EIGHTEEN Japanese words broadcast by an American spokesman are,
now conceded by the Nipponese to have had a vital perhaps decisive role in
ending the war. On July 21, 1945, in one of my regular weekly talks over
the Pacific transmitters of the Office of War Information, I said, "Shokun
ga go-zonji no tori, Taiseiyo Seiyaku oyobi Cairo Fukoku wa Bei seisaku no
kongen to natte orimas." The official English translation read: "As you
know, the Atlantic Charter and the Cairo Declaration are the sources of
The Die is Cast
What made these words so vitally significant in the psychological
tug of war was the fact that they spelled out the message which the
Japanese Government was anxiously awaiting. We had definite information
from inside Japan that since early 1945 a powerful group of Japanese
leaders discussed in almost daily meetings the ways and means by which
Japan could best extricate herself from a war which they had all regarded
as inevitably lost.
This group included old Admiral Suzuki, a confidant of the Emperor;
Navy Minister Yonai, representing the whole Navy clique; General Umezu,
chief of the Imperial General Staff and leader of the dissidents within
the Army; Shigenori Togo, Japan's Foreign Minister at the time of the Pearl
Harbor attack; Baron Hiranuma, president of the Privy Council, and General
Hasunurma, chief aide-de-camp of the Emperor. The composition of this group
was significant. These men had the support of the throne and also certain
foreign contacts which enabled them to put out a series of peace feelers in
Bern, Switzerland, and in Rome, Italy. We had no doubt that this group was
powerful enough to act at the decisive moment, and to insure the success of
What prevented them from suing for peace or from bringing their
plot into the open was their uncertainty on two scores. First, they wanted
to know the meaning of unconditional surrender and the fate we planned for
Japan after defeat. Second, they tried to obtain from us assurances that
the Emperor could remain on the throne after surrender. As long as there
was doubt on these issues, they decided to remain in the background and to
support Premier Koiso's efforts to prolong the war.
The atmosphere created by the implied ambiguity of the term
"unconditional surrender" was skillfully exploited by the Japanese. In
their propaganda to their own people they represented unconditional
surrender as meaning total destruction. In their propaganda beamed to us,
they emphasized the Japanese determination to fight to the bitter end. Of
course, their maneuvers were not confined to routine propaganda. You can
always find agents and operatives who are willing to face both ways at the
same time. Such agents were used by the Japanese extensively, planting
with us "unimpeachable" reports, all describing Japan as far stronger and
more determined than she really was.
It was a peculiar situation, but characteristic of the last stages
of a global war. When we analyzed the Japanese designs, manifested in their
frantic diplomatic plants, we recalled similar German efforts in 1918, and
discounted them. But we could not fail to recognize that in so far as
psychological warfare was concerned, Japan had the initiative and made the
best possible use of it. Our own psychological warfare was on the
defensive. We ourselves supported the Japanese campaign by conducting a
public debate about the meaning of unconditional surrender and describing
the Japanese war as a long, hard fight requiring the total mobilization of
The few among us who regarded Japanese surrender not only as
possible but also as imminent had considerable difficulty in making our
voices heard. Nevertheless, it was at this stage that we found ourselves
in a position to strike a decisive psychological blow. This opportunity was
seized and, with the support of a few farsighted American leaders, I was
permitted to embark on a surrender campaign which, only three months from
my first appearance on the air, and talking directly to the Japanese High
Command, ended with the cessation of hostilities.
At this point I would like to emphasize that while psychological
warfare did play an outstanding role in bringing about the surrender of
Japan, her defeat was the result of the magnificent work of our sea, land
and air forces. Psychological warfare by itself cannot win wars, just as
the Army by itself, the Navy by itself or the Air Forces by themselves
cannot gain full and total victory. The question of "Who won the Japanese
war?" can be answered simply. The war was won by the superb Allied team
spearheaded by the United States forces in their ultimate victorious
advance on Japan proper. This team was personified in the United States
Joint Chiefs of Staff, a little-known organization of anonymous staff
officers. Psychological warfare was a phase of their joint responsibility.
