Marianas Variety: Local historian discusses a-bombs on Tinian - 03/08/2017
08 Mar 2017By Junhan B. Todiño - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
A THIRD atomic bomb was already in assembly building 3 on Tinian after the U.S. dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki, Japan on Aug. 9, 1945, local historian Don Farrell said.
“Yes, there was a third bomb,” he told members of the Rotary Club of Saipan on Tuesday during its meeting at the Hyatt’s Giovanni’s Restaurant.
The U.S. “would have had seven bombs ready before Nov. 1, the proposed date of the invasion of Japan.”
On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan surrendered.
According to Farrell, the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the threat of more to come and the Soviet Union’s entry into the war convinced then-Emperor Hirohito to accept the Allies’ demand for unconditional surrender.
Farrell said Japan wisely chose to quit, adding that at that time U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall had already decided that if the Japanese did not surrender after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. would not drop another atomic bomb until the invasion scheduled for November.
“They would have dropped all seven of them as part of the pre-invasion bombardment,” Farrell said.
But “nobody really wanted to drop the bombs,” adding that “based on many personal accounts from B-29 crew members, they all hated what they had done. While not one of them ever said he was sorry for what they had done, they felt bad about the people that had died although they also remembered what had happened at Pearl Harbor,” referring to the surprise military strike by Japan against the U.S. naval base in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941.
As for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, Farrell said it did not blow the city up — “it actually crushed the city; it was blown down.”
Local historian Don Farrell presents a brief history of the atomic bombs assembled by the U.S. military on Tinian during World War II. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño
At the time of the bombing, he said Japan was already facing hard times. Food and fuel were scarce.
Farrell said U.S. officials at the time agreed that one atomic bomb would not force Japan to surrender.
“The Japanese would not even believe what it was. Secondly if they did believe what it was they would not believe we had any more of them.”
Before the dropping of the atomic bombs, Farrell said U.S. B-29s had already incinerated more people in Tokyo than were to be killed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
He also noted that because of the dropping of the atomic bombs, the Soviet Union, then under Joseph Stalin, did not have the opportunity to invade northern Japan as originally planned.
A month prior to the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, President Truman met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Stalin in Potsdam, Germany.
“Truman had seen what Stalin did with the countries his armies had captured in East and Central Europe,” Farrell said, adding that Stalin was already creating a Soviet bloc.
Truman made up his mind not to allow Stalin to do the same thing with Japan, Farrell said.
The president, he added, was determined to end the war with Japan and prevent the Soviets from gaining a foothold there.
“We were able to maintain the unity of Japan — there was to be no north or south Japan, and we have had a lasting peace in the Pacific as a result.”