Absolutely not, at least not in the context that the American people have been led to believe. The bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki were meant to ensure that the United States could dictate global policy, and to that effect it succeeded. The United States since 1942 had been carrying out air raids on over 100 Japanese cities, taking an estimated 241,000 to 900,000 lives. Viewed from this paradigm, the dropping of the Atom bomb was a logical next step in an all out attack on Japanese war morale. As the date grew closer where the bomb would be available for use, 155 members of the atomic research team, including all 3 lead scientists, signed a petition addressed to Harry Truman that cautioned use of the bomb, as even they were distraught with its destructive potential, and saw a future where bigger bombs would be developed in competition with the Soviet Union should this one be used. However, Truman never saw this petition before the bombs launch, instead staunch public anti-communist James Byrnes who was secretary of state, rerouted the delegation to South Carolina, formally acknowledged the petition, and according to lead scientist Leo Szilard: "Mr.Byrnes knew at the time, as the rest of the government knew, that Japan was essentially defeated. He was much more concerned about the spread of Russian influence in Europe, and by possessing and demonstrating the bomb, would make Russia more manageable." Leslie Groves, Brigadier General in charge of the Manhattan Project, noted: "I was never from about two weeks into charge of this project, any illusion on my part that Russia was the enemy, and the project was conducted on that basis." The delegation's petition also noted, that since there was no inherent secret to nuclear fission, the Soviet Union, spending similar to the United States, would have their own bomb in less than a decade. After acknowledging the petition, Byrnes banned its circulation, and tasked Leslie Groves with keeping an eye on Szilard for signs of 'communist agitation'. Groves then banned the team on threat of charge from seeking out elected members of office to discuss any matters regarding nuclear fission. Groves also formally labeled Szilard an 'enemy alien' and requested that he be detained for the remainder of the war. This request was denied, but it shows a glimpse into the communist fear that perpetuated into some of the military leaders of the time. However, not everyone had this deep routed communist fear. After all, the United States had coordinated and was on friendly terms at the time with Stalin and the Soviet Union. Chief of Staff George Marshall, supported Oppenheimer's plan to share the results of a nuclear test with the Soviet Union, as well as details of development with soviet scientists. Again, secretary of state Byrnes rejected this proposal. In 1945, Truman went to Potsdam to insure that the Soviets kept their promise of entering Manchuria and engaging the remaining 1 million Japanese forces there. American Intelligence had informed Truman on July 6th that: "An entry of the Soviet Union into the war would finally convince the Japanese of the inevitability of their defeat" Many were already convinced of this however - Japan's air force had been decimated, its navy completely destroyed, its rail system rendered useless, its food supply inadequate, and its public morale plummeting. Japanese Prime Minister Kanoe wrote to the Emperor: "I regret to say that Japan's defeat is inevitable" In May, Japan's supreme war council had elected to seek out the Soviets for peace terms, wanting to keep the USSR out of their war, and also to see if the Soviets could get better peace terms for Japan. However, the Americans had been intercepting Japanese cables since the beginning of the war. In a July 18th cable to the Japanese embassy in Moscow, Japan noted clearly that the only obstacle to peace was unconditional surrender. Truman himself remarks in his personal diary this intercepted cable as: "The communication from the Jap Emperor asking for peace". Byrnes diary: "Japanese peace feelers". Secretary of War Henry Stimson's diary: "Japan is maneuvering with the soviets for Peace" They all knew Japan was finished, and that the end was near. Several close advisors to Truman suggested that he edit the surrender conditions of Japan from unconditional surrender, to signal that they could keep their Emperor, thus speeding up the end of the war. To the Japanese, the Emperor was a sacred figure, and the central figure in the Shinto religion. So see him hung like Mussolini in Italy was compared to by 5 star General Douglas MacArthur as: "The hanging of the Emperor to them would be like the crucifixion of Christ to us, all would fight to die like ants" However, Byrnes was convinced that the Truman administration would be crucified politically, should they let the Japanese Imperial system be retained. In addition to this, with the atomic bomb Truman thought he had a weapon that could force Japanese surrender on American terms, therefore not needing the Soviet's aid in ending the war, and therefore not needing to concede Manchuria and Hokkaido, which Roosevelt had promised Stalin would become Russia's sphere of influence without American interference should they participate in an attack against Manchuria. So confident that this weapon would end the war on American terms, Truman delayed Potsdam for two weeks to give the time needed to the scientists to test the atomic bomb. Upon its success, arriving at Potsdam Truman told Stalin that the Americans had come upon a weapon with unusual