To tell the whole story, I must go back to February, 1941. I
happened to be in San Francisco with my ship, the Salt Lake City, when I
learned that Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura was passing through the city on
his way to Washington for his assignment as Japanese ambassador. Admiral
Nomura, whom I had known for many years, inquired of Admiral A. J. Hepburn,
then commandant of the 12th Naval District, how he could get in touch with
me. I was invited to a luncheon which Admiral Hepburn have in Nomura's
honor, and it was there that I arranged for a confidential talk with him.
When I arrived in the admiral's suite on the fourth floor of the Fairmont
Hotel, Nomura to the obvious surprise of his aides and quite contrary to
Japanese custom, sent everybody out of the room to insure absolute privacy
for our conversation. We talked for an hour and a half and covered a
multitude of subjects, all bearing on the tense political and military
situation. Admiral Nomura was amazingly frank, and when I complemented
him on his frankness, he indicated that I was one of the two persons in
the United States to whom he could open up his heart. The other was
Admiral William V. Pratt, USN (Retired).
My report on this conference was sent to Admiral Harold R. Stark,
then Chief of Naval Operations, who deemed it of sufficient importance to
distribute it on the highest level. My conversation with Nomura bolstered
by other observations, had crystallized my opinion that Japan was moving
Ever since 1932, when I participated in Fleet Problem 13, a
maneuver which simulated an attack on United States territory in the
Pacific, I somehow visualized the course Japan would take on the eve of
such an attack. Even at that time I expected it to begin with a surprise
air attack against our Pacific Fleet, wherever it was located, to be
followed by the destruction of shore facilities in Hawaii, also from the
air. I anticipated that two unmistakable signs would be added to the
usual indications of an impending aggressive move by Japan. The withdrawal
of noncombatant shipping from all sea lanes and marked increase in radio
traffic are the conventional signs. But in the case of Japan, I anticipated
the appearance of a Japanese submarine in the Hawaiian area and the
congregation of three, high-ranking Japanese diplomatic envoys in
Washington, D. C. A single Japanese cannot act by himself. Two of them
cannot arrive at a decision. It always takes at least three Japanese to
decide upon a bold move.
On November 28, 1941, nine days before Pearl Harbor, I sailed with
Admiral Halsey's Task Force 2, in command of the heavy cruiser, Salt Lake
City, for Wake Island to deliver fighting planes to Major Devereux. The
events of the week greatly alarmed me, chiefly because I saw some of the
signs of my earlier estimates materializing one after another. On December
second we picked up a news item on our radio, announcing the arrival of
the Japanese ambassador to Peru in Washington.
Shortly before that, Admiral Nomur a had been joined by Saburo
Kurusu, and the arrival of Tatsuki Sakamoto from Lima now completed the
congregation of three envoys from Tokyo. On the morning of Friday, December
fifth, we were alerted by Pearl Harbor that an unidentified submarine had
been reported in one of our operating areas. I had no doubt in my mind
that Japan was ready to strike.
From 6:00 P.M., when short-wave radio reception from Tokyo became
feasible, I sat at my radio until midnight trying to intercept any
conversation which might be on the air. I hoped to pick up information
which would have justified a signal to Admiral Halsey, asking him to pass
it to CINCUS-Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet--at Pearl. I did intercept a
scrambled conversation, but there was nothing definite I could report.
On Saturday we drew within 500 miles of Hawaii. On Sunday morning
at 0800, the communications officer burst into my cabin with the news of
the attack on Pearl Harbor. My immediate reaction was, "Well, the damned
fools!" Yet somehow, even in that exciting moment, I began to wonder if
there wasn't some method by which we could bring about the cessation of
hostilities without invading the Japanese home islands.
Upon my return to Washington in 1942, as Deputy Director of Naval
Intelligence, I established a special branch in the Navy Department to
study the methods of psychological warfare by which the surrender of Japan
could eventually be effected. Among the studies we made was a survey of
all Japanese military conflicts. We found that in 98 per cent of all
clashes in Japan's numerous civil wars, the conflict ended with the
surrender of the vanquished party. This definitely refuted the popular
belief that the Japanese never surrender. We further found that two major
conflicts ended with the unconditional surrender of Japanese samurai.
