The Atomic Bombs and Japan’s Decision to Surrender

“Saigo no gozen kaigi” (The last imperial conference), by Shirakawa Ichirō

The atomic attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki are without a doubt the most momentous event in recent human history. Winston Churchill likened the atomic bomb to the “Second Coming in wrath”; Merriam Smith of the United Press in 1945 called it the “greatest news story since the invention of gunpowder.” More than fifty years later (1999), laymen and journalists alike voted the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “the story of the century.” This controversial “story of the century” has produced a far-reaching historiographical debate on the endgame of World War II in Asia and the Pacific. Yet the debate has remained a U.S. project for far too long, with Japanese voices, scholarship, and sources remaining almost criminally under-studied.

This workshop begins to redress this situation. It explores and examines the documentary source materials which shed light on the Japanese reaction to the atomic attacks. It pays particular attention to the Japanese diplomats who influenced the eventual decision to surrender. It also reconsiders the emperor’s crucial role in ending World War II.

Friday, 3 November 2017
Building 1, level 1, Room 114
Bankstown Campus

Click here for the Program.(opens in a new window)

Please register here for the workshop.

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