23rd September 2019, 5-7pm, Graham Sutherland Building Room 22
This lecture challenges the prevailing view in the United States that the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the most decisive factor that led Japan to surrender in the Pacific War. Analyzing the mutually beguiling negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union over the strategy to force Japan to surrender in 1945, Hasegawa argues that the United States dropped the atomic bombs (1) to force Japan to surrender (2) before the Soviet Union entered the war. Having learned of Truman’s intention, Stalin hastened to enter the war. Since Japan was clinging to its last hope to end the war through Soviet mediation, the Soviet entry into the war had a more important impact on the Japanese decision to surrender than the two atomic bombs.
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of: Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (2005); Crime and Punishment in the Russian Revolution (2017), and The February Revolution, Petrograd 1917 (2017).