These investigations clearly suggested the strategy which our psychological
warfare was to adopt at the proper moment. This moment seemed to have
arrived after the Battle for Leyte Gulf in October, 1944. The crushing
defeat of the combined fleet and the loss of Leyte convinced certain
Japanese leaders of the inevitability of Japan's collapse.
Several groups working independently in the United States drafted
plans to exploit this situation and to intensify our political warfare
together with our military and naval offensives. There was, however, no
coordinated effort. Voices were loud in the United States that Japan would
never surrender. One experienced veteran of the Pacific war said "Japan
will have to be defeated in China, but even then the war will continue
until 1947, and possibly until 1948." An official release of the Office of
War Information in the fall of 1944 estimated that the defeat of Japan
would require a minimum of eighteen months after the collapse of Germany.
All these prognostications and judgments were justified, in as
much as they were made solely on the basis of military factors. My long
association with the Japanese had convinced me, however, that in so far
as Japan was concerned, the psychological factors outweighed all other
I first went to Japan in October, 1920, to study the Japanese
language and the people. As a lieutenant commander in the United States
Navy, I carried the designation of "Attaché to the United States Embassy,"
with a diplomatic status which gave me freedom of movement and privileges
which furthered my study and research. But it was not until September 1,
1923, that I gained my real insight into Japanese psychology in times of
stress. On that day in Yokohama I experienced the great Japanese earthquake.
I suddenly realized that their greatest weakness was their inherent
psychic inertia in the face of disaster. It also happened that the cabinet
had fallen two days previously, the government was not functioning, and
without orders from above nothing is undertaken in Japan. There was no
authority to take action or issue orders. As I watched this stupor which
for ten days held every individual Japanese in its grip, I was convinced
that this would be the pattern of Japanese behavior in a supreme crisis of
war. I remembered this in 1945.
Information reaching us from various sources inside Japan revealed
the existence of a defeatist group within the Imperial Government itself
after the fall of Saipan and the loss of Iwo Jima. Observers on the spot
predicted the imminent fall of General Koiso's cabinet and his replacement
by a premier close to the imperial palace. This prediction was borne out in
April, 1945, by the appointment of Admiral Suzuki, a politician of high
court rank who was personally close to the Emperor. It was evident the
peace party was in ascendance and needed support.
I knew Admiral Suzuki personally from the time he was chief of the
naval general staff. His political record seemed to support our
estimation of his role. During the last ten years he consistently opposed
the military hot-heads in both the navy and army, and had become one of
the most influential persons behind the throne.
Forewarned as we were, the cabinet change in Japan did not find us
unprepared. We had several specific plans ready to activate Suzuki's
mission and to provide him with arguments and guidance. One was a strategic
plan containing an estimate of the situation. The Campaign which was born
of this estimate was then incorporated in Operational Plan No. 1-45, in
which the mission of my assignment was outlined as follows:
To make unnecessary an opposed landing in the Japanese main
islands, by weakening the will of the High Command, by effecting cessation
of hostilities, and by bringing about unconditional surrender with the
least possible lose of life to us consistent with early termination of the
This he accomplished by providing valid and powerful
arguments for those in high places who are actually or potentially desirous
of an early peace, and by canalizing their views, which are divergent only
as to means;
For the Ears of Nippon
(a) To convince highly placed leaders of the hopelessness of further
(b) To convince the High Command that there is an alternative to
complete annihilation and enslavement,
(c) To explain the meaning of "unconditional surrender,"
(d) To create dissension, confusion and opposition among those enemy
leaders who remain adamant in their opposition to this plan, in order to
impose our will upon the enemy,
The plan was submitted to Secretary Forrestal, whose interest in
the project and broad understanding made it possible under difficult
circumstances. Mr. Forrestal approved the plan on March 19, 1945.
Subsequently it was approved by the other competent United States
authorities, and the Office of War Information was instructed to provide
facilities for the execution of the following decision: "The United States
will conduct an intensive psychological campaign against the Japanese High
Command through an official spokesman of high rank in order to accelerate
and effect the unconditional surrender of Japan without the necessity of
an opposed landing in the Japanese main islands."
