Reassessing crisis for Japanese surrender in WWII : propaganda leaflets, atomic bombs and soviet entry
Tan, Alson Yun Hao
Date of Issue2016-03-22
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
This FYP focuses on the use of Allied propaganda leaflets in World War II as a lens to understand what compelled Japan to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. By evaluating the leaflets as primary sources, it can be deduced that the Allied propaganda offices had invested huge amount of resources into devising ways to instigate Japanese surrender on the ground level. However, traditional school of thought has always attributed the use of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as the fundamental reason that led to the capitulation of the Japanese war cabinet. This paper rejects this commonly accepted historiography that is tainted with a US triumphal narrative. Instead, it is more credible to assert that the Soviet Union’s entry into the Pacific War had played a more important role in forcing Japanese surrender than previously thought. It was the key reason that compelled a divisive Japanese War Cabinet to finally come to terms with their inevitable defeat. This was because, unlike the atomic bombs, the Soviet entry into the Pacific War created a state of crisis that demanded the necessity to end the war.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University