Japan’s World War II PM Hideki Tojo wanted to wanted to keep fighting even after U.S. atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
That is just scary, that some Japanese militarists at the time had that much will to keep fighting – and for what? Not for “liberty” or “justice” or something like that.
“We now have to see our country surrender to the enemy without demonstrating our power up to 120 percent,” Tojo wrote on Aug. 13, 1945, just two days before Japan gave up. “We are now on a course for a humiliating peace, or rather a humiliating surrender.” (“Diary: Japan’s Tojo fought surrender till end”, San Francisco Chronicle)
For face, it seems.
On the other hand, on 10 August, the day after the Nagasaki bombing, Tojo wrote that the purpose of the war was to “maintain stability in East Asia and defend our country.”
In light of this, would Japan have surrendered had the atomic bombs not been dropped and less militaristic government officials frightened into accepting surrender that they normally would not have? If not, at what point should war have been stopped?
Just war doctrine prescribes that war have limited goals. The only justification to fight to unconditional surrender, then, is if the enemy is bent on your conquest and destruction – which American leaders had reason to believe was true; otherwise, the proper goal would merely have been redress for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The decision would have to be made on the basis of what was known at the time after an attempt to know as much as possible in a timely manner.
Then, alea iacta est.