Churchill and Hiroshima: a new Peace News briefing

IssueApril - May 2024
Winston Churchill, 1941. Photo: United Nations Information Office, New York via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
News by PN staff

In May, we will be taking orders for a new four-page A5 PN briefing setting out the facts about Churchill’s belief in 1944 and early 1945 that a Japanese surrender could be gained without an atomic bomb being dropped and without the Allies having to invade Japan (PN 2667). 

Churchill believed by July 1945 that there were two diplomatic tools with a very good chance of ending the Pacific War, especially if combined. 

In September 1944, Churchill had pleaded with the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan because, he told Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, this alone ‘might be decisive’ in gaining a Japanese surrender.

In February 1945, Churchill tried to persuade US president Franklin D Roosevelt to publicly promise that Japanese emperor Hirohito would not be prosecuted as a war criminal after the war, and would remain on the throne.

Churchill told Roosevelt that this compromise could lead to a Japanese surrender and ‘the saving of a year or a year and a half of a war’. (After Nagasaki, the US did choose to spare the war criminal, who remained on the Japanese throne until his death in 1989.)

We would like to see this new briefing on every UK peace group stall in July – August!

The argument is also set out in a PN talk that’s online: