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"The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima"

"The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima"

Journal Article, International Security, volume 31, issue 4, pages 162-179

Spring 2007

Author: Ward Wilson

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Quarterly Journal: International Security



This article reexamines the widely held presumption that nuclear weapons played a decisive role in winning the war in the Pacific. Based on new research from Japanese, Soviet, and U.S. archives, it concludes that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, played virtually no role in this outcome. A comparison of the responses of high-level Japanese officials to the bombing and the Soviet invasion on August 9 makes clear that the Soviet intervention touched off a crisis, while the bombing of Hiroshima did not. The article examines the evidence that, to save face, Japanese leaders blamed the bomb for losing the war. Finally, it sketches the profound impact this reappraisal may have on how nuclear weapons will be viewed in the future.


For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Wilson, Ward. "The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima." International Security 31, no. 4 (Spring 2007): 162-179.

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