The task of translating this decision into action was entrusted to
me. Assisting me in the campaign and working in a restricted area in a
converted garage building in Washington, D. C., was a small unit of the
United States Navy composed of a few specially qualified and highly
imaginative individuals. The identity of this group must remain
undisclosed for the time being. It was composed of six experts, each one
a specialist in his own field. One of them was a naval officer, another a
lieutenant of marines. One was a psychologist; another a sociologist; a
third an economist and military historian; the fourth a brilliant linguist;
the fifth a student of psychological warfare; the sixth a newspaperman.
Between the Lines
As outlined in the operational plan the campaign centered in a
series of broadcasts which I was to address to the Japanese Government and
High Command. The project was in no sense extemporized. It required only
fourteen broadcasts over a period of a little more than three months to
accomplish the basic mission. I first went on the air on V-E Day, May 8,
1945, with a broadcast which was built around President Truman's terse
definition of our unconditional surrender formula. My talk was addressed
to "responsible and thinking Japanese." I recalled to a number of highly
placed Japanese officers and statesmen the intimate contacts I had had with
them in time of peace. To the Premier himself I said, "Premier Admiral
Baron Suzuki may remember our meeting when he was chief of the naval
general staff." I also mentioned Prince and Princess Takamatsu and recalled
that I accompanied them as their aide-de-camp, during their tour in the
United States in 1931.
Just twenty-four hours after my V-E Day address there were several
indirect indications of its reception and reaction to it in Japan. A Tokyo
news flash stated, "Prince Takamatsu has been designated as a proxy for the
Emperor to visit the shrine of the imperial ancestors at Ise." Those who
were aware of the Japanese inner situation immediately recognized the
significance of Takamatsu's appointment. Prince Takamatsu is the Emperor's
younger brother, He had been conspicuous by his absence from the news.
This, his first emergence from obscurity since 1931, just a few days after
I referred to him in my broadcast, was the Japanese way of informing me
that my message was duly received and understood. In other radio flashes
from South China and Manchuria, over the Japanese controlled Singapore and
Hsinking radios, came inspired feelers, making oblique reference to my
talks, seeking clarification or trying to discredit me.
Then, on the nineteenth day of the campaign, the first direct reply
from Tokyo was monitored by the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service of
the Federal Communications Commission. I may add that everything went
according to schedule. The answer came when and as expected. It was an
answer to my Broadcast No. 4, in which I discussed certain leaders who had
brought Japan to the brink of disaster. I said," Now, for the first time,
the Japanese people have the opportunity to evaluate fully for themselves
the quality of the political leadership which maneuvered their country into
their ill-fated alliance with Germany. Let me recall some of these men to
your mind." And I named names.
The answer was delivered by Dr. Isamu Inouye, who had been
delegated by the Japanese Government to "discuss" with me, on the air, the
question of Japan's unconditional surrender. Inouye was chosen as official
spokesman on the Japanese end of the line because be claimed to know me
personally from the days when he edited a Japanese-language newspaper in
Los Angeles. He was the overseas head of the Domei News Agency, the
official government organ, and later vice-chief of the Information Section
in the Japanese Home Ministry.
When both the original and the English translation of Inouye's
cagily worded reply were scrutinized, we found that the message abounded
in transparent statements. "Japan would be ready to discuss peace terms,"
he said, "provided there were certain changes in the unconditional
surrender formula." Although the changes which the Japanese had in mind
were not specified, Inouye said, "We would like to mutually join hands in
constructing an international machinery which will strive toward world
peace and the good of humanity." This line we interpreted as the message
of the whole broadcast.
The Power of Words
What made this answer particularly significant was the concluding
words. Inouye proposed to start "peace negotiations" on our level, since,
in conclusion, he stated, "I would like to know what Zacharias thinks of
these words from Japan."
The Japanese text of the Inouye broadcast revealed a significant
sidelight which was lost in the English translation. He addressed me as
Zacharias Kun. Previous references were to Zacharias Taisa--Captain--and
ordinarily, when referring to "Mr. " the word San is used. The word Kun,
literally translated, means "my good friend," and is one used by Japanese
only between close friends or intimates. Therefore, its injection here was
an appeal full of hidden meanings.
