They weren't done and they werent surrendering. They were preparing to resit an invasion of the home islands with every Japanese citizen. Little kids who strap explosives to their chest and run under tanks. Men, women, children were being trained to fight the allied troops with spears, knives, anything they had. When taking account the casualty figures from Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Saipan (where thousands of Japanese civilians jumped off a cliff into the ocean rather than be taken alive by advancing Marines) the casualty figures on the US side alone were projected at 200k+ dead, (that projection was made in early spring of 45, and the military had routinely underestimated casualty figures during the war), with millions of Japanese civilians dead. Even after the 2nd bomb, hardliners were still advocating war(despite the Soviet Union having invaded Manchuria as well).
Originally Posted by conway429
It isnt "victor writing the history." Post-war analysis of the invasion/defense plans of the home islands, and projecting casualties based upon other battles fought in the Pacific (particularly Okinawa, which was considered a part of the homeland, and not a distant colony) concluded that actual war-time casualty projections were conservative. The war would have dragged on at least another year (Operation Coronet, the invasion on Honshu, was not schedule until Spring of 46, and that was dependent on the success of the first part of the operation. In the meantime, famine, continued bombing, and the actual fighting would have killed far more people than the atomic bombs did, while untold tens of thousands of Allied POW (both military and captured civilians) would continue to be tortured and murdered by their Japanese captors
A prolonged blockade would have resulted in a massive famine in Japan, which would have disproportionately impacted the Japanese civilians, and even then it is uncertain if this would have been enough to convince the emperor to surrender (as hundreds of thousands of civilians had already died during the American bombing campaign with no impact on his desire to fight). Any continuation of the war would have resulted in higher casualties in Manchuria against the Soviets, and an increase in Soviet atrocities against the civilian population.
As horrific as it sounds, the atomic bombs saved a significant number of Japanese and American lives.
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