destructive potential, and proposed to use this weapon to end the war with Japan. Unknown to Truman, a British scientist had snuck soviet handlers technical readouts of the bomb test in a bothan like fashion (without all the dying bothans). Stalin already knew about the test, and remarked to his foreign secretary in Washington: "The Americans will use this nuclear monopoly to try to dictate terms in Europe, but we will not give in to this blackmail." He then ordered Soviet military forces to speed their entry into Manchuria, under the leaning notion that American attitude at Potsdam enforced the idea that the United States would go back on its promise of giving Manchuria and Hokkaido to the Soviets. Indeed, the American proposal to the Japanese at Potsdam still explicitly stated that the Emperor would be hung for war crimes committed, and as the Soviets and Americans knew, the Japanese rejected this offer, thus giving the Americans time to drop the atomic bombs. Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote to Truman and Byrnes many times, asking them to assure the safety of the Emperor so that the war would end, and American lives would be spared. Truman told Stimson "If you don't like the use of this bomb, you can pack your bags and go home." Stimson wasn't alone in his views about using the bomb to end the war, six out of seven of 5 star generals who earned their 5th star during World War 2 described the bomb as morally reprehensible, militarily unnecessary, or both. These were Generals Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Admirals William Leahy, Earnest King, and Chester Nimitz. Eisenhower later said: "Stimson told me they were going to drop it on the Japanese, I didn't volunteer anything because after all my war was over in Europe, but I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I didn't want our country to be the first one to use that thing" General MacArthur, supreme commander of allied forces in the Pacific considered the bomb completely useless from a military point of view, saying the Japanese would have surrendered back in May had the US told them they could keep their Emperor. General Lemay, in charge of American firebombing, had said the Japanese would have surrendered in two weeks, and that the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war. Hiroshima was selected, it hadn't yet been hit by Lemay's firebomb because it had 45,000 Korean, and 23 American prisoners of war. This meant the city was unscathed, and the true destructive test of the bomb would be well observed. By the end of the war, the bomb at Hiroshima had killed over 200,000 people. On August 6th the day of the bombing, the United States admitted only 3,500 enemy combatants were killed. Despite this, Japan did still not surrender. Stalin, seeing this, ordered the assault on Manchuria to commence on August 9th on 3 fronts. This was no small series of battles, the Soviets had 1.5 million men, and losses to the Japanese military are estimated around 750,000. Stalin also ordered troops into Korea, and onto the northern pacific islands of Japan. This event seems to be almost wholly forgotten to any American I've talked to because also on this day, the 2nd Atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. 40,000 died immediately, of them, 250 soldiers. Even after the soviet invasion, and the dropping of two bombs, and the foreign secretary's lie that the United States had 100 more atomic bombs to drop, Tokyo was no closer to surrender. After all, while a magnificent display of power to the west, Japanese cities had been being completely destroyed for 3 years, two more cities was a drop in the bucket compared to everything else the Japanese had lost. It didn't matter if it was 200 planes dropping 100,000 firebombs or 2 planes dropping 2 atomic bombs, in the end the loss to the Japanese was still the same. General Kuwabe, the Japanese Army Chief of Staff said: "It was only through a gradual manner that the horrible wreckage that had been made of Hiroshima had been known. In comparison the Soviet entry into the war was a greater shock because we had been in constant fear of it, with the vivid imagination that the vast Red Army forces in Europe were now being turned towards us" Prime Minister of Japan said: "Japan must surrender immediately, or the Soviet Union will not only take Manchuria, Karafuto and Korea, but Hokkaido as well. This would destroy the foundation of Japan. We must end the war when we can deal with the US." Not only would the Soviets have no problem dismantling their empire, but they would have no problem killing the emperor himself. After all, they murdered their own Emperor in 1918. On August 15th, still sustaining heavy losses to Russia, the Japanese Emperor forced surrender of his people over the radio. And soon surrendered to the United States under the pretext that the Emperor would not be forced to abdicate. Alarmingly this clause is one of the reasons Japan stayed unified as it sought to rebuild and transfer power to a more democratic means. Truman's estimation of the cost to American lives had the United States had to invade the Japanese mainland had they not included the Emperor clause in the peace deal climbed as the years went by. In August 1945 it was "thousands of lives", December 1945 "A quarter million of the flower of our manhood was worth a couple Japanese cities", November 1949 "500,000 casualties could be expected", January 1953 "Up to a million Japanese and American casualties" April 1959 "The bomb stopped the war and prevented millions of casualties".