Inouye's message proved to us that my broadsides were hitting the
target. Other Japanese broadcasters followed Inouye's example and by
quoting from my talks provided additional evidence that my words were
recorded and disseminated in Japan.
The original operational plan had anticipated this development. We
knew that every important American broadcast was printed in a daily
monitoring digest which the Japanese board of information placed at the
disposal of about 500 Japanese political, industrial and military leaders,
and trusted publicists. It was this audience-the 500 who held the power of
decision to whom our talks were primarily directed. Copies of the
monitoring report were supplied to the imperial palace, and thus we
expected to reach the Emperor's own circle.
Although we never counted on being heard on the 5,000,000 primitive
home receivers of Japan, we did not leave the average Japanese entirely out
of our calculations, By re-transmitting from Saipan on the regular Radio
Tokyo broadcast band, we permitted the Japanese people to eavesdrop on the
conversations progressing on a level seemingly far above their heads. We
also reprinted arguments of my talks in millions of leaflets which General
Le May's 20th Bomber Command. dropped over Japan. My talks were headlined
in General MacArthur's own Rakkasan News, a Japanese-language newspaper
which his planes "mailed" to Japanese territories. We hoped that public
opinion would be aroused and popular pressure would be put on the Susuki
By April 6, 1945, when Admiral Suzuki assumed power, the plot
revolving around peace or war had thickened within Japan. Admiral Suzuki
masterminded the schemes of the peace party, but younger men, like Navy
Minister Admiral Yonai, did the actual plotting. The Japanese navy emerged
as the driving force behind the peace movement. We recognized the navy's
role in the plot and did everything to drive deeper the wedge between the
two branches of the armed forces. Opposed to the navy group was a
clandestine clique of die-hard officers within the army, led by ex-Premier
Hideki Tojo himself from his nominal retirement. In the cabinet, Suzuki
seemed to have only one opponent--General Anami, a colorless military
bureaucrat whom the Tojoclique designated to represent the army. He
proved a fatal choice and was largely responsible for the bad showing of
the warmongers. He was too weak to match wits with the shrewd navy group
or to muster strength against the palace clique. Tojo himself made a
disastrous mistake. He permitted the Suzuki government to come into power
and then topped his blunder by tolerating it in power too long. By the
time the Tojo clique went into action to eliminate the Suzuki group, and
even the Emperor, if necessary, the peace party was too well entrenched
and controlled so many key positions in the country and overseas that
Tojo's plot was doomed to failure.
All this was known to us in detail. We know that the army clique
was plotting a coup d' etat, but we also recognized that conditions within
Japan no longer favored such a coup. Even within the war ministry, various
cliques, were intriguing against one another. Field Marshal Count Terauchi,
whose influence was second only to Tojo's, was too sick and too far away in
Malaya to exert his influence. General Okamura, who commanded the armies in
China, seemed to side with the peace party. And in so far as the mysterious
Kwantung army in Manchuria was concerned, it no longer had any political
When Suzuki accepted the Premier's office, he still hoped to retain
at least part of Japan's modern loot, especially Manchuria and Korea. He
was encouraged in this hope by reports from his ambassador in Moscow, who
fully misunderstood Russian intentions and assured the Premier that the
Soviet Union would stay out of the war.
The house of cards which Suzuki was laboriously building collapsed
suddenly on the day when Okinawa was declared secured by our forces. The
Suzuki cabinet was badly shaken. It could no longer conceal from the
people at large that the invasion of the Japanese main islands was the
next Allied move. In this situation Suzuki decided to discontinue his
unofficial peace feelers on lower echelons. In a last desperate effort he
approached the Soviet Government and asked it to mediate in the conflict.
The Soviets forwarded Suzuki's plea to us, but did not reply to the
Japanese Premier. This last move of the Japanese Government provided us
with a final clarification of the situation.
Now our campaign was bearing fruit. It was evident that we were
entering the homestretch. The initiative was in our hands. If only we could
utilize this initiative in the right manner, we could end the Pacific war
within a few weeks. It was at this stage that President Truman and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff came into the psychological war to bring it to its
It is now generally known that early in June the Joint Chiefs of
Staff and the State Department were drafting an elaborate definition of the
unconditional surrender formula, to be issued from Potsdam. But Suzuki was
still in the fight, chiefly because he was groping the darkness on one
supreme issue. He called an extraordinary session of the Japanese Diet for
June eighth, to which he delivered a speech addressed to us rather than to
the members of the diet, to obtain clarification of this last issue.
