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October 05, 2006



I have not read this book, though it looks interesting enough that I've put it on my list.

I have to say, however, that I'm automatically suspicious of arguments that start out by questioning the decision to press for unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan.

One can reasonably say that heavy bombing of civilians was unnecessary, but to suggest that anything less than total surrender was acceptable given the actions of the German and Japanese governments is laughable revisionist hindsight.


@Fry, I disagree with you, but anyway many historians believe that unconditional surrender by the Japanese was in the works before the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Thats nonsense again David. Stop reading these nonsense books by whining, self-obsessed Americans. The Sino-Japanese war is nearly unknown to Westerners, yet just these days Japan has announced it will pursue rearmament..

Japanese surrender would have happened to the Soviets (and Chinese) who had just kicked Japan out of China. There was however no sufficient invasion fleet so the Soviet effort stalled. The two A-bombs were merely hurrying.. to forestall a partition of Japan as had happened in Germany.


I'm just wondering what sort of surrender this book (and you) are suggesting the allies should have accepted.

Leave the Nazis and Japanese fascists in charge? Demand a change of government and a handover of war criminals, but without the occupying forces to back it up? Force the axis powers to sign a punative treaty, while leaving their economies in shambles as after WWI?


Fry - "I'm just wondering what sort of surrender..you are suggesting ... Leave the Nazis and Japanese fascists in charge?

US "reversed course" in Japan and released fascists after the war. Don't you know about the "reverse course"?



Unconditional surrender was an idiotic policy that certainly lengthened the war and destruction, and was considered a gift by Goebbels for one. The Allies were themselves far from spotless anyway (indeed the Soviets started the war on Germany's side), and morally in no position to claim an absolute rectitude, what's more they had rejected numerous German peace offers early on. By 1943 it could be argued the terms should have been harsher than before, but that still left a lot of room for negotiation, ending the war on the terms the German resistance wanted, ie a return to the status quo ante in exchange for overthrowing the Nazi regime, which Unconditional Surrender formed the main obstacle to (why risk your life and that of your family for a possibly worse outcome?) That would have saved millions of lives and prevented the Soviets from sweeping into Central Europe, raping and pillaging as they went, and then facing off against the West from a position of strength for another 4 decades. As for the Japanese, they (ie the peace faction, with strong representation in the cabinet) were willing to surrender on honourable terms, which meant retaining the Emperor, as later happened anyway.

Unconditional surrender was and is indefensible, it was a major blunder from all points of view, pure hypocritical and mindless fanaticism, decided and announced without serious consideration of the alternatives.

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