was more important was the threat of a Soviet and American invasion, and the Japanese government preferred to deal with America rather than have the Soviets turn the country communist.
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were certainly evil, but how evil? Evil in which way? Conventionally, their evil has been explained away by repeating that the atomic bombings ‘ended the war to save lives.’ If true, the evil was not truly evil.
In this book, Professor Hallett challenges this all too comforting explanation. If lives were saved, then how many were saved, he asks? Did bombs cause the surrender of Japan; or was the Soviet involvement in the Pacific another influence among many that coincided with the end of the war?
Reviewing the dramatic events of August, 1945, Hallett concludes that few, if any lives were saved and that the dropping of the atomic bombs was merely coincidental with the ending of the war. Instead, Soviet entry into the Pacific War was the immediate causal factor in the timing of the Japanese surrender. This study concludes that there was a banal evil induced by an ordinary lack of imagination on the part of President Truman and the American officials.