Now, it was no longer a material consideration, such as the
retention of Manchuria or Korea, which prevented him from saying in so many
words that be would accept our terms. The only doubt which still
forestalled a decision was the future status of the Emperor." I have served
His Imperial Majesty over a period of many years," Suzuki said, "and I am
deeply impressed with this honor. As bold as it may seem, I firmly believe
there is no one in the entire world who is more deeply concerned with world
peace and the welfare of mankind than His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor. I
hear that the enemy is boasting of his demand of unconditional surrender
by Japan. Unconditional surrender will only mean that our national
structure and our people will be destroyed. Against such boastful talk
there is only one measure we must take-that is to fight to the last."
Our problem now was how we could reassure Suzuki and indicate that
there was no decision to destroy what he ambiguously described as the
"national structure of Japan."
This time our answer was not confined to another broadcast.
Instead, we decided to answer Premier Suzuki in an anonymous letter written
to a reputable American newspaper, and to bring this letter to his attention
in the quickest manner possible, The Washington Post was selected as the
vehicle, with full co-operation of its editors. The letter, printed on July
21, 1945, contained all the answers to Suzuki's query. Its concluding
passages may be worth quoting:
If the Japanese desire to clarify whether or not unconditional surrender
goes beyond the conditions contained in the five documents cited above,
[the Atlantic Charter, the Cairo Declaration, Generalissimo Chiang
Kai-shek's Declaration of 1944, President Truman's Declaration of May 8,
1945, and Justice Jackson's statement on war criminals] they have at their
disposed the regular diplomatic channels, the secrecy of which precludes
any public admission of weakness. They am aware that we know that Japan has
lost the war. Such an inquiry could not possibly be misinterpreted or
display any weakness beyond that which now actually exists in Japan.
If, as Admiral Suzuki revealed in the diet, their chief concern is over
Japan's future national structure (Kokutai), including the Emperor's status
after surrender, the way to find out is to ask. Contrary to a widespread
belief, such a question can be answered quickly and satisfactorily to all
those who are concerned over the future peace of the Orient and the world.
The letter attracted considerable attention in the United States.
The Washington Post was bombarded by callers who wanted to learn the
identity of its anonymous author. My telephone also rang. Washington
correspondents, accurately ganging the technique, tried to make me confess
The letter was reprinted in many American dailies from coast to
coast. We felt certain that it would be picked up by the listening posts of
the Japanese government in Washington, D. C. It was.
Simultaneously another broadside was prepared along more
conventional lines. I was now called upon to prepare a radio script on the
highest diplomatic level, bordering on but not touching upon matters of
policy. We worked on the script day and night for almost a week, drafting
and redrafting it, listening to suggestions, submitting it for approval,
weighing every single word with the greatest of care. When at last I went
to the broadcasting studio of the Department of the Interior where I made
my recordings, I had its fourteenth draft in my pocket--the final draft.
I was introduced as "an official spokesman of the United States
Government," in line with the stipulation of the operational plan. But the
Japanese indicated doubt as to my true authority. Was I "official
spokesman" in fact as, well as name? Did my statements carry higher
endorsement? The text--it was Broadcast No. 12--was released to the
American press, and we hoped this move would dispel their doubts. The news
of the broadcast broke on July twenty-first, and the evening papers were
the first to feature it. U. S. WARNS JAPAN TO QUIT NOW, ESCAPE VIRTUAL
DESTRUCTION headlined the Washington Post, and next morning The New York
Times gave it front-page position and reprinted the whole broadcast.
The broadcast reiterated the themes of my letter to the Post. The
message it carried was incorporated in four sentences: "The leaders of
Japan have been entrusted with the salvation and not the destruction of
Japan. As I have said before, the Japanese leaders face two alternatives.
One is the virtual destruction of Japan, followed by a dictated peace. The
other is unconditional surrender, with its attendant benefits as laid down
by the Atlantic Charter."
In the midst of the domestic clamor which was manifested in
editorials printed in virtually every American daily, the Japanese kept a
significant silence. I visualized the conclaves going on in Tokyo in which
strategy and tactics were discussed, to find the most propitious answer.
We did not have to wait long. The Japanese answer was delivered at 12:15
A.M. (EWT) on July twenty-fourth, by another Inouye--Dr. Kiyoshi Inouye
this time, one of Japan's outstanding authorities on international
relations. I remembered him quite well as a former professor at the
University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Tokyo University,
and as a delegate to various international conferences.
The message entrusted to Dr. Kyoshi Inouye was of momentous
importance. In effect, he was to indicate Japan's willingness to surrender
unconditionally if and when Japan was assured that the Atlantic Charter
would apply to her. He stated, "Should America show any sincerity of
putting into practice what she preaches, as, for instance, in the Atlantic
Charter, excepting its punitive clause, the Japanese nation, in fact, the
Japanese military, would automatically, if not willingly, follow in the
stopping of the conflict. Then and then only will sabers cease to rattle
both in the East and the West."
This was not the final word of the campaign. But it was the one
word before the last. In retrospect, the Inouye broadcast of July
twenty-fourth must be accepted as of great historical significance. Here
was conclusive evidence of Japanese decision to terminate the war then and
there; to terminate it on the basis of the terms outlined in my series of
previous broadcasts. The Japanese answer was delivered two days prior to
the issuance of the Potsdam Declaration, thirteen days before the first
atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and more than two weeks before the
Soviet's entry into the war. Japan was readied for surrender. To reap our
harvest, we had only to shake her, like a tree full of ripe apples.
The Potsdam Declaration reiterated the tenets voiced in my talks,
and fully endorsed them on the highest Allied level. By the time my last
broadcast went on the air, "No. 14," on August 5, 1945, there was no longer
any need for persuasion and psychological warfare. The B-29 of Colonel
Tibbets, with its precious cargo in the bomb bay, was flying from the
Central Pacific straight toward Hiroshima just as the Japanese monitors
in Tokyo were taking down my words. The columns of the Red Army were
deployed to cross the Manchurian border. The die was cast, Japan's life
as a belligerent was counted in days rather than weeks. Our work was
finished. The next move was to be made by Japan.
This move came in the form of a dramatic broadcast from Tokyo on
August eleventh. It informed the world of the message the Imperial
Government of Japan had submitted to the Swiss and Swedish governments,
for transmission to the Allies. The message accepted the terms of the
Potsdam Declaration, with the significant proviso that the Potsdam
Declaration "does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives
of His Majesty as sovereign ruler."
On July twenty-first, in my letter to the Washington Post, I wrote
that the Japanese "have at their disposal the regular diplomatic channels," words adapted to Japanese psychology, and urged them to make the fullest use of them channels. Now, at last, this advice was heeded and diplomacy was called in to settle the final issue. And the proviso about the Emperor's prerogatives was a tacit answer to our advice that the best way to find out about Japan's future national structure and the Emperor's status after surrender was to ask. The disclosure of reasons for the advice about the Emperor is something that must wait for a future date.
The rest is history. Our forces are occupying Japan and not a
single shot was fired during the process of occupation. Our fleet anchors
in Tokyo Bay, and the powerful coastal guns of the Yokosuka naval base
received our ships with white flags on their muzzles, depressed as if
bowing to the inevitable. In the great drama of the Pacific war,
psychological warfare fulfilled its appointed task. It was successful
because it was sincere and because it was based on a careful analysis of
the military situation created by our victorious armed forces, and on the
accurate information supplied even from inside Japan by our extremely
efficient intelligence services.
The success of the campaign opens up new vistas for this type of
warfare. Psychological warfare has been called "the war between the wars."
The Germans used psychological warfare to the utmost when the Versailles
Treaty stripped them of all material means of aggression. I have no doubt
that Japan has learned the lessons of German history, and it may be
assumed she plans a comeback using psychological warfare where her military
might so dismally failed. Obviously, we must be on guard to protect
ourselves against this type of attack, which can be as insidious as the
opening of hostilities without a declaration of war.